9 mm vs. .40 accuracy?


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Buck13
May 26, 2012, 12:48 PM
I'm planning to get a full-sized pistol primarily as a range toy, but having a little more effective caliber is tempting for the rare times I'd carry it hiking or something. With cheaper ammo (say up to $0.40/round), is there any inherent difference in accuracy between the 9 mm and .40SW?

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beeenbag
May 26, 2012, 12:54 PM
In a good platform both rounds will be more accurate than the shooter. Pick your poison, 9mm = faster follow up shots, 40 s&w = more oomph

I'm sure the search function will turn up several 40 vs 9 threads for further reading pleasure.

bds
May 26, 2012, 01:03 PM
Many will post that 9mm may have an "inherent" accuracy advantage over the 40S&W.

I too have subscribed to this notion as I started out shooting 9mm (Sig 226, Beretta 92, CZ75, HP/Clones, Glock 17, etc.) before shooting 40S&W. 9mm/45ACP were my match calibers but when I thought about switching to 40S&W to better meet USPSA power factors, many shooters told me the 40S&W was "inherently" not accurate as 9mm. Well, after 17 years, I can say that my 40S&W match loads are indeed just as accurate as 9mm match loads in comparison with 180/165/155 gr 40S&W loads and 115/124/125/147 gr 9mm loads.

Some may post that 9mm has less felt recoil that is not as snappy than 40S&W therefore allows more consistent subsequent shots to produce tighter shot groups. This I attribute to the shooter and not the caliber.

What I would recommend is that you shoot both calibers side-by-side and see how you do. For me, holes on target speak volumes and is the determining factor for pistol selection, regardless of caliber.

Another option is considering M&P40 or Glock 22/23/27 and using aftermarket 40-9 conversion barrels. I have both M&P40 and G22/27 and use Lone Wolf conversion barrels for G22/27. Practice with cheaper 9mm and carry 40S&W. Best of both worlds.

Walking Dead
May 26, 2012, 01:11 PM
I like 9mm. Easier and cheaper to shoot usually equals you shooting longer and more often.

1) faster follow up shots
2) higher capacity
3) cheaper ammo
4) rediculous amount of ammo options
5) lighter shooting

miles1
May 26, 2012, 01:23 PM
Without turning this into another caliber war.I personally shoot the 9mm better than the 40 for whatever reason.

Sig Bill
May 26, 2012, 01:30 PM
I have a Sigma 9mm and a Sig P250c 40sw. While they're not top dollar guns they both showed the same degree of accuracy from bench rest shooting at 8 yards. About 2-3" spread but I'm not as steady as I'd like to be.

coalman
May 26, 2012, 01:41 PM
My POI was always slightly tighter with 9mm. This from comparing G19 vs. G23 and G26 vs. G27, as well as many other 9mm and .40sw guns.

Buck13
May 26, 2012, 02:36 PM
Another option is considering M&P40 or Glock 22/23/27 and using aftermarket 40-9 conversion barrels. I have both M&P40 and G22/27 and use Lone Wolf conversion barrels for G22/27. Practice with cheaper 9mm and carry 40S&W. Best of both worlds.

I'm pretty committed to DA/SA, although I'm going to try a DAO and an SA at the rental range to be sure I'm not deluded. Any DA/SA convertibles to recommend?

Walking Dead
May 26, 2012, 02:38 PM
I like my Sig SP2022 for range and carry.

Win_SX-1
May 26, 2012, 03:11 PM
I believe that any good modern handgun in 9mm, .40 or .45 is probably more accurate than me.

I have a Walther P99 in 9mm and regularly use my father-in-law's SW99 in .40 - the SW is close enough to make a direct comparison.

It is probably more to do with familiarity but my grouping are slightly tighter with the P99 when I take time between shots. However, when I'm practicing double-taps, I am a LOT better with the 9mm than the .40. I think this has to do with the felt recoil - the .40 feels very snappy while the 9mm more of a push.

But ultimately, please try both and see which works best for you. What works best for me doesn't necessarily work best for you.

Skribs
May 26, 2012, 03:22 PM
If you can handle the forty, they should be even per shot. If you can't, then the 9mm will be more accurate.

As others have said, the 9mm has many advantages that pertain to accuracy that the forty doesn't, those being lighter recoil (for faster follow up shots), better capacity (or same capacity in a smaller platform, if you want a minimum of X rounds you have easier carry options with the 9) and cheaper ammo (more practice = more accuracy).

I use the .40, because I wanted a slightly bigger hole.

David E
May 26, 2012, 09:12 PM
If you can handle the forty, they should be even per shot. If you can't, then the 9mm will be more accurate.

