What is more powerful? .38 or 9mm?


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sniknah
June 24, 2011, 08:59 PM
This probably a dumb question, but always been curious. thanks

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jad0110
June 24, 2011, 09:05 PM
On paper, your average 9mm holds a slight edge over your average .38 special. But I've never been much for kenetic energy, particularly at anemic handgun levels. With quality loadings, either will do the job just fine with proper placement in that good examples of both offer plenty of penetration with the good possibility of expansion.

Pick your favorite and don't worry about it. I rely heavily on .38 special for SD, though I may add a 9 at some point.

Honestly, this is more of an auto or revolver question ... and as usual personal preference rules here.

Jeff F
June 24, 2011, 10:10 PM
I have shot a Black-hawk convertible and the 9mm's had a bit more bark and recoiled a little harder then standard .38 Spl 158 grain swc rounds. Never tried .38+ rounds. I know the 9mm runs higher pressure then .38 Spl.

Sunray
June 24, 2011, 10:31 PM
Strictly from the muzzle energy of close to like bullet weights, the 9mm is. A 125 grain Remington Golden Sabre out of a .38 has 268 ft-lbs of ME. A 124 grain 9mm Golden Sabre has 349 ft-lbs. That's entirely due to the much higher MV. 957 fps for the .38, 1125 for the 9mm. Only 55 ft-lbs difference at 50 yards. 37 at 100.
Apples and oranges just the same.

elano
June 24, 2011, 10:55 PM
9mm.

I enjoy shooting 38 more though.

suemarkp
June 24, 2011, 11:22 PM
Also depends on what weight bullets you want to launch. The 9mm fades quickly at 150 grain weight because its case is so short. The 38 special is commonly loaded with 158 grain bullets and can easily do 180grain.

But 38 special is a slow cartridge. It has more powder capacity over 9mm (giving it greater velocity potential), but runs at about half the pressure (a big disadvantage for velocity).

baylorattorney
June 24, 2011, 11:40 PM
38 or 38 special?? There is a difference u know. IMO 38 special has more power than 9 mm which has more power than 38.

Tomcat47
June 24, 2011, 11:44 PM
^^ Balistically Incorrect ^^ just sayin......:scrutiny:

Unless You Are Refferring to 38 Super....which can edge over 9mm in MV and does edge over 9mm in ME.

.38 Comparisons
Cartridge Bullet weight Muzzle velocity Muzzle energy Max pressure
.38 Short Colt 135 gr (8.7 g) 777 ft/s (237 m/s) 181 ft·lbf (245 J) 7,500 CUP
.38 Long Colt 150 gr (9.7 g) 777 ft/s (237 m/s) 201 ft·lbf (273 J) 12,000 CUP
.38 S&W 158 gr (10.2 g) 767 ft/s (234 m/s) 206 ft·lbf (279 J) 14,500 PSI
.38 S&W Sp. 158 gr (10.2 g) 940 ft/s (290 m/s) 310 ft·lbf (420 J) 17,000 PSI
.38 Special +P 158 gr (10.2 g) 1,000 ft/s (300 m/s) 351 ft·lbf (476 J) 20,000 PSI
.38 Special +P+ 110 gr (7.1 g) 1,100 ft/s (340 m/s) 295 ft·lbf (400 J) 20,000 PSI
.380 ACP 100 gr (6.5 g) 895 ft/s (273 m/s) 178 ft·lbf (241 J) 21,500 PSI
9x19mm Parabellum 115 gr (7.5 g) 1,300 ft/s (400 m/s) 420 ft·lbf (570 J) 39,200 PSI
9x19mm Parabellum 124 gr (8.0 g) 1,180 ft/s (360 m/s) 383 ft·lbf (520 J) 39,200 PSI
9x18mm Makarov 95 gr (6.2 g) 1,050 ft/s (320 m/s) 231 ft·lbf (313 J) 23,206 PSI
.38 Super 130 grains (8.4 g) 1,275 ft/s (389 m/s) 468 ft·lbf (634 J) 36,500 PSI
.357 Magnum 158 grains (10.2 g) 1,349 ft/s (411 m/s) 639 ft·lbf (866 J) 35,000 PSI
.357 SIG 125 grains (8.1 g) 1,350 ft/s (410 m/s) 506 ft·lbf (686 J) 40,000 PSI

Strykervet
June 24, 2011, 11:46 PM
Strictly from the muzzle energy of close to like bullet weights, the 9mm is. A 125 grain Remington Golden Sabre out of a .38 has 268 ft-lbs of ME. A 124 grain 9mm Golden Sabre has 349 ft-lbs. That's entirely due to the much higher MV. 957 fps for the .38, 1125 for the 9mm. Only 55 ft-lbs difference at 50 yards. 37 at 100.
Apples and oranges just the same.
What he said. On the other hand, 9mm+P is more powerful than .38+P, a better comparison. In general, 9mm is usually a little more powerful.

