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any data of one shot stops in real life, 9mm vs. .40 s&w?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by bullseyebob47, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. bullseyebob47

    bullseyebob47 Member

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    i want to buy a .40 s&w glock but i keep hearing 9mm is just as good and police are going to 9mm. forget gel test. what the more effective in real life.(already have several 9mms)
     
  2. Sarge7402

    Sarge7402 Member

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    http://www.handloads.com/misc/stoppingpower.asp?Caliber=17&Weight=All

    The data on actual shootings is taken from Sanow and Marshal's efforts and represents their studies over many years. If you stick with standard pressure 9mm's then the 40 is about 10 per cent better. if you up it to +P+ ammo for the 9 then they are abut equal but the +P+ will batter an aluminum framed pistol sooner than not
     
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  3. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I've never shot anyone but .40 S&W has a larger frontal diameter and a greater powder capacity. It seems like a no-brainer to me.
    The .40 doesn't have that much more recoil so that can't be a concern.

    I bought a Sig 239 in .40 with an extra .357 Sig barrel but not a 9 mm barrel so you know how I feel.
     
  4. pblanc

    pblanc Member

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    The Sanow and Marshal data has been discredited by many ballistic experts and there are some who feel that some of the data has actually been fabricated. I can't provide evidence for or against those assertions, but I do feel that their data gives a very unrealistic impression of handgun caliber effectiveness. Their data includes only cases in which there was a hit to the torso and only cases in which there was a single hit. So all of the cases in which an attacker was shot in the torso and shot again because the attacker did not cease the attack, are automatically excluded from the data set.

    Unfortunately, virtually all real-life data on handgun wounding effectiveness and lethality can be considered to be either anecdotal or "flawed". The problem is that the data is all retrospective and uncontrolled. The results of handgun shootings is confounded by many variables which cannot be controlled for. These include factors like shot placement and trajectory, the anatomic, physiological, and psychological makeup of the attacker, clothing worn, barriers penetrated prior to injury, projectile type, and range from which the attacker was shot. Many of these factors can be expected to have a vastly greater effect on the outcome than relatively small differences in expanded or non-expanded projectile diameter, for example.

    Greg Ellifritz collected all the data he could find on the results of gunshot wounds over a 10 year period. Like all the other studies, his data suffers from the same lack of controls as all the others and probably does not include enough data points from each individual caliber to provide any degree of statistical significance. But if you want to read it and draw your own conclusions, it is here:

    http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/alternate-look-handgun-stopping-power
     
  5. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    This is an argument that will never be put to rest. here's a question- if the 9mm is such a poor performer, why is it the most used caliber world-wide? It is also the caliber of choice not only for the US military, but for the most highly trained shooters in the US military. The 40 and 45 have essentially been phased out- even in "those" units. 9mm recoils less than a 40, and is cheaper to buy, which means it is cheaper to practice with, which means, in theory, you can practice more for less $. In real life? No 2 shootings are the same. Pick whichever one YOU shoot best, and practice.
     
  6. Livin_Cincy

    Livin_Cincy Member

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  7. shenck

    shenck Member

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    Where I work, a few years ago, a suspect was shot four or five times, I can't remember the exact details, with a .40 S&W, and survived. Now the comon thought amongst my coworkers is that the .40 is ineffective. While I disagree with that, I am in the minority. Like I said I can't remember the details, but I remember thinking shot placement was why he survived.
     
  8. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I think the obvious answer here is NATO. The US Military wants to stay in line with NATO ammunition (special forces aside). From my understanding, many NATO countries do not even want to spend the required percentage (I think it's 2%) of GDP on their military. So switching out not only all their firearms chambered in 9mm, but also all their ammunition reserves, is not something they likely want to consider. And that's even when taking into account the vastly reduced effectiveness of FMJ handgun ammunition compared to modern HPs. In such a case, a wider meplat (as seen in larger diameter cartridges) would produce better results. But even if the majority of NATO countries did want to switch to a different caliber, they would have to agree on which one. For countries that do not regular participate in military conflict, to switch seems like a big waste of money. Why upgrade what you don't use anyway?

