September 2019

40 S&W Compacts: Taurus, Kahr, S&W, Springfield, & SIG

This chambering has the rap of putting sharp recoil into the hand of the shooter, a problem accentuated when fired from a small-profile handgun. So, naturally, we tested six smaller 40s to check it out.

Despite a noticeable drop in popularity and sales, the 40 S&W handgun is far from being a dead issue. Quite a few shooters realize that the 40 is just the bridge between the 45 and 9mm that it was meant to be. The 40 hits hard and enjoys an excellent reputation in police service. Wound ballistics are excellent. The 40 may be shoehorned into a 9mm-size frame. The single downside seems to be increased recoil over the 9mm and a loss in capacity that amounts to a cartridge or two compared to the 9mm. Let’s look at some of the options in a carry gun in this caliber. We chose subcompact handguns for review, with an emphasis on concealed carry, which would emphasize both the recoil and capacity drawbacks. After a thorough test, we found five good handguns, including one we like the best.

Why the 40 S&W?

At present, the 9mm is everyone’s cartridge and the round enjoys all-time-high sales. The 40 is being replaced in some police circles. Cynics may say they have seen this many times, and after good cops die due to inadequate calibers, the race will be back on to replace the 9mm. This is simply history and perhaps even physics. The 40 S&W has turned in excellent results, not only against felons and motivated attackers but against dangerous animals as well. It isn’t as well known, but the 40 S&W has proven effective not only in putting down animals that were struck by vehicles but also dangerous animals up to and including bears. Interestingly, the five 40 S&W handguns in this report are similar to identical in size to their 9mm siblings. They offer the same action and sights. While they may recoil more than your 9mm, they also hit harder. Physics again.

We tested the following four new 40 S&W subcompact handguns:

  • Springfield XD-S 3.3-inch XDS93340BE, $378;
  • Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 180020, $337;
  • Kahr CW 40 CW4043, $301;
  • Taurus G2C 1-G2C4031-10, $250.

Then, we included a used SIG Sauer P224 SAS 224-40-SAS2B, $550, for reasons we detail below. While all five handguns were reliable and accurate enough, as well as easy enough to manage, one landed at the top of the heap.

How We Tested

We used three types of ammunition during the firing course. These were the Remington UMC 180-grain FMJ loads, Hornady’s 165-grain FTX Critical Defense rounds, and SIG Sauer 180-grain FMJs. In testing for accuracy off the bench, we used the Black Hills Ammunition 155-grain JHPs, Remington 180-grain Golden Sabers, and Hornady 180-grain XTPs (see further ammunition details in the Range Data sidebar). This provided a wide range of brands to gauge reliability and accuracy. We fired 80 rounds in each handgun during the range/combat firing session, using 30 rounds of each type of FMJ ammunition and 20 rounds of the Hornady FTX load. We fired three five-shot groups with each brand of JHP loads, for a total of 45 additional rounds in each handgun.

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SIG Sauer P224 SAS 224-40-SAS2B 40 S&W, $550 (used)

GUN TESTS GRADE: B

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The P224 is a compact pistol with a short barrel and grip, yet excellent accuracy. The results would have been very good for a service pistol and not out of sync with many target guns we have tested. The short grip takes some getting used to. For the person willing to master its demands, this is a formidable handgun with good control, excellent accuracy, and fine reliability.

Action Type

DA/SA Double-action first shot

Overall Length

6.7 in.

Overall Height

4.5 in.

Maximum Width

1.3 in.

Weight Unloaded

25.4 oz.

Weight Loaded

29.2 oz.

Slide Material

Nitron-finished steel

Slide Retraction Effort

16.0 lbs.

Frame

Anodized aluminum alloy

Front Strap Height (w/o mag)

1.5 in.

Back Strap Height

3.0 in.

Barrel

3.5 in. long, steel, 6 grooves, 1:16 RH twist

Grips

Hard plastic, pebbled

Grip Thickness (Maximum)

1.25 in.

Grip Circumference

5.6 in.

Magazines

Two 10-round detachable boxes

Rear Sight

Dovetailed SIGLite night site, drift adj.

Front Sight

Dovetailed SIGLite night site, drift adj.

Sight Radius

5.16 in.

Trigger Pull Weight DA

13.1 lbs.

Trigger Pull Weight SA

4.2 lbs.

Trigger Span DA

2.6 in.

Trigger Span SA

2.4 in.

