What happened to 40 caliber?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Slamfire, Sep 11, 2022.

  1. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I started shooting USPSA matches with 45ACP and 9mm to meet major and minor power factors.

    Switching to 40S&W allowed me to readily meet major power factor with cheaper/lighter bullets (180/165 gr) and free brass (It seemed nobody wanted 40S&W brass) and also to meet minor power factor using even cheaper/lighter bullets (155/135 gr) with 9mm-like recoil for best of both worlds using the same shooting platform (Key point - same trigger for practice/trigger time).

    Another benefit is use of 40-9mm conversion barrels and 22LR slide kits for even cheaper practice/match shooting versatility.

    For some USPSA match shooters, 40S&W is the "ideal" shooting solution.

    For some recreational shooters, 40S&W is the "ideal" shooting platform to save money by shooting 9mm/22LR while retaining the same trigger feel for practice.

    No, 40S&W is not dead.
     
  2. Mark_Mark
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    Mark_Mark Contributing Member

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    was, now people want more than .40, so it’s the new .40 with more
     
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  3. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    So many Surplus .40 Cal guns on the shelf it’s a good time to buy one. The question for me with new calibers is what are you getting that is so different. I never saw the major attraction, some pluses but not enough to change my whole lineup over.
     
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  4. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Let me point the way :):
    • Use of 40-9mm conversion barrels
    • Use of 22LR slide kits
    • Ability to reload wide range of bullet weights down to less than 9mm-like felt recoil
    • Ability to meet both major/minor power factors for match shooting
    • Option to shoot 9mm Major with 40-9mm barrels with thicker chamber/barrel walls
    • Cheap/usually free 40S&W brass that nobody seems to want
    • Police trade-in Glocks, etc. at lower price
     
  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Kind of funny how, after the 10 was watered down for production, close it is to this .40 caliber, performance wise.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.38-40_Winchester
     
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  6. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    It ain't the only time the gun community went on a long walk in a big circle.
     
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  7. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    You're looking at it wrong you don't change the lineup you add to it.
     
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  8. jmohme

    jmohme Member

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    I pick up my 40 and 10mm brass. I don't bother with my 9mm. If I need any 9, I can get it anytime I go to any gun range.
    Sort of like a seeing a penny on the sidewalk. It's not worth bending over for unless there is a quarter next to it.
     
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  9. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    I don’t need another carry gun! I have not seen anything offered in a long time that will replace my Sig226, Springfield 1911A1, Sig239, Kahr CM9, S&W638 and Ruger LCP. Everything else is a range toy or collectible. All my purchases in the last few years have been revolvers. But like I said it’s a good opportunity for someone who likes the caliber to get into it. Prices of some good quality trade ins are low.
     
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  10. bangswitch

    bangswitch Member

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    Maybe you're getting to the range after me. I pick up all the .40 I see, and I don't leave mine behind, either. .40S&W is probably my favorite semiauto round and it's my EDC, too. It's the only cartridge I have more than one semiauto pistol for, and I have 9mm, .38 Super, .40 S&W, 10mm and .45 Auto semi's. I guess I shoot 9mm less than any other caliber I have.
     
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  11. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Plot thickens ... :rofl:
     
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  12. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    I think the 410 shortage is due to the Taurus Judge and S&W Governor revolvers. Either that, or it was less popular than 12 ga. so when components were hard to get, the mfrs chose to make 12 ga.

    AND the old 40! ;-)

    They do: https://ruger.com/products/pcCarbine/specSheets/19109.html

    ↑ This is it. When COVID-related component shortages were worst, the ammo mfrs. had to make some tough decisions, so when they could get minimal components, the first ones they started making again were the ones that sold in the highest quantities. It's a business, for them. Even after things recovered somewhat, they kept making more 9 mm, as they KNEW it would sell.

    To a shooter, it's easy to rationalize 9 mm. It's cheaper, it's effective enough on human attackers and it's available.

    I don't think what the FBI and police use has as big of an impact as the above scenario.


    True, but that is a fantasy scenario for most gun owners. We occasionally use it to justify the purchase of a gun that's too big or hard-kicking to be viable in our everyday lives. If you're going to have that fantasy scenario, you might as well just go with a full size 10 mm.
     
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  13. Mark_Mark
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    Mark_Mark Contributing Member

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    PCC .40 from Ruger! THANKS
     
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  14. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Kinda funny at one time or another I've owned a Sig226, 3 different Springfield 1911s, Sig239, Kahr PM9, both a 642 and a 442 and both a first and second gen LCP. The only one still here is the P226 and it's really the wife's didn't need to replace any of them either they all shot just fine. To be fair the only one that was actually replaced with a 40 was the P239 putting it side by side with a P229 40 there just wasn't enough size difference IMHO to give up the power n capacity.
     
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  15. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I am pretty sure the only .40’s I have left are for Limited division USPSA. I have had a number of them though, just have found more attentive owners over the years.
     
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  16. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Member

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    If you get one, Let us know how you like it. I have the 9mm and love it. But the last 40 rifle I has sucked.
     
  17. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Member

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    I've been finding .40 cal brass at the range lately, of course there's way more 9mm but that's to be expected, it's always been that way. I see mostly 9mm, which I leave, followed by .40 S&W and third in terms of quantity of brass found is .45 ACP.

    Way I see it is this, (let me just say I'm a huge .40 fan) money is tight for many people and frankly 9mm is the cheapest option out there and cost matters... a LOT. If one makes the argument that practice ammo is the most important ammo, saving $5-10+ a box is a huge deal to many folks. Also pretty much any handgun shy of most revolvers are offered in 9mm, there are some major players today that don't even offer a .40 S&W handgun or if they do, only one or two.

