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Objectively speaking, why the 40 S&W hate / decline?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Ballistics, Nov 18, 2017.

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  1. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Sure if you have to arm a group you have to cater to the lowest common denominator, I'm not arming a group I'm just interested in arming a few folks. I steered my 87 yo father to a 9mm due to his recoil control, me I'm 50 and still handle recoil easily and am an above average shooter I'll carry a 40 in a service size auto thanks.

    For anyone with even average strength and a well designed gun ( one actually blank paper designed as a 40 not just a 9mm with a barrel swap) recoil control isn't that hard to master and gun life isn't as much of an issue.
     
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  2. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    That's not the point. A few millimeters bigger or smaller is really splitting hairs. Not only that, but bullet size and shape is a very small determining factor in wound channel size. It's a matter of energy, and due to the nature of the physics involved it's pretty much velocity that determines it in the end. That's why a 55 grain .223 can practically turn a person inside out, whereas a 250 grain .45 JHP simply bores a little hole through them. If you compare all the common duty cartridges, they're all very similar to each other from a practical perspective. They're all going around the speed of sound, and they all land in the ballpark of around 500 ft-lbs, which is far too little to expect any remote effect whatsoever. So it should come as no surprise that they all do pretty much the same thing, save for the heavier ones penetrating further. Thus, since they all yield the same result, it stands to reason that a person would choose one based on efficiency. That is how the FBI arrived at the 9mm.
     
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  3. TomJ
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    TomJ Contributing Member

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    This is completely anecdotal, so take it for what it's worth. About a year ago I sold a gun to a retired LEO. He had been one of the decision makers in regards to what guns and ammunition his department used. They switched to 9mm in order to make it easier for officers to qualify. Effectiveness of the round had nothing to do with their decision. FWIW, I carry a 9 the majority of the time, so I have no dog in this fight.
     
  4. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    I have to say as a surgeon who has operated on probably hundreds of gunshot patients over the last 25 years, I don't think bullet size is splitting hairs. A 45 caliber bullet does not make a little hole through people, it makes a big one that are harder to repair. The 9mm hollow point can make a fine hole as well, but bigger is absolutely better. And being reliably bigger is absolutely better. The FBI has now arrived twice at the 9mm... it abandoned it the first time, and now presumes that it will function better because of advancement in bullet technology which have not yet been clearly proven in the field, and even if they work as good in the field as they do in gelatin, there is always a chance a hollow point will fail to expand. I am not at all trashing the 9mm, nor tremendously praising larger calibers, just saying that a gunshot person has a much better chance of living the smaller the holes are that are poked through him. To claim small holes are as bad as big holes is something I just cannot say is true. It certainly has not been my experience.

    If a 9mm hollow point actually expands, I have no doubt it will be as lethal as a 40 or 45 hollow point If the 9mm fails to expand, it will be less effective. A 40 or 45 caliber hollow point has a greater margin of error in terms of failure to expand and still perform as expected.

    All that said, the main gun I carry is a 9mm, so I am not trashing it, but do see it for carry purposes as a trade off between size, and as you say, efficiency, compared to the larger calibers. Bedside gun is not a 9mm and never will be.
     
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  5. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    You are the first surgeon/medical examiner I've seen make that claim. I've seen many claim the exact opposite, most notably Di Maio, and many others have backed him up. Just for the record, are you stating you can reliably tell the difference between the various handgun calibers of similar bullet types just by examining the wound channel?

    If so, did you rule out variables? What I mean is, are you sure you're comparing apples to apples. For example, comparing a .45 wound in the liver to a 9mm wound in muscle isn't a fair comparison. I would also question whether you as a surgeon knew the background information, such as range and what kind of barriers might have been involved.

    I'm not trying to tear down your experience, but before we get carried away it's important to note that researchers like Di Maio meticulously documented each case, including background information, and took variables into account, such as the wide range of elasticity in different tissues.

    Even the great HST isn't that reliable in real targets. I saw one case where a bunch of them were recovered from a single body, and maybe half of them actually expanded an appreciable amount. The rest were half expanded at best, and none were really uniform. Even the ones that worked were asymmetrical.
     
  6. Gun Master

    Gun Master Member

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    After viewing over 100 postings in this thread, my curiosity guided me to "Service pistol" in Wikipedia.
    Overwhelmingly, the most favored handgun ammo listed for the whole world is 9mm Parabellum (AKA - "Luger").

    No nation uses .40 S&W as its basic or main ballistic sidearm ammo.

    The USA Coast Guard has deployed the .40 since 2006 (another source showed 2004). It is the only branch which does.
    All of the other American Armed Services Branches have 9mm, except two which carry .45 ACP.

