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9mm, 40 cal, or 10mm?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by dandamien, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. dandamien

    dandamien New Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    I'm new to shooting and was looking for some advice before buying my first gun. I have decided to go with a Glock but I'm trying to decide between the 9mm, 40 cal, or 10mm. My situation is that I am looking for a weapon primarily for self defense purposes. I have shot both the 9mm and 40 cal and seem to be far more accurate in the 9mm. I believe it’s the recoil in the 40 that's causing the drop in accuracy, but I heard it will come around in time. I am approaching my first purchase with the idea of quality over quantity. So with that said I'm just being really selective before I buy.
    One of the factors I am taking into account is the cost of ammo. The 9mm is the cheapest to shoot but if the 40 is really more effective (given that I am equally accurate with each) in terms of stopping power I am willing to suck it up. Part of my reasoning is that I don’t want to regret getting the right fit just to save a few bucks.
    As far as the 10mm goes I still need to try it out before I make my final decision but it is my understanding the recoil is similar to the 40. I also understand the ammo isn't necessarily hard to find but it’s not as common as the 9mm or 40 cal.
    So I guess it really comes down to whether the 9mm will do me right or if I should go with the 40 cal and just get used to the recoil, and the accuracy will eventually come around? Also is the power in the 10 mm worth the extra ammo costs and drop in accuracy or will the other 2 do the trick? I am looking for a good weapon to learn on but also one in which I wont grow out of easily. Also I wonder if its better to have the 9mm which seems to be able to get off more shots in less time than the 40 cal or 10mm, or am I wrong?
    I have been reading the discussion boards and I respect your opinions. I would really appreciate any insight that might help with my first purchase. Thanks,
  2. Slvr Surfr

    Slvr Surfr Member

    Aug 5, 2006
    DFW, Texas, USA

    Heres my 2 cents worth.

    The 9mm has plenty of pros and cons.
    The ammo is definitely plenty, and cheap. Its great for plinking, and is super easy to shoot. I have 4 in my collection currently and love shooting them all.
    9mm guns also carry a lot of ammo. Most full size 9mm handguns can load about 15-18 rds in a mag.

    I DO NOT carry 9mm for self defense. Its my personal belief that it would not be enough to put someone down quickly with a low round count being 3-5 shots. There are plenty of threads devoted to the caliber discussions that Im sure youve seen already. My thoughts are that I want the largest round that I can carry and shoot adequately in a gun fight.

    I carry a Glock 22 .40 cal for work. It serves its purpose quite well.
    As for the .40 cal:

    Its not the easiest gun to shoot, but they are accurate. I had to practice a bit before I became close to being accurate. The G22 can carry 15+1 in the chamber. Ammo for the .40 cal is also easy to find and the practice ammo is cheap. Its a very good man stopper. Cons in my opinion are the flippiness of the round. Its not as easy to shoot as the 9mm.


    Its a great round if you have the money to get ammo. The rounds are a bit more expensive, and they arent as easy to find. The current ammo found in stores is also loaded to .40 caliber loads. Most gun shops dont have full powered loads that the 10mm was designed for. There are a couple of ammo manufacturers that do make full powered loads for the 10mm. One of them is Double Tap Ammunition. The really cool thing about the 10mm is the versatility of the round. DT makes rounds ranging from 135gr ammo to 230 gr ammo. The 135 gr does 1600 Fps. This ammo is designed for home defense. The rounds are so light and fast that if they strike an object they will disintegrate. This means that they will not over penetrate a sheet rock wall. Bottom line being that you can get ammo that will suit your needs. The only other problem I can see is that the Glock 10mm only comes in two sizes. Full, and baby glock size. The cool thing is with a full size Glock 20 in 10mm you can buy the after market barrels for .40 caliber and use them in the G20. That way you have 2 pistols in one. They also make after market barrels for the baby size 10mm (G29).

    If I were you I would consider another round, being the .45 ACP. The round is easy to shoot, and easy to find. I find it more of a push type shot, than a flip like the .40 cal. It also has excellent manstopping power.

    The .45 is what I carry off-duty, in a 1911 platform.

