The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: General Handgun Forum

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old September 6, 2011, 06:03 PM   #1
Proud Poppa
Member
 
Join Date: August 26, 2011
Posts: 57
Does the 40 S&W have an advantage over 9mm for CCW?

By all means I am not trying to start a caliber war but I am asking if the 40 S&W has a significant advantage over a 9mm for CCW application?

I know that the 40 has some advantages in a LEO setting such as less yaw through a car windshield. I am not going to be going after the bad guys rather I will just be carrying to protect myself and my family in the event of an armed robbery or God forbid a scenario like what happened in the IHOP in Nevada.

The cost of ammo where I live is not but maybe $2 more per box in 40S&W and I know recoil could be a little more, but I'm 6'2" 225lbs, so I think I can handle it, lol. Usually there is a sacrifice in capacity of 1-2 rounds with a 40 vs 9mm. So again, in a SD/CCW application does a 40S&W offer a significant advantage over a 9mm?
Proud Poppa is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 06:08 PM   #2
BarryLee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 29, 2010
Location: The ATL (OTP)
Posts: 2,737
Well, I am no expert, but you're not paying for my opinion either. I would say in theory the .40S&W may have advantages, but in reality I suspect the 9mm is just as effective for a CCW.
__________________
A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it ... gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
- Milton Friedman

Last edited by BarryLee; September 6, 2011 at 06:23 PM.
BarryLee is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 06:21 PM   #3
C0untZer0
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 21, 2011
Location: Illinois
Posts: 4,555
If you're going to carry fairly large pistol then, maybe .75" to 1" additional penetration and maybe .025" additional bullet expansion.

But the .40 doesn't allow for carrying the ultra-sub compact - true pocket pistol form factor.
C0untZer0 is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 06:21 PM   #4
Kreyzhorse
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 12, 2006
Location: NKY
Posts: 11,482
Quote:
So again, in a SD/CCW application does a 40S&W offer a significant advantage over a 9mm?
Without sounding like a smartarse, it really depends on how well you shoot the the gun, regardless if it's a 9mm or a .40.

A .40 does carry and deposit a bit more energy generally speaking. While a 9mm might carry more rounds, a SD shooting typically involves less than 7 shots fired.

Between those two, regardless of energy or capacity, I think it really comes down to how well you can put the bullet where you mean too. It also comes down to size of the firearm. Pick one that lends itself to CCW. A Ruger SR9 9mm on your side is a much better choice than a .40 Glock 22 left at home.
__________________
"He who laughs last, laughs dead." Homer Simpson
Kreyzhorse is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 06:21 PM   #5
pendennis
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 18, 2009
Posts: 572
My favor runs toward the .40 S&W. It offers larger bullets than the 9mm.

Bigger bullet, bigger hole, better stopping power.

To be sure, the 9mm is more common.

However, I prefer the .45ACP. I also carry .357 magnums. But then, I was "raised" on those calibers. I do own a couple of .40 S&W's (Browning HP), and no 9 mm's.

You should really try out both. Go to a range where you can rent, and try out both. The .40 is a bit snappier, but very controllable.
pendennis is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 06:27 PM   #6
MrDontPlay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 25, 2010
Posts: 587
You may have to shoot through your own car window some time. That's All i got...
__________________
Someday I'll be good enough to know if a gun is accurate or not.
MrDontPlay is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 08:05 PM   #7
Mello2u
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 21, 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,424
Proud Poppa,

Assuming you can shoot both the 9mm and the .40S&W equally well (a big assumption), then the .40S&W should (theoretically) produce a larger wound channel and more blood loss for a faster incapacitation due to loss of blood pressure. So instead of two 9mm hits stopping a threat in 10 seconds, two .40 hits in the same place and on the same path through the target might stop it a second faster.

Is that significant?

This is all guess work, except the part about the .40 making a larger wound channel.

Keep in mind that all "defensive handgun cartridges" are under powered.

If you knew you were going to a gun fight you would take a major caliber rifle (like the .308)
or a 12 gauge shotgun with 00 buckshot (if you were guaranteed the range was under 25 yards).

Quote:
C0untZer0

If you're going to carry fairly large pistol then, maybe .75" to 1" additional penetration and maybe .025" additional bullet expansion.

