An argument for .40 caliber

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I'll probably stick with .45 until they make a nice .50. Why go small? I want to make the biggest hole possible, not the most powerful.

.50 GI Glock conversion kit. $595 MSRP if you already have a Glock 20/21.
I like all calibers. Admittedly, I've never shot a .25 acp, .38 super, 41 mag, .45 gap, .50 ae, .357 sig, 5.7x28, or 7.62x25, but I'm sure I'd like them just fine.

I chose .40 over 9mm and .45 for very similar reasons to those mentioned. It was just right for me.
I own both .40 and 9mm, and I am indifferent to both.

Astra A-90 in 9mm, and Glock 22 gen4 in .40.

While I can hit my targets pretty good with the Astra (9mm), I can hit targets even better with the Glock (.40).

I have also shot a Walther P99 in .40, and shot really well with that.

So yes, while I've shot .40 in two different guns of good-repute, I've shot 9mm in a Beretta M9 and in my Astra. Neither of the 9's compare to what I can do with the .40's I've shot. I don't know what the reasoning behind it is, it's just what I can shoot better.

As far as cost goes, .40 is only a couple dollars more per box here, so price, to me, isn't an issue. Sure, I can get more 9 for the same amount of money (hypothetically, seeing as after a box of 50-100 I'd only get maybe 5-15 extra rounds than .40), I can still shoot both just as much.
Recoil really shouldn't be in the discussion, since the case capacity is not much different, and recoil is determined by ejecta vs. gunweight. Ejecta being bullet weight plus gases.

It does seem that some calibers, usually relatively new ones, are loaded with powders that are best used for something else, and a poor match for that cartridge. This can result in excessive recoil.

That said I think the effects of caliber increase geometrically past a certain point, and thats about .358". .40 is the perfect round for non-free states with magazine capacity limits.

10 rounds fit in a lot of guns. .45 ACP seems to only go in the Glock 30, and then only with a shoe horn.

There was a long discussion in another thread of the probability that the average crime is going to be done by 2-3 people, and with a low hit rate percentage the merit of a large capacity magazine is pretty high on the agenda.

So, in conclusion either get very good at reloading .45 ACP magazines, get a Glock 30, if you can conceal one, or look at the .40 and 9mm for 10 round capacity.

If you live in a free state, I'm wondering at what point the .40's bullet weight advantage becomes a factor. If you believe, as I do, that 9mm
has a penetration problem with most hollow points, that becomes worse in the .40 with light bullets. However, you can use the heavier bullets in the .40 to help with penetration.

Is this worth the couple more rounds you can get in a 9mm magazine?
I'm not sure. Given a choice I like the idea of fairly high velocity, non-expanding more or less flat point bullets in 9mm.

The .40 might do very well with a similar truncated cone bullet, in the medium to light range, at high velocity.

The idea being to use velocity to create wound channel diameter, and lighten the bullet to limit penetration to about 18" or a bit more, depending on your area.
... but here's why I have chosen this caliber..

1. I chose the larger caliber in the exact same size platform.
2. The 9mm has less recoil. But with +P SD ammo, the recoil is about the same.
3. The 9mm is cheaper than .40.
4. The .40 has the power close that to .45 in the more concealable platform of a 9mm. There's also the greater capacity than the .45 at approximately the same power.
5. With the .40, you practice with the same load (target practice and self-defense ammo) have the same power levels. This makes sense. I question the practice of using regular 9mm loads for practice, then carrying +p for self defense.

Gotta bump this gem. To summarize points made:
1) Caliber: Choose the biggest caliber = .45acp (Glock 19, 23 and 36 are close enough)
2) Recoil: 147gr 9mm much less than anything .40sw in CCW size gun
3) Cost: 200 rounds/mo @ +$3/box @ 48 boxes/year = $144/yr = New Glock every 3-4 years (for me, it's 2-3 years) = 9mm
4) Differences: .45acp>.40sw = .40sw>9mm
5) Recoil: In SD use you won't notice

I choose 9mm or .45acp because .40sw offers me nothing over either.
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I think a lot of us older guys got a bad taste in our mouth with 9mm's a long time ago. Back in the 1960's and 1970's lots of them would not feed anything well except ball. That put the older crowd solidly in the PRO 45acp camp.