    I hope I havent confused the heck out of you by now. This was an attempt to give a quick rundown of the calibers you asked about.
  3. Finch

    Finch Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Lo$t Wage$, Nevada
    Like you said in your post, the cost of 9mm ammunition is cheaper. With your first gun, and it being for personal defense, you will want/need to shoot it a lot. Contrary to what people may tell you, 9mm is a decent choice for self defense. Pack your weapon with some JHP and I pity the poor soul on the business end of your weapon.

    On the note of getting a 10mm, I would save that for another purchase down the line (there will be another purchase). 10mm are not as common nor as cheap as the 9mm. And like I said before you want to practice with your new friend as much as time and money allows. You also said that you are more accurate with the 9mm. This is an important observation that should not be over looked.

    I think that a 9mm is a fine choice for a first gun, you seem to be comfortable with that round and the low cost will allot you more trigger time.
  4. GotGlock

    GotGlock Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Tampa Bay, Florida
    I carry a 9 and with modern hollowpoints, you'll be fine. Just keep shooting until the threat is stopped, don't fire 2-3 and wait to see what happens, in a confrontation where you life is on the chopping block, keep shooting. Theres no unwritten law that states you can only shoot 3 times, then wait to get killed if the BG is still moving. Make your shots count, practice, practice, and more practice. Don't just buy a gun, a box of bullets, stick both in your closet and expect to respond in a situation where lethal force is required. Whatever you decide on, buy 1000 rounds and go to the range. And when that 1000 is gone, go buy another 1000, repeat, until you feel that your truley know your able to keep your shots where they need to be, and not into your neighbors head.
  5. EddieCoyle

    EddieCoyle Participating Member

    Sep 17, 2005
    Of the three, the 10mm is my personal favorite. Like Slvr Surfr said, it is a very veratile round. I bought a G29 a few weeks back and it has become my favorite carry gun. I have 4 10mm handguns and love to shoot them all. However, I'm a reloader so I make my own ammo (not the carry ammo, but the practice stuff). If I did not reload, the 10mm would not be my favorite. If you do not plan on to reload for the 10mm, plan to spend a small fortune on ammo.

    The 9mm is probably the cheapest centerfire handgun cartridge to shoot, and there's plenty of guns that chamber it. With the right ammo, I wouldn't feel terribly under-gunned carrying it. I have a half-dozen 9mm's. I don't carry them often, but they're fun to shoot.

    I don't own a .40. With the calibers I have, I find it superfluous, and there's no gun that's chambered for the .40 only that I can't live without.
  6. steve635

    steve635 New Member

    Jun 13, 2006
    New Orleans, LA
    Before Katrina I had a couple of 9mm's that were my primary home defense weapons (SW9M and Taurus PT92). After Katrina I replaced them primarily with a Glock 40 (model 23) and I am very happy with it. It took just a couple of trips to the range, but now I'm just as proficient with the 40 as I was with the 9. That being said, if I hadn't taken to the 40, I'd have gone back to the 9 with no reservations. I believe it is adequate for the purpose, the 40 is just a little more adequate. Also I'd say if the recoil on the 40 bothered you, it's very unlikely you'd be happy with a 10.
  7. Vitamin G

    Vitamin G Active Member

    Aug 9, 2003
    Monroeville, PA (Home of the Zombies)
    Personally, I went with a Glock 26 for my very first serious carry gun. I was happy with the caliber selection, as it allowed me to practice WAY more than I would have otherwise. At $11/100 (9mm) compared to $21/100 (.45), I was almost literally practicing 2x as much. I never personally considered a .40cal weapon, because I don't mind 1911 size frames, and the 10mm allows me to shoot either .40 power, or something more serious.

    That said, as much of a 10mm fan as i am, i don't think i could recommend it to anyone as a first firearm. If i could go back and change history, I'd stick with 9mm, but I'd probably get a BHP instead of that glock. I ended up liking 1911 style firearms, the grip angle, and metal more than others.
  8. dandamien

    dandamien New Member

    Oct 3, 2006

    Thanks for everyone's info, it was really helpful. I've got a couple new things to think about when I head to the range today.
    Also if anyone else has some advice on the issue, the more info the better.
    Anyway thanks again you guys.
  9. defiant73a

    defiant73a member

    Jul 13, 2006
    There's not a lot of difference in performance between any of them when it comes to LE/personal defence. The 10mm offers some advantages if you want to hunt with a handgun (but there are a lot better choices for hunting than the 10mm). The G20 has completely different and (and for most people) much poorer ergonomics (which can definitely impact speed and accuracy very negatively) than the 9x19 and .40 S&W models. The G17 has proven the most durable and reliable of all the Glock models.
  10. Soybomb