    So 9mm is a Military standard for many countries. Therefore production is high. High volume of production means lower cost of production. Which in turn equals lower prices to consumers, including on the commercial market. Which in turn results in higher demand, and higher production, along with higher levels of ownership. It's pretty obvious that the .380acp uses less brass, less lead, less copper, and less powder than a 9mm. So the .380 should be cheaper. It's not cheaper, because it is produced in far lower volumes. This also means that the price of .380 can be artifically high, because of "scarcity"; whether real, as a result of unintentionally or intention under production; or percieved, where we think it's hard to get therefore we are willing to pay more for it.

    So the standardized 9mm NATO cartridge allows for a large footprint of ammunition manufacturing, meaning a lower price (by component weight) than seen with other handgun ammunition. And with advancements in Hollow Point bullet technology and reliability (likely disproportionally focused on the 9mm, due to its pre-existing popularity), coupled with a penetration test consisting on cloth over jelly, we see a return to the 9mm in law enforcement departments. It's cheap because it is produced in bulk; it's low wearing on service weapons because it's less powerful than other service calibers chambered on the same platform (platforms which are either designed for those higher powered calibers, or quietly redesigned for them); it's easier to shoot because it's less powerful; and it's popular enough that many assume it is entirely sufficient. (Which it is, depending on where the bar is set. Everything is relative.)

    I would also like to mention that whilst fans of the 9mm make fun of the "bigger is better" mentality. Those same people seem to believe that "more is better", whilst toting the extra magazine capacity the 9mm can achieve over other service calibers. Which strikes me as odd when some of those same people do not carry the very highest capacity magazines they possibly can. Surely, if extra rounds are of such importance, those individuals would gladly make an adjustment to their clothing in order to carry the largest capacity pistol they can find.

    The 9mm is popular because it's popular. If NATO switched to a different cartridge, our military would follow suit; or Federal LE departments would follow suit; our State, County and City LE departments would follow suit; and the market would do likewise. If not for NATO, the 9mm would be all but obsolete. At least in my opinion.
     
  9. pblanc

    pblanc Member

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    I agree with most all of your points. But I rather doubt that 9 mm Para would be all but obsolete but for NATO.

    Another incongruity in the arguments that now support the return of many law enforcement agencies to 9 mm Para is that modern technology has allowed the 9 mm cartridge to "close the gap" on larger caliber cartridges. Well, what has improved since the 1980s? I don't think there have been enormous improvements made in powder or primer reliability. The 9 mm always tended to feed and ignite reliably. And for FMJ ammunition, 9 mm certainly penetrated very adequately, and sometimes too well. The obvious answer is more reliable and better JHP projectile expansion. But then, that supports the "bigger is better" premise.

    I think that some of the reasons that many LEAs have returned to 9 mm are valid, including reduced costs, increased magazine capacity, potentially longer pistol service lifetimes, easier qualification (for some) officers, and perhaps faster follow-up shots (for some). But I don't think that enhanced terminal ballistics on a per hit basis is one of those reasons.
     
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  10. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Most of the better meta-analyses tend to lump the calibers together, with a break point right about 9mm bore.
    Which is somewhat based by the available data.

    Among us in gun culture, what you are more likely to get is "religion" rather than evidence based fact.

    Just 2¢ worth, spend it as you will.
     
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  11. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    The military and most soldiers were disappointed with both the 45 and 1911 pistol after WW-2. Most felt the 9mm used by the Germans was the better military round and the Army spent quite a bit of time testing the theory. In 1946 requested the military change to 9mm based on several things. They really liked the 13 round BHP much better than the 1911. Not only did it offer nearly double the ammo capacity but 9mm proved far more effective at defeating barriers. 45's were bouncing off steel helmets at ranges greater than about 15 yards while 9mm rounds were still penetrating the helmets beyond 100 yards. But with budget cuts, millions of 1911's in inventory, and no major war at hand the idea was shelved and most people today never knew about it. Most of the 1911 and 45 legend came after the war due to creatively written articles by gunwriters who pushed the idea.

    The 9mm FMJ is the preferred military round today because it gives the best chance of defeating body armor. Even the Russians have determined the 9mm is the best option so it isn't just NATO. The 45 is the worst performer against armor.



