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Snubbie: 38 +P vs 9mm +P+ vs 357 mag?

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by MTPD, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. MTPD


    Nov 9, 2005
    Hey Mas!

    Like you, I've found that 357 mags in lightweight snubbie revolvers recoil way too much for fast, accurate, comfortable, defense shooting.

    I tested the three primary snubbie calibers (38/9mm/357) and determined, after much backyard field testing (velocities + penetration + expansion + recoil + fast shooting accuracy), that 9mm +P+ 115gr JHP's @ 1150 - 1225 fps in small all steel 2" snubbies (S&W & Taurus) came very close to equaling357 mag 2" performance with about half the felt recoil and almost zero muzzle flash. In essence, with 9mm +P+ I get 357 mag performance in a pocket-pistol package that is easy and comfortable to shoot fast and accurately.

    38 +P's, on the other hand, had considerably less velocity with about the same felt recoil as the much more powerful 9mm +P+. No advantage there that I could see.

    What is your opinion of the 9mm +P+ in 2" revolvers?
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    Nov 6, 2005
    In can certainly be a viable choice. 9mm revolvers aren't common, however, and you want to make sure you've tested them thoroughly. In the early days of the S&W J-frame Model 940, some of us noticed that primer flowback into the firing pin bushing from the hotter 9mm loads locked up the guns. S&W got on top of this, adjusting the size of the aperture in the firing pin bushing.

  3. MTPD


    Nov 9, 2005

    I never have experienced the problem you described with my S&W 940.

    However, I have found that some 9mm cases do swell up and stick in the cylinder requiring the ejector rod to be tapped with a piece of wood etc. to eject all 5 spent shells. This problem doesn't seem to be velocity/pressure related since some +P+ eject easily while some standard 9mm loads stick in the cylinder. What causes the problem I'm not sure, but spent Federal 115gr +P+ cases drop out of my 940 just fine so that's what I load it with.

    Another advantage of a 9mm snubbie is that loaded full-moon clips are only about 1/3 the size of speedloaders and twice as fast.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010