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View Full Version : 9mm vs. .40S&W (a different aspect to the question)


jdg30
08-30-2012, 8:18 PM
I've been going back and forth between shooting my Glock 19 and G23. I like both but almost always feel more confident in the abilities of the G23 over the G19. I know most Internet responses always say 9mm is better or as good as .40 with "modern" ammo.

My main carry gun is a .45 G30sf. The guns I rotate between for fun are the G19 and G23. I reload for both with plated FMJ bullets and frequently take them out to shoot. I like both but usually feel more confident all around when I have the G23. If I was out I the desert and had to use one or the other with FMJ plated bullets for self defense against against a guy or group of guys behind a barrier such as a truck or inside a vehicle, would the FMJ bullets between the two calibers still be equal or would one have the advantage?

I'm not talking self defense hollow point ammo, just regular FMJ. Are they still equal to stop a threat behind barriers? This is just a hypothetical question that I haven't heard discussed. Shoot out with 9mm vs. .40 S&W, when the gun is loaded with practice target ammo...Maybe with barriers...are they still equal?

hossb7
08-30-2012, 8:29 PM
with FMJ a bigger bullet = a bigger hole.


however, FMJ means squat for permanent or temporary wound cavities (hell, pistol bullets SUCK for tissue damage regardless).

and even with barriers i'd rather have JHP bullets. as you stated modern ammo bridges the gap between 9mm and .40, AND offers good terminal performance through intermediate barriers (though with most barriers the weight of bigger bullets offers better performance).

DocGKR is known for his plethora of knowledge regarding the subject, and this quote fits nicely:

Keeping in mind that handguns generally offer poor incapacitation potential, bullets with effective terminal performance are available in all of the most commonly used duty pistol calibers—pick the one that you shoot most accurately, that is most reliable in the type of pistol you choose, and best suits you likely engagement scenarios.

willerfortheworld
08-30-2012, 8:30 PM
I carry the 9mm but .40 cal will penetrate further. But like you said hollows = little difference

USMC 82-86
08-30-2012, 8:50 PM
I am not too concerned about the 9 vs .40 regardless of ammo. I would be more concerned that my 12ga did not get the job done. If it is a good shot it is a good shot. The body won't know the caiber.

Cato
08-30-2012, 9:33 PM
I'd go with 9mm: more capacity means more chances of hits. You can't do much with an empty pistol than toss it at the bad guy. I think some loads of 9mm can even penetrate better than some loads of 40. If I had to use target ammo, I'd still go with 9mm. With barriers, I wouldn't trust either round. Thinking you're going to hit someone through a door or wall with a round seems recklass. 9mm is easier to shoot too when compared to high pressure 40 snap.

bernieb90
08-31-2012, 12:05 AM
I'd go with 9mm: more capacity means more chances of hits. You can't do much with an empty pistol than toss it at the bad guy. I think some loads of 9mm can even penetrate better than some loads of 40. If I had to use target ammo, I'd still go with 9mm. With barriers, I wouldn't trust either round. Thinking you're going to hit someone through a door or wall with a round seems recklass. 9mm is easier to shoot too when compared to high pressure 40 snap.

What capacity? I am stuck with 10 max, and so is anyone else who didn't buy mags before 2000, or find some in the trash can. .40 S&W has a very slight advantage over 9mm which the 9mm normally makes up with a slight capacity advantage.

http://i459.photobucket.com/albums/qq319/DocGKR/Handgun_expanded_JHP.jpg

.45 ACP makes the most sense in states with idiotic 10 rd magazine restrictions, in departments that give you lots of free .45 ACP ammo, or in situations where modern expanding ammunition is restricted due to asinine, illogical regulations.


I would not feel bad having any service caliber with good quality JHP. If shooting FMJ I would definetly go with .45 although that is a less than ideal solution.

As far as firing through doors or walls, or furniture. You should definetly not be shooting blindly at someone you think is behind a wall. However unless the guy is doing the "woman sawed in half trick" and is using the wall, or furniture for cover with the torso partially obscured it is pretty easy to tell where the rest of his body is.