    Soybomb Senior Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    I love love love 10mm guns but I think the ammo is way too expensive for them to be a good choice for a new shooter. Buy a 9mm, shoot it alot.
  11. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Senior Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    Missoula, Montana
    For a first handgun, I would recommend the 9mm. It is cheaper and easier to find, you already know you are more accurate with it, and this will encourage you to practice more.

    I personally love my Glock 20, and the 10mm Auto in general. It wouldn't be an all-together bad choice for you. The FBI-Lite and mid-level loads will have less recoil than a .40 because they shoot the same bullet at comparible velocities, but the 10mm is in a larger framed pistol. When you get used to these loads, you can step up to the full power Double Tap or Georgia Arms stuff and shoot the same bullet 200+ fps faster than the .40 can do, and rival energy levels of full power .357 Magnum in the process. And even then, the Glock 20 is surprisingly mild to shoot. You know you have some serious power for an automatic handgun, but it won't hurt you and with practice, you can actually control it quite well. I've seen a 16-year old girl simply rock a Coke bottle from maybe 10 or 12 yards her first time out with the Glock 20 and Double Tap's 180 gr Match load. That said, finding ammo, esp full power ammo, is somewhat of a pain. Your two best sources will be Double Tap and handloading. Around here, ammo isn't much more expensive than .45 ammo, but all you can find are the FBI-Lite loads that I have no interest in.

    I have a personal grudge against the .40. It reminds me of the "lower your standards, appease the lowest common denominator, aspire for weakness" mentality that I despise. In a world where we still had John Wayne and 5'2" 102 pound females weren't expected to be field agents, the .40 wouldn't exist. The Duke certainly wouldn't have lowered standards to accomidate them. The only .40 I have shot was a SIG and I shot half a mag and gave it back. With that amount of recoil and muzzle flip, I really don't see the point. If you want more than the 9mm and are actually willing to deal with the snap a .40 is going to dish out, get a .45 or a 10mm. You'll be better off in the long run.
  12. critrxdoc

    critrxdoc New Member

    Apr 17, 2006
    I would not say there is no difference between them. The 9mm is the bottom of what most consider adequate as a manstopper. The .40 has superior ballistics to the 9mm. You trade some velocity and energy for additional rounds and less recoil. Some would argue that allows more hits on the target, some would argue that you could be dead while you are busy placing your additional rounds on the target. There is a picture of ballistic gel comparing the rounds (not the 10mm) and show them to be similiar in penetration and expansion with some differences in temporary cavity. Some would have you believe that the regardless of the additonal energy deposited in the temporary cavity, penetration and expansion are all that counts. Maybe true for a handgun.

    The 10mm has vastly more FPE and FPS. The jury is out if this aids in any incapitation of the BG. Personally, I chose the 10mm to guard my castle after years of research. It wasn't my first choice gun however, and I would probaby recommend the 9mm for you to cut your teeth on. Cheap, lots of capacity, low recoil for you to develop your shooting technique and the basics on, and get tons of ammo at any Wally World. I wouldn't go with the
    .45 for the same reasons. Good luck:cool:
  13. DFW1911

    DFW1911 Participating Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Hill Country, TX
    I'm with the 9mm crowd on this one - a 9mm was my first auto "several" years ago! Man, I'm getting old :evil:

    If you are comfortable with the 9, go for it. It's a great round and since you're not adverse to it's recoil, you've already overcome what, to some, can be a major obstacle to effectively honing their skills, not to mention ruining the fun of shooting.

    Slvr Surfr: Thanks for the info on DT. I'm not familiar with them but will check them out. I really like the 10mm and am converting my Witness .45 to 10mm (since I have the CZ in .45).

