Welcome to Northwest Firearms
Join our community, sign up for free today!
Sign Up

9mm vs .40 Smith & Wesson - What happened?

Helocat

Messages
173
Reactions
368
LGS pointed out last time I was in they have very few .40s in stock just due to the demand falling off the cliff. Never really thought about it but ya my own buying habits have all been 9mm in place of the .40. I even recently picked up a conversion barrel for my G35 to run 9mm. I reload both but shoot 10:1 9mm to 40. I am told most cops are still are mostly with .40's.

Any thoughts as to why the loss in favor?
Was it the ammo shortage and the cost of .40 going up that did it for consumers?
FBI's switch back to 9mm a few yrs ago?
 

dcfranzen

Messages
217
Reactions
436
The cost of training ammo for agencies was the main driver to 9mm coupled by the gun industry's need to rotate buyer interests in another direction to sell, sell, sell more firearms. Then there are all the new handgun buyers driven to the market by the Obama administration that were cautioned about the alarming recoil from the .40 S&W and 9mm picked up more fans. At the same time, the ammo folks were creating new SD/HD ammo and banging the drums loudly for the improved 9mm rounds. The perfect storm.

It is a good time to buy some nice used 40s. For example, a pristine S&W CS40 sells for $100+ less than the CS9 and CS45 now and it is a pleasure to shoot.
 
Last edited:

No_Regerts

Messages
7,536
Reactions
31,877
9mm has been around since the early 1900s and 45 ACP shortly after that. Thats an 80 year head start on .40. Lots of guns out there that eat 9 and 45. .40 is still a great SD cartridge and gives you decent power plus capacity. Is it “high pressure”? Yes in the SAAMI world. Its really no hotter than NATO or +P 9mm. Its marginally more expensive than 9mm and the extra recoil is more difficult for the diverse nature of .gov agencies.
 
Last edited:

PNWguy

Messages
884
Reactions
2,381
There are very few examples of new .40 S&W pistols being any cheaper than the 9mm version. People keep saying there are awesome deals on new .40 S&W pistols. I haven't seen it.

I have bought several new pistols this past year in both 9mm and .40 S&W. The cheapest were in 9mm.

I like .40 S&W. I reload for it. It is much more of a flexible round for me than 9mm and more accurate.
 

v0lcom13sn0w

Messages
8,434
Reactions
32,366
There are very few examples of new .40 S&W pistols being any cheaper than the 9mm version. People keep saying there are awesome deals on new .40 S&W pistols. I haven't seen it.

I have bought several new pistols this past year in both 9mm and .40 S&W. The cheapest were in 9mm.

I like .40 S&W. I reload for it. It is much more of a flexible round for me than 9mm and more accurate.
i was seeing $300-$350 police trade in glock 22s at a couple gun shows recently. i think thats a pretty good deal:)
 

DB Wesner

Messages
4,415
Reactions
14,900
2 years ago you couldn't even get my LGS to offer anything on a trade for a .40, said they had lockers full of them they couldn't sell, but that was during the initial hard shift.
 

Reno

Messages
6,899
Reactions
14,644
Perfect place to leave this little gem.

 

v0lcom13sn0w

Messages
8,434
Reactions
32,366
i personally like 40 s&w when shooting a dualling tree that a friend made. it flips the target even on a bad hit. 9mm will too but sometimes only flips it about half way. kinda funny, my 45 will flip it so hard that it flips back LOL.

i dont like debating calibers. people like what people like and thats it, for me. i couldnt decide what i liked best so i bought atleast 1 in each of those 3 calibers :D.

however, 45 is my favorite to reload out of those 3. easier for me to grab the case and install it into my press. its also easier to sort when you get back from the range and you have 9 40 and 45 brass all in one bag lol
 
Messages
163
Reactions
506
I love the .40 S&W, once fired brass is dirt cheap and available everywhere used brass is sold. Its way easier for me to reload, with 9mm I fumble a lot and drop a lot of brass around me because they are so small. .40 S&W is plenty accurate, I mostly load 165gr plated rounds to about 950-1000fps, they shoot real nice. My only complaint is that the .40 projectiles cost almost the same as .45 or .44's
 

PNWguy

Messages
884
Reactions
2,381
To the OP's original inquiry... 9mm is cheaper and nearly as effective. In this era of law enforcement agencies getting shafted by increasingly leftist governments; how well a caliber performs is secondary to how cheaply the ammo and guns for it can be procured.

My brother agency recently switched from .357 Sig to 9mm. And from Sig P229s and P226s to G19s and G17s. It had nothing to do with performance or extensive evaluation or officer performance or safety; it was all about saving money. Period.
 

PNWguy

Messages
884
Reactions
2,381
Just ask any coroner what .40 does that 9 doesn't.
Quite an enlightening read at the link below. Will take a while to read it all as it is quite extensive...

Terminal ballistics as viewed in a morgue

Some highlights...

I see an average of 8.2 autopsies per day/365 days per year, and I can tell you that when the chips are down, there's nothing that beats a 12-gauge. As for handguns, the name of the game is not only shot placement but how a properly-placed bullet acts once it gets there. I've seen folks killed by a bb to the eye and others survive after being hit by several well-placed rounds with a 9mm.

As for me, I'll take a slow-moving .45 to a gun fight any day. I absolutely despise a 9mm for defensive situations (yes, they will eventually kill but often not quickly enough to prevent the BG from doing you in first)and a .380 as well. These are probably the two calibers I see most often on the autopsy table.


Again, this is from experience that I've made my calls on what works and what doesn't. I have no use for mouse guns like the .32, although it's a lot better to have a mouse gun than nothing at all. Personally, I'll never carry anything smaller than a .40 and prefer the .45. Day in and day out, results from the autopsy table show me that the .45 is the gun to have in a gun fight, provided you can shoot it well. If not, it's better to have something you can shoot well, even if it's a mouse gun, than something you can't.

You're correct in what you're thinking. Yes, the 9mm and .380 are the rounds I most often see on the autopsy table, but they're also the rounds that usually require multiple hits to make the kill. The standing joke in the morgue is to guess the caliber by looking at the x-rays. If multiple rounds show up on the x-rays more often than not it's a 9mm or .380 (or .32 or .25 or some mouse gun caliber). If only one round shows up, it could be an inordinately good hit with a .380 or 9mm, but more likely it's a .40 or .45.

Yes, the .380 and 9mm will do the job, but usually multiple hits are required as opposed to single hits with a .40 or .45.
 

LATEST REVIEWS

  • Northwest Arsenal
    4.00 star(s)
    I have been there at least a couples times. We popped in today to see if the had a PS90. They...
    • CountryGent
  • Sunset Firearms
    5.00 star(s)
    Great guy. I've done multiple private transfers over several years. Knowledgeable and thorough.
    • markebrit
  • J&B Firearm Sales
    5.00 star(s)
    I've done many transfers with these guys. They know their stuff, they're very approachable and...
    • Art_Vandelay
  • J&B Firearm Sales
    5.00 star(s)
    I've always felt comfortable at J&B, first time I ever went there I walked out with a new Glock...
    • Zapata47
  • Money Market Pawn Shop
    5.00 star(s)
    Maybe I'm biased since I live 5 minutes away, but Peter and his crew have always been friendly...
    • Zapata47

Staff online

  • Kruel J
    Moderator of the Coriolis effect