Top 11 .40 Caliber Pistols Reviewed & Rated
Chosen by many law enforcement agencies around the world because of the ammunition's reliability, the .40 caliber round itself is a great option for self defense. The effectiveness, stopping power, and overall accuracy make the .40 cal cartridge a solid choice for EDC (everyday carry). And now modern technology gives us more options for smaller frames, and more control of the snap from the recoil, which can be a bit much on small or lightweight framed pistols.
We put together a little list of our favorites for different needs, as well as different budgets, because a solid reliable pistol doesn't necessarily have to cost you upwards of $800. Check out our list and see what you think.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Designed to work in all kinds of weather
Can be used with gloves on
11 Best 40 Cal Pistols
1. Glock 22 Gen 4
Designed to work in all kinds of weather
Can be used with gloves on
Trigger can dig into hand
The ever-reliable Glock has its first entry on this list. The Gen 4 of Glock pistols are as reliable and practical as you could expect from the second-best 40 caliber pistol for the money.
The Glock Gen 4's are as reliable a set of pistols as you can find. They are designed to be able to continue to work in any kind of setting, and under any kind of workload. They are made of a heavy-duty polymer that can withstand the shock of many shots. They have also been coated in a strong material that stops the pistols from being damaged by the elements.
Gen 4's claim to fame is that it has many new upgrades in terms of how easy it is to use out in the elements. The coating of the gun makes it a great choice for being a reliable shot even out in the rain or snow. The Gen 4 is also designed to be easily used even if you have gloves on because it has been designed with a rough texture that makes it easier to grip.
Cost and Value
The Gen 4 Glock is a little bit cheaper than the Walther. These guns are designed to be reliable, especially in any kind of bad weather. A Glock is a great choice because you won't ever have to worry about if it is going to work when you need it most. That is the standard that has kept Glock afloat all these years.
2. Smith & Wesson M&P Compact
Not a very good trigger
This is another entry from S&W. This pistol is similar to the shield but has been designed so that you can take it with you as a concealed carry gun.
The Compact is the right choice for you if you like Smith & Wesson pistols, but are worried about how large the M&P is. The Compact is great for day to day usage. It has a small profile that makes it a good choice for putting in a back holster. The pistol is also very easy to use so you can quickly pull it and have it at the ready.
The Compact is great for many other reasons too. This pistol is made out of durable parts that are put together very well so that the pistol has a very smooth action. It has an ergonomic grip that makes sure that it feels good in your hand when you are steadying your aim. Finally, the Compact comes with a very useful sight that will immediately improve your accuracy.
Cost and Value
The Compact costs around the same amount as the other Smith & Wesson. It is more a matter of which size you are more comfortable with. This pistol is the perfect choice for someone who needs a weapon to bring around with them during the day but also wants to feel comfortable with it in their holster.
3. Sig Sauer 229R
Ideal duty or personal defense pistol
A seriously proven pistol, the compact Sig 229 is a favorite of citizens and professionals worldwide and is available in several different calibers. The rugged durability of Sig pistols, in general, is the big draw-in to most people, but the reliability, accuracy, and overall feel make this pistol the go-to gun for personal defense. Even law enforcement and special operations communities fall back on this one, in slightly different variations to meet their specific purposes.
The only reason this landed on the #3 spot instead of the first or second is the price. Sig pistols are expensive. Well worth the price if you are going to take every advantage of the pistol, but still a bit expensive for a lot of people who are looking for a carry gun.
The accuracy of most pistols from sig is top range. The 229 is right there at the top as far as that is concerned. The heavier frame weight also helps to control recoil on repeated shots. As long as you get comfortable, you won't have any problem, with proper practice, putting rounds where you want them to go.
This is another area where Sig shines bright. Even with the newer polymer models, the overall durability remains one of the top points when it comes to this company. The 229 is a military/special law enforcement focused pistol. The point is, the 229 is made to perform after being dragged through the roughest of environments.
4. Sig Sauer P320
Complex safety system
Can change many parts in the gun
For people who like switching pieces out
The Sig Sauer P320 is the pistol of a choice for you if you like to switch around all the pieces in your pistol. This pistol is great for those who treat their pistol like an ongoing project.
The Sig Sauer lets you change anything that you can think of in its design to have the pistol that you want. You can change the caliber of this pistol from .40 to many other kinds. You can also change the grip on the pistol if you want something more comfortable. Finally, even the size of the gun can be changed due to Sig Sauer's interesting design.
