Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

.38 special vs 9X18 makarov

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Dr_2_B, Feb 20, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,850
    Location:
    midwest
    Never heard any good info on which of these has better ballistics. I guess they're pretty equal. Any thoughts?

    thanks,

    Matt
     
  2. 1911austin

    1911austin Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2003
    Messages:
    370
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    The 9x18 is closer to the .380acp than the .38 special.
     
  3. MossbergManiac

    MossbergManiac Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    11
    9x18 Makarov 265 Muzzle energy 1100 FPS 95 MC Fiocchi
    9x18 Makarov 216 Muzzle energy 1017 FPS 95 MC S&B

    .38 Special 220 Muzzle energy 950 FPS 110 SJHP
    .38 Special +P 264 Muzzle energy 975 FPS 125 BJHP+P


    .380 190 Muzzle energy 955 FPS 95 MC
     
  4. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    23,171
    For some reason, people tend to overestimate the power of the .38 Special.

    .38 Special can shoot a heavier bullet, but at a lower velocity. A defensive load 9x18 shoots a lighter bullet at a higher velocity.

    Note: I'm not talking about out-of-spec .38 Special loaded to .357 Magnum velocity and only usable in a .357 Magnum revolver. So handloaders don't bother extolling the virtues of what can be stuffed in a .38 case. That's not the point.

    .38 Sp +P is more powerful than either one. It's up there with 9x19 in energy, but with a heavier bullet than most 9mm as well. 9mm+P packs a bigger wallop than .38 Sp +P, but with a lighter bullet.

    The 9x18 is a bit more powerful than a 9x17 (aka .380 ACP, 9mm Browning, 9mm Kurz ), but less than a standard 9x19 (AKA 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, or commonly just 9mm).

    Bottom line? 9x18 isn't going to bounce off an assailant. It's not a deer hunting round, though. .45ACP, .357 Magnum, and a good defensive load of 9mm are FAR more powerful. But compared to a standard .38 Special, it's faster but lighter, with a tad more energy.

    I wouldn't want to be hit by a 9x18 round.
     
  5. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    14,717
    Location:
    Centennial, CO
    The thing is no one EVER says the 158 .38 is an underpenetrator.

    In small calibers penetration is your friend over expansion and velocity.Mathematically .38/.380 and 9mm Mak are all similar.

    However MOST ballistics data assumes the .38 has a 4 inch barrel... great article on side by side snubby comparison here:

    http://www.handgunsmag.com/ammunition/pocket_dynomite/

    Hornady's 125 gr xtp looks like a giant slayer compared to most .380/9mm Mak ammo.

    (14 inches penetration and expanding to .45 caliber. in a NON +p) As always placement, placement.

    The other thing to point out, is while there are sorts of new lightwieght .38s and .380s on the market, the Mak is limited to overbuilt Eastern Block "belt" guns, until you get into FEG's SMC model.

    Bottom line is you have MORE choices in .380 or .38 than in Mak, from bullets to platforms to fire them.
     
  6. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    23,171
    To be sure, a high-end defensive 9x19 +P 147 gr. will outpenetrate, outstop, and out-anything all of the above, and can be shot from a nice small gun these days, so it's a far better choice if you have the option!

    But if a Mak is all you've got and you don't have a few hundred dollars lying around, it beats a pea-shooter.:)
     
  7. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    3,358
    Location:
    Arkansas
    With Fiocchi's 9x18 I'm averaging 212 ft/lbs out of a Makarov PM. With a shorter barrel, the .38 is producing somewhat greater average energy numbers. .38 also has the advantage of versatility (not nearly as many 9x18 chambered weapons out there) and bullet design (e.g. hollowpoints are harder to find in 9x18). However, I'm a better shot with my Makarov than my Ruger SP101 (location, location, location). Also have 2-4 more shots available from a topped off Makarov PM than most .38's.

    .38 Sp +P is more powerful than either one. It's up there with 9x19 in energy

    I don't agree completely with that statement. Perhaps .38 +P has the potential to equal 9x19 in energy. The factory loads I've tested show that out of a short barrel (3 1/2"|9x19|115gr, 3 1/16"|.38 +P|158gr) the best that the .38 could muster was ~246 ft/lbs, average 223 ft/lbs; 9x19 averaged 297 ft/lbs. The .38 +P load averaged worse than the standard pressure .38 load. I'm sure handloading could improve on that, but I don't do that. I don't intend to pack up my .38's and sell them off, just like to keep in mind what I have in the cylinder.