I conceal carry almost daily. I do not feel under gunned with my 442 loaded with 135 Speer Short Barrel HP ammo.
I also carry a 310 Night Guard with Full House 10mm ammo in it.
I have a couple 45 acp's also. I had an XDm 40 for a Duty gun for a while.

I probably carry my 442 with the 135 HP Speer Short Barrel ammo, and my 3" 66 with 135 Short Barrel Speer 357 Magnum HP ammo the most.

Realisticly Shot Placement and Quality Ammo is the most important issue. If you plant a 38 Special, 357Mag, 357 Sig, 9mm, 40 S&W, 10mm, or 45acp center chest with about any Hi Quality Self Defense ammo, it should get the job done.

I have a friend who was an ER Nurse for several years in a large city in Texas. She has seen lots of gunshot victims over the years shot with all calibers. She conceal carries a Commander size 1911 in 45acp. She talks about gunshots now and again. She carries a 45 because in her experiance the gunshot victim does not walk back out the door the next morning with a bandage when shot with a 45acp. What she discovered was the Bigger The Bullet Hole, the worse they are hurt.

Multiple solid hits in a vital area with about anything, and the party should be over. However shot for shot bigger is normally better.
Just my 2 cents.

I went with .451 Detonics in about 1980. See no reason to change. 200 grains, .451, at 1200 fps. The guys at Detonics had plenty of LEO photos that show the the .45 200 grain flying ashtray was a very effective bullet. At least 1" hole through the target, sometimes bigger.

9MM I tried. My bad taste came from so many guns, wanting so many different loads, and so many that just weren't accurate compared to the 1911 .45's I was shooting. Recoil? What recoil? a .44 magnum recoils. 12 ft-lbs is nothing, and my second shots were very accurate, and fast.
It's also a pain if you have big fingers to load 9MM and under.

Not enough is made of diameter. A cylinder geometrically increases in size as the diameter is increased. Bullet expansion can likewise be much larger for what seems like a little bit bigger caliber. Take moving from .45 ACP to .475 Linebaugh, or .500JRH. The hollowpoints for a .475 expand to the size of a 2 bore rifle, and the case capacity also expands, making light for caliber bullets VERY fast.

The .45 ACP suffers from the old standard. With modern high quality guns, even Glock 30's, you can load to about 30k pressure, get .45 Super like ballistics, or, .45 Colt like ballistics, up to 260 grains, at 1000 fps. THAT:what:
is no joke.

That said, it's kind of sad that a double stack .45 ACP hasn't become a standard in the 1911 platform. It would be nice to have 10 instead of 8 in my kimber.

Johnksa has a great thread on multiple attackers, and, my goal is always going to be to have 10 rounds, the legal max in Kali, for my carry weapon, or, at least 2 extra magazines.
Almost all ballistic charts show .40 ammo outperforms the .45acp. Despite that fact the 40 had no place in my gun case before it was invented. I picked American Eagle ammo so we would have an apples to apples comparison.

Here are some factory ballistics.
40 S&W Federal American Eagle FMJ 155 Grain
Muzzle velocity: 1160 fps.
Muzzle energy: 463 ft/lbs.

45 ACP Federal American Eagle FMJ 230 Grain
Muzzle velocity: 890 fps
Muzzle energy: 404 ft/lbs
Almost all ballistic charts show .40 ammo outperforms the .45acp.
Yes, on paper it may show that, but considering that I can get 3 good, accurate hits with a .45 vs only 2 with a .40 due to the recoil and longer time between follow ups, experience shows me that, for me, .45 outperforms .40 in every situation except those internet creations where I am only allowed one shot.

And even then, the minimal difference between the two make it moot.
9mm all the way.