    Brazil and China vaguely reference .40 S&W in their stockpile ("citation needed"), while also listing 9mm, .45 ACP, and others.

    It was once "rumored" that the USA originally adopted the .45 ACP because it is bigger, and therefore more likely to kill. Meanwhile, the German Wehrmacht decided to use the 9mm, since it would take 25 or so medical personnel to care for one wounded soldier. This idea of treating the wounded would make war "too expensive" to oppose Germany. The Geneva Convention dubbed any projectile other than FMJ would be "inhumane", if it were to expand, shatter, etc., ripping the flesh. In this case, bigger is better.

    I don't know where .40S&W would fit in the above scenario.
    Don't forget. It's only a rumor.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I recently got a M1911 chambered in 40 S&W. I've gotten alot more interested in the 40 S&W having a larger caliber gun downsized to 40 S&W than having a smaller caliber gun upsized.

    I also have an M&P40 and a Beretta M96 and have never been real excited about shooting them.
     
  8. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    I'm still trying to figure out how this is a response to my comment about Paul Harrell
     
  9. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    In the interest of full disclosure this is the video the OP was referencing




    And in the interest of equal time here's his video on 9mm V. .40 S&W
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
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  10. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    The Coast Guard is a strange animal. They're technically a branch of the military, but their duties, besides search and rescue, are all within the realm of law enforcement. I would imagine that as such they're heavily influenced by trends in law enforcement. They may even do a lot of joint operations with law enforcement in drug interdiction, which may influence their decisions.

    They may not have even had a choice in the matter, as they're under DHS, not DoD.

    That accusation has been made against many calibers, most notably .223, and I've never seen one shred of evidence that any military anywhere at any time has chosen to use a round because it was designed to wound instead of kill. For one thing, anyone who knows anything about the history of the 9mm can immediately see that that is a myth. It doesn't even make any sense. If you were wanting to reduce the chances of killing the enemy, then choosing a deep penetrating round with a high sectional density isn't the way to go about doing it. If anything, the .45 would be better suited, as a big, slow bullet would be inherently less likely to reach vitals. And you certainly wouldn't choose a jacketed bullet.
     
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  11. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    It can be hard to tell the difference in wound channels, and comments are made relative to end organ damage not just a wound channel that might bleed a little bit but is not lethal. Di Maio is a pathologist. His patients are dead and don't bleed. I do not think his viewpoint would not be universally shared by surgeons operating on living, bleeding patients. But I don't want to get into an argument about it. I do not question that 9mm is an effective round. Believe about it what you want to believe.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
  12. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Yeah, esp regarding the .223. That is one of my most vehemontly hated urban myths. In Marine Corp boot camp, you don't punctuate every action by sounding off "Wound!" You do however go 13 weeks of your life yelling "Kill," every time you do pretty much anything. We do not train our warriors to wound the enemy. And the 5.56 was not designed and adopted for that function. Rather, the 5.56 was designed with the mentality that it is better to wound than to miss. The M16/M4 is very accurate and the 5.56 is flat shooting enough that you can hit with it to well beyond the range most of us wound deem it to be truly effective. Compared to the 7.62x39, which was its competition when it was designed, the 5.56 allows you to hit at ranges the stubby slower round would most likely miss. Even if the round doesn't fragment, it is still like stabbing someone in chest with a screwdriver--that's a bad day, esp given the medical facilities available to most of the 3rd world guerrilla armies we have faced since it was adopted. So instead of having a bigger, slower intermediate rifle round miss, you may eventually still be able to take an enemy off the battlefield by poking a small hole in them at longer ranges. But the intention was never to wound rather than kill, just to wound rather than miss. But I digress...
     
  13. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    I cannot recall ever having treated anyone with a 223/556 injury, despite the claims that the media is presently making about the use of AR style rifles in crimes. High energy projectile injuries from rifles and carbines are rare in a civilian setting. I have seen hunting accidents where someone was shot with a 270, 30-06, 308, etc... They make a much bigger mess. A handgun projectile only causes destruction of tissue directly in its path, and as far as I have observes the "energy" of the handgun projectile is irrelevant. Only the size and placement of the bullet are important with handguns. A deer rifle devitalizes tissue around the bullet path for several centimeters. It is an unbelievable mess.
     
  14. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    You brought up the "average" shooter, of course the "average" shooter I see really has no idea about recoil control and shoots "combat accurate" groups at "bullseye speed"
     
  15. Mike J

    Mike J Member

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    There is only one thing that ticks me off about .40 losing popularity. That is that some firearm manufacturers are opting to chamber new offerings only in 9mm & .45 acp & excluding .40. Of course I only own 2 .40''s & haven't bought a new one in some time.
     
