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9 mm vs. .40 S&W, which is better??

SouthernBoy

Regular Member
Joined
May 12, 2007
Messages
5,831
Location
Western Prince William County, Virginia, USA
The problem with this is that as gun enthusiasts, we are always searching for that perfect gun; and that also implies the perfect caliber and load. It's a never ending obsession. As others have said, shot placement and bullet design are large factors in this. But so is the ability of a bullet to get into a perp's body and do the amount of damage sufficient to bring his aggressive actions to a halt as quickly as possible.

Some years ago, I was in a MacDonald's for breakfast one winter day when a few young men entered. One was quite large, in terms of girth and just overall immensity. It suddenly occurred to me that if I had to use my gun on someone of his size, I would be asking my defensive rounds to do a lot of work, some of which they may not be capable of doing. I mean, by the time my rounds managed to get through his clothing, they still would have a good 18 to 20 inches to go to reach some serious stuff... he was big.

For your edification, I offer these two links. You can take them for what they're worth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXwPtP-KDNk

http://www.gunthorp.com/Terminal Ballistics as viewed in a morgue.htm


Granted the good doctor in link #1 doesn't know a lot about bullet design and current offerings, but as long as you are able to wade through that which is not quite up to date, it is an interesting presentation.
 
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solus

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Messages
8,172
Location
here nc
give me a ford any day...

sorry, wrong forum...thought it was car talk...

i'm bad

ipse
 

SouthernBoy

Regular Member
Joined
May 12, 2007
Messages
5,831
Location
Western Prince William County, Virginia, USA
Thanks for the reminder on that link. Hands on practical/experience explained in a way most will understand it.
Yeah, the clash of the Caliber Titans knows no end, it seems. And then the people who are really trying to get some valuable information feel mocked and ridiculed. Of course, these are the more extreme responses but when that happens, no one walks away with honest information. But then, since this topic has raft with a huge assortment of variables colored by personal opinions, wherein does the really valuable information exist?

Some facts are universal truths. Larger caliber handgun bullets make larger holes upon entry. And even if they don't expand all that much, their larger size just might allow them to contact some major blood vessels whereas a smaller bullet might just pass by. But again, a huge amount of variables. I know I don't have all of the answers to this perennial question but I admit to being one that spends a fair amount of time researching data on websites to see what is out there.

Perhaps if they came with a handgun that would handle a 12-gauge slug then we would have the ultimate projectile. Or would we?
 

Big Gay Al

Michigan Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2006
Messages
1,954
Location
Mason, Michigan, USA
I know this is a bit of a loaded question, but which is the better self-defense round? 9 mm or .40 S&W??
Essentially, whatever round YOU feel most comfortable defending your life with. :)

Personally, I like .45ACP. But, I've been shooting it for a long time, and I'm "comfortable" with it. I'm fairly accurate with it, and I like it.

Having said that, I also like 9mm. I have a pistol that I've used for work, and self defense, and I have no trouble using it either. But I have a preference for .45ACP.

The one pistol I tried in .40 S&W, had too much muzzle flip. I didn't care for it. And since I already have two pistols in .45, I didn't see the advantage in adding a .40 S&W to my collection. I may change my mind in the future. So who knows.
 

deepdiver

Campaign Veteran
Joined
Apr 2, 2007
Messages
5,831
Location
Southeast, Missouri, USA
Without getting into the weeds I'll just say that I prefer to shoot and carry .45 acp, but because of ammo prices I have been mostly shooting 9mm for the last few years. I have never been a .40 fan due to cost, muzzle flip and ammo inventory. I just didn't see enough advantage in barrier penetration to justify all that.

But then I shot my buddy's M&P Shield chambered in .40. I like it better than the Shield in 9mm, the XDS .45 acp, the XD Mod2 9mm, to name a few I've shot pretty much side by side with the Shield .40 over the last few years. I don't know what it is about that particular gun, but it is the only .40 I have ever really enjoyed shooting despite it's diminutive size and follow-ups are as quick as any similar size 9mm for me. Besides that, I just haven't found a .40 I prefer to my existing options.
 

Beretta92fsQueer

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
Messages
37
Location
Somewhere over the rainbow
.22 is always a viable option as well.

No round is necessarily better than another, out in the real world--a SD scenario doesn't unfold in a vacuum under specific rules. SD is dynamic, with a plethora of variables.

If you are poking holes in watermelons, then a .40 will give you a bigger bang for your buck...probably. Depends on the round though. 9mm HP Hydro would definitely cause more damage when shot in the chest than a .40 without all the bells and whistles...if all variables are the same.

Important things to consider...IMO:

Comfort: If the handgun you carry isn't comfortable to carry, you run the risk of either carrying it in a less effective position, or not carrying at all.
Confidence: One ought to carry a handgun chambered in a caliber that allows for confidence in follow-up shots.

A .22 or 9mm is a way better round if you carry it 100% of the time than a .40 you only carry 50% of the time.
 

Grapeshot

Legendary Warrior
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
35,337
Location
Valhalla
.22 is always a viable option as well.

No round is necessarily better than another, out in the real world--a SD scenario doesn't unfold in a vacuum under specific rules. SD is dynamic, with a plethora of variables.

If you are poking holes in watermelons, then a .40 will give you a bigger bang for your buck...probably. Depends on the round though. 9mm HP Hydro would definitely cause more damage when shot in the chest than a .40 without all the bells and whistles...if all variables are the same.

Important things to consider...IMO:

Comfort: If the handgun you carry isn't comfortable to carry, you run the risk of either carrying it in a less effective position, or not carrying at all.
Confidence: One ought to carry a handgun chambered in a caliber that allows for confidence in follow-up shots.

A .22 or 9mm is a way better round if you carry it 100% of the time than a .40 you only carry 50% of the time.
Without a doubt, a gun on your hip is far better than one in the safe.
 

Lthrnck

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2007
Messages
656
Location
Englewood, Ohio, USA
9 vs 40

This bit of information goes for any caliber...

Shoot what you can hit with.....

My Marine marksman instructor taught me that back in the early 70's...
It don't matter if it's a .22 or a 50 cal...

A 50 cal. has no knock down power if you don't hit the target. It's just flinging lead.

So if you can't hit with a 50 cal.. but are driving nails with a .22.... then carry the .22.

That's all there is to it. Nothing and I mean nothing else matters.
 
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