It's effective, relatively cheap, and modern self-defense ammo has made it as effective as other popular calibers in self-defense situations. Throw in the double-digit magazine capacities, and you have an easy choice. My honest opinion.
Do not know when this was updated the last time. But it seems there is little to choose between the 9x19mm .40S&W and .45ACP in actual street shootings. The 165fr and 155gr premium 4-S&W rounds does seems to do well in real world shootings. The last column "One Shot Stop %" is taken from actual shootings.

I will stick with the 40S&W for now. I like shooting it. That is number one for me. And the option for some fairly fast lower bullet weight loads and then the option of the 180gr with 10+ capacity in a handgun that is easy to conceal.

But this is my choice. Everyone must decide for themselves.
This is a good thread and has brought out some interesting comments and statistics, but at the end of the day, FBI statistics still show that more people are killed annualy by a .22 or .25!;)

This is a good thread and has brought out some interesting comments and statistics, but at the end of the day, FBI statistics still show that more people are killed annualy by a .22 or .25!;)

Quite interesting. Do you know if that is mostly domestic deputes or murders with those firearms. Or is it mostly crimes like breakins gone bad or the like?
Heavy and sub-sonic, best of both worlds.. lol


Bigger is better and, in my case, you'll get no argument on the beauty of the 45 JHP 230gr sub sonic effects and my faith in my P220 but -

Shooting is also about affordability and the cost difference between 45 FMJ and 40 FMJ is a huge, on-going, factor so -

180gr FMJ or JHP's being, also, a sub-sonic load works very well for me and are both cost effective to own and shoot - and rely on


Bigger is better and, in my case, you'll get no argument on the beauty of the 45 JHP 230gr sub sonic effects and my faith in my P220 but -

Shooting is also about affordability and the cost difference between 45 FMJ and 40 FMJ is a huge, on-going, factor so -

180gr FMJ or JHP's being, also, a sub-sonic load works very well for me and are both cost effective to own and shoot - and rely on

I like the "heavy & slow" option, too. 9s get a 147 gr. JHP, .45s, a 230 gr. JHP and if I carry the .40S&W which ain't often 'cause I really like the .45- well, I go with a 180 gr. JHP.
M7, I'm with you. From what I understand, light/fast usually means a bigger TWC, and slow/heavy usually means a bit more penetration. I'll take a longer permanent tract over a wider temporary tract any day of the week.
We (our department) transitioned from revolvers to the Glock M23 almost 20 years ago. I've been carrying that weapon daily ever since. We shoot at least quarterly, with semi-annual qualification rounds and various sorts of brush-ups and drills and such through the rest of the year.
So I've pushed a lot of .40 rounds downrange.

I don't find the recoil excessive; in fact I find the Glock well controllable even under "fast as you can shoot" conditions. The .40 has accumulated an admirable record as far as effectiveness in police combat incidents.
So, I'm well satisfied.

I don't know if I've articulated my views on the caliber wars on this board or not... Can't remember. I'm of the "bigger is better" school, so long as you handle the "bigger" adequately.
Reason being.... "Shot placement" is the mantra you hear all the time. Practice enough and you can put all your rounds through the BG's left ventricle and that's that. Doesn't matter if it's a .380 or a 9mm or whatever.
Unfortunately, in combat situations, "shot placement" tends to go out the window. Under the physical and mental stress of a combat situation, fine motor control tends to go out the window. This is well studied. Above a certain level of excitement and pulse-rate, the ability to have fine motor control tends to vanish.
That's not all. Reported physiological and psychological effects of combat stress include tunnel vision, hearing loss, target fixation, time dilation.... And various other things.

In short, that ability to center-punch the X-ring you develop on the range may vanish if you're being shot at.
That's not all.

We tend to shoot on nice, unobstructed ranges at nice, well-lit targets that tend to stay put.
In combat, our opponent (or opponents) may be in darkness, hiding behind things, and moving around.
Some people train for such conditions, but not many.

So..... In conclusion.....IMO....Since shot placement may be an unobtainable goal, I think that you may have to "take what you can get". A peripheral hit with a big caliber is more likely to be disabling than a peripheral hit with a small one.