PabloJ
June 24, 2011, 11:53 PM
This probably a dumb question, but always been curious. thanks
The only advantage to 9x19 is high capacity of some pistol magazines. This is of no con
sequence to private citizen. In every other respect the .38spl is a superior cartridge.;)

Shadow 7D
June 24, 2011, 11:57 PM
Depends
What do you like more
Wheel guns
or
Autos

357 Terms
June 24, 2011, 11:57 PM
Not a dumb question at all. Both are very effective. Enhanced bullet design has helped both in every regard, with that i would take the 9.

tipoc
June 25, 2011, 12:04 AM
In general the 9mm is a more powerful round than the .38 Spl when it comes to commercial ammo. But there are some loads for the 38 Spl. which are more powerful than some loads for the 9mm.

The commercial standard load for the .38 Spl has a 158 gr. bullet going between 750-800 fps from a 4" barrel. Most commercial +P loads go about 900 fps from the same barrel length and bullet weight. The limitation for the .38 Spl. in commercial loads is the 20,000 cup pressure and the desire of commercial ammo manufacturers not to get too close to the max pressure. Handloaders can get more than this from the .38 Spl. though.

When you do compare similar weight bullets for both you do clearly see the edge for the 9mm.

If you drop by here you can compare some of the commercial loads for the 9mm and 38 Spl. looks at the technical specs and compare...

9mm
http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?tabId=3&categoryId=7508&categoryString=653***691***

38 Spl.
http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?tabId=3&categoryId=7509&categoryString=653***691***

tipoc

Jim K
June 25, 2011, 12:10 AM
On average, about the same or close enough that someone on the receiving end is not going to care much.

The advantage of the revolver load is that it is much more flexible than the auto load, which must operate within the parameters of the pistol. Factory pistol loads, of course, must be made to operate within the parameters of many pistols, so there is a fairly narrow range of pressure, velocity, energy that will function reliably and not cause damage to the gun. Revolvers are much more forgiving.

Jim

Justin123
June 25, 2011, 12:21 AM
Also something to take into consideration is the type of bullet used. I carry 148g semi wadcutters in my .38spcl I think that shape would do more damage than a 9mm FMJ

SaxonPig
June 25, 2011, 12:24 AM
Similar. If limited to readily available factory ammo the 9mm has the edge. With specialty ammo or reloading the 38 catches up.

My 9mm carry load is Winchester 115 JHPs at 1200 FPS. My 38 carry load is a 125 JHP at a clocked 1150. Pretty much a push.

wow6599
June 25, 2011, 12:28 AM
I was just checking out Buffalo Bore (to lazy to go through my reloading data) on their 38 and 9 loads. Seems at the muzzle 9mm is quite a bit "stronger". But what do I know.......just posting numbers from their site.


Heavy .38 Special +P Ammo - 125 gr. L.V. Jacketed Hollow Point (1,050fps/M.E. 306 ft. lbs.)

9mm Luger +P+ Pistol and Handgun Ammo - (+P+) 124 gr. Jacketed Hollow Point (1,300 fps/M.E. 461 ft. lbs.) - 20 Round Box

Remo223
June 25, 2011, 12:46 AM
look up SAAMI pressures for each caliber. That will make it VERY clear which is more powerful and why. 9mm is the clear winner. Still not convinced? Look up muzzle velocities and muzzle energies. There's no argument.

btw, I am a revolver fan and shoot 38special.

wlewisiii
June 25, 2011, 01:24 AM
Police LRN & military FMJ have both put a whole lot of people in the ground. Don't worry, be happy.

Lawdawg45
June 25, 2011, 07:58 AM
There are no dumb questions about handguns;)

With the advancement of ammo these days the lines have been blurred somewhat, and there is some common ground between the two. The same debate rages on with the 9mm and the .40, but there are several brands of ammo (Corbon, Speer, Hornaday, Buffalo Bore) that make a 9mm round that is comparable to the .40. If you're going with the .380 (I also have an LCP) go with the hottest JHP you can find.

LD45

CDW4ME
June 25, 2011, 08:45 AM
I had a Mag-Na-Ported S&W 638: Win. 130 gr. PDX +P @ 848 fps = 207# KE
I have a Kel-Tec PF9: Federal 124 gr. Hydra-Shok (standard load) @ 1,013 fps = 282# KE

Yea, the 38 in that example was Mag-Na-Ported, but I used a +P load in it to offset the velocity loss due to porting.
The 9mm in that example was using a standard load and still had more KE.

