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40 S&W, 180 grainers

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by elkhart, May 24, 2012.

  1. elkhart


    May 13, 2011

    I believe you recommend using a 155 or 165 grain bullet for self defense in the 40 S&W. Why does the field data seem to favor the lighter bullets in the 40? Is there a penetration issue or expansion issue with the 180?

    I shoot the 180 more accurately than the lighter bullets out of my G23. I prefer to carry the 180's for self defense based on the belief that placement trumps any shortcoming they may have to the lighter bullets. Is this sound logic?

  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    Nov 6, 2005
    The faster bullet seems to be more dynamic in its wounding power, and less likely to over-penetrate. A lot of departments that previously had .40 S&W with 180 grain subsonic have gone to .45 ACP, .45 GAP, or .357 SIG, but I'm just not seeing that with the departments that have the full-speed 165 grain .40 loads. One of the departments that switched told me that cases of bad guys staying up with hits from bullet after bullet led them to switch from 180 grain .40 to .45; another told me that out of 14 shootings with 180 grain .40, they were satisfied with bullet performance in only ten. One agency has switched from 155 grain at 1200 fps to 180 grain subsonic, admitting they were very happy with the results of the 155 grain in shootings, but reportedly wanted a round with lighter recoil for the shooters that didn't beat up the guns as much.