9mm or .40?


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The_Pretender
December 29, 2009, 10:37 PM
I'm sure this thread has been done before, but I'm at work and can't search. Title really says it all. Was wondering how much difference there is ballistically speaking. Most notably in terminal performance, say self-defense.

Also, what is the typical mag capacity of a .40?

It's one or the other, and then I'm done with handguns for the rest of
the year. Honest.

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NMGonzo
December 29, 2009, 10:40 PM
.40

more bang

Enachos
December 29, 2009, 10:48 PM
There is nothing wrong with a 9mm... but I'm more of a .40 guy.

Magazine capacity differs from gun model to gun model. It also depends on the size of the frame. Most guns that are chambered for both 9mm and .40, it's always the 9mm that has a greater mag capacity.

Some "high-end" 9mm rounds however can perform as well as some "low to mid-end" .40's though.

My advice would be to go with the .40. Simply cuz it never hurts to pack a little more power!

W.E.G.
December 29, 2009, 10:51 PM
There is only one person in this room qualified...

http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/humor/deaglock40.jpg

xXxplosive
December 29, 2009, 10:56 PM
Neither................it's the .45 Cal. .......sooner or later you'll get it right.

Gungnir
December 29, 2009, 11:08 PM
Commercial loading (no +P, or +P+) .40 tops out at around 559ftlbs (Double Tap Gold Dot JHP), 9mm tops out at around 345ftlbs (Federal Hydra-Shok).

Both can generate slightly higher energy with custom loads (or +P loading).

Capacities for full sized vary from 13-16 round magazines.

From real world, the FBI switched from 9mm (and .357 revolvers) to 40S&W (thru 10mm) after the 1986 Miami shootout. Since the experience they had of the 9mm was a bit anemic, and problems reloading revolvers under fire.

McCall911
December 29, 2009, 11:21 PM
I'm sure this thread has been done before

Yes. Quite a few times.

:rolleyes:

W.E.G.
December 29, 2009, 11:28 PM
9mm vs. .40???
http://tinyurl.com/ykox4ur

Kangspec
December 29, 2009, 11:29 PM
now days 9mm ammo has been improved a lot.

it's about how you shoot and where you aim.

just because you have .40 / .45, that does not make you more skilled than 9mm.

i like 9mm and .45

Air,Land&Sea
December 29, 2009, 11:35 PM
The same gun in both:
- one holster
- practice with the 9mm and carry the .40
- one or the other ammo might become scarce one day
- justifying another gun purchase
- back-handedly gives a reason to complete the picture with a .45 purchase (assuming that you already have a .38 and .357 [and maybe a .44 as well])
- and so on
:evil:

bestseller92
December 29, 2009, 11:48 PM
With the right ammo and if you can shoot, either is fine and effective.

Your judgement, coolness in crisis and marksmanship will matter much more than whatever ballistic difference exists between the two.

-v-
December 29, 2009, 11:55 PM
In the 1986 Miami shootout, someone or thing needed to be blamed for the disaster. After all, the vaunted G-Men are always in the right with everything. Must of been the caliber, for they are physically incapable of making tactical mistakes.

Get a gun, get some training, think tactics. In the end its not gun, its what tactics you employ to utilize it, and how competent you are in putting rounds where they need to go.

I have the whole gamut of 7.62x25, to 9mm, to .40 S&W and to 10mm auto. The gun that I carry the most is a 9mm. If I find myself outgunned with 18 rounds of 9mm 147gr XTPs, I should have brought my rifle.

That, and I can much more accurately and easily put a magazine of 9Para through one ragged hole then I can a with a mag of .40 S&W. Cheaper training costs may have had something to do with it.

As for the .45? Why go with such an anemic and low-powered round. I wouldn't use a .45 to put down a squirrel, never mind defend myself from a meth-addled goblin! Clearly the only answer in this discussion is THE 10MM AUTO. :D.
http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii297/thejackal72/10mm-1.jpg

Weedy
December 30, 2009, 12:13 AM
If the 10mm doesn't kill them immediately, the radioactive bullet fragments will eventually get 'em.

bestseller92
December 30, 2009, 12:15 AM
The 10mm Auto: The Chuck Norris of Handgun Rounds!

SupraBo
December 30, 2009, 12:16 AM
Ford vs Chevrolet.
*9mm
Mag capacity
Ammo is cheaper
In theory more practice because ammo is cheaper.
Most popular round in the world next to .22
A thing to consider about recoil is hot 9mm has a lot of flip but most practice ammo is not P+
So recoil is a gray area. Still (slightly) favors 9mm
(really hot) Double tap ammo loads…
Ballistics : 115gr @ 1415fps / 511ft. lbs. from a G17.

