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Has the the quality of today's 9mm bullets made the .40 cal obsolete?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by usmarine0352_2005, Oct 27, 2011.

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  1. usmarine0352_2005

    usmarine0352_2005 Member

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    The quality of bullets has gotten better and better. When it comes to law enforcement or hunting I think the two most important things are bullet placement followed by bullet quality.


    Today's high quality bullets mean that you can do things with smaller calibers then you once would have done.



    My department currently allows 9mm, .40 cal and .45, however they are planning on switching to the SW MP's in the next few years and they will only allow the 9mm and .45 since they say with today's quality bullets the 9mm and .40 call are too similar in performance and that the chance of someone putting a 9mm in a .40 cal is to great (although this has rarely been a problem before).




    So, do you think that the quality of today's state of the art 9mm bullets make the .40 cal obsolete?






    For Law Enforcement if the 9mm and .40 cal are very close in performance you can carry quite a few more 9mm rounds then .40 cal rounds.
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  2. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm happy to quote the late Stephen Camp when possible and here's a good one. He addressed this question a long time ago here. I think it still makes pretty good sense.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=33411&postcount=4

    He seems to have agreed with you generally, even way back in the old timer days of 2003 :)

    He did write:


    Personally, I always believed that the .40 was obsolete the day it was introduced.
     
  3. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I have always been of the opinion that the the .40 cal was created to fill a niche that didn't exist. IMO it does not really offer enough over a 9mm to be worth the trouble.
     
  4. o Unforgiven o

    o Unforgiven o Member

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    No, for the simple reason that whatever advancements have been made in bullet design that allowed the 9mm to become better are also present in .40 cal.

    So whatever performance increase with modern bullets 9mm has achieved, it will be paralleled by .40 so the performance gap will still be there.
     
  5. 357 Terms

    357 Terms Member

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    Nope.
    Bigger, wider and just as fast. The same developments that have improved the 9mm have also advanced .40.
    it's just a step up.
     
  6. ball3006

    ball3006 Member

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    If someone is too stupid to tell the difference between a 9mm and a 40 cal, they shouldn't be allowed to even be near a gun. Especially if they are supposed to carry a gun to perform their duties.....chris3
     
  7. usmarine0352_2005

    usmarine0352_2005 Member

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    True, the bullet quality for all bullets has gotten better, however, is there a point where the 9mm and .40 cal are now so close in performance that the added rounds for the 9mm is worth it?

    .
     
  8. REDMASTA

    REDMASTA Member

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    I was once on the .40 bandwagon but went back to shooting only 9mm and .45 a few years ago. Mainly because I didn't like the recoil characteristic of the .40 and when compared to 9mm didn't think giving up rounds for marginally better performance was worth it.
     
  9. usmarine0352_2005

    usmarine0352_2005 Member

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    The .40 cal has always had a snappy recoil, which is not good for a lot of shooters, which is why I think it has mostly been 9mm and .45 with .40 cal being the least.

    .
     
  10. Hunterdad

    Hunterdad Member

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    I recently got my pistol permit and during the waiting process (3 months) I had plenty of time to look around in my LGS and on the internet on what I wanted my first purchase to be. I was stuck between a .45 and a 9mm. For some reason I never even considered a .40. And now that I read this post, now I know why. The .40 just never made sense to me. If I wanted to shoot on the cheap, i would go with a 9mm and if I wanted something heavier it was a .45.

    I'm sure that there are shooters out there that love the. 40 for their own reasons. But, I would assume most either prefer the 9mm or .45

    BTW.....I ended up with a 1911 in .45 as my first purchase.
     
  11. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Member

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    In some localities you are restricted to non hollowpoint type ammunition. A .40 caliber diameter or larger versus .355 makes more sense.
     
  12. tbutera2112

    tbutera2112 Member

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    i like 40.

    its shoots almost just as fast as a 9mm and it leaves a bigger hole. lb for lb it has more energy than a 45 too.

    to me, it seems like the perfect round for self defense or law enforcement.

    not to say i wouldnt carry a 9 or a 45, but if i had my choice of the 3 i personally like the ballistics of 40...more energy than a 45 while retaining the velocity of the 9mm

    and sure some people can argue capacity, but really is it that big of a deal? my EDC is a .40 and it holds 9+1, the exact same gun (same model and everything) in a 9mm holds 10+1.

    10 shots vs 11 shots really isnt a huge deal to me, especially if i can get a stronger bullet for those 10 shots. and people who like 45s surely dont care about capacity because a lot of those are 7+1
     
  13. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    No, and especially not for law enforcement.



    The primary reason is because if .40 S&W was not extremely popular as it is now then I would have to pay more to reload 10mm because the bullets would cost more.


    The secondary reason, and more specific to you is that the typical truncated cone shape of the .40S&W is better for penetrating straighter through automobile windshields and glass. It gets deflected less, the edge bites into the glass and it ends up penetrating and continuing on closer to the angle it was fired into the glass with less deviation before it hits the target.
    While the more rounded profile of the 9mm deflects and deviates more readily when striking. This means the 9mm when it does penetrate can end up striking several inches or a foot from where you aimed after getting through the glass, and that it can fail to penetrate when it impacts the glass at a less than optimal angle and gets deflected.

