I liken 40 S&W, 45, and 357 Sig.....9mm is ...........weak, but fun.
Early Century - .45 & 9mm
Late Century - .357 Sig & 10mm
I liken 40 S&W, 45, and 357 Sig.....9mm is ...........weak, but fun.
+1 with SW
I've had my 9mm for almost 20 years and it's done everything needed.
If I really get some extra cash I might pick up a 45.
I'm enjoying this show!! But you know my favorite is more is considered more lethal than any of those mentioned. It's a drinking straw and a piece of paper. Can you say...
Screw all of that...from across the room, I can give the "stink eye" that will have more stopping power than any modern round!
ahhh not a caliber war!
The war is over.
This isn't a caliber "war." In order to have a WAR there needs to be some shooting.
So here's what's going to happen. I will shoot each of you with each of the calibers in question, and then we'll take a vote to see if we can all decide on which one ruined your day the most.
Go ahead and shoot at your computer, I guarantee you that I won't feel a thing.
I guess I'm a weirdo, I'd hav voted twice! My two primary carry pistols, based on what I'm wearing and how hot/cold it is are a .45 and a .357Sig.
Oh well, both are expensive to shoot, both would do the job, both put a big fat smile on my face every time I shoot them. Win-Win for me.
Does anybody know what caliber rock David used to slay Goliath?
I would think that is the ideal caliber.
You forgot to specify which century. Thus my choice, a half-inch round ball in a linen patch over 80 grains of fffg, is missing from the list.
The question posed could be answered in many ways, so consider this...If we are talking about .45 and 9mm as they were initially designed, that would require evaluating them with ball type ammo, in which case, the modern cartridges with late technology high performance bullets would certainly be batter for almost any application.
If you evaluate all cartridges with modern bullets, the issue is less clear, although I would have to side with the newer calibers. While I am a big fan of the .45 and 10mm both, the edge has to go to the 10mm with the stipulation that we are talking about someone using it that reloads. The 10mm is a unique and very versatile cartridge capable of handling everything from informal target shooting with light loads to a serious woods packing pistol launching 200grn bullets in excess of 1200fps. No matter how you slice it, the 10mm is capable of delivering more energy on target than the .45, but still retains the ability to be loaded with bullets as light as 135grn and being very pleasant and accurate to shoot.
The .357sig vs. 9mm is much the same argument, although I will be the first to admit that I am not really a fan of either of these calibers. The sig cartridge is capable of delivering .357 mag performance from an auto pistol and this is very appealing. I personally would prefer a good .357 mag in a stout revolver for most applications. The sig cartridge, with it's bottleneck shape and short neck, is not as easily loaded as straight wall design of the 9mm. The 9mm is also more pleasant to shoot as a result of the lower pressures and velocity, much like comparing a .38spl to the .357mag. I find it amusing that people will tout the 9mm, yet belittle the .38spl, as they are VERY similar in performance.
So my vote goes to the newer cartridges, although I still think the old .45 is awful tough to top!!!
9mm 124 gr +P Golden Saber - 1180fps for 384 foot pounds
.38 125 gr +P Golden Saber - 975fps for 264 foot pounds
Thus, the 9mm is 31% more powerful than the .38. I don't think a difference of almost a third is insignificant or even really similar, at least on paper. Maybe gelatin would tell a different tale, but I suspect 9mm will substantially outperform .38 there as well.
My chronograph has confirmed the superiority of 9MM over .38 special on numerous occasions.
.38 is just fine for plinking but give me a bit more when my life might depend on it.
Dang, did we agree again Mike?
Gee, another magic bullet post.
In general, any name brand factory fresh brass cased ammo will do an adequate job if you do your part. >9mm for SD of course.
You can debate, 9mm vs 38spl vs. 45, gelatin, clothed gelatin, dead animal, etc. till the cows come home for SD, but in the end multiple hits with any bullet will provide superior self defense results than a single hit of the latest hyper super expanding mega caliber handgun bullet any day of the week IF YOU DO YOUR PART.
NO AMOUNT OF SPENDING ON EQUIPMENT WILL COMPENSATE FOR INADEQUATE SKILLS!!!!
Back on topic: Better round? For what? Competition, self defense, or war?
Competition, you want fast cycling, low recoil ammo. Penetration, expansion, wound cavity is irrelevant. JHP is a waste of money.
Self defense, you want low flash, high penetration, high expansion. JHP of course.
