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Old October 20, 2009, 04:50 PM   #1
DG45
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9x18 Makarov vs. 9mm Parabellum vs. 380

The usual comparisons of these three calibers are based on the assumption that the most important difference between them is bullet velocity. Using that as the only crieteria, the 9mm Parabellum (aka 9mm Luger) is the best round of the three.

Never given much weight is the comparative volume of the wound channels created by these rounds but there is a difference. Bullets used in both the 9MM Parabellum and the 380 auto are .355 inches in diameter, while the 9x18 Makarov round is .363 inches in diameter. That may not sound like much, but if each bullet creates a wound channel thats exactly 12 inches long, the .363 diameter 9x18 Makarov bullet would create a 2.3% larger volume wound channel* than either the 9mm Parabellum or the 380. (CAUTION: This is based on my always shaky math skills. I considered the wound channel to be a 12" cylinder and calculated the volume. Is this the right way?) Since blood in the human body is under pressure, it seems to me that a 2.3% greater volume wound channel would probably result in a greater than 2.3% increase in blood loss, but I don't know if there's any way to calculate it. Any ideas? thoughts? Comments? Isn't the volume of the wound channel more important than the speed at which the bullet creates it?

*Based on RN ammo. HP ammo is difficult to figure, because it may expand the width of the wound channel, but shorten it's length.
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Old October 20, 2009, 05:24 PM   #2
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If your talking about the .380ACP vs the 9mm Luger vs the 9X18, the 9mm Luger wins. More terminal energy deposit, more advanced loading, more power. The wound channels will not always be the exact length, in fact, the wound channels produced by each will never be exactly the same length, that what happens with the heavier loadings and more powder of the 9mm Luger vs the .380ACP and the 9X18.

.080 of an inch doesn't mean a whole lot when your down on power and weight to begin with. The 9X18 and the .380ACP will perform comparably, the 9mm Luger is superior.

Your final question is hard to answer, as volume is important, but speed is part of what determines said volume. Speed, weight, and diameter. Through squishy things like humans and gel, the diameter is likely to be no different even with the slightly larger diameter bullet, in fact, you may find that the diameter will be larger with the Luger, than either the other two, simply because of the larger amount of energy that is brought to the target.
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Old October 20, 2009, 06:34 PM   #3
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9mm luger is the best followed by 9x18 mak, from everything I have read and heard the 9x18 mak is 1/4-1/3 more powerfull than the 380.
I recently sold my 380 and bought a makarov if that tells you anything.
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Old October 20, 2009, 06:41 PM   #4
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from everything I have read and heard the 9x18 mak is 1/4-1/3 more powerfull than the 380
I think the difference is less than that. If I recall, the difference is something close to 100fps. The bullet weight is frequently the same (95 grn).
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Old October 20, 2009, 06:56 PM   #5
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I think the difference is less than that. If I recall, the difference is something close to 100fps.

Depends on the ammo you compare. Based on manufacturers' specs, the 9x18 has 15-26% more muzzle energy that a 9x17.
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Old October 20, 2009, 07:40 PM   #6
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From what I've been seeing, the Mak has about 17% more energy than the ACP, load for load.
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Old October 20, 2009, 08:05 PM   #7
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doesn't matter, shot placement is #1.
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Old October 20, 2009, 08:18 PM   #8
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The opening question in this thread came to me as I was wondering why first the Nazis (with the 9mm Ultra design), and then the Soviets went to the 9x18 as a handgun round. When I realized the bullet fired by the 9x18 Makarov was actually over 9.2 mm in diameter instead of just 9mm, I thought I might be onto the real reason (and I'm still not sure it wasn't.) It occurrs to me that maybe the gun designers in these two countries discovered something about the volume of the wound channel that the 9x18 creates that nobody else had discovered. (I assume that live" tests in both Nazi Germany and in Stalins USSR meant exactly that.)

I also realize that each of these three rounds will penetrate to different levels in ballistic gelatin and other such substances. But for either round to create its own maximum wound channel in a human target, it just needs to penetrate completely through that human target. The fact that a particular bullet will penetrate 22" of ballistic gellatin is of little consequence if the actual target is only 12" thick.