As they say, safety first. This pistol has been designed that it will always be safe in your hands. Seeing as it is designed to be changed around a lot. This pistol has a complex safety system that means it can't be taken apart when there is a round chambered, or if there is a magazine in the pistol. This will keep you safe while you switch out the parts you like.
Cost and Value
The Sig Sauer is around the same price as the other pistols on this list. This pistol is a great choice for any kind of hobbyist who likes looking at all the new gadgets and pieces online for pistols. This pistol will keep you safe, while you are trying to make the perfect gun for yourself.
5. Walther PPQ M2
Adjustable back strap
Quick release magazine
Easy to get into a rhythm
The Walther PPQ M2 is the best .40 pistol that will do a great job of keeping you safe with their reliable firing and easy-to-use trigger.
The Walther is an easy-to-use pistol that is designed so that it can be used instinctively by the shooter. The Walther has a very light trigger pull that makes it easy to fire and trusts that you'll know when to fire. It is also designed so that it makes an audible click when the gun is ready to fire again. This is great for getting into a rhythm with your shots.
The Walther is also a very easily customized pistol, which is why it is such a good choice for anyone looking to buy a pistol. The back grip on this pistol can be very quickly changed out for a strap that makes more sense to the grip of your hand. The slide stop can also be used by both left and right-handed people, which makes it useful for anyone.
Cost and Value
The Walther is a pretty expensive pistol, but it is also just about the best one that you can find on the market. This pistol will do well by you with its reliable firing, and very easy to adjust pieces. This pistol is perfect for just about anybody looking to buy the best 40 cal handgun and will do a great job for whatever use you have in mind for it.
6. Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Shield
Easy to carry around
Trigger needs to be worked in
40 cal concealed pistols are designed to be the perfect pistol for anyone who has a concealed carry permit. Smith & Wesson M&P is designed to be easy to carry and keep put away.
The Shield is designed to be used on a daily basis as your sidearm when you are going out and about on your day. This pistol has a very thin profile that makes it easy to comfortably fit on your person for when you go out. It is also designed to be easily carried around due to its very lightweight construction and materials.
This pistol is also great for a multitude of other reasons. This pistol is great at giving you consistently accurate firing in a very smooth motion. It is also designed to be very durable and has stain-resistant polymers in it that will last through years of use. The barrel is made out of durable steel that can withstand many bouts of firing.
Cost and Value
The Shield is a little cheaper than many of the other pistols on this list, but not by much. This is a great pistol for everyday use. It won't get in the way while you are doing other things, but it is still more than useful enough to be effective in any situation that comes up. These pistols also come with flat and extended magazines so you can choose your capacity, as well.
7. H&K P30
Heckler & Koch bring their widely respected effort and reliability to .40 pistols with ease and professionalism.
High Caliber Pedigree
The engineers at Heckler & Koch have always done a great job when it comes to producing their firearms, and it can be seen in who buys them. They are designed for people of all stripes, from the military to law enforcement, to the hobbyist. This is because their guns are reliable and dependable no matter the season or weather.
Safe and Simple
The HK pistols do a great job of riding the balance between safety and simplicity. The trigger is very easy to use and has a light pull, but it is also designed with a very tight safety system that will keep you safe from an unintended firing. This pistol is a great choice for anyone who values the safety of the gun their firing above all else.
Cost and Value
These pistols cost a little more than the other ones on the list, but it makes up for itself in the level of quality on display with this pistol. They can be easily modified so that they can better fit the hand of anyone using it, as well. These pistols are great for anyone who wants an efficient pistol that prioritizes intention of use.
8. Glock 27 Gen 3
Great safety system
One of the subcompacts often referred to as a "baby Glock", the G27 is a great backup weapon when your primary carry is also a .40. The G27 has about the same width as a full-size pistol, but obviously a much shorter barrel and grip area.
Reliable Glock Style
The G27 is another great example of all the reasons that the Glock is one of the most trusted EDC pistols. The reliability is not affected in any way by the smaller frame..
The safety of the Glock is one of the big reasons that they have become so well known. These pistols are designed with a very safe safety that will make sure you are never in danger when handling the weapon. The pistol is very reliable and uses Glock's very durable polymer that can handle many kinds of conditions for its use.
Cost and Value
You can still pick up the G27 Gen 3 at many gun shops, although Glock has moved on to gens 4 and 5. The G42 and G43 have since moved into the lead role as Glocks covert EDC pistols, although those two models are considered micro-compacts. So because the brand has moved on to newer models, you can grab the G27 at a decent price. And it's still totally worth it.