    Over the last 100 years there have been any number of tests and studies done to determine which is the best. Some are rigged to give one cartridge or the other an edge. Such as shooting steel plates etc. That measures momentum, which has absolutely nothing to do with stopping an attacker. We've shot goats, human cadavers, all sorts of fruit, meat, ballistic gel and there have been hundreds of studies comparing real world test results. Looked at objectively they all come to the same conclusion. Shot placement is key. Penetration is next in importance. Bullet expansion is great as long as it doesn't limit penetration. Beyond that almost nothing matters. If comparable bullets are used you get pretty much the same results with 9mm, 40, 45, and 357 mag . More velocity doesn't help much and can limit penetration. As can larger caliber bullets.
     
  12. pblanc

    pblanc Member

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    I believe that projectile momentum is a significant factor in terminal ballistics. Greater momentum allows a projectile to better maintain its course and speed as it encounters structures of greater density. This benefit is not demonstrated in ballistic gelatin testing because it is a homogenous medium.

    Projectile momentum, along with sectional density and nature of meplat, is also a determinate of barrier penetration capability.
     
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  13. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Ah, better than the .357 Sig? I doubt it. Not that either seem capable of penetrating modern body armor. But the .357 Sig has a flat meplat surface lacking on 9mm FMJ, which seems it would give better performance against unarmored combatants. And with increased velocities, I'd bet it has a flatter trajectory, and better barrier penetration. Our Military is at the forefront of all kinds of certainly expensive technology. But not when it comes to sidearm caliber. It could easily be afforded given how much money we spend. But we have to keep compatibility with NATO.
     
  14. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Not accurate. The 40 S&W and 45 ACP are circling the drain DOD-wide, even among SOF units. My understanding is the FBI is transitioning back to 9mm, and many other LE agencies are also following suit. Hence, the glut of police turn-in 40's that are available at bargain prices for those who desire them.
     
  15. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I'll ignore the FBI part and below, because them doing so is true, and not disputed by me.

    But you really mean to tell me that the US Military choice of firearm ammunition caliber has nothing to do with the standards of NATO, and staying in compliance with them?
     
  16. pblanc

    pblanc Member

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    Actually, one of the prerequisites of the modular handgun system trials was a weapon system that would accommodate easy changes in caliber. So far, the Army and other services have not requested any calibers other than 9 mm Para, but they might have wished to retain the option of modifying existing issue inexpensively to do so in the future if desired.
     
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  17. Browning

    Browning Member

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    Seems to me that you've answered most of your own questions.

    • They already have the weapons chambered in 9mm.
    • NATO has a surplus of mags and spare parts.
    • The personnel are already trained on that pistol.
    • Bulk ammo is less expensive in 9mm than some other calibers (.40 S&W/.357 Sig/.45 ACP etc). This is probably more of a consideration for police departments than for NATO though. Maybe it might carry some weight with the bean counters.

    The only three other items that I can think of is that ...
    1) Pistols and sub-machine guns don't figure into winning wars much these days.
    2) That decent training trumps all of it just so long as the caliber isn't horrible and the weapon actually works.
    3) Better bullet tech and focus on one cartridge (9mm) allowed it to close the gap and allowed it to do more. Probably more of an issue for special forces and police depts than for the average soldier currently. I've heard some talk of the US Military wanting a JHP, maybe that will eventually filter down.

    • Maybe the individual in question developed a love affair with training and 9mm is the most affordable cartridge out there to do that. Better to be good with the standard cartridge than mediocre with a larger one. The expenses of a class, plus air fair, lodging and 1,200 rds of ammo can cost. Staying at Motel 6, shooting 9, and driving or flying on Southwest offsets this a bit.
    • Maybe the individual in question got used to carrying around 13 rds in a BHP for 20+ years and with a Glock 26 using a +2 extension and one in the pipe that means that they're carrying 13 rds around in a much smaller package that's lighter and more concealable. A Glock 26 can also use G19 and G17 mags.

    I'm just theorizing of course.
     
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  18. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I don't disagree with any of that. Except in that I've answered most of my own questions. My post was to explain why 9mm is so popular, as a counter-argument to it being a particularly good cartridge. I don't think I've addressed any of my own questions.

    My post was simply to state that 9mm being the NATO standard, is a large part of why our military continues to use it, and therefore why it is so cheap. Those things make it popular, which in turn makes it even cheaper, and so investment in R+D (hollow point bullets in this case) is made in a highly popular product, before being adapted to less popular versions. This all means it is more affordable for LE Departments with tight budgets, and also that it satisfactorily passes some arbitrary testing criteria through denim and gelatin.

