. 40 Caliber Handguns – Why Right Now Is A Good Time To Buy

by Sam Hoober
Alien Gear Holsters' Sam Hoober lays out the case to buy a .40 caliber handgun despite 9mm being so much more popular these days.

40 Caliber .40 S&W Ammo Ammunition
. 40 Caliber Handguns – Why Right Now Is A Good Time To Buy
Sam Hoober
Sam Hoober

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Ever thought about getting a .40-caliber pistol?

It's one of the popular calibers for concealed carry and for service pistols, so there's plenty of reason to do so. Almost every major manufacturer offers a pistol in this chambering and all the major ammunition manufacturers do as well. Ballistic testing over the years and performance in service with police agencies has shown .40 S&W to be a very capable self-defense round.

Right now is probably the best time to buy one.

It's not so much that .40 S&W is having some sort of renaissance. Actually, if anything the opposite is the case….which is exactly why there has never been a better time to get one.

Why a 40 Caliber when 9mm Is Just More Popular?

There's no question that 9mm is the most popular round for home defense and concealed carry. In the past few decades, the ammunition available for the 9mm round has improved by leaps and bounds, to the point where there isn't much advantage to carrying a larger round short of the magnum revolver calibers.

This was part of why the FBI announced they would be switching from .40 S&W for their standard-issue duty guns to 9mm.

Also, when you look at so many new pistols that are announced by major manufacturers in the past couple years, they seem to be slower to make one in .40 than in 9mm. Since small pistols for CCW are more popular, the 9mm round is far more suited to the application given that .40 S&W is harder recoiling and can be tougher on pistols that aren't designed to take it – as some manufacturers have been guilty of just slapping a slightly larger barrel in a 9mm pistol rather than taking the time to do it right.

Since 9mm is the Goldilocks cartridge for a lot of guns – just small enough to be fired in small, medium or big pistols, just mild enough for most shooters and performs well enough to be relied upon – some think it's the perfect CCW caliber. As a result, the bad news for the .40 cal is more pistols are coming out that are only offered in 9mm, whereas they used to be offered in both.

That Means You Should Pounce On A .40 S&W Now

Smith and Wesson M&P40 pistol in .40 S&W
Smith and Wesson M&P40 pistol in .40 S&W

As a result, there are a whole lot of .40 S&W guns sitting on gun store shelves and on gun auction site listings that aren't being bought. There they sit, taking up space and not selling, not being shot and not being carried in a concealed carry holster.

.40 caliber Handgun For Sale
.40 caliber Handgun For Sale : https://goo.gl/tFyk36

If you're comfortable with shooting the .40 S&W, that makes right now a good time to act.

This is just the personal, anecdotal experience of the guy writing this article, but if you look at gun auction and gun retailer websites there's a good chance you'll see a popular gun in .40 going for less than the 9mm version.

Sometimes the difference is marginal (a few bucks) but sometimes it's a difference of $50 to $100 or more.

That could mean the difference putting the gun you want in the safe (or in your gun holster) sooner rather than later, if you're the “save up until the purchase makes no difference” type.

Gun stores may also be willing to cut a deal on a .40 that's just taking up cabinet space.

Oh, and a lot of pistols are easily converted from .40 to 9mm and back. In many cases, you just drop in the 9mm barrel and off you go. You will need the 9mm magazines, though.

It's also not like ammunition makers are going to drop the .40 S&W anytime soon.

Given the popularity of the cartridge, while not a Miss Congeniality of rounds to be sure, it's not like the .40 S&W is going anywhere.

About Sam Hoober

Sam Hoober is a contributing editor at aliengearholsters.com, as well as for Bigfoot Gun Belts. He also writes weekly columns for Daily Caller and USA Carry.

  • 29 thoughts on “. 40 Caliber Handguns – Why Right Now Is A Good Time To Buy

    1. I have a Tarus Millennium Pro .40 cal. I’ve had it for a long time & I love it.
      I has a kick, so I had some magna ports installed on the barrel so it will stay on target much better.
      No kick at all.
      I’ll never get rid of the gun, but I’m ready to purchase a Tarus 9mm.

