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.40 S&W effectiveness?

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by Sniperfox, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Sniperfox

    Sniperfox Kopfjaeger

    Mar 20, 2006
    Wilmington NC
    How effective is the .40 S&W JHP as a manstopper? All handgun calibers are limited, but It is the primary caliber these days for Law Enforcement and HD so I was curious as to what stats are available now that it has been in service for over 10 years. The 9m/m was 'the' caliber for several years and after years of service it's overall performance was less than what was hoped for. Before that, it was the .357 magnum which shined during it's reign.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  2. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    A little better than 9mm, not quite as good as .45/.357 Magnum.

    Other factors are more important (capacity, training, ammo quality).

  3. Sniperfox

    Sniperfox Kopfjaeger

    Mar 20, 2006
    Wilmington NC
    Thanks, but I think you missed the point of my question. I am looking for any hard data or research based on actual shootings into human bodies and how effective the caliber is in the role it was designed for.
  4. glock20c10mm


    Dec 4, 2004
    Out West
    Let me put it like this, since you won't get the info you really want. It's at least as good as anything else in 9mm or 45. If you want better results you step up to 357SIG or 10mm Auto.

    And yes, it's pretty much that simple. On a side note, with nothing to back it up, IMO, 40S&W is better than either 9mm and/or 45 Auto/GAP overall.

    Good Shooting,
    Craig :thumbsup:
  5. NonPCnraRN


    Aug 6, 2010
    The info you seek is difficult to come by. Marshall and Sanow's one shot stop study is the only one of its type that I know of. People have
    criticized it based on the definition of one shot stop and its qualifying parameters. Briefly the definition was defined as did the BG stop what he was doing after one hit to the upper torso? Head shots were not counted for obvious reasons. But who in a real gunfight shots a BG once then stops to analyze if he is going to stop what he is doing. Most people will keep shooting as long as the BG is vertical and stop when he is horizontal. So it is difficult to compile one shot stop data. The process should also be ongoing as new bullet types are created. So when you ask a question like this you will understandably get a lot of subjective answers based on personal knowledge and experience. A lot of anecdotal data can be gleaned from hunting but people will always argue that hog's physical makeup is different than a human's (excluding Michael Moore). Fair enough. But if brand x bullet kills a hog where they stand or within a few yards of where they were shot you get an idea as to the effectiveness as a round. Perfect? No. But until we get permission to weed out the population at Gitmo by testing different bullets and calibers we are stuck with either Marshall and Sanow or gel studies. Personally, I have never been attacked by a block of gel so I can't say how a round or bullet will fair.
  6. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    The .40 S&W was introduced into LE use in 1990. In the 20 years since it's introduction it has acquitted itself increasingly well and has become a respected round in LE/Gov (non-military) service.

    The sort of info which might be considered related to "hard data & research" accumulated and reviewed by LE isn't really something commonly or easily obtained by the general public.

    Even some of the gel testing conducted by larger agencies isn't something commonly released to the public. I know of one large fed agency that will only release their testing to local LE agencies upon official written request of someone of at least supervisor's rank, and the last time I looked at the requirements it stated that it's not for release outside the requesting agency.

    If the .40 S&W hasn't yet eclipsed the 9mm when it comes to general service usage, overall, and LE sales, it's getting very close.

    Personally, I waited 10 years after it was introduced before I decided to buy my first pistol chambered in .40 S&W. By that time I'd had the opportunity to learn how well it had been serving the CHP here in CA and how well it was regarded by some agencies which had been using it.

    I still like my 9mm and .45's, but I also now own 5 pistols chambered in .40 S&W and consider it an established, effective defensive caliber. It's seemed to increasingly be the most requested and tested caliber in the mobile manufacturer gel events which I've attended or for which I've received info afterward. It's arguably popular among a growing number of LE users for a reason.

    Besides, you're always going to encounter local experiences and decisions regarding ammunition among LE agencies. I remember when I was discussing duty ammunition with an armorer instructor who was a long time working cop. He worked for a large agency back East where the weather was often cold and folks wore layered clothing a lot of the time. He said that they had switched from .45 JHP duty ammunition to .40 S&W ammunition because of how much better the .40 loads resisted plugging in some shootings than the .45 loads they'd used.

    What does that mean? It means a specific agency decided to choose a specific caliber based upon their own unique experiences with a couple of calibers and how well one of them seemed to better meet their perceived needs. No doubt someone could find another agency who had acquired a different set of experiences and/or who made had a different choice in caliber/ammunition.

    The .40 S&W has become one of the major LE choices in the years since its introduction .. if not the major choice by now.

    Suit yourself. Everyone else does.

    I'll keep my .40's, but I'll also still keep my 9's, .45's, .38's & .357 Magnum's. ;)
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  7. tx787


    Feb 11, 2010
    It is the primary caliber for US LE, not for HD or international LE. It's an intermediate caliber with more capacity than a .45 and more surface area and weight than a 9mm. If you can shoot it as well as you can shoot 9mm it's better. If your hands are big enough for a .45 and you can hit what you need to hit with 8 (1911)-13(G21) rounds then .45 is still better.
  8. Angry Fist

    Angry Fist Dehumanizer® Lifetime Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    Hellbilly Hill
    Plenty good, and will drop their ass dead. Several years back, the #1 stopper was the 135 Hydra-Shok, IIRC. I think it's better than 9 or .45, it just needs 100 years of data to convince some people.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  9. 481


    Feb 20, 2009
    Best "one liner" (I know, it is actually two) I've heard in a very long time.

    Lotsa truth in it also.
  10. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    You need to ask some one in china. Here in the United States we are not allowed to shoot people just to see how well a bullet performs.

    Personally I like the 40. I ordered my first 40 before they were first available. I own several and its my go to gun. It is a harder round to master than the 9mm or the 45. If you are new to guns start with a 9mm. its cheaper to shoot and easier on recoil.
  11. K.Kiser


    Jan 23, 2010
    Shreveport, La.
    It will do anything and everything that a 9mm or .45 will do, despite the folklore which is sometimes comical... The only practical defense handguns that I would consider to have a greater effect would be the 10mm and .357 Mag... With that said, the man shooting the weapon is the real deciding factor...
  12. Tilley

    Tilley Man of Steel

    Mar 21, 2006
    Here ya go "hard data or research" Glock Talk has to offer:

  13. blackouthx


    Aug 11, 2010
    haha ^ that's awesome and so true. We should sticky that picture so we can refer every caliber thread to.
  14. NonPCnraRN


    Aug 6, 2010
    This qualifiess for a government grant for the artist.
  15. Andy W

    Andy W

    Dec 4, 2006
    There was an incident a couple years back where a police officer shot a dirtbag 17 times with a G22 over the course of the fight and he was still able to return fire. The officer was also hit multiple times. I don't know what ammo he was using but it was suggested that some of the rounds failed spectacularly, penetrating less than 2 inches.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  16. if I had a real concern about stopping power I would seriously consider the 10mm with ammo loaded to spec. with that said I will also include that it's all about shot placement. I knew a 320lb man shot once with a 22long rifle. dead in his tracks.
  17. turbodieseli4i6


    Apr 3, 2009

    Well said!

    PATRICE . . . . .

    Jun 3, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  19. Border Patrol uses it with great results. They use to use a 155 grain JHP by Remington. Nowadays not sure what round they carry but they have shot plenty of people with it.