    Take care, all,
  14. Guns_and_Labs

    Guns_and_Labs Active Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    Hidden Away in the East Bay, CA
    Go with the 9mm, buy a truckload of ammo, practice a lot, carry with JHP loads....then after all that buy a second gun in 10mm and a Dillon loader. And then a third in .45 acp and spend a couple of hours in the morning trying to decide which to strap on. :)
  15. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    People will debate ballistics, sure as the sun rises. Forget the the 9mm vs. 40 S&W debate; the ballistically "inferior" 38 Special has been killling men just as dead, and stopping attacks just as well, since 1899; usually with plain lead bullets. The gee-whiz-bang controlled expansion jacketed hollow point is a relatively new thing. With the advances in bullet design and testing over the past 20-30 years 9mm has been able to close the performance gap with larger diameter bullets. If you need to dfend yourself your comfort with the weapon and ability to shot it so you put bullets into the vitals is all that will matter. You've already said you shoot 9mm more accurately than 40 S&W, and that you have some recoil sensitivity to the 40. Don't buy big and "wait to come around" - you may not ever "come around" to bigger round. You probably will, but step up when you do, not before you're ready. The 9mm will let you shoot more for less money. The lower recoil will make it easier on you to shoot those rounds. Practice and train.

  16. MCgunner

    MCgunner Senior Elder

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    9mm is a very effective self defense round in its +P hollowpoint loadings, low
    recoil, lots of low cost practice ammo options. Hands down, no contest, for a new shooter that wants an autoloader (I'd prefer you consider a revolver) the 9mm is the one.
  17. redneck2

    redneck2 Mentor

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    I own two 10mm's (G20 and Delta Elite). I wouldn't own a 9mm as I have three 45's, two 10mm's, a 44 Mag, and a couple of 44-40's.

    For you, it's a no-brainer IMO. Go with the 9mm. Shoot the heck out of it until you're good. It's not what you shoot, it's how well you shoot it.

    Shoot a lot, then shoot a lot more.

    edit to add: actually, if you can swing it, I'd also get a nice, simple .22 auto (Ruger, Buckmark) to practice with. They're cheap to buy, cheap to shoot, and a lot of fun.
  18. Rebeldon

    Rebeldon Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    If you want to shoot well, you have to practice. Unless you are wealthy, you will want affordable ammunition to practice with, so you can afford to practice often. If this is your line of thinking, 9mm would be your choice.
  19. sevesteen

    sevesteen New Member

    May 10, 2006
    I believe that the .40 is a slightly more effective than 9mm, but not by a huge amount. "Combat accuracy" is more important. My test for this is how quickly I can hit several rounds into a 6" circle, rather than how close to the bullseye I can get with slow, carefully aimed shots.

    As an example of what I'm talking about--I just had TFO sights installed on my carry gun. Careful bullseye groups almost doubled, but once I adapted, I was able to hit moderate sized combat groups at the same speed or a bit faster, a more important skill.

    If you are nearly equal in how long it takes to get an equal number of shots into a 6" circle at 7 to 10 yards, go with the .40. If there is a difference, go with the one more accurate in fast shooting.

    I wouldn't go with the 10mm for several reasons--Ammo cost and availability, and if you are less accurate with the .40, you'll probably be even worse with 10mm.
  20. .357 magnum

    .357 magnum Active Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    Omaha, NE
    Sure you do not want to Include the .45?

    Because of what you have mentioned about recoil I am hesitant to give my thoughts on the caliber choices you have given. The .40 is the best stopper of the bunch [9mm, 10mm and .40] If you shoot the 155 gr ammo, such as the winchester silvertip, speer gold dot, and federal 155 gr Hydra-Shok you have one of the best man stoppers there is in any handgun caliber and the recoil is really not a big factor. [I practice with 165gr winchester fmj because they do kick a bit and it makes me a better shooter] Choose a model that has a double spring inside to lessen the recoil. The .40 has more ammo choices than a 10mm and better stopping power. When it comes to personal defense, cost should not be a factor. Where I live, in Omaha the 9mm ammo is a tad less expensive then the .40 and .45 But I prefer power over cost. I can cut costs somewhere else in my budget.

    Quite honestly in your case, because of the recoil issue. I would consider a .45 The ammo is sub-sonic- less recoil. The Springfield XD has 13 round mag [I have the 4 inch service model] and the recoil is nothing. That damn gun is accurate too. Very suprised for a personal defense auto-loader how accurate it is.

    You have a great evening! The best to you and yours!

    Let us know what you decide.

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