      1. Dave, go for it, and as you said keep the 40. I own a number of handguns in most every caliber, and I own a number of Taurus handguns. You will like the Gen2 9mm Taurus. I own the Gen 1 Millennium and the Gen2 in 9 and 40, as well as in 45 in the Gen1. All are great pistols, but some people look down on Taurus, but not me. I carry a kahr PM40 in my pocket and a S&W M&P40 Shield in the small of my back, but my Gen2 Taurus shoots nicer then the S&W. The Taurus is a hair bigger so I use it for a seat gun in my trucks. The Taurus Gen2 is selling darn cheap for as great a pistol as it is. Enjoy the 9mm, Dave

      1. A 40 Cal or 40S&W Revolver is a little hard to come by. Taurus made a nice one, but I believe they are discontinued, but you should be able to find a new one or a used one. Carter makes a 40 revolver. Other then that I am not sure who may make one. Both of the above brands have their haters, but most of that is a self hate and both should make a fine handgun for you. You could go to GunBroker or GunAuction or Buds or others. You should be able to click on Revolvers and then click on 40S&W, and you should find a few. Good Luck.

    2. torino – YEP……we ALLmiss – especially when under stress, timing, moving, fear, etc…….so have LOTS of ammo. A 5-shot revolver MIGHT be OK for someone who cannot – or will not – want to learn how to use an automatic – along with the VERY infrequent malfunction. But for those who can and will be able to ‘fix’ anything…then an automatic with a boatload of rounds in in is WAYMO better.

    3. All handguns are weak sisters to a rifle or shotgun. But as Rocky my Viet Nam Huey/Cobra pilot friend says, “I don’t want to be shot by any of them”. The 10mm short (.40) is as good a choice as any.
      From the nighttime .44 Mag “one shot wonder” on down, pick the one you can get in the 10 ring at 15 yards and double-tap quickly without becoming deaf, dumb and blind from the flash and kickback. Hence the 9 as a popular universal round for small and average people to carry. And most shooters miss more than hit intended point of aim under stress anyway. The rest is nothing more than Las Vegas odds of success

      1. Torino I very much agree with your friend Rocky. I use his same quote all to often. A very good friend of mine who was having problems with his hands as he was getting older started carrying a Ruger SR .22. One day at breakfast he told me he felt that any quickly well placed .22 shots that hit his target are much more effective then any misses with a .45, of course meaning it’s much easier to handle. I have no desire to argue calibers as I believe to each his (or her) own. Personally I’m lucky enough to have a large variety of arms to carry. Just like clothes I wear different arms for different occasions and yes, I practice with them all. For example when I go to the Docs I will carry a small top break Beretta .25 in my pocket because they have a no firearms sign. I have seen what a .22 caliber can do by moving through, spinning and fragmenting once inside a human body. I lose no confidence when I carry my own SR .22 and for damn sure I don’t ever want to hit by one. I’ve heard all the stories that they can’t penetrate some clothing and all the other reasons against carrying a .22 but how often does this happen? I’ll take my chances Obtw, I love my Beretta Storm .40 cal. It’s a joy to shoot. Please thank Rocky for his service….

        1. When I was about 10 years old I fired a hollow point .22 LR from a target rifle into a large bar of Fels Naphtha soap (remember that soap?) Of course it entered making a .22 size hole. Where it came out the hole in the bar was about the thickness of the bar, probably an inch and a half, and the end was flared out like a miniature trumpet! PLEASE, DO NOT shoot me with a .22 LR Hollow point!!!

    4. I noticed the same thing, 40s are selling for less. I picked up a couple of KelTec Sub2000 in 40 for truck guns, and they are selling for $100 less then 9mm, and that is $100 less each. I teethed mainly on 38 special and my all time Smile Round the 357Mag. I like 9mm and I own a number of 9s that I also own their brothers in 40 and 45acp. The 45 is always the Big Brother in little pocket type guns, and it is mainly the height of the handle that is just a little to long, and the action has to be a little longer . I came into 40S&W last, and yes I like the 9 and 45, but I carry the 40. No this ain’t a caliber war, it is just the round is the best compromise for my daily carry. Now I got a great deal on some 40 135g Smoking Hot, Hard on the Firearm Corbon which is a Smile Round in a small 40. In the Sub2000 it is a good compromise to the 9mm, but mainly due to saving a $100 per carbine. Lets face it the FBI figured their 38 was not enough, so they jumped way up to the 10mm, dropped down to the 40, and now they are at 9mm, which means they have compromised into a good round. I’m 64 and have been shooting for 52 years or more. I figure when I am 84 I will dig out my pocket 9s as they are a little lighter, smaller, and easier to rack, but until them a 40 will do just fine, and a 45 can be better yet. I plan on getting a 10mm to see it I like it any better then my 38Super, and I have one in a pocket size AMT Backup which I shoot but don’t carry. Winchester makes a great 9×23 which is a 38Super Super, great Smile Round. Carry and Shoot what yaw got! Dave

    5. The only reason the fbi switched to 9mm was because new recruits were failing qualification.
      It’s the same story as the 10mm.