There are no absolutes, of course. I just related an incident where an officer fired at a young gangster who he'd been pursuing and who refused the order to "show your hands". The kid fell over, apparently killed or severely wounded.
In fact, he hadn't even been hit. Essentially, he fainted.
4. The .40 has the power close that to .45 in the more concealable platform of a 9mm.
Welll . . . that was the original idea. But many manufacturers had trouble with .40 caliber in 9mm platforms, and nowadays they make a separate, slightly beefier gun in .40
If we all still shot FMJ, or the earlier primitive JHPs that rarely expanded, I reckon choosing the .40 over the 9mm would make sense. With modern controlled-expansion ammo, I don't think there is a practical difference. The .40 surely does seem to have a very snappy recoil, that I used to not mind, but my formerly stronger hand is not so strong anymore, and snappy catridges HURT now. This is why I have started carrying a .45 ACP 1911 again, on my own time, instead of carrying my personally-owned .40 P229 duty pistol; it does not hurt when practicing with my 1911, which has gentle recoil. At work, I have no choice but to carry .40 in the duty holster, at this time, though there is movement toward authorizing 9mm as an alternate duty cartridge.

Actually, I do bring my 1911 to work, as an authorized "back-up" weapon. :)
If there is time, I can deploy the 1911, with which I have more recent training, and therefore a higher comfort level.
Im just gonna say I prefer calibers that have been tested for more than a hundred years ;) that means 9mm and 45 acp are my handgun rounds of choice.
Quite interesting. Do you know if that is mostly domestic deputes or murders with those firearms. Or is it mostly crimes like breakins gone bad or the like?

I've never seen an actual breakdown, although they do exist. I'll see what I can dig up, and what I do know is this doesn't involve Police Action Shootings :D

The M1911 in .45 ACP. Because hundreds of thousands of Philippinos, Hatians, Nicaraguans, Mexicans, Germans, Russians, Japanese, Chinese, North Koreans, North Viet Namese and Viet Cong can't be wrong.:D
There is a bit of a move in the .45 ACP to do what the cartridge was designed to do in the first place: Emulate the .45 Colt in an auto.

Couple companies are loading the 255 grain Truncated cone bullet:

950 fps equals the .45 Colt load that adds a whole nother history to the cartridge, along with the history of the .45 ACP.

Another alternative would be that weight HP. I would also consider a 200 grain Flat point in the 1050 fps range, similar to J. Browning's original design for the .45 ACP, if penetration and recoil are a concern.

Wound channel can be created by velocity. Also heavy bullets tend to penetrate with more velocity, for a longer, wider wound channel.
.45 260 grains LFN at 1150 fps:

Lee Jurras used 185 grain non-expanding .429" bullets at high velocity to kill near everything on the planet. Flat shooting, excellent wound channel created by high velocity. I've never quite figured why more people don't go with the same idea in the .40, 9MM, and .45 ACP for defense. I think it's because you can sell HP's for a heck of a lot more money.

A light for caliber Truncated cone, or LFN style bullet will create a big wound channel if the velocity is high.

My guess would be you would get adequate penetration in
9MM in the 100-115 grain range,
.40 in the 135 grain range,
and 185 grains with the .45 ACP.

All that said and done, I ended up with 147 grain HST in 9mm because I got a great deal on it.

.45 I use 230 grain HP's at 1100 fps because I can, .45 Super.
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My view:

.45 FMJ is effective.

9mm GDHP > .45 FMJ

I value the difference in capacity and recoil management between 9mm and .40 or .45 more than the difference in expansion.

If your opinion differs, GOOD NEWS!:
They make rounds for you, too!
I went with 9mm originally because I got a S&W auto cheap. The ammo seemed cheap, the brass was all over the range, the bullets were cheap.

I stayed with 9mm (as the SD ammo got better and better) because I've carried and practiced with only the 3913 for 20 years. The muscle memory is there, and I don't want to retrain them. Yes, I know you can get the same pistol in .40, but I'm still a cheapskate.
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