But the .40 doesn't allow for carrying the ultra-sub compact - true pocket pistol form factor.
I agree with your first sentence.
I need clarification on what is an ultra-sub compact. Does the Kahr PM9 qualify?
__________________
NRA Life Member - Orange Gunsite Member - NRA Certified Pistol Instructor
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society,
they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it.
" Frederic Bastiat

Last edited by Mello2u; September 6, 2011 at 08:12 PM.
Mello2u is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 08:29 PM   #8
TXAZ
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 5, 2010
Location: TEXAS!
Posts: 1,390
If you knew you were going to a gun fight...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mello2u
If you knew you were going to a gun fight you would take a major caliber rifle (like the .308)
I would respectfully tend to disagree Mello. If "I knew I was going to a gun fight" as is presupposed above, I want to engage with the first (and last) shot, from a standoff distance out of the other party's range, and prior to their discovery of my presence, location or interests. A Mac, Barrett or even an Anzio would be preferred with greater a "reach out and touch someone".

As for 9 vs .40, I'd prefer the higher capacities offered by most 9's.
__________________
!أنا لست إرهابي
TXAZ is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 09:00 PM   #9
kilimanjaro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 23, 2009
Posts: 1,876
If I know I'm going to a gunfight, I'm way beyond self-defense. But since you asked, I'm taking a 150mm howitzer, stand off and pulverize the acreage, then come in later and pick up.

As far as 9mm vs. .40 goes, for me, it's either a .45, .455, or 9mm, just because that is enough calibers for me.
kilimanjaro is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 09:56 PM   #10
Charlie_98
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2011
Location: McKinney, TX
Posts: 288
I actually had that very same question some time ago, on a different forum. The consensus was split between the two, with some finger pointing and giggling between the two (I guess the .40 has a bit of a stigma.) The weapon of consideration, a Kahr P9 or P40, are almost identical in size, so that was a moot point. You lose 1 round in the .40's magazine.

What did I do in the end? I'm saving up for a Kahr P45...
Charlie_98 is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 10:23 PM   #11
.357SIG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 18, 1999
Posts: 1,016
.40: More power and larger wound channel...both of which are negligible differences from the 9mm.

9mm: slightly less power, but easier recoil, which means little if you can shoot a .40 well.

For use against a human, you will see NO difference in effectiveness, shot-for-shot. It has been shown to be true over thousands of shootings over many years. It all boils down to shot placement. I've read dozens of medical and ballistic studies, all of which come to the same general conclusion. I am unaware of any single incident in the world where the stop could be attributed to the bullet diameter (such as a .40 hitting the heart, where the 9mm would miss by a fraction of a millimeter), all else equal.

Where does the .40 shine? It will allow for better barrier penetration with less deflection than the 9mm in dense media, and will pack more punch out at further ranges. Where does the 9mm shine? It has greater capacity and is more controllable than any .40 round, allowing for faster, more accurate follow-ups. In soft tissue, both rounds are much more than adequate to reach vital organs, even from odd angles. Those angles that make a 9mm fall short will equally do the same with the .40 (on average). The bleed rate difference between the primary wound channels is negligible, shot-for-shot...basically due to the fact that bleed-out is entirely too slow as a fight-stopper, unless it is done by hitting a major organ or vessel (shot placement). Also, both rounds will penetrate bone and muscle equally well, again on average. This is evident by the avg. Jell-o test results for both rounds; both penetrate about the same and expand about the same on avg.

One problem that goes unaddressed in these debates is that the positives and negatives associated with each round can actually reverse roles in some scenarios, where a positive aspect can be a negative in one case, but not another. For example, a 9mm that is deflected by a bone INTO a vital organ makes that "negative" aspect a positive one. There is always going to be an exception to the rule, and because of that, we can never say definitively that one round's characteristics make it better than another all the time.

Considering also that no one will be LASER accurate under fight-or-flight stress, rapid fire, and movement, I would take all the advantages I can get (capacity increase and controllability).

What I may lose by choosing the 9mm is the ability to fire through auto glass with accuracy, or to penetrate some common, but dense objects that are all around us, and still have enough power to hit vitals. One situation where this could come up is in defense against a deadly road rage incident (where deadly force is allowed). You could have to fire out through your closed window. You could have to fire through your window into the BG's window, then into the BG. You never know...

All this jumping around may seem confusing, but it's the kind of little stuff that can drastically change the outcome of the fight. We can't predict the circumstances of a gunfight. This is why the debate never ends...
.357SIG is offline  
Old September 6, 2011, 10:23 PM   #12
JC57
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 2, 2010
Posts: 249
Significant advantage? I would say not significant, but for me the advantages of the 9mm make it preferable for a carry gun.