War. You want a battle rifle and a squad of guys with you. In the military you use what is issued to you and nothing but.
As others have pointed out, the 9mm outperforms the .38spl. I do not disagree with that at all. I did a small amount of research and have presented it below with some comments and thoughts following. My Speer loading manual lists, for the .38spl a 125jhp load @ 1053fps. This equates to 307.7 foot pounds of energy. Another load listed is a 158grn hp @ 944fps adding up to 312 foot pounds of energy. These are the hottest loads listed in this manual, so for comparison I will list the hottest loads presented from the same manual for 9mm. 124grn @ 1249fps= 429 ft/lbs and 147grn hp @ 1001=327 ft/lbs.
38spl=307.7 & 312 for the two bullet weights shown
9mm=429 & 327 respectively
This averages out to about a 31% difference as was pointed out by Mike. Now we are only left with the question, does this 31% difference add up to an appreciable degree of difference in real life situations? I honestly do not know the answer to this question, but let's at least look at some possibilities...
As these are both popular self defense rounds, I will limit my thoughts with regards to that being the application of the cartridges. I think it is fair to say that any of the loads listed above would have a very good chance of fully penetrating and exiting a human chest cavity with a center mass shot. This is assuming an average size male adult, and striking only the bones of the rib cage.
The following is purely my opinion, which I believe to be based on reasonable assumptions. If their is by chance a physicist, or someone else with knowledge that shows this to be inaccurate, please feel free to chime in.
.38 vs. 9mm is somewhat convenient in that the bullet diameter is within .001" and bullet weight varies by only about ten grains maximum with similar bullets. I think it would be fair to say that the energy required for both a .38 vs. 9mm to have full penetration of said target is for all practical purposes identical. Modern bullets are designed in such a way that they are tailored to perform at velocities appropriate to the caliber that they are intended for, thus I think it also fair to think that the given bullets would have similar expansion characteristics.
Let's say that the energy required to fully penetrate the target described, with these bullets is "X". Let's label energy remaining after full penetration with the .38 loads as "E". It then follows to say that the energy of the .38 loads is "X+E", and the energy of the 9mm loads is "(X+E)+31%". Because both the .38 and 9mm bullets have already fully penetrated the target, any energy benefit that the 9mm enjoys is simply wasted pushing the bullet through air. The only real difference from either round would be in the temporary cavitation. While I do believe that temporary cavitation is a significant part of the wound, it is very difficult to quantify, as has been noted by many people much smarter than I am. The permanent wound channel created by the two calibers would, I believe, be near identical, as would the amount of energy delivered onto the target. Thus I think it is safe to say that the ballistic advantage of the 9mm is only evident when larger bone structures are hit, thus depositing more energy on target, and even then I am not sure how much of an advantage it would be. Perhaps someone with a better education than mine can enlighten all of us, or perhaps even show me something that I have overlooked, or rationalized improperly. My personal opinion is that the .38 and 9mm are both what I would consider to be the minimum calibers for self defense in full size revolvers and pistols respectively.
I found some gelatin results for the above Golden Sabers.
9mm - 12.6" penetration/.68" expansion (bare)
.38 - 9.9" penetration/.63 expansion (bare)
.38 - 10.6" penetration/.60" expansion (clothed)
Couldn't quickly find 9mm results in clothed gel (a little help, submoa?).
.38 seems very short on penetration. This can obviously change with other loads. But once again, 9mm seems the better choice, both penetrating deeper and expanding more. The rounds do not seem the same to me.
Pulling load data from a manual is okay, but few people carry reloads for defense, so it seems to be a poor comparison when info on common factory loads is easily available.
Older they combined have killed more men than the newbies ever will.
Flyboy has presented an interesting essay, but there's a flaw in his reasoning, to wit:
He expects both the .38 Special and the 9mm bullet to exit the target after hitting it.
But the .38 Special is more likely to place its slower-travelling bullet within its (human) target, while the speedy 9mm is more likely to send its bullet all the way through.
Under these circumstances, the .38 Special will deliver more energy to the target than the 9mm will, even though the 9mm bullet carries more energy along with it.
It's all academic. Just hit, and keep hitting until the fight stops. Then it doesn't matter what you're hitting with.
And the flaw in Steve's reasoning is that modern 9mms will exit. In JHP form, assuming a decent hit, they generally do not. Thus, the 9mm will deliver more energy (which isn't necessarily the same as damage) to the shootee than the .38 Special.