The Forty Comes of Age

by
posted on November 4, 2014
sw40.jpg

I well remember Smith & Wesson’s new product press conference at a Las Vegas SHOT Show conference room. They announced the introduction of a brand-new automatic pistol cartridge—the .40 S&W—and the third generation gun to go with it. That was 1990 and nothing has been quite the same since. Before the introduction, the firearms press was awash with stories of policemen going down in a blaze of glory and a pile of brass from their ineffectual 9 mm pistols. Presumably, policemen in general were dying for a .45 pistol the size and weight of those vintage 9 mms. It is interesting to look at this round’s performance at the quarter century mark, as well as its impact on small arms in general.

I might be missing something, but you just don’t seem to hear much about the .40 S&W being a poor fight-stopper. If the .40 has silenced that criticism, it has done its job. Technology in firearms and ammunition has improved to the point where relatively few police officers are undergunned in handgun fights with criminals. Skillfully used, most police service handguns are up to the job. That includes the steadily popular 9 mms, which benefit most of all from improved ammunition. The .40 S&W is a pivotal cartridge and continues to be the most effective pistol cartridge in wide use, particularly when all its characteristics are concerned.

Latest

Mossberg Maverick 88
Mossberg Maverick 88

Mossberg Maverick 88: Mossberg's Budget-Priced Pump Shotgun

The Maverick 88 is one of Mossberg's best known shotgun models and is currently available in 14 different versions.

The Men And Guns Of D-Day: 82nd Airborne Division

Watch this segment of American Rifleman Television "The Men And Guns Of D-Day" to learn more about the men of the 82nd Airborne Division, their stories and the firearms they used during "The Great Crusade."

MidwayUSA Grants $2.3 Million To Help Youth Shooting Teams

The MidwayUSA Foundation recently announced the payout of more than $2.23 million in cash grants to 612 youth shooting teams.

Review: Bond Arms Roughneck

The Roughneck derringer from Bond Arms is an entry-level option in 9 mm Luger, but don’t let that fool you, as the quality of its materials and craftsmanship rival those of the company’s top-end variants.

Book Review: The US M3/M3A1 Submachine Gun

Michael Heidler, no stranger to writing about firearm history, has produced a most impressive volume on one of this author’s favorite World War II firearms, the M3 “grease gun.”

Sniping In Korea: 1950-1953

When U.S. forces rushed to stop the North Koreans from overrunning South Korea in 1950, there were almost no American snipers. As the battle lines stabilized, that would change, and the war would become ideal for the employment of well-equipped and well-trained snipers.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.