* 40 cal (10mm)
Was designed recently so P+ is standard in most ammo
“More bang” - NMGonzo - closer to 45 ballistics
Adequate mag capacity
135gr-200gr more uses
(really hot) Double tap ammo loads…
1420fps 605 ft/lbs from a 4.5"bbl.

10mm (my favored)
Ballistics : 1425fps/ 744ft./lbs. - Glock 20

I am going to stir up a bee's nest here
I am missing things but the basics are stated, in training, if you run out of bullets first it doesn’t matter, you’re dead. I also heard of people being shot with 9mm and they keep on coming. A 40 cal just increases the odds a little bit. I own them all
But remember a pistol just gets you to your rifle.

Beau

jad0110
December 30, 2009, 12:16 AM
How is ammo availability in your area? Where I live, .40 S&W is significantly easier to find than 9mm, but it may be different in your area.

Honestly, it comes down to shot placement. Try out a bunch of different guns (either by renting, borrowing, or at least handling them) and select the gun most naturally fits your hand - the one that feels the most "pointable". After doing that, you can start focusing in more on what specific caliber you want, assuming there are different options available in the platform you narrow down to.

bestseller92
December 30, 2009, 12:20 AM
The line about "a pistol is only for fighting your way to your rifle" is mostly a lot of baloney.

In the home that might be true, but on the street, in a restaurant, etc., your handgun is what you have and all you're going to have until the trouble is finished. Choose wisely, train hard.

NinjaFeint
December 30, 2009, 12:34 AM
Commercial loading (no +P, or +P+) .40 tops out at around 559ftlbs (Double Tap Gold Dot JHP), 9mm tops out at around 345ftlbs (Federal Hydra-Shok).

Both can generate slightly higher energy with custom loads (or +P loading).

Capacities for full sized vary from 13-16 round magazines.

From real world, the FBI switched from 9mm (and .357 revolvers) to 40S&W (thru 10mm) after the 1986 Miami shootout. Since the experience they had of the 9mm was a bit anemic, and problems reloading revolvers under fire.
Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P 9mm: 410ftlbs
9mm Luger Plus P 115gr COR®BON Self-Defense JHP: 466ftlbs

and if your gun can take it

Buffalo Bore 115gr +P+:500ftlbs

Most guns sold today can handle the +P and guns such as Glocks will be fine with the +P+. I understand the .40 has more pop and is available in +P as well but the 9mm in today's loads are not anemic.

To the OP. Whichever one you can shoot more accurately will be the best. A well place shot with a good hollow point of either caliber will be effective.

Manco
December 30, 2009, 01:09 AM
I struggled with this very question not long ago, and not unexpectedly there is no singular, final, "right" answer that fits every case. 9mm is a fine caliber that will get the job done, and .40 generally offers an extra little bit of margin per round at the cost of a couple of rounds of capacity and stronger recoil. I went with .40 because capacity is not an issue for me here in California, I don't perceive a great difference in recoil (although many people do), ammo cost and availability aren't vastly different, and I could buy a 9mm conversion barrel if I ever changed my mind or wanted both calibers in the same handgun. While I expect to own other handguns in various calibers in the future, I sort of used the latter as an excuse to come to an initial decision without beating myself to death over it.

Try out both calibers in the same handguns if you can, and maybe you'll find the decision easier to make. I know folks who shoot 9mm much better than .40 because of the difference in recoil, and others who shoot them equally well. This is a more important consideration than the relatively minor difference in effectiveness between the two calibers.

NG VI
December 30, 2009, 02:15 AM
I went with .40 for my first gun, and own more dedicated .40 than 9mm pistols, but if I were to do it again, I would probably get the exact same pistols but not worry about caliber too much.

If you are loading your service caliber defense gun reponsibly than it really doesn't matter which one it is. I like Federal HST the best, the 9mm 147/147+P performs like a high-end .40, the .40 180 performs like a high-end .45 ACP, and the 230/230+P .45 performs like nothing else. Extremely consistent expansion and penetration, clothing doesn't seem to have much effect on it, and it works after punching through auto glass as well as can be expected, often better than some bonded rounds.

Manco
December 30, 2009, 02:26 AM
Was wondering how much difference there is ballistically speaking. Most notably in terminal performance, say self-defense.

