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9mm or .40?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by The_Pretender, Dec 29, 2009.

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  1. The_Pretender

    The_Pretender Member

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    I'm sure this thread has been done before, but I'm at work and can't search. Title really says it all. Was wondering how much difference there is ballistically speaking. Most notably in terminal performance, say self-defense.

    Also, what is the typical mag capacity of a .40?

    It's one or the other, and then I'm done with handguns for the rest of
    the year. Honest.
     
  2. NMGonzo

    NMGonzo Member

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    .40

    more bang
     
  3. Enachos

    Enachos Member

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    There is nothing wrong with a 9mm... but I'm more of a .40 guy.

    Magazine capacity differs from gun model to gun model. It also depends on the size of the frame. Most guns that are chambered for both 9mm and .40, it's always the 9mm that has a greater mag capacity.

    Some "high-end" 9mm rounds however can perform as well as some "low to mid-end" .40's though.

    My advice would be to go with the .40. Simply cuz it never hurts to pack a little more power!
     
  4. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    There is only one person in this room qualified...

    [​IMG]
     
  5. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Member

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    Neither................it's the .45 Cal. .......sooner or later you'll get it right.
     
  6. Gungnir

    Gungnir Member

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    Commercial loading (no +P, or +P+) .40 tops out at around 559ftlbs (Double Tap Gold Dot JHP), 9mm tops out at around 345ftlbs (Federal Hydra-Shok).

    Both can generate slightly higher energy with custom loads (or +P loading).

    Capacities for full sized vary from 13-16 round magazines.

    From real world, the FBI switched from 9mm (and .357 revolvers) to 40S&W (thru 10mm) after the 1986 Miami shootout. Since the experience they had of the 9mm was a bit anemic, and problems reloading revolvers under fire.
     
  7. McCall911

    McCall911 Member

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    Yes. Quite a few times.

    :rolleyes:
     
  8. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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  9. Kangspec

    Kangspec Member

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    now days 9mm ammo has been improved a lot.

    it's about how you shoot and where you aim.

    just because you have .40 / .45, that does not make you more skilled than 9mm.

    i like 9mm and .45
     
  10. BADUNAME4

    BADUNAME4 Member

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    The same gun in both:
    - one holster
    - practice with the 9mm and carry the .40
    - one or the other ammo might become scarce one day
    - justifying another gun purchase
    - back-handedly gives a reason to complete the picture with a .45 purchase (assuming that you already have a .38 and .357 [and maybe a .44 as well])
    - and so on
    :evil:
     
  11. bestseller92

    bestseller92 Member

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    With the right ammo and if you can shoot, either is fine and effective.

    Your judgement, coolness in crisis and marksmanship will matter much more than whatever ballistic difference exists between the two.
     
  12. -v-

    -v- Member

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    In the 1986 Miami shootout, someone or thing needed to be blamed for the disaster. After all, the vaunted G-Men are always in the right with everything. Must of been the caliber, for they are physically incapable of making tactical mistakes.

    Get a gun, get some training, think tactics. In the end its not gun, its what tactics you employ to utilize it, and how competent you are in putting rounds where they need to go.

    I have the whole gamut of 7.62x25, to 9mm, to .40 S&W and to 10mm auto. The gun that I carry the most is a 9mm. If I find myself outgunned with 18 rounds of 9mm 147gr XTPs, I should have brought my rifle.

    That, and I can much more accurately and easily put a magazine of 9Para through one ragged hole then I can a with a mag of .40 S&W. Cheaper training costs may have had something to do with it.

    As for the .45? Why go with such an anemic and low-powered round. I wouldn't use a .45 to put down a squirrel, never mind defend myself from a meth-addled goblin! Clearly the only answer in this discussion is THE 10MM AUTO. :D.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Weedy

    Weedy Member

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    If the 10mm doesn't kill them immediately, the radioactive bullet fragments will eventually get 'em.
     
  14. bestseller92

    bestseller92 Member

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    The 10mm Auto: The Chuck Norris of Handgun Rounds!
     