That's why I chose 12" of penetration to be representative for all three rounds ; first, to approximate the thickness of an average human body, and second, as a distance in human tissue that any one of these three rounds in FMJ should be capable of penetrating through and through (assuming that the bullet misses bone).
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Old October 20, 2009, 09:13 PM   #9
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Pretty sure that back then, handgun bullets, and the guns that were designed to shoot them, were designed with the idea that they would be "last chance weapons", that is, they would be the last line of defense when the enemy got close. The bullets were designed more for reliable feeding and capacity than anything. Even the mighty 1911 was designed as a "last chance" weapon, although the order of the day demanded nothing smaller than a .45 noting the effectiveness of the .45 Colt against the Moro Rebels.

I would bet that the three different designs were brought about by necessity of reliability, instead of "killing power" although all three will certainly do that. Of the 3, the Luger is also the only one developed to be shot from a locked breech design, the other two were developed for blowback operation.

The 9mm Luger was developed LONG before Nazi's were around, and in Stalin's Russia, it didn't matter if you had bullets or not, you still shot something.

The 9mm Ultra was a .354 diameter bullet, not a .364, it was used as a blowback design, probably for reliability and simplicity.

Also, given your 12" penetration. The 9mm Luger will cause hydrostatic shock. With more energy comes more damage. Regardless (to a certain extent) of the actual size of the bullet. Think 10MM vs .45ACP.
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Old October 20, 2009, 09:49 PM   #10
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The Soviet Makarov pistol is a blowback design that is very simple, few parts and easy to manufacture in quantity whereas the 9mm Parabellum typically requires a more complicated locked breach design. That I am sure was a consideration. The 9x18 round is also the most powerful caliber typically used in blowback designs.

There was (is) some speculation going around that the increased bullet diameter was so that 9mm NATO ammunition could be used in a pinch in Warsaw Pact military handguns, but the 9x18 ammo would be too large for use in 9x19 guns. (While most 9x18 guns could probably fire 9x19 ammo, it would be a very dangerous proposition to do so.)
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Old October 20, 2009, 10:00 PM   #11
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Since most of us use hollow points, I don't think the question has a lot of relevance. Plus, as others have mentioned, the additional energy of the 9mm Luger would outweigh any small advantage of the larger diameter of the Mak round.
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Old October 20, 2009, 10:40 PM   #12
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Both the 9x19 and 9x18 make comparative wound channels in FMJ loadings. To analyze their effectiveness, or make an effective comparison, is a waste of time. Even with premium hollow point ammunition in the vulnerable .45 ACP, bullet performance and expectations are not always met.
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Old October 20, 2009, 11:06 PM   #13
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I own an East German Makarov, but I'm actually a 45 guy as my screen name implies. That's why I think there is a lot to be said for the size of a bullets wound channel - so much the better if it's perfectly aimed round too; but even if it's not, a hit using a 45 with ball ammo will give you a 45 caliber wound cavity, usually from entrance to exit. I use ball ammo in my Mak too, and if I owned a 9mm I'd use ball ammo in that too. I'm comfortable with my own marksmanship and I feel like as long as the damn bullet GETS THERE, I'll be ok. I'd never be comfortable though with a 9mm hp which might hit an arm or a hand or a rib or whatever and flatten out and not penetrate. None of this has a lot to do with the size of a Maks wound channel, except I still think its bigger than a 9mm's. I don't think you actually get hydrostatic shock until you get into the high powered rifle category. I could be wrong though. (I'm often wrong but never in doubt.)
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Old October 21, 2009, 05:28 PM   #14
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It all depends on what you can handle. It's not only the cartridge but the gun and the shooter combination.

If you are of slight build you might prefer a .380 or Mak. Or you want a larger more powerful 9x19, with maybe a 15/17 shot model. Just depends on many factors, not just the cartridge.

The real Makarov's are nice. And there are pleny of good .380s. Same goes for 9x19s.

I've got Maks, Colt .380s, P3AT, Glocks, Sigs, and other assorted 9mms.

I use a Glock 26 with a grip reduction, Hinnie sights, and NY-1 trigger.

But I know a lady that can barely handle her Bersa .380.

So don't spend all your time over the cartridges. Look at the whole picture. Might find you perfer something different.
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Old October 21, 2009, 05:45 PM   #15
Gregory Gauvin
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I did consider what you were thinking the day I carried my Makarov. However, .364-.355 = .009 diameter difference. This is equivalent to 30 gauge wire. And when you think about it, the hole will only be .0045" bigger on each side. The flu shot you get at CVS is a 25 gauge needle, or .0179". You barely feel that going in, so a 30 gauge needle must feel like a mosquito bite from a midget mosquito.

