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 tkruf Forget round count. 5 shots vs 15 shots. Forget carry condition, recoil, difference in how they shoot. Also forget "shot placement ...

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Thread: 38 vs 9mm

  1. #61
    VIP Member Array Rob99VMI04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkruf View Post
    Forget round count. 5 shots vs 15 shots.
    Forget carry condition, recoil, difference in how they shoot.
    Also forget "shot placement is most important" of course it is, but for this case. You have 5 rounds of either type, you can put them anywhere you want on the perp. All five rounds in the head or all 5 in the chest, which round do you prefer?

    5 rounds of .38+P (Gold Dots or Hydroshocks) or 5 rounds of 9mm +P (Gold Dots, Golden Saber, Critical Defense etc.)

    Type of carry gun does not matter, 5 rounds to 5 rounds.

    Which do you think is the better round? .38 or 9mm?
    Unfortunately your criteria does not reflect reality 9mm is typically always going to have more ammo therefore I would go with 9 (more BB's are always better). However, if I was going to 7-11 at 12 o'clock for a gallon of milk and didn't want to throw on a holster I would not feel out gunned with a j frame in the pocket and a speed strip.
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  3. #62
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    It would be interesting to see what can be achieved with the 9mm outside of traditional loadings. If it's possible, then it would certainly elevate the cartridge.

    I have always liked the 9mm. I believe it and the 38spl are the best of the bunch for guns carried for SD by anyone who wants a good balance of power and controllability in a carry gun that can actually be carried everyday.

    I'll take either, I just don't think the 9mm is any better than the 38spl.
    tkruf likes this.
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  4. #63
    VIP Member Array Doghandler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    ... hard cast swc design excels. ...
    Does anyone know of a manufacturer that actually produces this stuff besides Buffalo Bore?

  5. #64
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Glockman10mm I am curious. Now don't get me wrong I have a couple hundred rounds of hard cast 158 SWC .38s in my garage right now, nothing wrong with it. But if it is such a great defensive round why are all the loadings I have seen for semi wad cutters in .45acp labeled as target ammo? Why is no one marketing it as a personal defense round? I would think that someone like Cor-Bon who pretty much offers ammo with other peoples bullets in them would have no reason not to offer it. If they kept their margin the same they would lose nothing by selling the SWC round instead of the JHPs. In fact they might even pick up some market share.

    As far as heavy 9mm goes, somewhere I have some old Israeli 156grain 9mm SMG ammo. I was told pressure wise it is near a NATO spec proof load. I think this might be the same stuff that was breaking the Beretta slides back in the day. If I ever get one of the all stainless steel P226s I might try a couple. But I am not going to risk one of my "classics" just to play with it.
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  6. #65
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    Until Gman arrives I'm going to venture a suggestion on semi-wadcutters in .45 ACP as defensive rounds.

    There are lots and lots of different .45 ACP semi-auto pistols out there. Semi-wadcutters don't always give reliable feeding characteristics in all .45 ACP pistols. The .45 ACP semi-wadcutter was originally designed and intended for target competition. One's life didn't depend on reliable feeding on the firing line of a match. The earliest designs probably were developed just after the advent of the Colt 1911. Pistols were "throated" to better feed them. The semi-wadcutter design immortalized by mold maker Hensley & Gibbs weighs in at 200 grains and features a slightly long nose that many considered aided in feeding. Semi-wadcutter .45 ACP bullets copying the old H&G No. 68 mold design are still the most popular and desirable to this day. Despite the best efforts of semi-wadcutter mold makers and bullet manufacturers though there is still a real possibility of a hang up on a feed ramp. No semi-wadcutter bullet designed can completely avoid this. It's the nature of the beast.

    If a manufacturer is hawking his wares as suitable for self-defense he is not about to go out on a limb and offer a style of bullet that is known for being a chore for some .45 ACP pistols to feed. A large segment of the market is not going to be happy with the product. Pistols that become inoperative at inopportune times would be most unfortunate.

    No brand or model of .45 ACP pistol should be considered completely immune to failures to feed with a semi-wadcutter load. The individual might work with his pistol to gain reliability with the design but the ammunition maker can't depend on that across the board with all .45 ACP owners. A 200 grain SWC may be propelled to 1000 fps from a full-sized 5-inch 1911 barrel and could be considered a fearsome thing on the receiving end. The bullet was designed however to plod along at 675/750 fps and cut a full-caliber hole in a paper target. A little secret: Jazzing up one's handloaded .45 semi-wadcutters can improve feed characteristics over that of .45 ACP target ammunition. I've observed this to be true in my own .45 automatics but I still wouldn't want to depend on the semi-wadcutter for a defensive load. This despite the fact that I've shot many thousand lead SWCs through my favorite old 1911 with never a jam. Other 1911 type guns I own or have owed weren't quite as eclectic in their tastes.

    A good number of Texas critters have "given their all" to .45 ACP semi-wadcutters. I once shot a hunkered down jackrabbit lengthwise with a hot SWC load from my 1911. The bullet cored out an impressive hole for sure and the exit hole was quite opened up. The bullet wasn't recovered but I doubt it expanded much at all. This was not an H&G design by the way but a 185 grain bulk pack offering made by Northside Gun Shop Oklahoma City back in the 1970s and early 1980s that featured a little stubby looking nose. The bullets were sold in 500 count boxes by my reloading supplier and were also popular around the D/FW gun shows back in the day.

    The 9mm will suffer the same feeding problems using SWCs as the .45 ACP. It would take experimentation with individual pistols to determine if decent reliability could be had with the bullet design.

    Which brings us right back to revolvers for dependable use of semi-wadcutter bullets for hunting or self-defense purposes.

    Link to H&G 200 grain semi-wadcutter: http://hgmould.gunloads.com/molds/68_12.jpg

    More H&G information and lore: http://hgmould.gunloads.com/casting/hgmoldchart.htm
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