Please HELP 9mm vs. .308


December 30, 2006, 11:51 AM
I am planning to buy a rifle. I want a well known, easy to find caliber.
I want the rifle for target shooting, hunting and self defense.
Which one is better the 9mm or the .308
Please explain your answer.
Thanks in advance!

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December 30, 2006, 12:07 PM
9mm is a pistol rond
308 is a rifle round.

Two VERY different animals.

9mm; target shooting, OK. Hunting, NO. Self D, decent
308; target shooting, OK. Hunting, OK, Self D, OK, but not too great indoors.

Father Knows Best
December 30, 2006, 12:08 PM
That's like asking which is better, a go-kart or a Ferrari? Not even in the same league....

December 30, 2006, 12:20 PM
In general, a carbine shooting 9 mm will be cheap and useful for home defense. It will not be useful for hunting and less useful for target shooting beyond short range. I guess Hi Point and others make carbines.

A rifle in .308 will be more expensive. It will work for home defense, but will penetrate walls and such a lot more. Good for hunting and target shooting. Try a Saiga or PTR-91 if you want the least expensive new guns.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 30, 2006, 12:30 PM
I'd consider looking into an NRA Basic Firearms Training course if you can find one nearby. That might help you get a better idea of the two cartridges you are comparing and how much they differ.

The .308 will be considerably more powerful than the 9mm.

December 30, 2006, 12:31 PM
As others have said, 9mm is a pistol cartridge, .308 is a rifle cartridge.

The 'Hunting' part pretty much nixes 9mm from the start. It's commonly insufficient at longer ranges against deer* size game, even with the boost the longer barrel of a rifle gives it.

The .308 option would definitly be overkill on standard self defense, as in a battle rifle it's still effective out past 400 yards. Part of what makes it a good hunting cartridge. The bad part about this is that it'll also blow through standard walls like no tommorow, as well as the heavier cartridge would indeed be harder to control.

Target shooting, in my mind, calls for accuracy, ease of cleaning, and most importantly: Cheap ammo! Quick research at cheaper than dirt shows that you can get surplus 7.62 at a little more than 10 cents/round, and wolf 9mm is about the same price. 9mm will be cheaper per round if you don't shop online and instead pick up ammo at walmart.

This would be where 'different tools for different jobs' comes in, and why most of us own multiple firearms. I have a handgun for home defense/easy target shooting, an AR for 'plinking', and a scoped magnum rifle that I picked up cheap for hunting.

*When people mention 'hunting' I automatically assume deer.

The Deer Hunter
December 30, 2006, 12:36 PM
first ones 9mm, second one is 3 bullets(22, 308, 303) that includes 308.

December 30, 2006, 01:11 PM

Welcome to the forum, and I'm gonna take the "High Road" here, just as we desire to do.

Thus, I'd also like to welcome you to the shooting sports, for your questions indicate you are a novice and (possibly) your forum name may indicate you live in a very large city at the bottom of a beautiful state not known for having any big game in it that far down.

If this is true, your hunting needs might be for small game, with an occasional alligator threat. Thus, no need for a .308 "deer rifle" here! On the other hand, if you plan to travel to other states to hunt (and my state of Georgia is currently overrun with Florida hunters who have memberships here), a .308 is a decent deer cartridge.

In the "urban jungle" of Miami though, a .308 bullet flying through the air is a disaster/lawsuit/prison sentence just waiting to happen. I seriously doubt the LEOs in Dade County would be using rifles down there any more potent than a .223. As the late gunwriter Jeff Cooper always said, a .223 bullet makes a great "poodle gun" or to shoot enemy soldiers who really don't want to fight anyway. I could surely be wrong, but I doubt even the sniper team down there uses a .308.

Thus . . . if you live in Miami, a .308 is not what I'd own for "defensive purposes." Heck, here in the rural parts of Georgia, most farmers would use a shotgun for defense rather than their deer rifles.

ACTUALLY . . . a shotgun IS your best defensive weapon! Always has been! It doesn't overpenetrate walls of homes, you don't have to be THAT accurate with it, and most bad guys crap in their pants at the distinctive sound of a 12 guage pump shotgun's slide being racked!

SO . . . forget the rifle, period, and get a 12ga. pump shotgun! They are cheap but VERY good at a lot of things! It CAN be used, with the appropriate shot load, to take ducks, squirrels, dove, geese, DEER, bear, etc. It is VERY deadly on wild dogs in a neighborhood . . . but the pellets lose effectiveness rapidly after 50-60 yards or so with most type of pellets. Thus, it is as "safe" an urban power gun as possible.


The "which caliber is best" debate will never be settled. Some think the 9mm is a good cartridge. These folks are generally NOT big game hunters but mostly city folks who haven't taken game before. The 9mm hardly kicks at all . . . and you can load LOTS OF BULLETS!

