Home on the Vary: Comparison of two .40 caliber handguns


My first real handgun after studying the Ruger Mark III was the Springfield XD 40. The Springfield XD had a 4-inch barrel. That was about 12 years ago. I didn’t think about the caliber of the gun back then, just that I had one. And it shot well.
Since then, my favorite weapon has been another Springfield. It’s a 9mm pistol and has an even longer barrel. Shoots really well. So I shot this 9.
Newbies wanted to start with .22 and .380 and then with 9mm guns. We shot a lot with these calibers. I haven’t thought much about the 40s.
Anyway, Joe and I managed to get to another gun shop (I should blindfold his eyes when we pass gun shops).
What is Joe spying on but a vintage Astra?
I see the greedy glow in his eyes. Sigh.
“It’s good we don’t need a .40 caliber!” I try to distract him at the pass.
Did it work? You all know the answer to that.
So, about this Astra …
The Astra is a steel cannon. The weight of the steel reduces the “felt” recoil, even though it is a .40 caliber. It weighs 31 ounces.
The Astra shoots 7 rounds with one in the chamber. The sights are solid battle. The barrel is 3.5 inches. It is 6.5 inches long, 1.25 inches wide, and 4.75 inches high.
This weapon was manufactured from 1993 to 1998.
The Springfield EMP 40 is also a heavy weapon by comparison for its size, weighing 33 ounces unloaded. Slightly heavier than the Astra.
It lasts 8 rounds with one in the chamber. It has Trijicon visor (glow in the dark) and a barrel length of 3 inches: slightly shorter than the Astra.
The four of us go to the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office booth on Wednesday to compare the two handguns.
We assess the difficulty of the trigger, the length of the trigger, the amount of recoil, the grip and the ease of pulling the slide. A number 1 means “easy” or “I like”, a number 5 means “difficult” or “I don’t like”.
We are Joe, me, Patty and Shelly. First we shoot three rounds of the Springfield EMP 40 at a time.
Together we give the deduction a “2”. It’s not the easiest move, but it’s also not very difficult.
We rate the length of the trigger pull as a little more than a “1”. Deduction doesn’t take up much travel time.
“Kick” receives a higher rating. We give it a “3”. The EMP 40 gives a good, solid kick, but we all manage to get hold of the gun and move on to another two rounds.
The handle of the EMP is narrow at 1.06 inches. I love the narrow handle, but others find it a bit narrow for their tastes. Together we rate the handle with a “2”.
We all agreed that setting up the slide does not require a small amount of force. We rate the pulling of the slide at 3.5. Not easy.
Patty and Shelly think the gun is heavy.
Obviously, this is not a newbie weapon.
Next we test the Astra A-75. It’s also a .40 caliber handgun.
We include the difficulty of the deduction with 2. The length of the trigger is also a 2.
Here, too, we find the kick to be robust and give it a 3.
All three prefer the handle of the Astra. At 1.25 inches, it is wider than the EMP’s. The handle has more “palm swelling” than that of the EMP. This gives Shelly and Patty the feeling that they can control the gun better.
Pushing in the slide is just as difficult in the Astra as it is in the EMP. We rate it 3.
Although rating makes the Springfield EMP and Astra A-75 very similar, Patty, Shelly, and Joe all prefer the Astra. I like the EMP’s slimmer handle and the weight of the gun, as the elongated beaver tail snuggles into the webbing between my thumb and forefinger.
Would you want a .40 caliber weapon instead of a 9mm or .45 caliber weapon?
A 2014 article by Dave Higginbotham stated, “The .40 was designed as a compromise. It’s bigger than a 9mm but smaller than a .45 ACP. “
He continues, “So they take 9mm ballistic performance expectations and then reduce the 10mm until they meet those expectations.”
The March 5, 2013 issue of said more kindly, “Because of the agency’s reputation and its own interest and research on the subject, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has had a major impact on defensive small arms ammunition. When the FBI speaks, police and civilians listen. Right or wrong, the FBI’s field experience and test protocol have set the standard for modern defensive handgun ammunition. The FBI is also the reason we have the .40 S&W. “
But now, after 9mm vs. .40 S&W: is bigger always better? on the Pew Pew website: “The truth is, premium 9mm ammunition can do anything a .40 S&W can.”
When comparing the 9mm with the .40 S&W, he continues: “The biggest advantage of the 9mm over the .40 S&W is the handling. One of the main criticisms of the .40 caliber is its kick. In fact, some people downright dislike the .40 S&W because they feel it is too weak for the recoil the cartridge creates. “
Yes, the four of us are sure to notice the powerful kick of both the Astra and the Springfield EMP.
After the shooting, Shelly, Patty, and Joe prefer the Astra. What are the comparative costs of the two weapons?
In today’s market, the Astra can cost around $ 200. The Springfield EMP costs about $ 1,200 or more.
Big difference!
And the EMP is pretty. It is smooth. It has a huge beaver tail waiting to flop in your hand. It has a bull run.
The Astra is a piece of blued steel. It is older and some of its blue color has been rubbed off with years of use.
But $ 200 against $ 1,200? Huge difference.
What should I do? Newbies? Hands off! Don’t torture your body with the recoil of a .40 caliber cannon when the 9mm cannon’s premium ammunition offers the same performance with a more manageable kick.
I’ll keep my 9mm pistol.
Let the Great Gun Fairy on Mount Elbert, Colorado bequeath .40 caliber handguns to someone else.

Marj Law is the former director of Keep Wakulla County Beautiful who retired to become an avid marksman.

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