When Is .40 S&W A Reasonable Choice?

With the gun enthusiast mainstream wholesale transitioning to 9mm for self defense use, we hear cries that any other cartridges are unsuitable. Most don’t bother to consider the context behind this.  Right now, we’re seeing Gen 3 Glock 22 police trade in guns. They tend to be very affordable. Many may be tempted to pass them up in favor of a Glock 17 or 19. Or maybe even some other manufacturers offering. The question is, are the former worth considering for self defense?

For the hobbyist level shooter who actually shoots regularly, it may not make much sense unless they convert the gun to a 9mm with a barrel swap. That may or may not make sense economically.

The reality is that most gun owners aren’t hobbyists or shooters. They want a handgun that they can defend themselves or their home with. A .40 S&W isn’t a bad option for those folks. Ammunition cost differences are negligible when only firing a couple hundred rounds per year. Consider that if we look at Lucky Gunner today we find that Blazer Brass 180gr .40 S&W for $245.00 per case of 1000. In contrast, Blazer Brass 115gr 9mm for $215.00 for a case of 1000. In essence, there’s about a $1.50 per box difference. By the way, prices are as of the time I wrote this on July 17 2017.

While .40 S&W may not be as controllable as 9mm in general, it is still a viable self defense cartridge. It also makes major in USPSA, if you’re concerned about such things.

By my math, assuming the current deal of $309.95 for an LEO trade Gen 3 Glock 22 and a Gen 4 Glock 19 for $539.00, you would need to go through about 7600 rounds before you started to see the economic edge go to the Glock 19. Just food for thought. It’s not bad to be frugal when necessary.

Happy Shooting.

9 Replies to “When Is .40 S&W A Reasonable Choice?”

  1. Frugality is a good quality.
    For myself; I’ve never “warmed” to the .40. I am happy that 10mm bullets are plentiful, though.

    1. I started on a .40. The recoil characteristics on that particular gun (USP40C) sucked. The Sig 229 was more pleasant as it didn’t seem like you were feeling the slide hitting the end of its travel.

      1. Interesting.
        Again I “started” on the .45 then went to 9mm and on to others. My brother went to .40 early on – I’ve shot his Glocks which I found unpleasant. I found the .40 to be “whippy”. Ironically (in view of your experience) is that the one .40 that I have liked was the USP compact.

        1. Ah. My progression was USP40C to 1911 in .45 ACP (about 12 years of that) then to a Glock 19. Partly it was I could finally reach the trigger with the Gen 4 Glock 19 (always carried the In condition 1 for that reason) and partly that pulling my pants back up with an all steel 1911 was awkward as shit and I also had concerns about future sciatica.

          1. Dunno. heavy is as heavy does; I tend to make up the weight difference in ammo. I also have my pants pulled up before I holster.
            Trigger reach can be a huge factor; when I had to teach the M9 I trained the small-handed folks to cheat and thumb-cock the beast on the way up – that is, the ones I’d trust. The others went non-qual.

          2. yeah there seems to be two camps where guns and bathrooms are concerned. One says never take it off and just tuck the holster in your pants. the other says they’re taking it off and setting it down. I”m pretty sure the latter are the ones responsible for the occasional gun left in the bathroom while the former are probably more likely to be the ones to ND into the tile floor.

            “the ones I trust.” Lol that’s great.

  2. I guess I had the “Napoleon” syndrome. At 5’4 and 120 lbs. I started with the Sig 220, .45. I couldn’t hit a thing with it. I sold it to buy a wedding ring. Bad choice all the way around. Next was the Sig 239 in .40 S&W. My accuracy was better but still not good. Then I found my “true love” a Sig 226 in 9mm. With a bit of practice I found I was not a bad shot at all. The moral of my story is bigger is not better if you are not accurate. If you can’t handle the recoil, its not a good choice for you. You gotta hit the mark.

    Second moral to the story: Sig makes an awesome weapon.

  3. “Two Camps” Aye.
    Seems that most of the pieces left in stalls are from “Only Ones” aka LEO’s. Course it could be that those are the ones reported.

    1. Eh, there’s been a few CCWs that have done it too. Clearly they aren’t paying attention.

      If you know of another view, let me know. lol

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