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Why is the .40 S&W so prominent with LEO's?

This is a discussion on Why is the .40 S&W so prominent with LEO's? within the LEO Talk forums, part of the Protect & Serve category; Why is the .40 so popular with law enforcement? Is it believed to have better "stopping power" (I use that term loosely) than the .45 ...

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Old 02-06-2011, 11:56 PM   #1
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Why is the .40 S&W so prominent with LEO's?

Why is the .40 so popular with law enforcement? Is it believed to have better "stopping power" (I use that term loosely) than the .45 ACP? Many think the .45 is better ballistically and has less (or at least a more pleasant) recoil. Why not use the .45? Just curious.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:22 AM   #2
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Balistically there is little difference (in terms of kinetic energy) between .40s&w and .45acp.

.40 is a smaller round lending to higher magazine capacity in the same size package.

The faster speed of the .40 is largely considered better for intermediate barrier penetration.

There is also the matter of history that comes into play. The .40 s&w cartridge is a child of the 10mm cartridge, which was designed for law enforcement to answer the problem of poor efficiency and "stopping power" associated with the .38 caliber cartridges widely issued to and carried by leos at the time.
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:38 AM   #3
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More power than 9mm, more rounds than 45. Max power from a small framed gun to fit a wider range of users.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:44 PM   #4
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Uneducated liberal officers shudder at the words "forty-five", and a 9mm is just capable of carrying too much ammo.

Behold!!! Forty S&W!!!
This decade's answer to all law enforcement's problems like the 10mm was.

Any predictions on the next decade? .41 Mag?
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:15 PM   #5
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I'll take 9 over 40 any day. I would also take 45 over 40 any other time. Guess you could say there is no middle of the road for me.

I dont know exact ballistic data but I went to the range with 2 buddies this weekend. One with a 40, one with a 45 and me with the 9. I could tell a HUGE difference in the diameter of hole size between the 45 and the 40/9.. The difference was not so large between the 9 and the 40.

I could stick a finger threw the holes the 45 was putting on paper. Not with the 40 or 9.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XD-Generate View Post
I dont know exact ballistic data but I went to the range with 2 buddies this weekend. One with a 40, one with a 45 and me with the 9. I could tell a HUGE difference in the diameter of hole size between the 45 and the 40/9.. The difference was not so large between the 9 and the 40.

I could stick a finger threw the holes the 45 was putting on paper. Not with the 40 or 9.
There you have it; irrefutable proof ... that a .45 will make a larger hole in a paper target than a .40 or a 9mm.

If your primary concern is making larger holes in paper targets, you just can't beat the .45 ... well, maybe with a .460 Rowland ... or a .454 Casul ... or a .500 Magnum ... but you know what I mean.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled question. The .40 is a good middle of the road round (if you can stand the middle of the road) - good ballistics, good slug size, good ammo availability and choice, good ammo cost (almost as cheap as 9mm) and good magazine capacity support across handgun mfr's.

Is .40 the BEST at any one thing? Probably not, but life is full of trade-off's.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mudinyeri View Post
Now, back to our regularly scheduled question. The .40 is a good middle of the road round (if you can stand the middle of the road) - good ballistics, good slug size, good ammo availability and choice, good ammo cost (almost as cheap as 9mm) and good magazine capacity support across handgun mfr's.

Is .40 the BEST at any one thing? Probably not, but life is full of trade-off's.
Quoted for truth. I like punching paper with .22LR myself (and don't care about the hole size ) but for my SD/HD, I chose .40 cal.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudinyeri View Post
There you have it; irrefutable proof ... that a .45 will make a larger hole in a paper target than a .40 or a 9mm.

If your primary concern is making larger holes in paper targets, you just can't beat the .45 ... well, maybe with a .460 Rowland ... or a .454 Casul ... or a .500 Magnum ... but you know what I mean.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled question. The .40 is a good middle of the road round (if you can stand the middle of the road) - good ballistics, good slug size, good ammo availability and choice, good ammo cost (almost as cheap as 9mm) and good magazine capacity support across handgun mfr's.

Is .40 the BEST at any one thing? Probably not, but life is full of trade-off's.
I wondered when the A-hole patrol would show up. I have other reasons for not being so fond of the 40 cal. but I do appreciate the "Look at my giant, all-knowing brain" mentality you moseyed on in with.

I was simply making an observation from my day at the range and what I saw. Nice rundown of all the reasons the 40 is right between the 9 and the 45. Thank you captain obvious for clearing everything up....
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by XD-Generate View Post
I wondered when the A-hole patrol would show up. I have other reasons for not being so fond of the 40 cal. but I do appreciate the "Look at my giant, all-knowing brain" mentality you moseyed on in with.

I was simply making an observation from my day at the range and what I saw. Nice rundown of all the reasons the 40 is right between the 9 and the 45. Thank you captain obvious for clearing everything up....
Out of curiosity, what are your 'other reasons' for not being fond of the .40 caliber cartridge.

I don't carry a .40, I carry a .45 most regularly, but on occasion I carry a handgun chambered in 5.7x28mm. (That ought to give you an idea of what I think about the veracity of most internet ballisticians and their bullshit testing methods and the reality of "stopping power" from a handgun).

That being said, I wouldn't nix the .40 as a solid self defense cartridge. Well, as solid a self defense cartridge as one can get inside of the confines of the pitiful world of handgun ballistics.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:41 PM   #10
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One more thing, the LEO's themselves might not have a say in the matter. Like here in Austin, TX it is mandatory that they carry one of the prescribed pistols...and both of them are .40 cal (Glock and S&W IIRC).
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