    None of that however suggests that it is the best performing cartridge. It only explains why it is so popular. Popularity does not equal superiority. None of this is to address the OP, but rather to answer the question, "if the 9mm is such a poor performer, why is it the most used caliber world-wide?"

    Short answer: It's cheap, and available.
     
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  19. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    The adoption of 9mm, forsaking such rounds as 45 ACP and 38 Special in the "big mil" did have a component of NATO compliance in the decision. Other components include the desire to replace the 1911 and its cartridge with a pistol that is lighter, newer, and easier for all service members to use. As a side note, ammunition from other countries is often considered inferior to what our service members are issued, and not authorized for use by our people in our weapons. Additionally, there are calibers and specific types of ammunition throughout NATO that aren't "standardized", which exist both in the conventional and Special Operations communities.
     
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  20. Browning

    Browning Member

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    I guess instead I should have said that I agreed with some of what you wrote and then added my two cents in about a couple items that you missed.

    I don't think that the 9mm being inexpensive and available are the only two reasons why it's so widely used. Some? Sure, but that's not everything.

    Whenever one item replaces another the newer item generally needs to fill some real or perceived need. In this case the 9mm penetrated a bit better than the .45 ACP, it weighed less per bullet, recoiled less, and the same size mags could contain more rounds. You're also using less raw materials per cartridge. More bang per buck.

    If it didn't perform better than the .45 ACP than they would have picked something else.
     
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  21. Livin_Cincy

    Livin_Cincy Member

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    Often bullets pass thru with much of their energy intact on exit. So they make holes not fatal wounds.
    Last week a woman was shot (9) times and survived in Cincinnati, Ohio.
     
  22. JO JO

    JO JO Member

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    all this talk of the 40 sw is dead and the FBI said ............. !!! At the same time the FBI just awarded a 16 million dollar contract for 40 sw ammo ,
    http://www.recoilweb.com/winchester-wins-16-million-fbi-ammo-contract-for-40-sw-132703.html

    I do not think anyone really is leaving the larger calibers they are just offering a option for the desk jockey who shoots once a year to qualify and the average traffic cop who needs to spend the bulk of training time on being politically correct to avoid agency law suits,
     
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  23. JO JO

    JO JO Member

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    This is a quote from the FBI and if the 9mm is equal to a 40 then why would the still need it and spent 16 million on future ammo for it ?

    "Though the feds announced in mid-2016 that agents would be making the jump to 9mm with the Glock 19M serving as the organization’s official sidearm, the FBI says the need for .40 S&W still exists."

    Read more: http://www.recoilweb.com/winchester...-contract-for-40-sw-132703.html#ixzz5RDvLLr7H
     
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  24. Luger_carbine

    Luger_carbine Member

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    Many departments base their ammo choice off of budgetary priorities, but on the other hand, departments that go out and purchase completely ineffective calibers, unreliable firearms or poor performing brands of cartridges, have to content with the police union. I'm saying this because gel tests do influence departmental purchases to an extent. The IWBA protocol is really an engineering tool to help bullet manufactures create more robust designs that expand more consistently. It was created by Duncan MacPherson because there were rounds that were passing FBI tests, but seemed to have a higher rate of failure in real-life shootings by California Highway Patrol officers than the FBI tests would seem to predict. So today we have the FBI tests and the IWBA protocol. If cartridges were passing the FBI tests and the IWBA protocol, but failing officers in the line of duty - we would know about it. There would be a backlash.

    When you say "forget gel test", you're ignoring the fact that gel tests influence law enforcement agencies purchases, as well as the average citizen carrying a gun for self defense. Gel tests have proven to be the best way to arm law enforcement agencies with the best performing rounds.
     
  25. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    That is kind of an unqualified question. I wonder if a bad guy has ever been shot with a Smith & Wesson's .500 Magnum ? Even if there is no "real world" data on that, I imagine the .500 Magnum has gotta hurt. It is probably more "effective" than either the 9mm or the .40 S&W. Putting terminal ballistics aside, if you want to carry a pocket pistol, you'll find smaller 9mm pistols than .40 S&W. So the 9mm is more effective in regards to concealing well in a pocket. :)
     
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