By the way those plated practice bulets are very soft swaged lead plated with a thin jacket. Think of it as shooting pure lead bullets. They are going to have poor barrier penetration performance. A bonded JHP will tend to perform best over a wide range of circumstances, with again a slight advantage going to the .40 when it comes to terminal performance after penetrating barriers particularly windshields.

roushstage2
08-31-2012, 12:38 AM
What capacity? I am stuck with 10 max, and so is anyone else who didn't buy mags before 2000, or find some in the trash can. .40 S&W has a very slight advantage over 9mm which the 9mm normally makes up with a slight capacity advantage.

http://i459.photobucket.com/albums/qq319/DocGKR/Handgun_expanded_JHP.jpg


I got the same "more capacity" thing when I posted here about my XD-40 purchase. Since the XD came out after 2000, I'm not too sure how all of these non-LEOs have standard cap mags for them. Anyways, for CC where you may not have a full 10 rounds with a larger caliber, that is where one might go with a smaller caliber. I'm happy with my .40 purchase regardless.

Oceanbob
08-31-2012, 4:10 AM
ignoring ammo costs:

.40 FMJ does the job slightly better than 9mm.

.45 ACP FMJ is already expanded (hehe) so in a 10 round limit State that would be my choice

10MM hardcast or FMJ would be my choice for barrier penetration.

9 is good practice ammo but in wally world range ammo form, it under performs.

spectro2003
08-31-2012, 6:59 AM
read this, according to it the 40 was created for that exact same reason.

http://www.guns.com/does-the-40-saw-get-enough-credit-10767.html

hossb7
08-31-2012, 8:00 AM
With barriers, I wouldn't trust either round. Thinking you're going to hit someone through a door or wall with a round seems recklass.

As far as firing through doors or walls, or furniture. You should definetly not be shooting blindly at someone you think is behind a wall. However unless the guy is doing the "woman sawed in half trick" and is using the wall, or furniture for cover with the torso partially obscured it is pretty easy to tell where the rest of his body is.

it's interesting how when the discussion of barriers come up people automatically think that you can't see the threat/target.


what about something like auto glass or a car door?

J.D.Allen
08-31-2012, 8:55 AM
Since you are comparing two Glocks in different calibers, your main concern in this issue is not ballistics but reliability. Since someone else mentioned Doc GKR, I'lll keep that theme going. His opinion of Glocks chambered in 9mm is that they are one of the most proven, reliable platforms out there. The .40 Glock...not so much. Here is a quote from him:

"As I've said before:

If you want a Glock, get it in 9 mm, as the pre-2011 3rd gen 9 mm Glocks are probably the most proven pistols available. The new 4th gen G21's are also working well so far."

He and other experts have stated elsewhere that Glocks chambered in .40 are not nearly as reliable and durable as those chambered in 9mm

RGERBER
08-31-2012, 2:08 PM
I have always felt that if I needed my gun chances are there would be 2-3 attackers at least more than one; predators do not want to have a fair fight they want to overpower you.
With that said more bullets always felt more assuring to me. As for as penetration goes I live in California, the San Joaquin Valley. I wear t-shirts in the winter here.

Freq18Hz
08-31-2012, 2:11 PM
I've been going back and forth between shooting my Glock 19 and G23. I like both but almost always feel more confident in the abilities of the G23 over the G19. I know most Internet responses always say 9mm is better or as good as .40 with "modern" ammo.

My main carry gun is a .45 G30sf. The guns I rotate between for fun are the G19 and G23. I reload for both with plated FMJ bullets and frequently take them out to shoot. I like both but usually feel more confident all around when I have the G23. If I was out I the desert and had to use one or the other with FMJ plated bullets for self defense against against a guy or group of guys behind a barrier such as a truck or inside a vehicle, would the FMJ bullets between the two calibers still be equal or would one have the advantage?

I'm not talking self defense hollow point ammo, just regular FMJ. Are they still equal to stop a threat behind barriers? This is just a hypothetical question that I haven't heard discussed. Shoot out with 9mm vs. .40 S&W, when he gun is loaded with practice target ammo...Maybe with barriers...are they still equal?

You should check out the car of truth on this subject...

A regular ole 9mm easily penetrates into the cabin of a vehicle, and out the other side!

That being said, you can't argue with physics. .40 delivers more energy, assuming you can hit your target effectively with it.

-Freq

Distro
08-31-2012, 2:23 PM
Just shoot whatever you are most confident with. Whether it's mental because you think one round is better than the other, or physical because one round feels like it has less recoil, or no choice because it is the only gun you have.


This guy took four .45 rounds (plus a different round) to the torso and kept fighting. He took one to the head and stopped. It could have been any round, as long as the shooter could have hit the head.

http://www.wafb.com/Global/story.asp?S=4527526

Perry Stevens fired four shots into Temple's torso. Officer Harrison had already fired one shot into Temple's abdomen. With Temple still struggling with the officer, Perry continued to advance toward the scuffle.

