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9mm vs 38 special

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by EL COLONEL, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. EL COLONEL

    EL COLONEL

    1,542
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    Feb 1, 2006
    S.A. TEXAS
    Ok guys of the two listed above which is a better man stopper? Thanks....:dunno:
     
  2. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    24,185
    2,135
    Sep 15, 2003
    WA
    .38sp.

    I can't pass one at the shop without stopping and buying the damn thing.
     


  3. copo9560

    copo9560

    376
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    Feb 21, 2012
    9 mm. 357 Mag beats both and can also shoot 38 for practice.
     
  4. Metal Angel

    Metal Angel

    811
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    Oct 20, 2010
    Don't let the brass deceive you. .38 special is much lower pressure and is somewhere between 9mm and .380acp for stopping power. It will do the job though.
     
  5. EL COLONEL

    EL COLONEL

    1,542
    1
    Feb 1, 2006
    S.A. TEXAS
  6. Decguns

    Decguns

    1,244
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    Dec 29, 2003
    NC
    The 38 Special started out life as a black powder cartridge; hence the overly large case for something that tops out at 17,000 psi. It's really more in the 380 ACP power bracket which is 21,500 psi. But the 38 Spcl can use heavier projectiles.

    The 9MM works at 35,000 psi. Many of the +P+ 124 grain loadings are just 100-150fps slower than the 357 Magnum's 125gr loads which is also in the 35,000 psi realm. The 357 Magnum benefitting from a much larger case capacity to hold a lot more powder. While most commercial 9MM offerings are loaded on the wimpy side of 1180fps , the cartridge really can zing projo's when loaded to the limit.
     
  7. snubfan

    snubfan Giant Member

    2,228
    146
    Apr 23, 2008
    Omaha
    They have both killed a lot of people over the last century and will probably continue to do so over the next century. On paper the 9MM does have an advantage but in the end, a well placed .38 with the best SD ammo vs. a well placed 9MM with the best SD ammo are probably going to have near identical results in the real world.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  8. Merkavaboy

    Merkavaboy Code-7A KUZ769

    Hands down the 9x19mm cartridge beats the .38Spl.
     
  9. NeverMore1701

    NeverMore1701 Fear no Evil Platinum Member

    38,413
    3,776
    Jun 25, 2004
    Amarillo, Tx
    Too close to matter. I choose 9mm platforms over .38 platforms though.
     
  10. rich52us

    rich52us

    1,157
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    Mar 28, 2006
    WPB, FL
    I believe with modern ammo, the 9MM is somewhat better than the .38 Special. Both are still pistol cartridges and not real "manstoppers." I carried .38Spec. for over 20 years because that's what I was required to carry. What really sets the 9MM ahead of the .38 is the pistols it's chambered in. Better ergonomics, capacity, reloads, shootability and carryability (if that's a word lol). So I carry 9MM pistols now. Just my opinion.
     
  11. Brucev

    Brucev

    9,189
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    Jul 19, 2009
    I've used both for over 20 years. They are both fine rounds. I prefer the .38 Special. Why? Heavier bullet. And when fired in S&W J and K frame revolvers, the .38 Special far outclasses just about any service grade semi-auto pistol. If someone is concerned that the .38 Special is not "hot" enough, they need only look at Buffalo Bore ammunition. Those folks load .38 Special ammo that will do anything that needs to be done while staying well within SAAMI standards. A 158 gr. SWC at 1,200 FPS is a very effective load. Cool.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  12. cphilip

    cphilip

    3,442
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    Oct 17, 2006
    Clemson SC
    This is true. When comparing standard loads. In fact the best .380 loads beat the standard .38 spcl loads by just a hair.

    Of course when comparing non standard the options go up for 8
    38 special if the gun can handle plus P loads but... lets stick to comparing standard loads. In that case the .380 is about the same as standard load .38 special. And you can get the 9mm long in even more variations of loads so... it depends.
     
  13. bac1023

    bac1023

    102,336
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    Sep 26, 2004
    PA
    The two are very close. At SAAMI standards, the 9mm puts out more energy. However, the 38 Special can be loaded hot.
     
  14. fastbolt

    fastbolt

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    CA Central Coast
    :rofl:

    Okay. That works.
     
  15. BFN

    BFN

    303
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    Jan 2, 2010
    Usually, 9mm, unless the higher case capacity 38sp is loaded to its potential. Buffalo Bore has 38 sp 158gr LSWCHP +P 1000 FPS from a 2" barrel.
     
  16. ronin.45

    ronin.45

    11,421
    835
    Apr 24, 2008
    NE OHIO
    Both great cartridges with advantages of their own. 9mm has a velocity advantage while .38 can go with a heavier bullet. You must choose which you think you need. I prefer the 9mm.
     
  17. barth

    barth six barrels

    6,360
    433
    Oct 7, 2011
    The Free Zone
    Speer GDHP from a 4" barrel -
    38 +P 125 gr === 945 fps 248 E
    9mm +P 124 gr =1220 fps 410 E

    no contest
     
  18. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

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    U.S.A.
    A lot depends on what barrel length .38 we're talking about. 124gr @ 1200 fps from a Glock 19 or 135gr @ 850 fps from a snubby. The choice is obvious.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012