Safeties

No manual safety, firing pin lock

Warranty

Lifetime

Telephone

(603) 610-3000

Website

SIG-Sauer.com

Made In

Exeter, NH

 

An advantage of the 40 S&W in the 2019 market is that the 40s are much less popular in used-gun sales than 9mms. Dealers will be willing to discount a gun that doesn’t move quickly. They pay less for a used 40 S&W and allow less on trade-ins. This allows a savvy shooter to find a great deal on a used P224 40 S&W, as we did here. If you want to buy new, Cabelas was offering 40 S&W P224 SAS pistols for $1070 in July 2019. But our used test gun was only $550. While it is still at least $170 more expensive than any of the others, it has a better feature set for the discriminating shooter.

The SAS is a smooth treatment of the SIG P series. The SIG Anti Snag treatment is simply a means of removing sharp edges from the slide. This results in a much smoother gun for concealed carry, one less likely to snag on clothing or the shooter’s skin. This pistol is a short version of the SIG P229, just as the P229 is a short P226.

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The SIG P224 SAS was controllable, with a good bit of effort. The short handle and the powder payload of the 40 S&W can make small handguns hard to shoot; training is the solution.

The SIG P224 features the SIG smooth-out package and exhibits few sharp edges. The top of the front sight is a little sharp; the front of the slide is nicely beveled. Even the rounded trigger guard is smooth. The sights are well designed and easy to use well in fast, accurate fire and in firing for accuracy.

The controls are easy to use well. The handy frame-mounted decocker is superior to slide-mounted levers. It is easily manipulated. Simply press the lever downward and the hammer is lowered to a safe position. The magazine release is tight and operates in a positive manner. The magazines are steel.

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While the SIG is accurate, groups suffered when double-action first shots were included. The 13.1-pound pull weight can disturb the sights.

The slide on the SAS is Nitron-finished steel over an aluminum receiver. The P224 incorporates the frame rails into the SIG steel locking insert rather than machined into the aluminum frame. This makes for a durable and long-lived set up.

The frame is nicely anodized. The front of the frame dust cover is rounded to avoid snags and allow ease of holstering. The magazine release is tight and positive in operation. The plastic grips feature a nicely pebbled surface that allows excellent abrasion and adhesion. The rear strap is more finely pebbled than the front. Two 10-round magazines are supplied. They feature a basepad that allows good control and easy magazine insertion. The pads do not affect concealment due to the grip design. The SIG P-series double-action trigger breaks at 15 pounds, according to a Lyman electronic trigger-pull gauge. The single-action trigger breaks cleanly at 4.25 pounds. The SIG pistol has a slower single-action trigger reset than some pistols. This may limit its use in competition, but it matters less in personal defense. During the test, we also used longer 13-shot SIG P229 40 S&W magazines. They functioned fine.

The primary distinguishing feature of the P224 is its short grip. This grip is shorter in frontstrap dimension that any of the single-column-magazine pistol grips, but it is thicker side to side, which accounts for the staggered round count in the magazine and resulting +3 rounds of capacity. However, this grip proved to be the limiting factor for most raters in handling the P224. Just the same, the SIG P224 gave good results on the firing course, but much depended on the skill of the rater with the particular action type.

Firing the SIG on the combat course, the raters learned that absolute attention to detail is important. The firing grip must be solid, and the double-action trigger must be pressed straight to the rear, consistently. The short grip demands that the shooter take as high a hold as possible. In this firing course, the level of experience of the individual shooters was the predictor of performance. Some did well, some did not. The handgun was fired at 5, 7, and 10 yards during the combat course. Once the shooters got past the double-action first-shot trigger, results were good on the combat-style targets. One of the raters wrapped his support hand around the firing hand and moved his support hand forefinger forward of the trigger guard, turning in excellent results. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject.

Moving to the absolute accuracy portion of the test, we fired from a solid benchrest using the Bullshooters pistol rest from Brownells.com. The SIG turned in excellent results. We limited the range to 15 yards since these are subcompact carry handguns, but just the same, this pistol’s results were very good. The Black Hills Ammunition 155-grain load is a bit snappy but fast, even in the short-barrel SIG. This load sent five shots into an average of 1.5 inches. The Remington Golden Saber went into 1.6 inches, and the Hornady XTP averaged 1.5 inches, but with a nice 1.1-inch group as well. While the SIG P-series is noted for accuracy, these results are well above what may be expected from a subcompact 40-caliber handgun.