    My main carry gun is a Kahr 9x19, so this is all interestingly academic for me. ;)

    jmm
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2006
  8. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,430
  9. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    25,120
    Location:
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    It makes about .38 special +P energy and in no way is a .38 special +P the 9x19's equal. The 9x19 can make 350 ft lbs, .45 ACP energy, in a standard SAAMI load. That's about a hundred ft lbs up on the .38 +P stuff. Of course, 9mm+P and +P+ from a 3-5" gun is basically up with a .357 magnum out of a 2"-2.5" gun and with a lot less flash/bang. +P stuff out of the nine can push 400 ft lbs out of a 3" compact gun. That's pretty impressive.

    But, I carry a .38 loaded with +P often. I think it's plenty of gun. Heck, when I have to pocket carry, I carry a .380. It's the smallest caliber I'm happy with. The Mak's main problem is load availability. But, loaded with a good hollowpoint bullet, it should be a fine defensive round in the 250 ft lb range. I ain't in the market for one, but if I didn't already have a compact nine and a snubby .38 and I did have a reliable/accurate Mak, I'd not lose any sleep worrying if I had enough gun.
     
  10. georgeduz

    georgeduz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    287
    Location:
    peoples republic of nj
    its not about how fast,its all about the size of the hole.
     
  11. wbond

    wbond Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    434
    9x18 ammo

    Good, stronger 9x18 JHP ammo like Barnaul RAM 95 gr JHP is decent stuff on a par with weaker .38 special, in my opinion. Weaker 9x18 is way below the .38 Spl and closer to .380 +P.

    There used to be excellent 9x18 choices from Barnaul and others.

    The bad news for 9x18 users right now, in my miserable experience, is that good JHP ammo is currently not available, unless you consider Silver Bear 115 JHP good.

    I think a 115 gr bullet is way too heavy for 9x18. I think 9x18 should be shooting 95 gr or ideally 100 to 105 grain JHPs at 1050 fps.

    I can't find any 9x18 JHP ammo I'd call good right now. The stuff currently available is weak and more like .380, except for Brown Bear and Silver Bear 115 gr JHPs, which I consider too heavy bullets. The Brown Bear also has a rep for being very dirty.

    However, Makarov.com told me that there should be plenty of good 9x18 JHP ammo choices available starting in late spring 2006. Let's hope so.

    9x18 and .38 Special are borderline for stopping potential. So the ammo makes all the difference. The advantage that .38 Special has is that there are a few good, and many decent ammo choices for it. There are also some anemic .38 choices too.

    I think the .38 Special is at its best with fast 110 gr and 115 gr JHPs going 1210 fps muzzle or faster. Of these I prefer the 110 grain. With this small a bullet diameter, I think fast velocity is needed for some shock power. Corbon makes a +P .38 Spl that offers 110 gr JHP with 1250 fps muzzle. Wow. That seems more like 9mm Para performance. There is nothing weak or borderline about that Corbon load.

    Note: I don't normally like or recommend +P ammo for most cartridges, but .38 Spl is an exception because all modern .38s can eat +P all day all the time. I would not use +P+ in a .38 however.

    Note: I would not recommend +P in a 9x18, if any where made, which none is right now. What erks me is I don't think they're even making it to full normal pressure right now. The stuff out there right now is weak, except for Silver Bear, which I don't like because bullet is too heavy for the gun.

    When the .38 Special uses a fast 110 gr JHP like the Corbon, it blows away the 9x18. I love my two 9x18s, but they can't compete with the .38 Spl +P Corbon 110 gr JHP. It's not even a contest.

    Both 9x18 and .38 Spl vary from poor to good for stopping potential depending on your ammo choice. The problem with the 9x18 is no good choices are made right now, in my opinion.

    For 9x18 and .38 Spl 2" barrel, I'd recommend the heaviest JHP that will go approx 1050 fps from muzzle. Why? See http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=181798

    For .38 Spl with 4" barrel, I'd recommend the heaviest JHP that will go 1210 fps or faster from muzzle. That's usually a 110 gr like Corbon (1250 fps), or a 115 gr bullet. Why faster than 1210 fps muzzle? See http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=181798

    For .38 Spl with 3" barrel, the Corbon 110 gr would be good if it can get at least 1210 fps muzzle. Otherwise use the heaviest bullet that has 1050 fps muzzle. Why? See http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=181798
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2006
  12. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    25,120
    Location:
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    It's about energy on target. Energy is equal to one half mass times velocity squared. .45" is only 0.10" bigger than .35" (numbers rounded to 1/100th inch.) :rolleyes: If all that mattered were the hole, I'd shoot a cross bow.
     
  13. wbond

    wbond Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    434
    I think your both right. There's more than one way to skin a cat.

