They had their day and fan base and lost both or are about to lose them, so they will be obsolete soon if not already.

Now, some of you might think of that as painful, but rest assured, before these 6 that we discuss today, there have been other handgun cartridges that have found that way already. There are many reasons for this. Some did not make it to a status of being famous and stayed unloved for their whole life. Others were just overtaken by a competitor, and yet others were an answer to a question no one asked. Some were just right out a bad idea and are neither liked nor missed.

1. The .40 S&W

Designed for the FBI, this cartridge has been traded in for 9mm. How come? The 1986 shootout in Miami left the FBI with the feeling that their rounds were not up to the task. So, they did the next big thing. They scaled their power up a notch and went for 10mm.

However, 10mm is a pretty strong round making it a hard hitter but also hard to hit with. Something had to change, and the result was a 10mm special FBI load that was just weaker than the normal 10mm. With less powder, it could be stuffed into a shorter cartridge and the .40 S&W was born, basically a 10mm caliber in a 9mm cartridge length.

The .40 Cal round allowed for a magazine capacity similar to a 9mm and hitting power similar to a .45 ACP. A new love began and the FBI embraced the round with all it had to offer. Police agencies soon followed suit and the cartridge spread over the whole country. What is good for law enforcement cannot be bad for civilians trying to save their bacon and soon enough they also followed the trend.

As with so many relationships before, what started in a storm ended in disappointment. The round was again a hard hitter but still hard to hit with. Also, it costs more. This resulted in more expensive range sessions and more of these range sessions making it even more expensive just to learn to get this fiery beast on target.

At the same time while people discovered the downsides of .40 S&W, 9mm managed to man up. New developments allowed it to hit almost as hard, at least that is what is being said. All the while the recoil and the cost of 9mm is less making it easier to shoot, requiring less training, and making each range session more affordable. You do not need to be a professor to see the writing on the wall. While .40 S&W is declining, 9mm and 10mm are on the rise and soon, the little FBI caliber in the middle between both, will be a thing of the past.

40 S&W

2. The .45 GAP

Some Glock engineers got the idea to repeat the project of the .40 S&W in their own way. However, while the .40 S&W mated the bullet of a 10mm with the case length of a 9 mm, the Glock engineers wanted to mate a .45 Auto bullet with a 9 mm case. It should also use a small pistol primer and produce the same pressure of .45 Auto +P that is 23,000 PSI. The goal was to offer the performance of the bigger round out of a pistol with the grip size of the smaller round.

The idea was practically doomed from the start as the GAP was meant to do what the .40 S&W already did. While there were some law enforcement agencies that could not resist the charm of a Glock cartridge in a Glock gun, many others could. Besides these few law enforcement agencies, the average shooter could not care less so that today, if you ask for a .45 GAP, everyone will correct you and tell you it is called .45 ACP.

3. The .41 Magnum

Now you might think that the .40 S&W is the first example of a big caliber mated with a small one to have a nice compromise between both, but you would be wrong. The .41 Magnum is another example of such an attempt made in 1964. The difference here is that the FBI asked for the .40 S&W, but no one asked for the .41 Magnum. It is like the .45 GAP, the answer to a question nobody asked. The solution to a problem nobody had.

Back in those days, revolvers were the go to handgun for law enforcement agency. There was the .38 Special, the hero of old days, and the parent for the .357 Magnum. While some thought the .38 Special might not be up to the task so let`s switch to .357, others wanted to go a step further. They wanted more power than the .357 Magnum and went the whole way up to the .44 Magnum.

Granted, a .357 Magnum beats a 9mm any day even that bad, that a good revolver in .357 Magnum gets more feed per second and energy food pounds for its round than a 9mm shot from a pistol caliber carbine, so the switch to 9mm makes no sense, but that is another story. What we look at here is the good old 9mm is not enough and 10 mm is too much story, just before that time in the iteration .357 Magnum is not enough but .44 Magnum is overdoing it. Especially the recoil might just be too much for a lot of shooters.

The basic idea was to give law enforcement a round that is stronger than the .357 Magnum but comes with less recoil than the .44 Magnum. Today, that seems to have almost no appeal to anyone, but in its days, the round was even supported by the great Elmer Keith.

However, the effort was in vain. Advertised as a super hunter cartridge, most hunters were not impressed and law enforcement was mostly not convinced either. It was no surprise that also the shooter community thought that there was no problem to begin with and just did not care about the new round.

Today, there is a great variety of calibers and rounds available that offer similar or better performance for less recoil. This gives .41 Magnum a oneway ticket to extinction. Even the followers of Elmer Keith often prefer the easier to shoot .357 Magnum or the harder hitting .44 Magnum.

4. The .32 H&R Magnum

The .32 H&R Magnum is a member of the .32 Caliber family of revolver cartridges that includes also .32 Short, .32 Long, and .327 Federal Magnum, and that is exactly the problem. Normally, the term Magnum refers to the biggest of the family. We can see that for example with the .38 Special, .38 Special +P, and .357 Magnum. Here, the .357 Magnum is the biggest of the bunch. However, the .32 H&R Magnum is not the biggest of the 32 family of cartridges.

Originally, the .32 H&R Magnum was introduced in 1982. It provides more power than .22 LR and .22 Magnum. It does so without requiring a larger revolver. However, the power was still not considered as being enough, so it was soon eclipsed by .327 Federal Magnum. This came not least because the increase of power of the .32 H&R Magnum was still not seen as enough while .327 Federal Magnum is meant to compete with .357 Magnum.

Looking at the cartridges, it becomes very fast clear that the .32 H&R Magnum shoots an 85 grain bullet with a speed of 1100 feet per seconds and generates 220 foot pounds of energy out of a typical revolver for this caliber. Compared to that, common .327 Federal Magnum rounds bring it up to 620 foot pounds of energy. This dwarfs the .32 H&R Magnum and propels it into the range of the .357 Magnum which brings it to common energy levels between 500 and 800 foot pounds.

5. The .32 ACP

Some want to place the .32 ACP into the family of .32 Caliber cartridges, but here we must make a difference. While the other 32. Caliber cartridges that we just talked about are for revolvers, .32 ACP is for autoloaders. Some .32 Caliber enthusiasts will tell you that you can shoot .32 ACP out of a .32 revolver, but this is not perfectly safe while doable with a certain risk.

The cartridge was introduced in 1899 and at that time well accepted. Since that time, there have been plenty of handguns chambering it, and it was especially popular in Europe. It was also the cartridge Adolf Hitler used for his suicide. However, as with the .32 H&R Magnum, the .32 ACP was soon overtaken by a better and stronger cartridge. This was the .380 ACP that was introduced in 1908. While some say that .380 ACP itself might be rather lackluster when it comes to performance, it sure beats .32 ACP.

6. The .25 Auto

The saying goes that any gun beats having a pointy stick or nothing at all. However, the .25 Auto is the exception to that rule. There have been stories of people being hit by it multiple times and then calmly strolling over to the shooter and giving him a good beating. How much that is true might be questionable, however, that the 45 grain bullet with its 800 feet per second of a .25 Auto is even less powerful than a .22 Magnum says it all.

Developed in 1905 by John Browning, the man who gave as the 1894 Winchester rifle, 1911 pistol, .45 Auto and .50 BMG, it was another solution to a problem nobody had and nobody wanted. But John Browning can be forgiven and this mistaken development better be forgotten.

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