Is 40S&W becoming an obsolete caliber?

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tpelle

Bearcat
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Interesting topic.

My understanding is that the .40 S&W was simply a shorter version of the 10mm, or alternately you could think of it as a "fat" 9mmP. Because of the shorter length of the cartridge relative to the overall length, the .40 cartridge tends to angle itself more nose-up than does a 9mmP in the same size frame pistol during the feed cycle. This sometimes caused issues when the pistol manufacturers "re-chambered" 9mmP pistols to make a .40S&W model. On Glocks, for instance, they had to relieve the bottom of the barrel chamber at the feed ramp, to keep a workable angle on the feed ramp, in order to get the stubby .40 to feed. The result was a chamber that only marginally supported the case head of the .40 cartridge.

A local city police department had gone from S&W 3rd generation pistols, which were getting a little worn, for Glock 22's. One day one of their lieutenants was shooting his Glock at the range for qualification when he had a case rupture, which ballooned the grip area of the Glock to the point that his middle finger on his right hand was broken. They picked up and examined cases on the floor of the range and found that all of the .40S&W cases fired from the broken Glock and those from the other officers qualifying, and found that a significant number of the cases showed signs of bulged cases just in front of the case head.

They traded in the Glocks for some model of SIG in 9mmP.

A friend of mine converted his Glock 23 to 9mmP by simply swapping the barrel and possibly the recoil spring. Says that it's much more pleasant to shoot.
 

the_leper_colony

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... a significant number of the cases showed signs of bulged cases just in front of the case head.

They traded in the Glocks for some model of SIG in 9mmP...
.

The early Glocks were notorious for the lack of case head support/bulged cases. IIRC, Glock was the FIRST company to get a .40 S&W pistol on the market; they even beat Smith & Wesson, despite it being a S&W cartridge. While Glock has an admirable reputation for quality engineering and reliability, that rush to get a 40 caliber handgun on the market apparently resulted in an inferior & possibly dangerous product. From what I've read, more recent Glocks in that chambering have better case head support; and I'm not a gunsmith, but I've never seen bulged cases from .40 S&W cartridges fired in other manufacturers' auto pistols (including Ruger).

Being first got Glock some market share, but it sure didn't help their reputation!
:)
 

Jeepnik

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The .40 S&W (short & weak) is an equal opportunity cartridge. It was invented/adopted by the FBI simply because weaker, generally female, agents could not properly control the 10 mm.

When police departments, including the FBI, began switching to semiautomatic pistols they opted for the 9 mm because females and smaller weaker males could not control the .45 acp.

In both cases capable officers were hamstrung by the needs of less physically capable individuals. Most of those were hired to fulfill quotas and only met seriously decreased physical requirements. This resulted in individuals incapable of controlling considerably better cartridges.
 

tpelle

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Never heard that about Glock beating S&W to market with the .40 S&W. Though I did read that the same thing happened to S&W with, I think, the .44 Magnum. From what I heard, Ruger had somebody going through the dumpster behind the S&W R&D facility, and found some fired .44 Magnum cases in the trash. Ruger took one of their revolvers chambered for .44 Special and reamed out the cylinder to accept the .44 Magnum cases.
 

the_leper_colony

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The .40 S&W (short & weak) is an equal opportunity cartridge. It was invented/adopted by the FBI simply because weaker, generally female, agents could not properly control the 10 mm...


1674229978573.png


Animal Mother: "Thank God for the .40 Short & Weak, huh?"
Private Eightball: "Yeah, Mother."

:cool:
 

kmoore

Buckeye
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Idaho
Obsolete, No way. Less popular than about 10-15 years ago Yes.
It sure had a quick rise in popularity and a quick fall. Replacing the 9mm and being replaced by the 9mm in many duty holsters.
Being a dept. firearms instructor that worked through the change from 38 spl/357 to 9mm to 40cal.
The 9mm in a duty gun (ours where Glock 17 and 19 models) was the easiest of all other handguns that overall had cops shooting better in speed and accuracy. The less recoil of the 9mm produces better shooters.
 

JBP

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Interesting topic.

