FBI & 9mm

13-Dec-13 – 17:19 by ToddG

From a reliable, highly-placed source: A formal proposal to remove all .40-cal guns from service and replace them with 9mm is sitting on the FBI Director’s desk and is expected to be approved.

A new ammo procurement would begin in 2015.

More as I learn it…

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 50 Responses to “FBI & 9mm”

  2. Will the FBI continue to issue the 147 grain Winchester Ranger Bonded (RA9B/Q4364) load?

    By JSGlock34 on Dec 13, 2013

  3. It’s my understanding from some fellow LE sources that in testing, the FBI was extremely impressed with the Federal HST 124-grain +P and it will be their new duty load.

    By jbourneidentity on Dec 13, 2013

  4. Great. I welcome the change. I will have to buy new holsters and mag pouches because I have been running a G21 for years, but I agree with the change. From what I have been told from our ballistics shop, the negligible shortcomings in ballistic capability vs the .40 is outpaced by increased capacity and reduced split times. Plus the Gen 4 guns should allow us to run beaver tails, which should eliminate me bleeding on my guns on high round count days. I am all for it. Lots of Police Departments are going to be furious with us though. We convinced the world that the .40 was awesome and they invested money in purchasing guns and ammo in that caliber and now we may be saying that 9mm is better. I will be interested to see if this happens. If the money is spent on this and we get furloughed this summer, people are going to be pissed. I can see it happening with New Agents Classes and then phased in as .40 and .45 guns break, but a Bureau-wide acquisition seems unlikely unless the expenditure on gun purchases is more than offset by ammunition cost savings.

    By BWC on Dec 13, 2013

  5. From training and cost aspect, 9mm makes more sense as a general issue. However, 40S&W and 45ACP should remain as a personal purchase option. Going exclusively with one caliber would be foolish.

    By Eui on Dec 13, 2013

  6. I don’t believe there is a “one caliber fits all” solution. Different shooters have different abilities and needs.

    By J.Scheel on Dec 14, 2013

  7. Excellent news!

    By Wayne Dobbs on Dec 14, 2013

  8. .40 made a lot of sense in 1990, however it is not 1990 any more. Technology has improved and 9 mm loads are no longer suffering from insufficient penetration, fragmentation, and inadequate barrier performance. When an agency has to purchase downloaded .40 ammo in order for their agents to qualify and to reduce premature pistol parts failures, then that is a clue that perhaps 9 mm is a better option. Not to mention the financial savings in reduced ammunition costs and increased service pistol life.

    By DocGKR on Dec 14, 2013

  9. hm.. so 40 S&W may go the same way as .38 Super?

    By PistoleroJesse on Dec 14, 2013

  10. They have been issuing 9mm since they went away from revolvers. Not everyone can shoot a 40 or 45. With all the new 9mm ammo, you are actually better off with a 9mm. The engineers from ATK switched from 45s to 9mm 3 years ago. More lethal hits on targets in less time. Makes seance to me.

    By me on Dec 14, 2013

  11. If it happens, it will make training for a lot of the agents cheaper. And their pistols will last longer.

    But sometimes those marginal terminal ballistic differences do indeed make a difference. For example when things go wrong and you can’t get multiple hits. A .40 or .45 will do marginally better than a 9mm hitting the same place.

    In the end, it is all a matter of trade offs, and the 9mm is a pretty good option. But the first time some bad guy doesn’t go down when a new agent hits him with a 9mm there will be a cry to return to the .40

    By SteveJ on Dec 14, 2013

  12. Interesting… This makes a lot of sense actually. My opinion has been that the proliferation of the .40s&w had more to do with an agency not having to buy a boatload of new holsters more than anything else. I always thought .45 was more of a capacity issue than a controllability of grip-size issue, and honestly the 10mm (that watered down hatched the .40) made a fair amount of sense in an “fmj that does more of what we want” look… That said, the big switch to .40 never deliverered the “numbers/stats” people were after (i.e. more 1 shot stops, etc…). Empirically the only numbers that have been consistent seem to show that the .40 has only led to lower qualification scores/percentages. The big switch IMHO was FMJ to modern JHP, and after that, nearly all practical handgun calibers end up about the same; 9mm arguably offering the greatest capacity while being easiest for most personnel to shoot.
    I dig it, logic (and a focus on shot placement over “magic” caliber) is a good thing. (and fits in the same holsters…)