    To GeorgeDuz and McGunner:

    I think you're both correct.

    I think 4 things matter: Accuracy, size of hole, energy dumped in target, and momentum. i.e. - your both correct.

    The .45 ACP relies on accuracy, size of hole, and momentum. Works well.

    The .357M relies on accuracy and energy dump. Works well. Same with 9mm, but the 9mm has less to work with, but is still adequate.

    The .40 relies on a combination of all in equal proportions and is my preference for stopping potential combined with small enough diameter for lots of ammo.

    All these cartridges above get it done very effectively with the right ammo choice.

    The problem with both the 9x18 and .38 Spl is that they lack diameter so must rely on as much velocity as they can get. The 9x18 is also hobbled by the fact that it can't go very fast. i.e. - the 9x18 isn't all that powerful. I think the best you can do with 9x18 is whatever heaviest JHP that goes 1050 fps from muzzle. Then shoot accurate. With .38 regular pressure, I'd say the same.

    However, with +P Corbon 110 gr JHP 1250 fps muzzle the .38 Spl with 4" barrel then kicks butt, in my opinion. A 3" barrel is also respectable with this ammo. Same with other supersonic 110 and 115 gr JHPs, which are probably +P. This is almost 9mm Para performance.

    For 9x18, I'd recommend the heaviest JHP that will go approx 1050 fps from muzzle. Why? See http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=181798

    For both .38 Spl, I'd recommend the heaviest JHP that will go 1210 fps or faster from muzzle. That's going to be a +P 110 or 115 gr bullet. Why 1210 fps or faster? See http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=181798

    Note your energy equation is correct. Nothing to add there.

    Momentum is mass x velocity.

    A .45 ACP doesn't have much energy, but it has loads of momentum combined with a big diameter. There's more than one way to get it done and velocity and energy are one of several options. The large momentum option seems to work well only with large diameter bullets.

    By the way, a crossbow is VERY deadly and I think has plenty of stopping power. The problem is you can't conceal a crossbow.

    Regarding momentum as a stopper: If a person hit you with a brick, it would have large diameter and lots of momentum, but not much energy. You'd be "stopped" cold. On the other hand, a tiny piece of supersonic shrapnel can "stop" you in your tracks too. Either approach has proven stopping power, as long as you have enough of it. You just have to have enough of either or a good combination of both (like .40 cal has both).

    i.e. - subsonic bullets only have a good stopping power record when combined with large diameter heavy JHP or Semi-Wadcutter bullets.
    If your bullet is small (like 9mm), then you NEED high velocity to get it done. This is why heavy subsonic 9mm JHP bullets have a poor stopping power record, but lighter supersonic (above 1210 fps muzzle) 9mm JHP bullets have a good stopping record. The 9mm lacks diameter, but with a light, fast, supersonic bullet makes up for small diameter with high velocity and energy.

    Stopping power statistics based on real shootings support the above.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2006
  14. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,850
    Location:
    midwest
    My reason for asking is that I have a friend who needs to buy a gun for self / home defense, but she's not looking to spend a fortune. She LOVED shooting my makarov and she was very accurate with it. She's thinking about a 38 revolver, but she knows she likes the mak. I told her she might consider the bersa .380, but we keep coming back to the fact that she loved that mak. It's hard not to recommend that if we feel like it can do the job.
     
  15. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    25,120
    Location:
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    The caliber, if she can get good defensive ammo with good bullets, is superior to the .380. The one caliber advantage I see in .380 is that here, in Podunk small town USA, I can buy .380 defensive ammo. With the Mak, I'd have to order it. But, if she likes the Mak and can get good ammo, it's really a better choice of caliber IMHO than .380. Just make sure it functions 100%. I haven't heard of any real function problems with the Maks. They seem to be decent guns. I shoulda got one of those Stazi East German ones when they were on the market, never did. That would have had some dark history. :D
     
  16. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Messages:
    3,959
    Personally I wouldn't want to use a jhp in either of them, but I'd take the .38 over mak. If she likes the mak, will it, and practice with it, thats way better than a jframe she throws in a drawer. Remember to let girls pick their own guns :D
     
  17. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    25,120
    Location:
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex

    I fail to see how bullet momentum does anything, but knock over steel targets or bowling pins. In terminal ballistics, how would it have any effect? Penetration maybe? If the gun is excessive in penetration anyway, what good is more? Actually, it's a hazard in the civilian environment. But, we can agree to disagree on the nit picky stuff.