9. Springfield Armory XD Mod.2
Easy to conceal
Needs a good squeeze
Springfield Armory's .40 pistols are designed to be a sleek, compact, and usable pistol that you can take anywhere, and feel comfortable with immediately.
Take Anywhere Design
This is another pistol that is designed to be taken with you. It is a pistol with a very compact design, which makes it a good choice for using as your everyday pistol. It has a very slim profile that makes it easy to carry in the small of your back. This makes this a good gun that you can rely on when an unforeseen situation comes up.
The XD is designed to be able to be used out of the box. It won't take very long for you to get used to using this pistol. The grip is very comfortable and will fit right into anyone's hand. This pistol is designed so that you can quickly intuit all of its nooks and crannies, and be comfortable using it as quickly as possible.
Cost and Value
This pistol is a great choice for anyone who has been looking for their everyday gun. It is very easy to use. It has a slim profile that makes it easy to carry around with you comfortably. It also just feels really good in your hand. This pistol costs a little less than the other ones on this list and would do a great job as your first conceal carry.
10. Ruger SR40
Jams with certain kinds of ammo
The pistols from Ruger are designed to be very sleek and simple. These pistols are designed for those who want all the features in a simple package.
Feels Good in the Hand
The Ruger SR40 is a smaller pistol that is designed to be easy to carry but to also feel really good in your hand. The grip is very comfortable, and the profile of the gun is very simple so that there won't be any distractions. The safety is manually released, and it can be used with either your right or left hand. A simple, but polished, gun.
The SR40 is a semi-automatic, striker-fired pistol. This means that you can keep shooting it as much as you want without having to cock the hammer. Being a striker-fired pistol means that it doesn't even have a hammer to cock. This does make releasing the firing pin a little more complicated, but it will make your life much easier in the long term.
Cost and Value
The best thing about the Ruger is that it can be bought at a very reasonable price. This is a very reliable gun that you can use in many different settings. It will do a good job for you whatever you need it. It is designed to a little smaller than the other guns on this list, but it still packs quite a punch in any real, dangerous, situation.
11. Beretta PX4
Hard to use safety
Beretta is another famous name when it comes to the production of pistols, and this one is no exception. The PX4 is a reliable and accurate .40.
Every piece of the Beretta has been designed to be of the highest quality you can hope to find in a pistol. The pieces are made of the most durable materials allowed, but they also attempt to keep the pistol's weight as low as possible. This makes the feeling of using a Beretta both reliable, and easy to wield.
The PX4 is also great for some of the clever features that Beretta has thought of over the years. This pistol does a great job of keeping itself accurate and reliable, because of the locking of the barrel after every shot. This keeps the pistol steadier so that your shots will go where you want them to. It also uses a heat-resistant plastic that keeps the weight lower than with other pistols.
Cost and Value
The price of the Beretta is comparable to the Walther. This is a great gun if you want the most accurate 40 cal pistol, but also some lighter weight. These pistols are great for everyday use and will do a good job on both the range and in the field. They come with a few different back straps so you can choose the right fit for you.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
It is important that your pistol does a good job hitting its target. This can be seen in multiple ways. The most obvious is the sights. It is important to find a pistol with sights that do a good job of perfectly zeroing in on a target. This makes it easy to see the target properly. There are many ways that sights can improve your effectiveness, including different ways of setting up the sights that focus on either improved accuracy or improved speed of target acquisition. The other thing that will improve the accuracy of your pistol is the way that the rifling is assembled. Some barrels are tighter than others, and this can affect the size of your grouping. the higher the rating in this category, the more likely that your bullets will hit where they are supposed to.
This is another very important aspect of choosing the gun that you use. The better that it feels in your hand, the more confident you will feel when you are shooting the gun. There are many kinds of ways that a gun can feel good in your hand. There is the weight of the pistol. Some pistols have a more evenly distributed weight to them that makes them feel more properly weighted when you carry them. It makes them easier to use, and also makes them feel more proper when palmed. Another way that guns can feel comfortable is how the grips are designed. Some .40s will have comfortable grips that you can hold in both your left and right hand. The score in this category will dictate how comfortable you will be when you use this pistol.
By versatility, we're talking about the number of ways your 40 cal pistol could be useful. The simple thought is that a handgun just goes boom when you pull the trigger, and that's all that matters. That's so wrong and over-simplified that it hurts when we hear it.