9mm has the advantages of total capacity, reduced recoil, a wider selection of small concealable guns chambered for it, and cheaper *practice* ammo.

.40 has the advantage of a larger bullet with more muzzle energy. Also, even though .40 practice ammo is more expensive, you can usually find good SD ammo cheap on the Internet, cheaper than equivalent 9mm. Probably because of production overruns for LE sales that the manufacturers dump cheap.

With the right SD ammo, the performance between a top quality 9mm and top quality 40 is very close in standardized gelatin tests. A good apples-to-apples comparison is on Winchester's web site where you can compare their different Ranger series bullets: http://www.winchester.com/SiteCollec...law_bullit.swf. Their test results don't show much differnce between the 9s and the 40s.

Of course we are rarely attacked by blocks of ballistic gelatin wearing 4 pair of Levis, but it's still an effective tool for comparing one bullet to another.

I own both a full-sized 40 and a sub-compact 9mm. The 9mm is my choice for carry while the 40 is the home defense gun. Go with whichever you prefer and can shoot well, you won't go wrong with either round.
JC57 is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 08:49 AM   #13
C0untZer0
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 21, 2011
Location: Illinois
Posts: 4,555
I think the pocket pistols in ascending order of size are the Rohrbaugh R9, Boberg XR-9, and the Diamondback DB9.

I think the Kahr PM9/CM9 and Sig P290 come in next but I could be wrong - I'm just doing it off the top of my head.

The Kahr PM40 is slightly larger than the PM9 if I remember, and about 2oz heavier.

IMO, the PM40 is just out of "true" pocket pistol class. It's still very concealable. But I don't think it's something you can literally drop in your pocket.
C0untZer0 is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 09:03 AM   #14
Sturmgewehre
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 12, 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 4,212
Quote:
A .40 does carry and deposit a bit more energy generally speaking. While a 9mm might carry more rounds, a SD shooting typically involves less than 7 shots fired.
Averages are great until your life depends on them. What the average doesn't tell you is that one guy might end a fight in 1 round and the next guy might fire 15 to end the fight. The average says only 7 rounds are needed. The guy that needed 15 rounds would be up poop creek without a paddle if he only had 7 rounds.

Don't fall victim to averages, carry lots of ammo.
__________________
Visit my YouTube channel for reviews, tests and more.
Ex Mea Sententia
Sturmgewehre is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 09:21 AM   #15
Sturmgewehre
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 12, 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 4,212
By our vary nature, humans like to follow leaders. The FBI is considered the end-all-be-all in law enforcement, a leader.

Back when the FBI used 9mm's, every police department in the country was scrambling to find money to ditch their .357 revolvers in favor of the 9mm. If the FBI used it, it had to be the best.

Then 1986 came around and the Dade County shootout happened. The FBI had a bit of a knee jerk reaction to the shootout and promptly decided 9mm wasn't good enough and went to the other extreme, 10mm. At the time the 10mm was the most powerful auto loader you could get in a conventional pistol design.

The FBI quickly adopted the 1076 S&W and once again everyone from law enforcement agencies to the average Joe shooter scampered to buy as many 10mm's as companies could make. If the FBI used it, it had to be the best.

Then the FBI discovered some of their agents found the recoil of the full power 10mm to be a bit much. So they found themselves with a "10mm lite", or the .40 S&W. Once again everyone dumped their 10mm's and raced to snatch up all the .40's they could find. Since 10mm was a relatively new round, the race to ditch it darn near killed it... which is a shame, I do like the 10mm.

The moral to the story is, the cycle never ends.

I don't follow the pack. I use what works. 9mm and .45 ACP work just fine. .40 S&W is the result of a knee jerk reaction to a bad event in history. Years later many are discovering the .40 S&W is a solution to a non-existent problem.

It's a fine cartridge though. I have no problem with it from a performance standpoint. I just opt not to replace my 9mm's with .40's. 9mm is a superior cartridge for SD in my view as it's lighter recoiling, holds more rounds, is small enough to make the pistols that chamber it comfortable in the hand, it's accurate, it's easy to reload and components are cheap (more so than .40 or .45 ACP). What's not to like?

