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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
*Note: I moved this reply from under the title "whats worng with the .40?"

First let me say that the issue of “Popular Truths” really bothers me.
This like the JFK shooting, the OJ trial, Pam Anderson’s marriage, J Edgar Hoovers sexual preferences, the fact that we have forgotten most of history that was inconvenient or not politically correct and the myths that are perceived as truth all really bother me.
What history you ask? Besides the Hoover myths, how about the fact that somehow we “forgot” that Christopher Columbus did not sail to America, nor did he sail for the purpose of exploration, he was collecting slaves, Columbus was a slave trader.
Believe me I can go on and on and on, I found no less than 136 errors in my daughter’s 4th grade math book and 31 errors (out and out fabrications) referring to the constitution and it’s founding in my second daughters history books.

Ok, to return to the topic at hand.

First let me say that there is nothing "wrong" with the .40, but there is nothing wrong with the 9mm when loaded with equal loadings.
If we put aside the last few thousand articles/marketing promotions you have read and ask yourself this question:

If you take the two metal projectiles, both optimized for the velocity they will be driven to and one weighs 127grains and the other weighs 155grains. We will start with projectile A, projectile A is 9mm and travels @ a velocity of 1,220fps from your barrel/gun combo. With a barrel swap in your pistol, you can use projectile B, projectile B is .40 S&W and it travels @ 1,200fps from said caliber/pistol combo.
Pistol B achieves this with an increase in recoil momentum measured at 6lbs for example. You will need 5 rounds to defend yourself all on target in a 4" group in less than two seconds. You can achieve a reduction in felt recoil of 30lbs in 2 seconds and you remember that your pistol was in fact first designed and offered for the Austrian army pistol trials in 9mm, then when the market “exploded” in the USA, your pistol was quickly bored out, given an extractor tweak and shipped as a .40. When it was designed for the 9mm round, it met the minimum service accuracy requirement that it achieves 1.5" groups @ 25 yards with your chosen ammo. As noted, after some early frame breakages the retrofit was reexamined and a an extra locking pin was inserted into the frame of pistol B, given that pistol B was a redesign from the factory, it achieves 2.2" groups from the factory.
One other factor is that the .40ammo costs you $1.50 more per box for FMJ practice ammo.
Change the environment now, you live in a rural area and you are in fact a patrol officer, just you and a 90 mile stretch of road. The last two shootings your agency had were at ranges of 26 and 120 yards when your officer came under fire from drug smugglers crossing through the desert lanes of your county. You are restricted to a Glock pistol in 9mm or .40 with either 15 or 17 rd magazines; you are issued a Winchester .12 gauge model 1300 defender with reduced recoil 00 buckshot only. You are deciding between pistols your choices are pistol A the 9mm that fires the above round with a ballistic coefficient of 0.143, you know that it delivers 341 ft-lb of energy @ 100 yards and it shoots to 3.6" of point of aim @ that distance. You will be issued two spare magazines with one fully loaded and you may "top off" your pistol for a total of 52rds.
You have pistol B that fires the above round with a ballistic of 0.165, you know it shoots to 4.0" of point of aim @ 100 yards and it delivers 357 ft-lb of energy. You will be issued two spare magazines with one fully loaded and you may "top off" your pistol for a total of 46rds.
You are expressly prohibited from carrying a second gun and you know that the last shooting was in fact 120 yards and backup is 15-20 minutes away.
Which pistol are you going to choose? What pistol really offers you a true ballistic and tactical advantage? What pistol offers you a true mathematical advantage?
 

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I have carried a Glock 23 for many years, but I would be just as happy with a 19. In fact, I would happily trade both of my 23's for 19's in similar condition, just to be able to save money on practice ammo.
 

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Mr DiFabio, you also opine some of the more enthusiastic rounds like 10mm and 9x23mm. What is your justification of their higher recoil, &c.?

(Incidently, I am with you on the 9x19mm. I may like other calibers as well, but it does everything I need.)
 

