what's the deal on .40 SW?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by thunderbyrd, Sep 27, 2021.

  1. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    At the time I chose a 40 S&W, bullets had not advanced to what they are today. I am 45 ACP fanboy…that said, it was a compromise to move to the 40. I gave up diameter for capacity, and said earlier by others a 180 vs a 185 is not much of a downgrade. 9mm had a huge legacy of over penetration (again, bullets of the time, not today). Also, handgun ammo has never been a “stopper” like a well placed 12ga round or a solid hit of a 30 cal out of a rifle.

    Pistols are a compromise…do what is right for you, and do not worry about the rest of us :thumbup:
     
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  2. DR505

    DR505 Member

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    If you had read the medical examiners report you would have seen that Jerry Dove's first shot to Platt was a fatal wound, but it was not incapacitating. Had it been able to penetrate just a bit further it would have killed Platt on the first hit. Unfortunately it did not penetrate deep enough. Platt turned his fire on Dove and Grogan and hit Dove's pistol with a .223 (the pistol is still at Quantico and shown to new agents). So, hardly a case of flawed tactics. Matix was out of the fight pretty much from the start.
     
  3. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    The bullet penetrated Platt's upper arm at an angle, going through approximately 4" of muscle tissue before it made an unshored exit. It then re-entered the torso already expanded and penetrated another 8" or so, stopping just short of the heart.

    So, given that performance, what would the equivalent penetration be in clothed gelatin--without the unshored exit and re-entry into the torso with the bullet already expanded--and how would that equivalent penetration compare to the FBI's current penetration requirement?

    As nearly as I can tell, it would have easily met the current penetration requirements. Since the bullet penetrated enough to meet the current penetration requirements, it doesn't really make sense to blame the bullet for not penetrating enough, does it?

    That aside, let's say I gave you the following information:
    • A gunfight involving 10 people took place.
    • Approximately 150 rounds were fired, four people were killed and 5 more were injured.
    • One person lost their sidearm and never fired a shot.
    • One person was armed with a long gun and fired about a third of the total rounds expended, accounting for half of the deaths and all of the injuries.
    • One person expended all six rounds in his revolver early in the fight and was incapacitated while attempting to reload with an injured hand.
    • One person lost his primary sidearm and only fired a compact backup handgun during the fight.
    • Everyone on the scene had the option of being armed with a long gun similar to what was used by the most effective person in the firefight, but most chose to rely only on sidearms in spite of the fact that they knew long guns would most likely be employed by some of the participants.
    Then I gave you this analysis: The primary reason for the negative outcome was one bullet that should have penetrated 12.5 or 13" but only penetrated 12" or 12.5.

    What would you say?
     
  4. DR505

    DR505 Member

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    The gunfight led to a whole host of changes at the FBI, not the least of which was standardized ammo testing. The 9mm Silvertip of the era, when put through the FBI protocol, failed.

    Can one round make a difference? Sure. How many rounds would have been fired, how many lives lost, etc. had that first shot done a better job and stopped Platt? Just a thought exercise…cannot change the past.
     
  5. Nature Boy
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    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    Was he convicted? I thought he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

    I’ll have to look that up
     
  6. ClaymoreAKM

    ClaymoreAKM Member

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    .40 is going the way of the DoDo. And well it should.

    Ballistics testing has shown that A. Pistol Stopping Power, short of the Magnums, is a myth. And B. Capacity is King, because referring back to A, stopping power is mostly myth with handguns and often times you need to aerate the bad guy.

    I'd also add the ability to place a follow-up shot on target in a defensive situation can be important and the less recoil from a handgun, the easier that will be.

    Let me put it this way, there is a reason why CAG (Delta Force) ditched their heavy HK .40s for Glock 19s...
     
  7. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Sure. Those bullets weren't made to handle intermediate barriers like sheet metal, glass, etc.

    However, two facts remain.

