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Thread: Caliber Question

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    It is decided that my new carry weapon will be a S&W M&P compact. The problem I am having is deciding on a caliber. I am a hardcore .40 smith guy and would love to get it in that caliber but m afraid teh recoil may be a bit much for a sub compact size gun.

    So, I query those of you who have fired both 9mm and .40 in a small gun with less to hold on to...Does the .40 have that much punch?

    Again, not a debate on which is teh better round, just a judgement on the recoil between the 2 in a sub-compact world.

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    Lone Star Veteran Gator5713's Avatar
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    Well, I'm not an M&P fan myself... but, in the K&K P2000 (also a compact 'carry' sized gun) I did not find the .40 too much to handle at all, in fact, I quite like the way it handled and it is on my 'to get' list... But then again, I am 6'2" and weigh around 200lbs and the 'carry sized' 1911s in .45 don't bother me... (although they are a bit 'punchy'.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    Some people hate the .40 S&W because the recoil on it is so snappy, even in a 3.5" barrel. Other people can shoot hot .357 Magnum defense loadsout of1 7/8" barrels well.

    I'd try to find a place where you can shoot every caliber that's available in the M&P compact and choose the most powerful caliber you can handle reliably. Only you know what you can handle.

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    If I had 800 bucks I would look at the H&K, but am trying to keep it around $500 which put me lookin at XD sub compact, M&P, and the PPS. The M&P wa sthe most comfortable without being too chunky like the XD. The PPS just felt terrible in my hands.

    I also considered a Bersa thunder 380. Now dont laugh. I put a couple hundred rounds through my Dads and fell in love with it. And at the price it was better than the 2x as expensive PPK/S. The downfall is the lack of good holsters and the price of extra mags.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    Walkeraviator wrote:
    If I had 800 bucks I would look at the H&K, but am trying to keep it around $500 which put me lookin at XD sub compact, M&P, and the PPS. The M&P wa sthe most comfortable without being too chunky like the XD. The PPS just felt terrible in my hands.

    I also considered a Bersa thunder 380. Now dont laugh. I put a couple hundred rounds through my Dads and fell in love with it. And at the price it was better than the 2x as expensive PPK/S. The downfall is the lack of good holsters and the price of extra mags.
    Yeah, H&K make some great guns, but they come with a great (as in expensive) price-tag. I love my USP Tactical, but it was costly. The XD's are fine guns and I wouldn't hesitate to trust my life to one.

    What I was suggesting is that you shoot both the XD compact 9mm and the XD compact .40 S&W and pick the caliber you can handle best. Try to find a gun store that has an indoor range where they'll let you test some of their "floor models."

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    I'm currently shooting a Taurus PT-140 (Millenium Pro in 40 cal) and am very happy with it. This afternoon fired it and it's twin in 45 and couldn't really see much difference.
    Shooting with friends,
    Geoff of WA

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    I have an XD-40 which weighs 29oz empty with 4" barrel. The subcompact weighs 26oz empty with 3" barrel. I don't rate the recoil of mine much more than my 9mm's. I doubt 3oz less would substantially change that. The grips make them very comfortable to shoot. My girlfriend's XD-9 is like pulling the trigger - hardly any snap at all, she loves it.

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    Decision Made....M&P .40 compact...picker her up yesterday.





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    Walkeraviator wrote:
    Decision Made....M&P .40 compact...picker her up yesterday.



    So you put some down range ?

    Of course I mostly put some down pasture behind my house

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    My buddy has Friday off, so a group of us are gonna go throw some lead. In teh group will be...my M&P, XD .40, Beretta 96 (.40), Bersa Thunder .380, S&W j-frame, and an old school hi-standard 7" sentinel .22LR.

    I cant wait to give her a try, gonna have about 130 rounds of Winchester White Box. You can see in the pic, i bought some COR-BON 135 gr JHP for home defense. Gotta order a holster so i can carry it. I am spending a premium on my CC holster and really only carry open in places where the threat of someone removing it form my person is limited, So i am gonna save on my open carry holsetr and buy a cheap level 1 kydex holster.