    By CK1 on Dec 14, 2013

  13. I hope the prices of 40 continue their march towards parity with 9mm.

    By fixer on Dec 14, 2013

  14. Will they buy 1.5 billion 9mm rounds now??????

    By dispatch on Dec 15, 2013

  15. The proposal for a return to the 9 mm has been in the works for about a year. That has not been a secret. The current .40 cal ammunition has a lighter projectile and reduced load. The in-service 165 gr replaced the 180 gr which replaced the original 165 gr. So, a better 147 gr 9 mm is supposed to be the same or better than a light load 165 gr .40 round. The .40 and .45 rounds will remain in the inventory. The Bureau went to the Glock 22 in 1998. It took almost 12 years to phase out the Sig P226/228. Don’t forget about the on hand inventory .40 ammo. It will take some time to deplete that. The Bureau has been without their own service weapon contract for years. These aren’t the mid 90’s anymore. Now there are several possible contenders for a polymer frame DAO handgun.

    By DCA on Dec 15, 2013

  16. A better option would be to disarm all Federal agents and require them to enlist the aid of local peace officers if they think they need to make an arrest.

    By Chris Mallory on Dec 15, 2013

  17. Uh…no.

    By DocGKR on Dec 15, 2013

  18. Im just hoping to pickup some cheap .40 now…. as you’ll Never find 9mm after this….

    By Prdator on Dec 15, 2013

  19. I guess 9mm will be in short supply here again soon. Just when things were leveling out again.

    By Tom on Dec 15, 2013

  20. Glad to see this, overall there is not that big of a difference between the three big calibers ballistics wise these days with the right bullets. From simply a maintenance standpoint, this will keep service pistols running longer and save everyone money. Ammunition is cheaper, again, saving money. If the right ammunition is picked, then the previous issues of barrier performance and penetration will be negligible at best. A plus side? Agents can train more and with less fatigue and afford to train on their own more often.

    By Matt Meckley on Dec 15, 2013

  21. Give me a break…What does it matter what the FBI chooses? You can count on one hand how many shootings they are in per year. They are not our arresting murders, robbers and rappers like Police Officers do..

    By Echo Charlie on Dec 15, 2013

  22. I vote to block comments that don’t come from a person with a real name. That should improve the noise to signal ratio quite a bit.

    By Chuck Haggard on Dec 15, 2013

  23. ‘dispatch’,

    Will they buy 1.5 billion 9mm rounds now??????

    Can I call you ‘Dis’?

    Anyway, take off the Alex Jones Signature Model Reynolds Wrap Yarmulke and join us here in the real world, h’mkay?

    By Tam on Dec 15, 2013

  24. Preach it Tam

    By Chuck Haggard on Dec 16, 2013

  25. They are not our arresting murders, robbers and rappers

    Isn’t the proper term “rappist”? Word.

    By Anonymous G on Dec 16, 2013

  26. “Give me a break…What does it matter what the FBI chooses? You can count on one hand how many shootings they are in per year. They are not our arresting murders, robbers and rappers like Police Officers do.”

    Except that the entire LE community watches that the FBI does very carefully. So even if what you say is true, *Cough* violent crime squads, the existence of the FBI academy and its stature in the LE training world means this will have an influence.

    By Chem on Dec 16, 2013

  27. Though I’ve never arrested “murders” or a “rapper”, murderers, rapists and robbers are a weekly occurrence. A daily occurrence, is dealing with the deadliest of them all, the internet commando.

    By SLG on Dec 17, 2013

  28. That the FBI BRU is, rightfully so, the most prestigious wound ballistics research unit on the planet may have also had something to do with both this possible decision and why other LE agencies look to what the FBI does for guidance.

    By Chuck Haggard on Dec 17, 2013

  29. Can the 12gr HST +P even Pass there own testing like A.G.. Some of the 9mm loads on the Doc list wont pass the AG test. And the ones that do barely make it. I would think if they would go back to 9mm they would use win bonded

    By Rich on Dec 17, 2013

  30. ToddG, DocGKR

    Will the FBI HRT also change to the 9 mm? Are they still using the G22?

