After its release in 1990 the 40 Smith & Wesson quickly shot to fame. For survivalist the 40 S&W was like a gift from GOD. The 40 S&W was effective, just about every gun maker had something listed in 40 S&W, ammunition was widely available, there are even some carbines offered in 40 S&W. What is there not to like?
What niche did the 40 S&W fill
The 40 S&W offered a viable option for law enforcement who wanted a heavier bullet than the 9mm, or more rounds than the 45 acp, and without the slow reload of the revolver in 357 magnum.
The cartridge also offered a middle ground between 15 rounds of 9mm and the 7 rounds of 45acp 230 grain bullet.
Demand for the 40 S&W
The FBI testing helped prove the effectiveness of the 40 S&W.
Fueled in part by the FBI test, police departments all over the nation adopted the 40 S&W as their standard sidearm caliber.
Further fueling demand came from the wide range of manufacturers who jumped into the 40 S&W market with both feet. By the end of the 1990s it seemed that just about every major gun manufacturer on the planet had something to offer in 40 S&W.
By the early to mid-2000s it seemed that the 9mm and 45 acp were playing second fiddle to the ever popular 40. Maybe the age of the 9mm and 45 played a role in the losing ground? Maybe it was the performance of the 40 coupled with a wide selection of handguns and carbines that helped push the 9mm and 45 out of the way.
Popularity also carries a negative factor in availability in times of high demand.
Then came the panic buying of 2013
Over the past few weeks the ammunition shortage of 2013 has been showing signs of letting up. Even though certain calibers are hitting the shelves on a semi-regular basis, some calibers are still difficult to find. One of those hard to find calibers is the 40 S&W, another hard to find caliber is the 22 long rifle.
On March 13, 2013 Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms posted the following update on their facebook page.
This is the ammo we ordered today….
90,000 rds .22lr
90,000 rds 9mm
65,000 rds 5.56
25,000 rds .45 acp
A number of users asked about 40 S&W. I think it became clear at this point that law enforcement and civilians were competing for the same resources.
When resources are low, government wins out over civilians. To ensure national security law enforcement and military have to have ammunition.
Why survivalist should not focus on 40 S&W
Availability – My number one argument to not focus entirely on the 40 S&W is directly due to so many law enforcement and military agencies using the 40 S&W. During times of rationing, the cilvian market will be sacrificed to provide ammunition to law enforcement and military.
The key word in this statement is “focus.” Nobody is saying “not” to buy 40 S&W, nobody is saying to stay away the 40 S&W,,, as survivalist I would not focus on the 40 S&W as my primary sidearm caliber.
Recoil – Lets be honest, the 40 S&W has a rather harsh recoil as compared to the 9mm and 45 acp. A lot of shooters find the recoil excessive and avoid shooting the 40.
Shortly after the 40 S&W was released I bought a Ruger P91. I had that pistol for close to 10 years, sold it, and have no desire to own another 40 S&W. My decision not to buy another 40 is directly due to the sharp recoil. If I did not like the 40, there is no way I am going to ask my daughter or my wife to shoot it.
My daughter and my wife can both shoot the 9mm with no complaints.
My 17 year old daughter did not complain about the recoil of the Remington 1911 R1.
I see no reason to stockpile ammunition for a caliber nobody in my family likes to shoot. Well, my brother likes the 40 S&W, but he is the only one.
Having to stockpile yet another caliber – There comes a point where survivalist are spreading themselves too thin. Instead of focusing on 3 or 4 calibers and firearms, survivalist are stockpiling half a dozen calibers and a dozen different firearms.
Would you rather have 3 pistols in one caliber and 3,000 rounds of a single ammunition, or 3 different pistols calibers and 1,000 rounds for each pistol?
Related article – Stockpiling too many types of ammunition
Why survivalist should have a 40 S&W
Why should survivalist buy a 40 S&W?
Because it is effective and popular.
There is a reason why the FBI and law enforcement all over the United states switched to the 40 S&W, and that is because the round is effective.
Lets say that there is a complete collapse of society, the 40 S&W is popular enough that there will be a demand for it, and there may be some left over after the next plague kills off a good number of the population.
As much as I dislike the recoil of the 40 S&W, I can not list a good reason not to own at least 1 or 2 handguns chambered in it.