    1. The particular bullet in question, did actually penetrate sufficiently to meet the FBI's minimum penetration specification since there were no intermediate barriers.
    2. Trying to pretend that the outcome of something as complicated as the Miami shootout all relates to a single bullet is absolutely ridiculous.
    More to the point, it's only one of many thought exercises one could engage in.

    What if the bullet had penetrated another inch?
    What if the bullet had been FMJ and penetrated another foot?
    What if the bullet had been aimed a foot higher and hit Platt in the head?
    What if the bullet had been aimed a bit lower and took out Platt's elbow?
    What if Dove had scored more than 3 hits before his gun was disabled?
    What if Dove had a backup gun?
    What if Gordon McNeill who was right on top of Platt and Matix when the cars came to rest had been armed with a high-capacity 9mm instead of a revolver and had been able to neutralize Platt before he even got out of the car instead of expending the 6 rounds in his revolver and then getting shot while trying to reload? As it was, he scored 2 out of 6 hits, incapacitating Matix for the duration of the fight. What could he have done with another 7 or 8?
    What if Manauzzi hadn't lost his sidearm during the car stop and had been able to participate in the firefight?
    What if one of the agents had been armed with a long gun at the outset and had neutralized Platt before he got out of the car? What if all of them had been armed with long guns?
    What if Hanlon hadn't lost his primary revolver during the car stop and had been able to use it instead of only his compact backup revolver?
    What if Matix hadn't been neutralized early in the fight and had been as effective as Platt?
    What if Platt had been wearing body armor?
    And so on...

    Even if one chooses to "what if" only based on that single bullet, there are still a variety of ways that it could have changed the outcome of the fight--penetration wasn't the only thing that one could focus on.

    The FBI chose to focus ONLY on one bullet and then to focus ONLY on the penetration of that bullet. That's out of the many, many things (definitely including tactics) that could have dramatically changed the outcome of the fight for better or for worse.
     
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  8. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    On another forum I was in a discussion with a guy who said that the Army was regretting adopting the Sig P320/M17. I asked around to a few of my buddies still active and my brother in law who is close friends with a CAG dude. He asked his friend about the Sig and he responded "We have them, they are good guns... but we all carry the Glock 19. They've served us well."

    CAG knows a thing or two about shooting badguys.
     
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  9. Peakbagger46

    Peakbagger46 Member

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    Female officers is exactly the main reason for the switch back to 9mm. When I started my career about 15 years ago we (state and local cops) all shot .40. I’m now issued a 9mm with a reflex sight (Trijicon RMR).

    There are trade offs to everything handgun related, but I find myself practicing more headshots as the 9 doesn’t have the power that my .40 had.

    Given a choice I’d still have my .40
     
  10. Peakbagger46

    Peakbagger46 Member

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    True, but that switch has more to do with the platform than caliber. And SF uses long guns primarily unlike us common folk cops that too often have to make the best of what we brought to the call.

    Probably 9.9 out of ten hostiles taken out by the military are with long guns, it’s a lot different here state side. The idea of being able to run back to the patrol car and grab the rifle is seldom practical.
     
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  11. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    I'm also a cop so I understand that. I'm just pointing out that going back to 9mm isn't just a "bean counters" and "female officers" thing.
     
  12. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Oft repeated, never substantiated.
     
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  13. ClaymoreAKM

    ClaymoreAKM Member

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    Yup.

    What killed .40 was ballistics, real-world combat experience, and the now famous FBI handgun cartridge study. Bottom line, a modern JHP in .9mm is just as effective as a modern JHP in a .40 or .45. I brought up CAG earlier, I'll bring them up again. They went from customized 1911s in the 90s, to the HK USP in .40 and only kept them for a few years, and they have kept the G19 for almost two decades. Why? Because 9mm is far softer shooting round that delivers just as lethal a JHP as a .40, and with far less over-penetration.