9mm is more powerful.

I had a Kahr PM9 and it averaged 1,215 fps / 377# KE with 115 gr. +P Cor-Bon. The PM9 is a pocket pistol the size of a 38 snub, no snub 38 is going to produce 377# of KE with 38+P loads.

Tomcat47
June 25, 2011, 11:28 AM
look up SAAMI pressures for each caliber. That will make it VERY clear which is more powerful and why. 9mm is the clear winner. Still not convinced? Look up muzzle velocities and muzzle energies. There's no argument.

Exactly!

btw, I am a revolver fan and shoot 38special.

Me Too!.....Oops... :rolleyes: .... I carry a 9mm Revolver! :D

Add Note: Above 9mm in Revolver....I am looking at .327 Fed Mag which equals .40 S&W and is Knocking on back door of .45 ACP in terms of energy.

But I am very pleased with 9mm revolver, and the wife carries .38 UltraLite

Onward Allusion
June 25, 2011, 11:44 AM
Wow. I thought this argument was settled back in the early 90's... 9mm cartridge all the way is more powerful from every perspective.

Water-Man
June 25, 2011, 11:59 AM
If you do this to that, or if you do that to this blah blah blah.....
The 9mm is more powerful!

bcp280z
June 25, 2011, 09:27 PM
It jogs my brain, how the 38 and the 45 colt are bigger cartridges, yet weaker to the 9mm and 45acp.

Don't mean to hijack but perhaps here is a better question, which has better expansion on average with HP's?

Water-Man
June 25, 2011, 09:57 PM
Your question is not better. No one has claimed the .45acp is better than the .45Colt. You should start another thread.

PabloJ
June 25, 2011, 10:03 PM
It jogs my brain, how the 38 and the 45 colt are bigger cartridges, yet weaker to the 9mm and 45acp.

Don't mean to hijack but perhaps here is a better question, which has better expansion on average with HP's?
In case of .38Spl vs. 9x19 the secret lies in avg. max gas pressure of each cartridge which Europeans refer to as Po. The 9 Luger is not more powerful then .38 Special.

WVfishguy
June 26, 2011, 02:33 AM
Hand loading make this all moot.
I load 158 Speer Gold dots at about 1150 fps (MV) in my wife's six shot (S&W & Ruger) .38 "specials."
http://i850.photobucket.com/albums/ab64/WVfishguy/000_0004-3.jpg

Seems more powerful than the 124 grain 9mms out of my Walther PSP.
http://i850.photobucket.com/albums/ab64/WVfishguy/000_0059.jpg

CDW4ME
June 26, 2011, 09:23 AM
Hand loading make this all moot.
I load 158 Speer Gold dots at about 1150 fps (MV) in my wife's six shot (S&W & Ruger) .38 "specials."


158 gr. @ 1,150 = 464# KE for the heavy handload
Cor-Bon shows their 115 gr. 9mm +P @ 1,350 = 466# KE

Loosedhorse
June 26, 2011, 10:07 AM
Well, what do we mean by powerful?

I seem to remember hearing about some guy named Elmer Keith who started hot loading the .38 Special in those old .38/.44 S&W revolvers. I wonder if that ever amounted to anything? ;)

The only folks I remember hot-rodding 9mm were some IPSC folks a couple decades ago, because it was right on the cusp. In contrast, most .38 Specail ammo had trouble meeting minor.

Perhaps we should also consider that, for .38, you're limited usually to 5-8 shots before a reload; but it's not unusual to have 18-20 shots of 9mm. And a faster reload.

withdrawn34
June 26, 2011, 02:25 PM
Also, a small 38 will never be as small as a small 9. Simple issue of overall cartridge length and cylinder vs. magazine thickness.

Stevie-Ray
June 27, 2011, 12:40 AM
Gun rags used to say, in general, 9mm was squarely between .38 Spl, and .357 Mag in power.

skoro
June 27, 2011, 02:13 PM
In practical terms, any difference is equivalent to angels dancing on the heads of pins. ;)

JustinJ
June 27, 2011, 07:25 PM
When it comes to ammo of roughly equal power 15+ beats 6.

Yahtzee4U
June 27, 2011, 09:52 PM
I would agree that a nine seems to have the .38 beat on more than a couple of levels. Straight stats favor the nine in MV, ME, capacity, size, weight......which leaves the .38 with reliability and nonpicky ammo. IS there really a huge difference in actual "one stop shot" ability? According to the M&S study I believe the .38 special has a one stop of around 78% (real bullet, not that glaser blue crap), and the nine has a 91% one stop shot. I have no idea if those percentages are something to base your life on, but I guess it's another stat to use. I personally own a .357 that I have filled with .38's.

