Is 40S&W any better than 9mm?


April 7, 2003, 01:07 PM
Well i was talking to my brother about this last night. He loves my Hi Power but went on and on about the 9mm. He is a .45 fan. Now I think 9mm will do the job fine. Too many military units and police have used the 9mm for a long time. I dont think its as good as all .45's but I do think its good enough with the right ammo.
Now my bro wants a Glock .40 for carry. He loves his 1911 but it gets damn heavy he said. Anyway he was saying the .40 is better than the 9mm. Bigger sectional density and a heaveir bullet going fast. Is there any truth to this? My bro knows a lot about guns. He says all handguns pretty much stink for stopping people. So he said why use 9mm when you can shoot something bigger. Well settle this for me so I can be right:D

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April 7, 2003, 01:50 PM
Grrr...sure to be a lively topic. I'm going to say that your brother is right...

As far as as all handguns pretty much stinking at stopping people.

That being said, I have my own philosophy about bullets and caliber, and it pretty much ignores any of those mathamatical 'stopping formulas'. All PFM as far as I am concerned.

What I want in my gun is the largest caliber I can handle in a given platform, and the heaviest bullet in that cailber. That means that right now, I am using 180gr Golden Sabers in my .40, even though the lighter ones(165gr?) are faster, and supposedly have more energy.

Zak Smith
April 7, 2003, 02:13 PM
The best .40SW round will have more "penetration * expansion" than the best 9x19: link to FBI data sorted by average "wound volume" (


April 7, 2003, 02:30 PM
Tell him to get a Hi-Power in .40 S&W. Optionally, he can get a .357 SIG barrel for it.

Tropical Z
April 7, 2003, 02:59 PM
.40S&W is a GREAT all around round------if your'e using a good gun.

April 7, 2003, 03:21 PM
Better? I wouldn't say better, just another option. I would say tho, modern defensive ammo is effective in 9, 40, & 45. Shoot the one you're most confident & comfortable shooting.

April 7, 2003, 04:46 PM
Ballistically, a heavier, larger bullet travelling at the same velocites is "better".

But, is the feed reliability better?
Is the accuracy better?
Are the recoil characteristics better?
Is the price better?

I would say no to the last 4.

April 7, 2003, 04:48 PM
Is 40S&W any better than 9mm?

Yes. ;)


This thread should get interesting...

April 7, 2003, 05:08 PM
If your brother likes the 1911 but thinks it is to heavy and is going with a GLOCK why not show him a Springfield XD. These have the same grip angle as the 1911 and grip safety but are much lighter. The XD is available in .40 and 9mm and is cheaper than the GLOCK or 1911. Just my thoughts.

April 7, 2003, 05:33 PM
Is 40S&W any better than 9mm?

At what?:rolleyes:

If you shoot well with a 9mm, but not with a .40 S&W, then the 9mm is better.

Use what you like.

April 7, 2003, 06:43 PM
You're generally going to get what people carry as opposed to how effective they actually are.

I've shot 45ACP in 1911 for the bulk of my shooting career. I can control it, I'm comfortable with it and I don't fear recoil. I agree that the 1911 gets pretty heavy. I went through this and ended up carrying only my P32 (which was supposed to be a backup gun, not a primary) and leaving the 1911 at home. I wanted something lighter weight and smaller than the 1911 so after trying out a lot of guns including buying several, I ended up with a Kahr P9 Covert. It weighs 15 oz, only 3/4 what the Glock 26/27 weigh and significanly smaller in every dimension esp width.

I went with the 9mm version because I believe that, while 45ACP Rangers and Gold Dots are my choice in defensive loads, that any round 9mm and up, are very effective if you use the best load available and place your shot properly. What I wonder, is why if he's a fan of the 45ACP and is getting a Glock, why not go for the G30 or G36? Or even the G29 in 10mm? Very similar package to the G23 or 27 that he's probably looking at but considerably more energy if he's a believer in energy equaling stopping power.

April 7, 2003, 06:43 PM
The .40s&w is better than the 9mm, but not the .45acp, unless capacity is your primary concern, in which case issues of competence begin to drift into the equation. :)

April 7, 2003, 07:11 PM
IMHO- If you carry a heavy JHP in 9mm,.40,or.45 in Golddot or RangerT, then you are as well armed as you can be with a handgun.

April 7, 2003, 07:19 PM
The .40 S&W is better than the 9mm for defensive purposes.

Sure the 9mm is good enough with a couple of rounds (Corbon 115 and any of the LEO only +p+ loads) but the .40 is even better with MANY commonly available (read WalMart) loads in 155 and 165 weights.

The 9mm is only a decent manstopper when it does it's .357 Magnum imitation with +p and +p+ loads.

