In 1990, a joint venture between Federal, CCI, and Winchester began to develop a new round to replace the obsolete 38 Special. The goal was to create a lightweight 40 Smith and Wesson round that would offer comparable performance to the 357 Magnum without the recoil. This was the beginning of one of the greatest rounds in history. Here’s a bit of history about one of the most iconic ammunition to come out of S&W.
40 Smith & Wesson beginnings
The 40 Smith and Wesson is a cartridge developed by Federal Cartridge Company, Winchester, and Smith & Wesson specifically for the S&W 4046 pistol. Developed from the 10mm Auto round, the new cartridge would share a similar size to its parent case while producing lower recoil without compromising on power output.
With the introduction of the M&P Shield, Smith Wesson needed a round for the new pistol to shoot in full auto. The 40 s w entered into service with Federal Cartridge Company as S&W’s ammo partner. The low pressure, high velocity round would be used by law enforcement and military agencies around the world. It would prove to be successful for its intended purpose. Full Auto performance!
When was the 40 Smith and Wesson first introduced?
In 1951, Smith Wesson introduced the S W Model 4046 semi automatic pistol as a follow-up to the K- 40 S W revolver. It was designed to replace the K-44 revolver that was originally adopted by the FBI in 1949 for undercover purposes. The new pistol has all metal construction with an aluminum alloy frame while incorporating blowback action using the S W short recoil system of operation. The barrel length is 3″.
In the mid-1950’s, S&W worked on a new cartridge for the pistol. The goal was to create a cartridge that could be used in full auto while maintaining sufficient power to work well in semi auto guns. Before this invention, all of S&W’s ammunition was made from bottleneck cases created by their famous employee Norma Precision ammo company.
The need for a new cartridge for law enforcement
In 1953, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began to investigate on an aging 10mm ammo which had seen limited use due to the fact that it could not reliably shoot in full auto. Full Auto 10mm ammo was developed by Federal Cartridge Corporation, a company that would not only make the cartridge, but would develop their own pistols to fire them. The new 10mm round was extremely powerful and began to baffle ammunition manufacturers in the coming years. During this time period, no one made ammo for full auto handguns that could be reliably fired in post war era firearms. Only three companies offered ammunition for full auto guns: Winchester, Remington and Smith & Wesson.
A new 40 s&w cartridge for law enforcement
In 1954, Smith & Wesson and Winchester began working on designing a new round that could be used in the Model 4046 pistol without outright destroying the pistol’s internal parts. By 1955, S&W and Winchester had perfected their design with a 45 acp traveling at just under 2000 feet per second. While the round would weigh about 25% more than standard ammo, it would prove to be effective in the S&W 4046 semi automatic pistol with a capacity of 13+1 rounds. The cartridge was officially adopted as the 40 S&W by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies and military units around the world.
Who designed the new 40 s&w cartridge?
In the beginning, Winchester and S W worked together to create a new round that was initially designed to be used in the Model 4046 pistol. Once they made it, Winchester began working with Colt on developing a gun that would be able to fire it. It was during this time period that Federal Cartridge Corporation (a giant company at the time) began working on their own full auto design for 10mm ammo. The rounds would eventually be tested in semi auto guns with very good results.
Ammunition companies producing the 40 s&w cartridge for the FBI
As time went on, smaller companies began making ammunition for the 40 s&w pistols. There was some concern about the new cartridge’s performance in full auto guns, but once it was proven safe the demand for it began to grow rapidly. Many companies quickly began developing ammunition for the new cartridge. These companies include: Federal Cartridge Corporation, Remington Arms Company, Ameriglo Inc., Speer-Gold Dot Inc., CCI, Cor-Bon Ammunition, Blazer Brass, Winchester Repeating Arms Company and Precision Products International (PPI).
Immediately after the rounds were released, the demand for it exploded. The new cartridge proved to be extremely efficient for civilian shooters as well as FBI agents. Soon, ammunition companies began making 10mm ammo for civilian use as well as 10mm ammo for military use.
