9mm vs. 40S&W

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Spike12

Bearcat
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
87
To make a long story short I'm considering either for my new carry. I usually try to carry 45 or 357mag but those 'wonder 9's' are getting my attention.

SO; just how much of a power improvement IS there between 9mm and 40S&W?? Is it worth it? Seems like there are many more 9mm pistols out there than 40's and the ammo is considerably cheaper. None of which matters when the chips are down.
 

Charon

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 26, 2000
Messages
124
I rate the "power" of a firearm by the amount of powder it burns. To a first approximation, the 9mm, the .40 S&W, and the .45 ACP all burn about 6 grains of powder (granted, different powders). Thus, I consider the 9mm, the .40 S&W, and the .45 ACP to be approximately equal in "power."
 

tkarter

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
477
IMHO a 9mm is easier to shoot accurately. A .40 lots of us just don't shoot well with.

Not at all saying their aren't folks who do quite well with it.

tk
 

Mike J

Hunter
Joined
Aug 5, 2007
Messages
3,497
I like my .40 caliber pistols but each person just has to find what works best for them. I'd say try to rent a 9mm & a .40 caliber in the platform that you are considering buying & see how each feels to you. .40 has a wider variety of ammunition available & is more powerful. 9mm has higher magazine capacity.
Or you could get one of the new plastic .45's that holds 13 or 14 rounds.
 

Charon

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 26, 2000
Messages
124
I agree - there is more to it than "power." The 9mm is a lighter, faster bullet, and given that the pistols are all of approximately equal weight, the 9 mm will have less free recoil energy. The .40 S&W will have a heavier, slower bullet than the 9 mm, and will have more free recoil energy. The .45 ACP is heavier and slower again, and has more free recoil energy yet. There is great dispute over the effectiveness of the three cartridges on living targets, and I won't attempt to get into that. There is also dispute over the inherent accuracy of the three cartridges, but at the sort of ranges over which a "carry" pistol is likely to be used, the differences are probably immaterial.
 

96/44

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
548
I agree, power isn't everything. If that is your only concern get the .40. The 9mm has a lot going for it also. Less recoil, smaller guns, cheaper and generally more available ammo for practice, plus there are a ton of good bullet choices for self defense. Also with all the +p, and +p+ ammo, the power difference shrinks a bit. The 9mm has been around over 100 years and is still going strong, that must mean something.
 

leejack

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
278
Back when I was an auto nut (I've settled down in my old age), I shot 9mm and 45acp all the time. Everytime I went to buy a 40cal, I wound up passing for one reason or another. I don't know why, but I enjoyed shooting 9mm and 45acp better than 40cal. :? By all means, if you like the 40, than go for it!

lee
 

Mike J

Hunter
Joined
Aug 5, 2007
Messages
3,497
If you are used to shooting .357 I don't think you'll have any problem with .40. I don't know if you will like it though. I also agree that the platform it is to be used in should be considered also. I have a KelTec P-11 9mm- I know that Kel Tec made a P-40 & there are still conversion kits available but I have no desire to shoot .40 out of a 14 ounce pistol.
 

welder

Buckeye
Joined
Sep 2, 2007
Messages
1,813
I'll take a nine every time. I tried .40 in three different guns and for one reason or another I didn't like it. With the right bullet and gun the power advantage is marginal at best. I hardly think it's worth arguing over but many do. I guess I just shoot the nine and .45 better.
 

Jumping Frog

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
90
"Search" is your friend. Why don't you read this topic where this was discussed between late September and mid-October:

.40 vs 9mm...

My take on it? Most police agencies switched to 9mm in the 80's and 90's. After those agencies that switched accrued the data from thousands of shooting incidents between LEO and Bad Guys, many of those agencies have now transitioned a second time to a more powerful round like the .40 or .45.

In other words, it wasn't just ballistic testing in a laboratory. Officer involved shootings have crime scene analysis, data acquisition, and ultimately get fed into studies that analyze real world results. Those studies point out the issues with the 9mm.

