40 Cal (S&W) Ammo For Sale
History of 40 Cal (S&W) Ammo
The .40 S&W cartridge was developed with two specific goals in mind – to have more stopping power than the 9mm Parabellum, and better handling and manageability than the .45 ACP. With these goals in mind, a team comprised of technicians from Smith & Wesson and Winchester built the .40 S&W cartridge.
The final result from the Smith & Wesson/Winchester team was a rimless, 10x22mm round that housed a .40-inch (10mm) lead bullet weighing between 105 to 200 grain (gr). It’s considered a middleground ammunition, one that holds enough stopping power to be effective for home defense and concealed carry, and is still manageable to shoot and handle the recoil – even for those with smaller frames.
In its standard round, the .40 S&W casing measures .85 inch long and .424 inch at its base. It’s loaded to an average pressure of 35,000 psi, compared to the 37,500 psi of the standard 10mm cartridge.
In addition to its traditional name, the .40 S&W is also referred to as: .40 Cal, .40 Cal S&W, .40 Auto, 10x22mm, and 10mm Kurz.
Development of the .40 S&W
Smith & Wesson and Winchester introduced .40 Cal bullets in 1990, just six months after the Federal Bureau of Investigation requested the development of an ammunition with the stopping power of the .45 ACP, but with the ease of use of the 9mm.
In 1986, eight FBI agents and two bank robbers were involved in what has become known as the Miami Shootout in which FBI agents had to rely on their .38 Special revolvers. Both criminals were killed, as were two agents. Five other agents were shot and injured. The lack of stopping power, the limited ammunition supply, and the difficulty of quickly and efficiently reloading revolvers lead the FBI to seek out an ammunition cartridge that was more effective and lethal.
They opted for the 10mm cartridge and the S&W 1076 Auto. While significantly more powerful, the 10mm soon proved itself too difficult for many agents to control when firing, mostly due to its combination of harsh recoil and large grip size.
The FBI continued its search for a cartridge with less recoil that fit in existing 9mm frames and with the amount of penetration required by its agents. In 1990, the Smith & Wesson and Winchester .40 Cal ammo met these requirements. This new round took the FBI’s standard 10mm cartridge and shortened the casing, lowered the recoil and replaced the large primer with a small primer similar to what’s seen in a 9mm.
The FBI adopted it (briefly) and the caliber was enthusiastically embraced by law enforcement communities around the country. Police forces in Canada and Australia also adopted the .40 S&W and many still use the cartridge today.
Soon, civilians followed, offering their own endorsement of the .40 caliber bullet.
What Is .40 Ammo Good For?
A strong feature of .40 caliber ammo is that it’s a middleground cartridge. Although some consider it a compromise between the .45 ACP and the 9mm, others see it as a useful round on its own.
A .40 Cal round has more muzzle energy and down-range energy than a 9mm, although the same sized pistol in 9mm may hold more rounds since the cartridge is smaller. A pistol chambered in .40 S&W holds more rounds than it could with the .45 ACP, but the muzzle energy of the .45 is considerably higher than that of .40 caliber ammunition.
The .40 S&W strikes the right balance between muzzle energies and magazine capacity, and has been approved by exhaustive testing on the part of the FBI and many other agencies – which has resulted in the widespread adoption of the .40 S&W among the police community. It’s also worth noting that the .40 S&W has been adopted by the U.S. Coast Guard as its primary issue sidearm.
The .40 S&W As a Self-Defense Cartridge
The .40 S&W is also popular with civilians. A wide variety of options exist for bullet weight and design (if a manufacturer produces a new line of self-defense firearms, they typically offer it in .40 caliber).
Civilians appreciate the same benefits of the caliber that made it so popular with law enforcement: magazine capacity, muzzle energy, and limited recoil. With the accuracy of a 9mm, and improved manageability over the .45, it’s no wonder the .40 S&W has become popular for home defense and concealed carry – as seen in the number of pistols chambered in .40 S&W in compact and subcompact sizes.
Defensive .40 S&W ammunition is offered by several manufacturers – including Federal 40 S&W, Hornady and Magtech, just to name a few. Good quality .40 S&W jacketed hollow point (JHP) ammo may even create hydrostatic shock in a human target, causing vast damage throughout the body, not just where the bullet impacts.
