Jason Cloninger is a conservative writer, U.S. Navy & Army veteran, business owner, husband of 17 years, father, 2A supporter, & patriot.
If you're looking for a .40 caliber pistol for home-defense, then you've come to the right place. We will discuss the top ten best .40 caliber pistols available, reviewing their features and customer ratings. I will also offer my own personal insight into each weapon’s performance. I will discuss MSRP value of the weapons (do remember that prices change daily) as well as round capacity and weight, as these are often key buying points for people searching for home-defense weapons. We have tested each of the firearms we recommend to provide you with the best and most accurate assessment.
Every gun purchase is very personal. Not every gun owner will agree with our evaluations and rankings. We do feel that our efforts will help you to find the best weapons. To make your own final assessment, take this list to the range and rent each of the recommended pistols to see which one has the best feel while shooting.
If you learned to shoot on a smaller caliber pistol, firing a higher caliber gun will feel different and may even seem overwhelming. I highly recommend that you find a gun range and test a model yourself before making a purchase. If you train enough with a specific caliber, you will get used to it and may even feel more relaxed when returning to a smaller caliber pistol. Training and mindset are the keys to successful shooting.
Best 40 Caliber Handguns
|Brand||Manufacturer's Suggested Price||Capacity (Rounds)||Weight (Empty Mag)|
$599 - $699
Smith & Wesson M&P
HK Heckler and Koch USP .40
Beretta PX4 Storm .40
Springfield XD(M) .40
$649 - $749
$550 - $650
CZ P-09 Duty
Tanfoglio Combat Standard
Be a Safe Gun Owner
Remember: You must abide by state and federal gun laws when purchasing and owning a weapon. Please educate yourself. Keep your ownership paperwork and identification up to date and immediately report any lost or stolen weapons to the police. Practice proper gun safety whenever carrying, cleaning, or firing your weapon at the gun range. Most accidental shootings are self-inflicted and are due to the owner assuming that a loaded chamber was empty. Check the weapon clear, engage the safety when not in use, and keep the weapon pointed away from you down-range.
Gun Safes Are a Necessity!
Gun safety is necessary for gun owners, especially those with small children. Once you own your safe, practice getting your weapon(s) out of your safe from time to time to ensure that you can do so in a timely manner.
However, the safety of your children is paramount. Having a safe should always be synonymous with having a gun. Children are just as intelligent and industrious as we were at their age. If they can get their hands on the gun and the key, they will. Buy a safe, keep your family safe, and pay heed to the following:
- For combination safes, use a combination that your children cannot figure out. (No familiar numbers or dates).
- Never open your safe when your children are present, unless it is an actual home invasion emergency.
- While the safe needs to be accessible to you, ensure that it cannot be removed and carried away from its location. This will help to minimize gun thefts, keeping your guns out of criminal hands.
- Educate your children about gun safety and apply strict punishment if you find them trying to gain access to your firearm(s). The most valuable gun safe on the planet is proper awareness and understanding of gun safety and the potential destruction caused by misuse.
Top Ten .40 Pistols
When Walther announced the release of the Walther PPQ, this gun owner and many others thought it was a stunt to stimulate gun sales. The Walther PPK wasn’t selling as well and the company was falling behind on the latest and greatest firearm technologies. However, after firing a PPQ it’s easy to remember the PPK was so popular in its time: Walther makes great guns.
Retailing at around $729 or less in some areas, you'll find that the PPQ makes an excellent addition to your home-defense arsenal and an even better concealed carry option. The PPQ fires extremely smoothly, with an accuracy level that is bar-none. With its light-weight and ergonomic design, this gun feels like an extension of your arm. Like most Walther pistols, it is smaller than a lot of semi-automatics making it optimal for concealed carry. But don't let its size fool you. This .40 caliber pistol will fell the worst of threats at a moment's notice and have ammo to spare for five or six more. The quality of Walther speaks for itself, but I still recommend that you have some fun testing this pistol at the range before buying.
The Smith & Wesson M&P was a wonderful surprise during my shooting research. I had shot and re-shot the .45 version of the M&P. When I shot the .40 caliber version I found it extremely easy to use and shoot. Some of its attractive features:
- Zytel polymer frame.
- Stainless steel barrel/slide and structural, integrated variable grips.
- Steel ramp dovetail mount front.
- Novak Lo-Mount carry sights.
Like a lot of the newer pistol models, there is a regular and a compact model. While not every pistol's compact model is as easy to shoot as their big brother, this is not the case with the M&P.
A lot of M&P owners say that they prefer the compact model against the full-size for concealed carry and without the thumb-safety, but each gun owner has their own preferences. Plus, I believe the size of the carrier has something to due with how easy it is to conceal a weapon. All-in-all, the M&P is an excellent gun that is easy to shoot.
