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40 cal vs 9mm: Best for Self Defense?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Huntolive, Feb 10, 2019.

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  1. Huntolive

    Huntolive Member

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    Hello and I know some of you well groan when you see this thread title as I imagine it's old hat and a long existing debate for many of you. However I just got my first 9 mm; I've been shooting 40 cal 4 about a decade as well as revolvers in 357.

    While I do not mind The Recoil at all from 40 cal and I'm used to shooting heavy revolvers like 454 Casull occasionally for hunting, so many folks out there have nine mm that I figured I'd get one at least for concealed carry. It just seems like 9 mm ammo would be around more both in stores and in the field with the possible exception of Rushes on ammo.

    So here's the inevitable question
    Which is better and why 9 mm or 40 cal?
     
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  2. Sebastian

    Sebastian Member

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    9mm. Less wear and tear on the firearm. Less muzzle flip/quicker on target. Cheaper. Higher capacity. Plenty effective.
     
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  3. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    The battle between 40 caliber and 9mm is no different than the battle between 45acp and 9mm.

    Without a doubt the 40 caliber and 45acp are a bit more powerful. But with the advancement in 9mm bullet technology these days the difference has significantly narrowed the gap to the point that the difference may not be a concern. At least for me anyway.
     
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  4. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    i live where we can only have 10 round, so id say 40.
     
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  5. Huntolive

    Huntolive Member

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    I've noticed some models of ruger's and other manufacturers perhaps including Glock on recent models are not making 40 cals and only producing some new models in 45 ACP or nine mm. Yet 40 cal remains popular in much of the law enforcement community I live near Quantico.

    Is there a concern 40 cal could be disappearing in the next couple decades?

    Without breaking the bank to use in a Sig Sauer p365 subcompact what would you recommend four defensive ammo? What about for a Ruger with a 4 inch barrel?
     
  6. Sebastian

    Sebastian Member

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    Well as police gravitate away from .40 you will see an inevitable decline in their popularity. Having said that there are still a lot of them out there.

    I tend to gravitate to HST's for SD cartridges in a heavier grain weight, but there are many good options out there. I've rolled my own Hornadys too but still like the HST's more...ymmv
     
  7. Duster340

    Duster340 Member

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    I like the 40.
     
  8. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    For me....at the time of selection, 40 was a stronger choice. Now, as alluded above, it really does not matter. Good bullets, pistols do not stop, etc....I do believe 40 has been more available during rushes....still has my vote, though it is a compromise between the 45 and the 9. I do like my 45.....
     
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  9. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Some people like a heavier bullet, or a larger diameter bullet, or more muzzle energy. .40cal generally has 9mm beat for all those things.

    Other people have a preference for things like capacity, reduced felt recoil, and a little less wear on the gun. Which is where the 9mm beats .40. (Cost is also in the 9's favor of course)

    So do you want a few more rounds in the mag and slightly less recoil and wear, at a lower cost? Or do you want a bigger, heavier bullet, with more calculated muzzle energy?

    Of the two, I prefer the .40, unless the 9mm is a .357 Sig.
     
  10. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    For SD against people, I pretty much believe that the 9MM and the extra rounds that go with it are the best option.

    But when I’m also in the boonies and have to consider feral pigs, I prefer my .40 or .45 and flat nosed hard cast rounds.
     
  11. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    The 40 is a decent round but has no real advantage over a 9mm AFAIC.
     
  12. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    9mm

    "Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman."
     
  13. eam3clm@att.net

    [email protected] Member

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    That's the question that can not be answered. If we knew when and under what circumstances we would need a handgun for defense then we could steer clear of the situation altogether. The point being that with 9mm you get more rounds and it's easier for some to shoot faster. With 40 S&W you get heavier bullets and more energy. In a critical situation you wont know what matters more, round count or energy, until you get to the calm after the storm point. The best that I can answer the question is carry what you have the most faith in under the circumstances you can imagine a situation can occur, and understand that any handgun round is a compromise for a long gun round. Having the awareness to perceive that the situation is going or can go bad, not getting caught off guard, and having a never give up mentality will have more weight on survivability than the difference in 9mm and 40 S&W.
     
  14. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    The answer is YES.
     
  15. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    I can only echo that. One may be "better" than the other depending on the criteria. Generally, the 9mm has my vote and I own more 9mm handguns than .40S&W. My two PPCs are also 9mm (Sub2000 & CX4). That said, I do like the 40 S&W plenty and just bought a Beretta APX that I really like.
     