Not in slowfire. They'd be the same, even if technique is lacking. In slow fire, almost anyone can be accurate with a .44 magnum....slow fire.

As others have said, the 9mm has many advantages that pertain to accuracy that the forty doesn't, those being lighter recoil (for faster follow up shots),

In rapid fire, if your technique is solid, shooting similar size guns will be equally fast, regardless if one is a .40 and the other a 9mm

(9mm is) cheaper ammo (more practice = more accuracy)

Very true.

1SOW
May 27, 2012, 12:13 AM
David E makes good points I believe to be true.

On the other hand, it's likely the average shooter will shoot noticeably more accurately and faster with a 22 cal pistol than a centerfire pistol. It is not inherently more accurate than centerfire pistols with comparable set-ups. The .22 is 'easier' to shoot. It too is cheaper to shoot.

The OP will need to learn to shoot his pistol of choice. Both options can be fast and accurate with comparable platforms.

mljdeckard
May 27, 2012, 01:04 AM
The actual accuracy difference will vary between guns and bullets, as to be negligible if any.

I gave up on .40s because I can get more hits faster with a 9mm, and the difference in effectiveness with modern bullets is negligible if any.

tarosean
May 27, 2012, 01:22 AM
(9mm is) cheaper ammo (more practice = more accuracy)

only downside to that adage is the cheaper the ammo the least likely it is to be of consistent quality to ensure optimum performance of shooter, gun, and ammo.

BCRider
May 27, 2012, 01:35 AM
I've shot some .40's that were very accurate. I don't think it's a question of 9mm vs .40 so much as it is the gun and the shooter.

David E
May 27, 2012, 01:42 AM
I gave up on .40s because I can get more hits faster with a 9mm.

Ever time it ?

David E
May 27, 2012, 01:43 AM
only downside to that adage is the cheaper the ammo the least likely it is to be of consistent quality to ensure optimum performance of shooter, gun, and ammo.

By the time he's good enough to notice, he'll know what gun to buy next.

mljdeckard
May 27, 2012, 01:55 AM
Wasn't necessary. It was a clear difference. I carried a G-22 for years, and shot my friend's G-17 for the first time in years, and I couldn't remember why I thought it was necessary to switch in the first place, speed and precision was greatly improved.

David E
May 27, 2012, 02:00 AM
Then it goes back to technique, but it's always nice when you find something ideally suited for you.

Midlifecrisis
May 27, 2012, 01:15 PM
I bought my P229 in .40 and use that for carry. I plan on buying a conversion barrel in 9mm and use that only for target. I'll have it the best in both words.

bds
May 27, 2012, 01:54 PM
I carried a G-22 for years, and shot my friend's G-17 for the first time in years, and I couldn't remember why I thought it was necessary to switch in the first place, speed and precision was greatly improved.
How many times have you replaced your recoil spring during those years?

A lot of Glock owners will never replace their captured recoil spring assembly and complain about "snappy" 40S&W recoil and not even realize their recoil spring needs to be replaced.

Unlike G17/G22 Gen1/Gen2 single/twisted un-captured recoil springs that you could measure for decrease in length, Gen2/Gen3 flat recoil springs are captured and you can't see whether the recoil springs are decreasing in length. You could measure the spring tension using a scale but who does that with consistency and precision? (I don't/can't).

Pop in a new recoil spring assembly and the snappy recoil from old/tired recoil spring will seem significantly reduced. I recently replaced the recoil spring on my G22 and I thought something was wrong with my 40S&W 155/165 gr Montana Gold jacketed reloads because they felt "weak" and shot comparable to G17 with 9mm factory loads. Problem was with the worn recoil spring and not the reloads (when I checked, powder charges were spot on).

mljdeckard, if you can't remember when you last replaced the recoil spring on your G22 and have several thousand rounds shot, pop in a new OEM unit (only $8 (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/355643/glock-guide-rod-and-recoil-spring-assembly-glock-17-22-24-31-34-35-37)) and see how the recoil feels. You may be pleasantly surprised.

kmbrman
May 27, 2012, 01:56 PM
In my experience , I can say I've shot the Glock 26 and also the Glock 23 at the same accuracy level. In my case that's about 1.5 to 2'' at 50 ft. from a rest. However ,with the Glock 17L, I'm a little tighter ,but I can't say if the longer barrel is the cause ,or if it is that the trigger is lighter. A lighter trigger may be helping ,and the longer sight radius as well. The amount of practice you do will probably help in moving from 9mm. to .40 S&W.

mljdeckard
May 27, 2012, 10:39 PM
I dropped Glocks for 1911s years ago and I have never looked back. But I changed the springs frequently.

