Author Topic: .40 vs. 9mm  (Read 206419 times)

Offline Heavy G

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.40 vs. 9mm
« on: September 05, 2010, 08:44:25 PM »
I'm a fan of .40 S&W.  I respect 9mm and own one (a CZ-75).  I don't think 9mm is underpowered, but I think .40 has a little more umpf.  Here's the key part: I can handle the recoil of a .40 just fine.  I have a Glock 22 and a Glock 27.  Follow up shots are no problem.  Now, I'm just shooting for combat effectiveness, not trying to win a high score at an IDPA tournament.  I will also note that during the ammo scarcity of 2008-2009, the only (and I mean only) ammo still available in decent quantities was .40.  That's what got my attention when I was debating between .40 and 9mm.

I hear lots of people saying .40 sucks, primarily because it has uncontrollable recoil.  I disagree.

I think 9mm was crapped on a few years ago and shouldn't have been.  I think .40 is getting the same treatment now and will be recognized in a few years as the cool ammo it is.

Let the discussion begin.

Offline KYdoomer

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2010, 08:51:56 PM »
Well I'm on your side and I swear I've had this same discussion here before so prepare for flaming!

For the people that say .40 SW recoil is unmanageable I say they should go get a water squirter because that's the only thing they may be comfortable with.  My wife shoots my .40, its what I leave for her when I'm not home. 

Some say it wears guns faster.  Well when those people provide data for that assumption I'll listen.

Don't get me wrong, I have a 9mm Glock in addition to my .40 HK.  I think both are adequate but there are places I drive a car and places I drive a truck.  I don't scrap one because it doesn't fit the particular day.

J

Offline kr66p6r13

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2010, 09:26:04 PM »
i own a smith & wesson model 99 & a springfield xd, both are 40 cal compacts. i don't have any problems with recoil management or follow up shots(right or left hand). they perform as well as 9mm with a little extra for the bad guy.
it's also becoming a very popular police round, that's something to think about.

Offline Mortie

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2010, 09:37:36 PM »
The police in my area tend not to care much for 40. They go with either 9 mm or 45. I would be OK with 40 in the right gun.

Offline 03USMCRAR_WA

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2010, 10:34:11 AM »
As a personal defense instructor there is not caliber that i discount. I know a lot of people dog on 9mm and that comes from the military and from our state of the art trauma centers. Most military vets that have had to employ an M9 in order to save their lives had to use up a good bit of ammunition just because according the the Treaty of 1899 signed in the Hague hollow point ammunition is band. so that good old full metal jacket just tears right on through leaving temporary and permanent cavity damage but that's it. and since the majority of criminal shootings involve full metal jacket ammo, it's the same principal. However advances in medical treatment in the U.S. have seen to the survival those even shot by some hollow point ammunition.
In the United States more that three quarters of law enforcement from the late sixties until the early to mid nineties were military vets. This meant that many had had negative experiences with the 9mm or and grown up loving the .45 ACP. Hollow Points were still in their infancy and pressure came for something in the middle. Enter the 10 mm. I've only ever shot one and my hat is off to anyone that wants to carry and employ this caliber for personal defense. I'm not going to just because there is no reason to have a semi-auto that is that abusive, in my opinion. I do own a S&W 460 but it is for trips to Alaska and for my daughter's first suitor when he come's a calling.
Back to he topic... The 10 is a rough round and it takes a lot to get on top of. The .40 S&W was a compromise between the 9 mm and the 10 mm. It's still a very abusive round especially for folks with out a lot of strength. Personally i carry a Walther P99 AS in 40 S&W.  I can handle the sharp recoil and it is sharp. I utilize Hollow points an recommend that every person that carries a personal side rm do the same. It's very simple, a hollow point WILL deliver more energy to a target than a full metal jacket. so weather it is .25 AUTO or .50 AE there will be a noticeable difference in the energy delivered. an 9mm hollow point will do similar damage to a .40 S&W full metal jacket. Keep that in mind.
So...
I explain to my students that one has to examine how much time they have and how much money. 9mm is hands down cheaper than .40 S&W to both purchase and to reload. It's less time consuming to become comfortable with. For me to really settle into a weapon take about 1200 rounds of ammunition over a 30 hour period.  That's just comfortable. This is not an Olympic sport folks. Training is more important here than anywhere else because if everything fails and you wind up having to draw down on someone there is no silver metal for second place.
Train, train and train. Don't just sit a home and watch the MAGPUL videos.

Offline Cooter Brown

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2010, 10:48:25 AM »
If you like it use it. It will certainly get the job done

I don't, so I won't. For me there are two reasons. 1) I find the recoil to be "snappy". Some folks like it for that very reason. 2) It seems a needless compromise between the power of the .45 and the capacity of the 9mm, which in +P is plenty powerful.

If I were looking for that compromise, I think I might try the .357 Sig.

