The .40 Caliber and the Big Ammo Question

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an article about how Department of Homeland Security struck a contract with ATK to acquire up to 450 million rounds of their .40 caliber HST rounds. Now that is a lot of ammo, but that is the maximum procurement amount. The contract is for 12 months with an extension of up to 4 additional years.

I love the .40 S&W. My XDM is chambered in it and thinking about getting a Glock 23 in .40 as well. There can be good and bad about having all of your weapons using the same ammo. To a point it is cheaper, since your only having to buy one type and can get a price break with bulk purchases. The downside is if your out of that ammo, your not shooting. I have considered getting a 9mm backup, since that ammo is readily available and not too pricey. I have many friends who carry and shoot .45 calibers. It is a good caliber, but more expensive than the .40 and you lose some distance with that big ole slug.

What got me interested in the .40 was the move by law enforcement agencies, both local and federal, to the .40 as a replacement to the 9mm. The 9mm is a nice round and I have been shooting those since the 90’s. It moves fast, but lacks the punch that people need to drop their target. Hollow points help, but it was still better to use multiple rounds to make sure the target drops. I remember an incident where I live in which a suspect was shot over 40 times and still lived. Now granted, the cops were lousy shots to make that many and not kill him, but it shows how a bigger person can take a lot of damage from those little bullets.

I found this chart of shot data:

This is the latest data that I’ve found on one shot incapacitation:

.357 Mag 125 JHP (the yardstick by which all others are measured) is

609 shootings,

585 “Game Over” – 96%

The 9mm 115 gr JHP +P+ (by several other companies now).

162 Shoot

147 G.O. – 91%

357 Sig 125 JHP was hoped to produce great things, but it has not produced (albeit there hasn’t been a bunch of data yet).

21 Shoots

19 G.O. – 91%

.40 S&W 165 gr Gold Saber

121 Shoots

114 G.O. – 94%

.45 ACP 230 gr Hydra-Shok

142 Shoots

136 G.O. – 96%

Although there isn’t a lot of data on it (22 shoots that I could find) the .40 S&W 135 HP is supposedly even higher than the 165, at 96% G.O. Many don’t trust the bullet because it doesn’t have as good a record on car windshields, etc. I love my .45 and given the choice, I’d carry my custom P14 anywhere. Yet, not everyone can master a .45’s recoil, and I carry a load in w/ 200 gr. HP (less recoil) that only rates the same as the .40. I would have no bones about carrying the .40 as it is the second most effective auto pistol round available.

Here is a link to a wider table of data covering more calibers. The .40 scores high on it as well.

With the .40, you get close to the same hitting and dropping power of the .45, but you get a magazine capacity closer to that of the 9mm. It is a great caliber and seems to be here to stay for many years.

Now despite how LE agencies have embraced it, 450 million rounds to buy. I can imagine there will be plenty for target practice and the such, but that is a lot of ammo. On top of that, they have a contract to aquire up to 150 million rounds of .223 rifle ammo. What does Homeland security think is going to happen where they will need that much ammo over the next 5 years?

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared
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