Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Pistols and Handguns

Maybe I Was Wrong About the .40

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David in MN:
I'm not trying to poopoo one caliber or another. God only knows I have enough problems keeping inventory of 9mm, .357, and .45 ACP. But if the .40 has some advantage in action I might be swayed.

--- Quote from: donaldj on August 16, 2018, 09:35:58 AM ---Recoil spring strength varies in firearms designed to shoot a certain caliber. The 9mm will typically have a spring with a bit less strength than a 40.

Guns are engineered with this in mind. Buying a 40 over a 9mm is not increasing reliability (assuming all else is equal).

--- End quote ---

That's what I've always assumed. And I tend to be biased that you buy the engine made for the chassis. Which, if you buy a modern gun, is almost always the 9mm, especially if it's a Euro type. For what its worth the Glock, M&P, Sig, H&K, XD, and so many others were designed from the ground up to be 9mm that were then fit to other calibers. It's the same reason I don't like 9mm 1911s. It was purpose built to be a .45.

If I wanted a .45 that wasn't a 1911 I would buy a H&K MK 23. It was purpose built in .45. I don't know of a gun purpose built in .40 S&W. That's my big complaint. When I see gun companies do line extensions I can't help but think that they're giving me a framing hammer that can also be a tack hammer and an engineering hammer. Sometimes you get lucky like the XDM and sometimes you create a shitshow like the G21. But you're still buying a pistol/caliber mismatch. My father in law shoots a Coonan and it's goofy as all get out.

That's the bias I have that keeps me in 9mm.

There is a pretty common sentiment in military and law enforcement armorer circles that 40 S&W causes more wear and tear than 9mm.  Not sure if it has been quantified in terms of failures.  But long-term reliability may be another condideration.

David, I get that having a purposefully built pistol, from the ground up, for the caliber you are expecting can be considered a desirable scenario. But to your example, there are chassis made for several different engines. The designers have a range of things to consider when designing, and different engines with HP and torque may be one of them.

In the end, it boils down to design input requirements. What must that pistol frame support? What loads must it accommodate? What mean time between failures must be achieved, and what total round count must it endure? Truth is, there's engineers who get paid full time to think of these things in design. There's then a whole bunch of engineers and technicians that do hands-on design verification to test. There are probably over a thousand design requirements that get considered when designed, and then these are tested.

The best companies (especially the ones going for lucrative military contracts) will try to do as much actual testing as possible to uncover design issues. Decent companies will more likely take limited data and extrapolate to the extremes of their requirements. And craptastic companies will likely just perform a paperwork analysis only that says "we checked our facts against our facts and found our facts were facts".

Bottom line, you have every right to your preference. My recommendation is that you go beyond preference, determine what your design and usability requirements are, and ensure the firearms considered actually meet those. 'Converted' designs (from 9mm to 40) are not necessarily bad, and may meet all requirements imposed on them.


Background on wear, speed, and accuracy:

FBI Decides On 9mm As Their #1 Choice And Have Tons Of Science Behind Their Decision

Earlier this year is when the FBI announced their return to the 9mm after finding that 40S&W rounds were causing too much excessive wear to their firearms.
 The majority of FBI shooters are both FASTER in shot strings fired and more ACCURATE with shooting a 9mm Luger vs shooting a .40 S&W (similar sized weapons)

Does pressure increase reliability?  I mean the gun is recoil operated, not gas operated. They are sorta correlated but....357 sig recoil suggests that you can get very high pressure with somewhat less recoil.

Isn't it a threshold thing, not a graduated thing? It needs enough recoil to cycle, period. After you reach that, more recoil is just a PITA unless you want terminal ballistics or range profile or some such.


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