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    Off the subject a little bit but do standard M&P magazines work in the compacts a la Glock? I have both a M&P9 and a Glock 19 and I'm thinking of picking up a compact, either the M&P9c or the G26. I'm leaning towards the 26 because I'm fortunate enough to get the LE discount on the Austrian tupperware but I'm still on the fence.

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    I was wondering about that myself. I woud like a few full sizers just for going to the range.

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    I have sent many rounds down the tubes of subcompact .40's. The Kahr MK40 Elite series, the Kahr PM40, the Kahr P40 Covert, the Kahr K40 and K40 Elite series, and the Glock 27.

    Some were better than others in terms of managing recoil. But none posed a problem to me. The best of the lot would have to be the K40 Kahrs (they are all steel) and the Glock 27. Even the little Kahr PM40 which weighs under 18 ounces (unloaded) is not a problem with the .40S&W and makes one heck of a good lightweight pocket piece.


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    hlh wrote:
    Walkeraviator wrote:
    It is decided that my new carry weapon will be a S&W M&P compact. The problem I am having is deciding on a caliber. I am a hardcore .40 smith guy and would love to get it in that caliber but m afraid teh recoil may be a bit much for a sub compact size gun.

    So, I query those of you who have fired both 9mm and .40 in a small gun with less to hold on to...Does the .40 have that much punch?

    Again, not a debate on which is teh better round, just a judgement on the recoil between the 2 in a sub-compact world.
    I've not read the entire thread and if somebody has already said this I apologise. I firmly believe that shot placement trumps caliber and better terminal ballistics. That said I can control the 9mm well and place the shots quickly. I love .45 ACPbut if I can't place the shot, what does it matter that I carry a bigger or betterround? I also like being able to carry more rounds with 9mm.

    my .02,



    I agree and I have and practice with both.

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    CrossFire wrote:
    hlh wrote:
    I've not read the entire thread
    I agree and I have and practice with both.
    You guys should have read, then you would have seen,



    Walkeraviator wrote:
    Decision Made....M&P .40 compact...picker her up yesterday.



    His topic wasn't about cailber effectiveness

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    smash29 wrote:
    Off the subject a little bit but do standard M&P magazines work in the compacts a la Glock? I have both a M&P9 and a Glock 19 and I'm thinking of picking up a compact, either the M&P9c or the G26. I'm leaning towards the 26 because I'm fortunate enough to get the LE discount on the Austrian tupperware but I'm still on the fence.
    Turns out that YES you can use full size M&P mags in teh comact, and a guy over at another forum apparently sells a kydex sleeve to cover the gap when you do so.

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    Walkeraviator wrote:
    It is decided that my new carry weapon will be a S&W M&P compact. The problem I am having is deciding on a caliber. I am a hardcore .40 smith guy and would love to get it in that caliber but m afraid teh recoil may be a bit much for a sub compact size gun.

    So, I query those of you who have fired both 9mm and .40 in a small gun with less to hold on to...Does the .40 have that much punch?

    Again, not a debate on which is teh better round, just a judgement on the recoil between the 2 in a sub-compact world.
    Thiswas written by anLEO that carry's a 9mm vs the other calibers and goes on to explain why. It was written to compare the 9mm vs .45 acp debate but we can also throw the .40 caliber in there as well. Notice in the body the writer includes the 10mm as a .40 cal which it is not. They are the same diamiter bullet wise but truly worlds apart cartridgeround size wise.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    I lifted this from another ex-cop and don't have the credits to include, although it's supposedly authored by Gabe Suarez.

    MAGAZINE CAPACITY FOR SELF-DEFENSE

    I think the truth of the matter is that all self defense handgun calibers (excluding the pocket pistol category) are basically the same when it comes to dropping an adversary. That being the case, should we carry a pistol that only holds seven marginal shots, or one that holds as many as twice that number?