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I'm not Mr. DiFabio nor do I play him on TV. But, the justification for the 9x23 and 10mm is that they do offer advantages over the 9mm which outweight the increased recoil in trained hands. The advantages are that both offer flatter trajectories than either the 9mm or the .40 and both offer superior downrange performance in terms of kinetic energy.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: buzz_knox on 2001-06-11 11:28 ]</font>
 

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Damn, I tried to respond to this thread earlier, but a downed server here at work wiped it out. It was beautifully written, pithy and poignant and would leave one feeling better not only about one's ammo choice, but about oneself as well. It also contained the key to life and the only safe way to edit Windows registry entries. :smile:

Dunno if I can recreate it in all its majesty, but I'll try.

This is a great thread. I can foresee lots of discussion. David, I really like the way you lay things out logically. However, the conclusion that one must draw in your scenario is based on a flawed premise.

Why stipulate that the .40 is merely a hogged out 9 and prone to mechanical failure? And, more important, why stipulate that the .40 will only shoot 4" at 50 yards? Neither is true in my experience.

There were some .40s that made it to market early in the game that were tweaked 9s and not up to the task of handling the .40 load, but once that initial rush was over, the manufacturers retooled and built guns specifically for the .40.

The BHP.40, for example, has a much heavier slide and, I believe, an extra locking lug in addition to other design changes that make it suitable for the higher pressure .40. Mine has gone nearly 15k rounds with nary a problem except for a chipped extractor claw at 10k. There is no sign of excessive wear at all. And it'll hold tighter groups than I can at any distance :wink:.

Next example, the Glock 23 -- the pistol that everyone points to as the .40 problem child. Mine's got about 25k rounds through it without a problem except, again, a chipped extractor claw. As for accuracy, Steve Silverman and I were shooting bowling pins off a fence rail and the hats off of Tactical Teds at 100 yards after one of his classes a couple of years ago. And that was after three days of heavy shooting without cleaning. Plenty accurate for me. Another of Steve's students watched him hit an egg at 60 yards with his G23 (one shot -- cool! :smile:).

In short, I don't think the .40 is either an unsound platform or an inaccurate round. I also don't think it's the wonder round that it's been touted to be either. It does have some drawbacks.

Pros of the .40:
  • Larger frontal area of the bullet compared to the 9mm[/*:m:1559syr7]
  • Heavier bullet weight than the 9mms[/*:m:1559syr7]
  • Same medium frame size as the 9mm, lighter and smaller than a 5" .45[/*:m:1559syr7]
  • Same 10+1 capacity as the 9mm with post-ban magazines, higher capacity than an 8+1 .45[/*:m:1559syr7]
  • Very flat-shooting round[/*:m:1559syr7]

Cons of the .40:
  • Very high pressure round -- may be prone to blowing in unsupported chambers. Also makes reloading dicey for all but the most experienced reloader[/*:m:1559syr7]
  • Hard kicking round -- makes follow-up shots slower without extensive practice; also may be intimidating to a new shooter[/*:m:1559syr7]
  • Relatively new design compared to the venerable .45 and the 9mm. All the bugs may not be worked out yet -- accounting for some of the kB! and accuracy horror stories.[/*:m:1559syr7]

Did I miss anything?
Chad

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chad Ward on 2001-06-11 12:37 ]</font>
 

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Erk, just reread David's original post. Make that "4in. at 100 yards" rather than the 50 yards I used in my reply.

Sorry 'bout that, my mistake :oops:

I get a little huffy when the ".40 is inaccurate" deceased equine gets flagellated :roll:. T'aint so, in my experience.

By the way, JFK was assassinated by a cadre of Haitian voodoo-controlled mobsters under the influence of Yohimbe, thus paving the way for Elvis's comeback tour. I have this on reputable authority :grin:.

Carry on,
Chad

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chad Ward on 2001-06-11 12:37 ]</font>
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All good points so far guys,
Be careful in making an assumption as to my descision on the issue. I am asking if all things being equal given the data that I have provided for this model what would you choose and why?
As to the question of heavier calibers, that is strictly dependent on the shooters skill and physical strength levels.
If you are specifically asking yes, the 9x23 and 10mm do offer real mathematical advantages over the .9mm and .40S&W.
I would also like to point out that they may overlap in performance levels and their are also downsides to both cartridges.
I will follow up later as I am out of time.
 

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Allow me to offer a very "unscientific" perspective (I am not opposed to science, in fact spent about 25 years in search of science that adequately describes terminal ballistics).

