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.38 Special +P vs. 9mm (non +P)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Gunsmoker, Jul 23, 2007.


Which is the better bad guy stopper?

  1. .38 Special +P (125 GR) hollowpoint

    26 vote(s)
  2. 9mm LUGER (non +P) (115 GR) hollowpoint

    44 vote(s)
  1. Gunsmoker

    Gunsmoker Well-Known Member

    Which round do YOU think is the better bad guy stopper?
  2. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    The one you have a handgun chambered in which you shoot significantly more accurately than the gun you have chambered in the other. Put the lead on target quickly and don't think an agressor's gonna be asking you what caliber you're shooting him with.
  3. bamabluesman

    bamabluesman Well-Known Member

    just curious. Why did you list the lightest weight 9mm? Why not the 124 gr which is just about the same as the .38?
  4. Gunsmoker

    Gunsmoker Well-Known Member

    Because the store only had 115 GR in 9mm. Another day another thread for equal grains and +P for both calibers.
  5. vanfunk

    vanfunk Well-Known Member

    Huh? .355 versus .357? The .38 has, in fact, a whopping 2/1000ths of an inch of advantage here.

    Of the rounds you've mentioned, I'd take the 9mm, but I think the difference is not enough to worry about.

  6. Breakdaddy

    Breakdaddy Well-Known Member

    Either one would do the job, but since I'm a 9mm fan I'd vote the 9mm. I would not carry 115gr standard pressure rounds unless I had to, though. I don't own any non +P defensive rounds for my 9mms. Currently I have 127gr Ranger +P+, Cor Bon DPX 115gr +P, Doubletap 124gr +P, and some 124gr +P Golden Sabers. These are the rounds Ive tested and trust in all of my 9mms.
  7. mavracer

    mavracer Well-Known Member

    since you didn't put brand restrictions on it the doubletap +p 125 GD is about as fast as anyones 115 9mm loading.so I said 38 but I dont think its any where near enough to make a difference.
  8. 40SW

    40SW Well-Known Member

    ".38 Special +P vs. 9mm (non +P)
    Which round do YOU think is the better bad guy stopper?"

    The one who gets hit with either one first is the LOOSER.
    and thats my final answer. lol.

    on the flipside, there are some positive and negative aspects to both.
    1. 9mm offers higher capacity and more opportunity for potential followup shots.
    2. Both offer versatility with bullet shape/weight/size, both are versatile to reload.
    so my original statement holds, hit first, win first.
  9. obxned

    obxned Well-Known Member

    Too close to choose one over the other based on 'stopping power', provided you are using good JHPs.
  10. BillinNH

    BillinNH Well-Known Member

    They're pretty close but the 9mm wins on specs. The real issue is which of the two classic platforms do you prefer: the .38 revolver or the 9mm semi-auto.

  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Toss up.
  12. longeyes

    longeyes member

    I picked 9mm. "Upscale" 9mm, like +P+ hollowpoints (e.g., Ranger T 127g), has a significant throughput edge. More to the point, I am more confident I could quickly put multiple rounds on target with the 9mm platforms I currently use (Glocks). That said, I do like 38spl in the Airweight format as a pocket or back-up handgun.
  13. glockman19

    glockman19 Well-Known Member

    I carry 9mm Federal 124 grain HP in my Glock 19 & 26.
    I carry .38 Federal 110 grain HP in my S&W 642/442.
  14. nemoaz

    nemoaz member

    It's not really a toss up at all. The 9mm will be 200 fps or so faster pushing a bullet that is approximately the same diameter.

    38 special and 380 are more comparable (velocity and energy) than 38 and 9mm.

    It just confuses people because they see that LARGE 38 case and think that it must be more powerful than the tiny 9mm case.
  15. mavracer

    mavracer Well-Known Member

    Item 20A: 158gr., very soft cast, semi wad cutter, (Keith) hollow cavity, with a gas check. This bullet will mushroom violently on impact and will penetrate roughly 14 inches in human flesh. Again, this bullet is gas checked and will not lead your barrel.

    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.)

    Item 20B: 125gr. Speer Uni-core (Gold Dot). This is the Low velocity version designed to expand under 800 fps. It will mushroom violently and penetrate roughly 12 inches in human flesh.

    a. S&W mod 60, 2 inch—1072 fps (319 ft. lbs.)
    b. S&W mod 66, 2.5 inch—1108 fps (341 ft. lbs.)
    c. Ruger SP101, 3 inch—1180 fps (386 ft. lbs.)
    d. S&W Mt. Gun, 4 inch—1258 fps (439 ft. lbs.)

    these were taken from buffalo bore websight and I have chronoed their stuf their #s are right on since OP said std 9mm vs 38+p. find me a std pressure 124 9mm thats going 1250 fps or as you said 1450.
  16. longeyes

    longeyes member

    The Buffalo Bore stuff sounds interesting. I'm currently using Win 158g LSWCHPs and Cor-Bon 110g DPX in my .38s. But what is it like to fire it? Have you tried it?

    I've tried the Ranger T +P+ stuff in my Glocks and it is very manageable.
  17. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Well-Known Member

    I would personally prefer to use 158 grain LSWCHP +P. I feel that even against 9mm+P they're pretty close.

    If it's between the .38 special Remington 158 grain LSWCHP +P and any brand of 9mm 115 grain standard pressure JHP, I'll take the .38 special - assuming that it's being judged solely on the performance of one single round.

    Hey, that is what I decided. I carry a .38 special Taurus 85, loaded with the Rem 158 LSWCHP+P, over a 9mm single stack of the same size and similar capacity.
  18. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Well-Known Member

    I voted for the 9mm, but if the .38 Special was changed to a 158 Grain +P LSWCHP, I would vote for it instead of the 9.

    Just my .02,
  19. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Well-Known Member

    Yeah - what LeonCarr said. Given your two choices, I'd take std. pressure 115 gr 9mm.

    But I'd take the ol' "FBI Load" (158 grain pure lead hollowpoint .38 Special +P from Remington or Winchester) over virtually any standard pressure 9mm.

    That thing is no joke even in a little snubby, and out of a service revolver (say a 4" S&W K-frame at circa 900 fps) it is very serious.

    If we add 9mm+P to the mix, I'd take the top 115 and 124 grain 9mm+P loads (Speer Gold Dot, Remington Golden Saber, Black Hills) over the FBI Load, but not by a huge margin.
  20. mavracer

    mavracer Well-Known Member

    the BB 158+p load hurts a little out of a airweight but I'd rather be on the grip end.

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