    6. I purchased a Brand New CZ-P09 in .40 S&W for $380 when then 9mm version was $450. Online retailers like Bud’s and GAG tend to express the .40 trends best as I believe they lower the prices to reflect lack of market in this caliber. Plus, as the article said, there are a pile of M&P .40s out there as police trade ins. A friend of mine just bought a new/un-issued police trade with three mags and NS for under $400.

    7. Not all Govt agency’s have gone back to 9 mm. One of the calibers stocked up on most during the Govt’s ammo buying spree was 40 S&W. It wasn’t mostly hardball either. Now is a perfect time to put a .40 S&W handgun or two in the safe.
      They are plentiful and inexpensive as is the ammo sitting on shelves

      1. One reason for the USGovt .40 buy is for the airline pilots. Unknown to most everyone, there are many thousands ( the number is classified, obviously) of airline pilots carrying H&K USP Compact .40 pistols with extra magazines……everytime they go to work. They don’t show it – but they are there.

        And they get trained and retrained often – and they shoot up a LOT of .40 ammo in that training and requalifications. Lots!

        THAT is a GOOD reason for the Feds to buy lots of .40’s…….and a good program.

    8. Varity is the spice of life. My semi-auto stable contains 380 ACP, 9mms, 357 Sigs, 40 S&Ws, 10mm, 400 Corbon, 45 ACPs. There is plenty “spice” in my safe. As a handloader for 48 years I don’t have any trouble feeding any of my toys. Life is too short to bicker about different cartridges; enjoy them all.

      1. YES, Roy !! Everyone SHOULD have them all !! God point. Any questions??

        Like…..like….well, what if they suddenly can’t make anymore 9mm…? THEN what would you do…..Well, I’D start packin’ my .40, again….. 🙂 🙂

    9. I usually buy 40 cal and get the 9mm conversion barrell for it so i can have both guns. Most guns will only go 40 too 9mm not 9mm up to 40cal. Its not as convenient as having 2 separate guns but its the next best thing.

      1. I also use caliber conversion barrels, but only for practice. The .40 breech face is slightly larger, so the 9mm casing head does not fit as snugly. This usually means that occasionally you will have a problem with extraction of 9mm from a .40 slide (breech face). Not all the time, but if you’re OK with your defensive pistol being a little less reliable, then have at it. I’m not.

    10. Enough of the caliber wars! The author’s point was that the .40 is still a capable round and the guns are cheaper now due to the sudden love affair with 9MM. I shoot 9’s 45’s and 40’s and I’m happy with all of them.

      1. I have a Glock 35 with three 5.3 inch barrels: .40 S&W barrel (original,) 9mm barrel, .357 SIG barrel. I have 10 17-round 9mm magazines and 2 33-round 9mm mags. I have 10 15-round and 4 22-round .40 S&W mags that ALSO hold 15 and 22-rounds .357 SIG.
        You will find that shooting 125 [email protected] fps .357 SIG ammo gives some REALLY SNAPPY recoil!!!

    11. I feel that the .45ACP is a much more capable round and, as long as you take the time to practice, is much more capable than either the 9mm or .40 cal in “knock down and stay down” power.
      I own a Bersa Ultra-Compact in .45ACP and will put it up against any other similar handgun as far as utility is concerned.

      1. Except that ‘knock down and stay down’ power is a fantasy. What you want from a handgun caliber is the ability to STOP THE LETHAL THREAT PRONTO. Whether or not the suspect survives is up to the ER docs. Nice try; no cigar.

    12. I still say that a 45acp is Much better than either a 9mm. or a 40 Cal! You can get a 45acp pistol with a 15 round Magazine! The FNX-45! 45 acp ammo is much more available than 40 cal and I can get good quality 45acp for 30 cents a round!

      1. No, it’s not. It’s actually the least efficient round of the three for it’s high mass and low muzzle energy in comparison. While it could be so much more than it is, the development of the .45acp has been handicapped because of its inescapable ties to the 1911 and all that design’s limitations. .40S&W and 9mm have so much more variety and versatility because the modern handguns can keep up with it. Old timers won’t accept that .45acp can progress past what it was 100 years ago when the most popular handgun of that caliber is that old too.

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