The USP (Universal Self-Loading Pistol) was originally designed by HK for the military and police. The HK Heckler and Koch USP is a SA/DA pistol with a corrosion-proof fiber reinforced polymer frame and a USP control lever. This feature, a combination safety and de-cocking lever, is frame-mounted for quick and easy access, unlike the slide-mounted safeties found on many semi-auto pistols. The pistol fires like a champ, processing hundreds and thousands of rounds with no issues. In fact, a lot of used USP models are old police-issued weapons exchanged for newer USP's, and they still only receive positive feedback from the new owners!
The USP also has features such as:
- Polygonal bore profile, allowing for increased muzzle velocity, easier cleaning, and extended barrel life.
- Over-size trigger guard, allowing the user to wear gloves.
- Patented lock-out safety device.
- Capacity to convert into nine different trigger firing modes.
- Universal mounting grooves for accessories.
The Beretta PX4 Storm is the latest pistol model released by Beretta. With Beretta's incredible craftsmanship behind it, this gun is almost a steal at around $500. The rotating barrel system removes a significant amount of recoil when you shoot, allowing for more accuracy. While usually this would be seen as a feature only beneficial to military and police, any individual educated in home defense will tell you that speed and accuracy will benefit a home owner during a home invasion situation.
The PX4 Storm also has one of the shortest trigger actions to date: SA/DA trigger system which switches over automatically after you have fired the first round in the clip. The integral Picatinny MIL-STD-1913 rail allows for rapid attachment of tactical devices and the exclusive BrunitonTM non-reflective black coating makes the weapon functional for any level of shooter. The PX4 comes in full-size, compact, and sub-compact with equally high performance across all sizes.
Fabrique Nationale is a weapon that most gun owners are familiar with, but they may assume that the price is too high.This pistol is not as expensive as you might think, with the famous FN quality. Plus, the FNX series are made in the USA. This is a great gun overall that I highly recommend taking for a test drive.
The slide has front and rear cocking serrations plus an external loaded chamber indicator. The firearm has ambidextrous de-cocking and safety levers, slide stop levers, and magazine releases. The MIL-STD 1913 accessory rail, high-quality barrel, and polymer frame with replaceable steel rails make the FNX 40 an amazing home defense weapon for the price.
Being from Illinois, I’m proud of the quality firearms that Springfield Armory has put out over the years. However, I was still surprised when I saw just how well the XD(M) performed against other brands. Some of my favorite features:
- the grip safety (one of my favorite features from the M1911)
- trigger safety
- Multi-Adjust rail system
- Mega-Lock textured grip
- Match-Grade barrel
- Minimal-Reset trigger
Note: Even with both the grip and trigger safety features, it is not impossible for a small child to fire the weapon, so gun-safety in the household is still paramount.
The Mega-Lock textured grip was a new gun feature for me. It was designed to allow for maximum control of the firearm in any situation, including grappling with someone who is trying to remove the firearm from your hand. The weapon also allows for easy disassembly by not requiring a trigger pull in order to field-strip the weapon. The Melonite finish is also one of the best and most protective finishes on a polymer weapon to-date. The XD(M) comes with a protective carrying case which is large enough to protect a laptop.
The pistol which closed the gap between the .45 and the 9mm, the Glock 22 has definitely earned its keep. It was the first gun to bring the .40 round caliber to the law enforcement community and has remained the standard there ever since. It may be a little bit pricier than others on this list, but it is definitely one of the most reliable.
A light-weight Polymer frame makes is lighter so it requires less maintenance and is more durable. The "Safe Action System" is another great feature, consisting of three independent and automatic safeties. The trigger must be squeezed completely to the rear to deactivate the safeties and once released, all three safety features reengage and the pistol is secure again.
Not imagining the possibility of owning a CZ gun, I was pleasantly surprised with this weapon. It is a well-balanced weapon that fires true with any ammunition type. With the Omega trigger system, the P-09 is shipped with de-cockers installed. However, it can be converted to a manual safety with relative ease, using the supplied parts and instructions. The Omega DA/SA trigger offers a sharp single action trigger break, with the safety of a DA first-pull option. Also included is a 1913 Picatinny rail. The P-09 is prepared for use in low-light situations. An overall excellent buy for the price, this gun might climb up my list as I get future chances to shoot it again.
We all know that the Italians make good guns. However, most people aren't familiar with Tanfoglio. The Tanfoglio Combat Standard is just what the name says: The standard model for all of the Tanfoglio pistols. It is offered in two models: Combat (F version), which has the "cocked and locked" safety mounted on the frame, or Standard (R version) with an ambidextrious firing pin safety on the slide that works as a hammer decocker. Both models have an automatic firing pin safety.