Unless your only need is to punch holes in paper targets on the weekend, you're probably looking for a pistol that you can carry comfortably, get on target with easily and effectively, and then follow up accurately. If you going for the weekend target practice only, perhaps .40 isn't the round you need. Maybe take a look at 9mm, or even cheaper, .22 pistols.
Think about the different situations and environments you find yourself in. Do you need a polymer frame, or is the weight not that important of a factor? Are you going for an EDC gun? If so, lighter is better for all-day carry.
If you want something that you can beat the hell out of and it will keep going without issue and you're most likely going to carry overtly, then if you don't mind the weight, a full steel or alloy frame might be the way to go. You really just need to be mindful of the scenarios in which you are going to find yourself carrying. Some manufacturers, like Sig, have started making interchangeable or modular pistols, in which the slide and upper mechanics can easily and quickly be moved to a compact frame. Just keep in mind that ammunition like the .40 will feel different if you go from a larger and possible heavier frame to a much smaller frame, which will likely also have less grip space to maintain a compact or concealable size.
It takes a lot of heavy-duty materials and design work to survive the barrage of firing the larger caliber .40 bullets. These bullets are designed to be large but are also used in smaller pistols. They put the guns that inhabit through a good deal of stress. This means that these pistols have to be very well-made. All the pistols on this list are very well-designed to be able to handle a good round of firing action. They all use different materials, such as complex polymers, or old-fashioned steel, but they all do a good job of successfully keeping it together when you need them most. It is important that the barrels are designed so that they won't corrode over the course of long bouts of use, as well. The score in this category tracks the amount of use that you can put this pistol through without having to worry about it.
The .40 pistols are also well-known for being easy to customize. Many people enjoy the hobby of replacing a piece here and there in their pistol. It makes the pistol a bit more your own. All pistols can be modified to a different degree, and to differing levels of difficulty. It is more desirable to find a pistol that can easily have its parts switched out for new ones. There are also many stock parts that are worth looking into switching out. Sights, for example, are commonly known to be quickly replaced in many kinds of guns, such as the Glock. Some pistols try their best to make it as easy to change out parts as they can and even market themselves as pistols designed to be modified. This category's score refers to how easy it is to change parts out in that particular gun.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
A large reason that many people think about buying a .40 pistol is that they do such a good job as a concealed carry weapon, but without having to sacrifice much in terms of stopping power. The .40 is larger than the 9 mm and the .38, but it can still be housed in a pistol that is about the same size. That makes these guns a good choice for a weapon that you need to carry around with you on a day to day basis. These pistols will do a good job of not poking or prodding you when you are just trying to go about your day. Secondly, they won't bulge through your shirt and make other people uncomfortable.
Flat and extended magazines are the difference in a few rounds for your pistol. Which one is more for you depends completely on your preference. This is an especially important decision if you are a practitioner of concealed carry. The extra size of an extended magazine may make it impractical to use an extended magazine. Something that other users suggest is to use an extended magazine as a back-up magazine so that you don't need to have a bulging weapon on you at all times. Extended magazines usually only add a few more rounds to your overall clip size, but that may be the difference in an important situation.
If you are carrying concealed, you'll probably want a compact pistol. Just keep in mind that the .40 cal round has a snap in smaller lightweight frames. It might just mean more time practicing follow-up shots to get your accuracy and reaction time where it should be for safe effective handling in a real-world scenario.
Other Factors to Consider
Something great about many of the guns on this list is that they come with a few replacement parts so that you can better create the gun that you want. Most of the guns here come with a few different grips, which is helpful for finding the one that you find the most comfortable. Another thing that many of the pistols on this list come with are different kinds of magazines. They come with extended and flat magazines so you choose the amount of rounds you want to be holding at one time. All these choices mean that you don't have to worry about choosing something and worrying about one little thing not working. There will be many chances for you to find something that does work.
These pistols are made of a few different materials, and those materials each have different properties that may appeal to you in a different way. The pistols on this list are made with both steel and polymer. Both of these materials are designed to do a good job with the massive amount of heat created by the firing of a bullet, but they are different in other ways. The polymer is lighter than steel, but it might not be as reliable.
A lot of .40 pistols are designed to be used as concealed carry pistols. This means that they will often be held by being tucked towards the body. This means that you better hope that the pistol you're about to own has a confident and established safety system.
