9mm vs 38 special. which is more powerful?

This is a discussion on 9mm vs 38 special. which is more powerful? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; my guess is this has been discussed a million times but i am kinda new to the whole shooting thing. just got my CC card ...

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Thread: 9mm vs 38 special. which is more powerful?

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    Member Array TheCount's Avatar
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    9mm vs 38 special. which is more powerful?

    my guess is this has been discussed a million times but i am kinda new to the whole shooting thing. just got my CC card today and went out and bought a couple guns.

    one is a glock 17, fine pistol no doubt. one reason to get it was the abundance of 9mm ammo. 38 special used to be THE popular caliber i thought but still hard to find for cheap. which has the more stopping power, I would assume the 38 due to the larger shell, or both equally usable?

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    Ballistic Comparison MV ME
    1. .38 Special 948 273
    2. 9mm Luger (Parabellum) 1145 346

    MV = muzzle velocity and ME = Muzzle energy


    The 9mm fire at a higher velocity therefore it carries higher energy
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

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    Senior Member Array Macattack's Avatar
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    oh god, here we go........

    I prefer the 9mm for the reasons above^
    "In those days, there was a lot more respect for other people and it showed in peoples values.... Today the word value means nothing more than something you get on the $1 menu at McDonald's." -BARK'N

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    Senior Member Array Macattack's Avatar
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    also which 38 did you buy?
    "In those days, there was a lot more respect for other people and it showed in peoples values.... Today the word value means nothing more than something you get on the $1 menu at McDonald's." -BARK'N

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    Stand in front of either, or both, and ask that question again.

    I don't think it makes much difference to the person on the receiving end. Plenty of coffins have been filled by both. Somebody probably has been killed by every caliber created.
    The 9mm has an edge in capacity in semiautos, if you like that idea. A .38 snubbie has its advantages too. The question should be, which can you shoot the best and have the most confidence with?
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    AzB
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    Colt New Agent, Dan Wesson V-Bob, Glock 19,20SF, 23, 26, 27, 29, 30SF, 36, Kahr P380 w/CT, PM9, PM45, CW9(SOLD), Kel-Tec P32, P3AT, PF9(SOLD), Kimber Ultra Crimson Carry II, Stainless Pro TLE/RL II (SOLD), Rohrbaugh R9s, Ruger LCP w/CT, LCR, SP101 S&W J-Frame 638 w/CT, M&P 340 w/CT, Walther PPK/S

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    Of course then there's Buffalo Bore .38 Special or any of several good handloading options that exceed 9mm energies.

    Link: Heavy .38 Special +P Pistol & Handgun Ammunition
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    EW3
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    I'll say 9mm.

    Why?

    Because I can shoot the 9mm very well, while I can't hit crap with the .38 and the recoil from the small, lightweight snubbies isn't very pleasant, making shooting much past 30-50 rounds a pain, literally.
    "Naked and Starving as They are We Cannot Enough Admire the Incomparable Patience and Fidelity of the Soldiery" – George Washington, Valley Forge, 1777.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Of course then there's Buffalo Bore .38 Special or any of several good handloading options that exceed 9mm energies.

    Link: Heavy .38 Special +P Pistol & Handgun Ammunition
    In the interest of full disclosure, the hottest .38SPL that BB makes gives you 474 ft/lbs of muzzle energy out of a 4" revolver. The hottest 9mm that they make gives you 587 ft/lbs of energy out of a similar length barrel...

    Not so much on the "exceeding 9mm energies," unless you are comparing extremely hot loaded .38SPL to standard pressure 9mm, and that's hardly a fair comparison.

    The basic fact is that, load for load, the 9mm has more energy. (Disclaimer: energy is only one method for measuring projectile effectiveness, and is not the be all and end all of ballistics studies).
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Member Array Big Larry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCount View Post
    my guess is this has been discussed a million times but i am kinda new to the whole shooting thing. just got my CC card today and went out and bought a couple guns.

    one is a glock 17, fine pistol no doubt. one reason to get it was the abundance of 9mm ammo. 38 special used to be THE popular caliber i thought but still hard to find for cheap. which has the more stopping power, I would assume the 38 due to the larger shell, or both equally usable?
    The shell is that long because it was first used with black powder.
    Walk quietly and carry a big stick.

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    Distinguished Member Array Dragman's Avatar
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    Which ever one hits better! To many variables and gun configurations to argue about it. They are close, both backups IMO
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    Get What you can shoot Best Either / Or ; )
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    I will add that I routinely carry both....


    I can more easily conceal a 38 snubnose that I can any 9mm auto I own.

    I carry a 9mm most often for the capacity. I do not worry about the energy of the rounds, because if I do my job they will do theirs......

    Shot placement is key and that is why I practice
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

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    VIP Member Array bsnow's Avatar
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    Well I like and have both. The 9 with newer hot loads win out in my book. But whatever strikes your fancy..JMO
    Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. PSALM 144:1

    I CLING to my guns and my Bible.

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