Apparently, the .40 S&W cartridge is in a death spiral:
[S]ub-compact .40 S&W pistols are not very comfortable to shoot. They can generate as much as 30 percent more recoil than a 9 mm pistol, without offering that same level of increase in terminal performance. Not only are .40 S&W pistols less comfortable to shoot, they do not hold as much ammunition as a comparably sized 9 mm. The .40 S&W, which was not all that long ago the darling of law enforcement, is now falling from grace. One could argue that its time in the spotlight is over.
A substantial contribution to the .40 S&W’s decline in popularity was the announcement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that they were returning to the 9 mm. This was shocking to folks who have followed and trusted the FBI’s work with regard to the terminal performance of handgun ammunition, especially considering that the FBI is the reason we have the .40 S&W. In case you didn’t know, after the 1986 FBI shootout in Miami, the Bureau began a search for the ultimate bullet and defensive handgun cartridge. The .40 S&W and the popular FBI guidelines for defensive handgun ammunition performance was the result of these efforts.
This is what happens when you let a government agency decide anything: you get a compromise between two options which is somehow worse than either. 9mm Europellet: marginal effectiveness but easy to shoot and lotsa boolets, as opposed to the .40 S&W: not as easy to shoot, more effective than the 9mm but fewer boolets to spray around and injure/kill innocent bystanders. (The exact same could be said for the .45 ACP, but don’t get me started.)
Simply stated: there is no magic, do-it all cartridge because of Isaac Newton and the laws of physics, and the variety of tasks the cartridge is required to fill. This is especially true of handgun cartridges because of the portability / concealability of the guns involved.
Also note that the rush to replace the 9mm Europellet was a result of a single incident — the 1986 Miami Shootout — and the knee-jerk panic that ensued among the Fibby top brass when faced with a pair of well-armed and -motivated mopes. (See also the North Hollywood Bank Shootout a decade later, where law enforcement was similarly under-armed and essentially outfought for nearly an hour by another pair of choirboys.) The Miami thing was notable for the fact that the Fibbies were using mostly handguns against rifles — never an optimal situation from a handgunner’s perspective — but instead of equipping all FBI cars with trunk guns (even M16s would have been okay), the idiots decided instead to change the handgun cartridge to a more powerful — and at the time, nonexistent — cartridge. (Couldn’t go back to the .45 ACP or .357 Mag because that would have been tantamount to admitting that they fucked up in the first place by going to the wussy Europellet so as to make their handguns more palatable to the Bureau’s Dickless Traceys a.k.a. female agents.)
Speaking personally, I can’t say I’m too sad about the .40 S&W situation because I never could shoot the stupid thing worth a damn. (At the time, I considered getting a Browning High Power in .40 S&W, but when I discovered that no matter what gun I used — Beretta 92F, Glock or Kahr — I couldn’t get all the boolets into the good part of a silhouette, I changed my mind.) I found the hard snap of the .40’s recoil less manageable than the push of the .45 ACP (the 9mm barely recoils at all by comparison).
A couple of days ago I visited a new Scheels store just down the road from the range, and out of curiosity browsed in the Ammo section. Amongst all the bare shelves, the most heavily-stocked items in the handgun section were .460 S&W (another dud) and the .40 S&W, which is I guess the only upside for you if you have a gun thus chambered.
(I also saw a gently-used Winchester 94 in .32 Win Special, and if I’d had a spare grand in my pocket, it would have come home with me. But let’s not go there.)
My suggestion to the Fibbies would be to let agents carry either .45 ACP, .357 Mag or 9mm guns, with a “minimum ammo carry” of, say, thirty rounds. I know: what if there’s another Miami shootout? Two words: trunk rifles.
Anyway, the chicks and girlymen would probably end up with 9mm pieces and two 15-round mags, while the 1911 guys would have four mags and the revolver guys five speedloaders. I doubt that the goblins would know the difference.
But that would make way too much sense for a Gummint agency which insists on caliber uniformity, for no good reason. Idiots.