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Our Team Said: We liked the SIG a lot. Magazine capacity is the highest of the handguns tested and extension magazines are available. SIG P229 40 S&W magazines fit as well. Accuracy is excellent, so is reliability. The double-action first shot and short grip are difficult to acclimate to, especially for shooters used to striker-fired handguns. On the other hand, the double-action first shot is a safety feature that, coupled with the SIG’s positive firing-pin block, makes the shooter less shy of carrying the piece in the appendix position. While the P224 isn’t for everyone, it is a good pistol, perhaps even a great one. We rated the pistol down a grade based on the difficulty some raters had with it on the combat course.

 Springfield Armory XD-S 3.3-inch XDS93340BE 40 S&W, $378

GUN TESTS GRADE: A (BEST BUY)

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The Springfield XD-S struck us as more of a highly developed purpose-designed carry gun than the other handguns. The XD-S was completely reliable, accurate enough for personal defense, and exhibits good features, including a useful trigger action and good sights. While the grip was raspy, it did the job well. The pistol is supplied with both a flush-fit and an extended magazine. We liked this pistol the best of any of the handguns tested.

Action Type

Double-action-only

Overall Length

6.3 in.

Overall Height Compact Magazine

4.4 in.

Overall Height Extended Magazine

5.0 in.

Maximum Width

0.9 in.

Weight Unloaded

23.0 oz.

Weight Loaded

26.2 oz.

Slide Material

Forged steel, Melonite finish

Slide Retraction Effort

15.0 lbs.

Frame

Black polymer

Front Strap

1.9 in.

Back Strap

2.75 in.

Barrel Length

3.3 in. steel, Melonite finish, 1:16 twist

Grips

Textured Polymer

Grip Thickness (Maximum)

0.9 in.

Grip Circumference

5.75 in.

Magazines

Stainless steel; (1) 6-round flush fit; (1) 7-round w/Mid-Mag X-Tension

Rear Sight

Steel with white-dot insert

Front Sight

Fiber optic

Sight Radius

5.5 in.

Trigger Pull Weight

6.5 lbs.

Trigger Span

2.6 in.

Safeties

Lever set into trigger face, grip safety

Warranty

Lifetime

Telephone

(800) 680-6866

Website

Springfield-Armory.com

Made In

Croatia

 

This was a recent price at BudsGunShop.com. The Springfield XD-S is a subcompact version of the Springfield XD series and is a polymer-frame striker-fired handgun. There is no manual safety, in common with the SIG, but there are safety features. There is a lever set in the trigger to prevent lateral discharge and a grip safety that prevents the pistol from firing unless the grip safety is depressed. At only 22 ounces and 6.3 inches in length with a 3.3-inch barrel, the XD-S offers good concealment with the proper holster. The pistol is right around an inch wide, a sweet spot for concealed carry.

The XD-S is considerably modified and more like the Glock trigger action compared to the full-size XD. As an example, the slide may be manipulated without depressing the grip safety, which isn’t true of the full-size XD. The trigger isn’t light at 6.5 pounds, but it is smooth and manageable. The sights are well-designed combat units, particularly the red-fiber-optic front sight. We like the deeply drilled white dots in the rear sight and also the nicely serrated rear face of each sight. The slide lock and magazine release are well designed and positive in operation. The magazine release is ambidextrous. There is a loaded chamber indicator that offers both a tactile and visual indicator. The grip fits most hands well.

A few words on the grip treatment. Some of our raters have done pretty hard work, including working in a junk yard and other physical tasks with our hands. Just the same, after a box of ammunition, the raters had red hands with grooves in the skin. Perhaps gloves may be indicated for long practice sessions. If firing for real to save your life, you will not fire long strings, and you may appreciate the grip with cold, wet, or sweaty hands. The grip was not like holding a rat-tail file, but it takes some getting used to. After 60 rounds or so, the grip effect adds up.

Field-stripping the piece is easy. Lock the slide to the rear, remove the magazine, and be certain there isn’t a round in the chamber. A lever on the left side of the frame rotates to allow the slide to run forward off the slide rails as the slide lock is released. You will have to pull the trigger first to allow the slide to move forward. Unload the handgun and you will not have a problem in field stripping, and there won’t be any accidental shootings.

The Springfield XD-S is one of two pistols tested, along with the Taurus G2C, that features a light rail. It is short and stubby but accepts compact lights.

