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9mm vs 38acp

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by Gail of Maine, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. Gail of Maine

    Gail of Maine New Member

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    I am looking for input as to whether I should get a 9mm or 38acp. It will be a revolver and I have shot a light 38 but not a compact 9mm. Is there much difference between the 2 in regards to hand sting and kick? My 39 special hurts when I shoot, don't know if its b/c its so light or b/c its 38p ammo. Thanks for advice.;)
  2. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    Charter has a good 9mm revolver and Ruger has the convertible so that you can shoot 357/38spl/9mm in the same frame. There is a little less kick with a 9mm vs the 38spl. Remember that typically; the heavier the gun, the less recoil that you're going to feel. I would opt for the Charter in 9mm and see how you like it. Ruger made a SP101 in 9mm, but they're a bit harder to find and about $150+ more than the Charter.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  3. Gail of Maine

    Gail of Maine New Member

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    Thanks Woolleyworm, thats what I was looking at, the charter pitbull 9mm. Am trading my chic lady for it b/c they failed to fix it for me. The cylinder (for bullets) was rubbing against the back and hanging up, sent it back and it came back same so I am trading it in for another model although I did like the pink, got a lot of attention at the range.
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    If I understand correctly, Gail is saying that a .38 Special revolver is uncomfortable to fire. The answer may not be a matter of caliber but of a heavier revolver or one with a better shaped grip. Or a change to an auto pistol in 9mm. The actual recoil might not be much less, but a well shaped grip on an auto pistol makes the felt recoil much more tolerable than some revolver grips, and the auto pistol action spreads the recoil out and reduces its sharpness.

    Jim
  5. Conman

    Conman Member

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    I don't doubt that the Chic Lady hurts your hand. Those things only weight 12 ounces!! "Maybe" with some target wadcutters??

    My wife wanted one of the pink ladies but settled for a S&W Model 10 with 4" barrel. Almost no recoil at all - mostly because of the extra weight and the square butt.
  6. jbrescue

    jbrescue New Member

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    Also, consider a ported barrel.
  7. Conman

    Conman Member

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    I don't believe "porting" would do any good!

    A 2" barrel with only about 1 1/2" sticking out . . .
  8. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    While a ported barrel will make it a bit easier on the wrist, I would recommend against it unless it's strictly a range/plinker pistol.

    For a self-defense pistol, I will strongly discourage going with a ported barrel. One shot in the dark and you WILL loose your night vision from the muzzle flash. Muzzle flash from a short-barrel revolver is bad enough, with ports it's worse.


    I do agree with Conman and JimK. Pick a slightly heavier firearm and that will help tame the recoil quite a bit.
    Sure it might be heavier to carry, but if it's more comfortable to shoot it will be easier to hit your target.
    My recommendation would be to stick with a steel-framed revolver instead of the lightweight polymer or aluminum models.
    As for Charter Arms. I'm not that impressed with the quality of their current models either. It's worth an extra bit of money to go with a Ruger or Smith&Wesson...or even Taurus (and I'm not that impressed with the new Taurus stuff either).


    The recoil from a 9mm will be roughly the same as +P .38Spcl out of a similar weight pistol.
    .380ACP (I'm assuming you're interested in .380 and not the old obsolete .38ACP) has lighter recoil, but it also has a bit less power too. No revolvers chambering the .380 though that I'm aware of. That caliber would be autoloader only.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  9. carver

    carver Moderator

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    I went thru this with my wife. She felt that the .38 just kicked to hard. We tried the low recoil ammo in it, and neither of us could tell the difference between the standard .38, or the low recoil. She then tried the Ruger LCP .380. She wasn't much more happy with it, but it did have less recoil. Remember that the lighter the gun the more felt recoil, and the heavier the bullet the more felt recoil. 9mm runs about twice the presures that the .38 does, and with a lighter bullet. But with the increased speed of the lighter bullet, there will still be a good amount of recoil. Newton's law of motion states that a force in one direction creates an equal force in the opposite direction. Have you tried the .38's in a .357? Heavier gun than a .38, less felt recoil.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  10. jbrescue

    jbrescue New Member

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    How about a Bersa Thunder. More weight and 380. Almost no recoil at all.
  11. Gail of Maine

    Gail of Maine New Member

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    Thanks for all the great input. I need to stick with the CA b/c it is a replacement. I am seriously considering the 9mm pittbull, 22 oz and reduced recoil although I wish it came in pink. lol but also looking at the .40 pittbull at 20oz. They have a 357 and I do have 38+p ammo left so... hmmm, they also have the 38+p police undercover model at 20 oz. I am so confused, what do you think?
    BTW - I can handle the recoil on an RIA 1911 45 but its too heavy for carry and I tend to try to compensate for recoil by pushing downward.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  12. CHW2021

    CHW2021 Active Member

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    You seem to be somewhere around a .38spl and a .38s&w for "preference" in the recoil of a lightweight pistol. The +p 38 and 9 mm would likely be above your comfort level.
    A .380 (aka 9mm kurtz) in a heavier pistol would be managable, but the light pistol weight is actually working against you for anything beyond pure defensive use.
  13. graehaven

    graehaven Well-Known Member

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    Yep, heavier gun (like others suggested), or go with a lesser round, hence the .380 recommendation. There's some good defensive ammo out there for the .380. That'd be a good option.
  14. Gail of Maine

    Gail of Maine New Member

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    I ordered the Charter Arms 9 mm and its back ordered for several weeks but I'll wait. Thanks for the advice, I will report back about it, they have a 40 mm & 45 mm just like it.
  15. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    Outstanding, let us know what you think when you get to the range. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

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