To actually address your question, ahem :o, it's not easy to quantify performance except in terms of penetration depth and wound channel diameter. Keep in mind that with self-defense ammo much depends on specific bullet designs rather than the overall parameters of the calibers. According to tests such as the following:

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=tnoutdoors9#g/u

it appears that heavy-for-caliber 9mm and .40 bullets will generally penetrate 16.5" of wet pack, with 9mm bullets expanding to 0.5-0.625" and .40 bullets to 0.75+". Lighter 9mm+P bullets tend to expand to 0.75" but penetrate less at 11-13.5". The lighter .40 bullets tested by tnoutdoors9 so far have produced inconclusive results, as the 165gr Ranger-T failed to expand properly for some reason and the 165gr Gold Dot is known for underperforming--testing the 165gr PDX1 and 155gr Gold Dot (both Speer and DoubleTap loads) would be far more interesting, I think. I hope this helps.

Gungnir
December 30, 2009, 02:31 AM
Most guns sold today can handle the +P and guns such as Glocks will be fine with the +P+. I understand the .40 has more pop and is available in +P as well but the 9mm in today's loads are not anemic.

I never said they were, I said that the FBI switched because they found that during the 1986 Miami Shootout they underperformed to what was expected (which is anemic). Whether that was political "blame the cartridge" or not, isn't relevant. Here's the facts

William Matix: Killed after being shot 6 times.
Michael Platt: Killed after being shot 12 times.

Of the 54 metallic rounds fired by the FBI (there were also 5 shotgun shells fired) 42 were 9mm, the rest were either 357 Magnum or 38 Special +P. So statistically we can expect 14 of the rounds in the two suspects to be 9mm (assuming that all the agents were equally bad shots) and we also know that they were killed outright or incapacitated by a 357 Magnum so would you argue with that data that in 1986 the 9mm was anemic, or under-performed in that situation? As an aside both these suspects toxicology reports came back clean.

NG VI
December 30, 2009, 02:41 AM
Well in all fairness, one of them, Platt I think, caught a 9mm Silvertip in the beginning that went through his arm and came to rest against his heart, and he would have bled out from that shot. It did perform as expected, but the agents were unable to plant more slugs into vital places until near the end of the fight, and the arm it went through first kind of absorbed some essential inches of penetration that would have allowed it to go through his heart and do its job faster.


FBI learned a lot of hard lessons that day unfortunately.

Ragnar Danneskjold
December 30, 2009, 03:00 AM
.40

more bang

9mm

More bangs.

CPshooter
December 30, 2009, 04:55 AM
Commercial loading (no +P, or +P+) .40 tops out at around 559ftlbs (Double Tap Gold Dot JHP), 9mm tops out at around 345ftlbs (Federal Hydra-Shok).

Both can generate slightly higher energy with custom loads (or +P loading).
This makes no sense. Why did you choose to compare a Double Tap .40 with a Federal Hyrda-Shok 9mm? Not only does DT make the same JHP round in 9mm with significantly more energy behind it than the Hyrda-Shok, but Hyrda-Shoks are an out-dated design and quite frankly a sucky performer when compared to newer bullet designs. Besides, the +P designation simply means it's loaded to the upper end of the load's allowable pressure range . The .40s&w doesn't have a +P designation because it's usually already loaded to very high pressures.

If you ignore the rather hilarious 10mm photoshop job above and take a look at the other bullets that were tested, you'll notice the 147gr 9mm penetrated just as far as the 180gr .40s&w. Penetration is the most important part of "stopping power" next to good shot placement, and is determined by a bullet's cross-sectional density. JHP expansion is just the icing on the cake when it comes to the stopping power recipe.

"The 9 is just fine."

That said, I own pistols in 9mm, .40s&w, and .45acp. IMHO they will all perform the exact same in a self-defense situation against a human, assuming shot placement is the same. Now if I were a LEO and might end up shooting through barriers such as car doors and windows, I'd probably go with the .40s&w or .357sig. These rounds would probably penetrate barriers better than 9mm or .45acp, but I have no scientific data to back up that statement. I'm just assuming that the combination of a heavier bullet (180gr for .40 and 147gr for .357) and the higher velocities of these rounds would work best in this scenario.

76shuvlinoff
December 30, 2009, 06:44 AM
I have an XD40sc for carry with a drop in 9mm conversion barrel for plinking.

Issue resolved for me.

Gungnir
December 30, 2009, 09:22 AM
This makes no sense. Why did you choose to compare a Double Tap .40 with a Federal Hyrda-Shok 9mm? Not only does DT make the same JHP round in 9mm with significantly more energy behind it than the Hyrda-Shok, but Hyrda-Shoks are an out-dated design and quite frankly a sucky performer when compared to newer bullet designs. Besides, the +P designation simply means it's loaded to the upper end of the load's allowable pressure range . The .40s&w doesn't have a +P designation because it's usually already loaded to very high pressures.