The pistol is supplied with two magazines, a 6-round box with a flat base and a 7-round magazine with an extended base. We split the firing test between the two magazines. For small-to-average hands, the XD-S is a good fit, and even shooters with large hands find the grip usable. The sights allow rapid acquisition of the sight picture. Most of our firing was done at silhouette targets at 5 and 7 yards. The pistol is fast, very fast from leather, and handles naturally. The heft is good, and the pistol points toward the target quickly for those who train. The raters acclimated to the rough grip in much the same way we acclimated to the SIG’s short grip and double-action press, through trial and error. The harder the pistol is gripped, the more comfortable the firing experience. By gripping the pistol as tightly as possible, the raters left no room for the pistol to take a run and move about and abrade the skin. Knife instructors call this a “gorilla grip.” This doesn’t mean the pistol won’t abrade the palm, but it is bearable in firing strings. The problem isn’t drawing the handgun and firing but maintaining control, and the Springfield grip design solves this. If the grip abrades your palm during training, the solution is simple — wear gloves. If you have to use the pistol for real, you will probably only fire a few cartridges.

In combat firing the Springfield gave excellent results, beating the other polymer-frame pistols and giving the SIG a run for the money. It was faster to an accurate first shot than the SIG, and while the SIG gave good, tight groups in rapid fire in the single-action mode, we did not have to work the long double-action SIG trigger with the XD-S. The first shot was easier. In firing for accuracy from the benchrest, we found it to be a pistol accurate enough for personal defense. Results were superior to the other polymer-frame handguns, but the Springfield XD-S was not as accurate as the SIG P224. The Springfield XD-S exhibited groups as small as 2 inches, but most were in the 2.5-inch range.

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Our Team Said: For concealed carry, the XD-S is our preferred handgun. The excellent sights received high marks, the grip treatment results in a stable platform, and the trigger is controllable, with a rapid reset. The hard case and accessories provided, including a usable extended magazine, were all good features. It is unfortunate that Springfield has discontinued this model and other single-stacks in the family, according to the company website, but shooters will still be able to find new samples at retail. The XDS93340SE is the Bi-Tone model with silver slide, and the XDS93340DEE is FDE two-tone model with black slide and flat dark earth receiver.

Smith & Wesson Military & Police Shield 180020 40 S&W, $300

GUN TESTS GRADE: D

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We tested two Shields, one with a safety and one without. The 180020 short-cycled, thus its poor grade. The 10034 was no more accurate, and the non-safety Shield had a failing trigger-return spring that caused a stoppage.

Action Type

Double-Action only, striker fire

Overall Length

6.1 in.

Overall Height

4.6 in.

Maximum Width

0.9 in.

Weight Unloaded

21.0 oz.

Weight Loaded

24.2 oz.

Slide Material

Steel

Slide Retraction Effort

15.4 lbs.

Frame

Black polymer over stainless-steel chassis

Front Strap Height

1.8 in.

Back Strap Height

2.8 in.

Barrel

3.1 in long, steel

Grips

Pebbled polymer

Grip Thickness (Maximum)

0.9 in.

Grip Circumference

5.25 in.

Magazine

(1) 6-round and (1) 7-round detachable box

Rear Sight

Dovetailed two white dots

Front Sight

Fixed dovetailed white dot

Sight Radius

5.3 in.

Trigger Pull Weight

7.0 lbs.

Trigger Span

2.6 in.

Safeties

Manual safety/no manual safety option

Warranty

1 Year

Telephone

(800) 331-0852

Website

Smith-Wesson.com

Made In

Springfield, MA

 

These were recent prices at PalmettoStateArmory.com, though the non-safety-equipped Shield was not in stock. The line was introduced in 2012 and has been tested several times in 9mm here, with generally good results. The 9mm Shield is among the first pistols that gave birth to the term “slim line nine,” and the single-stack 40 S&W version is equally thin and flat. Thin at under an inch in thickness, overall length is 6.1 inches, and the barrel is 3.1 inches long with a weight of 19 ounces unloaded. This isn’t a heavy package.

The sights are good for the size of handgun, although we like the XD-S sights better. The pistol is supplied with a 6-round flush-fit magazine and a larger 7-round magazine. We added a Pro Mag extended magazine to the mix as well. ($20 from GunMagWarehouse.com) While not standard equipment, this 9-round magazine ran well and adds a new dimension to the Shield pistol. While it bulks the pistol up of course, some will say the magazine capacity is worthwhile, and at the worst, it makes sense as a spare magazine.

