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Best .40 S&W Pistols Guide for 2024

Last Updated: February 16, 2024

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Every firearm user has a caliber they enjoy shooting more than others. It is not necessarily about performance or stopping power. Sometimes, it is just the “feel” that is hard to put into words, but that is very tangible and clear nonetheless. Instead of breeding discord and fueling disputes on which caliber is the best, we cherish every one of them. We at Gritr Sports believe that every firearm can be the most beloved one. For that reason, we never rush to put a label of the “best .40 pistol” on some handgun. There are dozens of worthy 40 caliber pistols out there, all more or less fitting for these or that situation. And we are here to show you some of them.

Table of Contents

The Notion of Best

Wherever you cast a glance on, each sphere has its own difficulty in defining the word “best”. Firearms didn’t escape this fate either. What features would one find in this mythical best 40-cal pistol? Is it the most comfortable to hold? Well, people with differently-sized hands will have different opinions on that point. Or is it the most precise one? You know as well as we do that precision comes from the shooter, while firearms only channel it. Is it the most sleek-looking one? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

With everything said, we still don’t imply that every single gun is the best gun – some models definitely stand out from the crowd. The best-rated 40 caliber pistols all have something in common, be it extra safety features, improved grips or triggers unlike any others. We’ve compiled a list of the best 40 cal pistols in 2022 and now updating it in 2024, keeping in mind that people need handguns for different purposes. That’s why we included both lightweight pistols for concealed carry and heavier handguns fit for home defense or competitive shooting.

BERETTA PX4 Storm Compact

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact

Action: Double/Single

Frame Material: Fiberglass Polymer

Barrel Length: 3.2”

Capacity: 10rd

We open our list with the best 40 caliber pistol for concealed carry. PX4 Storm Compact from an Italian maestro of firearm making Beretta lives up to its name, being a particularly compact handgun. With the overall length not exceeding 6.8”, this 40 cal pistol beats other contenders in being of the most comfortable size for concealed carry: not too big, not too small. The 10-round is an optimal cartridge capacity for everyday carry that doesn’t give you the short end of the stick by limiting the number of rounds you can shoot while not requiring a long mag well. The rotary barrel system ensures that recoil dissipates radially, exerting less torque to you and allowing for faster follow-up shots.

The PX4 Storm Compact is a modular pistol, which means you are free to customize it however you see fit. This Beretta 40 caliber pistol features interchangeable backstraps allowing you to adjust the grip according to your preference. The PX4 Storm Compact is an either-hand pistol with an ambidextrous slide lock and safety and reversible magazine release. Its double-to-single action allows you not to worry about cocking the hammer to shoot, which might prove very useful in stressful situations like self-defense scenarios. Even though perfectly suitable for concealed carry, the PX4 Storm Compact also shines at shooting ranges. It is like a two-for-one deal with no catch behind it.

Glock 23 Gen 5

Glock 23 Gen 5

Action: Double-Action

Frame Material: Polymer

Barrel Length: 4.02”

Capacity: 13rd

There is no not including a Glock on any list of the best handguns. Such is their reputation, formidable and well-deserved. As befits the creation of the Austrian master, the Glock 23 Gen 5 is a high-quality .40 S&W pistol that delivers excellent performance and reliability. Its compact frame strikes a perfect balance between full-size and subcompact pistols. It could compete for the name of the best concealed carry .40 caliber pistol, but we’ve already given you our favorite so there will be no intrigue. However, it would have been a tough fight. The greater round capacity of 13 rounds is definitely a great advantage.

The Gen 5 model comes with several upgrades such as an improved trigger system, an ambidextrous slide stop, and an enlarged magazine release, making it more than simply comfortable and user-friendly to operate. Though the pistol is even lighter than the Beretta PX4 Storm Compact, it sports a wider slide but it’s a small trade-off for the added benefits it provides. Overall, the GLOCK 23 Gen 5 is a most reliable choice for anyone looking for a versatile pistol that can shine as a CC weapon and a home defense gun.