    Business wise I don't like that but I also understand that 9mm outsells everything by a wide margin and as a gun maker, you make what will sell. Of course the flip side to that is this, if they don't offer a .40 S&W option, aren't they complicit in its lack of success? One might say that Springfield doesn't think a .40 S&W Hellcat would sell, but how can it if it's never made? (Springfield hates the .40 btw).
     
  18. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I wish 9mm didn’t exist and I had 380’s, 40’s, and 45’s. If I could snap my fingers and have the whole world change over from 9mm to 40 S&W I would because all the firearms I have in 9mm I would like better in 40. Now with that said I don’t own any 380’s or 40’s anymore for one simple reason. It is a huge pain in the butt separating 380, 9mm, and 40 brass from each other. Especially 380 and 9mm. I got rid of all my 380’s because I got so tired of getting the brass mixed in with my 9mm’s. If all my 9mm’s were 40’s it would solve that problem. Because it’s so prolific though it’s just much easier and cheaper to standardize on 9mm even though I don’t think it’s as good as 40, and there are lots of nice 380 guns that I would love to have, but I hate to shoot them on my range because I don’t want the brass mixed in with the rest of my brass.
     
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  19. uuolf

    uuolf Member

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    It's funny... After reading these posts I've been on the lookout (read "actively searched" for...lol) for some inexpensive 40's... Picked up a Glock in 40 s&w with 5 mags and 200 rounds of ammo yesterday for $300... And I still have dies and such for the 40...
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2022
  20. rdnktrkr

    rdnktrkr Member

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    When everyone went back to the 9mm from the 40s I purchased 2 S&W M&Ps at a local gun and pawn $350ea with 1000rnds, 2 mags $10 extra, one of them hadn't been shot much and the other looks like new and has a smooth trigger, they came with the boxes and backstraps, New 9mm M&Ps were $400 without ammo.
    I reload 165gr rnfp and both my M&Ps and SD40VEs like them more than the 180gr. In a full size pistol it shoots very well, a friend has a 40Shield and we prefer my 45Shield or a 9mm Shield, another friend has a 40 carbine and that is very easy shooting and MOPP (minute of paper plate) out to 50yrds (big paper plate:))
    I don't have a 9mm, my wife has one I've only shot a couple of times and it shot good for its small size, I wouldn't mind a full size range gun when the used guns come back down to realistic prices BUT then I would have to get supplies to reload for it.
     
  21. SKILCZ

    SKILCZ Member

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    Good points. Didn't think it was dead, but do think it's less popular than a few years ago.
     
  22. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    "What happened to 40 caliber?"

    Honestly? What happened was its ultimately predictable slide into the annals of history, that's what.

    First came the 10mm. Why did this cartridge come about? Well, it was a privately inspired magnum cartridge which entered the scene in the early 80s. There it kind of languished until around 1990 or so, when Miami Vice stirred up interest in the Bren Ten. At about the same time, the FBI adopted it. And when the FBI adopts something, the market pretty much follows in terms of popularity. Combined with Miami Vice, it was a sure ticket to popularity.

    But the FBI also decided that the 10mm recoil was problematic, so they pushed for reduced recoil ammunition (which is still available today). But this produced some reliability issues, so a shorter cartridge was eventually developed which came to be known as the .40 S&W.

    So essentially the FBI went from 9mm to the "we need MORE power" 10mm, then said "holy cow, not THAT much power" and reduced the 10mm in power, ultimately resulting in the .40 S&W.

    Eventually, a whole lot of people would get around to saying "man, why am I carrying around something that only gives me a marginal performance increase over the 9mm, especially when I have more 9mm options, better 9mm prices, and higher 9mm capacity?"

    While the .40 does have some ballistics advantages over the 9mm, the fact remains that there are plenty of 9mm options out there comparable to the .40. And its huge popularity and availability, virtually around the world, gives the 9mm a huge market advantage as well for people to take advantage of.

    As soon as it was decided to scale back the 10mm in power, and the .40 S&W was born, it was pretty much assured that the caliber's initial popualrity would start fading away.

    And so it did.
     
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  23. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    When 40 S&W came out, I bought a Springfield P9C Sub Compact chambered in 40 S&W. It was not a bad pistol but it would damage the frame stop lever under recoil. It is one of the pistols that I moved on down the road.

    Over time, I added Beretta 96, a first generation S&W M&P 40, and a Sig 1911 40 S&W pistols.

    The Sig 1911 40 S&W is a joy to shoot, low recoil, good accuracy, and all that stuff.

    I've decided that I can carry a smaller 9x19 pistol than a 40 S&W and if i want more stopping power, a 45 ACP pistol is not really bigger than a 40 S&W pistol.

    So, I consider the 40 S&W is a cartridge looking for a solution.

    When the reloading component shortage eases, I'll probably develope a 40 S&W level load in 10mm cases to use in my S&W Model 610 revolver.
     
  24. BJung

    BJung Member

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    I didn't read all the threads but to sum it up, everyone followed the bandwagon. First the FBI changed from the 9mm to the 10mm to the 40. The police followed. Then the private shooters followed. The opposite happened and here we are. Why do most people shoot .38 Specials? The same reason. The 40 is a great round. I'd rather use it with the same bullet than through a 9mm. My 40 also happens to be more accurate. So, if I had the choice, I'd keep my 40 along with barrels to convert it to a 9mm or .357 Sig.
     
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  25. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    I must have been one of the few who never went down the 10mm/40 rabbit hole. When I started I had 45 and 9mm. I just never saw any need for anything in between, especially since I was a revolver guy at heart and already had 38/357. I've dabbled in 44 mag/special, and even a little bit in 41 mag, but the 10/40 just never interested me.

    Right now, I'm having a fling with 380. Mostly because I like the guns more than the cartridge.
     
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