Onward Allusion
June 28, 2011, 01:14 AM
Carry one of each. A 9mm 15+1 pistol and a 5 shot 38spl snub as backup. :)

Hammerogod
June 28, 2011, 06:17 AM
.38 Special +P vs 9MM ... it's a push.

There is so little difference that it's no difference at all.
Pick the one that offers you the widest variety of loads.
Pick the one you are most comfortable with.
Pick the one that YOU can use with the best end result.

I'm a .38 guy and I have shot (and/or owned) everything that is legally available.
That says something.

mgmorden
June 28, 2011, 02:24 PM
38 or 38 special?? There is a difference u know. IMO 38 special has more power than 9 mm which has more power than 38.

Though there are other ".38's", by and large the default assumption when just ".38" is stated is .38 Special.

The only .38 weaker than .38 Special that I know of is the old .38 S&W, which is very rarely used these days.

That aside though, "IMO" isn't relevant since this is a math problem and not an opinionated issue. 9x19mm at equal bullet weights is more powerful than .38 Special. .38 Special +P is more powerful than standard 9x19 but that's not a fair comparison. .38+P compared to 9mm+P puts the 9mm ahead again.

Not much to debate there - the numbers don't lie. That said, while 9mm is mathematically superior, the advantage is small enough that the two can basically be considered equal in power for all practical purposes.

Claude Clay
June 28, 2011, 02:30 PM
i think a lot of these questions have a lot to do with
whether you are throwing them or catching them...

Remo223
June 29, 2011, 04:03 AM
^no, it comes down to basic math. That is if you believe in the science of the math. if you don't you look to the statistics generated by the police shootings. Muzzle energy equations show 9mm the clear winner. Police shooting stats probably show 158grain 38special +P++ semi wadcutter hollowpoint as the superior load. There is an argument to be made for real world stats and against mathematical muzzle energy. If theoretical numbers were all that mattered, then 45ACP would not be worth spit and would never have lasted even through ww1 as a viable weapon.

GLOOB
June 29, 2011, 05:39 AM
9mm>38 special. Done. It's due to a SAAMI limitation. End of story.

Yeah, you can argue handloads or specialty ammo that makes a 38 as good as a 9mm.

Then you can argue a special 9mm load that makes it as good as a 40.

Then you can find 40 ammo that is more powerful than 45.

Then you can eventually argue your 38 is just as powerful as a 50BMG.

SmokeJensen
June 29, 2011, 05:58 AM
^no, it comes down to basic math. That is if you believe in the science of the math. if you don't you look to the statistics generated by the police shootings. Muzzle energy equations show 9mm the clear winner. Police shooting stats probably show 158grain 38special +P++ semi wadcutter hollowpoint as the superior load. There is an argument to be made for real world stats and against mathematical muzzle energy. If theoretical numbers were all that mattered, then 45ACP would not be worth spit and would never have lasted even through ww1 as a viable weapon.

9mm to the heart and 38 to the hand = 9mm wins.

38 to the heart and 9mm to the hand = 38 wins.

I have no idea where math is a factor here. Sounds like some of you guys are missing the point. Ballistics show 9mm is hotter than standard 38 but without proper training and shot placement neither one is very useful.

To the OP. 9mm is hotter than 38. I think 38 special is about the same as 9mm. Not too sure. I don't think numbers when choosing. The 38 super might top them all. Some really hot 38 hand loads can top the 9mm in the number department if you really want to use 38. I think this is a question of semi vs revolver. Not a math question or statistics question. Both are good small caliber SD choices. I like 9mm. Its like asking your buddy "hey man. Do you like the blonde on the right with the big butt or the one on the left with the big boobies?" That's a epic decision. :D

armsmaster270
June 29, 2011, 08:07 AM
Tomcat47: You are a little low on your 38Spl +P+ Pressures

http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff207/armsmaster270/Police%20Dept/pback.jpg

CDW4ME
June 29, 2011, 08:56 AM
I had a Mag-Na-Ported S&W 638: Win. 130 gr. PDX +P @ 848 fps = 207# KE
I have a Kel-Tec PF9: Federal 124 gr. Hydra-Shok (standard load) @ 1,013 fps = 282# KE

Yea, the 38 in that example was Mag-Na-Ported, but I used a +P load in it to offset the velocity loss due to porting.
The 9mm in that example was using a standard load and still had more KE.

9mm is more powerful.

I had a Kahr PM9 and it averaged 1,215 fps / 377# KE with 115 gr. +P Cor-Bon. The PM9 is a pocket pistol the size of a 38 snub, no snub 38 is going to produce 377# of KE with 38+P loads.