    Magazine Capacity

    I suppose this will be yet another highly controversial issue, but what the heck. Controversy makes for interesting discussion, no? The issue is to look at whether high magazine capacity gives you a tactical advantage, or if we are better served by carrying an equally sized weapon with a smaller capacity of bigger bullets. Before I answer my own question, let me put forth some facts as seen both in force on force training and on the street.

    Point One - Pistol bullets, regardless of caliber are all, what one colleague calls, "iffy". None can be guaranteed to drop an adversary in his tracks reliably. The notion of a one shot stop is an urban myth dreamed up by those with a vested interest in such things. I have seen 45s work and fail, and I have seen 9mm both work and fail. For the record, the only one shot drop (excluding head shots) I have ever seen with a pistol was fired by a good friend as we entered a crack house during a SWAT raid. He shot the bad guy squarely in the heart with 9mm +P+ out of a SIG P-226. He only fired once because the bad guy fell before my friend could reset his trigger for the next shot!

    If we look at the most prevalent calibers we see that there is very little difference between them. A 9mm (also .38/.357) is only one little millimeter smaller than the 10mm (aka .40 S&W), and that is only one little millimeter less than the vaunted 11mm (aka .45 ACP). And before we get into the high speed light bullet versus the heavy slow bullet argument, lets remember that you can only drive a pistol bullet so fast without drastically affecting its integrity. Moreover, since penetration is affected by weight, sacrificing weight for speed will not yield good results. Finally, you can only make a bullet so light or so heavy. There are limits to what you can shoot out of a pistol.

    I have seen every one of these calibers fail at one time or another. There are those who disdain the 9mm as unsuitable for anything larger than squirrels. With modern ammunition, this is simply not true. There is also a myth and a cult grown up around the .45 ACP in this country. Sadly, it is not the deadly hammer of god its proponents suggest. This is not new. Read Fairbairn's Shoot To Live. He writes of two separate times when the .45 failed to work any better than anything else. Although one millimeter may give you a slight edge in a less than optimum body hit, under most circumstances, there will be very little difference between the effectiveness of the various calibers when modern anti-personnel ammo is used. Trauma injury doctors and reputable terminal ballistics experts tend to agree with this statement.

    Point Two - Private Citizen CCW Operators do not go looking for trouble. If they are called to fight it is either because they have inadvertently crossed paths with bad guys while they are doing bad guy stuff (walking in on a robbery in progress as an example), or because they have been specifically targeted and stalked (such as a carjack, or home invasion event). They will have to use extreme violence to fight off the surprise attackers. When we translate the conversion of fright and startle into a firearm application we see that definition is high volume of fire. You will shoot a lot, and until the threat is no longer there.

    While these events share slightly different dynamics, the common thread often seen is that of multiple adversaries. The lone criminal or terrorist is an urban myth. If your fight only involves one, consider yourself lucky. More often than not you will be outnumbered.

    Another point is the time frames in which these events take place. Think three seconds. After this, either you will be dead, or your adversaries will be dead. Urban gunfights do not go for hours. Unexpected, short duration, high intensity, extreme violence, multiple adversaries. That is the back drop.

    Point Three - Our staff has collectively been in a large number of gunfights ranging from police, citizen, and military events. We draw on those experiences to set up mock gunfights in dynamic, unscripted force on force training drills. Although the surprise factor is missing (you generally don t know you will be in a gunfight until it is upon you), the dynamics of its evolution do not change much. Here are some other observations from watching hundreds of those drills.

    1). Defenders will fire their weapons until the threat disappears. That means that until the role player falls down (simulating effective hits delivered), or runs away (removing the target), the good guy will keep firing. The concept of school solutions, controlled pairs, or otherwise artificially limiting the number of shots (as one does in a firing string on the range) does not hold up even in guys who've been extensively trained to do it.