Popular .40 S&W Pistols
.40 S&W ammo has become so popular among law enforcement, the military, and civilians, that firearm manufacturers now make a plethora of handguns chambered for the cartridge. These pistols often feature a standard double-stack magazine and most full-sized semi-automatics chambered to .40 S&W hold around 16 rounds per magazine.
Here are seven of the most popular .40 Cal pistols:
- Sig Sauer P226
Designed for the U.S. military, the Sig Sauer P226 is a full-sized semi-automatic pistol that looks like a traditional 1911. It’s used by armed forces throughout the world and comes in a range of variations, including an Elite and Legion. As a full-sized .40 S&W, most magazines hold a minimum of 15 rounds.
- Smith & Wesson M&P 40 M2.0
The Smith & Wesson M&P 40 M2.0 brings a full-sized striker-fire pistol to law enforcement and military personnel across the U.S. It’s durable and comfortable, with ergonomics that allow for all-day training. The M2.0 comes with interchangeable grips and three 15-round cartridges.
- Beretta PX4 Compact Carry
Falling between a full-sized pistol and a subcompact, the Beretta PX4 Compact Carry offers shooters a solid firearm that’s easy to conceal. This hammer-fired handgun features a rotary barrel system that reduces recoil, making the .40 S&W easily manageable. It holds a 12-round magazine, has a solid grip, and an ambidextrous slide stop, as well as a reversible magazine release, making it a great choice for left-handed shooters.
- Walther PPQ M2
For those who favor a striker-fire pistol, the Walther PPQ M2 .40 S&W offers the quality and craftsmanship expected of a Walther firearm with an elegant and ergonomic design. This lightweight pistol weighs in at 25 ounces empty, hosts an 11-round magazine, and features a smooth, 5.6-pound trigger pull. It’s available with the standard 4.2-inch barrel or the easier-to-handle 5 inch.
- Glock 27
The Glock 27 is the company’s subcompact semi-automatic pistol chambered to .40 S&W. It shoots like a Glock should shoot: accurate, smooth, and precise. If the 9-round magazine seems a little light on cartridges, swap it out for a full-sized magazine designed for the Glock 22 or Glock 23. The company also offers the pistol as a Glock 27 Gen 4, which features a customizable grip and dual recoil spring.
- Kahr PM40
The Kahr PM40 offers shooters a thin profile subcompact that is perfect for pocket carry. This striker-fired semi-auto pistol measures only 5.5 inches long and less than an inch wide. The standard magazine holds 5 rounds and the Kahr PM40 comes with a longer magazine that acts as a grip extension, making the handgun 6+1.
- Charter Arms Pitbull
The only revolver on the list, the Charter Arms Pitbull .40 S&W provides a 5-shot cylinder and weighs in at only 20 ounces. With a patented dual coil spring assembly in the extractor, Charter Arms solve the problem of loading and unloading rimless ammo in a wheel gun. The 2.3-inch barrel may seem like it leaves a lot to recoil, but the full-sized rubber grip makes the revolver easy to control.
.40 S&W Ballistics and Ammo Types
The .40 S&W cartridge comes in a variety of loads and bullets. Some of the most popular ammo for .40 caliber handguns include:
- Full metal jacket (FMJ): .40 S&W FMJ bullets feature a lead bullet encased in a harder metal to help the projectile keep its shape as it travels toward its target; the FMJ is the most common target shooting round in most calibers
- Total metal jacket (TMJ): A .40 S&W TMJ bullet is made of lead and fully covered in a harder metal, where an FMJ is exposed at the base of the bullet (inside the casing); TMJ ammo limits lead exposure to shooters and is required by some indoor ranges
- Jacketed hollow point (JHP): JHP bullets are wrapped in a metal encasement, but leave a hollow point in the lead to help with expansion, wound size, and stopping power; .40 S&W JHP ammo is often used in self defense and duty rounds
- Brass enclosed base (BEB): BEB bullets are completely enclosed in brass, limiting lead exposure when shooting; many of these are specially designed for enclosed shooting ranges and include a non-toxic primer
- Complete metal jacket (CMJ): Similar to TMJ bullets, CMJ features fully encapsulated lead, limiting exposure; they also have less smoke release
- Frangible: Often used when over-penetration is a concern, frangible bullets are made from copper powder and shatter on impact; these bullets not only protect bystanders, they also eliminate the risk of ricochet to the shooter
When it comes to ballistics, the .40 S&W holds its own and offers a full range of options. On average, the cartridge specs are as follows:
- Height: 0.85 inches
- Width: 0.424 inches
- Speed: 1,074 fps
- Energy: 423 ft•lbf
- Bullet weight: 165 gr
- Recoil: 0.74
.40 S&W vs. 10mm
When it comes to comparisons, the .40 S&W is most often associated with the 10mm. After all, they share the same bullet size, but they use different pistol primers. The 40 S&W has a small pistol primer, whereas the 10mm has a large pistol primer. Where the 10mm’s shell measures .992 inch in length, the .40 S&W measures .85 inch. In width, there’s only a fraction of a difference, with the larger shell measuring .425 inch and the smaller .424 inch.
