9mm vs. .357


February 18, 2003, 09:55 AM

I am pondering whether to get a 9 mm or a .357 for CCW. What do you all suggest?

Thank you.

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February 18, 2003, 10:01 AM
Frankly, for personal defense use, I think the cartridges are pretty darn close in terms of stopping power (Marshall & Sanow's strange statistics notwithstanding). Handguns aren't death rays, and shot placement means a lot.

The .357 is clearly more powerful, and probably better against nonhuman predators (if you hike - tho the .357 is pretty marginal for this purpose until you get it into a 6" tube, and even then . . .). It's also easier to reload (more for stubby fingers to grab onto).

The 9x19 is pretty darn cheap at Wal-Mart. It's gotten so that I just plan on burning a couple of hundred rounds of 9mm every time I go to the range with a 9 . . . practice is what makes you good, so cheap practice has to be a positive thing.

You'd be fine with either for CCW.

February 18, 2003, 10:17 AM
If you are thinking revolver, find yourself a 9mm revolver.

95% of the ballistics of a .357 out of a 2 inch barrel and much less kick.

February 18, 2003, 10:59 AM
Modern defensive ammo makes that a toss up question. Get the one you can perform w/ best. I don't think can make a bad decision here.

February 18, 2003, 01:16 PM
Caliber wise I like both but it is hard to answer this question without knowing what you're looking for.

Do you want a small CCW, possibly a pocket gun (i.e. Kel-tec v. snub)? If so 9mm is much easier to handle.

Do you want a belt gun? In that case a .357mag or .38spl medium framed revolver with a 3" or 4" barrel are very good for this use. Then again so is a 9mm. Which guns are you considering?

Do you want something else? Then it would be helpful, again, to know exactly what you want to use it for and what you are considering.

February 18, 2003, 01:25 PM
A smaller gun that will do the job Chaim.

February 18, 2003, 01:29 PM
It depends on the gun. If you find a revolver that you shoot well, get and same goes for the 9mm. There are so many guns in these two cals that you need to narrow it down some and tell us what you will be useing it for. Are you going to carry it concealed? Are you going to hunt with it? Are you going to compeat in any matches? Are you going to reload? Are you going to get other pistols for other jobs? Are you familier with guns?

Be more specific or the only anwsers that we can give you are vauge. As a general rule, I don't think you can go too far wrong either way. They both have their strengths and weaknesses.

February 18, 2003, 02:25 PM
A smaller gun that will do the job Chaim
Ok, since you did say CCW I figured you probably meant pretty small.

OK then, I am not a big fan of .357mag J-frames. It is a bit much to control. You will have trouble with quick follow up shots, and a nice quick double tap is virtually impossible. I sold my 605 because it was simply too light for defensive .357mag use and kinda heavy if I was going to use it as a .38spl. This and I love .357mag. Also, out of this small a gun you really do lose a lot of velocity out of a .357mag and a 9mm in a similar barrel will give you the same, or at least very close to the same, power with far less recoil and faster follow up.

If you are considering a K-frame snub or a 4" Kframe belt gun I think that is a very good choice in which case I wholeheartedly endorse it (though I can also completely endorse some specific 9mms too). I love my 3" S&W 65LS. The K-frame snubs w/ 3" barrels don't lose too much velocity (still better than a 9mm or .38+P) and the sight radius is decent. The K-frame even in the 2 1/2" will soak up the recoil pretty well. A 3 1/2" or 4" belt gun was the standard police gun for generations- very handy, good sight radius, soaks up rocoil well, concealable, etc.

For another good option to consider see this thread:

February 18, 2003, 04:54 PM
Now are we talking autos or revolvers? have you narrowed this down?
and what .357 is this? .357 sig or magnum?

February 18, 2003, 05:53 PM
get a nice .357 mag, IMO better on a hard target, such as shooting thru car doors or windshields, and more of a match for armor. if you worried about accuracy, practice a whole lot or get a wonder 9 with a big clip.