    You'd don't get a prize for carrying a round with stiffer recoil. You get a prize (as in you get to live) for surviving a firefight.

    If you actually want knock-down power, carry a rifle (subject for another time).
     
  14. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I hear this from time to time, but have never seen any evidence. If real world combat experience has somehow proven the 9mm to be as effective, surely there is a study proving it. And I don't mean a study proving wounding damage on bodies in the morgue, I mean a study proving the stopping effect of a smaller weaker cartridge versus a larger more powerful one. Dead is dead, but a stop is what matters.

    I'm honestly open to the possibility that the modern 9mm JHPs are as effective as other service cartridges, but I've never seen any evidence of such. Nevermind conclusive proof. Which mean that to me, currently, it's just people blindly repeating what they heard from someone else. Do you happen to know where I could find such evidence?
     
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  15. ClaymoreAKM

    ClaymoreAKM Member

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    I encourage you to research it, honestly, it was and is fascinating...

    Here, I'll give you some starters:

    https://sofrep.com/gear/the-reasons-why-fbi-went-to-back-to-9mm/

    https://www.policemag.com/341954/9mm-vs-40-caliber
     
  16. Old_Grouch

    Old_Grouch Member

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    Argument can certainly be made that the round failed. A reasonable argument can also be made that the failure was a failure of the person who fired that round. If the round had penetrated a bit more the entire event may have taken a different course but how many rounds would have been fired, how many lives lost, etc. had that first shot been placed differently?
     
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  17. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    That was a predictable response. No link to a study or data to provide any weight to this claim?
     
  18. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

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    I'm curious to know of you have evidence to the contrary?
     
  19. rust collector
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    rust collector Moderator Staff Member

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    Seems a bit silly to note the absence of study or data to support a position when one has produced none of their own.

    I have only 9mm because I am a penny pincher and enjoy shooting 9mm. That doesn't mean that 40 S&W lacks merit. It just means I made a decision awhile back and am living with the pros and the cons. Bigger is always better and I will have a shotgun or rifle if I can, but life is a compromise.

    I don't know if it has been cited above, but I did find an article by someone who worked in an Atlanta morgue. He also subscribes to the bigger is better school of thought, http://www.gunthorp.com/Terminal%20Ballistics%20as%20viewed%20in%20a%20morgue.htm
     
  20. ClaymoreAKM

    ClaymoreAKM Member

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    Did you not see the attached articles?!
     
  21. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    First, "stopping effect" would have to be defined. Second, there would have to be agreement on measures of merit for evaluating "stopping effect". Third, a compilation of data on those measures would have to be made. Then it would have to be analyzed. analyzed.

    I suggest that the data necessary for the third cannot be found or verified.

    This would be a fool's errand.

    One can, on the other hand, ask for reports on observations from the field. Those would , of course, be more subjective, and they would necessarily combine "stopping effect" with other factors.
     
  22. Old_Grouch

    Old_Grouch Member

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    A couple of guys named Ed Sanow and Evan Marshal did just that over 30 years ago.
    There's the problem. Analysis of their results and methodology showed that their findings were either incontrovertible, or totally meaningless, depending on how the favorite caliber/loading of the person doing the analysis placed in the results.
     
  23. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    There is no such thing as "stopping effect" or "stopping power". So researching the difference is snake oil.

    What you can study is what type of injuries do to people. That's been well studied. The FBI interviewed trauma doctors about the difference between the duty calibers and the doctors said they can't tell the difference in the wounds. I've talked to several ER trauma docs (surprisingly good amount around here are shooters) who have said the same. In fact a few have told me if the major organs or blood vessels are hit, the difference between the duty calibers and even the lowly 22 is minimal.
     
  24. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Yep there's a lot of gaslighting that goes on with the 9mm is the best compromise crowd.
     
  25. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    No. They studied 'one shot stops'.

    A meaningful defintion of "stopping effectiveness" would have to address much more than that.
     
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