For any that don't know it, the .38/357 is only .002 inches larger than a 9MM (.357 vs. .355), so same weight projectiles are for all practical purposes equal.
Having run a few .38's and 9MM's through the chronograph recently I have to consider the .38 snubby a mouse gun. Gold Dot 125 gr +P's came out 900 FPS and Winchester White box at 773 FPS avg. Although the 9MM I tested were reloads they were below the lowest charge listed in my load charts.(5.0 gr VV N340) The 9's were in the 1050 FPS range from an M&P9 with 4 1/4 inch barrel. The snubby has a 2 1/2 inch barrel which equates to approx 3 3/4 in an auto given that the chamber is included in barrel dimension specs for auto's.
I had to load the snubby to low end .357 levels to come close to 9MM performance.
I carry my snubby on ocasion but it has .357 loads in it, not .38 Special.
I will go with the 9mm personally. Like it was said before PD ammo selection is the most important decision in my opinion when carrying. I will take my chances with 147 +P jhp to send 'em back to Jesus.
They are about equal but more capacity goes to the auto, hence - my vote is for the 9mm.
Hey MIke, if you can't be kind...........at least be vague.
Yup my vote goes towards the 9mm... Guess I just grew up watching Leathel Weapon to much
I don't think caliber becomes relevant until shot placement has been achieved. Even then, differences in actual point of impact, and trajectory through the target/body, can skew comparisons.
When I learned to hunt I was not good at it until I learned how to shoot accurately, then learned how to kill the animal. Same with self defense. Learn how to shoot accurately then learn how to effectively stop your opponent. Caliber makes less difference than you imagine. There is no magic bullet. The 9 or the 38 will work no matter what type of handgun it's packaged in if you know how to operate it.
The only reason the 9mm wins is for other factors
Both a .38 and a 9mm will do fine as a personal protection round however 9mm beats the .38 because ammo is CHEAPER and MORE READILY AVAILABLE. Basically you can go to walmart and holy shit, theres a bunch of 9mm ammo at a low cost
Both are fine calibers tho
glocks dont come in .38 special
Do you see this post is from 09-18-2007.
It is an old resurected thread but good points are good points no matter when they were made and silly rambling are such too. Make a good shot as was said in this thread on 09/26/2011 and is still very accurate and credible today..................Practical accuracy trumps caliber, every time.
I'm fairly certain that at some time in the past some lawyer said, "You fired your gun at my client and it was fired in single action mode. Was it not? And it is generally recognized that double action is safer from accidental discharge is it not?"
To which the cop says, "Yeah, that's true. But I didn't accidentally shoot the rapist-bastard. I pulled the trigger to shoot the rapist bastard."
Lawyers turn things around in the most convoluted ways sometimes. So it would not surprise me if one did "have a field day" with a semi-auto vs. a revolver.
But what would a lawyer say about my statement? "The neat thing about a revolver is that you can screw the barrel of the gun right into the bastard's eye socket and pull the trigger and it will go 'bang'. You can't say the same for a auto in that same situation."
The neat thing about a revovler is you can sneak up behind the bastard, screw the barrel into the back of his skull and pull the trigger and you could be sure that there would be a "bang". You could not say the same thing about a semi-auto.
Of course you could say, "The neat thing about a Barrett chambered in .338 Lapua is that you can stand a full mile away and still blow the bastard's brains out. You can't say the same thing about a revolver or a semi-auto pistol."
(Is that far enough away for you?)
I have a couple of semi-autos that I could press the front end up against a person's head and not be out of battery. Just because you can get that close doesn't mean it's even close to a smart move.
By all means, you let 'em get as close, or you get as close as you want... I prefer distance to be on MY side.
For example, some monster-sized bad guy runs up and tackles you. You might find yourself in close contact in that situation. Though I don't know if you will be in sufficient danger (if he does not have a weapon) to allow you to shoot him. In New York you need to feel threatened with "deadly physical force" before you can shoot.
I might not have seen the rabid mouse which bit my ankle, but I certainly should've been aware of any "monster-sized bad guy" in my vicinity, and of the direction in which he was travelling. (BTW: Your "monster-size bad guy" is a straw man.)
ok, ok .... what if......
The difference is more in the weapons than the caliber.
9mm: Semi-auto weapons. Available with high bullet count magazines in full sized weapons, or in 6 to 8 shot magazines in very compact weapons. Ammo is the cheapest of all the service calibers. Some of the weapons are very accurate, easy to shoot and reliable. Some are less than ideally accurate, difficult to shoot and less than reliable.
.38 caliber: Revolvers. 5 to 8 round capacity. From large, easy to shoot, but difficult to conceal weapons, to very small, light weapons that can be difficult to shoot and easy to conceal. Very reliable weapons. All .357 weapons can shoot .38s (except Coonan pistols). This offer a greater versatility than 9mm. The .357 is a proven man-stopper. Ammo is more expensive than 9mm, but way cheaper than other service caliber ammo.
It all boils down to which type of weapon you prefer: auto or revolver.
Autos have the option of greater round counts, quicker reloads, smaller weapons, and generally easier to manage recoil.
Revolvers have a reliability advantage, simplicity in loading and "making safe" the weapon.
In either case, you should learn to shoot the weapon well. Know your ability in aimed fire, slow aimed fire and rapid fire. Practice with practice ammo and also with your personal protection ammo.
My first rounds through it were .38 wadcutters. Light loadings that were easy to control. I moved up from wadcutters to full-house .38s after that. There was no +P back then so I went from .38s to .357s.
I still think this is a logical progression for learning to shoot. And a 4" barrel on a .357 magnum makes an excellent house gun, if not an excellent carry gun. It is a bit too heaviy and the square butt prints a bit too much for easy concealment in my opinion. But this progression from wadcutters to full-house .357s is a good way to learn to shoot.
Addendum: I know that in the late 1970s none of the .38 revolvers I saw were rated for +P and I did not learn of that term until sometime later. I just did a Google search and I was unable to learn the year that SAAMI adopted +P designations. So to my knowledge there was no +P ammo back then.
Amplification: I went to the SAAMI website and found published pressures document. According to the document it was first published in 1979. See: http://www.saami.org/specifications_...tion/index.cfm
You cannot "place your shots well" without extensive practice, and practice is not caliber dependent.
"Cognizant of its limitations" is the caliber-dependent part, and that is more a product of academic study than of physical experience.