    2). When a training gun stops firing (due to running out of pellets), the shooter is still in the fight and still trying to shoot his enemy as well as trying to not be hit by him. We see them continue to try to work the trigger for one or two times before there is a realization that there has been a stoppage (malfunction or empty gun). This is followed by a visual examination of the gun, and only then is remedial action taken.

    This can take upwards of a second and a half before anything is even attempted to fix the gun, and then the additional time needed to reload. Thus the idea that one can read the guns feel and immediately realize a need to speed load simply does not hold up. Running out of ammo is usually a fight ender if there has been a failure to stop, or there are multiple adversaries at hand.

    3). Participants in these reactive mock gunfights are debriefed immediately to get a clear picture of what happened before any rationalization takes place. Besides a shoot them to the ground firing process, most shooters do not remember seeing the crystal clear sight pictures they learned on the shooting range.

    We see a great deal of point shooting, and gun index shooting. I have yet to see anyone strike a classic shooting posture and press off a carefully sighted pair in these room distance drills.

    The point to remember is that in a fight such as what are likely for the private citizen, one can easily develop Bullet Deficit Disorder , and that this can have deleterious effects on the outcome of that fight.

    The idea that a pair or trio of quality rounds carefully delivered onto a high scoring target zone will stop the action fails both the terminal ballistics test as well as the applications test.

    A truth of gunfighting - Having more ammo immediately on board lessens the likelihood of ever needing to reload. Not needing to reload translates into more time delivering lead and less time manipulating the weapon. More trigger time increases likelihood of hitting, which increases survivability.

    So the question is this. Given that there is a limit to the size pistol one can carry, do I want that pistol to hold more rounds? My answer is a strong YES!

    Consider the similarly sized Glock 36 in .45 ACP, and the Glock 23 in .40 S&W. The latter holds nearly twice the ammo of the former in an almost identical package. The Glock 19 is an even more drastic comparison with 15 shots available. Of course there are also high capacity 45 pistols for those so inclined and for those who can wield them. I would argue that if your choice is a 45, a gun holding 13 would be better than a gun holding 6. And if your hand is too small for the 13 shooter, rather than decrease capacity, I d decrease caliber.

    I have a colleague is South America who has been in High Risk Police Service for close to three decades. He has been in over three dozen verified gunfight . His weapon was originally a Browning Hi-Power and later a Glock 17.

    I was very interested in hearing more so I asked him about the load he used. He said he had always used military ball full metal jacket. Astounded I asked him why he chose that. That is all we can get here. Hollow points are illegal .

    I shook my head and told him that there was a belief in the USA that 9mm was an anemic caliber, especially in the load he'd chosen. He shrugged and said that his adversaries must not have gotten the word. He said he fired a burst at the chest and if they didn't fall fast enough, he fired a burst at the face. He never needed to reload and had enough on board so if he missed a shot or two he could catch up in the fight. And before we hear the careful shooter versus the spraying prayer, this man is one of the best shots I have seen and competes on an international level. Even so, he knows the chaos in a gunfight can play havoc with even the most gifted marksman. Perhaps we need to take a lesson from him.

    I still carry a Glock 17 with 17 rounds of Corbon DPX ammo in 9mm.

    Gabe Suarez
    ************************************************** *************************************

    Icarry a .45 ACP semi auto because that is my preferd caliber of choice. I am by no means undergunned with a 9mm.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    JBinMontana, Thanks for that re-post from Gabe Saurez. It was fascinating reading.

    I inferredthat themoral to the story isroper training makes the difference, rather than caliber or ammunition type. A "burst" center-of-mass followed by a "burst" to the head (as was written in the article) is the most effective way to end a threat, regardless of what caliber or model of firearm used. Carry what works for you in a stressful situation.

    I happen to carry a 12+1 .45 ACP and I'm accurate and moderately quick with it.