Bringing it closer to home (for me), I live in a city that is in the top 20 in population in the US. Our police force spent a ton of tax dollars switching from .38 special revolvers to "wonder 9" pistols about 20 years ago. About 5-6 years ago, they again spent a ton of tax dollars to replace all their 9 mm with .40 S&W pistols. They did this for a reason and it wasn't because the guns were on sale.

The .40 S&W now has the leading market share in the Law Enforcement market.
 

keen one

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
23
I shoot a 9 better than a 40...except bad guys are not a x ring on a piece of paper. At the ranges a weapon is needed for takedown potential, I will err on the side of caution and use the 40.

Just my 2 cents.
 

graygun

Hunter
Joined
Sep 24, 2008
Messages
4,011
I've heard that 9mm "over-penetrates"...punches through...not enough mushrooming.

I've shot a few into pieces of wood and phone books...not at all scientific...but impressive. I don't recall the exact thicknesses of the penetrated materials.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2004
Messages
2,791
I cant reload .40 Easily. Didn't care for the guns I had chambered in .40. Sold all my .40 stuff already, guns and ammo. Nuff'said.
 

martyj

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
616
I like the 40 and never was a big 9mm or 45acp fan. I think the 45acp came from my father describing them as shooting a basketball in the army."They just bounce across the field after 50 yards"
All it has to do is transfer the ft lbs and have no intention of hunting with it but have tried shooting it 100 yards just to see if it will even come close to my 10mm.
 

1boredguy

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
10
I agree with jumping frog. Police are going with the 40, and many are recommending it, so there must be something good going for it.

I would only consider a 40 S&W in a full size pistol. The jerky recoil is too much in compacts (for me).

If I wanted something heavier than a 9 to carry, I'd opt for a 357 or 45. I'm more confident shooting my SP101 with full load 357 than shooting a 40 in a compact pistol.
 

Jumping Frog

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
90
1boredguy":7xiicgj7 said:
I'm more confident shooting my SP101 with full load 357 than shooting a 40 in a compact pistol.
Well, I'd have to agree that an SD load of .357 Mag is a more powerful round than a .40 S&W. A Ruger Security Six in .357 was my first carry gun many moons ago.
 

Mike J

Hunter
Joined
Aug 5, 2007
Messages
3,497
I believe .40 is more powerful than 9mm. I like .40 caliber guns & own 2 service sized .40's but I do believe there are other factors that someone has to consider when they get their gun. Some are more recoil sensitive than others. Some just feel they shoot 9mm better. I am relunctant to criticize because I believe that choosing a handgun platform & caliber is a very personal thing. What works well for one may not work at all for another. Besides it doesn't matter if your weapon is a .500 magnum if you can't hit with it it isn't going to do you any good. Caliber is important but so is shot placement. Everything about a handgun is a compromise.
 

AZ Outlaws

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 13, 2008
Messages
67
Jumping Frog":2lyjijun said:
"Search" is your friend. Why don't you read this topic where this was discussed between late September and mid-October:

.40 vs 9mm...

My take on it? Most police agencies switched to 9mm in the 80's and 90's. After those agencies that switched accrued the data from thousands of shooting incidents between LEO and Bad Guys, many of those agencies have now transitioned a second time to a more powerful round like the .40 or .45.

In other words, it wasn't just ballistic testing in a laboratory. Officer involved shootings have crime scene analysis, data acquisition, and ultimately get fed into studies that analyze real world results. Those studies point out the issues with the 9mm.

Bringing it closer to home (for me), I live in a city that is in the top 20 in population in the US. Our police force spent a ton of tax dollars switching from .38 special revolvers to "wonder 9" pistols about 20 years ago. About 5-6 years ago, they again spent a ton of tax dollars to replace all their 9 mm with .40 S&W pistols. They did this for a reason and it wasn't because the guns were on sale.

The .40 S&W now has the leading market share in the Law Enforcement market.
Very well said and for what it's worth, my opinion too.
 

Chris

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 4, 2008
Messages
674
It basically comes to 2 things Knockdown power vs High Capacity Mags. Either caliber will do the trick as far as personal defense, it's just a personal choice
 

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