"He again orders Mr. Temple to stop what he was doing and get off the officer. Those commands are ignored and he fires a fifth shot and that hits his head. The incident is over with, and as you know, Mr. Temple is dead."

nocomply25
08-31-2012, 2:25 PM
use the ar15 for the barriers!

bernieb90
08-31-2012, 2:36 PM
Most .223/5.56mm tends to be LESS effective after penetrating barriers than most service pistol loads.

jlbflyboy172
08-31-2012, 3:47 PM
Interesting info from the OP. With your carry piece you go with the Glock 30 because of the smaller framed 45 but it sounds like you gravitate toward the size of the 19/23 frame size and enjoy shooting them. Have you checked out the Glock 38. It is the same frame as the 19/23 but chambered in the .45 GAP round. I think they created it exactly for people like you (and me). I like the 45 round for carry but prefer the smaller frame of the 19/23 and find them to be more comfortable to shoot. The .45 GAP is a more modern version of the .45 ACP. If you do some research on it, there is a lot of really positive information on it and it pretty much has the same ballistics as the ACP but along with a number of additional positive attributes. And you can find it for about the same price. My two carry pieces are the G19 and the G38. Let the flaming begin!

jdg30
08-31-2012, 6:43 PM
Interesting info from the OP. With your carry piece you go with the Glock 30 because of the smaller framed 45 but it sounds like you gravitate toward the size of the 19/23 frame size and enjoy shooting them. Have you checked out the Glock 38. It is the same frame as the 19/23 but chambered in the .45 GAP round. I think they created it exactly for people like you (and me). I like the 45 round for carry but prefer the smaller frame of the 19/23 and find them to be more comfortable to shoot. The .45 GAP is a more modern version of the .45 ACP. If you do some research on it, there is a lot of really positive information on it and it pretty much has the same ballistics as the ACP but along with a number of additional positive attributes. And you can find it for about the same price. My two carry pieces are the G19 and the G38. Let the flaming begin!

Actually I love my glock 30sf and it fits my hand better than any of my other Glocks. I've found a holster that makes carrying it easy and effortless in shorts and a t-shirt. I feel more comfortable carrying this gun than my others and feel very well armed with it and a spare mag.

I reload so I shoot all common calibers for around the same price. If .45gap was more common I would surely consider it but I've actually never even seen it in a store before.

My problem is that I have a g26,g27,g19 and g23. I like them all and go through phases with wanting to shoot certain ones at different times. Each time I shoot the 9mm's I like how they handle but the reduced recoil and lighter bullet weight makes me wonder if it would be as effective if I had to use it with FMJ ammo against someone behind a barrier, for example if someone pulled up and started shooting and they were in a vehicle. Usually when I have the g23 I have a better sense of security with FMJ ammo if I'm thinking about a situation like that.

I'm just wondering if the feeling of better FMJ stopping power through potential barriers with FMJ .40s&W vs FMJ 9mm is valid or just in my head. .45 is my favorite as well as .357 but I'm trying to figure out which would be better between my secondary choices if I had less than optimal choice of ammo loaded and had to use it in a real encounter.

zfields
08-31-2012, 6:48 PM
Which caliber can you get 10 shots on as fast an accurately as possible... that's what you should be worrying about.

jlbflyboy172
08-31-2012, 7:13 PM
My local gun store keeps the .45 GAP in stock. I have found it to be readily available.

SilverTauron
08-31-2012, 7:18 PM
I've been going back and forth between shooting my Glock 19 and G23. I like both but almost always feel more confident in the abilities of the G23 over the G19. I know most Internet responses always say 9mm is better or as good as .40 with "modern" ammo.

My main carry gun is a .45 G30sf. The guns I rotate between for fun are the G19 and G23. I reload for both with plated FMJ bullets and frequently take them out to shoot. I like both but usually feel more confident all around when I have the G23. If I was out I the desert and had to use one or the other with FMJ plated bullets for self defense against against a guy or group of guys behind a barrier such as a truck or inside a vehicle, would the FMJ bullets between the two calibers still be equal or would one have the advantage?

I'm not talking self defense hollow point ammo, just regular FMJ. Are they still equal to stop a threat behind barriers? This is just a hypothetical question that I haven't heard discussed. Shoot out with 9mm vs. .40 S&W, when the gun is loaded with practice target ammo...Maybe with barriers...are they still equal?

