After decades of using the .40S&W cartridge in their service pistols, the FBI is finally waking up to see what the rest of the world has seen for years: the 9mm Luger is a far superior self-defense cartridge.
As my lawyer friend Mike likes to say about some of Pennsylvania's gun laws, the .40 cal is highly publicized for no reason. Of course, he carries a Springfield XD chambered in .40, so I doubt he'd approve of me using his statement in this regard. Nevertheless, you can't argue with the facts.
(Okay, my wise-assery is over, for now at least.)
And the fact is, however, the ballistics of the 9X19 pistol cartridge have come a long way since the FBI deemed it incapable as a service pistol cartridge back in the mid 1980s. Those ballistics are very similar to what the bigger self-defense rounds are capable of, and have even outperformed the bigger bullets on many occasions.
So, what makes the parabellum round so good?
If you use two pistols that are identical, besides the projectile size, this is what you'll get:
- The 9mm has a softer recoil (remember the pistols are the same size, same barrel length etc.). This leads to officers (and civilians) getting back onto target faster to deliver more bullets to the bad guys.
- The 9mm is a smaller round, which means that the magazine will hold at least a few more cartridges per magazine. This leads to the good guys being able to lob more rounds down range in between magazine changes.
- Both 9mm ball ammo (for training) and self-defense ammo (JHPs) are cheaper than just about any other pistol cartridge out there. This is great because it means that people can spend more time training, and less time missing their intended targets.
So, the FBI is done with .40S&W. They are so done with it that they are taking bids from gun makers to see who is best suited to help them phase out of the “bigger is always better” way of thinking. It'll be interesting to see who steps up to the plate. I know who I'd like to see win the contract, but then again, I'm biased.
Now, I'm not saying that you need to go out and sell your .40 cal pistols. That'd be ludicrous, because, it does get the job done—especially if it is what you're used to carrying and can actually hit the broad side of a barn with it. All I'm saying is that the FBI has just confirmed what a lot of gun aficionados have known for years: That the 9mm Luger is capable of kicking some serious bad guy booty.