  15. SupraBo

    SupraBo Member

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    Ford vs Chevrolet.
    *9mm
    Mag capacity
    Ammo is cheaper
    In theory more practice because ammo is cheaper.
    Most popular round in the world next to .22
    A thing to consider about recoil is hot 9mm has a lot of flip but most practice ammo is not P+
    So recoil is a gray area. Still (slightly) favors 9mm
    (really hot) Double tap ammo loads…
    Ballistics : 115gr @ 1415fps / 511ft. lbs. from a G17.

    * 40 cal (10mm)
    Was designed recently so P+ is standard in most ammo
    “More bang” - NMGonzo - closer to 45 ballistics
    Adequate mag capacity
    135gr-200gr more uses
    (really hot) Double tap ammo loads…
    1420fps 605 ft/lbs from a 4.5"bbl.

    10mm (my favored)
    Ballistics : 1425fps/ 744ft./lbs. - Glock 20

    I am going to stir up a bee's nest here
    I am missing things but the basics are stated, in training, if you run out of bullets first it doesn’t matter, you’re dead. I also heard of people being shot with 9mm and they keep on coming. A 40 cal just increases the odds a little bit. I own them all
    But remember a pistol just gets you to your rifle.

    Beau
     

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  16. jad0110

    jad0110 Member

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    How is ammo availability in your area? Where I live, .40 S&W is significantly easier to find than 9mm, but it may be different in your area.

    Honestly, it comes down to shot placement. Try out a bunch of different guns (either by renting, borrowing, or at least handling them) and select the gun most naturally fits your hand - the one that feels the most "pointable". After doing that, you can start focusing in more on what specific caliber you want, assuming there are different options available in the platform you narrow down to.
     
  17. bestseller92

    bestseller92 Member

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    The line about "a pistol is only for fighting your way to your rifle" is mostly a lot of baloney.

    In the home that might be true, but on the street, in a restaurant, etc., your handgun is what you have and all you're going to have until the trouble is finished. Choose wisely, train hard.
     
  18. NinjaFeint

    NinjaFeint Member

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    Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P 9mm: 410ftlbs
    9mm Luger Plus P 115gr COR®BON Self-Defense JHP: 466ftlbs

    and if your gun can take it

    Buffalo Bore 115gr +P+:500ftlbs

    Most guns sold today can handle the +P and guns such as Glocks will be fine with the +P+. I understand the .40 has more pop and is available in +P as well but the 9mm in today's loads are not anemic.

    To the OP. Whichever one you can shoot more accurately will be the best. A well place shot with a good hollow point of either caliber will be effective.
     
  19. Manco

    Manco Member

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    I struggled with this very question not long ago, and not unexpectedly there is no singular, final, "right" answer that fits every case. 9mm is a fine caliber that will get the job done, and .40 generally offers an extra little bit of margin per round at the cost of a couple of rounds of capacity and stronger recoil. I went with .40 because capacity is not an issue for me here in California, I don't perceive a great difference in recoil (although many people do), ammo cost and availability aren't vastly different, and I could buy a 9mm conversion barrel if I ever changed my mind or wanted both calibers in the same handgun. While I expect to own other handguns in various calibers in the future, I sort of used the latter as an excuse to come to an initial decision without beating myself to death over it.

    Try out both calibers in the same handguns if you can, and maybe you'll find the decision easier to make. I know folks who shoot 9mm much better than .40 because of the difference in recoil, and others who shoot them equally well. This is a more important consideration than the relatively minor difference in effectiveness between the two calibers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  20. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    I went with .40 for my first gun, and own more dedicated .40 than 9mm pistols, but if I were to do it again, I would probably get the exact same pistols but not worry about caliber too much.

