Peer Pressure In The Shooting Community

Kevin Felts political commentatorDidn’t you know, there is a new cartridge, and it beats everything else hands down. If you do not switch to the new cartridge, then you are just stupid.

Maybe not those exact words, but something like them, have been repeated for decades. Want an example? Look at the 40 S&W and Glock fanboy clubs. say a disparaging word about either, and members of the shooting community are quick to discredit, argue, or sling insults.

An example is an article I posted on AllOutdoor – Opinion: The 40 S&W Needs To Go Away.

From the time the 40 S&W was introduced I found the recoil excessive.  People who know me personally probably remember me saying that since the 1990s.  But when you post it in public, saying you do not like the 40 is worst than sacrilege. How dare someone say they do not like a high pressure round that has excessive recoil.  Learning to shoot the 40 S&W is just a matter of training, right?


The 40 S&W was a solution in search of a problem.  It’s very development was based on a couple of shoot outs with law enforcement. The whole idea of the 40 seemed outrageous from the very start.  The 9mm and the 45 acp had served various militaries for decades.  When the 40 was developed the 1911 had not yet turned 100 years old.

During the development of the 40, the FBI seemed to ignore decades of military experience.  We had two proven rounds that had fought in two world wars, yet that did not matter to the FBI.

This brings up another point, how dare anyone disagree with the FBI.  After all, they are the brightest and smartest law enforcement has to offer, right?

  • How dare anyone question the 40.
  • How dare anyone question the FBI.
  • Nobody is allowed to have their own opinion, just do as your told.

Nope, nope, and nope.

From the very start the development of the 40 S&W seemed like an absurd idea.  Rather than developing a new round, build off what we already have.

For some reason the shooting community does not encourage dissenting opinions.  The situation reminds me of teenage peer pressure – “Here try this out.  You don’t like it?  What’s wrong with you?”

There is nothing wrong with me, I just have my own opinion.  With a rational mindset, I can not justify the existence of the 40 S&W.

I could go into detail as to why I do not like the 40.  Yet, to do so diminish the strength of my opinion.   Everyone of us is entitled to our opinion.  Also, we should be entitled to our opinion without being ridiculed.   Part of being an adult is accepting someone else has a different opinion.  We may not like their opinion, but we should at least respect it.

If the 40 S&W was so great:

  • Why didn’t NATO adopt it?
  • Why didn’t the United States military adopt it?
  • Why is the 40 S&W dying out?

In 2012 I posted an article talking about why I prefer the 45 acp over the 9mm.  Since the 1980s there has been a shift from marksmanship to magazine capacity. Here in the 2010s, there is an obsession with squeezing every possible round into a handgun.

Members of the shooting community seem to jump on the latest and greatest as if they were kind of groupie following their favorite rock band around.

Just because something is “supposed” to be the latest and greatest does not make it either.

There is an old saying, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”  This also applies to the shooting community.  It seems every few years some kind of new cartridge or firearm comes out.

My thought is, “So what?”  So what if a gun company releases a new product?  Does not mean I am going to justify it.  The 40 S&W and the 357 Sig were both a waste of time and resources.  Those time and resources would have been better served improving what we already had.

Just because Toyota releases a new truck, does that mean you have to buy it?

Sony releases a new TV, are you going to buy it?  What about all the other TV companies?

How many people reading this article have the time and resources to invest into every new firearm product that hits the market?

The gun industry is just like any other market.  When people are happy with what they have they tend not to buy.  Somehow convince people they need a new toy, and they will spend the money.

The 40 S&W has played its usefulness out.  People are starting to see it for what it is, and it is an unneeded cartridge that has excessive recoil.

As the 40 fades into the limelight, some company will develop something new to take its place. Then the peer pressure will start all over again.