Since this is still being debated :scrutiny: I'll add more.

I had a Ruger SP101 it show a "low end" .357 mag Win. 110 JHP @ 1,208 fps = 356# KE

Glock 19:
Winchester 124 Ranger T +P @ 1,212 fps / 405# KE
Winchester 127 Ranger T +P+ @ 1,238 fps / 433# KE

Compared to just about any and all 38 loadings, the 9mm holds more rounds, has more power, and produces less felt recoil due to semi-auto vs revolver platforms.

rio nueces
June 29, 2011, 09:57 AM
You can easily get over 450 ft.lbs. energy from a .38 special, and that's with heavy bullets of swc design.
I'm comfortable with a 9, but for 'heavy' work the .38 is what I would prefer.
Here's just one of many examples...

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=108
Ruger SP101, 3 inch- 1143 fps (458 ft. lbs.)
S&W Mt. Gun, 4 inch- 1162 fps (474 ft. lbs.)

Compared to a 9mm semiauto, the .38 sp. revolver is more reliable, more user-friendly, less complicated, easier to operate, doesn't toss your brass away, easier to check loaded status, doesn't require a magazine.

Axel Larson
June 29, 2011, 11:52 AM
I actually believe the 9mm round is more powerful out of a two inch barrel than a 38special is. Like revolvers get a Taurus 905.o or a ruger blackhawk convertible.

Ed4032
June 29, 2011, 12:20 PM
That's like asking would you rather live in the city or the summer.

It's an easy answer for me ... the summer.

mgmorden
June 29, 2011, 02:15 PM
the .38 sp. revolver is more reliable,

Debatable - modern semi-autos are not the "jamomatics" that many old timers love to rant about. Most have reliability levels on par with revolvers. They can go 10's of thousands of rounds without any malfunction.

more user-friendly,

Depends on the gun. What's so complicated about a Glock for example? Insert magazine, rack slide. Pull trigger when ready to shoot. That's it - it doesn't have any other further normal usage instructions, and is no more complicated than a revolver.

less complicated,

Only relevant if complexity leads to some shortfall in another area, which in many cases it doesn't.

easier to operate,

That's the same thing as user-friendly, and addressed above.

doesn't toss your brass away,

That is indeed an advantage, and is one thing I like DO like about shooting my .38, but realistically in a "duty" or self-defense situation this point is irrelevant. It's only relevant during target/recreational shooting.

easier to check loaded status,

Which is a false sense of security. From the rear-end not only are the top and bottom cartridges hidden from view, you also can't tell without flipping the gun around (rather unsafely) whether or not you're carrying loaded ammo or a cylinder full of spent brass.

doesn't require a magazine.

I don't think we can start picking out parts that one has and the other doesn't and calling the lack of that part an advantage. I could just as easily say that the auto "doesn't require a cylinder".

rio nueces
June 30, 2011, 01:23 PM
My experience has been that semiauto pistols do tend to jam - even Kimbers (total lockup - could not be fixed at range) - malfunction drills are common at 'combat' matches, and 'smiths make a fortune off semiauto 'tune-ups' :)
While working at a shooting range I have seen many jams involving semi-autos.
Magazines can be lost or damaged. Sometimes, if there is a magazine disconnect you can't fire the pistol at all then. A cylinder is not easily or normally removed from a revolver and lost or misplaced.
As an 'old timer' named Elmer Keith once said "If you have any part of a revolver, you have it all".
It takes much training to always remember to release the safety, especially under great stress (not all semiautos are Glocks).
A double-action pull is generally far superior on a revolver than on a semi-auto.
Semiautos (including Glocks) are dependent on near-perfect ammo.
Controls vary on semi-autos. A lot. If you don't constantly train w/ your carry pistol only you could easily become confused under stress - not a good thing!
Ejected cases may not be a good thing - especially when they hit you in the eye! Or you are expecting them to.

And... .38 sp. w/ easily obtained +P ammo or cheap reloads is more powerful than an equally hot 9mm.
Consider in addition to velocity, bullet weight and shape. A revolver easily fires blunt, flat, or SWC hollowpoint bullets of heavy weight.

From http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=108
Item 20A: 158gr., very soft cast, semi wad cutter, (Keith) hollow cavity, with a gas check,
S&W mod. 60, 2 inch- 1040 fps (379 ft. lbs.)
S&W mod. 66, 2.5 inch- 1059 fps (393 ft. lbs.)
Ruger SP101, 3 inch- 1143 fps (458 ft. lbs.)
S&W Mt. Gun, 4 inch- 1162 fps (474 ft. lbs.)

