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View Full Version : Best for avail/cost? 9mm or .40 S&W


Neverfox
07-21-2009, 5:00 PM
To hopefully avoid starting another "best caliber" debate (at least on the ballistics angle), I'd like to qualify my question. I'm new enough to guns that I'm still trying to understand the ammo situation in the country and especially in CA, which I understand is...dire.

So, if the major factors are availability and cost/value, all else being equal and only choosing one, which one would drive your handgun purchase decision? In terms of availability, I'm concerned both with the now (I'd like to avoid hassle in getting my initial stock up from zero) and in the event of a SHTF/WROL situation (or even simply likely changes in legislation). [FYI, .45 ACP is not on my radar right now. I know it's a good caliber but for "list" reasons, the models I'm considering in my budget don't leave me that option.]

Now, depending on your answer, would someone please help me understand what to look for and what to avoid in a handgun ammo? I realize that the answer might be different for practice and for defensive load in both cost and quality. Feel free to recommend and denounce brands, specs and good places to buy.

Finally, what's the minimum number of handgun rounds to make a decent store of ammo in any given caliber for home defense now + SHTF later?

Greg-Dawg
07-21-2009, 5:12 PM
...

Now, depending on your answer, would someone please help me understand what to look for and what to avoid in a handgun ammo? I realize that the answer might be different for practice and for defensive load in both cost and quality. Feel free to recommend and denounce brands, specs and good places to buy.

Finally, what's the minimum number of handgun rounds to make a decent store of ammo in any given caliber for home defense now + SHTF later?

Look for popular ammo brands: Winchester, Remington, etc. Plus read your local range rules regarding what ammunition is allowed to shoot there.

Store at least 5-20K rounds mixed of range and home defense ammo. Carry on!

MiguelS
07-21-2009, 6:25 PM
I see more 40cal available at stores than 9mm.

Cost on average is about $2 more for 40 cal.

9mm is scarce right now and is harder to find. I place my 9mm on back order and then it does not become an issue.

In the long run, 9mm is always going to be cheaper than 40 then 45.

I spend more 22lr rounds than anything...why because it is cheaper than all the above. I am looking for a 45 ACP pistol now, but know it will be shot seldomly due to current cost and availablity.

Target shooting:
Blazer Brass
Remington
Winchester (cost more that all the others)
Federal
American eagle

Rekrab
07-21-2009, 6:50 PM
Cost: 9MM
Availability: .40 S&W

As long as you can buy it, you'll always spend less on 9mm it seems.

I actually use PMC in my PX4 .40S&W. I haven't had any issues and it doesn't seem overly dirty... but I also clean my gun every time I go to the range, even if I only shoot 100 rounds.

Legasat
07-21-2009, 7:22 PM
The last few months I seem to see more .40 around than anything else in the retail channels (stores).

But, if you do some hunting around on the internet, 9mm is there too and way cheaper.

evidens83
07-21-2009, 8:24 PM
Cost wise 9mm. But availability wise, 40 is the only caliber ever stocked at my Wal Marts :banghead: I prefer the 9mm I just shoot better and I hate that "sharp" recoil from the 40. But if you're debating 40 you might as well step up to the almighty 45 IMHO :61:

Acorn556
07-21-2009, 11:00 PM
40 isnt much more than 9mm. ITs EXTREMELY easy to get right now...so much that I wish I had my 40 instead of my 45 with me. I've never seen so much 50 S&W ammo on shelves.

Ishoot
07-21-2009, 11:06 PM
I see 40 S&W much more on the shelves than 9mm. I have both and I tend to shoot the 40 more because of this.

eccvets
07-22-2009, 2:48 AM
where in the f do you guys find 9mm now adays? I havent seen any for the last 8+months running straight now.

Miltiades
07-22-2009, 3:52 AM
where in the f do you guys find 9mm now adays? I havent seen any for the last 8+months running straight now.

There is plenty of 9mm available on the Internet, at the various ammo vendor websites that have been posted here in the past. It will cost about $14 to $17 for a box of 50 FMJ practice ammo.

BillCA
07-22-2009, 4:00 AM
The posters above have covered the cost/availability discussion well enough. Let's address stocking up and brands.

First, do some research and study from the manufacturer's websites about their FMJ ammo lines. Sometimes you'll find identical bullet weights with different velocities - one for range fodder and one a bit hotter.

But mostly, what you're looking for is their "generic" brand to match your favorite JHP design's bullet weight and speed. If your favorite load is a 124gr Gold Dot at 1150 fps, look for a Speer "Lawman" load that duplicates it. Or you might use Winchester/USA's #USA9MM 124gr load at 1140 fps as close enough.

Why does this matter? If you select a favorite premium JHP load, you'll find prices running from about $0.80 to $1.05 per bang. Stocking up becomes expensive. But if you purchase FMJ (or generic JHP) ammo with the same ballistics, your point of aim/impact changes very little.

Important note: Your favorite premium JHP ammo should be based on the ammo that performs best in your gun. Reliability is #1 and accuracy is #2. It must cycle flawlessly every time and accuracy must be reasonable for the distance (e.g. 3" at 25 yards, 2" at 15 yards).

If you want to stock up, let's suppose you have $1000 to spend. That could buy you about 1,000 rounds of premium ammo (not including tax). Or that could buy you around 2500 rounds of FMJ. Do you split 50/50? Or something else?

Since most of your shooting for practice is with FMJ and, in theory, your actual need for premium JHP ammo will be limited even in a disaster, I suggest using the old 80/20 rule. 80% FMJ and 20% premium JHP. Thus, you always have some practice ammo at hand (with reserve in case of SHTF) and JHP for serious work.