Safety systems are very diverse among the pistols on this list. Some are simple buttons that need to be pushed, while others expect you to hold a button in the entire time you are shooting. The kind of system you want will depend a lot on how confident you feel around pistols. Some people are okay with a simple safety system, while others may want something more complex. This category tracks how effective the safety system of the pistol is.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why should I choose a .40 pistol?
There are a few reasons that you should choose to use a .40 pistol over other kinds of pistols. 9 mm pistols have definitely become the most common and popular used pistol when it comes to everyday use, but the .40 still has a place if you are interested in a few things. The first thing that the .40 does better than everyone else is that has a good deal more penetration than the 9 mm. It does a better job of getting deep into a target, or for being able to shoot through things. It is also considered a pistol with more stopping power in general. When firing a .40, you will definitely feel more recoil after every shot. Many people enjoy that strong kick that you get from firing a heavy pistol.
Another reason to get a .40 is that they can be used with many different kinds of ammo. Many .40 pistols are designed so that you can use them with many different weights of ammo. This is useful for being able to buy the cheapest kinds of ammo that you can find on the market, which is great for saving you some money.
q: What are some good things to modify in my pistol?
There are many things that you can change around in your .40 pistol that might make it a better shot, or just more appealing to your sensibilities as a shooter. Here is a list of some things that you can think of changing.
Trigger: It is actually possible to switch around the trigger of your pistol. Many triggers are either too light or too tough of a pull for many people. This means that it can feel uncomfortable using many new pistols because the pull won't be what you are used to. It is easy to buy a new trigger system that will be more in line with what you are comfortable with.
Sights: Many sets of factory sights that you get with pistols are not quite up to snuff when it comes to being able to accurately shoot. This can manifest in a few ways. Some pistols don't do a very good job when it comes to durability. They might be made of a cheaper plastic that breaks if you drop the gun or smack it against a hard surface. New sights will do a good job of giving you a set of sights as durable as the rest of the gun. Custom sights are also great because they can give you the capability to be able to fire at night. They might use tritium to be able to glow in the dark and give you that extra edge during the evening.
q: How should I hold my .40?
All the .40 pistols on this list are semi-automatic pistols. There is actually a preferred way to hold a semiautomatic that means you will have the best kind of grip on your weapon. This is especially important with a .40 pistol, because of the amount of kickback that these pistols have.
To do this stance, start by holding the pistol with your dominant hand in a safe position. The hold the bottom of your dominant hand with your other hand. Finally, place your weaker thumb behind your dominant thumb. This better braces you against the recoil of the shot without entirely losing your target.
q: How do I clean my .40 pistol?
It is important to make sure to properly maintain and clean your pistol on a regular basis. The process is simple if you have the proper tools. This is a general idea of how to do that. The first thing that you have to do is unload your pistol. This means making sure that the magazine is ejected and that there isn't a round chambered in the pistol. After this, remove the barrel of the pistol from the rest of the gun. You are going to need a cleaning kit for the rest of the process. This includes having some solvent, some grease, a boring brush, and a brush. First, you should scrub the barrel with a bore brush to get rid of all the extra bits of gunk left over from firing your weapon. Then you can lubricate it with the grease. After that, you are going to want to use the solvent on the action, which is the top of the barrel pistol. This will get rid of any dirt that has gotten in there. Finally, use a lubricant to lube the action so that the pistol will slide properly when fired.
q: Will the .40 caliber round stop a bear?
Well... If you find yourself pointing a .40 cal at a bear, something has gone seriously wrong and you are now finding yourself in an awfully horrible spot.
You'll probably be okay against a black bear, especially a smaller one. But, if you're up against a grizzly, you're going to really need to place your shots well. And it's likely that it you'll need to send several shots at that bear to end the threat. There have been cases where bears have been stopped by a 9mm, which has speed but less stopping power than a .40.
So it is plausible, but not recommended that you go out and give it a try. If you want a sidearm for a big game hunt, or just hiking through bear country, a much larger round, one with substantially more stopping power like a .500 S&W or similar would honestly be your best bet.
q: Is a 40 caliber more powerful than a 45?
The simple answer is no. .40 was intended to get a mix of speed and stopping power, as where the .45 is a knock down round. Now there are some differences in .45 caliber ammunition. You could be referring to .45acp or .45lc. Both are going to be more powerful with regards to stopping power, but the .40 caliber round also hands some advantages. It's faster, so it does more penetration damage at a longer distance than the .45.
But if by "more powerful" you are referring to pure stopping power, the .45 was meant to knock the threat down and remove it from the fight.