Having tried to prove otherwise, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that handguns (or .223s or .243s or .30 Carbines) do not have any real power to transfer to the target - even if they stop in the target. I am not saying it does not exist I am saying it is inadequate to achieve instant incapacitation. What they do is make a hole. - now a 10 pound ground hog, that is a different subject. Note I did not say how you measure "power", be it K.E., Momentum, Hatcher Units, R.I.I. or whatever... no handgun round has "enough".

All I have found that matters (in incapacitation) is what you hit and how big a hole you punch in it (in case you missed it that takes penetration).

Trajectory is sort of moot. I must be a real dope (no comment Dane :smile: ) since I always disprove what I am theorizing at the time. When the 10mm came out I set out to prove that it was a superior auto pistol cartridge and that it was the equal of the .357 or .44 mag on long - well long for defense - range targets. So, I did a field test. I zeroed several handguns at 75 yards and found that the .357 (6" barrel), 10mm, .45 ACP and .44 magnum were all just about identical when you fired 5 shot groups at 100 yards (sure the .45 hit about an inch lower in the A-zone but it hit the A-zone. The .45 was 2.5" high at 25 yards (it is actually highest at 37 yards - 3.5" and almost dead on out to 10 yards). I suppose the case could be made for the faster rounds at say 200 yards. But then, truthfully, while I practice some at 100 (and plink a little at 200 for fun), I can't see actually shooting at people at this range as a high probablility (of course anything is possible). Bottom line, trajectory is a wash on handgun calibers (I can regularly hit my steel Silhouette (which is really just the "C" zone and head of an IPSC target) at 100 with my Chiefs Special (but I have to hold on the head - which is no big deal).

With all the calibers mentioned, I find that the platform makes more difference than the load (if you get to choose the ammo). All of them are more accurate than me.

David brings up a point that few people recognize. I call it the DVC ballance. How well do you manage your weapon in rapid fire? Shoot it and find out. David Mentioned 5 shots in under two seconds, I will let him give the particulars of that. What I look for is 5 to 6 shots in 1 second (and probably at much shorter range so we are both probably talking about the same level of skill). Personally I have not found that any 9mm (except a 1911) or any .40 (again except a 1911) is as controlable as a 1911 in .45 but that is probably personal and probably because I shoot the .45 more. Not that I don't try (we just shot 1,000 rnds of 9mm through a Beretta and about 300 rounds through a Glock 23 yesterday). I have put in a lot of time with a Browning 9mm (great gun!) but I cannot keep the groups as tight nor the speed as fast as with a 1911 (this does not mean nobody else can of course). Bottom line in this is you have to have a timer to know how well you shoot your gun... try it out!

Here I am, long winded again, but what I am trying to say is try some different guns, go out and time yourself from the ready (no use confusing the issue with draw speed for this fundamental level) fire 5 rounds as quick as you can hit the A-zone (don't count hits outside the A-zone or add .5 seconds for each point). Reaction time from the ready is included in this but that should be fairly constant. Just compare your groups and your times.... pick the best. Now pick a load that will penetrate as deep as the spine. Now you are good to go, well at least as good as handguns get :smile:

"...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" Philippians 2:12

Carry on!
Jim Higginbotham
 

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Mr Higginbotham, would it not stand to reason that a person of high skill and speed firing with a 1911 would be even faster with a say, a .38 Super, than a 10mm or even .45? Is it then a waste to go with the heavier recoiling caliber?

I have gone over this myself and I constantly waffle between 'they are all the same' and 'I want the beast'. In my head, I, for one, believe that anything 9x19mm or over is fine. I may be disproven, but I would be willing to bet that the actual performance difference between cartridges of 9mm+ and of comparable bullet design quality is smaller than the margin of error for any given test.

In that vein, for the 1911 platform what justification is there to be realistically made for anything, ironically enough, but a .38 Super? (I pick it for its 10rd mags over 9x19mm's 9rd.)

Really, other than that, I would probably just admit I shoot .45 (or 10mm, or .40, &c.) solely 'because I like it'.

Am I way off? (Incidently, I do not own, nor harbour a desire to own, a .38 Super.)


"The horse is prepared against the day of battle; but safety is of the Lord." Proverbs 21:31

Those guys with 9x19mm (or even .38Spc) may need a little extra: "And Asa cried unto the Lord his God and said, Lord, it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power..." 2 Chron 14:11

(Special nod to hunter44for the correction.)

