38 vs 9mm - Page 2

38 vs 9mm

This is a discussion on 38 vs 9mm within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by skysoldier29 Almost all the time from what I have read on the Internet (not great info usually) is that most civilian concealed ...

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Thread: 38 vs 9mm

  1. #16
    VIP Member Array tkruf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skysoldier29 View Post
    Almost all the time from what I have read on the Internet (not great info usually) is that most civilian concealed carry shootings happen in less than 5 rounds.
    Right. That's one reason why I said in the post, 5 rounds of .38 vs 5 rounds of 9mm. Most revolvers only carry 5 rounds of .38. Some carry 6, maybe even 7, but most carry 5. I wanted this to be a discussion about the effectiveness of the two cartridges pitted against each other, one on one.
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  2. #17
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Six of one half dozen of the other. The base of the bullets that the gas is pushing against are almost the same size.
    The industry standard for the .38 special +P is 20,000 psi
    The industry standard for the 9mm+P is 38,500 psi.
    If the choice is limited to similar bullet designs and weights I will go with the 9mm.
    If it is anything goes in the caliber for the 9mm I like the 115 to 127 grain offerings. In the .38 I go 125 to 158.
    I carry both and am just as confident in their performance as I am with my .45acp. As long as I do my part any one of them will get the job done.
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  3. #18
    Ex Member Array Bullet1234's Avatar
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    From documentation on the study from FBI 10mm Notes SSA
    Urey W. Patrick, Firearms Training Unit FBI Academy, Quantico, VA

    "The 9mm is no more effective than the .38 Special, which should
    not be surprising since they are the same caliber bullets (.35 caliber)
    at the same range of velocities and bullet weights"

    "Are you saying the 9mm is no good?
    No. We are saying it is as good as the .38 Special, which has served us
    for a long time. It has severe limitations, which we are not willing to accept.
    It is woefully inadequate for shooting at people in cars, for example,
    and over half of our shootings involve vehicles. It is a marginally adequate
    wounding agent. We have had a number of 9mm shootings over the past couple
    of years, and if you define a good shooting as one in which the subject stops
    whatever he was doing when he gets shot, we have yet to have a good one,
    and we are hitting our adversaries multiple times. We have shot half a dozen dogs
    in the past year and have not killed one yet, although we have run up a significant
    veterinary bill. The 9mm with proper ammunition is not a bad round."

    'It is just nowhere near as effective as the 10mm and .45 offerings, and
    the disparity between it and the larger calibers has remained a constant throughout
    all the testing we have done over the past two years."

    "Since the .45 tested so well, why not adopt it instead of a new gun/caliber?

    First, the 10mm tested better, albeit marginally better, than the .45 and we were
    committed to adopt the best round. Nevertheless, the
    10mm has far superior accuracy, allows for slightly higher capacity
    than similar sized .45 weapons, is a new cartridge with room for further
    improvement whereas the .45 has been around for 80 years and is as good
    as it is ever going to be, and the recoil of the 10mm is softer than that
    of a comparably sized .45"

    My way of thinking ,,,, they did not SAY THE 9MM, 38SPL, OR 45ACP
    WERE BAD ,,,,, THEY just PREFERRED THE 10MM and the possibility of
    more development of the 10mm.

  4. #19
    VIP Member Array tkruf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullet1234 View Post
    From documentation on the study from FBI 10mm Notes SSA
    Urey W. Patrick, Firearms Training Unit FBI Academy, Quantico, VA

    "The 9mm is no more effective than the .38 Special, which should
    not be surprising since they are the same caliber bullets (.35 caliber)
    at the same range of velocities and bullet weights"

    "Are you saying the 9mm is no good?
    No. We are saying it is as good as the .38 Special, which has served us
    for a long time. It has severe limitations, which we are not willing to accept.
    It is woefully inadequate for shooting at people in cars, for example,
    and over half of our shootings involve vehicles. It is a marginally adequate
    wounding agent. We have had a number of 9mm shootings over the past couple
    of years, and if you define a good shooting as one in which the subject stops
    whatever he was doing when he gets shot, we have yet to have a good one,
    and we are hitting our adversaries multiple times. We have shot half a dozen dogs
    in the past year and have not killed one yet, although we have run up a significant
    veterinary bill. The 9mm with proper ammunition is not a bad round."