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We wondered if the raters were not gripping the Shield correctly, causing short-cycling. We determined the problem was with the handgun itself, not the ammunition or the shooter.

We noticed improvements in the Shield’s trigger system compared to the full-size Military & Police pistols. The trigger doesn’t use a lever set in the face in the Glock style but rather uses a hinged-type trigger that accomplishes the same purpose. The trigger action is the heaviest of the test at 7.4 pounds. It is manageable and compression is smooth enough, but the extra weight of the trigger took a toll on the pistol’s accuracy during the firing test. The relatively short trigger reach made for good control because of the ability to place the distal joint of the finger on the trigger. This placement makes for better control of the relatively heavy trigger. The Shield 180020 is the only pistol that uses a manual safety. We like this safety; however, it is a bit far back for easy manipulation and requires practice to properly manipulate. We added a second Shield for comparison purposes, the No. 10034 without a safety, because we felt this is an important variant.

On the combat-firing course, the Shield turned in credible groups. However, when firing the primary test bed, the example with a safety short-cycled several times. We felt that perhaps the raters were not gripping the pistol correctly. This is, after all, among the harder-kicking pistols of the test. The senior rater rated the short cycles related to the handgun itself, not the ammunition or the shooter. We switched to the second handgun, the version without a safety. This pistol sailed through the combat course without any type of failure to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. While the Shield isn’t difficult to control or shoot well, it will present a hurdle for some shooters, and the results were at the bottom of the list in combat ability. The Springfield XD-S with its solid grip and excellent sights, as well as a manageable trigger, exhibited better results. The Shield’s size, heft and comfort will be attractive to many, but as far as combat use, we are more comfortable recommending the other slim 40 S&W caliber pistols.

In bench accuracy, the Shield turned in several 2.5-inch to 3.0-inch groups. While good enough for personal-defense use, we felt that if we could have better accuracy in a firearm of similar size and weight, as well as price, we would take it. Most of the raters liked the version without a safety best, but others felt the safety was a good option, even if the shooter simply ignores it. We rated the 180020 down a half grade on accuracy, but of course it also failed based on malfunctions.

That left the safety-less 10034. Many times after we have run the pistols through a combat course and accuracy stages, we run the top pistols through again. Sometimes the best buy is elusive, and at this point, the raters were torn between the 10034 Shield and the XD-S as the best buy. We elected to run another 20 rounds through the pistols on the combat course, although the raters seem to have given the XD-S the higher marks. During this section, the Shield’s trigger return failed and the pistol refused to fire during the second magazine. The rater racked the slide several times and attempted to bump the trigger forward. The trigger would not bump forward.

A bit of research into the problem opened our eyes. While we like to comment only on our hands-on experience, it appears the trigger-reset problem may be rare, but it is not unheard of. Because it was completely stopped until it could be repaired, we failed the 10034 as well.

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Our Team Said: Stoppages with these guns in a self-defense scenario could be deadly, but they weren’t dangerous to operate, so we spared them F grades. But Gun Tests readers know a D grade is a strong enough signal to avoid these two 40 S&W–chambered Shields.

Kahr CW40 CW4043 40 S&W, $301

GUN TESTS GRADE: B

11

 

The Kahr is a well-made and reliable handgun, despite a number of corners being cut to offer the pistol at a low price. The action is as smooth as any other Kahr handgun we have tested. We would have liked a spare magazine with the pistol.

Action Type

Trigger cocking DAO; lock breech; “Browning - type” recoil lug

Overall Length

6.35 in.

Overall Height

4.62 in.

Maximum Width

1.12 in.

Weight Unloaded

18.6 oz.

Weight Loaded

22.0 oz.

Slide Material

Matte stainless steel

Slide Retraction Effort

13.5 lbs.

Frame

Black pebbled polymer

Front Strap

2.0 in.

Back Strap

2.6 in.

Barrel Length

3.6 in. long, 1:16: RH twist

Grip Thickness (Maximum)

0.93 in.

Grip Circumference

5.0 in.

Magazine

(1) 6-round detachable box

Rear Sight

Dovetail Bar Dot system

Front Sight

Staked post

Sight Radius

5.21 in.

Trigger Pull Weight

6.2 lbs.

Trigger Span

3.0 in.