Because the casing is smaller, the .40 S&W cartridge holds less powder, which equals less power. With the 10mm, the muzzle energy comes in around 546 ft•lbf, while the .40 measures at 423 ft•lbf. For recoil, the 10mm displayed .96 relative recoil (rr) and the .40 S&W, .74rr.
So what does all this mean?
It means that both cartridges offer a significant impact and punch, the 10mm a little more so than the .40 S&W. It means that for self defense and concealed carry, if a shooter can handle the recoil, either ammo works sufficiently.
If a shooter isn’t sensitive to recoil and wants a handgun caliber that can stop a mountain lion or other medium- to large-sized predator, the 10mm is definitely the better option. In the same manner, if the shooter is a 120-pound woman with limited handgun experience, hand her the .40 S&W.
Regardless of its conception, the .40 S&W has proven itself to be a cartridge worth carrying. From its initial design for the FBI through its years of service with the armed forces, the .40 S&W has the necessary power, velocity, and lethal force to handle the needs of law enforcement, the military, and thousands of armed civilians. It provides protection, defense, and plenty of recreation shooting for people across the country who enjoy using it as .40 Cal practice ammo.
What is 40 S&W ammo?
The .40 S&W cartridge was specially designed as a bridge between the 9mm and .45 ACP after a new bullet round was requested by the FBI. Created and designed by a team that included both Smith & Wesson and Winchester, the final product demonstrated more stopping power than the 9mm and more manageability than the .45 ACP. The cartridge is a rimless shell that houses a .40 inch (10mm) bullet that weighs between 105 and 200 grain (gr) and is loaded to an average pressure of 35,000 pounds per square inch (psi). It’s also referred to as .40 Cal S&W, .40 Cal, .40 Auto, 10x22mm, and 40 Kurz.
What does 40 Caliber S&W mean?
The term .40 Caliber S&W refers to the .40 S&W cartridge, which features a .40 caliber bullet. This cartridge was released in 1990 and was created by a collaboration between Smith & Wesson and Winchester after the FBI requested a handgun bullet that had more stopping power than a 9mm, but less recoil than a .45 ACP. The result was the .40 S&W, a 10mm (.40-inch) bullet housed in rimless casing that’s .85-inch long. Its most common usages include law enforcement and as a personal defense round.
What is the best .40 Caliber ammo for self defense?
The .40 S&W cartridge is popular cartridge for self defense. It has effective stopping power, as well as a limited recoil, powerful muzzle energy, and a higher magazine capacity than the .45 ACP or 10mm cartridges. Firearms chambered in .40 S&W are also easier to carry concealed than the larger self defense pistols. Self defense rounds are available from many manufacturers like Hornady, Magtech, and Federal and are often jacketed hollow point (JHP) rounds. These types of bullets have greater stopping power than a traditional full metal jacket (FMJ) and are also less likely to overpenetrate a target, a concern in many self defense situations.
What is more powerful, 9mm or 40 S&W?