    By RNasser on Dec 17, 2013

  31. The HRT uses 1911s

    By Chuck Haggard on Dec 17, 2013

  32. Chuck, last contact I had with HRT was 1/09. They used the G22 or 1911 depending upon the mission.

    By Michael Peckerman on Dec 17, 2013

  33. In the latest FBI video release of the HRT training, all pistols seen are G22.


    In older videos the 1911s are shown. I would guess that the springfield PROs are still in use at least in some degre, though.

    By RNasser on Dec 18, 2013

  34. It’s my understanding HRT is using Glock 21’s now. Some of the SWAT teams in the field use their G22’s for maritime missions. Nobody wants to drop a $2000+ 1911 into the ocean/bay. I know at least one SWAT team (Baltimore) has been using G21’s since at least 2005.

    By El Cid on Dec 18, 2013

  35. Great, now the FBI can throw their bullets at criminals instead of actually shooting them. This makes as much sense as Janet Reno being Attorney General. Oh wait, we already saw what that did for us.

    By Johnny on Dec 18, 2013

  36. None of the comments on who uses what, or why, are accurate. The people who think 9mm is ineffective are clearly not involved in 2013 reality. The thought that the FBI can’t teach new agents to shoot a .40 is also just ludicrous. If thinking any of the above make you feel more like a man then have at it. The rest of us will continue to use what works for our mission/needs.

    By SLG on Dec 18, 2013

  37. The country is bankrupt and they want all new pistols…go figure… Our military is stuck with 92s that is how old? Misplaced priorities don’t you think?

    By Devin Browning on Dec 19, 2013

  38. Ah, the mighty change, or circle of life continues. Chasing after the “magical” round for agency use.

    No surprise the FBI has discovered that the new 9MM rounds offer almost the same ballistic performance as the .40 and .45 rounds at a cheaper price, easier to train and less wear and tear on the pistols. They do have the best ballistic testing lab in the world.

    Per a very experienced Trauma Doctor, there is very little difference in damage from one caliber to another (9, 40 or 45) when hit in the same place.

    A lot of agencies “drank the koolaid” when the FBI decided to go to the .40, now we will see them switch back to the 9 (and many have already), now the FBI has announced the 9MM is now a good duty round….

    More bullets, more practice, better shot placement, that is what will make them have better success in shootings using handguns.

    By KennyT on Dec 19, 2013

  39. I have only used two handgun calibers in actual combat. 45acp & 38spl. I found that when I put my shots where they needed to go I got as good results as any handgun could give me. When I did not do my job, the results were equally lousy.

    What I did learn, was that the 230gr 45 would not reliably penetrate the Flack jackets of my era. The 38 would reliably penetrate our flack jackets. One other story, a buddy of mine was hit in the knee by a NVA using a GI 1911A1 from a spider hole. The bullet DID NOT penetrate his knee, but deflected down his leg and took a small bite out of his foot. The Corpsman told him/us that he was lucky it wasn’t a 9mm, “you would have lost your knee.” This all happened in the late sixties, 67,68,69. It left a deep impression on me.

    The other point, is most folks practice shooting their weapons with two hands. My 10 fights where I had to go to my secondary weapon, I was only able to use one hand, my strong hand. We do not practice one hand shooting enough any more. Both strong and weak hand.

    Per the old military maxim “No plan survives first contact.”, no fight is just like you planned. Never forget Col John Boyd’s OODA concept and his trainning prioritys, “MINDSET-SKILLSET-TOOLSET” in that order. Most of us tend to do a lot of this backassward.

    Go figure

    By Frederick on Dec 20, 2013

  40. I have trained with a lot of FBI agents and i have noticed everything from 9mm glock 26 and 19 on female agents to glock 23-22 and 21’s on male agents ( 21 on Regional SWAT team members) and 2 FBI-HRT had glock 22’s. And when i asked about all the different models i have been told there is a lot of leeway now in the FBI from years past.