Safeties

Passive striker block

Warranty

5 years

Telephone

(508) 795-3919

Website

ShopKahrFirearmsGroup.com

Made In

Worcester, MA

 

The CW40 is part of Kahr’s Value Series, and this was a recent price for it at BudsGunShop.com. There are differences between the Value Series and the more expensive Kahr handguns. The pistol uses a conventionally rifled barrel rather than the polygonally rifled barrel found on high-end Kahr pistols. The CW-series slide stop lever is a metal-injection-molded part instead of machined steel. The slide markings are not as deeply cut as the high-end Kahr handguns, and there is a simple box for the CW rather than a lockable hard case. The front sight isn’t dovetailed in but is instead pinned in place. Only a single magazine is supplied. Overall length is 6.35 inches, the barrel is 3.6 inches long, and the slide width is only .94 inch. The pistol weighs but 18.6 ounces unloaded. The slide is matte stainless and the frame is polymer. The slide doesn’t have the same precise cuts as the more expensive Kahr versions. While angular in appearance, it is as strong as any other, and the forward edge of the slide is beveled for easy holstering. The frame is nicely pebbled and checkered for good adhesion and abrasion. This is a slim pistol, and the grip fits most hands well. The action, to the best of our knowledge after testing the pistol, is the same as the more expensive Kahr handguns. The Kahr double-action trigger is a smooth 7 pounds. All raters said that the action felt lighter than it registered on the Lyman electronic trigger gauge. The CW40 uses a trigger action that Kahr calls a cocking cam trigger system. As the trigger is pressed, the firing pin block is released, allowing the firing pin to spring forward when the trigger is pressed. The trigger stroke is very smooth. While every trigger press is a separate event, the Kahr invited a smooth rolling press and trigger reset that made for excellent speed.

The Kahr features a relatively thin grip. The pistol is comfortable in the hand and light enough to carry. During the firing test, the pistol never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject, a must for a self-defense gun. From previous testing of the Kahr pistol, we have learned that the proper means of loading it is to lock the slide to the rear and insert a loaded magazine, then drop the slide. If loading the pistol by inserting a loaded magazine and then racking the slide, there are times when the striker will not properly reset, resulting in a light primer strike.

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These are the basic, but fine, drift-adjustable (rear) white bar/dot combat sights found on the CW4043. The company’s TP4043N model comes with a rear low profile 2-dot tritium sight, front tritium sight combination. Tritium night sights are also available on the P40 and PM40 made by Kahr Firearms Group.

During the firing evaluation, the CW40 gave good results. The pistol is light and kicks the more than other pistols, our shooters said. The grip frame is longer than some, which helped mitigate recoil. The CW40 features a smooth trigger action, and this aided in turning in good combat groups. The raters like the trigger action and found the sights acceptable. We felt that the trigger action helped control recoil, as it was smooth enough that you simply had to let it reset as you brought the front sight back down after firing. Combat groups were centered on the target. The pistol is clearly well suited to personal defense.

On the bench, the CW40 turned in good results, with greater accuracy than the Shield pistol. The CW40 turned in five-shot groups of 2.0 to 3.0 inches with the three accuracy loads tested.

13

Our Team Said: We found the CW40 to be a good all-round handgun. However, compared to the Springfield XD-S at a similar price, the Kahr was not supplied with a heavy locking box and two magazines. The sights were much less effective than the Springfield XD-S set as well, we thought. Also, we noted an odd thing during the firing test. A strand of polymer was scraped from the frame. It did not affect function, and the pistol seemed okay after the firing test. We have never seen this before.

Taurus G2C 1-G2C4031-10O 40 S&W, $250

GUN TESTS GRADE: B

14

 

The Taurus G2C is an upgrade over the original, with superior grip treatment and a new matte-finished slide. Inside, the trigger bar’s angle has been subtly changed as well. The pistol is reliable and accurate enough. The trigger takes some getting used to, but is usable with practice.

Action Type

Single action, with double-action restrike

Overall Length

6.2 in.

Overall Height

5.14 in.

Maximum Width

1.25 in.

Weight Unloaded

21.2 oz.

Weight Loaded

25 oz.

Slide Material

Blue-finish steel

Slide Retraction Effort

16.1 lbs.

Frame

Pebbled polymer, olive drab

Front Strap Height (w/o magazine extension)

1.8 in.

Back Strap Height

3.25 in.

Barrel

Steel

Barrel Length

3.25 in.

Grips

Pebbled polymer

Grip Thickness (Maximum)

1.2 in.

Grip Circumference

5.3 in.

Magazine

(2) 10-round steel

Rear Sight

Adjustable

Front Sight

Fixed

Sight Radius

5.23 in.