    If you are loading your service caliber defense gun reponsibly than it really doesn't matter which one it is. I like Federal HST the best, the 9mm 147/147+P performs like a high-end .40, the .40 180 performs like a high-end .45 ACP, and the 230/230+P .45 performs like nothing else. Extremely consistent expansion and penetration, clothing doesn't seem to have much effect on it, and it works after punching through auto glass as well as can be expected, often better than some bonded rounds.
     
  21. Manco

    Manco Member

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    To actually address your question, ahem :eek:, it's not easy to quantify performance except in terms of penetration depth and wound channel diameter. Keep in mind that with self-defense ammo much depends on specific bullet designs rather than the overall parameters of the calibers. According to tests such as the following:

    http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=tnoutdoors9#g/u

    it appears that heavy-for-caliber 9mm and .40 bullets will generally penetrate 16.5" of wet pack, with 9mm bullets expanding to 0.5-0.625" and .40 bullets to 0.75+". Lighter 9mm+P bullets tend to expand to 0.75" but penetrate less at 11-13.5". The lighter .40 bullets tested by tnoutdoors9 so far have produced inconclusive results, as the 165gr Ranger-T failed to expand properly for some reason and the 165gr Gold Dot is known for underperforming--testing the 165gr PDX1 and 155gr Gold Dot (both Speer and DoubleTap loads) would be far more interesting, I think. I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  22. Gungnir

    Gungnir Member

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    I never said they were, I said that the FBI switched because they found that during the 1986 Miami Shootout they underperformed to what was expected (which is anemic). Whether that was political "blame the cartridge" or not, isn't relevant. Here's the facts

    William Matix: Killed after being shot 6 times.
    Michael Platt: Killed after being shot 12 times.

    Of the 54 metallic rounds fired by the FBI (there were also 5 shotgun shells fired) 42 were 9mm, the rest were either 357 Magnum or 38 Special +P. So statistically we can expect 14 of the rounds in the two suspects to be 9mm (assuming that all the agents were equally bad shots) and we also know that they were killed outright or incapacitated by a 357 Magnum so would you argue with that data that in 1986 the 9mm was anemic, or under-performed in that situation? As an aside both these suspects toxicology reports came back clean.
     
  23. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    Well in all fairness, one of them, Platt I think, caught a 9mm Silvertip in the beginning that went through his arm and came to rest against his heart, and he would have bled out from that shot. It did perform as expected, but the agents were unable to plant more slugs into vital places until near the end of the fight, and the arm it went through first kind of absorbed some essential inches of penetration that would have allowed it to go through his heart and do its job faster.


    FBI learned a lot of hard lessons that day unfortunately.
     
  24. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    9mm

    More bangs.
     
  25. CPshooter

    CPshooter Member

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    This makes no sense. Why did you choose to compare a Double Tap .40 with a Federal Hyrda-Shok 9mm? Not only does DT make the same JHP round in 9mm with significantly more energy behind it than the Hyrda-Shok, but Hyrda-Shoks are an out-dated design and quite frankly a sucky performer when compared to newer bullet designs. Besides, the +P designation simply means it's loaded to the upper end of the load's allowable pressure range . The .40s&w doesn't have a +P designation because it's usually already loaded to very high pressures.

    If you ignore the rather hilarious 10mm photoshop job above and take a look at the other bullets that were tested, you'll notice the 147gr 9mm penetrated just as far as the 180gr .40s&w. Penetration is the most important part of "stopping power" next to good shot placement, and is determined by a bullet's cross-sectional density. JHP expansion is just the icing on the cake when it comes to the stopping power recipe.

    "The 9 is just fine."

    That said, I own pistols in 9mm, .40s&w, and .45acp. IMHO they will all perform the exact same in a self-defense situation against a human, assuming shot placement is the same. Now if I were a LEO and might end up shooting through barriers such as car doors and windows, I'd probably go with the .40s&w or .357sig. These rounds would probably penetrate barriers better than 9mm or .45acp, but I have no scientific data to back up that statement. I'm just assuming that the combination of a heavier bullet (180gr for .40 and 147gr for .357) and the higher velocities of these rounds would work best in this scenario.
     
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