The new models from GLOCK come at just the right moment since the .40 Smith & Wesson pistol caliber is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. Gun enthusiasts who have been in the business for a longer time will remember the history of the cartridge's development.
It all began in the early 1980s when the legendary "combat guru" John Dean "Jeff" Cooper (May 10, 1920 - September 25, 2006) together with the US company Dornaus & Dixon presented to the world the infamous Bren Ten pistol in the brand-new 10mm Auto caliber. The 10mm Auto was intended to close the ballistic gap between the 9mm Luger and .45 ACP and thus be the optimal defense cartridge. At that time Norma was the only manufacturer of the (extremely powerful) 10mm factory ammo and due to a wrong market policy and thus the early death of the pistol manufacturer Dornaus & Dixon, the Swedish company was left with not inconsiderable amounts of ammunition.
Colt finally took pity on the young cartridge and in 1987 launched the Colt Delta Elite, a Colt Government chambered in 10mm Auto. Many gun and ammunition manufacturers reacted accordingly and included the 10mm Auto in their production lines.
The FBI causes a boom in the .40 Smith & Wesson
The 10mm Auto received the right boost at the beginning of 1990, when it became known that the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was looking for a service pistol after the notorious "Miami Shootout" and had decided in favor of the 10mm Auto after internal tests. However, the combination of the then introduced service pistol in the form of the Smith & Wesson 1076 (variation of the model 1006 with 4.5" instead of 5" barrel, as well as a decocking lever on the grip à la SIG Sauer) with a reduced-load 10mm Auto, also called “10mm Lite” or “10mm FBI”, revealed problems in everyday service use. In addition, the FBI load with a 180-grain hollow point bullet and moderate muzzle velocity of around 300 m/s made the large boiler room of the 10mm Auto superfluous.
So it was that Smith & Wesson not only announced the good news of having won the lucrative, prestigious FBI contract at the 1990 SHOT Show, but also presented the new 4006 pistol model in the brand new .40 Smith & Wesson caliber. The manufacturer had realized that the cartridge could also be accommodated in the frame of existing 9mm pistols by reducing the case and thus the maximum cartridge length from 1.260”/32.0 mm of the 10mm Auto to less than 1.169”/29.6 mm of the 9mm Luger. The fact that the maximum cartridge length was then even set at 1.135”/28.83 mm is due to the feeding characteristics of .400" (10.16 mm) diameter bullets. The successful combination of a powerful cartridge with controllable recoil, which could be accommodated in compact pistols with a high magazine capacity, then overnight catapulted the .40 S&W to third place among the most popular pistol cartridges after the 9mm Luger and .45 Auto. Many US law enforcement agencies and, since 1997, the FBI had switched to the .40 S&W, with the US Federal Police using GLOCK 22 and GLOCK 23 models in this caliber. At the time, Jeff Cooper sneered at the move away from "his" 10mm Auto to the shrunken, low-power .40 S&W, and called the latter cartridge ".40 Short & Weak".
Ballistic comparison between the 9 mm Luger, .40 S&W and .45 ACP
When comparing typical standard government cartridges, the .40 S&W performs well in terms of bullet energy: a 9 mm Luger with 124-grains bullet achieves 350 m/s and 492 joules, a .45 Auto with 200-grain bullet 280 m/s and 508 joules and a .40 S&W with 180-grain bullet 300 m/s and 524 joules. A popular alternative is the .40 S&W with 165-grain bullet, which at 330 m/s and 582 joules offers a little more penetration power with the hollow-point bullets often used in law enforcement.
And now to the new GLOCK Gen 5 models: G22, G23 and G27
The brand new GLOCK pistol models G22, G23 (also available as MOS versions) and G27 in .40 S&W have typical technology and equipment features of the fifth generation.
There are no finger grooves on the grip and the magwell has been slightly flared to facilitate magazine changing. The slide stop lever, which is now also available on the right-hand side, facilitates operation for left-handed users and for one-handed "strong hand/weak hand" shooting training. The interchangeable backstraps of the "Multiple Backstrap System" (MBS) allow for adjustment to the individual hand size. The slide with additional front serrations has been provided with the extremely resistant nDLC coating and has a deep black finish. The drift adjustable rear sight – coupled to a 3.75mm front sight – has a wider 4.40mm notch which brings more light to the eye, especially for tall shooters with correspondingly long arms or under adverse lighting conditions. The Gen5's inner values include, for example, the improved GLOCK Marksman Barrel (GMB) with increased accuracy or a 2200 g trigger spring fitted as standard for improved characteristics.
The GLOCK 22, 23 and 27 are offered at a price of 759 euro. The GLOCK 22 and GLOCK 23 models are also available in MOS versions and cost 874 euro each. (As usual, prices may vary in your country.)