The .40 S&W is a more powerful cartridge than the 9mm Parabellum. It has a larger bullet (.40 inch vs .380 inch) and when comparing the same brand and design, the .40 S&W round generally penetrates deeper and has a greater expansion, giving it more stopping power (while this is generally true, there are some situations in which the 9mm may penetrate deeper). Although the .40 S&W is more powerful, it does have more recoil (although not as much as the .45 ACP) and is often described as "snappy."
Why does 40 S&W have a flat nose?
The flat nose of the .40 S&W cartridge is technically called a meplat and is designed to impact the bullet’s ballistics and wounding capability. Much like jacketed hollow points (JHP), the meplat tip allows the bullet to expand more on impact, creating greater internal damage and reducing the risk of overpenetration. Because the .40 S&W was specifically created to be used by the FBI and law enforcement, it was designed with as much stopping power as possible and its cartridges almost always feature the flat tip.
Is there a difference between 40 Cal and 40 S&W?
No, .40 Cal and .40 S&W refer to the same cartridge. The term .40 Cal refers to a .40 caliber bullet while the term .40 S&W refers to .40 Smith & Wesson, the round’s technical name.
What is the preferred grain for 40 Cal ammo?
Like many ammunitions, the .40 S&W comes in a variety of weights, ranging from 105 to 200 grain (gr). While the standard weight for the round is 180 gr, many shooters opt for 165 gr as it has less recoil and tends to be easier to handle.
40 Cal (S&W) Ballistics: Chart of Average 40 Cal (S&W) Ballistics
Note: This information comes from the manufacturer and is for informational purposes only. The actual ballistics obtained with your firearm can vary considerably from the advertised ballistics. Also, ballistics can vary from lot to lot with the same brand and type load.
|40 Cal (S&W) Bullet WEIGHT||Muzzle VELOCITY (fps)||Muzzle ENERGY (ft. lbs.)||Mid-Range TRAJECTORY (in.)||Barrel Length (in.)|
|Muzzle||50 yds.||100 yds.||Muzzle||50 yds.||100 yds.||50 yds.||100 yds.|
|135 Grain Guard Dog||1200||1040||940||430||325||265||n/a||n/a||4"|
|155 Grain JHP||1175||n/a||n/a||475||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|165 Grain FMJ||1050||n/a||n/a||404||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|165 Grain JHP||1100||n/a||n/a||443||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|180 Grain FMJ||985||936||893||388||350||319||1.4||5||4"|
|155 Grain +P||1300||n/a||n/a||582||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|180 Grain +P||1100||n/a||n/a||484||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
ive put 1000 rounds thru my gun, I have yet to have any jams or misfires. if you want a good cheap round for target practice, this is the round for you.
springfield emp said:
just what i ordered, no problems, speedy delivery, easy site to use & great customer sevice.
Quality seem to be top notch. I had no problems with the ammo at all. Fired cleanly. A real bargain.
no fail to feed no misfires, no nothing very enjoyable to shoot when there no HICCUPS
Have used 200 of the 250 rounds purchased with NO problems at all in a Taurus or in my Hi-Point. I will be back for more as it is a great practice round!
Shot ammo in a Glock 27 Gen 4 with very little problem. Ammo jammed a couple of times, but I don't think the ammo was the problem. I will buy more Prvi Partizan ( PPU) ammo when possible in .40 cal, 9mm, and 357 sig. Great stuff. Shoots cleaner than most other I have found.
These are great for my line of work.
Ammo would look better if the aluminum casing was replaced with brass.
This is my first purchanse from Ammo.com, but it won't be my last. I've ordered ammo from several web sites, all promising the lowest price for the same ammo. In a direct comparison, this is the lowest price for exactly the same ammo. The ammo came well packaged in 50-round sets and fired flawlessly. Hard to complain about that.
Great price and quick delivery. All is good, no issues.
Very good round for the money my gun loves a hotter round I shoot a hi point 40 s/w it just runs better with a hot load other than that its a sweet round for any 40 out there I'll buy more but a hotter load.
Ammo seemed to work well . It was shipped on time and we are very happy with it. We will order again along with some .45acp when you have it available
Better than expected
Not at the Federal level. God knows what kind of restrictions exist in some of the more helsilh SSR's, but here in Tennessee, your ammo purchases are restricted only by your bank acount and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of your ride.
very pleased with the ammo and how fast it shipped.