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: telackey on 2001-06-14 23:29 ]</font>
 

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Without a long explanation, all things being equal, I'd go with the round that makes the bigger hole. If you're destroying more flesh (tissue, organs, spine...whatever), I would think that it stands to reason that you'd have a higher chance of actually hitting something that would be beneficial to stopping the intended target.
 

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You will need 5 rounds to defend yourself all on target in a 4" group in less than two seconds.
A .40 advocate might claim that this is an unfair condition for the comparison since it assumes the .40 needs as many hits as the 9x19mm to be effective despite the former round's advantages in diameter and mass.

If (just to make up some numbers) the harder-recoiling .40 can get the job done with 20% fewer rounds, then this might outweigh a "split time" disadvantage of, say, 10%.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Now we are thinking and discussing and this is a good thing.
I have noticed some wavering between the .40 is the same, and the .40 can get the job done with fewer rounds.
Both answers can be correct, in a direct comparison the standard pressure level .40 will often perform at a lower level of effectiveness than the hot +P+ 9mm loads, I should also point out that this difference is really "nit picking" we are in fact discussing performance differences that are so small and slight that the scale can go either way once you factor in shooting skill. So you can see that yes a good shooter with a .40 that can deliver 3 good hits to the target before taking return fire will succeed wherein a poor shooter sending 10rds of 9mm off into space will not be as successful.
If you compare the 9mm and the .45acp then you will see a difference or "advantage" if you will, in both frontal section area and weight/momentum.
Jim is in fact dead on; the performance difference in pistol calibers is so slight that you cannot achieve an increased advantage by switching calibers/platforms unless we are talking of obstructed shots and longer distance shots. Once you have identified ammo that will perform 100% and achieve a spinal cord depth shot, it all comes down to how fast you can draw, fire, and hit your adversary in the vital areas as many times as is possible. No, three .40s are not as effective as 4-.9mms and no two .45s do not beat 4-9mm wounds. Each round is its own separate and distinct wound channel and this is where you generate "Stopping" or incapacitation power.
 

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Telackey wrote;
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr Higginbotham, would it not stand to reason that a person of high skill and speed firing with a 1911 would be even faster with a say, a .38 Super, than a 10mm or even .45? Is it then a waste to go with the heavier recoiling caliber?
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Although that passes the intuitive logic test, I have been somewhat surprised to find that it does not bear out in practical results... at least not for a significant number of people who practice a lot. I have spent many a day on the range with a timer trying to get better splits and groups at close range with 1911s in .22, 9mm. Super .38, 9X23 and a few oddballs. I just simply don't shoot them better - or worse - and have seen a lot of people who were the same. Personally I do detect just a little deteriation in the group at speed with a full power 10mm and a definite deteriation with a .45 Super (whether this is enough to drop the caliber from consideration I have yet to decide). This is not to say that someone new to shooting might not get initial results that differed.

As to the calibers being essentially the same, I can understand that, especially in expanding bullets. This is a confused issue - thanks to all the "experts" we have out there in the gun press.

First off, I am not satisfied with what is called a "stop" by most people. This seems to mean that the fight was over with the desired results of the Good Guy not getting perforated... that does not tell us much unless we know that the BG was incapable of inflicting injury rather than he just decided to quit. I am after instant incapacitation and to get that you have to hit something vital (it may sound odd but the heart is not a vital target in this regard.. perhaps lethal but not instantly disabling - and not really all that lethal anyway).

Are bigger bores better...I think the odds are in their favor but it is not becuase of "power" (whatever that is). It is because they pentrate more consistently the the multiple density of tissue we find in people and animals. They carry a slight edge in that they may achieve a hit on the spine with a shot that is not centered (the same edge comes in a match with the bigger hole but it is not going to overcome a lack of skill on the part of the shooter).

It is a bit late and I am not all that sharp tonight (I just lost the first response I typed to this post and this one is not really that well done) so forgive me if this does not make too much sense, let me know I have raised more questions than I have answered... not a strange postion for me :smile:

Best regards,
Jim Higginbotham
 

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First let me say that there is nothing "wrong" with the .40, but there is nothing wrong with the 9mm when loaded with equal loadings.
I apologize for the backtrack, but I'm not sure I understand the meaning of "equal loadings". Does that mean "the best performing load for each cartridge" or "equal pressure" or "equal energy" or...?
 