My understanding is that the .40 S&W was simply a shorter version of the 10mm, or alternately you could think of it as a "fat" 9mmP. Because of the shorter length of the cartridge relative to the overall length, the .40 cartridge tends to angle itself more nose-up than does a 9mmP in the same size frame pistol during the feed cycle. This sometimes caused issues when the pistol manufacturers "re-chambered" 9mmP pistols to make a .40S&W model. On Glocks, for instance, they had to relieve the bottom of the barrel chamber at the feed ramp, to keep a workable angle on the feed ramp, in order to get the stubby .40 to feed. The result was a chamber that only marginally supported the case head of the .40 cartridge.

A local city police department had gone from S&W 3rd generation pistols, which were getting a little worn, for Glock 22's. One day one of their lieutenants was shooting his Glock at the range for qualification when he had a case rupture, which ballooned the grip area of the Glock to the point that his middle finger on his right hand was broken. They picked up and examined cases on the floor of the range and found that all of the .40S&W cases fired from the broken Glock and those from the other officers qualifying, and found that a significant number of the cases showed signs of bulged cases just in front of the case head.

They traded in the Glocks for some model of SIG in 9mmP.

A friend of mine converted his Glock 23 to 9mmP by simply swapping the barrel and possibly the recoil spring. Says that it's much more pleasant to shoot.
I've never been a real fan of the 40 S&W. My 1st two were POS Hi-Points (u get what you pay for). Hi-Point had to replace the 1st because it kept on going back for repair. The 2nd was better but still had issues so I traded that in for a Taurus. Most inaccurate pistol I've ever owned. That was traded in for a 9mm CZ75B. Back in the beginning of the Web there was a site guns.com that had weekly gun giveaways I won a S&W CS 40 ( since discontinued). This was my 1st sub compact. Accurate shooter. The one thing I don't like about it as a CCW is that when you use the decocker the 1st shot will be DA and then the following 6 SA. Much prefer my Glock 29 10mm. 3 more rounds and consistent trigger pull. Plus I'll take a 10 over a 40 any day.
 

the_leper_colony

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Wasn't the 45 GAP made to accommadate police officers with smaller hands also??

I think that's right - plus, reducing the size of a handgun and/or using an existing frame that's in mass production can help reduce costs. It's a good cartridge, but there are a lot of good cartridges (such as the 10mm Auto ;^) that don't become super popular!
 

the_leper_colony

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I did a search for the relative popularity of different calibers, based on ammo sales. Kind of surprising, but I didn't have a lot of luck (you might do better ;^). One article from 2019 listed the five most popular types of centerfire handgun ammo as 9mm Para, .45 acp, .40 S&W, .38 Special, and .380 acp (in that order). I also found the following sales data from 2013, showing how much one online retailer (Lucky Gunner) sold that year:

1674342797057.png


I don't know if the quantity represents thousands of rounds, or what, but it is kind of interesting!

They also included a chart showing the top five by State (again, 2013 Lucky Gunner data):

1674343422495.png


Plus, a map showing the #1 top seller in each State:

1674343536635.png
 

Joe Chartreuse

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As far as I know, virtually all of the S&W calibers that I have been looking for are fading away, Some only still made by one overseas mfr.
 

BBarn

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From what I heard, Ruger had somebody going through the dumpster behind the S&W R&D facility, and found some fired .44 Magnum cases in the trash. Ruger took one of their revolvers chambered for .44 Special and reamed out the cylinder to accept the .44 Magnum cases.
I don’t believe Ruger had any such 44 Special revolver, at least not in production.
 

the_leper_colony

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As far as I know, virtually all of the S&W calibers that I have been looking for are fading away, Some only still made by one overseas mfr.

I used to have some older revolvers chambered in .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, and .38 S&W, so I know it can be hard to find the older, low-pressure 32 & 38 caliber cartridges that started out as black powder loads back in the 1800s. The .357 S&W Magnum, .38 S&W Special, .40 S&W, and .44 S&W Special are all still popular & loaded by multiple manufacturers.
:)
 
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Mike J

Hunter
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Aug 5, 2007
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GA
Interesting topic.

My understanding is that the .40 S&W was simply a shorter version of the 10mm, or alternately you could think of it as a "fat" 9mmP. Because of the shorter length of the cartridge relative to the overall length, the .40 cartridge tends to angle itself more nose-up than does a 9mmP in the same size frame pistol during the feed cycle. This sometimes caused issues when the pistol manufacturers "re-chambered" 9mmP pistols to make a .40S&W model. On Glocks, for instance, they had to relieve the bottom of the barrel chamber at the feed ramp, to keep a workable angle on the feed ramp, in order to get the stubby .40 to feed. The result was a chamber that only marginally supported the case head of the .40 cartridge.