I know there will be many that disagree but I do believe in Evan Marshall's stats. He has a very large database of actual shootings. I don't see how people can argue with that.

Incidentally you guys ever notice that while Evan Marshall is a great and knowledgable gun scribe his website forum sucks total ***! He only allows you to post "pre-approved links". :scrutiny:

See the whole sordid story on my website (link in sig).

DonGlock26- the 180 weight .40s have the crappiest record for stopping power of any of the various jhps in the caliber. Same with the 147 grain 9mm.

April 7, 2003, 07:34 PM
This "manstopper" bullet is a bunch of bollocks. It depends entirely on shot placement and how determined someone is to get at you. I'll take my higher capacity, cheaper to shoot, waterproofed primer (NATO) :D, more reliable feeding, better penetrating, longer effective range 9mm over a .40 anyday.

I wouldn't mind it if somebody would make a .357 SIG barrel for a .40 Hi-Power though :(

April 7, 2003, 07:47 PM
Sure, the 40 S&W is better than the 9mm, and the 45 ACP is better than either one. Now that is sure to start a flame war!!!:D But nothing beats a 20 megaton nuke for putting down a mugger.:what:

Seriously, shot placement is very important. If you can shoot a 9 accurately and quickly, but can't hit the broadside of a barn from inside the barn with a 40, then the 9 is the better round, at least for you.

Island Beretta
April 7, 2003, 08:13 PM
The question is very general.. let me see if I can narrow it down a bit...

1. Terminal performance in ballistics gel: .40 S&W over 9mm.
2. Terminal performance in human tissue: 9mm has established itself worldwide as a NATO handgun and submachine gun round.
3. One-shot stopping power: Not Applicable. This is a myth!!
4. Higher chamber pressures resulting in higher probabilty of a ruptured chamber: .40 S&W over 9mm.
5. Harsher recoil, louder noise, bigger bullet, more machisimo: .40 S&W over 9mm.
6. Slower follow-up shots: .40 S&W over 9mm.
7. More accurate round: depends on you!!!

At the end of all this what do we have!! IT DEPENDS ON YOU!!-YOUR LIKES, PREFERENCES AND BELIEFS:what:

Here endeth the debate (yeah, right!):rolleyes:

April 7, 2003, 08:33 PM
2. Terminal performance in human tissue: 9mm has established itself worldwide as a NATO handgun and submachine gun round.

And what the hell does the above have to do with self-defense on the street????????????

You do not want that kinda penetration on the street much less in your home.

Island Beretta
April 7, 2003, 09:06 PM

That's why you use hollowpoints!! Ever heard of them..:scrutiny:

April 7, 2003, 09:35 PM
He loves his 1911 but it gets damn heavy he said. Then why change to a .40? He should get himself a lighter 1911. Maybe smaller too, such as a Kimber Ultra CDP or one of the new Springfields. If he's like me and a 1911 fan, he'll end up getting one to carry comfortably anyway, he just won't be happy til he does. Sure I've got many carry weapons, in different calibers, but none that I like as well as my CDP. And yes, one is a 9mm, which I like very much. I don't own a .40 and I doubt if I ever will. Never saw a need for it, as I own a 10mm. Now I wouldn't mind getting another one of those. Maybe a Glock 20? :D

April 7, 2003, 09:37 PM
I like the people who say that any Handgun is a poor stopper.
Then others say that the .45 is a real Manstopper???

If handguns have little stopping power..then why not carry
the gun with the highest potential at survival..i.e. a hi-cap
9mm, or a 13 shot .380 like my customized CZ83 ??

I look at Marshal's data and see the best stoppers to have the highest ENERGY in the caliber. This is where the .357 Magnum and
.357 SIG, along with the 10mm really shine. The hi-end 9mm loads
also give good performance.

The .40 is looked by some as a Compromise cartridge. Good for
those who are shy of the 9mm, and want more punch. For some
people..Nothing will ever equal a .45.

Everybody has likes and dislikes in both guns and calibers/loads.
Ther is no definite authority that says one is better than the

Having an excellent gun like the P-35 Browning is step one.
Finding the load that feeds well and gives YOU confidence
is step two.

April 7, 2003, 09:49 PM
Arguing over which is better, 9mm or .40.
If power is what you want, you want a 10mm....
But really, bullet placement is king, so the rule of thumb is shoot the heaviest, biggest, fastest bullet you can comfortably shoot out of your carry gun.
If you find the follow-up shots are a little slow, either decrease power, or increase training. ;)

April 7, 2003, 10:27 PM
As a fellow 10mm owner/fan. Can you agree that the 10MM
acts different than any other caliber?