However, bullet placement is key to incapacitating any game or predator INSTANTLY . . . and this has nothing to do with lots of ammo but EVERYTHING to do with markmanship, skill and experience.

If one has to shoot a target many times to stop the threat TWO THINGS are more possible . . .

1. The bad guy may shoot you with a fatal shot (or several) from HIS 9mm before he bleeds out and dies. Thus, you are dead too! NOT GOOD!

2. There are more stray bullets flying in the urban jungle . . . all capable of punching through wood and sheet rock walls or car doors and thus possibly causing you to accidentally kill or paralize an innocent person. NOT GOOD! You may win the gun fight, but end up in jail for years convicted of a felony murder charge. Also, the family of the innocent one will sue you out of everything you'll EVER dream of making. NOT GOOD!


If you INSIST on an automatic handgun (which seems to be the latest fad) . . . spend some serious bucks and get one that NEVER, EVER JAMS! When you find that one . . . please let us all know . . . for no one should ever bet their life on a gun that MIGHT ever jam!

Your safest bet wouldl be a Glock. Jams are rare but they WILL happen! Also, buy at least 500 rounds of ammo and run those 500 rounds through the new auto to smooth it out, familiarize yourself with it, and most importantly, MAKE SURE IT NEVER JAMS ONCE! If it does, keep running ammo through it until you know it is broken in well and won't jam!

FIVE HUNDRED ROUNDS costs money, so factor this into your budget.


Purchase at least a .40 S&W. With the best hollowpoints, the .40S&W round has the effectiveness (almost) of a .45 auto OR the legendary .357 mag. REVOLVER.

As I mentioned earlier, you want to hit your target ACCURATELY . . . and have that target INSTANTLY stop fighting you. There are never any guarantees though, and even those these calibers can't guarantee you of 100% instant stop capabilities.


You are a novice who has a lot to learn about trigger control, accuracy, how to clear jams, how to clean guns, where to place bullets into living game effectively (game . . . and bad guys too . . . don't stand still like targets so you can kill 'em . . . they ACTUALLY try to avoid being shot!);)

INSTEAD . . . save a ton of money and get an easier to use, easier to master, more powerful and safer S&W revolver in .357 magnum! Yep, get a used one in good condition. They don't jam, they incapacitate bad guys better than anything else statistically, and they are easy to unload and keep safe.

Also, under stress there are no levers to forget to operate. You'ld be amazed at how many people get killed because their gun won't shoot and thus end up with the bad guy calmly putting a bullet into their brain at three feet. All that was wrong, is the safety was still on! That can't happen with a revolver. As the old saying goes: "SIX FOR SURE!"


As someone mentioned . . . get some really good training. A city-boy friend of mine from Indiana took my advice and paid instruction with a certified NRA instructor before even buying a handgun. The instructor taught him safety . . . but also proper grip, stance, sight/eye alignment, all the subtle trigger finger control movements that most untrained shooters do wrong (and thus can't shoot a handgun accurately). The instructor also took him to the range to shoot a lot of types/makes of revolvers and autos to find the one that best fit his hand.

The result? My friend bought a handgun that fit him like a glove . . . and quickly learned how to shoot really tight, small groups with his new gun. Rather than just another city-boy yahoo with a handgun who can't hit the side of a barn, I wouldn't mind having him by my side if the SHTF!

Good luck and . . . if you follow my advice like my friend, two things will happen that I initially warned him about:

1. You will become a super shooter!

2. You will become addicted to shooting sports and soon have a bunch of guns that you shoot well and have fun with!


December 30, 2006, 01:30 PM
S& are one patient dude ! Good Info :)

Baba Louie
December 30, 2006, 01:36 PM
Hunting what?

I recall seeing a photo that member and Hi-Power guru ( ) Stephen A Camp posted of a deer (doe) he took using a 9mm... but then, he's far far more talented than I (judging by his tiny tiny groupings on targets, not to mention his knowledge of the shooting sports and/or his and his firearm's capabilities).

I'm sure to agree and tell you much the same as the previous posters; in the two calibers you posted, 9mm for target and SD; .308 for hunting deer size game.

Squirrels, chucks, bunnies, varmints, etc... you could use a 9mm once you know you can make exact shots.

Once you become an expert shot, if you wanted to try some handgun hunting, go with a .357, .44 or .45 Colt... which should also work for SD, target and hunting.

Or, should you choose a 9mm carbine, be aware that most states have a limit on rounds carried for hunting purposes, so know your laws where applicable.

December 30, 2006, 02:44 PM
Thanks for your advise, that is the spirit of this forum!!! Help the NEW people!!!

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