January 20, 2020 7:00:00 AM PST
What Would Be The Best .40 Caliber Pistol To Get Started On 10mm Lite?
Even though the round has been eclipsed by 9mm, some people get curious and wonder if maybe they should get a .40 cal pistol while the getting is good. It wouldn’t be the worst impulse in the world as .40 S&W is a proven round for self-defense and competition.
But what about the hardware? What are the best guns to get into Diet 10mm? Well, there are a bunch of great .40 caliber pistol models to choose from. These seven pistols are as good a starting point as you’re likely to find, though each suits a particular purpose better than others.
Arguably Glock’s Best .40 Cal Pistol
The Glock 23 is arguably the best .40 Glock pistol. The Glock 23 is the same frame, slide and barrel size as the Glock 19, so it has everything good about the 19 but in .40 S&W.
The Glock 23 is big enough for a sure grip, which helps defray a bit of the extra .40 vs 9mm recoil. Literally every specification is the same, save for onboard capacity, which is only reduced to 13+1.
Some might think it’s a boring choice, and maybe it is…but you’d be surprised how many holsters we sell for this pistol on a monthly basis. It’s easily the most popular holster for .40 pistols we sell.
M&P40: S&W’s Big .40 Cal Pistol
Smith and Wesson created the round, so any .40 S&W pistol made by them had better be good. The M&P40 is definitely worth a look, if you’re after a full-size .40.
Granted, you don’t have to settle for the base model. Performance Center and CORE models with optics and other upgrades can be had as well.
The excellent ergonomics of the M&P pistol makes for some very comfortable shooting, and the build quality ensures that you can expect a long service life and reliable running from this pistol. While capacity isn’t as generous as with the 9mm model, the onboard complement of 15+1 is more than respectable. It’s been known as a workhorse pistol, reliable and accurate, since it was first release. Spend a little time with one and you’ll see why it’s one of the most popular .40 pistols in police service in the past decade.
Sig P320: A .40 Cal Pistol Goes Modular
The Sig P320 is certainly the pistol of the moment, but is there a .40 S&W version that’s worth looking into? There certainly is, namely the Sig P320 Compact .40. The Compact gives you everything good about the full-size, but in a more compact package better suited to daily carry. You can also opt for the Carry model, which has a full-length grip and adds magazine capacity.
Carrying capacity is 13+1 rounds in the Compact model or 15+1 in the Carry model. You also get the incredible features list of the Sig P320, including the modular frame system. Invest in an additional caliber kit and some magazines, and you can swap the .40 for a 9mm at will.
No other pistol on this list has that capability.
A Big Sig .40 Cal Pistol: Sig P229R
The Sig P229R .40 gives you the best of both worlds. The all-steel frame is rugged enough to soak up the recoil. It’s a very common police-issue pistol, as it’s popular for detectives and other plainclothes officers. It has a rail for mounting an accessory, in case you want to do the laser/light thing. While it’s not exactly tiny, it’s small enough to carry every day so long as you have a good, stiff belt.
It’s the classic Sig Sauer DA/SA operating system, so you know that it’s proven. Capacity is a little limited by modern standards at 12+1. While it’s big and heavy, that takes some of the snap out of .40 S&W. You get a compact service pistol in a more-powerful caliber than 9mm but that isn’t too hard to shoot.
Since its one of the classic Sigs, this isn’t a flavor of the month; this is a gun you can invest in for a lifetime of use. The old Sigs have service lives measured in decades, so the purchase price (somewhere between $800 to $1,000 in stores) is not so bad.
Springfield EMP .40 Cal Pistol
The Springfield EMP .40 S&W is here to add a touch of class to this .40 cal pistol lineup. It’s a 1911 pattern pistol, with all the trimmings. However, Springfield Armory also trimmed the grip housing so the gun is built around 9mm/.40 S&W, rather than being based on the .45 ACP with magazines and other bits designed to fit. There is no model in .45 ACP in the EMP series as a result.
The EMP or Enhanced Micro Pistol is offered with 3-inch or 4-inch barrels as they are Officer and Commander-frame 1911 pistols. The former holds 8+1 and the latter 9+1. The .40 S&W models all feature two-tone finishes, but are quite the lookers. All models are equipped with a skeleton hammer and trigger are added, along with a beavertail grip safety with memory notch and ambidextrous tactical safety levers. The 3-inch model features tritium night sights, but the 4-inch model comes with a steel rear ramp and a fiber optic front sight.
Granted, it’ll cost you. Expect to spend about $1,000…but Springfield Armory makes very decent 1911 pistols. They aren’t Wilson Combat quality (unless you get their custom shop to make you one; those are) but they are very well made, reliable and accurate. If you want a .40 cal pistol with class, these would be very good options.
A .40 Cal Pistol For Easy CCW: Glock 27
You wouldn’t necessarily think it, but the Glock 27 is a wildly popular Glock .40 pistol as well. It’s true that .40 S&W snaps a bit in subcompact guns, but the Glock 27 is very manageable with it’s blocky, top-heavy slide. With an extended magazine and grip sleeve, it fills the biggest of hands nicely.
It’s compact size and reduced weight compared to the 23 makes it ideal for packing, with plenty of capacity (10+1 in the base magazine size) for an EDC gun. Given that you get the rugger simplicity, reliability and accuracy of the Baby Glock in the bargain, it’s no wonder that holsters for this pistol are some of our best-sellers.
H&K VP40: Arguably The King Of Big Striker .40 Cal Pistols
While there are a number of other popular .40 cal pistols…arguably the best is the H&K VP40.
The VP40 has a polymer frame and striker-fired operating system, just most of the other guns on this list. However, the difference is that Heckler and Koch actually pays attention to the details.
The ergonomics are outstanding. The features – such as the charging handles on the rear of the slide – are far more intelligently designed than on many other pistols of the same format. And then there’s the trigger, which is the best of all striker pistols. Smooth, with a crisp glass-like break and a hard reset.
You might have to part with a few extra bucks (not too many; VP9 and VP40 pistols are easily found for less than $600) but you get more than that in extra quality.
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