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    Walkeraviator wrote:
    Again, not a debate on which is teh better round, just a judgement on the recoil between the 2 in a sub-compact world.
    Some people just don't see pass the need to want to debate their point anyway.

    I hope your glad with the choice you made last WEEK !

    It's funny how you even made a point to say this isn't about caliber effectiveness, ONLY about recoil, yet they still took it off topic.



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    ...I surely hope we didn't ruin your day completely...by discussing closely related points going back to the poster's original premise...your need to raise your voice to berate all of us comes from________ ????? You sound like an ex-wife...maybe you should chill out a bit.....If you don't like the discussion, the logical thing would be not to participate...not to repeatedly make snide, insulting remarks to those enjoying a good time....unless, of course, it's your very own thread.....

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    sheepdog wrote:
    ...I surely hope we didn't ruin your day completely...by discussing closely related points going back to the poster's original premise...your need to raise your voice to berate all of us comes from________ ????? You sound like an ex-wife...maybe you should chill out a bit.....If you don't like the discussion, the logical thing would be not to participate...not to repeatedly make snide, insulting remarks to those enjoying a good time....unless, of course, it's your very own thread.....
    The problem is it's common for folks here to CONSTANTLY go OFF topic on every topic. The OP doesn't give a crap about what caliber does what. Which is why he SPECIFICALLY stated again that;

    Walkeraviator wrote:
    Again, not a debate on which is teh better round, just a judgement on the recoil between the 2 in a sub-compact world.

    You guys went off topic b/c you didn't pay attention and read all the post. Like usual, starting yet another pointless debate/argument over something that wasn't the intention of the OP to begin with. Not my fault. I just don't want to see it get out of control b/c of it, like 80% of the topics here. Arguing about something that has nothing to do with the OP.

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    I gotta tell you guys, I have had this beauty a week now and cant get teh friggin range to try it out... i am dying over here. Not to mention, buying some cheap plinking ammo has been quite the challenge, as my normal wal-mart winchester WB ammo is sold out everywhere.

    I ended up buying Blazers. Anyone ever had troubles with the aluminum casings?

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    No trouble really. Just make sure you clean the gun very well after using Blazer. The polymer coating on the aluminum casings is difficult to remove.

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Walkeraviator wrote:
    I gotta tell you guys, I have had this beauty a week now and cant get teh friggin range to try it out... i am dying over here. Not to mention, buying some cheap plinking ammo has been quite the challenge, as my normal wal-mart winchester WB ammo is sold out everywhere.

    I ended up buying Blazers. Anyone ever had troubles with the aluminum casings?
    Aluminium casings can "stick" from time to time. Clean the firearm well after using them, as the coating does case problems as crossfire pointed out.

    Just so you will know. It is not the longer barrel that causes less felt recoil, it is the increased weight of the longer barrel. SO it is possible in say a revolver to have a 3" barrel with a full under lug, and have the same felt recoil as a 6 inch barrel without the under lug. It is all about Mass, as the amount of energy in the system with the gun fires is the same for any given caliber.

    The other issue that helps a lot is lowering the hight of the barrel in relation to the shooting hand. The lower the barrel is the less leverage the gun has for muzzle flip when fired. In your case a shorter barrel will put more weight in your hand and less out in front and you will feel more "flip" action when you shoot.
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    Walkeraviator wrote:
    I gotta tell you guys, I have had this beauty a week now and cant get teh friggin range to try it out... i am dying over here. Not to mention, buying some cheap plinking ammo has been quite the challenge, as my normal wal-mart winchester WB ammo is sold out everywhere.

    I ended up buying Blazers. Anyone ever had troubles with the aluminum casings?
    I firmly believe that a well lubed, clean weapon, will eat anything. I know folks who ONLY shoot Blazer for practice.

    The only ammo I've really heard ALOT of negative about is Wolf Ammo. Then again, I'm sure there'sa positive user out there too.

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