  16. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    It's not irrelevant, but the limitations of physics makes it work out to where all the common handgun cartridges are all hovering around the 500 ft-lbs mark. They just get there via slightly different ways, some with mass, some with velocity. Ideally you strike a balance, and that's where 9mm shines. Not too heavy, not too light, not too fast, not too slow, gets the job done.

    But I assure you if you get a big enough bullet, or rather a heavy enough bullet, you can do rifle damage at handgun velocities. Black powder hunters are very aware of this. This was also known by hunters and doctors during the days of black powder. Take the .50 sharps for example. The heavier rounds were only doing around 9mm +P velocity, but they still packed well over 2000 ft-lbs. Likewise, the brown bess barely broke the sound barrier, but it had a muzzle energy on par with modern battle rifles due to a 500 grain ball. I've never seen what a bullet like that does to a human, but if it's anything like what they do to deer then you do not want to see that on your operating table.
     
  17. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    I would agree with all that. Enough mass overcomes any shortcomings in velocity. Cannonballs are an example. I think muzzle velocity on them was around the same as 45 ACP, and I would far rather be hit with a 45 than a 50 pound cannonball.
     
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  18. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    9mm is a OK choice the problem is in order to make 500ft lbs physics dictates that it gives up a good deal of momentum, momentum is required for necessary deep penetration. I've shot a lot of game with every level of pistol caliber you can think of.
    The old 9mm +p+ 115gr absolutely makes a different wound profile from 9mm 147s do, 158gr lead round nose 38s @ 750-800fps absolutely makes a different wound profile than a 158gr SWC from a 357 @ 1400 fps does. And a 200 gr JHP @ 1500 FPS is every bit as dramatic as a 5.56 rifle round is.
    So I'm just not buying that energy "doesn't" matter at pistol velocities or that the "only" damage = bullet diameter at pistol velocities.
    Sure the extra power a 40 has over a 9mm may not matter but then again the 16th and 17th round probably wont come into play either.
     
  19. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    When I say hovering around the 500 ft-lbs mark, I mean in the range of 400-600 ft-lbs. I'm not saying energy doesn't matter, but an extra 50 ft-lbs just isn't worth it. 100 ft-lbs might be worth it if the downsides aren't too high. For example, I might could go for .357 Sig if it weren't so expensive.

    I can't argue with that, although I wouldn't wanna be the one lugging around the cannon either.:D
     
  20. bnolsen

    bnolsen Member

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    Okay here's an oldie but goodie from a 2006 collection of forum posts from a guy who was working as an examiner at the atlanta morgue. Get ready to blow a ton of time reading just because he's interesting...

    http://mouseguns.com/deadmeat.htm
     
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  21. oss117

    oss117 Member

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    This is what happened back in '94. I believe it to have caused serious resurgence in interest in 1911's. Prior to that they were waning in the face of the Glocks and DA/SA wonder 9's. If it happened again, I would expect to see a lot of concealed carry pistols designed around and optimized for 10 round magazines and larger calibers.
     
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  22. Mike J

    Mike J Member

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    I want to say Thank You to bnolsen & Trunk Monkey. Trunk Monkey for posting the 9mm vs. .45 video & bnolsen for posting that thread. It had been a long time since I had read that thread from Mouseguns. Both of those show why I prefer .40.
     
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  23. ScrapMetalSlug

    ScrapMetalSlug Member

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    I’m not that old, but I’ve already seen popular calibers come and then fall out of favor. I feel like it will only take one publicized incident where 9mm doesn’t put someone down effectively, and then it won’t be considered effective anymore. It will result in a change to what handgun caliber is popular and we will end up talking about it for 30-40 years like the Miami fbi shootout...

    Handguns just aren’t that effective compared to rifle or shotgun rounds regardless of caliber. The .40 s&w is accused of being too snappy and recoiling too much at the same time it’s called short and weak and just a watered down 10mm. I am not sure how it can be both. 40 s&w is losing popularity at the same time it seems 10mm is having a resurgence in interest. I guess stranger things have happened.
     
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  24. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    That is literally the story of .40 cal in a nutshell. Hopefully they won't make the same mistake again so early. As long as we're limiting penetration for the safety of bystanders, there will always be failures, just like the one that led them to drop 9mm. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either your bullets are a serious risk to people on the other side, or you're going to find yourself in situations where you don't have enough penetration.
     
  25. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

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    The recoil on any sized gun that I would choose to carry in .40 is excessive. I took my PPS to a church shoot. It was the ONLY pistol that nobody wanted to shoot a second time. Still, I think it is a great caliber and if I ever found a larger semi that I really liked I would buy it. I THOUGHT it was standard for most police departments. Is that not so?
     
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