I think the important thing to consider here is that skin and human flesh is very elastic. The diameter difference between the 9x18 and 9x19 is insignificant. I can't argue the wound channel won't be larger, but, it is known that many 9mm wounds do not produce .355" holes, but rather, much smaller, tinier ones because the bullet pushes tissue away as it passes through which immediately retracts back and you wind up with a hole that looks more like the diameter of shoelace.

The heavier 9mm wound will penetrate deeper and be less prone to deflection, have more momentum and therefore splinter a bone more easily than the 9x18.

The big question is: if the 9x18 MAK were really 9.2x19, could you gain another 200 ft/sec and be more on par with a 9mm at 1200 ft/sec? Quick answer is no, it is a blowback design and the slide would have to be much heavier...BUT, would that extra 1mm delay the slide enough due to extra friction and length of travel as so that the slowest powder could be used to attain max pressure just a hair further ahead as to gain some more velocity without increase slide velocity and beating the pistol?
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Old January 22, 2013, 05:57 PM   #16
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Sorry for bringing up and old thread...

Hi,

I read through the posts on this thread mostly because I am tossed between these three rounds.

I use to be able to shoot my .357 and .40 cal with no problem but I have since been diagnosed with a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis which affects all the joints in my body but especially my hands.

I have shot my Ruger SP101 but after about 25 rounds I could barely hold on to it any more.

I am looking for a carry gun in either 9mm, .380 or 9mm MAK. In the 9mm I am looking at slim line (non-stacked mags). I have larger hands so I can get a better grip on it and the misses likes it too.

I am also only looking at guns made of metal looking to trade weight for recoil.

But to speak to one of the points about how a body reacts to bullets I have some experience with that.

I was a Paramedic for NYC*EMS in the '80's and worked in some busy areas and have seen my share of GSW's. First the hole going in through soft tissue (shot in the torso specifically below the rib cage) the entrance wound will be QUITE a bit smaller that the projectile because of skin stretch. Exceptions to that rule are when the round hits areas where there is very little muscle under the skin before hitting bone. So a head shot and when shot center chest (on the sternum) and center of the back directly over the spine the skin has no way to stretch because it sits right up against the bone. In these cases the entrance wound will be very close to projectile size.

As far as performance after a round enters the body I have seen a bunch of different and weird things happen. Point blank .45's not going all the way through the body, bullets hitting people in the leg and coming out the lower back (it rode the bone up the leg through the groin and out behind the kidneys), .38's that bounced off the skull making a fracture but not penetrating (the patient was actually holding the spent round in her hand). People shot seven times with a 9mm and were conscious and alert when we arrived and all the way into the hospital. The list goes on and on...suffice to say that you can shoot all the bullets into ballistic gel you want but there really is no way to tell what a bullet is going to do after it enters the body. They tumble, flatten out expand contract...

But I still go back to the original question, that I didn't really see and answer for here.

Eliminating the 9mm Lugar/Parabellum round, if one had to choose between the .380 or the 9mm MAKAROV for defense which is the better round and I will qualify the question by the following criterion:
  1. Ammunition Availability
  2. Cost of Ammo
  3. Diversity of ammo
  4. ability of guns able to eat the available rounds.
  5. Hollow point expansion stats
  6. ease of reloading
  7. relyability of the guns made for the rounds
  8. selection of weapons that chamber the rounds.

I am sorry for dredging up a post that is over 1100 days old but I am looking now not 3 years ago
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Old January 22, 2013, 08:25 PM   #17
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There are 9mm Luger pistols that are smaller and lighter than the Makarov, but the Mak is a great gun, and VERY reliable. I have a S&W 3914 that is a better defensive weapon because the 9mm Mak just can't ballistically come close to a +P or +P+ 9mm Luger round. That being said, I still like the Mak, and I like some vintage .380's, and sometimes pack a .380. Comparing the Mak and a similar sized, steel framed .380, it probably boils down more to which one you like the most. I get some funny looks at the range when I pull out this piece of history. [IMG][/IMG]