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Hmmm, okay, reviewing David's scenario again, I'd probably go with the .40. I know, I know, I'm something of a .40 apologist (in the sense of "a person who offers an argument in defense of something controversial" -- I ain't apologizing 'bout nuttin'!). I do like the round.

Yes, the reduction in rounds would concern me somewhat, but the difference between 46 rounds of .40 and 52 rounds of 9mm is something like counting angels dancing on the head of a pin. That's a heck of a lot of rounds either way. And you've got the shotgun.

Yes, if my department/agency/black ops control were issuing crappy guns (Sigmas, for instance), I'd go with the 9mm over the .40 just to keep my hand from being blown off :eek:. With a decent pistol, however, I'd go with the .40.

As for shootability, accuracy and "stopping power" -- I suppose they're pretty much the same (he said, gritting his teeth).

Given a top performing 9mm load and a top performing .40 load, you'll probably get about the same stopping power. The bigger, heavier bullet is a comfort to me, however. And based on my own SWAG (strategic wild-assed guess) and a lot o' reading, I believe the .40 will punch a deeper hole.

As for accuracy and shootability -- no difference for me. I shoot both .40 and 9mm about the same. The 9mm is a S&W3913, so it is a light-weight pistol -- promptly negating the 9mm's softer recoil characteristics :smile:. However, shooting a Glock 23 and a Glock 19 side-by-side revealed no significant difference in felt recoil, split times or overall times. I've shot the extremely challenging Air Marshal's qualification course with a 3913, a Glock 23 and a BHP.40. Slowest time was with the 9mm. Go figure.

Of course, major flinching and jerking does absorb a lot of recoil. You should try it, really :smile:. I may have discovered a major tactical shooting secret here!

So, if we eliminate capacity (52 vs 46) as a concern, have a decent platform and find no difference in accuracy & shootability, why not go with the heavier caliber?

Chad

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chad Ward on 2001-06-13 17:56 ]</font>
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
And based on my own SWAG (strategic wild-assed guess) and a lot o' reading, I believe the .40 will punch a deeper hole.

So, if we eliminate capacity (52 vs 46) as a concern, have a decent platform and find no difference in accuracy & shootability, why not go with the heavier caliber?
Chad
Chad,
Could we make the same argument in a .40 to .45acp upgrqade comparison?
As the .45acp can do everything the .40 can do on a slightly "larger" scale with a lower pressure round?

_________________
Think, Plan, Train, Be Safe.
Thanks,
David

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David DiFabio on 2001-06-22 17:50 ]</font>
 

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Well, if ya like Glocks, the 40 Glocks fit more people better than the 45s. So does the 4006 v 4506. The SIG 220 is a toss up w the 9/40/357 models IMO. Anyway...

The 40 does "better", scores higher in the FBI test series, whatever that's worth. They will get a little bigger and go a little deeper more often than the 9s through most common tactical barriers, especially auto glass. If you want that w more energy and stretch cavities (whatever they are really worth), the 155/165 40s do better than the 115-124 9s.

You do pay for it w more recoil. But shooting isn't gunfighting? Most cops never miss the target when they Q, miss 75% of the time for real. IIRC, the PM/Fairburn study of the early 90s showed the 45/357 Mag with better hit ratios than the 9mm; so much for reduced recoil/better control meaning more hits? Or the 45/357 shooters just controlled their heavier recoil better?

Round n round we go...

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MichaelOrick on 2001-07-30 12:57 ]</font>
 

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carry what you have confidence in. frankly, i think the 9mm, .40, .357 SIG, and .45 ACP, will all do the job if you do yours.
 

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On 2001-07-30 12:54, MichaelOrick wrote:
Well, if ya like Glocks, the 40 Glocks fit more people better than the 45s. So does the 4006 v 4506. The SIG 220 is a toss up w the 9/40/357 models IMO. Anyway... <snippage>
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Welcome Mike!, been a while since I have heard from you.

Spot on one the .45 Glocks... as much as I like the .45 my Glocks are .40s since I cant really get my hands around a .45 . Perhaps I should have Dane cut one down. Even my .40s feel better when cut down in the gripframe.

Great to hear from you!
Jim H.
"Bigger is better and Mo bigger is Mo better"
 
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