Gato Montés
June 30, 2011, 02:09 PM
Wow, this debate is still going?

Both cartridges are medium sized service class rounds designed to do the same thing; provide a good power to control-ability ratio for the end user. Anything you can do with a 9mm you can do with a .38, and vice versa. I really doubt the slight extra power the 9mm has alters much in the real world.

I'll be happy with either one.

hapidogbreath
June 30, 2011, 02:21 PM
All above are true and well thought out. For a SD Pocket gun.... How many rounds can you get off whit it in your pocket??? I can get all 5 out of my Ruger LCR and my partner can empty his J Frame. Just something to think about.

Mr. Happy
June 30, 2011, 05:18 PM
Will the Boberg 9mm be enough of an advantage on first shot % to make it clearly better in the pocket than the J-Frame .38?

Gato Montés
July 1, 2011, 02:59 AM
^^^That's exactly the case.

I've never heard of an incident where a person would have survived if they had a 9mm instead of a .38, or again vice versa.

Now if you want to argue capacity benefits of their respective platforms, well, that's another discussion.

KJS
July 1, 2011, 08:12 AM
From the rear-end not only are the top and bottom cartridges hidden from view, you also can't tell without flipping the gun around (rather unsafely) whether or not you're carrying loaded ammo or a cylinder full of spent brass.

If someone has a revolver for concealed carry or sitting in the night stand for things that go bump in the night aren't they going to know if they keep it loaded?

Isn't the bottom cartridge still hidden from view even if you point a revolver (rather unsafely) at your face? And that assumes sufficient lighting, which may not exist as bad guys often work the night shift. If one had the time & light to check like that, wouldn't they just open the cylinder and see how many primers have been hit?

That makes me think of how Charter Arms actually provides the hint of painting the tip of bullets white such as to make them as visible as possible to bad guys. I'd never heard such advice anywhere else. I wouldn't imagine many bad guys want to get close enough to visually confirm a gun is ready to kill them: "Hey, dude, how'd you get shot?" "Uh, I broke into this house and this lady pulled a gun on me. I looked real close but her dark lead bullets looked like empty casings in the low light, so I decided to go ahead and try to rape her. Turned out to be a bad idea."

A pistol with a loaded chamber indicator would tell you if you have more ammo, though not a lot of detail there as it could be just the one round in the chamber and an empty mag.

Smaug
July 1, 2011, 11:41 AM
I only read the first page, so I'm not sure if this has been mentioned or not. It has been alluded to. 38 Special has a lot more capability than 9mm. It's just that there are some 38 Special handguns that are over 100 years old, and cannot handle the higher pressures that modern guns can. That's why 38+P is so popular. It moves 38 Special from "minimum for defense" to "quite acceptable for defense."

I guess there are also some 9mm pistols that are over 100 years old too, but they were designed from the start to handle high pressures.

It is a good point, that 38 Special is also a lot more flexible when it comes to bullet shapes and weights than 9mm. This is true in a lot of revolver vs. auto cartridge comparisons.

336A
July 1, 2011, 04:37 PM
I'll take a S&W M10 .38 SPL such as my 10-14 over a 9mm any day of the week and twice on sunday. Not because of power but due to vesatility. The 9mm just can't match the versatility of the .38 SPL. Here is some great reading on just how versatile the .38 SPL can be. Granted I'm not sure that I'd want to use the heavier loads in my M10 talked about on the last page. But it is nice to know that my M10 could handle them were I so inclined. I do however use 5.4gr of Unique under a 158gr SWC as per Lyman's data. 110gr all the way to 200gr in one of the best handgun platforms ever conceived that is versatility.
http://smith-wessonforum.com/ammo/144598-some-38-special-chronograph-tests.html

Average Joe
July 1, 2011, 06:09 PM
If you were on the receiving end of a .38 spl or 9mm, I doubt you could tell the difference.

psyshack
July 2, 2011, 12:21 AM
9mm,,,, Period

Want to throw down with a mag,,, say hello to 9 Dillon.

The 9mm wins the hands down blanket Betty bo bo.

336A
July 2, 2011, 01:46 AM
Want to throw down with a mag,,, say hello to 9 Dillon.

If and when I need true magnum performance then I'll reach for my .41 magnum which walks all over the 9x25. If the .41 mag won't do then I'll reach for a long gun nuff said.

psyshack
July 2, 2011, 02:09 AM
Sorry,,, your 41 old school mag was born a whimp. It is a answer to a question never asked by a shooter IMHO. Given over all use. A G20 over all is the weapon... and if you want to compare basic stuff look up the wildcat round. The 9x25 is nothing to scoff off.....