The weapon fires extremely well, although it does have a heavier feel to its construction. It's made from high-strength steel with rubber grips and a reversible magazine. It has the picatinny rail for tactical components and a 12-round magazine capacity. Steel frame pistols are often thought of as a thing of the past, but having learned to shoot on the steel-framed Colt 1911, I find this to be a good feeling.
The Kahr TP40 is a rare find. While its capacity is smaller than the rest, this gun is a formidable weapon to have in your home defense arsenal. Kahr is a new brand for me, but it wasn't a disappointment on the range. With its black polymer frame and its matte stainless slide, the TP40 looks like just another pistol. It's missing ambidextrous controls, but it does have the Browning type recoil lug. It also has a Lothar Walther match grade polyganal barrel—one of the best on the market. You'll also notice that the weapon is thinner than most, allowing for easy concealing. Two, one-piece stainless steal inserts are molded in the front and rear of the pistol, making for a stronger, thinner, and lighter polymer frame, and the magazines are single stacked. I think that this is a great weapon to carry in and around your home.
Carry Laws and "No Firearms Allowed" Signs
Gun owners the world over believe that they should be able to protect themselves at all times. However, states are allowing businesses to restrict guns from being carried on their premises plus restrict guns from state, financial, and federal buildings.
Do you think that Second Amendment rights are violated by restrictions dictating where you can carry your firearm?
Some Past Answers From Readers
I thank God I live in Australia, no handguns here - Mick Beet
The government will try everything to find ways to disarm us but gun owners have to stick together. They'll have to kill me first before they get my guns. - Charles
Does anyone seriously think that a sign stating "no guns allowed" in a store or building is going to prevent a bad guy from going in with a gun? If anything it would result in a law-abiding citizen disarming and being unable to defend themselves or others. It's the law-abiding citizens you want carrying guns. - Cody
I have a CCW permit and I carry everywhere everyday. If concealed properly no one will know you are carrying. If something goes down and you intervene and save lives no one is going to prosecute you for carrying in their precious no-carry environment - Steve
Many states' rest areas won't let you carry into the building. I think this is wrong and a violation of my rights because this building belongs to the people of the state not the state. If I ever run into a problem in one of them while traveling, I think I will sue the state for restricting my rights to protect myself and family. - Bo Carter
I'll give you my gun when when you can pry it from my sweaty butterfingers! - Mr. Softee
Don't tread on me and God bless the USA. I believe we need our guns. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Until they figure that out, I believe I will carry my 45 until one of you anti-gun people take it from my dead hands.... - Kevin C. McElfresh 2
Buisnesses being allowed to restrict my rights on their property is like me reserving the right to kill anyone on mine. Just because you own a piece of land does not mean that you have the right to make laws on it. - John Stillwell
People who wish to do you harm aren't going to obey a sign prohibiting firearms. Why would you want to keep the good guys out? - Derek
It's not guns, it's people! Then how do you stop a crazy person from getting a pistol in the USA? Thank God in Australia that we can't get a pistol for personal use. That allows us to have a low gun murder rate here. - Mick Beet
Nice collection of information. Here in India we have to go through a long process and other things to get a gun license . - ArnabDT
The Constitution may guarantee the right to bear arms, but it doesn't require that I let you into my place of business if you're armed. You have a right to carry, and I have a right to throw you out of my workplace if you carry. God Bless America! - Chris D
Dangers are everywhere; once you are allowed to CCW should carry it everywhere. - Roberto Valines
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Which XDM has compensated porting?
Answer: They have the XD Full Size Model V-10 Ported .40SW
Question: I'm just curious why Sig Sauer wasn't even in the top ten with its well-known quality and reliability?
Answer: Essentially, I haven’t shot any of the Sig Sauer .40 caliber pistols. Once I do, I will update my list accordingly. I base it upon what I’ve shot, price, features, and any experiences problems/issues.
Question: What is the best .40 caliber for concealed carry?
Answer: Well, I do love the Beretta platforms, however, the Smith & Wesson M&P40 Shield 2.0, Springfield Armory XD MOD.2, & Walther Arms PPQ M2 pistols are ALL easy to fire and carry. If you want smaller than 4”, the FNS 40C is an excellent pistol.
© 2011 PrometheusIV
Top Ten .40 Caliber Pistols: Comments
Rylee Lust on June 20, 2019:
Ok I see someone took Granger Smiths lyrics out of his song “Don’t tread on me”.But I agree with him don’t tread on me either.
Sal on August 04, 2018:
The HK p30 has the decocker next to the hammer...away from the safety on safety models. I prefer this to the USP model.