TAURUS G2C

TAURUS G2C

Action: Single-Action

Frame Material: Polymer

Barrel Length: 3.2”

Capacity: 10rd

It’s a good thing when you can spare a few hundred bucks to get a pistol. But some people are on a tight budget and don’t have extra $600 to spare. That doesn’t mean, however, that they should be left defenseless. The Taurus G2C .40 S&W is the most budget-friendly 40 caliber pistol on our list, which also happens to be a great concealed carry pistol that packs a punch. The handgun weighs only 22oz, which makes it easy to conceal and carry through the day. It also has a 10+1 round capacity, which is more than enough for most self-defense situations. Taurus also made sure the grip of this pistol feels as natural as possible. If you don’t mind a single-action handgun, this one can make for a great companion.

Overall, the Taurus G2C .40 S&W offers excellent value for its price. While there may be some drawbacks, such as the long and gritty trigger, the gun’s affordability and power make it a solid choice for those looking for a concealed carry 40 caliber pistol that won’t break the bank.

CZ TS2

CZ TS2

Action: Single Action

Frame Material: Steel

Barrel Length: 5.28”

Capacity: 17rd

The CZ Tactical Sport line is famous among competitive shooters for its crisp single-action trigger and long sight radius. The TS2 sets the bar even higher, adopting the benefits of another CZ’s crowd-pleaser Shadow 2 and adding more features to its list of advantages. Steel frame absorbs a significant part of the recoil from .40 S&W rounds, and it is as many as 17 of them that this pistol can house at a time. Even though steel adds more weight to the handgun, bringing it to 48.5 oz, it is still the best pistol for competitive shooting.

A set of fixed target sights with the fiber optic front are made more durable than ever to withstand the rigors of competition. This 40 caliber pistol features a low bore axis and internal rails that place the slide closer to your hand, reducing the impact of recoil. With this, nothing throws you off aim after a shot, and the sights remain on target. Single action ensures a light trigger pull, and ambidextrous manual safety makes this hand either-hand friendly. The grip is embellished with blue aluminum grip panels that add even more refinement to this already gorgeous pistol. 

HK VP40 .40 S&W

HK VP40

Action: Striker Fired

Frame Material: Polymer

Barrel Length: 4.09”

Capacity: 13rd

The final chord of our handgun symphony (if you are a musician, excuse us for this atrocious comparison), is the HK VP40. Behind this combination of letters lies a pistol that would embellish any handgun collection. Or become your life-long partner in protecting your home: it does both things pretty well.

One of the things the VP40’s most notable for is its smooth factory trigger. Many industry experts consider it to be one of the best triggers on any poly-striker gun. The pistol also has an ergonomic grip and ambidextrous controls, making it easy to handle regardless of what your leading hand is. The VP40’s durability is also noteworthy. Despite being on the pricier side, this 40 cal pistol is an excellent investment for those looking for a reliable and high-performing handgun. Its added stopping power compared to 9mm pistols, combined with its manageable recoil and high-quality components make it a solid choice for those who prioritize accuracy and reliability in their firearms.

Check out our top deals for Guns For Sale and other “Best” articles on Gritr Sports:

FAQs

A .40 S&W pistol is a handgun that fires the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge. This ammunition was developed as a law enforcement cartridge designed to duplicate performance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s reduced-velocity 10mm Auto cartridge.

Some of the top-rated .40 S&W pistols on the market include the Glock 23 Gen 5, Beretta PX4 Storm Compact, Taurus G2C, CZ TS2, and the HK VP40.

Yes, many manufacturers offer compact versions of their .40 S&W pistols, such as the Glock 27, Smith & Wesson M&P40c, and the Sig Sauer P320 Subcompact.

The .40 S&W cartridge offers a good balance of power and capacity. It’s more powerful than the 9mm while allowing for higher capacity than the .45 ACP. Many law enforcement agencies use .40 S&W due to its effectiveness in various situations.

 While the .40 S&W cartridge does produce more recoil than the 9mm, most shooters find it manageable, especially with modern handguns designed to mitigate recoil. Training and practice can also help manage recoil effectively.

Timothy Chandler

Timothy Chandler is a long-time outdoor enthusiast and shooting range regular who decided to put his passion into words. Having tried an immeasurable number of firearms during his hunting trips across Texas and several other states, Timothy has accumulated a knowledge base worthy of sharing. The possible blanks in the expertise he compensates with the help of his numerous shooting buddies. Timothy is set on a seemingly impossible mission to try it all in the realm of firearms. Follow him on his never-ending journey through the gun world.

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