    Considering that a significant portion of law enforcement shootings happen in and around vehicles, whether it is exchanging fire or a driver trying to run down the officer, a round that penetrates that thick laminated windshield straighter will always be more valuable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  14. mastiffhound

    mastiffhound Member

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    I have seen truncated 9mm on the shelf at cabelas. .40S&W is more expensive. I have owned a few .40's but coudn't convince myself that they were any better than my 9mm's. That being said I prefer .45 acp, they make it in 200 grain +p at a little over 1000 feet per second. I can't see ever buying another .40 again.
     
  15. Mr.Blue

    Mr.Blue Member

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    Obsolete? Certainly not. The new and improved 9mm rounds may have converted some 40 cal users, but the new 40 cal rounds are still more powerful than the 9mm. There will always be those who want more power.

    You can also argue that due to the new 40 cal rounds, that some .45acp users have jumped ship.
     
  16. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    When the 40 was first developed it certainly filled a need. But better bullets have made all calibers pretty much equal performers. There isn't a nickle's worth of difference between 9mm, 40, 45, 357, mag or Sig anymore if the best loads are used. Might as well use the one that offers the most ammo and least recoil.
     
  17. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    I went with a .40 of the three options, because it was middle of the road. Eventually I'll have 9s and 45s, but until then, the .40 is my choice. (Even then, I'll still have the .40).

    Saying "what makes one better will make the other better" isn't always true. Sometimes you're catching up. As technology gets better, computers and cell phones both get faster. But computers have somewhat plateaued, while cell phones are getting a lot faster. The logic that the smaller object benefits more from newer technology can easily be inferred onto bullets as well.

    Granted, I don't know if this is true, I'm just guessing here. What I do know is that as technology improves, we can give smaller stuff the reliability of larger stuff, and so smaller stuff gets to catch up.

    If you have a 9 and a .45, I still see no reason NOT to get a .40. If ammo becomes scarce, I think the 9 and the .45 are going to be hardest to find due to their history with the military. The .40 is still going to be on the shelves.

    ETA:

    The bigger bullets will leave a bigger hole. The smaller bullets will have higher capacity and less recoil. .357 magnum you're arguing SA vs. revolver, but I don't see a purpose for .357 sig for SD when you could use 9mm +P.
     
  18. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    This seems to be a consensus more and more. And I'm not refuting it... I think you're basically right. What is your source of info on this?

    My thought about the OP's question is that the technological advances are bringing us to a point of diminishing returns. I.e. the 9mm of, say, 1995 had more room for improvement than did the 40 cal of the same era. If the best 9mm rounds had an arbitrary effectiveness (I'm not talking about Marshall and Sanow - just arbitrary effectiveness) of, say, 85%; it now has been improved to, say, 93% or so. However, the 40 caliber best performers had maybe a 90% effectiveness then and they've been raised to 94% or 95%.

    That leaves the two very close in performance.
     
  19. dwhite

    dwhite Member

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    Has the quality of todays 10mm/.40 cal bullets made the .45ACP obsolete?

    Just a little expansion on the original theme.

    I do believe this though:
    "There isn't a nickle's worth of difference between 9mm, 40, 45, 357, mag or Sig anymore if the best loads are used. "

    All the Best,
    D. White
     
  20. Apocalypse-Now

    Apocalypse-Now Member

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    the best 40cal still beats the best 9mm. / of thread.
     
  21. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    I am not a fan of the .40 S&W. If you want big bullets, shoot a .45 ACP. If you want fast small bullets shoot a 9mm. If you want extra penetration, shoot .357 sig, and if you want a really hot big round in an auto pistol go 10mm loaded to full power. As an LE agency, if you need more penetration call any of the major ammo manufactures and tell them you want AP pistol rounds. They'll deliver it to your door by the pallet if your an LE agency. An AP pistol round from a 9mm will work just fine on auto bodies, believe me.

    The difference diameter wise is .045 of an inch. 1.1 mm roughly, so about .55 of a millimeter on either side in difference. In my book that's not worth the extra recoil, muzzle blast, etc. that a .40 has. Overall I think if .40 S&S had been introduced as a FMJ round (as 9mm was decades ago in military service) it would have been an odd cartridge that never went anywhere. It got lucky and was able to be produced in the time frame where it could be loaded with an effective JHP bullet, and never gain an undeserved reputation as a poor stopper.

    -Jenrick
     
  22. HKGuns

    HKGuns Member

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    What purpose has the 40 ever served other than to blow up gLoCk's? It does that well and I have zero use for the round otherwise. Can't stand the recoil characteristics one bit, I'd much rather have a 9mm or 45ACP, which are the two calibers I own.
     
  23. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Member

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    I love .45's but the full size versions are usually in the 3 pound range loaded and that makes for a lousy (non leo) carry weapon.

    I settled on a .40 after reading this and some other of his posts that used to be on a gun board I have long forgotten the name of.

    http://www.mouseguns.com/deadmeat.htm

    But a few years have passed and without having looked into the most modern 9mm ammo lately I wonder if it approaches the performance of the good old .357 of which he speaks so highly.

    If it does then the 9mm with the right ammo may be as good as anything.
     
  24. MikeNice

    MikeNice Member

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    The simple answer is, no. Bigger is still better if you are fast and competent. A bigger hole causes more trauma and quicker blood loss. That is the abstract. In truth it depends on which bullet you are talking about and what the mostl likely use will be. There are times a 147gr 9mm actually out performs a 180gr .40S&W. You just have to look at the situation and decide.

    That being said, I can fire three 9mm rounds accurately for every two .40S&W rounds. So, I carry a 9mm and feel well protected.

    Winchester LE Ammo Comparison Tool
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  25. David E

    David E Member

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    Sounds like a basic technique issue.
     
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