    'It is just nowhere near as effective as the 10mm and .45 offerings, and
    the disparity between it and the larger calibers has remained a constant throughout
    all the testing we have done over the past two years."

    "Since the .45 tested so well, why not adopt it instead of a new gun/caliber?

    First, the 10mm tested better, albeit marginally better, than the .45 and we were
    committed to adopt the best round. Nevertheless, the
    10mm has far superior accuracy, allows for slightly higher capacity
    than similar sized .45 weapons, is a new cartridge with room for further
    improvement whereas the .45 has been around for 80 years and is as good
    as it is ever going to be, and the recoil of the 10mm is softer than that
    of a comparably sized .45"

    My way of thinking ,,,, they did not SAY THE 9MM, 38SPL, OR 45ACP
    WERE BAD ,,,,, THEY just PREFERRED THE 10MM and the possibility of
    more development of the 10mm.
    Thanks, I remember reading that myself once, however that was not my question. Go back to my OP and read the question.
    .38 vs 9mm - 5 rounds of each, no more. Which would you choose, .38 or 9mm? Not an option here for 10mm or .45. They are not part of the question. Lets keep it concerning the .38 and 9mm only please.
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  5. #20
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    There's not enough difference to matter... to me it would be more about the gun style I want to carry at that point rather than the bullet itself.

  6. #21
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    Many moons ago, when I first jumped into serious shooting and loading, I devoured ballistics charts. Would read them all the time. Read about cartridges I had no intention of owning. In other words, I had no life. What I did discover was that the majority of rifle catridges had a very similar ballistic signature, energy notwithstanding (due to weight). While this may really stir the pot, and while I may be wrong, I believe that either of my 9s, either of my 357s (SIG and magnum), my 40 or my 45 will not show a big difference in performance, assuming accuracy with premium bullets.

    I vote 9mm, as it can be found anywhere, is inexpensive, and can be loaded fairly heavy (in my opinion) for case capacity. But I do like my J-frame 60. I feed it 38s.

  7. #22
    VIP Member Array SmokinFool's Avatar
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    I have carried both, and still do, depending on circumstances. In heavier loads, either one will do an excellent job as long as I do my part.

  8. #23
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    The question here is a problem because 9mm and .38 spl are not choices you make in isolation. In general, these rounds divide the two platforms - semi-auto and revolver.

    If you are going with a revolver, 9mm isn't an option. If you're carrying an autoloader, then .38 spl isn't on your shopping list.

    The two rounds have similar characteristics and represent the mid-range ammunition available. Let's look at what "mid-range" means in this context:

    Small cartridges, like .25, .32, and .380 allow for very small guns - mouseguns - that you can tuck in a pocket. Their recoil can still be brisk, and their penetration and expansion are unreliable. Capacity of the firearm will usually be low, but the tradeoff is concealability.

    Mid-range cartridges like the 9mm and .38 spl allow for FBI-approved levels of penetration, offer consistent expansion, and have manageable recoil and follow-up.

    Large caliber choices like .357 and .45 put the emphasis on power. The drawback is the size and weight of the firearm that handles these rounds.

    So you can see that the mid-range option tries to split the difference between power and ease of carry. You don't get the maximum of either, but you minimize the disadvantages of both extremes. So that leads to consideration of capacity vs reliability.

    Your question, then, really isn't about caliber but about the tradeoff between firepower and confidence.
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  9. #24
    VIP Member Array tkruf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shockwave View Post
    The question here is a problem because 9mm and .38 spl are not choices you make in isolation. In general, these rounds divide the two platforms - semi-auto and revolver.