JechtShotMrk3 on July 28, 2018:
hey auzzie, just so you know, gun crime was on a decline before the gun ban, and the rate has not changed since the gun ban. meaning that it is at the same rate that it was at... meaning the gun ban had no affect at all. except now the population is disarmed. education would do you well. god bless the U S
PrometheusIV (author) on June 09, 2018:
The list is also ranked by affordability, and while the Sig P229 Elite is an amazing firearm, it’s also an over $1,000.00 pistol.
P Taulor on June 06, 2018:
Yes, The Sig 229 Elite should be in the top 5 of this list
DCSievert on March 22, 2018:
Mick Beet is an Aussie Troll. :/
Brian Smith on March 08, 2018:
I feel that it should be a request and not a demand. If i carry open and some landowner feels threatened then he can request i disarm or leave. If i carry concealed i beleive it is my right and as long as i conduct myself responsibly nothing should be done or said about it with no consequence and i should be able to conduct my business in peace.
Cubefarmer on January 22, 2018:
Sig 229 should be on this list.
Tim B on January 20, 2018:
I wouldn’t pay much attention to Australian dude. He’s just trolling. Ignorant people are everywhere. With that said I’ll enjoy my constitutional rights till someone tries to infringe on them and I know what side I’ll be fighting on at that point.
Glock on hip on January 09, 2018:
Good luck taking my weapons. As for the store owners ill spend my money elsewhere and protect myself. Look at the places with strict gun laws and see high crime rates. Strict gun laws protect the criminals.
Steve on December 22, 2017:
Australia has a gun violence problem. At least the law abiding citizens are disarmed, though. I bet the government leaders aren't disarmed.
Just Me on December 20, 2017:
I like the Ruger SR 40
Pete in Alaska on November 26, 2017:
I would add to this list the Baby Desert Eagle Compact in .40 .
Tonyc on November 20, 2017:
M&p shield 40 great gun. God bless America.
JAMES on June 07, 2017:
Australia please give me a break .Thank God we have a right to buy own and carry guns in most states.Glock 21 gen 4 rock on baby.A gun gives you a edge on the scum bags look at France England the Middle East.I sleep just fine.the terrorist are cowards so are the street thugs none of them can give a good fist fight.Thank God For Trump a President that takes 0 bs.
Big Ed from South TX. on March 23, 2017:
all of the pistols listed are good 40 cal choices. i myself carry a xdm 4.5 40. and a sig 229 but i wonder why no taurus was included in the top ten? their pt 140 is a really nice pistol. inexpensive as well. as far as the man from down under. considering the fact that Australia was where all of the crowns criminals were sent maybe it is best they not be allowed handguns. they might hurt someone!
Daniel S on March 11, 2017:
I've shot both FS and CS M&P 40's and I liked the Compact Size better. Also shot the FN 40, Springfield EMP 40, Kahr MK40 S&W Shield 40 and CZ 75 Compact 40. Out of them all, the smallest of the bunch is my favorite; the Kahr MK40. If it's about more capacity, as much as like the CZ, I'd probably go for the M&P Compact 40. Least favorite of the bunch, S&W Shield 40. The Kahr and EMP are both more enjoyable to shoot and easier to conceal carry; the only drawback, they weigh more. Never shot a polymer Kahr, but if they are anything like their steel counterparts, they are probably accurate and reliable.
hk on February 22, 2017:
h&k 40 cal pistols are the best pistols you can ever have
Melissa Smith on February 21, 2017:
You should be allowed to carry your handgun into any building/business. The man from Australia continues to state how great it is that handguns are not sold to the public there, however, he must not live in locations where school shootings have been executed by 10 & 11 year old boys shooting guns not pistols into the schoolyard from a hill or work in a position where he meets clients alone, at night, or in rural areas like some of us.
People are continuing to be carrying out more and more violent acts against their fellow man. Terrorists, extreme addicts/alcoholics, bullied children, abused men/women/children, and/or evil people are taking more violent steps towards society each day. Should I be in a situation to stop someone who has just shot 5 children and/or adults and doesn't appear to be surrendering, I would not hesitate to take the shot.
guest on April 29, 2015:
Best overall multi purpose 40 caliber for the price ...
# 1 Smith and Wesson m&p compact ( lower cost than the Glock and just as good )
# 2 Glock 23 ( Proven reliability )
# 3 Springfield Armory XDM compact ( Little pricey but very reliable )
# 4 Bretta px4 storm compact ( Great reliability )
# 5 H and K p2000 ( expensive but you can not go wrong with a h and K , If it were lower cost it would be # 1 )
# 6 Bersa Thunder ( Very good gun for the price )