9mm vs .38 Spl (what is most common)

9mm vs .38 Spl (what is most common)

This is a discussion on 9mm vs .38 Spl (what is most common) within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 9mm (including +P versions) or .38 Spl (including .38 Spl + P). What do you think is the most common handgun caliber (don't consider LE ...

View Poll Results: Civilian Use: 9mm vs .38 Spl (what is most common)

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  • .38 Spl, both greater # owners and rounds sold.

    5 8.20%
  • 9mm, both greater # owners and rounds sold.

    36 59.02%
  • More own the .38 Spl but the 9mm round has greater sales per year.

    20 32.79%
  • More own the 9mm but the .38 Spl round has greater sales per year.

    0 0%
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Thread: 9mm vs .38 Spl (what is most common)

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    9mm vs .38 Spl (what is most common)

    9mm (including +P versions) or .38 Spl (including .38 Spl + P).

    What do you think is the most common handgun caliber (don't consider LE or Military)? Don't forget to consider the gunowner who just has a pistol in the night stand for home SD but rarely goes to the range.

    Not looking for just sales #s per say (but would be interested to see any stats). Was part of a conversation today, and just wondered what the forum thought, and if anyone had any hard facts.

    I really don't know the answer, as I think the 9mm rounds are sold more often (however this includes LE & Military).

    Most pistol collections I have seen include both. However, in my experience, it is a mix between 9mm and .38 Spl for people who just own one pistol for home SD.

    So for me, I would guess it is 9mm all around, but just maybe there are more .38 Spl owners out there, as there are a lot of old LE handguns, hand me downs, and just years of production behind the .38 Spl firearm.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    The fact that semi-autos dominate the market these days makes 9mm the most likely correct selection here.

  3. #3
    Member Array TonySoprano's Avatar
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    I have no clue what to say on this poll. 9mm & 38spl are both very popular for carrying. I carry both and 357 magnum.

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array Der Alte's Avatar
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    The 9mm was not as popular in the US prior to and during WWII - this was a .38 nation. After the war the 9mm started becoming more popular and was probably the most desired ammunition for sub-machine guns. As it gained popularity it was designated as the standard small cartridge for NATO - the US adopted the Beretta M-9 as it standard side arm. At the same time the auto loaders started becoming very popular and the 9mm was the most popular cartidge. Even the majority of Police Depts converted to the 9mm auto. I have both and carry the 9mm a little more than the .38 but my preference is my 1911 in .45 cal.
    Its a shame that youth is wasted on the young.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    I carry a G23 which is a .40 cal gun but I do have a small 9mm that I use for deep concealment when I need it.

    I like the idea of more rounds and the easier reload of a magazine but I would not feel under-gunned with a 5 shot .38 either.
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    I am guessing there are more .38 specials owned but more 9mm's fired.
    To my knowledge the 9mm didn't really get big market share until the late 1980's when lots of police departments switched to the 9mm round and away from the .38 special. A lot of departments helped pay for their 9's by selling their revolvers. I know on my department a lot of the officers bought their service revolvers through one of the local shops that had the contract to sell them.

    Back in the 1990's there was some controversy about criminals using guns that had been sold by police departments at auction, or the departments surplus weapons sold through dealers. As a result lots of local governments started prohibiting departments from selling off their old weapons. As a result these departments ( my old one included) either had to trade their weapons back to the manufacturer or melt them down. Because of this when they switched from the 9 to the .40 they didn't flood the market like they did with the revolvers.
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  7. #7
    Member Array lee n. field's Avatar
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    The 9mm was not as popular in the US prior to and during WWII - this was a .38 nation
    Because, if this nation was anything in that era, it was a revolver nation. Think S&W model 10, on every cop's gunbelt.

  8. #8
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Yeah...I think this one's fairly easy to judge. I'll go with
    9mm, both greater # owners and rounds sold.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    I chose option 3.

    I would be willing to bet that there are more 38s in the homes in Amnerica. The 9mm probably outsells them now and has for the past 20 yrs or so, but the .38 spl has about a one hundred year headstart. Yes, I now that the 9mm came out in sonething like 1910, and worldwide it was and is very popular, but the .38 was the american favorite for many years. The .38spl also sort of got a new lease on life when concealed carry became so widepread and snubby sales increased.

    The statement that this was a revolver nation is very true. Now not so much. However, most of those cop revolvers that were replaced by the 9mm are still floating around somewhere. Many where replaced with the .40, so that won't add to the 9mm count at all. And a lot of old revolvers are in the closets and nightstands of people who are not really gun people.

    Most of the non gun-nuts that I know have a .38 or .357 revolver as their only handgun for home defense.

    JMO
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  10. #10
    Member Array mikeMAGNUM's Avatar
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    Wink Old School

    Hello All,

    Anyone old enough to have started shooting 30 to 40 years

    ago knows how many .38 wheel guns were and still are out there.

    I'll bet most of those ole' wheel guns are still playing roles in HD and

    BUG service to this day. My vote goes to more .38's in place but

    more 9mm shot.

    Safety First....Keep your groups tight,

    mM

  11. #11
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    From my perspective there's definitely more .38s.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    From my perspective there's definitely more .38s.
    lol

  13. #13
    Member Array OhShoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    From my perspective there's definitely more .38s.
    GREAT pic.

    - OS

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Who cares... own both. Although I prefer .357.

  15. #15
    Member Array SouthernZ71's Avatar
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    I do not own a 9mm.. Probably will one day.
    I carry only .45

    But at work Im looking for a small pocket gun, and Im considering a 38special (+P) Jframe.
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