If you want to follow the FBI/LEO crowd then .40 S&W is the flavor of the day until the next greatest thing comes along... and it will. That doesn't make it a bad choice... just not the choice for me.
__________________
Visit my YouTube channel for reviews, tests and more.
Ex Mea Sententia

Last edited by Sturmgewehre; September 7, 2011 at 09:56 AM.
Sturmgewehre is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 09:49 AM   #16
GoBoilers!
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 21, 2009
Location: N. Indiana
Posts: 13
My $.02

Lots of good info above, but I'll go ahead and add my summary anyway.

I think the caliber size / power difference between the 9mm and .40 are negligible. It all comes down to how well you can shoot / hit with it that counts. And since I can afford more 9mm ammo per $$ I will practice more with it.

And for me, I can hit better (especially on quick double-taps) with the 9mm since it has less snappy recoil (especially out of smaller pistols.)

And you generally have capacity of one or two more shots in same size pistols with 9mm versus .40 which is nice for ccw.

So my vote is for the 9mm.
GoBoilers! is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 10:37 AM   #17
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,003
Yes.

Even a near miss with a .40 will cause the target to turn into a puddle of goo.

Shooting a 9mm into that puddle will actually reconstitute the puddle into the person being shot at.

If the person has been wounded by some other means, shooting them with a 9mm will actually heal them.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 10:53 AM   #18
COSteve
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 6, 2009
Posts: 473
Something to consider for all the, "quicker doubletaps with 9mm" comments. While it'r true that the std 9mm has less recoil than the 40s&w, that isn't what most defensive handguns are loaded with. The +P and +P+ loads that most 9mm owners are so fond of have significantly higher recoil than standard 9mm loads.

Therefore, the recoil difference between 9 and 40 with what most actually use is much, much less. The fact is that 40cal 180grn Speer Gold Dots don't produce much added recoil at all over the much smaller and lighter 124grn +P+ loads while they generate high energies and larger wounds. Further, larger, heavier bullets penetrate better than lighter, smaller ones.

Some mistakenly claim that the 40 cal has more recoil because it's a higher pressure round. This is simply not true as the standard 9mm has a SAAMI spec of 35,000psi the same as the 40 cal's 35,000psi. Further, the +p SAAMI spec of 38,500psi puts it higher than the 10mm's 37,500psi spec while the +P+ loads are up at 357sig pressures.

There is a reason why most police forces don't arm their officers with 9mm in cold climates as FBI shooting statistics show that the standard load 9mm isn't as effective as the 40s&w or 45acp when shot through heavy clothing.

The adage, "shoot the largest caliber handgun you can use effectively" was, is, and will be true as long as handguns are in use, notwithstanding the claims of the 9mm crowd that their round is "just as good."
__________________
Steve

“Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” - Buckaroo Banzai 1984
"When you find a find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it." - Dilbert 2009
COSteve is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 10:58 AM   #19
Father Time
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 21, 2007
Posts: 632
As a firefighter/emt I have actually seen the results of people shot with the .40 cal. (Its the favored police caliber for most of my local Law Enforcement agency's)
The results where impressive. I have also done some very informal testing of my own. Like shooting jugs of water and tightly bundled news paper. And everything I have seen is that yes the .40 does have a noticeable/significant advantige over the 9mm when it comes to "power".

Now this dosen't mean squat if you don't hit your target. And frankly some people have a hard time doing this with anything bigger than a 9mm. So for many people the 9mm is a "better" choice.

As for the caliber debate:
The 9mm only really holds 2-3 more rounds than a similar sized .40. When your talking about service handguns in .40 and 9mm they tend to hold 14-19 rounds and that means it isn't as big a "disadvantige" as most people think.
Second the recoil of the .40 has been described as "harsh" or "snappy". This may be true but you have to look at the firearms that people are shooting with. If you have the latest whiz-bang-sub-compact polymer pistol then yea, its gonna have some recoil. But in a full sized/service handgun it is very controlable. I shoot my .40 CZ-75B and the recoil isn't bad at all but then again it is a all steel full sized handgun.(I belive its weights about 34 oz)

The bottom line is use what you shoot well. I would rather carry a smith and wesson model 10 that I could get consistant hits with, then a 10mm that I can't.
Father Time is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 11:38 AM   #20
Dragline45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 30, 2010
Posts: 2,470
Both get the job done and the ballistics performance for both rounds is close enough where I would base my choices on other things besides the caliber as in, magazine capacity, size of pistol for ease of carrying, and recoil manageability. Sure the .40 has a slight edge but not enough where it makes a world of a difference.
Dragline45 is online now  
Old September 7, 2011, 01:49 PM   #21
secret_agent_man
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 25, 2011
Posts: 463
Quote:
There is a reason why most police forces don't arm their officers with 9mm in cold climates as FBI shooting statistics show that the standard load 9mm isn't as effective as the 40s&w or 45acp when shot through heavy clothing.
It remains to be seen if Hornady has solved the penetration of winter clothing problem with Critical Defense ammunition.