Offline Falling_blue

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2010, 11:20:16 AM »
I guess I am partial to .40 because it was my first pistol caliber.  So now I have two pistols and a carbine that take the same ammo.  Never really saw any reason to get anything in 9mm since I already have a stock of .40.  Also, as stated above, I shot plenty of 9mm in the military and was a little turned off by it.   So I guess it comes down to personal preference for me.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2010, 12:55:25 PM »
I carry a 40 on duty (have for 20 years now) and I have a compact 40 S&W M&P I carry off duty.
As we say in the age old argument over whats better small block or big block engines-"Theres no replacement for displacement."
So with that I would rather have a bigger bullet heading towards the threat then a smaller one.
And as you mentioned "Heavy G", 40 cal was the only ammo still on the shevles when there was ammo to be had.

Offline Scottman

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2010, 12:59:21 PM »
Both are fine. Own either one or both doesn't make a difference- both do the same thing well enough. Some guns you can swab out the barrels/cals if that's important to you.

Thing I like about 9mm is I've collected over 2000 empties this summer and only 100 40sw. and I wan't even really trying.

Offline Serellan

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2010, 02:56:26 PM »
I have both a .40 and 9mm upper for my beretta 92.  You cant get much closer of a comparison than that.

In the end, i choose the 9mm, for a few reasons.  Like someone mentioned, the recoil is very "snappy". No, i dont need to go back to sqirtguns, i regularly shoot .357's and .45's. However, i can happly shoot 100-150 rounds in my 9mm in a session and still be ready for more (i limit how much amm i take to the range to limit cost).

With the .40, im done after 40 rounds.  Just not as comfy to shoot. 

More rounds = more profficient.

Plus, 17 rounds in the mag vs 11.

But overall, i am just more proficient with the 9mm. I put em in the same hole, shot after shot.  Not so with the 40.

Now that may change in a bigger pistol. I find my 1911 more controllable than the 96. So a 1911 frame in .40 could be a great gun. Its all going to come down to personal preference.

Btw the 92 is my hd pistol, and at home it wears the 92 slide w/ 124g jhp hydrashoks.

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2010, 03:11:24 PM »
9mm is the magic sweet spot in the balance calculus of:  training cost, wounding, and round capacity.

The end.  ;D

Offline KYdoomer

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2010, 03:28:10 PM »
More rounds = more profficient.


But I'm more proficient at loading mags!

LOL   ;)

I guess I like snappy recoil.  Shooting a 10 gauge all those years must have killed all my nerve endings in my hands and shoulder!

J

Offline JerseyVince

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2010, 05:29:08 PM »
I haf to agree with ncjeeper, as usual. We do think along the same lines in firearms and other stuff. It's .40 cal for me in my S&W 4046, with 12 rds in it and spare mags the .40 packs a punch like a .357magnum. Next will be a RRA .40 carbine. I always liked the 9mm Colt carbine but was totally blinded when RockRiver Arms produced the .40 cal Black Rifle

When i first bought my 4046, I took it to Ft Dix to shoot on the pistol range. Setup my target stands and waited for signal from the tower. Sights were off and I shot low, I heard a round hit the stand and the lower bar bent. Kept shooting until Cease-fire. Checked my target stand and found the bar was bent like a horseshoe the bullet was laying in the dirt. the hollow point mushroomed and dumped all its energy into the steel bar without bouncing off. I was shocked the round didnt spin the stand or ricochet. It was then i realized the .40 was the new .45ACP. .38's or 9mm would have been bouncing off the stand. I had to take the stand home and straighten it out with a hammer and vice, it wasn't a cheap steel stand. it was made from angle iron and flat iron.

There is no mixup the .40cal can't fixup :D

Offline PistolWhipped

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2010, 11:10:19 PM »
While I don't discount the .40 as a round, I do not like a lot of the weapons for it for one reason. 

Many guns were designed around 9mm, and the .40 was simply "stuffed" into that weapon, with often only some weight or spring adjustments.  This can lead to reliability issues over time.  Some weapons were designed around the .40, and those are one's I would trust without hesitation.  But we've all head the issues some guns have because they are shooting a round that is a bit too peppy for their construction.

While the little extra snap ain't my cup of tea, I can deal with it just fine.  Of course, the same can be said for .357 SIG and 10mm Auto. 

All in all, no caliber choice is ideal, and you have to pick what works for you and practice until you can make it work for you.

Offline ridge rover

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2010, 08:25:53 AM »
I went to a local police supply store. On the floor was a balistic vest and two steel panels beside it. One was marked 9mm and the other .40. They had been shot and the round stopped. The 9mm had a good dent in it, but the .40 was much bigger and the round nearly penetrated the panel!