336A
July 2, 2011, 08:54 AM
I'm well aware of what the 9x25 is about. Othere than use for gaming, where it is all but dead there too it will never be a legitimized cartridge unlike the .41 Mag. If the 9x25 is the greatest thing since sliced bread why aren't companies selling em' like hot cakes? Oh wait because thy know it will be a flop. and where is all the ammo it? I suppose it just sp popular it can't stay on the shelves right:rolleyes: There was good reason for the .41 coming on the scene. However it was hampered severly by bad marketing and not having a smaller special cartridge to go with it.

bcp280z
July 2, 2011, 09:39 PM
Still curious which has better expansion, 9 or 38

And who makes 9x25 guns?

IBEWBULL
February 9, 2013, 03:22 PM
Have you ever fired a 9MM from inside a pocket or mitten?
Not counting the hot brass hitting your hand or the pocket catching fire there are other reasons to go the way of the wheel GUN.

Reliability in a revolver even in the pocket is 100% The only other gun I have seen or fired wich matches the reliability is the OU High Standard derringer. Hammerless also.

The wheel gun can be loaded with bird shot to the +p+ in any order you prefer.
Well so can a magazine in a 9 but will it function 100% ?

I like the heavy 158 grain lead HP load. It expands from a 1 7/8 barrel enough and penetrates just fine. The FBI used it for many years.

Another plus is after daily carry some of us unload and somne do not. Rechambering repeatedly will push the projectile back into the brass in an auto.
Yes the 9mm can be more powerful and has been rated high on the scale in one shot stops. Up near the .357 and 45 ACP.
Each has its merits. But oporator experience tells me think back 35 years. 9mm P38 115 grain ball ammo and someone sneakingabout the base. Yes there were some 9mm HP rounds available. Supervel was one. But I had ball in the pipe and an unauthorized gun. I did not feel very comfortable peeking about with the 9mm i would have prefered a .45 really. My point being is you may not have access to the best rounds at any given time so know your limitations and how your round will preform.

tipoc
February 9, 2013, 04:03 PM
Well this thread is only 7 months old so when it rises from the grave only a few worms to shake off.

tipoc

mljdeckard
February 9, 2013, 04:14 PM
Try 18.

grendelbane
February 9, 2013, 04:39 PM
I find it hard to believe that no one has mentioned the .38/44 loadings of the .38 Special.

Not in production currently, but lots of handload data to duplicate it.

Some might consider it cheating, but it clearly beats the 9mm.:)

cocojo
February 9, 2013, 06:00 PM
Hands down it's the 9mm, by a lot, especially when +P or +P+ is used. 9mm runs at 35000 to 41000 in pressure. The 38 special is 17000 to 21000 if your lucky.

PabloJ
February 9, 2013, 06:14 PM
This probably a dumb question, but always been curious. thanks
The .38spl has more potential. When loaded to max it becomes .357. The magnum casing was made longer so the cartridge would not fit into older .38Spl. revolvers. The same holds true for 45LC vs .45ACP. Georgia Arms had .45LC with 320 or 330gr hard cast lead loaded to about 1300fps and marked for Super Blackhawk and TC guns only. The .45ACP can't hope to match that.

JohnKSa
February 9, 2013, 06:23 PM
Patrick Sweeney made an interesting claim in his article, "Critical Choices Do you really need what an FBI-compliant load can provide?", in the Sept 2012 Guns & Ammo.

To give you a sense of this, every maker who makes 9mm defensive ammo offers at least one—and in some instances several—9mm load that has successfully passed the (FBI protocol) tests. I am not aware of any current .38 Special load that has done so.

jeepnik
February 9, 2013, 06:57 PM
Hmm, another Ginger or MaryAnn question.

tipoc
February 9, 2013, 07:27 PM
Yeah you're right 18 months. More than a few worms.

tipoc

Thompsoncustom
February 9, 2013, 07:41 PM
Not sure but I can launch 173gr 9mm out of my CZ75b at 1000fps not sure how that compares to a .38 tho I've never owned one.

R.W.Dale
February 9, 2013, 07:52 PM
From a 2" revolver with the same bullet weight 9mm has approximately a 250 fps advantage over 38

From the same snubbys 357 (real 357 loads) will have about a 100fps advantage over 9x19mm. So called midrange 357 loads are pretty much 9mm long rimmed.