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Old January 22, 2013, 08:37 PM   #18
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I own EG Makarovs and really like them. They are reliable and very accurate. I'm sure they would do the job in a defensive situation. That said, they have a snappy recoil being blow-back. Not as bad as an LCP, but much worse than my Glock 17. I would recommend one of the metal single stack 9's such as a S&W. I load my carry pistols with Golden Sabers or Hydroshocks (except the Mak's where I carry hardball) and am sure they will do what need to be done.
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Old January 22, 2013, 08:55 PM   #19
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9 x 19 is significantly more powerful than a 9 x 18 or 9 x 17. When it comes down to a comparison between 9 x 18 and 9 x 17, the 9 x 18 Mak as a slight edge to the 9 x 17 ACP round. The smallest of the common group of 9mm Maks is the Polish P-64....snappy little mother. Next up is the original, the Makarov pistol. And the most evolved of the pistols in this caliber IMO is the CZ-82. It's bigger and heavier, but it's still relatively small size and large capcity makes the CZ-82 a pretty popular carry. You can still find CZ-82's and in terms of accuracy and dependability, you won't find a better gun for $250 or less.
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Old January 23, 2013, 12:57 AM   #20
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Thank You For Your Input keep the info coming!!!

I can't thank you enough for your input. I was not expecting to get any hits due to the age of the thread

The MAK's that I have liked enough to look at/for are:
  1. P-64 (I'm of Polish decent so this one has a special place)
  2. FEG Mark II
  3. FEG PA 63

The .380's I'm looking at/for are:
  1. Sig P230
  2. Sig P232
  3. Bersa Thunder
  4. Walther PPK/s (Pipe Dream on this one because of $$$)

The 9mm's are:
  1. Taurus 709 Slim
  2. KAHR P9 (Pricey so I'd need some luck)
  3. KAHR CW9 (SAA)
  4. Smith & Wesson 908 (Probably my favorite but doubt I will find one I can afford)
  5. Sig P250

In a perfect world I would like a 1911 .45 compact but it has been a looooong time since I have fired one so I have no idea about recoil in one. I'm thinking that if the .357 in a SS 5 shot frame is too much for me in recoil then the .45 is way out of line too.

If you have any suggestions for me other than the ones I have listed here PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Chime in. I tend to like metal frames, older non boxy curved lines, but owned a 92F and a USP .40 (never should have sold that gun) in the past...
Again Thank you for your help and your opinions!!!
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Old January 23, 2013, 06:23 AM   #21
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You may want to add the Walther PPS, and S&W Shield to your 9MM (9x19) list.
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Old January 25, 2013, 08:19 PM   #22
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Looks like they are not on your short list but I have a CZ 82(Makarov) and a CZ 83(.380). I don't care for recoil and don't care for a handgun that has a grip too short to support my pinkie finger. Not being an expert nor pretending to be, I really like the CZ platform. Ammunition wise, in my area the Makarov ammo is less expensive than .380. If were to buy another .380 I think I would buy the Sig P232 because it is a single stack and I have smaller hands.
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Old January 25, 2013, 10:05 PM   #23
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Kahr MK9 is a small (not tiny) stainless steel, single stack 9mm. About 23 oz IIRC, very pleasant shooter. Here is one for sale for $600.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...light=Kahr+MK9

HK P7 is likewise a slim, blued steel single stack. Similar weight and size, also very pleasant to shoot, and exceptionally accurate (frame mounted barrel, excellent trigger). Last one I bought was about $600, but last few I have seen for sale are more in the $700-750 range.

Neither is terribly common, and neither is cheap...but in that size/weight class, I can't think of anything better. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

The current market has a lot of pistols going crazy price wise. That said, single stack pistols are not deemed to be in imminent danger of "hi-capacity" bans, so they may not sell as quickly, and their prices may not have risen as quickly.

Good luck, and happy hunting.
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Old January 25, 2013, 10:25 PM   #24
joek1
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I have added the CZ82

Nice looking gun I've added to my list. Thank you!
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Old January 28, 2013, 05:31 PM   #25
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Quote:
The MAK's that I have liked enough to look at/for are:

P-64 (I'm of Polish decent so this one has a special place)
FEG Mark II
FEG PA 63
Sorry joek1, none of the three you mentioned above are Makarovs. They merely shoot the 9mmM or 9 x 18 Makarov. If you're patient and know what you're looking for, you can still find a Mak for the same price they're asking for any of the three above. Two weeks ago I found a really nice Bulgarian at a pawn shop with almost 100% original finish for $219.
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