Press ESC to close

Smyth Busters: Is the .40 S&W Cartridge Obsolete?

Engage with the compelling conversation that unfolds in “Smyth Busters: Is the .40 S&W Cartridge Obsolete?” In this intriguing video by Brownells, Inc., hosts Stephen Caleb examines the relevance and efficiency of the .40 S&W cartridge, a subject that has created much discussion and debate among firearms enthusiasts and experts. This thought-provoking piece sets out to challenge the narrative surrounding this popular ammunition type, and aims to dismantle misconceptions surrounding its performance and practicality.

Laced with thought-provoking perspectives, this video is designed to enrich your understanding of firearm history, ammunition advancements, and their application in the contemporary world. It unravels multi-layered arguments about the .40 S&W cartridge, using rich experiences and expertise in the realm of ammunition and ballistics. Expect an informed and balanced exploration, highlighting the evolution in ammunition technology and the potential transformative effect it holds for the future of firearms. Cementing or challenging your pre-existing notions, “Smyth Busters: Is the .40 S&W Cartridge Obsolete?” is tailored to fuel mind-stimulating discussions for firearm aficionados.

See the Smyth Busters: Is the .40 SW Cartridge Obsolete? in detail.

Table of Contents

The Controversy of the .40 S&W Cartridge

Currently, there’s a hot debate centered around the relevance and functionality of the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge, stirring numerous discussions amongst gun and ammunition enthusiasts.

Ongoing debates about the .40 S&W becoming obsolete

The .40 S&W has come under intense scrutiny as preferences lean towards the 9 millimeters. Critics argue that the .40 S&W is becoming obsolete, based mostly on its decline in popularity among gun users.

Overview of the viewpoint stating the .40 S&W Cartridge is obsolete

Critics claim that the .40 S&W’s decreasing demand contributes to its potential obsolescence. They argue that recent advancements in ammunition technologies have prompted shooters to prefer the 9-millimeter cartridges over the .40 S&W.

Understanding why people are hating on the .40 Smith and Wesson

The .40 S&W is perceived as offering harsher recoil and less user comfort than alternatives. Critics also feel that it fails to deliver on noise and flash reduction, making it less appealing in a market that has grown increasingly competitive and innovative.

The Ammunition Market

The .40 S&W’s performance in the ammunition market is essential in gauging its longevity in a somewhat volatile industry.

Existing presence of the .40 S&W in the ammunition market

Despite the controversy, the .40 S&W maintains a notable presence in the ammunition market. It’s still being produced by various ammunition manufacturers globally.

Production of .40 S&W by ammunition manufacturers

Ammunition manufacturers continue to produce .40 S&W due to its existing market demand. Even with the cartridge’s contentious standing in the firearms world, there is still a significant user base relying on the .40 S&W for their shooting needs.

The availability of .40 S&W during the pandemic

Remarkably, .40 S&W cartridges still managed to maintain its availability even during the pandemic period when most ammunition types were scarce. This indicates that even during feared ammo shortages, the derived demand for .40 S&W allowed for continuity in their production.

Comparing the .40 S&W Cartridge to Other Types

Comparing the .40 S&W cartridge to other types can lend critical insights into why changes in its levels of acceptability have occurred over the years.

Comparison of the .40 S&W to the then popular cartridges in the 1980s and 90s

In the 1980s and 90s, the .40 S&W gained recognition as one of the world’s best cartridges. Yet, it’s crucial to note that this was long before subsequent advancements in ballistics recast comparative efficiencies.

Performance comparison of nine millimeters and .40 S&W

The 9 millimeters’ advancements in terminal ballistics have led to its increased popularity. Although the .40 S&W provides larger holes on targets, the current 9 millimeters versions have proven to be more than capable in stopping threats.

The transition from .40 S&W to nine millimeters for some gun users

While some gun users transitioned from .40 S&W to the nine millimeters due to their perceived advantages, a section of users has remained faithful to the .40 S&W due to its unique benefits in their use-cases.

Smyth Busters: Is the .40 SW Cartridge Obsolete?

This image is property of

See the Smyth Busters: Is the .40 SW Cartridge Obsolete? in detail.

Ballistics Then and Now

An assessment of how ballistics have evolved over the years can help illuminate why the .40 S&W cartridge is facing current criticisms.

Understanding ballistics and its impact on cartridge effectiveness

Ballistics play a crucial part in determining the efficacy of any cartridge. This includes external ballistics affecting trajectory and velocity alongside terminal ballistics that govern the bullet’s performance after hitting the target.

Advancements in ballistics over the years

Improvements in ballistics have significantly changed the game for ammunition manufacturers and users alike. They’ve affected everything from accuracy to the damage potential of various cartridges, precipitating shifts in users’ preferences.

Terminal ballistics of the .40 S&W and nine millimeters

While both .40 S&W and nine millimeters have seen developments, the nine millimeter’s enhanced terminal ballistics have made it a desirable cartridge for many gun users, contributing to the switch from .40 S&W by some.