A local city police department had gone from S&W 3rd generation pistols, which were getting a little worn, for Glock 22's. One day one of their lieutenants was shooting his Glock at the range for qualification when he had a case rupture, which ballooned the grip area of the Glock to the point that his middle finger on his right hand was broken. They picked up and examined cases on the floor of the range and found that all of the .40S&W cases fired from the broken Glock and those from the other officers qualifying, and found that a significant number of the cases showed signs of bulged cases just in front of the case head.

They traded in the Glocks for some model of SIG in 9mmP.

A friend of mine converted his Glock 23 to 9mmP by simply swapping the barrel and possibly the recoil spring. Says that it's much more pleasant to shoot.

Glock had problems with their .40 pistols because they just took a 9mm pistol & reamed it out for .40. I believe when they did their Gen. 4 pistols they actually did a redesign for .40 to resolve some issues. I believe the reason a lot of people don't like 40 is they have only shot it in 9mm pistols that were reamed out to 40. If you shoot a pistol that was originally designed for 40 such as the S&W M&P it is a different experience.
 
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Hankus

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Florida Gulf Coast
One of my coworkers told me the other day that he inherited a Beretta-copy Taurus .40 (PT94 maybe?) from his dad that fell apart one day at the range. I told him about the early issues with manufacturers rushing .40 pistols into production on mostly unmodified 9mm platforms… I on the other hand still have a stainless PT99 that I bought to keep in my go-bag back in the early 90s when I was on active duty, and it’s had many thousands of rounds through it over the years. It’s a safe queen these days; too big and bulky for EDC, and I usually carry a compact .45ACP these days.
 

t-reg

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It was noted with sadness yesterday that the RA series is only available in 9mm.

Ruger would have sucked more money out of my pocket if the competition model was available in .40S&W.

Being a fan of 180's over Longshot, the .40's ballistic advantages over 9mm are what tips the scales for me.
 
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JBP

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Mayland
I used to have some older revolvers chambered in .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, and .38 S&W, so I know it can be hard to find the older, low-pressure 32 & 38 caliber cartridges that started out as black powder loads back in the 1800s. The .357 S&W Magnum, .38 S&W Special, .40 S&W, and .44 S&W Special are all still popular & loaded by multiple manufacturers.
:)
I HAVE no problems getting 32 S&W Long or 38 S&W but 32 H&R MAG at a reasonable price has become problematic. Since I carry a SP 101 on occasion I keep 100 rounds in reserve and use 32 S&W Long at the range.
 

Joe Chartreuse

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I HAVE no problems getting 32 S&W Long or 38 S&W but 32 H&R MAG at a reasonable price has become problematic. Since I carry a SP 101 on occasion I keep 100 rounds in reserve and use 32 S&W Long at the range.
JBP, would you PLEASE point me to a 38 S&W vendor? Thanks in advance.
 

the_leper_colony

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One of my coworkers told me the other day that he inherited a Beretta-copy Taurus .40 (PT94 maybe?) from his dad that fell apart one day at the range. I told him about the early issues with manufacturers rushing .40 pistols into production on mostly unmodified 9mm platforms…

Funny - I really like Beretta, but if I remember correctly, their 40 caliber 96s are closer to "unmodified 9mm platforms" than are the "Beretta-copy" Taurus PT100/101 40s. The Beretta 96 40 cal slides are about the same weight/thickness as their 9mm slides, and the 40 caliber 96s use the same 13 pound factory recoil spring as the 9mm 92s (according to Wolff). Taurus made their 40 cal 100/101 slides thicker; they run 10% heavier than Taurus 92/99 9mm slides, and are so thick you can't use a 9mm slide stop/slide release with a 40 caliber slide. Plus, the Taurus factory recoil spring for the PT100/101 is 18 pounds, versus 13 pounds for the Taurus 9mm (and both Berettas, again as listed at the Wolff web site). Finally, if the Taurus that reportedly "fell apart" actually was a 40 caliber PT100 or PT101, it was probably covered by a Taurus lifetime warranty, even though the owner wasn't the original purchaser.
:)
 

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