I used Hydra-Shok in 9mm because I had the data, same as the Double Tap in 40, saved me digging around the internet, and I did explain I did not include +P or +P+ for 9mm. Obviously this did not apply for the 40, since it's a newer cartridge. Now, +P only means up to 10% higher pressure above SAAMI standard, and +P+ means above 10% up to test pressure, which actually doesn't turn out to be a lot of increase in muzzle velocity.

Here's some readings I dug out averaged across 5 rounds Millennium 2 Chronograph I've taken from my Wife's HK P30 3.86" barrel I didn't try the DoubleTap

9mm NATO 124g FMJ 1200fps
Cor Bon 115gr +P+ JHP 1310fps
Remington 115gr +P JHP 1280fps
Federal 124g Hydra-Shok 1160fps

So while the Cor Bon is 150 fps faster than the Hydra-Shok, it's also 9 grains lighter, and it's only gained gained 9% more energy (92% of the weight * (113% velocity increase)^2)/2

Penetration is the most important part of "stopping power" next to good shot placement

Not precisely true, according to the FBI, who discounted hydrostatic shock, penetration and CALIBER are the most important for "stopping power", the permanent wound channel is the combination of the penetration, and the caliber, if the round is expanding (hollow point) then the wound channel will expand with that expansion, a .40 S&W 180gr JHP can expand to a maximum of 0.68 inches and penetration of 13 inches, a 9mm 147gr can expand to 0.62 inches and a penetration of 13.25. Doing a quick volume calc for the expanded caliber (assuming instant expansion) shows a wound cavity for the .40 as 4.7 cu in but 9mm is 4.00 cu in (or an 18% increase in wound volume for the 40 over the 9). Those expanded sizes come from the rounds used in Doug Carrs testing that was the basis for the 10mm joke above.

Ultimately they're both good rounds, my wife uses the 9mm, I personally prefer 40 S&W and 10mm.

YMMV

easyg
December 30, 2009, 11:43 AM
I respect the 9mm caliber, and it is certainly capable of stopping a human attacker (with careful ammo selection), but I'll take a .40S&W or .357Sig over the 9mm every time.

During the "wonder-nine" years (the 80's), the 9mm developed its reputation as a rather poor man-stopper.
And despite improvements in ammo that reputation continues to haunt the 9mm.

NinjaFeint
December 30, 2009, 12:41 PM
I never said they were, I said that the FBI switched because they found that during the 1986 Miami Shootout they underperformed to what was expected (which is anemic). Whether that was political "blame the cartridge" or not, isn't relevant. Here's the facts

William Matix: Killed after being shot 6 times.
Michael Platt: Killed after being shot 12 times.

Of the 54 metallic rounds fired by the FBI (there were also 5 shotgun shells fired) 42 were 9mm, the rest were either 357 Magnum or 38 Special +P. So statistically we can expect 14 of the rounds in the two suspects to be 9mm (assuming that all the agents were equally bad shots) and we also know that they were killed outright or incapacitated by a 357 Magnum so would you argue with that data that in 1986 the 9mm was anemic, or under-performed in that situation? As an aside both these suspects toxicology reports came back clean.
I am pretty sure there are better rounds produced since 1986. The CorBon DPX is one of them. Again, the .40 has more power but the 9mm will do fine if that is what you can shoot the best.

bestseller92
December 30, 2009, 12:49 PM
I think that if one researched it enough, one could find anecdotal evidence of "stopping failures" with any handgun round.

That having been said, I am quite happy with my G22 loaded with Winchester Ranger 155 grain JHP and my G26 stoked with Federal 115 gr. +P+ JHP.

Either is better than fingernails.

m2steven
December 30, 2009, 03:28 PM
If you check the ballistics charts for +p or +p+ 9mm ammo, you'll see that there is plenty of energy in those rounds. Bigger is always better if you shoot it well, but you should not feel undergunned in the least with a 9mm pistol pointed in the correct direction. I love my 40 and 45's, but i always carry a 9mm. I shoot followup shots better with most of the 9's.

Philo_Beddoe
December 30, 2009, 03:48 PM
40 or 9 are both good with very little difference in the jello tests

I went with 9 because the ammo is cheaper, if you are issue 40 that is what i would shoot

makarovnik
December 30, 2009, 04:01 PM
"Can't" Search?

Go with the .40

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