Trigger Pull Weight

5.5 lbs.

Trigger Span

2.5 in.

Safeties

Manual safety/lever insert in trigger

Warranty

Lifetime

Telephone

(800) 327-3776

Website

TaurusUSA.com

Made In

Brazil

 

We tested the PT 111 9mm previously and found a credible, reliable and accurate handgun. Often enough, the change to 40 S&W from a 9mm platform results in a less reliable and certainly a less tractable and controllable handgun. We set out to compare the 40 S&W caliber Taurus to the other handguns in firing tests, and to our recollections of its 9mm version as well. The updated G2C has improvements over the previous pistol. The slide is now finished in a durable matte-type finish. The trigger safety bar is now solid rather than hollow. The pebbled finish of the G2C differs from earlier handguns. The matte finish slide is beveled at the muzzle for easy holstering, but it also is smoothed over at the rear of the slide. The pistol is pleasing in appearance compared to the other handguns tested. The slide is less angular than the Kahr’s, as an example.

The slide features a characteristic dished out section in the slide, and the cocking grooves offer a positive gripping surface. The sights feature a three-white-dot configuration, offering rapid acquisition in daylight. The rear sight is easily adjustable for windage, a big advantage because the others are only driftable. The polymer frame features steel inserts to allow the slide to ride in the frame, similar to the other pistols. The Taurus features a lever that rises near the rear of the chamber when the chamber is loaded to act as a loaded-chamber indicator. The G2C features a manual safety, and the frame allows mounting a compact combat light.

The pebbled grip of the Taurus pistol earned high grades for its design and execution. The gripping surface is excellent overall, close to the Springfield XD-S in most ways but not as abrasive. The grip, front strap, and rear strap are nicely textured. The trigger action takes some getting used to. The first shot breaks about 5.5 pounds of pressure after a long take-up meets abrupt pressure. It is in effect a two-stage trigger, about 2 pounds initially and then the rest in the final heavy pull.

You may ride the trigger of subsequent shots to alleviate the long take up. If the pistol fails to fire, however, the trigger may be pressed again for a long DA-type trigger, effectively providing a second strike feature. Most of the raters agreed that if the first cartridge does not fire, the round needs to be ejected and another loaded, but some like a second-strike feature. There is a lever set in the face of the trigger that prevents lateral discharge. Since the mechanism is a single action, this is a useful feature. The safety suffers from the same leverage problem the Shield exhibited, however, because the G2C’s safety is well designed and rides on the frame, it wasn’t overly difficult to operate. The safety should always be applied when carrying this SA handgun.

The magazine release is positive in operation. The pistol is supplied with two magazines. Specifications call them 10-round capacities, but the raters could not quite press the last round into place until we were nearly done with the test. Most of our shooting was done with the mags loaded a round short, making the package a 9+1. Not the worst round count to have. Only the larger SIG pistol has as much capacity, and while the Taurus isn’t an expensive handgun, the pistol is supplied with two magazines and a locking box.

The firing tests went well. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. The raters found the sights are small for combat shooting. The primary complaint was a spongy trigger that some felt they were not in control of as well as the other handguns. Other raters felt that the trigger allowed good fast work on the combat course. In personal defense, being in control of the trigger break is more important than running a lot of cartridges into the target, we feel, and the trigger, while not a complete demerit, demands some time to master.

The pistol was reliable. Recoil is snappy in common with the other lightweight 40s. It is not as docile as the P224, but it is no worse than the Springfield XD-S. Accuracy at 15 yards is acceptable, if not outstanding. Most groups were in the 2.5- to 3.0-inch range.

15

Our Team Said: We rated the Taurus G2C down a half grade based on its less-than-ideal combat sights and another half grade on the trigger action. Also, slide-retraction effort is the heaviest of the pistols tested. The 40 S&W cartridge demands a strong recoil spring to control recoil, but this measurement is a consideration for those with limited hand strength. All in, the Taurus G2C is reliable and accurate enough for personal defense, but it is not our first choice. We debated making the G2C the Best Buy. After all, it works well and is certainly worth its modest price. However, it isn’t about the lowest price but the most performance for the money. We prefer the XD-S and rated it Best Buy. We would buy the Taurus only if the shooter’s budget could not stretch enough to cover the Springfield.