Recoil Management and User Comfort

One of the primary considerations for gun users is recoil management and the comfort of usage.

The perception of extra recoil and snappiness in the .40 S&W

The .40 S&W tends to be perceived as having more recoil or snappiness than the nine millimeters, prompting criticism regarding its comfort and manageability, important factors for shooters in the selection of ammunition.

How recoil management affects users’ preference for nine millimeters over .40 S&W

Lower recoil allows for faster target transition, which is integral, especially in self-defense scenarios. As such, better recoil management has been a key factor driving the preference for nine millimeters over .40 S&W.

Ability to transition targets faster with nine millimeters

The nine millimeter’s reduced recoil allows for quicker target transition in multiple attacker situations. This advantage has steered gun users towards the nine millimeters at the expense of the .40 S&W that is perceived as harder to manage.

The .40 S&W Cartridge in Self-defense Scenarios

The cartridge chosen for self-defense purposes can potentially determine the outcomes of such situations.

Multiple targets situation: nine millimeters vs .40 S&W

For multiple targets, the nine millimeter’s easier transition could potentially give a user the upper hand. However, the .40 S&W’s larger caliber can also deliver substantial stopping power.

The impact of cartridge selection on self-defense outcomes

One’s chosen cartridge can impact response time, accuracy, and, ultimately, the result of a self-defense situation. Different cartridges come with different pros and cons, which are vital to consider.

Assessing the suitability of the .40 S&W for self-defense

The .40 S&W is still a viable option for self-defense. However, it’s essential to consider personal comfort, recoil management, and the user’s ability to manage the perceived snappiness.

The .40 S&W Cartridge in Competitive Gun Use

The choice of cartridge can also have significant impacts on the outcome and experience of competitive gun use.

The preference for nine millimeters for higher capacity and better recovery time

In terms of competitive use, nine millimeters offer more capacity and better recovery time, making it many shooters’ preferred cartridge.

How .40 S&W tried to cope with competition but fell short

While .40 S&W attempted to meet the demands of the competitive scene, the increasing preference for nine millimeters among competitive shooters indicates that it fell short in certain aspects.

The current status of .40 S&W in competitive gun use

Despite facing stiff competition, the .40 S&W still sees usage in the competitive field. Some users laud it for its precision, with most accurate automatics being .40 caliber, highlighting that the .40 S&W still holds ground.

User Experience with the .40 S&W Cartridge

The sentiments of those who actively use the cartridge is a solid determinant of where the .40 S&W stands, in the face of ongoing debates.

Real user accounts of using the .40 S&W Cartridge

Many .40 S&W users attest to its accuracy and stopping power. Although it might not be every gun user’s preference, those who opt for the .40 S&W enjoy its unique benefits.

Factors contributing to the continued usage of .40 S&W by some users

Despite the debates, some users remain loyal to the .40 S&W due to comfort, familiarity, and perceived precision. Personal comfort and confidence in a particular cartridge play significant roles in the choice of ammunition.

.40 S&W’s performance in terms of accuracy

The .40 S&W shines in terms of accuracy. Certain guns chambered in .40 S&W have demonstrated exceptional accuracy, contributing to the continued use of this cartridge by some users.

The Future of the .40 S&W Cartridge

The future trajectory of the .40 S&W cartridge will be influenced by multiple factors.

Predictions about the trajectory of the .40 S&W Cartridge

While there is much speculation about the future of .40 S&W, it’s likely to maintain its popularity among loyal users, despite the current trends leaning towards nine millimeters.

Factors that could influence the future of the .40 S&W

Factors such as advancements in ballistics, changing consumer preferences, and market competition will significantly influence the .40 S&W’s future trajectory within the ammunition industry.

Potential innovations in the ammunition industry affecting .40 S&W’s standing

Innovation could constitutively tip the scales for .40 S&W. With continuous development in ammunition technology, there might be new reasons to opt for .40 S&W over other alternatives.


Despite the stir, the .40 S&W still holds its ground in the market.

Summary of the key points in the .40 S&W Cartridge debate

The .40 S&W is not without its critics. However, the cartridge’s standing is multifaceted; while some shooters lean more towards nine millimeters, the .40 S&W still maintains a prevalance in both competitive and self-defense use.

Understanding why it’s not entirely correct to deem the .40 S&W Cartridge as obsolete

Deeming the .40 S&W cartridge as entirely obsolete discounts the fact that it holds a unique appeal to a significant segment of gun users. It remains a preferred choice for users who value its particular benefits.

Invitation for readers to share their thoughts on the matter

Understanding the ongoing controversy surrounding the .40 S&W is a collective exercise. We encourage readers to share their thoughts and experiences to expand the knowledge base on the subject.

See the Smyth Busters: Is the .40 SW Cartridge Obsolete? in detail.