We haven’t had a good gun post here in a while.
So the Czar, like a few of the G-boys around here, is a fan of .40 caliber weapons. Here is a round up of things we like or do not like about this increasingly popular weapon. First, is it better than a 9mm? Not in our opinion: a 9mm is easy to shoot, and with moderate practice becomes a wickedly effective weapon. But there is something more satisfying about the thump of .40 when it fires. Of course, we love us a good .45 ACP, too: but that is a slower projectile, and one can readily fire it at a target far enough away that one can hear the distant whap of the bullet hitting the paper downrange. True.
But a .40 is a faster round than a .45, and definitely meatier than a 9mm. If you disagree, nothing anyone says will convince you anyway, so let us move on.
Individual pistols are very much a personal preference: if you disagree with any of our findings below, don’t worry about it—firearms are like cars. Different things appeal to different people. You are welcome to disagree with any of the following, provided your own experience is different. The Czar grows weary of what the Mandarin calls “Bravo Tangos”: big talkers, who will go on and on for hours about why handgun x is better than handgun y, to the point where you realize they have fired neither. The Czar has fired all of these, a few times, and has some thoughts.
The Glock 23 is one of the more popular .40 caliber weapons out there. And while the grip is super-comfortable and the weapon lightweight, this is not a good .40 design. It is a great 9mm design: the Czar likes the 9mm version of these, the legendary Glock 19. This is pretty much the same weapon but designed to handle the bigger bullet. Firing it is easy, but the thump of the .40 cartridge firing lifts the muzzle up a bit, and the muzzle likes to stay up there. As a result, the time it takes the Czar to reacquire the target is a bit longer than we like. In short, the short barrel needs more weight to help the muzzle get back to a level position. Curiously enough, the Czar finished firing one of these recently, and the range master stopped up to ask what we thought. The Czar explained that people like Glocks, and it is often difficult to risk criticizing the weapon, but the 23 is not a good 19. The weapon needs more weight and a longer barrel. The range master sighed in relief, and said “Thank God. I thought it was me. You’re the first guy who admits it has problems.” Nice: the guy is afraid to talk to anyone with a Glock for fear of heresy. Glocks are great weapons: but this one is not quite perfect.
The Smith & Wesson MP 40 was a new one to us. The Czar has always had a fondness for Smiths: they are simple, elegant, and work well. This one is a definite subcompact, and so the Czar figured it would be a high-riser like the Glock 23. But to the Czar’s surprise, this little bastard had just enough weight to stay on target. As a result, it was super-easy to pop-pop-pop-pop-pop five rounds in quick succession with this guy, and actually hit the damn targets. We were, shall we say, impressed. People just do not give enough time to Smith & Wessons. There’s so much nice stuff here.
The Sig P226 was a joy to fire, and truth be told, was the first .40 caliber we ever fired back in 2004 or so. The weapon was easy to fit in the hand, and felt quite comfortable. The recoil was light, and felt just a little jumpier than a 9mm, so the Czar was spoiled quickly. It is of course, a pretty expensive gadget with a lot of parts. There is even a lever on the side of the weapon to open a sunroof. And while the Czar really liked the P226, he could help overcome this weird sensation that he was firing a clock. He is quite sure he felt timing wheels turning inside the weapon. But the Czar once knew a crazy Dane who carried one of these everywhere, and used it even to open his mail, and it never broke, failed, or disappointed him. So despite this, it isn’t a delicate weapon.
The Springfield XD 40 seems to rival the Glock in popularity. Man, people either love this gun or hate it. The Czar decided to find out if the buzz was worth the arguing, and fired it. A lot. And loved it. It has the smooth, fluid, stable control of a Colt M19111 but with a quick, lively responsiveness. It is difficult to miss the target, actually. And the ease of operation and stability of the weapon makes it simple to fire a lot. Fast. Overall, the best .40 the Czar has fired. People hate the grip; we thought it was a pretty snug fit in our hand, and had a nice, organic feel to the design. It looks, acts, and talks like a weapon.
Additionally, the Czar liked the Springfield XDM 40 as well. The difference between the two are pretty slight, and sound even nit-picky: the XDM has a shorter trigger travel distance, additional internal safety features, and a little more customization options if you like hot rods. One hears Borepatch put a 5-liter big block on his. Either way, it was an easy weapon to fire and felt a lot like the regular XD. Given a choice between the two, the Czar did not hesitate to try both and refuse to make a choice.
All right, back to politics, Lady Gaga, and things that annoy ‘Puter.