    By Les Ellis on Dec 22, 2013

  41. No real opinion other than I would hate my only option to be .40 mainly because the results of how the shooter hits, follow up shots, control, speed, accuracy all suffers or requires more practice and skill to get wonderful hits, especially under stress. I certainly had my eyes open when demonstrating 9mm Critical Duty ammo against my trusty old 45acp 230gr gold dots. To my amazement the expansion and energy the 9mm delivered was right up there with the 45 but the penetration through barriers and layers, even plastic barrels was sometimes unsatisfactory for the big wide 45 bullet. I’m just a much better shooter with 9mm in almost every aspect. Not to mention I carry almost 60 rounds of Critical Duty +P with only 3 magazines total. 9mm won me over and very glad I personally never jumped on the 40 bandwagon. Glad to hear some allow their people to choose. That allows the shooter to carry what they shoot the best.

    By GeorgiaShooter. on Dec 28, 2013

  42. The 40 was a compromised/committee choice to begin with. The original fbi ballistic testing favored the 10mm. They consistently choose compomised equipment to make up for a lack of training. No new “super bullet” is gonna make up the difference between a 10mm and a 9mm. Somebody got some additional campaign contributions to move this one along.

    By Me on Dec 31, 2013

  43. I’ve been an FBI firearms instructor for almost 20 years. This summer I attended a recert class at the academy. We were allowed to shoot some 9mm ammo that’s being developed on a proprietary basis for us. That ammo outperformed all of our current and past .40 & .45 cal rounds in the FBI ballistic tests. Those tests are what these type of replacement decisions are based on.
    The FBI designed these series of ballistic tests to mimicked the types of intermediate barriers agents have encountered. They then develop ammunition to excel at these tests. As ammunition improves changes will occur. At the time, the .40 gave us the desired result. Now, the 9mm is winning.
    If there is an ammo change, which hasn’t been decided as of Aug 2013, it will be gradual, as no one can afford to replace 15,000 plus pistols over night.
    Change is life.

    By JRE on Jan 1, 2014

  44. The 9mm ammo award has been made for the four types of ammo needed (service, training, reduced lead training and frangible) from three companies: (1) Federal-ATK for all four types; (2) Olin-Winchester for all but frangible; and (3) Hornady for only frangible.

    Contract numbers and product numbers are:

    Federal Cartridge Contract Number J-FBI-13-126 Service (54227), Training (53685), Reduced Lead Training (53690), Frangible (ZBC9P1FBI)

    Olin-Winchester Contract Number J-FBI-13-127 Service (Q4392), Training (Q4395), Reduced Lead Training (Q4396)

    Hornady Manufacturing Contract Number J-FBI-13-128 Frangible (90229)

    By Shawn McCarver on Jan 1, 2014

  45. I’d be interested in knowing the volume of rounds to be purchased, the Bureau is always buying bullets.

    By JRE on Jan 1, 2014

  46. I want to know what is wrong with the current guns/caliber and how much is this going to cost the tax payers?

    By L84Cabo on Jan 3, 2014

  47. Such a change could well end up saving money, as 9mm is cheaper and is less prone to battering guns than .40.

    By JSGlock34 on Jan 3, 2014

  48. Per telephone conversation with Winchester, here are the details on the Winchester product numbers:

    Service – Q4392 is a 147 grain Bonded Hollow Point, sold to other LE as the RA9B;

    Training – Q4395 is a 147 grain Encapsulated, sold to other LE as RA9147FMJ; and

    Reduced Lead Training – Q4396 is a 124 grain FMJ Encapsulated with lead free primer.

    By Shawn McCarver on Jan 3, 2014

  49. I guess that the .40 S&W round is too powerful for the liberals running the fed government.

    By Mitchell on Jan 5, 2014

  50. “I guess that the .40 S&W round is too powerful for the liberals running the fed government.”

    Ah. Yes. That must be it. You’ve cracked the code. And it looks like the 180 gr Winchester PDX Supreme the FBI’s been buying is rated for 420 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, while the 124 gr HST +P mentioned above can only manage a puny 396 rated. That is very, very nearly a difference of 25 ft-lbs of Conservative Right-Wing Macho energy that the leftists have managed to strip from our brave boys in the FBI, just as Kruschev predicted.

    By Don Gwinn on Jan 6, 2014

  51. “… just as Kruschev predicted.”

    I laughed.

    By ToddG on Jan 6, 2014

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