February 18, 2003, 06:32 PM
9mm gives you more cartridges and often at lesser overall weight. And I'm partial to a semi-auto :D

Keltec P11, Glock 26, XD 9, Kahr P/K/E/M-9 series, Taurus PT111, Patriot CS9 and the upcoming Rorhbaugh 9mm are some of the choices.

But I think there's more to your question than meets the eye, as eventually, it's really a choice between different launch platforms: a revolver or semi-auto.

That's a whole different argument, IMO. But as I said I favor a semi, so it's an easy choice for me...

February 18, 2003, 08:02 PM
For a primary CCW, carried in a holster, I would opt for the 9mm every time. For something to carry in the pocket, there are a lot of advantages to a revolver - reliable in-pocket firing if ever needed. If carrying in a holster on a belt and aren't too cramped budget-wise, to me, there are many more advantages to the 9mm. Higher capacity (even though I'm not 18 round fan) quicker reloads, easier to learn to shoot quickly.

On a more personal note, I'd probably try to get something on the small side with a G19 or SIG 229 as the biggest I'd go. Carrying a 9mm, I'd probably look into a larger poly Kahr, compact, reliable, accurate and fairly easy to shoot. Actually, I've been considering getting a P9 Covert for carry. The fullsize 1911 is definately large and I think I'd rather have one gun that I can reasonably carry year round. Just the triggers take a bit of getting used to for those more used to tuned 1911s and CZ triggers. Being DAO, I'm sure someone out there can tune these triggers up right nice. ;)

February 18, 2003, 08:45 PM
I suggest a SIG Sauer P220 .45 ACP, or 9mm if you just want a 9mm.

February 19, 2003, 09:03 AM
Thank you for all the great responses so far.

I am not responding much because I am listening.

Thank you :)

Lord Grey Boots
February 19, 2003, 05:00 PM
9mm loads can get up to about the same as mid range .357 magnum loads. PowerMax brand 9mm 115 gold dots at 1400 fps, give 500 foot-lbs of energy.

While I have carried .45s and .357 magnum revolvers, a good compact 9mm would be fine as well. Kahr 9mms, Glock model 19 or 26, Keltecs, or some of the smaller S&W 9mms all fit the bill.

February 19, 2003, 06:50 PM
For CCW: G-26 For Home Defense: G-17,Beretta 92FS,or Sig P226. 9mm Pistols do a lot of things very well and carry plenty of effective, low-recoiling rounds.

February 19, 2003, 07:28 PM
Also look at the SIG Sauer P225 and the Glock 19.

February 19, 2003, 10:31 PM
.357 magnums are very nice, but in my opinion they are in the realm of those a bit more experienced with concealed carry. J frames and ultra light weight revolvers are pretty nasty to control. The larger framed weapons are bigger and take a bit more wardrobe adjustment to comfortably carry without excessively printing.

You can get very small sized 9mms that are very controllable, easily concealed and ultra reliable. The only downside is that they won't be as effective as a .357 magnum. You are really pushing it to get 1200 or so fps out of a small 3.0-3.5" barreled 9mm auto designed for CC. +P loads also generate more recoil and muzzle blast. 1300-1400 fps levels are out of full sized weapons such as the Beretta 92.

Go to a gunshop that rents weapons, fire both, and if possible strap both on for a test fit to see how comfortable you are.

Good Shooting

February 20, 2003, 02:12 PM
Amazingly civil and well balanced answers so far! :D

I like subcompact 9s like a Kel Tec P-11 for CCW. DAO is a personal requirement, and I shoot the P-11 very well and very fast from concealment THANKS to being able to stage the trigger so everything's ready to fire when the gun comes up.

All the SA/DA actions I've tried just don't seem as intuitive and comfortable on that all important first shot. Revolvers MIGHT, but I'm not that inclined to give them much of a chance as autos have been my inexplicable preference for several years.