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  16. kozak6

    kozak6 Member

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    The lower recoil and higher capacity of a 9mm is more significant in a sub/compact pistol, and especially in a single stack.

    There is also a much wider range of pistols in 9mm than in .40.

    What pistols do you already have? You might be happy with a smaller version of one of those.
     
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  17. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    I went with 9mm for a variety of reasons. I think .40 is a better round (with the caveat that I'm not an engineer or math guy of any kind), but as others have noted, I get more 9mm rounds in the same size pistol than I would with a .40.

    #grabthepopcornforthecaliberwar
     
  18. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I like them both.
     
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  19. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    No real difference. In the 1990's when the 40 S&W came out there was the impression 9mm was lacking and 40 became the overwhelming choice for LE. The trend 25 years later is for LE to drop the 40 and go with 9mm. In 1994 our local city PD adopted Smith 5906's in 9mm. The county PD, SO, Fish and Game, FBI, and Georgia State Patrol all went with G22's in 40. Since 1994 we've had a dozen LE shootings, 6 with 9mm, 6 with 40 S&W. The results were exactly the same. The officer fired 2 quick shots, bad guy hit the ground dead.

    The FBI and GSP have already dropped 40 in favor of 9mm and all of the other agencies except F&G plan to go to 9mm sometime in 2020. Forget paper ballistics, energy numbers, bullet diameter, or weight. The only thing that matters is results. When our local LE agencies talk to agencies all over the country carrying a variety of handgun calibers they find zero difference in the final results between 9mm, 40 or 45. Since 9mm is cheaper, lighter recoiling, holds more ammo, and places less stress on the firearms I think makes a lot of sense for human threats.

    If you're talking about defense from larger predators, or having to take down game animals the larger, heavier 40 caliber bullets may make a difference. That is the primary reason F&G is not at this time considering giving up their 40 caliber pistols. But even that could change.
     
  20. ExAgoradzo

    ExAgoradzo Member

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    1911... because shooting twice is just silly...

    I carry a Glock 26 most of the time. The rest of the time a 1911. My HD is a 40 cal Sig.

    Having said that, I wanted one of each caliber so any ammo would be good ammo when the next panic happens. 9mm is enough. Bond uses a 9mm Short: aka 380 auto.

    Greg
     
  21. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    I dumped my .40s when I determined that i simply liked shooting 9mm and .45 more. I'd almost never reach for my .40 at range time and, consequently, stopped carrying the Glock 23 in favor of a 19 or 1911.

    I personally feel 9mm is just as adequate st SD as 40 or .45, so less recoil and more rounds, faster, works for me. I generally carry and keep 9mm for SD, with occasional forays into .45 when the siren song of the 1911 calls me back.

    *further thinking, my wife clearly prefers 9mm to .40 or .45 and that is one of the factors for keeping my SD guns 9mm, and in platforms she likes.
     
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  22. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    In regards to ammo shortages.

    I just keep a few thousand extra primers and a can or two of powder in my favorite calibers as an assurance against shortages.

    Figured a cheap Lee single stage, dies, and loading supplies are still quite a bit cheaper than a new gun. (Well, maybe not a high point)
     
  23. Choctaw

    Choctaw Member

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    It’s personal preference and what you can shoot the best. I carry a full size service pistol on and off duty. It contains sixteen rounds of 40 S&W goodness. If I expend more than sixteen rounds in a gunfight I have lost.
     
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  24. Jeff H

    Jeff H Member

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    I have them both, like them both, carry them both.

    Currently, I like my Sig 365 more than my S&W Shield 40 so I'm carrying 9mm more often than 40, but I'm not discounting 40 my any means. The Shield has served me well for the last 3-4 years and I have no intention of getting rid of it.

    Re: Ammo shortages, in the last dozen years or so of shortages, 9mm runs out 1st. There is usually 40 on the shelf. YMMV. I reload so I'm not really affected much.
     
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  25. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I have found this to be true for me and probably most other people. On an individual level, I guess whatever one shoots with the "bestest and the fastest" would be the way to go, but on a larger level (think agency) then I think The "best" choice is the choice that works "best" for the majority. This will always be 9mm, assuming we are talking about identical, or virtually identical guns. The caliber doesn't matter as much as the hits, and making those hits "on demand".
     
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