    The .45ACP is a good round to me because it makes good energy and there's a bazillion good rounds out for it that serve the purpose. The +P stuff in .45 makes over 400 ft lbs, afterall. I have a handload recipe that makes 500 ft lbs, but it's pushing the envelope IMHO. Still petty impressive, though. My carry load is pushing a 200 grain JHP to 400 ft lbs, plenty of "stopping power". I own a .45, but I carry a nine 'cause it's easy to carry and has superior firepower in a smaller package. I'm not stuck on caliber. There's more'n one way to skin a cat and there are advantages in having a lot of horsepower in a smaller package when it comes to CCW. I won't carry around 40 ounces of steel just because I don't think there's anything on the market that works except .45ACP. The nine is just as effective.
     
  18. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    3,358
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Remember to let girls pick their own guns

    A big fat +1. If she likes to shoot it that means she'll be more willing to become proficient with it. If she becomes proficient with it, she might pick another caliber later on.

    jmm
     
  19. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,850
    Location:
    midwest
    Remember to let girls pick their own guns

    Oh I disagree. All girls are just the same. There are over three billion of them in the world, but we all know they all should get .38 revolvers because it fits their hand and their hand strength. Plus it looks pretty.
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    25,120
    Location:
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    Oh, don't show her the S%W 3913 Lady Smith. Sexy ain't the word for it! And, the blasted thing is the better part of a G note. Now, if you ain't footin' the bill, fine....:D That is one fine shootin' chunk of metal, though.;) I'd love to have one for myself and I'm not even metrosexual. :D
     
  21. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,429
    Location:
    Georgia
    Muzzle velocity and muzzle energy, considered by themselves, are nearly meaningless. They do not adequetly factor in the weight of the projectile, the size of the hole, and most importantly, penetration.
    Penetration is by far the most important factor.
    The typical 158gr self-defense load will out-penetrate any 9x18 load, and to a large degree. My estimate would be by about 80-100% more.
    That's why I carry a five-shot j-frame instead of an 8/9-shot Makarov or .380 p232 (regardless of the weight of the weapon factor).
     
  22. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,850
    Location:
    midwest
    mcgunner you're behind the times. the new thing is uber-sexual. look it up:)
     
  23. Trebor

    Trebor Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    4,817
    If she knows she likes the Makarov, get her a Makarov. A gun she likes and can shoot well is better than a gun in a marginally better caliber that she doens't like as much as can't shoot as well.

    Now, has she ever actually shot a .38 revolver? If not, have her try one before buying a gun. If she finds that she likes the .38 as much as the Mak, I'd go with the .38. But, if she does have a preference for the Mak, get her the Mak.
     
  24. wbond

    wbond Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    434
    Purpose?

    A 4" barrel .38 will blow away a Mak.

    However, a Mak is much easier to carry concealed.

    For concealed carry, I think the Mak is better.

    For home defense, I think a 4" .38 Spl with Corbon +P 110 gr JHP is the bomb. It gives performance in the 9mm Para ball park, in my opinion.

    Another good option is a 3" barrel .38 Spl.

    I love Ruger revolvers. They make a medium size revolver called an SP101. I own one in .32 Mag and love it. They also make this in .38 Spl. I'd highly recommend one in 3" or 4" barrel.

    4" for home defense (though a shotgun would be better), or a 3" for carry.

    A 3" SP101 is still more difficult to carry than a Makarov. I own both so I'm in a good position to compare. However, I'd feel much better armed with an SP101 3" using the +P Corbon 110 gr .38 Spl loads.

    Taurus makes a really nice small frame .38 with a 3" barrel. There you can get both concealability and reasonable power due to the 3" barrel. It's much smaller and easier to conceal than the Ruger, but the Ruger is easier to shoot. That is it's easier for me because it fits my hand and the heavier Ruger deadens recoil more. However, the Taurus might shoot as well or better for her. I think the Taurus would be slightly easier to conceal than a Makarov.

    Ruger also makes an SP100 full size .38 Spl revolver with 4" barrel. Excellent for home defense, but I wouldn't want to carry one (to big and heavy for carry).

    Taurus are good guns for low prices. Rugers are very good guns for medium prices.

    Can you go to a gun range and rent a gun to try it before buying? I'd do that if you can. I joined my local pistol club and now can usually try guns for free.

     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2006
  25. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    23,648
    Location:
    Los Anchorage
    Ha! Now you're smoking something. I'll eat my socks the day I see a 9x19 that can launch a 180 or 200 grain hardcast. Or one that can hit with 750 to 800 ft. lbs. The cartridge is simply too small. Even in the hottest potential loading (which BTW generates a heck of a lot of flash, snap and bang even with low-flash powder) the 9x19 is still maxed out at 500 ft. lbs. with bullets far inferior to the rounds that a .357 wheelgun can fire.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page