November 17th, 2009 12:37 PM
9mm is fine (ballistics data included)
This is not going to be your "typical" 9mm vs 40 vs 45 flame thread. Instead, I am going to try and show where MODERN ammunition and technique will drop a threat (bad guy) with a 9mm. There is so much misinformation, bias, and B.S. out there that it is not even funny. So many of these "so-called" tests are done in support of one particular caliber instead of evenly across the board.
Let's start off with the basics. Many cops (myself included) use the Speer Gold Dot JHP (jacketed hollow point) in the 9mm, 40 or 45. It is a bonded round and proven to be a high quality defensive design. I will focus on these rounds only for this thread.
Here is step one of the ballistics profile:
9mm +P: 124 grain, muzzle velocity 1220fps, energy 410f/lbs
40 S&W: 165 grain, muzzle velocity 1150fps, energy 484f/lbs
45 ACP: 230 grain, muzzle velocity 890fps, energy 404f/lbs
Why +P 9mm? It is superior to a normal 9mm and still does not have the recoil of the 40 or 45. You'd be a fool not to use +P. Most cops that shoot 9mm are using +P so...
Step 2 of the ballistic profile:
One shot stop % on center mass that struck the heart or severed a major artery/vessel:
9mm +P = 92%
40 S&W = 94%
45 ACP = 94%
Two shots, same criteria:
9mm +P = 99%
40 S&W = 99%
45 ACP = 99%
Note: do not confuse this with instantly stopping the threat. This is where the subject was hit and eventually bled out.
Step 3 of the ballistic profile:
Did the round penetrate beyond the FBI's recommended 12"?
9mm +P = yes
40 S&W = yes
45 ACP = yes
Step 4 of the ballistic profile:
Did the round exit the target after passing through center mass and penetrating beyond 12"?
9mm +P = no
40 S&W = no
45 ACP = no
Thus ends the ballistic profile portion.
Summary: the difference between the three rounds is so minute, it does not really matter which caliber you choose so long as you can hit center mass, especially with a double tap.
Now you will hear others cite passages about energy transfer, kinetic energy, the mythological knockdown power, velocity x expansion, etc. These may (I use may liberally) have a place for argument if your shots are NOT center mass, otherwise don't worry about them. You shoot to kill, and as such keep shooting until the threat is eliminated. You don't stop after the first shot to see if you get the fabled "1 shot stop," nor do you do a physics study on the energy transfer to the target.
Oh, btw, pistol rounds WILL NOT knock a person down by slamming into them. Argue it all you want to, it simply can't happen off physics alone. The correct term is "stopping power." The only guaranteed way a person instantly drops from a pistol shot is if the spine or brain are destroyed by the shot. If it is not a spine or brain shot, some people can keep on fighting, others will stop in their tracks. YOU NEVER KNOW.
Shooting speed and follow-up shots:
The difference in follow-up shot speed is not measured in seconds, but fractions of a second. This is also judged by actually scoring back to back center mass hits. Pull the trigger, land a good hit, manage the recoil, get back on target and land your follow-up center mass as well. Yes the 9mm is the fastest of the three. How much faster? On average around 1/10ths of a second faster than the 45 and 2/10ths faster than the 40. These numbers reflect the average shooter with a factory pistol. If that's all the difference, why worry about speed? There are two types of shooters in a gun fight: the quick (who may still be injured) and the dead.
Overall summary: pick a caliber that you are comfortable with, can score multiple center mass hits with, and can afford to practice with.
Ignore the fanboys and hype. So many cling to the 45 is king because of the military's use of ball (non-hollow point) ammo. Ball ammo is a different story entirely.
If you choose to carry a 9mm, use high quality +P ammo, practice until you can land multiple center mass hits quickly, and be confident in your ability.
Most handgun shootouts are from 7 yards and CLOSER. At that range, it is point shooting, where you get near max velocity and energy with all three rounds. If you really want to train to win, practice the Mozambique shooting drill: 2 to the chest, 1 to the head.
I do, and use all three calibers (M&P .40, GLOCK 34 9mm, Springfield XD 45). I prefer the 9mm.
November 17th, 2009 12:56 PM
Nice write-up from someone who appears to know first hand. You've re-affirmed what I've settled in my mind anyway after researching it. I'm also tired of the "9mm is for those who squat when they p.." comments from locals.
Thanks for the work.
November 17th, 2009 01:15 PM
November 17th, 2009 01:50 PM
good writeup HOWEVER.... Just kidding
I'm not so much a .45 fan as a 1911, tompson SMG, KRISS SMG fan
There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
November 17th, 2009 01:59 PM
Modern ammo, modern results. The civil war was so deadly because of modernized ammo.
I know not what this "overkill" means.
Honing the knives, Cleaning the longguns, Stocking up ammo.
November 17th, 2009 05:19 PM
Could you provide your sources for steps 2, 3, & 4? Very interesting write up! Thanks.
November 17th, 2009 06:02 PM
I carry a gun cause I can't carry a cop.
November 17th, 2009 06:15 PM
November 17th, 2009 06:16 PM
Originally Posted by TheHun
Agreed on this.
The math isn't there.
There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH
...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper
There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm
November 17th, 2009 06:18 PM
Nice post. Actually, I've never really been one to debate the calibers. I keep an open mind, and carry what I chose solely dependent on my feelings for that particular day. When weather and garments dictate I carry the 45, I will. When weather dictates I go lighter, it may very well be the nine. I find myself carrying the 40S&W most of the time.
November 17th, 2009 06:33 PM
November 17th, 2009 07:07 PM
Interesting thread and a good read.
I don't carry anything smaller than 9mm. It is always comforting to be reassured that it is still a viable defense round.
November 17th, 2009 09:24 PM
November 17th, 2009 10:00 PM
Great! Makes me feel good about my two CZ 9mm's! Thanks for your hard work in writing this up!
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
-- Benjamin Franklin
November 17th, 2009 10:44 PM
The OP was referring to average people with stock guns when talking about follow up shots. The "average" shooter probably puts less rounds through their guns in a lifetime than some of us put through ours in a year or two or three.
Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
Texas CHL Instructor
Texas Hunter Education Instructor
By chrise2004 in forum Defensive Carry Guns
Last Post: December 30th, 2009, 09:01 AM
By brobar in forum Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options
Last Post: October 6th, 2009, 04:26 PM
By Soular in forum Off Topic & Humor Discussion
Last Post: June 16th, 2009, 10:27 AM
By infoe in forum Member Buy, Sell & Trade
Last Post: November 24th, 2008, 11:03 PM
By aznav in forum General Firearm Discussion
Last Post: November 26th, 2007, 10:18 AM
Search tags for this page
9 mm is fine
9mm ballistics data
9mm fine for winter
9mm is fine
9mm p energy
9mm versus .45 acp ballistics
ballistic data 9mm
ballistic difference between 9mm and .40
ballistic difference between 9mm and .45
fbi ballistics data
modern 9mm ballistics
Click on a term to search for related topics.
» DefensiveCarry Sponsors