Offline Heavy G

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2010, 10:04:51 AM »
I was thinking there must be a reason why so many police forces use the .40.  Many used to use 9mm but switched.  Now, I'm not saying that just because lots of police use the .40 it must be great because the military switched to 9mm and I'm not sure 9mm is automatically great because of that.  Of course, the military picked a round that was compatible with allies and that would be the 9mm. 

I suspect lots of testing and thought went into picking the .40 for most of the police in this country. 

Offline Jack Crabb

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2010, 11:55:17 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout#Aftermath

Some of the 9mm vs. .40 S&W debate goes back to the 1986 FBI Miami shootout. There was a 10mm fad in between.

Beyond the cartridge debate, there are a whole lot of lessons and learning points in this event.

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2010, 12:27:50 PM »
I'd be more curious to see the .40 vs .45.  Seems like there just isn't enough incentive (or pro's) to the .40 to make it more preferable to the .45. 

9mm is a great round, cheap to shoot and Good +P Jacketed Hollow points do what they are supposed to do.  That said, its just a personal preference beyond ballistics. 

I still think your better off with whatever you shoot the most of, at that split second when you need it to work, what your most used to shooting is going to be the most accurate for you, and shot placement is far more important than caliber.  Also, Not sure if this is true or not, (I am by far no expert) but with the higher percentage of 9mm rounds and weapons out there than any other caliber, it would be my guess that in an emergency, its probably more likely that the guy who just got shot next to you in a SHTF is using 9mm, than any other caliber.  Not a big consideration, but just in case.  I like the idea of common caliber.   

This does raise the question, do you shoot the same ammo in practice as you carry for your daily protection.  If you don't, then the hotter loads in your pistol may be a detriment to accuracy/speed when you need them.  Do lots of practice with cheap ammo, but still send some downrange with the same hotter loads you carry.  That way there is no surprises when you need to use it.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2010, 05:39:34 PM »
9 vs 40 is easy, I'm still trying to figure out 270 vs 30-06...

  :popcorn:

Offline RacinRob

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2010, 07:11:33 PM »
I guess that it comes down to what are pistols for.  If I would be able to conceal carry, I would want something small and concealable with lots of bullets = 9mm. If I am open carring, which is the only legal carry in Wisconsin, then I want a 45.  Also, I reload and for whatever reason no one seems to pick up 9mm. I have 3 full coffee cans of 9mm and I didn't buy any of it. Finally, I have read the debate and seen some nasty bulges in glock .40 brass so I don't want to reload it.

Offline donaldj

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2010, 10:10:27 AM »
upfront: I dont own a 40.

From my reading, I kind of see the 40 in the same light as the 16 gauge in shotguns. It is a good cartridge, and is effective, but there are two very popular and advantageous calibers nearby that are just as good.

In the handgun its the 9mm and the 45ACP.  In the shotgun analogy it's be 12g and 20g. The 40 is nestled right in between.

Sincere Questions:
How much better is a defense intent load in 40 than a 9mm +P?
Does the 40's increased cost justify this difference?
Can you afford to shoot 40? 9mm is coming back down to "reasonable", slowly but surely.
Is training with the actual pistol you carry important to you?


I've heard the 40 described as a cartridge with all the disadvantages and none of the advantages of the 45 and the 9mm. As I don't own a 40 and only have shot a hundred rounds of it in the past, I can't say for sure. I would definitely investigate more before getting one (and thanks for this thread!).

D




endurance

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2010, 11:00:42 AM »
It's funny, I've been a 9mm guy because I started working in the field during the era when the transition from .357 to 9mm was in full swing (1990).  .40 wasn't even invented.  So after I got out of the business, I didn't see the need for a new gun just because there was a new kid on the block. 

In the winter of 2008 my ex-wife was convinced she wanted a .40 because she worked around a lot of guys in law enforcement, so we went to the range together and rented several guns and I brought my 9mm (an H&K P7 at the time).  I was set in my ways and loved the 9mm, felt the .40 kicked like a mule, and she bought a Sig 9mm in the end.

Fastforward to this spring and I was taking a class with John Farnam.  At one point he lays out everyone's guns with one extra magazine and you have to shoot everyone else's gun as one of his drills.  There was a mixture of 9mm, .40 and .45s.  I couldn't even tell you which ones were which.  Some felt strange because of grip angles (the .45s), some felt strange because they were fatter or skinnier, but the kick was never a problem despite having zero time to familiarize ourselves with the guns before firing.

Did that make me run out and buy a new .40?  Nope.  I did end up buying a new 9mm (XD) after the class after some problems emerged with my aging P7, but the choice of calibers was more about commonality than it was about kick or stopping power.  The gun I'm most likely to have on me at any given time is my Kahr PM9.  Why the PM9 instead of the PM40?  Because my other gun was a 9mm at the time and I don't want to stock another caliber around the house.  Sometimes it's all about picking your rut carefully, because you're going to be in it for the next 40 years... ::)

endurance

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2010, 11:06:19 AM »
9 vs 40 is easy, I'm still trying to figure out 270 vs 30-06...