What materials were used in the 40 S&W pistol cartridge?
In 1957, Federal Cartridge Corporation would release their new 45 acp 4564 bullet as part of their American Eagle line of ammunition. This round is also a FMJ type cartridge which features a large hollow point that expands at the bottom to create more contact area. The 40 caliber bullet itself is actually crimped to ensure that it expands properly when it hits its intended target.
Who uses the 40 S&W?
The .40 caliber ammunition cartridge (40 S&W) is one of the most popular rounds on the market today. Aside from being used by private citizens, it is also used by police officers and special FBI agents in small and medium sized towns. The 40 caliber subcompact semi automatic pistol cartridge most popular uses include stopping bank robbers or robbery suspects, home defense and self-defense. It is also used by the military for their sidearms.
40 S&W ammo has been criticized for having a low stopping power within maritime law enforcement communities, but this does not seem to match with real world data. This round has been shown to perform as well as other calibers if properly loaded. Still, some people say that a smaller gun will get you just as good of results as larger guns which fire bigger rounds like the 45 acp round.
Weight and handling of the 40 S&W
A 40 S&W weighs 200 grains. This is comparable to the weight of other rounds in its caliber, for example the 9mm caliber which weighs 185 grains, and the .38 caliber which weighs 145 grains.
The 40 S&W hollow point bullet cartridge has a case length of 0.930 inch. Given all these factors, one can clearly see that the 40 S W cartridge is a big bullet with less propellant and a small gun. Not everyone would like to carry around such a heavy gun every day or travel with it if not necessary.
In fact, many people choose to holster their gun in a small bag or case where they can carry all the ammunition they need. It’s not uncommon for someone to carry three extra 30 to 32 rounds of 40 S&W.
Looking at the ballistics of the 40 S&W round, we see that it has a muzzle energy of 371 ft/s (440 J). In comparison, 9mm ammo has a muzzle energy of 350 ft/s (415 J) and a 357 magnum fired from a 4-inch barrel has an average muzzle energy result of 825 ft/s (1000 J).
How the 40 s&w became a household caliber
In the beginning, the 40 S&W was used by the military in its sidearms. Then, the FBI began to use it more and more as time went on. It became a popular choice for anyone to use including private citizens who wanted a reliable round that worked well in some of their firearms.
The 40 S&W is easy to shoot and many people begin shooting their handguns with this caliber as soon as they learn how to shoot. It’s a great self-defense round, but it can also have other applications like target shooting and hunting. Some people even use it for wild boar hunting but most hunters prefer larger calibers like the 458 Winchester Magnum.
Benefits of using 40 s&w ammo
When you consider that the 40 S&W is very popular in both the civilian and FBI market, it’s easy to see why people like it. It’s a dependable and accurate round that many people use for self-defense. The relatively low cost of ammo makes it a good choice for anyone to buy.
Besides choosing this as an option, others choose it because their guns can shoot this cartridge in a semi auto mode. As long as you’ve chosen a reliable pistol that can handle the recoil and maintain its accuracy, there’s really no reason not to use this caliber for your gun if you’re looking for an inexpensive and simple round.
Where to buy 40 Smith and Wesson ammo
If you want to buy 40 S&W ammo, then you have to look for a trusted online store that sells both commercial and military-grade ammo. You won’t want to just buy any old ammo from the store. The last thing you’ll want is to have ammo that could potentially cause damage or injury if fired. You’ll need to do your research and find reliable places to buy 40 S&W ammo.
Trifusion Tactical Broken Arrow, OK
Trifusion Tactical is your one-stop shop for your ammunition and reloading needs. We provide safe and reliable sources for 40 Smith and Wessons as well as a variety of other ammo for guns. If you want to learn more, reach out to us via our website or call our customer service team at (800) 233-6381. One of our representatives will be with you quickly to discuss your options. Reach out to us today for your online ammunition and reloading supply needs.