So yes 9mm is quite a bit more powerful than 38 and is much closer to 357 mag than 38 is to 9mm




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SharpsDressedMan
February 9, 2013, 08:36 PM
The problem I see is that most guns that can handle the high performance .38 Special ammo are built on frames that can now handle, or are built as, .357's. Why carry a heavy Ruger or lightweight S&W revolver and not get it in .357, and carry the .357 ammo when you need higher performance? That is what all this recent metalurgy and design have given us: revolvers of .38 size that are built to handle .357's. I love the old .38's, love to shoot them, but if I wanted to pack a true defensive, small revolver, I'd look for a .357. Maybe a S&W 640 or 340PD? Until you step up to the .357, a .38 Special revolver (of similar size) is bested by the 9mm.

rio nueces
February 9, 2013, 08:38 PM
You might get a 124 gr. Bullet going 1150 from your 9mm but it's easily possible to get a 125 going the same speed from a .38
Push them both close to 1200 and the 38 still wins.
Or a 168gr Keith semi wad cutter going over 1000
In a .38 you can get full power and performance from a home cast bullet.
And better reliability.

But my revolvers are .357
Beats 9mm hands down.

SharpsDressedMan
February 9, 2013, 08:50 PM
I do not agree. Are you going by published ballistics, or actual chronographed loads? Many .38 Special loads are clocked from 6" barrels, and do not represent accurate ballistics as fired from 2-3" barrels, which would be the majority of guns carried CCW, and of similar size to 9mm's carried concealed.

R.W.Dale
February 9, 2013, 09:02 PM
You might get a 124 gr. Bullet going 1150 from your 9mm but it's easily possible to get a 125 going the same speed from a .38
Push them both close to 1200 and the 38 still wins.
Or a 168gr Keith semi wad cutter going over 1000
In a .38 you can get full power and performance from a home cast bullet.
And better reliability.

But my revolvers are .357
Beats 9mm hands down.

You can hot rod 38 all you want. But an overpressure overload does not change the fact that when loaded to saami specifications 9mm IS more powerful than 38 PERIOD END OF STORY

What you're claiming would be like me saying 30-30 is more powerful than 30-06 because I have slow/light trail boss loads for my 06

Once you exceed 20k psi you're no longer loading 38spl. You're just loading in a 38 case. And yes there's a difference



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rio nueces
February 9, 2013, 09:15 PM
Not hot ridding at all...how about 158 lead hollow point at 1140 from a 4" .38?
Buffalo Bore commercial +p
And when you get those (not quite so high) high velocities you brag on about the 9mm those are +p or +p+, likely from a 5" barrel.

"The BB +P is more closely associated with (a duplicate of) the old 1930s 38/44 round, the grand father of the 357 Mag. From a 4" barrel the BB load will give ~1140 fps."

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=701135

A few posts down.

R.W.Dale
February 9, 2013, 09:33 PM
No my 9mm velocities are direct from my 9mm REVOLVER with a 2" barrel.

And not with $45 a box boutique factory overloads either.




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SharpsDressedMan
February 9, 2013, 10:21 PM
A 4" .38 revolver would be about the same size as a 5" semi auto (like a Colt 1911), or Walther P38 (also a 5" barrel). Comparing ammo shot from those would be a good comparison. When you factor in the length of the cylinder/chamber of the revolver, they would be very close indeed.

Penoe Hunter
February 9, 2013, 11:06 PM
Revolver bullets can be more reliable in expanding than bullets for autos particularly at lower velocity due to auto bullets having to be being durable enough not to deform being slammed into the feed ramp. Revolver bullets can expose the lead tip

rio nueces
February 10, 2013, 07:02 AM
Well, I really do like both. And really they are very close in power, otherwise we'd have no reason for the lively debate!
But as far 'boutique' loads in .38, I can duplicate any of those easily for less than $5 a box using cast bullets.
Just to rehash, the .38 can shoot a heavier more easily obtained (cheaper) and more effectively shaped bullet from a similar length barrel slightly faster than a 9.
But I certainly would feel adequately armed with a 9 x 19.
Freedom of choice - ain't it great?

R.W.Dale
February 10, 2013, 09:55 AM
.38 can shoot a heavier more easily obtained (cheaper) and more effectively shaped bullet from a similar length barrel slightly faster than a 9.


No it can't. 20k psi vs 38k please explain to me how 20k pushes the bullet out the muzzle at the higher velocity?

Do you actually own a Chronograph?

Again with +p loads for both from a apples to apples 2" revolver 9mm is a 1100fps cartridge, 38 is a sub 900 fps cartridge with both shooting the most modern 125g jhp avalible.

Handloaded "the FBI used em in the 20's from a 6" barrel" cast handloads from a 2" barrel do not an excellent ccw cartridge make.

http://www.snubnose.info/docs/snubby_ballistics.htm

Note the velocities achieved particularly how low they are.

Now my data
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=654231&page=2





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easyg
February 11, 2013, 11:40 AM
All other things being equal, the 9mm Para is more powerful than the .38 special.
No contest.

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