  :popcorn:
Easy.

Both leave big things dead at 200+ yards, so why feel like someone punched you in the shoulder for a half hour when you go to the range if you don't have to?

.270 just hurts less, but gets the same job done. ;)

Offline Heavy G

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2010, 01:05:32 PM »

There was a mixture of 9mm, .40 and .45s.  I couldn't even tell you which ones were which.  ...  the kick was never a problem despite having zero time to familiarize ourselves with the guns before firing.


My thoughts exactly.  Since I can't tell the difference in recoil (well, I can, but it's not much) then I like the .40's slightly bigger punch. 

And there is lots of .40 around.  Remember the run on bulk ammo and how .40 was still available.  That's a big deal for me. 

Downside to the .40 is the cost, but .40 is still pretty cheap.  It's just that 9mm is really cheap.  Compared to 9mm, nothing is cheap (except .22LR).  If cost is a big issue, no one would shoot the .45.

Offline Cooter Brown

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2010, 01:23:12 PM »
Regardless of caliber, dry-fire is free, .22 conversion kit makes lots of practice cheap, and both make full live fire practice more effective.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2010, 01:54:13 PM »
.... If cost is a big issue, no one would shoot the .45.

Not exactly the whole picture - I see a few reasons for the popularity of the 45:
- Clinton gun ban limited magazines to 10rds. Eighteen 9mms trumps seven 45s - ten 9mms, less so.
- WWII nostalgia - very romantic era in American history - golden years, good old days, etc
- High end manufacture of 1911 platform - they don't make Glock BBQ guns. All the high end collectible stuff is based on the 1911.
- Negative opinion of the 38 caliber during Philippine War (38 LC and 38-40 Crag were seen as ineffective against Moro Rebels) - 9mm is .355 caliber
- Influence of Jeff Cooper on pistol shooting

The .41 mag might have been a game changer if LEOs had stuck with revolvers. The move to the auto pistol then led to the advent of the 10mm, which gives you a light version of the .41mag. Unfortunately, the recoil and training costs were seen as too high and we get the 40 S&W as a compromise. The 10mm 200gr /1200fps turns into 155gr / 1100fps.

This is why people say you get all of the disadvantages - lighter bullets at higher pressure with more recoil.  

Offline Roswell

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2010, 07:50:27 PM »
I'd have to say 9mm over the .40 for the following reasons (which have pretty much already been stated)

  • you can more rounds in a magazine
  • the rounds themselves weigh less in a box so, they are lighter in a range bag or backpack
  • ammo is cheaper
  • ammo commonality
  • magazine availability
  • because ammo is cheaper, practice is cheaper, thus you practice more
  • because the gun is built for a 'lighter' round the gun itself is a tad lighter

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2010, 07:13:43 AM »
Look at the big picture.  The goal is incapacitation.

Scientific research shows virtually all gunshot wounding is the result of the bullet physically cutting through tissue, not the old "knock-down power" or old "shockwave" B.S. gun magazines touted for years and years.

This is why high-speed 5.56 fragmentation is so devastating.  The fragmentation cuts numerous additional wound channels.  More tissue destruction equals more bleeding which equals more incapacitation.

Adding a extra wound channels create FAR MORE wounding than adding an extra millimeter to a wound channel.

With 9mm you can shoot more bad guys more times.  This multiplies your odds of incapacitation way more.

Offline ridge rover

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2010, 07:35:09 AM »
These debates always seem narrow minded, they are always about self defense in normal street situations. Throw that out.
 

You are a DEA agent raiding a drug house that is guarded by the biggest, meanest dogs alive! They attack, you shoot!


You are camping. You awake to what you think is a deer in very nearby brush. But you see no deer, just a herd of wild feral pigs that are mad at you for tresspassing in their bedroom! It happened to me!


You are camping and suspect all bears are hibernating and the Moose have gone south, but you are wrong on both counts!


You are a street cop and pull over a 300 pound biker wearing heavy leathers. He looks and acts like a Viking on meth!


Which caliber do you feel better with in the above situations? My load is 135 grain Cor-bon. Its the fastest, meanest .40 bullet I can find! There is only one or two badder bullets, but they all are close!

endurance

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Re: .40 vs. 9mm
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2010, 08:29:00 AM »
The only thing I'd add is something that Farnam discovered in gelatin tests.  Most bullets will not expand below 1,100fps when faced with heavy clothing first.  While both .40 and 9mm fired through a 5" barrel are fully capable of these velocities in nearly all self defense ammo, subsonic rounds and rounds close to this threshold through a shorter barreled concealable gun may not expand properly.  There's a place for lighter, faster bullets when it comes to that little mouse gun you carry sometimes.