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Old December 24, 2005, 12:49 AM   #1
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9mm - 40 S&W - .45 ACP (not a comparison!)

It's interesting to me that when talking about these three cartridges, most people belong to either the 9mm or .45 ACP camps due to their own reasons...but the 40 S&W seems to be far and away the least favorite of the three. The reason I think it is interesting is the fact that so many law enforcement agencies use the 40 S&W and yet (it seems) to not be preferred by any majority on these threads.

I'm not making any comparisons or personal remarks regarding these three calibers, but it is an intriguing observation to me...anyway...

Any thoughts on this...without starting another caliber debate? Is that even possible?
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Old December 24, 2005, 01:31 AM   #2
chris in va
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I've been through all three. When I got the 40, my thinking was more firepower than 9mm. Unfortunately I just didn't like the snap of the round, and realized if I'm dealing with that level of recoil, why not just get a good 45?

So I did, selling the 40.
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Old December 24, 2005, 05:10 AM   #3
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The 9mm has been around for about 100 years as has the 45. The 40 is only 15 years old .But the 40 is unique in that it has been very widely accepted by law enforcement in that short time. I can't think of any cartridge that has been accepted so quickly !!
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Old December 24, 2005, 08:07 AM   #4
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With me it is the price of ammo. I shoot "discount" Winchester mostly in both 9mm and .45. .40 is a third to half more in price. I guess reloading is an option if you don't mind "policing" the brass.
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Old December 24, 2005, 10:17 AM   #5
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I'll give it a try:

I believe that many shooters, including many on these boards have been shooting pistols since the time before the .40 was introduced and many of these ended up in the .45 camp or the 9mm camp. When the .40 came out each camp could say "Ho hum, a new caliber. My favorite is better for these reasons. . . " These people stayed in the camp where they were.

Police departments transitioned from revolvers to high cap autos in the early 1980s in response to the growing firepower of criminals in general and drug gangs in particular. The Army had just adopted the M9 as well. By 1990, the FBI had experienced the Miami shootout and had done a lot of work to determine what they thought was the best law enforcement caliber. They determined that it was the 10mm lite ie the .40S&W(different case, same performance) . In the early 1990s, when the PDs were looking to replace the first batch of autos that they had started with a decade before, all of their familiar favorites; SIG, Glock, Beretta, and S&W were available in a caliber providing the performance level that the FBI said was best. It was a natural that a large number of departments went with the .40.

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Old December 24, 2005, 01:11 PM   #6
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The reason the .40SW is so popular with the LEOs is because it was designed specifically for them. The FBI set the specs and the ammo makers shoe horned those specs into a smaller framed pistol that the LEOs were already carrying. What the FBI says is gospel to the LEO world as they are the head LEO.
Civilain shooters see where it is a compromise and that compromise doesn't always satisfy personal needs so they stick with their proven personal choices. Of course a lot of shooters will follow along with what's in the holsters of the LEO.
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Old December 24, 2005, 01:44 PM   #7
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I reckon the two above posts sound very reasonable to me!
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Old December 24, 2005, 02:19 PM   #8
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at my place, i figure:

.45 = nightstand (G21)
9mm = when i want to shoot but am tired or sore, or just given free ammo (g35 conv. barrel)
.357sig = fun range gun for me, punchy (g35 conv. barrel)
.40 = carry, back up HD, target range favorite (G23, G35)

I guess you can tell, i hold the .45 and .40 in highest regards, and little attention to 9mm (but consider the pm9 as a nice comprimise the larger g23)-

from a previous post range day post:
"1. Glock 35 (long slide, grip cut to G23/g19 dimensions). Shooting .40 S&W (winchester 165gr wally white box). 200 rounds of beauty, zero problems as usual, and a few amazeing groups... always super thumbs up.

2. KKM conversion barrel to shoot .357sig in above gun- (100 rounds of blazer 125gr). A touch more kick than the .40, less of a joy to shoot, but not unpleasant at all. I would give this an edge on accuracy over the .40. maybe the bullet just clears the bbl that much faster before a reaction on my part?,... plus noticeably flatter flat shooting at longer range... I did have one light primer strike, and fed it through 2x and still no fire (definatey the ammo and not the gun)... otherwise... flawless (also using g35 mags for these rounds)

3. KKM conversion to 9mm bbl for above gun. Shot 100rds of 115gr winchester wally box) using g19 mags. 0 malfunctions or issues. It was such a pussycat to shoot, i missed the umph of the .40. POI was noticeably lower than with the other ammo (more drop than i am used to? or i am leaning into it a bit more?) i am just exstatic that there was not one problem with either conversion bbl..."
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Old December 24, 2005, 02:52 PM   #9
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I certainly like the 45 ACP the best, but I know that a lot of people like to buy what the police I am a little surprised that the 40 is not as popular as one might think.
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Old December 24, 2005, 03:26 PM   #10
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Hey mathman, good observation. Another thing that I find interesting that although a caliber was developed by a particular manufacturer, that manufacturer doesn't seem to get any milage out of it.

We don't call 9mm (9x19) 9mm Luger anymore. How many know that ACP stands for Automatic Colt Pistol? S&W certainly didn't get any milage out of the 40 cal. round, heck Glock beat them to the market with a pistol chambered for it. Sig gave it a shot with the 357 Sig. and now Glock is trying to market the 45GAP.

I wonder when Hi Point will come out with the 39 cal. concave nose plastic casing round? poppy
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