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Top 8 .40 Caliber Pistols

last updated: May 06, 2021

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.

Looking For Affordable Reliability? Here's Our Pick!

Glock 22 Gen 4
Glock 22 Gen 4
Why is it better?

Interchangeable grip backstraps to better fit shooters of different sizes

Glock reliability and simplicity

Easy breakdown to clean and maintain

Simply an accurate, straightforward pistol right out of the box

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Glock 22 Gen 4
Test Winner: Glock 22 Gen 4
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#1
Glock Gen 4
Glock 22 Gen 4

Our favorite for overall reliability

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Price Comparison Last Updated (30.07.21)
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.07.21)
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.07.21)
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.07.21)
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.07.21)
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.07.21)

8 Best 40 Cal Pistols

1. Glock 22 Gen 4

Our favorite for overall reliability

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Features

Interchangeable grip backstraps to better fit shooters of different sizes

Glock reliability and simplicity

Easy breakdown to clean and maintain

Simply an accurate, straightforward pistol right out of the box

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 one of the most fielded gun brand on the planet.

Like the previous generations, Glock's Gen 4 is designed to be able to continue to work in any kind of setting, and under any kind of workload. The stress tests this brand has stood up to have been impressive. Perhaps it's the simplicity in the overall design. Perhaps it's the reliability of the operation mechanism. We say it's all of the above.

The Gen 4's claim to fame is that it has a few new upgrades, in terms of usability among different shooters. This generation began incorporating replaceable backstraps in different sizes in the case. Also, the finish makes it a great choice for being a reliable shot even out in the rain or snow. The G22 Gen 4 is an overall reliable pistol for both home defense, personal defense carry, and law enforcement use.

If you're looking for a decently priced 40 S&W. that you can depend on (if you take care of it of course), and isn't picky with different ammunition, we say you can't go wrong with the G22. That really goes for all generations and variants.

2. Sig Sauer 229R

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A seriously proven pistol, the compact Sig 229 is available in more than one caliber, 40 S&W being the most popular,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 at #2 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 legit. 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. 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.

3. Smith & Wesson M&P Compact

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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.

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.

4. Sig Sauer P320

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The Sig 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'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.

This particular Sig 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. H&K P30

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Heckler & Koch bring their widely respected effort and reliability to .40 pistols with ease and professionalism.

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.

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.

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.

6. Walther PPQ M2

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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.

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.

7. Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Shield

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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 and carry.

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.

8. Glock 27 Gen 3

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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.

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.

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.

expert tips icon
Frame Size Might Matter

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 self defense scenarios.

Great EDC Round

One great thing about the .40 S&W, is that you get better stopping power than a 9mm, and you can also still have decent mag capacity, even in a subcompact. Many police departments around the U.S. even switched to .40 caliber all the way back in early 90's. The 40 S&W round was developed specifically for self defense.

Flush VS Extended Magazines

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Why should I choose a .40 pistol?

a:

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: Will the .40 caliber round stop a bear?

a:

Well... If you find yourself pointing a .40 cal. at a bear, something has gone seriously wrong and you have now found yourself in a 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 S&W more powerful than a .45 acp?

a:

The simple answer is no. The .40 S&W was intended to get a mix of speed and stopping power, as where the .45 acp 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 there is more penetration 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.

q: Should I modify my pistol?

a:

The answer depends on the shooter. If you simply need an EDC pistol, often, less is really more. The less to snag on a draw makes the difference of getting on target fast or being too late, which means... you lose. If this is the case, your modifications should be practical and should be done to improve accuracy and target acquisition.

If you just need to have the coolest race gun at the range (we've all seen that person at the range), then by all means, accessorize. Here are some practical modifications you can easily make:

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. 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 do I clean my .40 caliber pistol?

a:

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 make sure the weapon is clear of ammunition.

This means making sure that the magazine is ejected and that there isn't a round chambered. 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 operate properly when fired.