Non sequitor , that post is.

FMJ, JHP, 9mm, .45 ACP, .45 GAP, .50 AE, .44 Magnum, .357 magnum, all will do the same thing to a human when placed into the forehead. Forget ballistic gelatin or fancy tests. The factor which makes the difference between life and death is accuracy *alone*.

If people online spent the same amount of time at the range as they did debating caliber choices, we'd have one proficient civil militia on our hands.

jdg30
08-31-2012, 7:32 PM
Non sequitor , that post is.

FMJ, JHP, 9mm, .45 ACP, .45 GAP, .50 AE, .44 Magnum, .357 magnum, all will do the same thing to a human when placed into the forehead. Forget ballistic gelatin or fancy tests. The factor which makes the difference between life and death is accuracy *alone*.

If people online spent the same amount of time at the range as they did debating caliber choices, we'd have one proficient civil militia on our hands.

I shoot 100 or more rounds every other day or so and I'm not sure if you're referring to me as wondering about a hypothetical Internet situation or not. I shoot alone in the desert frequently so running into a nutcase(s) in a vehicle is a real possibility for me and that's why I'm asking the question about effectiveness of shooting practice/FMJ ammo through barriers. No doubt accuracy and shooting someone in the head with any caliber will stop them. But what if your theory isn't possible at the moment and they are behind a barrier... Then which is more effective for the situation, 9mm or .40 FMJ?

The Right to Bear Arms
08-31-2012, 8:46 PM
OP: I say .40 FMJ to answer your question. That said, the scenario you've given though opens up a litany of variables. i.e. If there is a threat behind cover then why not use a rifle caliber? And the list of possibilities and variables goes on and on. I can appreciate the nature of your line of thinking. I own several Glocks myself in the same caliber so your question resonates with me.

However, the variable that you have control over is the one mentioned by Silver Tauron. That is practice at the range.

Personally, I'm going to the range tomorrow @ 11 am. I hope everyone on Calguns gets the same opportunity this long weekend. Does America need a well informed and well prepared civil militia ? yes.

Sakiri
08-31-2012, 9:52 PM
You should check out the car of truth on this subject...

A regular ole 9mm easily penetrates into the cabin of a vehicle, and out the other side!

That being said, you can't argue with physics. .40 delivers more energy, assuming you can hit your target effectively with it.

-Freq

And I introduce you to:

The Buick 'O Truth.

This guy already did the ballistics testing for shiggles. I got a kick out of the write ups.

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/thebuickotruth.htm

Warhawk014
08-31-2012, 11:04 PM
If you don't know what happens to hollow points when shot through a car door. You should do some research. Does not matter what caliber. Same thing happens to all.

JTROKS
08-31-2012, 11:21 PM
I'd go with the 40 for barrier penetration over the 9mm. 10mm will be better, 320gr hard cast in 44 magnum is superb.

Tiberius
08-31-2012, 11:52 PM
I can solve this in the best Calguns fashion: buy another gun, in .357 Sig. Supposedly, that's one of the best for going through barriers and cars.

It must be true - I read it on the Interwebs.

T

Striker
09-01-2012, 9:42 AM
it's interesting how when the discussion of barriers come up people automatically think that you can't see the threat/target.


what about something like auto glass or a car door?

Yep. When talking about barriers, auto glass is always one of the most common examples. It's just no one here has mentioned it yet.

Since you are comparing two Glocks in different calibers, your main concern in this issue is not ballistics but reliability. Since someone else mentioned Doc GKR, I'lll keep that theme going. His opinion of Glocks chambered in 9mm is that they are one of the most proven, reliable platforms out there. The .40 Glock...not so much. Here is a quote from him:

"As I've said before:

If you want a Glock, get it in 9 mm, as the pre-2011 3rd gen 9 mm Glocks are probably the most proven pistols available. The new 4th gen G21's are also working well so far."

He and other experts have stated elsewhere that Glocks chambered in .40 are not nearly as reliable and durable as those chambered in 9mm

Except Delta seems to like their .40 cal Glocks. In fact, I know a lot of informed shooters that like the Glock 22 and 23 just fine. I respect Doc's opinion, but there's another side to the coin so to speak.

Non sequitor , that post is.

