.40 Smith & Wesson

by
posted on August 10, 2009
wiley-clapp.jpg

I can well remember Smith &Wesson's Tommy Campbell standing in front of the Gunwriting Corps with a big announcement. It was during SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show in early 1990 and the big news was the .40 S&W cartridge.

This was the time of the semi-automatic pistol in law enforcement, when the 9 mm was most common, but a sprinkling of .45s were around. Everybody wanted to have a 9 mm-sized .45 cartridge and they wanted it in a 9mm-sized gun. Impossible on the face of it, but the clever gun engineers at Smith & Wesson and the equally clever ammo engineers at Winchester came up with a 9 mm-length cartridge that shot a medium-bore (.40-caliber) bullet.

Called the .40 S&W, the new round took off like a moon rocket. Within the year, most pistol makers were building a .40 S&W pistol on their 9 mm platform. Then, several leading police agenciesput the .40 in service as soon as the first guns were available.

In actual street shootings, the new load quickly earned its spurs. It was literally a great idea and the .40 is the unquestioned champion of American law enforcement service pistol cartridges. Campbell was right on the money when he said: "It gives you a 180 at 950 and it will make major."

Latest

Win94lead
Win94lead

The Winchester Model 94: History & Disassembly

Compact, reliable and powerful, Winchester's Model 1894 lever-actions may not have the popularity it once had with Western settlers, prospectors, law enforcement officers, hunters and ranchers, but its legacy remains today and is a fan favorite in Winchester's current product line.

NRA Gun of the Week: Fabarm USA Autumn

On this week’s “Gun of the Week” video preview, American Rifleman examines a first from Fabarm, a side-by-side break-action shotgun called the Autumn.

The Armed Citizen® Sept. 17, 2021

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

EOTech Launches Anti-Counterfeit Measures

EOTech has launched a campaign targeting those who create and sell illegal copies of its military sighting systems.

The .405 Winchester: History and Performance

Now largely a forgotten footnote in cartridge development, the .405 Winchester was once the most powerful rimmed cartridge capable of use in a lever-action rifle and was a favorite of Theodore Roosevelt.

Colt Mustang .380 ACP: The Pocket-Size 1911

Based off the classic 1911 design, the small Colt Mustang chambered in .380 ACP is easily concealable and shares the same classic look in its tiny frame.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.