The 9mm for self-defense

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by Pistolenschutze, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. This topic has, obviously, come up before here on TFF, but perhaps it would be worthwhile to rehash it again for a bit.

    Statistically at least, the 9mm Parabellum round has been consistently shown to be among the overall most effective ever designed for self-defense, assuming reliable expanding bullets are used instead of hardball. I'd be curious to see some opinions about the effectiveness of the 9mm as compared to other rounds used for this purpose, such as the .45 ACP, the .38 Special, and the .40 S&W.

    Let me start off by saying that personally, I like the 9mm and carry one quite often, usually a Glock 26. Yes, I like the .45 as well and sometimes carry a 1911 Colt Commander. Yet, I do think the 9mm offers certain advantages over the .45, at least for civilian carry:

    1. Greater ammo capacity.
    2. Greater controllability in rapid fire.
    3. Less weight for concealed carry in most pistols that chamber the round.
    4. Greater concealability in most cases.

    Opinions? :D
  2. jacksonco

    jacksonco New Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Jackson County West Virginia
    I like the 9mm platform. I have 3 pistols in this caiber. My carry at present is a Colt Commander. I have 3 pistols in the 45auto platform. I dont and never have felt under gunned with a 9mm. I carried an Astra A75 for quite a while and it was only 8 + 1 capacity. I think a lot of people gravitate towards the big is better mentality when it is not always so.

    Like I said today I carry my commander, perhaps tomorrow my P11. I feel comfortable with either caliber.

  3. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    There always seem to be a lot of people who dismiss the 9mm, including a couple whose opinions I respect. Its also true 9mms have taken more than a few lives when called upon to do so.

    Most will agree the real world effectiveness of a calibre has as much to do with placement as other factors. For example weight, shape, enhanced munitions such as hollow, soft and frangible.

    The bottom line in my opinion is that the most effective calibres are those used by people with good training, practice and calm execution of sound techniques.

    9mm is an effective calibre. It will not perform miracles, it will not make up for poor placement, but then no other will either.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2009
  4. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Akron, Ohio
    I have been one who has advocated the military go to a heavier round, mostly due to complaints I've heard from troops in Iraq complaining the 9mm lacked sufficient stopping power for combat. However for personal defense I would be quite satisfied that the 9mm could do the job. For all the reasons you mentioned it may just be the best all round self defense caliber. An XDM 9 is on my list right after a 1911 .45
  5. Absolutely correct, Tranter. Many forget that NO handgun caliber is really all that powerful, not when compared to a rifle or shotgun. Proper bullet placement, preferably several of them, is the key to using any handgun effectively for self defense. I was always taught to shoot in groups of three well aimed rounds, no matter what caliber handgun I using. Personally, I feel quite comfortable armed with a 9mm loaded with modern ammo. Military use though, lies in a different category I think. Since hollow point ammo is not used, I do think a larger bullet is indeed more effective, which is why I would choose the .45 over the 9mm any day of the week if I had to use hardball.
  6. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    9mm ball gives better penetration than .45 ACP. It's effective against some body armor where the .45 isn't. I think that is (at least part of) why it's used for the military.

    As for personal defense, all the statistics I've seen show the 9mm to be an effective cartridge. I'm quite comfortable with the .380 and the .38 Special, so a faster-moving bullet of the same diameter is just fine with me.
  7. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2008
    DAV, Deep in the Pineywoods of E. Texas!
    Back in the 70's I had an oppertunity to see the results of 9mm bullet wounds (hard ball). They did not impress me! I have since stayed away form the 9's, but am comming around as expanding bullets are getting better all the time. Right now I want another .44mag, this one in a 4" barrel, and then I might consider adding a 9 to the pistols I have. As Tranter says, "The bottom line in my opinion is that the most effective calibres are those used by people with good training, practice and calm execution of sound techniques".
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  8. combatvampire

    combatvampire New Member

    Dec 31, 2008
    It has more to do with where you shoot them at, then what you shoot them with.
  9. USMC-03

    USMC-03 New Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    Peoples Republic of the Pacific Northwest
    One advantage the 9mm Luger has is it's relative low recoil which helps with accuracy and after-shot follow through. Double taps are far easier to master with the 9mm over the .45 ACP for example. My preference for self defense is the .45, but with a good Hi-Power loaded with hollow points I wouldn't feel under gunned.
  10. bcj1755

    bcj1755 New Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    A wretched hive of scum and villiany
    An Iraqi War vet that works at a local gun store and has used and seen the effects of both the .45 and the 9mm in combat told me that the 124gr 9mm HydraShoks I carry in my P99 will do everything that a .45ACP will do. Besides, I can control a 9mm a lot better than I can control a .45ACP. Two hits with a 9mm is better than 8 misses with a .45:D
  11. We are definitely on the same frequency, USMC. With good ammo, I feel the 9mm has distinct advantages, at least under some circumstances.
  12. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 New Member

    Aug 23, 2003
    That's why I like the 40 S&W. Bigger than a 9mm and faster than a 45 ACP in basically a 9mm sized platform.
    It's all what you like.
  13. tundra01

    tundra01 New Member

    Sep 28, 2008
    The 9mm is a great round without a doubt. Look at the German Luger and the P-38, these were two all time greats. There is still a lot of law agencies that still prefer the 9mm. The really big difference is when you get into the ballistics charts. I think I remember reading a few yrs back where two FBI agents shot a guy multiple times and he proceded to walk up and shoot them both with a shotgun. However the guy was coked up and this was when they(the FBI) changed to the 10mm. A 9mm with Hornady Tap ammo sets fine with me for CC.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  14. SaddleSarge

    SaddleSarge New Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    There is only one thing that makes an effective round, "mass tissue trauma."

    It's not the hole, it's the tissue damaged around the hole that stops the suspect.
  15. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    It is true the 9mm in the typical military 115gn FMJ is a poor performer. In many military and police units around the world it was, and still is the one they are stuck with. The only option is multiple hits. On occasion when stuck with FMJ as the only choice I have gone heavy, 123gn for example, but it still falls short of the 230gn at an effective 850/900fps out of a 1911.

    Enhanced bullets, as has been stated, more than close the gap with more effective calibres.

    Building a little on whats been said above, stopping can be much more than calibre and even good shooting. The mental state of the attacker for one. Mr hyped up and on drugs can often keep going when others would fall, even having sustained fatal wounds. Some would have seen the little guy who gets wounded and keeps fighting, while the big feller takes a minor, not fatal would and lies down screaming for Mom. A fortunate hit to smash spine or pelvis for example will drop the most determined attacker.

    Some on TFF will know, unfortunately, the very serious damage a human can sometimes sustain, without dying or even passing out. Even to the point when you wish it was otherwise.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2009