A bridge between the company’s full-sized and subcompact Px4 pistols, the Px4 Storm Compact offers a generous grip and an ample 12 rounds of your favorite ammunition. Unlike many other handguns, the Px4 Storm Compact uses a rotary-barrel system that helps to attenuate recoil, while the hammer-fired DA/SA system gives the gun a traditional feel. Beretta makes the gun user friendly with features like an ambidextrous slide stop, a reversible magazine release and interchangeable backstraps.
I really like the form and function of the BP series of concealed-carry handguns from Bersa. The single-stack BP40CC fits great in my hand with near-perfect trigger reach. Even with a full grip, the gun is thin enough—less than an inch wide—to conceal well under a T-shirt, plus it gives you 7+1 rounds before a reload. The striker-fired, short-reset trigger is light and easy to learn. The polymer frame helps keep things light, yet recoil is relatively mild with easy-to-control muzzle rise.
The Charter Arms Pitbull is a solo act—the only revolver to make this top .40 list. Using the company’s dual coil spring assembly extractor, the Pitbull does not need to use moon clips to run the rimless .40 S&W cartridge. The five-shot revolver has a durable nitride finish to resist wear and corrosion for a lifetime of self-defense work. Standard on this model is a full-sized rubber grip to maximize recoil management.
You don’t need Wolfman Jack to tell you what this gun is about: a compact pistol in .40 S&W. The FNS-40 Compact is a striker-fired pistol that is well suited for concealed carry, with a relatively light weight and a short height. FN includes a pair of flush-fitting 10-round magazines and an extended 14-round magazine with this pistol to give you flexibility in what you carry. On top, the FNS-40 Compact comes with fixed three-dot sights, though night sights are an option.
Some songs are almost always in style, and guns based on the CZ 75 are nearly always reliable performers. CZ-USA offers a gun for concealed carry called the CZ 2075 RAMI. A compact DA/SA gun, this hammer-fired pistol packs seven rounds in a standard magazine and nine rounds in an extended magazine. The large sights make accurate shooting easy. Even with an alloy frame, the gun is still lighter than many defensive pistols at less than 26 ounces unloaded. The CZ 2075 RAMI also has a durable black polycoat finish.
A global superstar, one of the top hits from Glock for concealed carry is the G27 Gen4. This compact pistol runs the same as its larger brothers while packing no fewer than nine rounds in a flush-fitting magazine. Larger magazines from the G22 and G23 also work in this gun, making it a great backup for law enforcement officers and a suitable carry pistol for a citizen who already keeps one of the larger guns for home protection. The current Gen4 model offers an improved grip and a larger magazine release when compared to prior models.
This European diva is a newcomer to the .40-caliber club. Following in the footsteps of the 9mm VP9, the VP40 features completely ambidextrous controls and a paddle-style magazine release that is very natural to use, even if you’ve been using a push-button release for years. HK builds the VP40 with an adjustable grip that allows you to swap side panels and the backstrap for an ideal hand fit. The three-dot sights use a photoluminescent material that glows in low-light conditions for rapid targeting.
Smooth jazz may have fallen out of favor with many, but the smooth trigger pull of the Kahr PM40 puts it right in this list of top .40 handguns. This DAO pistol is very compact: less than 5.5 inches long and only about 0.95 inches wide. It can slip into a pocket or waistband without much bulk, yet gives you 5+1 rounds of firepower with a flush-fitting magazine. The gun also comes with a six-round magazine that doubles as a grip extension for better control of the gun when shooting.
Like a classic rock band that keeps putting out hits, Ruger also continues to roll out popular firearms. This one, the SR40c, is a compact version of the company’s full-sized SR series pistols. In addition to the flush-fitting nine-round magazine typically used with this gun, it will also feed from the full-sized 15-round magazine. The SR40c has full-sized sights, a reversible backstrap and a short accessory rail for mounting a laser or light.
In era of striker-fired handguns, shooting the hammer-fired P239 is a bit like listening to the classic tones of a big band crooner: You wonder why you don’t spend more time enjoying it. Sig Sauer pistols are combat tested and are well suited for self-defense. However, they are also enjoyable to shoot. The DA/SA Sig Sauer P239 holds seven rounds in its magazine, and the metal frame is wrapped in Hogue rubber grips. Contrast sights allow for easy aiming, and SIGLITE night sights are available as an optional upgrade.
Smith & Wesson Winstanley Partners Mark McCarty Photography
The XD-S was a chart topper as soon as it hit stores. A single-stack pistol, the gun loads .40 S&W cartridges from a flush-fitting six-round magazine and also ships with a spare magazine that increases the capacity to 7+1. Overall, the grip width is only 0.9 inches, making it easy to slip this gun into a waistband or other concealment location. For easy sighting, a red fiber-optic front sight is paired with a white-dot rear. I’ve been very impressed by these guns and recommend them without hesitation.
Sometimes a gun really sings in your hand, and when I first shot one of these compact Steyr pistols, I was amazed by the lack of muzzle flip and felt recoil. The gun proved to be very easy to run hard and fast, and I experienced no malfunctions through hundreds of rounds. On the S40-A1, Steyr uses a set of trapezoidal sights that are surprisingly easy to use for both rapid target acquisitions and slow, precise shooting.
Occasionally, a remake is catchier than the original, and that’s how I feel about the PPS M2. Refreshed for 2016, the single-stack pistol got a number of updates, including replacing the lever-style magazine release with a push-button release. Additionally, the grip frame was updated to add the multi-directional texturing common to the larger guns in the company catalog. Up front, the Weaver-type accessory rail and triggerguard were reworked for a slicker shape that is less likely to interfere with cover garments.
Everyone’s got their favorite thing, be it a car, football team or gun. Fans enjoy ranking those things and love to see their favorites come out on top. DJ Casey Kasem became a legend when he hit the airwaves each week with his American Top 40 radio program. While I have no illusions of becoming famous like Kasem, I’ve assembled a list of the top .40 S&W handguns you might consider for self-defense.
- RELATED STORY: 10 Modern, Cutting-Edge Pocket Pistols for Self Defense
I did not attempt to order these from worst to first because choosing a handgun is an extremely personal decision. Rather, I’ve included a selection of quality .40 S&W handguns, any of which could be your number one hit. Any of these guns can send out a long-distance dedication to an attacker. Only you can determine which of these contenders tops your own personal chart.
For more information about the .40 S&W handguns featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
Heckler & Koch
Smith & Wesson
For more from author Richard Johnson, visit http://www.
Aaron Barruga checks in with Brad Criner, Senior Product Manager at Winchester Ammunition, to talk...
by Personal Defense World / Jan 18, 2017