I fail to see what technique has to do with shooting two guns with the same frame and trigger, with the only difference being the cartridge.

bds
May 27, 2012, 11:07 PM
mljdeckard, I started out with 1911 and yes, the two platforms are "different" and accuracy from tightly locked up barrel/bushing and clean SA trigger has accuracy advantages that Glock simply cannot compare.

However, the OP is regarding the accuracy of 9mm vs 40S&W. Since there are many "production" class match shooters who are quite accurate with the 40S&W caliber using various pistol brand/models (Glock, M&P, CZ, etc.), I think we could rule out the argument that 40S&W is "inherently" inaccurate.

is there any inherent difference in accuracy between the 9 mm and .40SW?
Many shooters often start out with 9mm, either shooting someone else's pistols or buying one. Like many "firsts" (remember your first car?) that often meant thorough familiarization of the pistol, cleaning and practice. I remember when 40S&W pistols started to become popular with LE agencies and most people trying them out, their initial impressions were like, "dang, it kicks/recoils much more than my 9mm" or "I can't shoot it as accurate or fast as my 9mm" Then I started hearing that 40S&W somehow was "inherently" not accurate. :eek: Good thing they didn't shoot 10mm pistols! ;)

As some posted, if we transitioned from 22LR to 9mm pistols, we probably would have made the same comments. :D

Buck, I can shoot my G17 along with G22 and they are both accurate. G17 will have less felt recoil and someone not familiar with 40S&W's recoil will take longer to perform follow-up shots. But with practice, comparable double-taps can be performed on both pistols (match shooters do it every week on a national basis). I use Lone Wolf 40-9 conversion barrels in G22/G27 so I can practice with cheaper 9mm rounds loaded to almost +P pressures to give me a comparable recoil practice as 40S&W rounds. When I am done at the range, I drop in factory 40S&W barrels and they are good for SD/HD duties. BTW, you can also get 40-9 conversion barrels for M&P40 pistols.

mljdeckard
May 27, 2012, 11:28 PM
.....which I addressed in my first post.

David E
May 27, 2012, 11:49 PM
I fail to see what technique has to do with shooting two guns with the same frame and trigger, with the only difference being the cartridge.

Proper technique executed correctly will allow you to shoot a .45 just as fast as a 9mm.

That's what technique has to do with it.

mljdeckard
May 27, 2012, 11:51 PM
Now I shoot a .45 and a 9mm just fine. I have no inclination to play with a .40 anymore at all.

JO JO
May 28, 2012, 12:56 AM
SIG P229 40 s&w "is the cats meow " if you have and understand basic marksman
skills you can shoot ALL platforms well.Practice practice and practice and its all good.

Bovice
May 28, 2012, 09:17 AM
I like the .40, although it certainly is more "gun" to handle than a 9mm. One week I shot a match with a German P226 in 9mm while my P229 (.40) was having the SRT installed. Less muzzle flip for sure. I have found that you can *almost* ignore that by pressing the second shot quickly. Not quite as quick as double tap, but not waiting for another sight picture either.

It's like sandbagging!

Accuracy-wise, I do not see any degradation due to caliber. Some people do not shoot .40 well. It's a tougher one to learn.

valnar
May 28, 2012, 10:20 AM
In all my years of perusing gun forums:

I've read that 9mm is inherently more accurate than .40
I've read that .40 is just as accurate as 9mm
I've never read that .40 is more accurate than 9mm

Absorb those three sentences and come to your own conclusion.

David E
May 28, 2012, 11:04 AM
Less muzzle flip for sure. I have found that you can *almost* ignore that by pressing the second shot quickly. Not quite as quick as double tap, but not waiting for another sight picture either.


Why? The sight picture is there, you just have to see faster.

highlander 5
May 28, 2012, 11:35 AM
I don't own a 40 semi auto but of the 9 mm pistols I own I shoot my CZ 75 best followed by a 92fs and a 225 comes in last. I have found that a standard barrel in 9 mm with a 1 in 10 twist won't shoot my cast bullets well,but a Bar Sto with a 1 in 16 twist aftermarket barrel does quite well in my 92fs with cast bullets.

918v
May 28, 2012, 05:07 PM
I think the better question to ask is which is more accurate with a particular set of components you plan on using. There is not going to be alot of difference if you wanna use cheap plated bullets, mixed-headstamp brass, and whatever powder.

With that said, I do not think the .40 has been developed to it's potential. While there are some accurate platforms out there, they are not optimized for the round in the same sense 9mm target pistols are.

CCCP
May 29, 2012, 09:33 PM
Buck13,
I would recommend to address accuracy/practice with 22LR caliber instead of 9mm/40sw.
You can have a lot of practice for a reasonable price.

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