I have .357s..44 magnums a CZ in .45 and 9mms. .40s were
flat-out unpleasant for me. The steel framed Witness gives
me a CZ75 platform that is not punishing to shoot..low or
hot levels..the 10mm is IT for me. Shoots very flat, and
hits the targets really hard (or so it seems) unlike my other

I can't really describe how it affects me. I am just infatuated
with the MIGHTY 10MM!

April 7, 2003, 10:37 PM

That's why you use hollowpoints!! Ever heard of them..

To quote my 13 year old daughter:



I'm still wondering what significance the 9mm being used for military has on this discussion?

In war you want penetration and self-defense you want stopping power.

Lethality is irrelevant. See here for all my opinions on various calibers:

Mike Irwin
April 7, 2003, 11:16 PM
Didn't you hear?

An unknown cop for an unspecified police agency in an unmentionable nation shot a naked suspect with a .40 cal. bullet at less than 1 micron.

The bullet didn't penetrate, but gave the naked perp the best massage of his life.

Another unknown cop, for another unspecificed agency in yet another unmentionable nation then shot the naked, but now thoroughly relaxed, perp with a single 9mm.

It not only killed the perp deader than a 1 Gajillionmegamegamegawatt laser, but also suctioned the body inside out through the exit wound AND knocked the perp into an alternate dimension....

Just goes to prove that only the 9mm is capable of killing a human being. The .40? Don't make me laugh...

April 7, 2003, 11:22 PM
Is 40S&W any better than 9mm?

YES -- period

Sir Galahad
April 7, 2003, 11:26 PM
I would caution anyone about putting too much credibility in ANY of Marshall's or Sanow's work. They are not ballisticians. Dr. Martin Fackler has shown much of their work to be flawed and made-up. Further, no one, to my knowledge, has seen any of these alleged shootings from which they draw their "one-shot stop" data. If you really want to see some quality ballistic work, check out International Wound Ballistic's Association website. Then look at David DiFabio's website. I highly recommend David DiFabio is a class act and he knows a HEAP about ballistics. He reports the facts, not hype.

I shoot a .40 myself. But I shoot a 9mm, too. :D

April 8, 2003, 12:28 AM
Is 40S&W any better than 9mm?



April 8, 2003, 03:39 AM
I'm still wondering what significance the 9mm being used for military has on this discussion?

In war you want penetration and self-defense you want stopping power.


April 8, 2003, 04:30 AM
WonderNine: KKM Precision in Carson City, Nevada and Bar-Sto Precision in, Twenty-Nine Palms, California, make .357SIG barrels for the .40S&W Hi-Power.

April 8, 2003, 04:38 AM

Excellent. What other modifications (such as recoil spring) are necessary in order to make my .357 SIG Hi-Power as reliable as a 9mm version?

How much do these barrels run? I'll check for myself, but I just thought I'd ask if you already knew. :)

April 8, 2003, 07:59 AM
I just gave my 2 cents at CZ forum but here it is again.

There is a progression of more muzzle energy in cartridge caliber going from 9 to .40 to .45 to 10 mm but this is not as significant as shot placement, bullet quality, and reliability of the firearm. A larger caliber that won't feed properly or is too uncontrollable to be accurate will not be an advantage.

No handgun is a guaranteed one shot stop. With a proper JHP load and good shot placement, a 9 mm or .40 round will leave the assillant equally dead. The .40 is a little faster but not that much considering the significant increase in recoil.

I would prefer to own a 9 and a .45 than just a .40. That's me, though. If you can shoot a 9 and .45 equally well, you're a good marksman.

A guy around the corner has every type of Glock .40 made and won't shoot any other caliber. Thankfully, we have a choice of whatever caliber we want in whatever gun we want in most cases so everyone can be happy.


April 8, 2003, 11:29 AM
Is 40S&W any better than 9mm?

When it comes to getting LEO's to believe that they're outgunned and should trade in their current service pistols for the latest titanium/polymer/stainless/illudium hi-capacity autos made by GlockenSigenWaltherColt?

Appears so..:scrutiny:

For a good cartridge w/ a proven track record than can be shot well w/ minimal recoil?


April 8, 2003, 02:35 PM

With either 9mm or .40 you can choose a bullet that fragments in a couple inches of flesh, or one that does not expand at all, going thru and thru a person with ease. Or you can choose a bullet that splits these characteristics, hedging on the side of penetration or expansion.

Don't you think it's a little more important to choose the right bullet for your anticipated situation than the actual caliber of the bullet?

10mm may be dandy, but if you load it with zoooming 200gr hard cast bullet, it won't be much better (if at all) than a 9mm 124gr +P hollowpoint to the exact same place?


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