I'd suggest letting your body choose by trying out several types and models at the range by drawing them from a table for the timed first shot. You can get as fast from concealment, but you're not likely to get faster. You might surprise yourself by finding that you do better with a bigger, heavier gun than you thought. I do much better with my P-11 than with my P-32, even though the P-32 is much smaller and lighter. It's so small and light, it's harder to get a proper hold than on the P-11.

I'm also biased toward pocket carry in many everyday situations, so the P-32 ends up getting the job then even though speed, power, and capacity are lessened.

After going through the drills you're facing, my choice was a P-11, but the gun needs to fit you, your body, and your style, not the other way around.

Good luck! :D

February 20, 2003, 02:27 PM
Blackhawk touched on what I always say...

Gun has to fit shooter in a platform of a large enough caliber to allow shooter accurate quick hits.

Jim Higginbotham, and many others have drills and tests for this.

Take various 'choices' , 5 yards, using a timer/friend with stopwatch, use five rounds. Best to do this "cold"...we all hedge and compensate...we will NOT get to do this in a real situation.

time from 'threat'....now check times with accuracy using that pc of typing paper you folded in half-then halfed again (quartered).

Be honest, best to start cold with carry loads. OK -so what platform, caliber, ammo selection worked ??

There is a reason why the 1911 style, do so well. revolver guys can and do work better for some...I have see it.

Stick with what works, practice, practice, practice. remember if the real deal happens , it will be a 'cold' shoot , no time to set up the shot...

February 23, 2003, 11:04 PM
You said for CCW. I think a lot depends on how you dress. If you wear a jacket a pretty big gun can be concealed. If you want to conceal under polo, rugby, sweater, etc then you are probably topping out at J frame or mini glock size weapon. I like to carry under polo or rugby shirt so I chose either J frame or glock 26 or 27. I think glock is lot more gun and easier to shoot than J frame so this is what I generally carry. The J frame in 357 kick hard even in my md.640 at 23 oz. I have never fired the 14 oz or so J frame 357, but they must really kick. However there is a lot to be said for mid weight 4' barrel 357, but you really need a jacket to conceal.

February 24, 2003, 05:11 PM
The more rounds the merrier:D

February 25, 2003, 12:53 AM

Interesting question ...

Have you shot a lot of both caliber weapons?

If I was in a similar situation, I'd stick with the platform that addresses these concerns, for ME, in something like this order ...

Easiest to manipulate and shoot, regarding cycle of operation ... such as DAO, DA/SA, SA cocked & locked, etc ... external safeties, or lack thereof ...

Easiest to shoot accurately ...

Easiest to control, regarding perceived recoil and follow-up shots ...

Easiest to carry (legally) concealed in a wide variety of your favorite seasonal clothing perferences ... size, weight, etc. ...

Easiest to afford regarding "practice" ammunition being similar to "carry" ammunition ...

Easiest to care for and maintain ...

I have a very nice little Ruger SP-101, with a Quadra-Ported barrel, but when it comes right down to it ... I'm more comfortable carrying one of my S&W pistols, either the issued 6906, or my personally owned 3913 or CS9 ... limiting the discussion to .357 Magnum vs. 9mm, that is ...

I used to carry .357 Magnum revolvers off duty when I was issued a M66 and then a M686, and even one of my Ruger Security-Sixes, Service-Six or Speed-Sixes off duty ... and never felt under armed. The .357 Magnum is a very versatile cartridge, and the revolvers chambered for them can always shoot .38 +P ...

I HAVE shot one of the Scandium 12 oz .357 revolvers using full strength 125gr Magnums, by the way, and it's not something most folks would do very often ... :what:

Nowadays, with the recent improvements in ammunition and production methods, I'm satisfied that any of my lightweight 9mm pistols will perform just fine for a defensive pistol. I seldom take one of my .357 Magnums out of the safe. The exception is for "back country" use, where I prefer a more powerful cartridge for large feral animals, but then I'll sometimes skip right up to a .44 Magnum for those situations.

I prefer the DA/SA models myself, but there are quite a few very good quality DAO models out there for those that prefer them ... :cool:

What are YOU leaning toward, and why? Inquiring minds want to know? :)

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