FMJ, JHP, 9mm, .45 ACP, .45 GAP, .50 AE, .44 Magnum, .357 magnum, all will do the same thing to a human when placed into the forehead. Forget ballistic gelatin or fancy tests. The factor which makes the difference between life and death is accuracy *alone*.

If people online spent the same amount of time at the range as they did debating caliber choices, we'd have one proficient civil militia on our hands.

Speed and accuracy as one. Almost as if they're one skill. Accuracy alone is fine in target shooting, but in a real world situation you'll need to shoot as fast as you can make good hits, so that's why I say they're almost one skill. And you were probably thinking that was obvious, but I just wanted to clarify.

If you compare the gelatin tests for pistols, they're really not that different. It's just some people want there to be more than the test really indicates. Where there's a significant difference is when you hit gelatin with a pistol vs a rifle or shotgun. It really does tell you how much more power a rifle or a shotgun have.

OP, bigger is better if you can shoot it as accurately at speed; and that's the key. Because speed and shot placement as one are king and the difference between .40 and 9mm isn't big enough to give those up just for a slightly bigger hole or slightly better barrier penetration. Most people can't shoot a .40 and make good hits on target at the same speed they can with a 9mm. I know I can't. In fact, if not 9mm, I would skip over .40 and go to .45 because I shoot it faster and more accurately than .40.

9mm FMJ is fine for barrier penetration such as auto windshields. Kyle Defoor stacks his 9mm mags and when asked why he simply said because every other one does something. Which is a good answer to your question.

jlbflyboy172
09-01-2012, 10:55 AM
Because speed and shot placement as one are king and the difference between .40 and 9mm isn't big enough to give those up just for a slightly bigger hole or slightly better barrier penetration. Most people can't shoot a .40 and make good hits on target at the same speed they can with a 9mm. I know I can't. In fact, if not 9mm, I would skip over .40 and go to .45 because I shoot it faster and more accurately than .40.

This is probably the most honest and accurate statement on the subject I have seen.

What striker said! +100

Sunday
09-01-2012, 11:05 AM
If I were just starting to shoot I would first buy 2 , 9mm. pistols them later on a 40 because there seems to always be 40 ammo available. Then later maybe a 45acp. I was able to shoot a 9mm and a 40 and a 45 acp xd service pistols at the range and my favorite was the 45 acp as far as the recoil feel. The 40 felt like a snappy 9mm. Also the 45 acp is so dead that I hardly ever find people shooting it usually people are shooting 9 and 40. I could be that the 45 acp shooters police their brass due to they reload.

Bryansix
09-01-2012, 1:56 PM
Speed and Accuracy... I like it.

jlbflyboy172
09-01-2012, 2:12 PM
My range experience is that I see way more people shooting .45 ACP than .40 S&W by a factor of about 3-1. My particular range of choice though may have a particular demographic that may lend itself to a greater popularity of .45. Many LEOs shoot there and guys from various agencies.

ap3572001
09-01-2012, 2:16 PM
9mm vs .40.....

I have both. Carry and carried both on and off duty.

To me its a Glock 17 with 17/33 rd magazines VS. Glock 22 with 15/22 rd magazines . Both loaded with Winchester Rangers 180 or with Federal HST 180 ( THE ONLY AMMO I CAN USE).

Which one I like better ? G22 GEN4 . But would be very happy with either one.

hermosabeach
09-01-2012, 3:32 PM
You might want to take a look at the "Hatcher Formula" for stopping power

http://www.abaris.net/info/ballistics/hatcher-table.htm

KE= 1/2 mass * velocity squared
So the 9mm in general will have more kinetic energy as 1/2 of 115 grains or 1/2 of 180 grains is small versus the square of the velocity

Momentum is mass * velocity

Hatcher Formula favors a flat tipped round

9mm are rounded FMJ
While many .40 are a truncated cone with a flat tip

For heavy critters, momentum wins. Slow heavy bullets- think of a buffalo round - 405 grain lead bullet

I think that the heavier bullet would do better on baracades.

Either way- pistols suck- they are just easy to have with you

RobertSmith
09-01-2012, 3:36 PM
I would say comfort dictates what you should carry. I'm sure that a 9 would be just as effective as a 40.

Given that if you feared for your life and fired a shot, you would probably give 'em 10 or more rounds. Enough to do the job, in my opinion.

I am a 40 cal person myself.

hermosabeach
09-01-2012, 3:40 PM
I also found a test of ballistic tests

http://www.americanrifleman.org/m-articlepage.aspx?id=4547&cid=19