    If you are going with a revolver, 9mm isn't an option. If you're carrying an autoloader, then .38 spl isn't on your shopping list.

    The two rounds have similar characteristics and represent the mid-range ammunition available. Let's look at what "mid-range" means in this context:

    Small cartridges, like .25, .32, and .380 allow for very small guns - mouseguns - that you can tuck in a pocket. Their recoil can still be brisk, and their penetration and expansion are unreliable. Capacity of the firearm will usually be low, but the tradeoff is concealability.

    Mid-range cartridges like the 9mm and .38 spl allow for FBI-approved levels of penetration, offer consistent expansion, and have manageable recoil and follow-up.

    Large caliber choices like .357 and .45 put the emphasis on power. The drawback is the size and weight of the firearm that handles these rounds.

    So you can see that the mid-range option tries to split the difference between power and ease of carry. You don't get the maximum of either, but you minimize the disadvantages of both extremes. So that leads to consideration of capacity vs reliability.

    Your question, then, really isn't about caliber but about the tradeoff between firepower and confidence.

    Not necessarily. Remember a couple of revolvers have been offered in 9mm, the Ruger SP101 being one of them at one time. The Coonan 1911 shoots .357 (probably not .38 tho. I'm not sure if there has been a semi-auto ever produced that fires the .38 special).

    My question was not about a tradeoff between firepower and confidence. It was about how confident you feel with the .38 and the 9mm. Between the two, which one do you have more confidence in doing the job better?

    To me, to answer my own question, they are both fairly equal in firepower, maybe a little edge to the 9mm if you give a rats tail about statics. Charts I've looked at show the 9mm with higher ft/lb of energy than the .38 special.
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  10. #25
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    The Smith & Wesson Model 52 immediately comes to mind. It was an automatic pistol chambered for the .38 Special. It was especially intended for bulls-eye competition and would only feed ammunition loaded with flush-mounted wadcutter loads.
    Link: https://www.google.com/search?q=Smit...w=1280&bih=871

    Colt did produce a few 1911-based .38 Special wadcutter pistols in their National Match line. These are much more scarce than the Smith & Wesson Model 52 which is none to common itself.
    Link: Collector's Firearms
    Link: https://www.google.com/search?q=Smit...w=1280&bih=871

    Neither of these specialty .38 Special automatics would be seriously considered for personal self defense though one would work in a pinch.
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  11. #26
    Ex Member Array Bullet1234's Avatar
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    YOUR PERSONAL PREFERENCE,,,, for the record
    I have both,,,, my personal preference is the 38spl
    mainly because I am old school ,,,,, and I have NEVER
    HAD A JAM with a wheelie.
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  12. #27
    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    Not necessarily.
    Mm-hm. Careful readers will note the words "in general" in the post and be mollified accordingly.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

  13. #28
    Member Array Cory1022's Avatar
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    I feel strongly both ways. Really, I like both. I carry a .38 most of the time, but the big 9 is home and ready. I am looking for a smaller 9 but probably will still carry .38. And if I ever get a deal on a quality 9mm revolver, I'll grab that fast too. I do like the availablity of 9mm ammo, but plan to be loading my own by year's end.

  14. #29
    Distinguished Member Array CDW4ME's Avatar
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    I'll play and I'll base my answer on comparable size "pocket" guns with appropriate approximately equivalent ammunition.
    I had a Kahr PM9 that I probably should have kept, still have a ported S&W 442.
    Average velocity for 5 shots chronographed out of each:
    Kahr PM9: Winchester Ranger T 124 gr. +P @ 1,094 fps / 329# KE
    S&W 442: Winchester PDX 130 gr. +P @ 848 fps / 207# KE

    The 9mm +P is packing about 27% more energy in this little example; dang it, I should have kapt that Kahr PM9.
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  15. #30
    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I like the heavier bullets available in the .38 spcl
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

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