  • Looking back over the test, our shooters found that the handguns were reliable in four of the total six pistols tested. One of the two Smith & Wesson Shield handguns suffered short cycling, leading us to believe the pistol was not properly harnessing 40 S&W recoil. The second Shield sailed through to the end and then suffered a trigger return spring failure. Each handgun turned in decent groups in both combat firing and in absolute accuracy. We simply can’t recommend these guns based on our experience with them, and taking into consideration that none of the others had function issues.
  • The SIG P224 was the most accurate handgun, but it is also the largest, heaviest, and most expensive. Some raters hated the short grip, others made the best of it. We certainly recommend that you rent one to see if you like it.
  • The Kahr is an affordable handgun with good performance. It is light and easily concealed. This is the only pistol supplied without a spare magazine from the factory.
  • The Taurus offered better performance than the Kahr at a lower price and is supplied with two magazines. If you prefer a manual safety, there is no other choice but the Smith & Wesson Shield safety variant or the Taurus G2C.
  • The Springfield XD-S comes with two magazines at a fair price and is delivered in a lockable hard case. There is no manual safety, but it has good safety features nonetheless. The pistol is an excellent design for concealed carry with an abrasive but very sure grip that offers good purchase when firing heavy loads. The fiber-optic front sight is an advantage. The XD-S trigger is useful, with an advantage over the Smith & Wesson Shield, Kahr, and Taurus pistols, we felt, in controllability and also superior to the SIG’s double-action first shot trigger. The Springfield has a combination of value and features we like.

Written and photographed by Gun Tests Staff, using evaluations from Gun Tests team testers.

Comments (3)

Buyers of Kahr products should be aware that Kahr is not the company it used to be. When you buy a Kahr you're rolling the dice that you'll get a good one. I've owned a K40 (steel frame) for 17 years that's been 100% reliable over more than 2000 rounds of the best and the worst ammo. I'm really pleased with it. So last year I ordered a P9 (high trim version of the CW9 similar to the CW40). When I disassembled it for pre-break-in clean and lube I found it's barrel lug twisted and barely functional. What factory worker assembles a gun out of obviously bad parts? I sent it to the factory for barrel replacement and received a barrel that had been so aggressively polished that noticable case head support had been removed from the breech. At round 115 of break-in the barrel stop ring peened the slide stop bosses such that the action stuck open and could not be closed. Back to the factory (10 week delay) for a new barrel and slide. Short on time, I've only been able to put about 300 rounds through it and though the slide is functioning there is evidence of slide stop peening again. However, the gun has developed a new habit of ejecting the magazine when firing the last round - it does this every time regardless of number of rounds loaded into either of the mags. I've also seen the slivering of the dust cover reported above. Product quality matters. Turn around time for factory service matters. I can't trust this piece for carry, so it has been a waste of time and money. I love the design, but the factory's execution has stumbled 3 times. Do you want to roll the dice and see if you get lucky?

Posted by: SteelChickenGuy | September 14, 2019 4:39 AM    Report this comment

I own 3.5 of these guns, well I on a XDS40 and a XDS40 Mod 2 , along with a Shield 40 M1, and a PT-140 G2C. I bought the Shield as they were on sale the M2.0's having been released long past. Mine does not have a external safety as that is sometimes a problem for me, with a deformed thumb. (I can manipulate the one on a 45 Shield, but it is close and I don't want a problem when I need to use the gun) Anyway the Shield 40 that I own seems solid and I believe it would score a B using your "Gun Tests" criteria. I like it pretty good.

I like the 40 Taurus G2C better than the Shield. Better capacity, I am more accurate with it, it is smaller and easier to pocket carry. I can easily manipulate the Taurus external safety. I would have rated this gun as an 'A'. I don't think the sights are a problem. I carry this gun.

XDS40, I have the Mod 1 and 2, I have modified the earlier model with Powder River Precision parts for the trigger (Which it did not really need) and extended 'Memory Bump' grip safety ( I like that Mod) and Talon rubberized grip tape which really tames the aggressive tread on the Mod 1 grip, great gun. The Mod 2 does not need any of those modifications, It seems Springfield was paying attention. They did a good bit to the Mod 2 that makes me think its a noticeably better gun than the great Mod 1

Posted by: Pandaz3 | September 5, 2019 8:45 PM    Report this comment

Todas malas copias de la excelente Glock 27 , la que mas municion carga,muy precisa , nunca me fallo, la uso con CCI 155 grains, y no tengo ninguna queja , la uso 24/7...

Posted by: Tired | September 5, 2019 3:57 PM    Report this comment

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