In a disaster situation, you could load your primary mag with 6-10 JHP's and all your backup mags with FMJ. My theory being that if you deplete the first magazine and are still engaged, there is no point in missing with expensive ammo. The FMJ will still disable and wound and you should be fighting your way to either safety or a long-gun.

As for brands, I favor Federal, Speer and Winchester. PMC is okay for FMJ ammo. Fiocchi makes very good ammo that seems to be loaded on the "warm" side. And it's usually cheaper too. I've not been happy with Remington's consistency, especially their UMC brand.

eccvets
07-22-2009, 4:42 AM
if you need more then 50 hollowpoints or even FMJ, your pretty screwed!

eccvets
07-22-2009, 4:43 AM
There is plenty of 9mm available on the Internet, at the various ammo vendor websites that have been posted here in the past. It will cost about $14 to $17 for a box of 50 FMJ practice ammo.


I hate buying second hand ammo, who knows if reloaded and if they double loaded it... I like cheap new ammo which works from walmart :)

MiguelS
07-22-2009, 7:04 AM
I hate buying second hand ammo, who knows if reloaded and if they double loaded it... I like cheap new ammo which works from walmart :)

8months? This is factory ammo you could have rec'd thousands of ammo already. Just go back order it. You can get it as cheap as 11.99 factory 9mm. You might wait 4-6 weeks though. Or pay a bit more and get it now.

http://ltdammo.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11_19_20&products_id=54

or by the case

http://ltdammo.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11_19_20&products_id=60

sd_shooter
07-22-2009, 7:39 AM
I don't know why people don't already use the current deal at BassPro, it's the best one right now. You can get both .40 and 9mm at Walmart prices, delivered. Just use your credit card, your wife's, your siblings, you'll be stocked up in no time:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=197735

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&pageID=4755&hvarAID=46NH&cm_ven=redirects&cm_cat=postcards&cm_pla=stimulus&cm_ite=20off

Kingofthehill
07-22-2009, 7:42 AM
LOL to you guys picking 9mm.

How much 9mm are you finding on the shelf's right now?

I can find .40 all the time

JimmyD
07-22-2009, 12:06 PM
Right now, .40SW in availability and cost since 9mm is about equal in price to .40sw and hard to find. Normally 9mm is cheap

ChrisDM
07-22-2009, 2:12 PM
40 is much more available, nearly as affordable, and a lot more powerful. Done deal.

hybridatsun350
07-22-2009, 2:46 PM
I'd normally say 9mm is cheaper, but I found Federal .40 S&W for $8.97/box today at Wally World. I just paid $10.97/box for WWB 9mm at Wal-Mart on Friday. Honestly, it seems to me that cost is not the issue for these two calibers anymore. Availability has become the new issue, and .40 S&W wins that battle as of right now.

I'd say just pick the caliber you like to shoot the most. I personally prefer 9mm, but it is more difficult to find it right now. I'd suggest you go to a range and rent a couple different guns. The fit of the gun in your hand matters much more than the caliber because if the gun isn't comfortable to shoot than you're not going to shoot it. Simple as that.

As far as ammo brands go, I've yet to find a brand that doesn't function reliably in my weapons. And yes, that includes Wolf! :p

kazman
07-22-2009, 2:47 PM
40 is more available but I'm starting to see a lot more availability just in the last month of 9mm. Mostly talking about Walmart and it still goes fast within a few hours, whereas the 40 will sit for a day or so.

As for stocking, depends on how often you think you'll practice. 2-3 thousand fmj is good. But do the math. Trip to range/practice once a week x 100-150 rounds means 400-500 a month. If SHTF and you couldn't get anymore, you'd practice less but still would want to do some, so you'd want to have enough for 6mo to a year.
Keep replenishing your supply as you shoot and have a minimum below which you stop for a while until you can get more. Or get into reloading

forgiven
07-22-2009, 6:31 PM
I'd give the edge to the forty as of right now.

huck
07-22-2009, 8:24 PM
Today, you can get .40 more readily, but in the long run 9mm is probably better.

When I went to Bass Pro Shop at the height of the ammo scare, I found that the ONLY ammo they had on the entire handgun ammo aisle was FN 5.7, which is normally expensive and hard to find.

meloki03
07-23-2009, 6:48 PM
9mm is impossible to find. 40 is everywhere. Walmart stocks 40 but sells out of 9mm instantly. Don't believe me? I have 300rds of federal FMJ 40S&W for sale just to prove my point.

Neverfox
07-23-2009, 7:12 PM
Thanks so much, everyone. Major kudos to BillCA for the excellent reply.

Right now I'm considering a CZ 75 SP-01 which will lock me into 9mm. My other look right now is the FNP and there the choice will come in. Then of course there are always the Glocks. Finally, I do have my eye on an FN Five-seveN because, despite the knocks, I believe in the round and it actually seems to be cheap and plentiful right now, strange as it may seem. But the gun itself is a little high. But there is something both nice and scary about a round that doesn't require you to sort throw hundreds of options and just gets it done.

BillCA, if I read you correctly, are you suggesting that one might literally forgo more than a few premium HP for and "matched" FMJ since the ballistics will be so close? That sounds like a very interesting idea.

Acorn556
07-23-2009, 7:27 PM
There is a reason 40 S&W is on the shelf....shows you how many people only buy 9, 45 and 223. Panic sets in and everyone stocks up. I'm going to get my 40 out and just buy when I can. I bought my 40 for self defense (ccw) since 45 is always out of stock when a panic sets in. Call around. Get prices. Find out the difference in 9 vs 40 and make the decision. Then look at ballistics. I'd say 40 is the best round out there. 45 is what old men shoot and swear by. 40 is carry.