The problem with the 9mm round is that it can't go fast enough, no matter what the bullet weight is. The 357 SIG goes overboard in attempting to replicate the 357 MAG revolver round. A slight downloading of the former in it's various forms might produce an acceptable compromise for civilian self defense carry that would outdo the nine.

This has been hinted at with the 9BPLE round, 115 grains at 1300 fps, which is overloaded to +P+ , if there is such a thing.
secret_agent_man is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 02:54 PM   #22
microman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 6, 2011
Posts: 428
Quote:
So again, in a SD/CCW application does a 40S&W offer a significant advantage over a 9mm?
Minus the extra rounds in the magazine the .40 S&W has a
lot more energy going for it. I think 9mm is a great round with
proper ammunition, however I think the .40 can be even better
with the right SD load.
microman is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 03:46 PM   #23
KyJim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2005
Location: The Bluegrass
Posts: 7,582
I don't think anyone can argue the .40 SW dumps more energy than the 9mm but that doesn't mean very much in handguns. The .40 SW may create a bigger hole. I say "may" because the use of quality hollow points closes the gap quite a bit.

I like carrying .45 acp but when I don't, I'm perfectly happy with the 9mm. More rounds and easier to control. So long as you shoot straight and use quality defense ammo, I doubt you'll see much difference in results in .40 SW and 9mm.

Quote:
Even a near miss with a .40 will cause the target to turn into a puddle of goo.
I thought that only the "mighty .45 acp" did this. That's why I carry it.
__________________
Jim's Rules of Carry: 1. Any gun is better than no gun. 2. A gun that is reliable is better than a gun that is not. 3. A hole in the right place is better than a hole in the wrong place. 4. A bigger hole is a better hole.
KyJim is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 07:19 PM   #24
Proud Poppa
Member
 
Join Date: August 26, 2011
Posts: 57
Ok, here’s a shot in the dark. Please feel free to critique my theory...

I’ve heard that some of the hype behind the 45 ACP is that a large slow-moving bullet will cause more damage than a smaller faster bullet, as it drags the flesh along as it slowly passes through. While I don’t quite agree with the latter part of that statement, I could see that in theory, a larger bullet traveling at a slower speed would allow for a greater energy deposition than a smaller bullet traveling at a faster speed.

Additionally, for the most part a 45 carries more energy than a 9mm therefore more energy can be transferred onto the target. The caliber in question is a 40 S&W. It carries a lighter bullet faster than a 45 but a heavier bullet slower than a 9mm. In most brands of ammo a 40 S&W has more energy than both the 9mm and 45ACP. With the increase in kinetic energy and a good expanding JHP, it seems to make sense that more energy would get dumped on target with a 40 S&W.

Everyone knows that the 45 ACP is a proven “man stopper” however I have heard that a 357 Magnum eclipses the 45ACP. The only real advantage that I can see that the 357 Magnum has over the 45 ACP is more kinetic energy; over 700 ft*lbs in 357 Magnum versus 500 – 600 ft*lbs in 45 ACP. The bullet diameter in 357 Mag is the same size as the 9mm, so why the higher ratings for being a better man stopper? Kinetic energy?

I could be completely wrong! lol.
Proud Poppa is offline  
Old September 7, 2011, 08:10 PM   #25
daliff89
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 28, 2011
Posts: 123
Quote:
the .40 S&W is a solution to a non-existent problem.
ding ding ding.

the .40 performs well, it's a good round, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily 'better' than anything....

it's completely pointless in my eyes, as i've stated more than once

yes, it's got more power than a 9, but if you're worried about stopping power, why would you get something with less stopping power than a more readily available round in .45?

yes, it's got less recoil than a .45, but if you're worried about follow-up shots, why would you get something with more recoil than a more readily available round in 9mm?

honestly, it makes no sense for a civilian to carry a .40 IMO
daliff89 is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:13 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.14123 seconds with 9 queries