38 vs 9mm

38 vs 9mm

This is a discussion on 38 vs 9mm within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 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 ...

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Thread: 38 vs 9mm

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array tkruf's Avatar
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    38 vs 9mm

    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?
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  2. #2
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    About the same size...in the generally same vicinity, really makes no difference.
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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    heavier and slower vs lighter and faster...

    over 40 years and more than a quater million re-loaded rounds later i have to say---

    thank you for your interest and may i get back to you in a bit.

    -----------------------

    its the same question of which is better 9 or 45....
    its not for 100 years and a million or so bodies to study
    that we still have no definitive answer.

    ...or is it that between the 2 (questions) there is no clear 'right'

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    my j-frame is loaded with 158gr LSWC HP silvertips and my 9 is 124gr Golden Saber.
    i do not favor one over the other; i choose based on how i am dressed.
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    9mm has a greater range of ammunition manufacturers that meet the FBI protocol, so it gets my vote.
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    Heavier and slower...just like me
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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    If restricted to the ammo listed in the original question I do not see much difference between the two. Now if you were to use the heavier slugs that the 38 spcl is capable of using I would give the spcl the edge.
    I'm old fashioned but the 158 gr SWC bullet in the 38 spcl is still an awesome round.

    Michael

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    Im with Michael in post#6. 6 of one, or half a dozen of the other. But when you get to choose the bullet, the swc design that the 38spl can shoot gets my vote without hesitation.
    bmcgilvray, OD*, shooterX and 1 others like this.
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    What Gman says.
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    I will take 5 rounds of 9MM +P+ Ranger T's into the chest cavity. Then reload for another 5 rounds of the same if still standing.
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    Distinguished Member Array Stetson's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter it's called shot placement.Seriously,I have both and I carry a s+w bodyguard 38spl designed mainly self
    defense,hence the name it's winter so out comes old trusty glock 17, 17+1 i carry 147 grain winchester self defense ammo when I can find it.You use to be able to buy it for 50 rounds for twenty bucks but those days are long gone.I did come across
    a sale when wally world was selling 38spl self defense rounds for $2.50 a box of 20 I bought every box they had.I think they were cor born.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    9 mm ..... higher velocity, and typically more energy and penetration.

    A woman had tried to poison her husband ... "twice" ... she couldn't stand him and he wouldn't divorce her. Both times, he survived. They didn't charge her because he kept saying it was accidental and she didn't mean it. So, she took a .38 and shot him 6 times point blank in the face. Two days later at the hospital they were interviewing him about this whole thing and that he had survived all of this, including getting shot 6 times at point blank range.

    He said, "Ah, I know she didn't mean it .... it was an accident, she wasn't trying to kill me. She says she wants a divorce but I know she really loves me, besides she's pregnant with my baby" .

    Reporter : "Sir, do you realize that she's had a hysterectomy and can't have babies ? ".

    Man : " The doctors keep telling me that too, but I know they are just lieing to me.... "

    No wonder this woman wanted to end her misery with this guy, but she went to prison for attempted murder.... and said she would at least be away from him. But, he announced that he promised to come and visit her EVERY WEEK at the prison. Poor woman.

    Again .... 9 mm.
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  12. #12
    Distinguished Member Array Knightrider's Avatar
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    9mm

    However both have been doing their jobs well for years on in
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  13. #13
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    I'm going with the .38, but only due to the heavier loading. Some like big bores and big holes. I prefer whatever size hole I can get from the heaviest load in whatever I'm carrying.

    Long live the .38 special!

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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array tkruf's Avatar
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    So far pretty interesting. So I'm gathering, heavier, slower, bullets are preferred. Since .38 can be had in the 158gr SWC and 9mm only goes to 147gr. Some people here still prefer the 9mm over the .38.

    Eagleks: The guy must have been hard headed. LOL

    Well accord to energy ratings I've seen on the rounds, the 9mm has more energy at muzzle, and at 50 yards than the .38. Although for SD, we could care less about 50 yards.

    I'm sure there are lots of cases where .38 performed better in a shoot, than a 9mm would have, and vice versa, which goes to show that they are most likely very similar in performance.

    Keep 'em coming. I'd like to see some more peoples opinion on these two rounds.
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  15. #15
    Distinguished Member Array skysoldier29's Avatar
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    My thought is. On the street if I can't solve my problems after initial contact with a BG with 5 rounds of 38 SPL, I don't feel having 10 more rounds of 9mm or 4 more rounds of 45 in a 1911 is going to do much good. Either I can't hit my target and he likely got me, or there were multiple bad guys who got me. 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.

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