Skip to comments.9mm Ammo
Posted on 12/18/2018 5:16:50 AM PST by w1n1
When I worked at a gun store I was frequently asked what caliber was best for any given situation. It would have been nice if there had been some sort of magic death ray that I could have suggested, but there isn't, and most people have a pretty flawed understanding of what actually happens when a bullet interacts with a human target.
For starters let's examine a couple of concepts that dont actually exist in the scientific world but everyone talks about anyway. I'm going to regurgitate the work from those better than myself, and the information is worth paying attention to.
This doesnt actually exist. If a bullet had enough force to knock down an individual, it would also knock down the individual firing the gun. People do not go flying through the air when hit by a bullet, contrary to what the movies and television would have us believe. Newton's Third Law and all.
On the back of a box of ammo, manufacturers list the foot-pounds of energy (ft-lbf, or foot-pounds of force/energy) that their rounds have. Well, that doesnt actually matter. The terminal performance of a projectile is determined solely by how much tissue it cuts, crushes or tears. While it has been advocated by many-a-misinformed-gun-counter commando that some sort of energy transfer occurs between a projectile and its target, this has been rejected by everyone I respect who studies terminal ballistics for a living. Read the rest of 9mm ammo.
Lots of theories on what is best for various situations most of which boil down to personal preference. For a general home defense gun which may have to be used by women or children in an emergency I lean towards a youth 20 gauge automatic shotgun. No precision aiming needed, not too much felt recoil, excellent availability
The nice thing about living in New Jersey is that we don’t have any of these complicated choices...
The shot spread at house distances will not exceed the size of your fist. You can add that dont need to aim a shotgun much to the pile of myths too. They need as much aiming as any other long gun.
I’ve been told the best round to fire is the one you have available.
UNTIL you spend time and shoot THOUSANDS OF ROUNDS........
.......think revolver, revolver Revolver, REVOLVER!!
.38 SPECIAL essentially the same thing re: energy and power and is good enough until you are an expert—and fine even then.
Good article. Years ago when I first got my carry permit I used a .380 semi-auto. Eventually my husband wanted me to upgrade. I bought a .38 Special Ultra-lite snub-nose revolver. When I questioned the accuracy and the fact that it only held five bullets he said that it was accurate at a distance that I would need it for self-defense and if somebody was close enough for me to need it that five bullets were plenty. He said the .38 loaded with hollow points was perfect for my needs. He was afraid that the .380 might not be enough against somebody huge and/or high on drugs. Thankfully I have not needed to use it and hope I never do but I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I have always preferred a revolver over a semi-auto and I love this one!
I disagree with one thing he says tho I think I know what he is saying.
Energy is important. It is not everything but is necessary to do what he is claiming. The ability to destroy tissue or bones or organs.
Over the last few years I have coalesced around 9mm ammo. With the exception of scatter guns, all my current inventory are 9mm based. It seems to be the best compromise when you factor in availability, price, weapon weight, and the considerations under which a weapon may be used.
There is not much difference between a .380 and a .38 special out of a snubbie.
They both can be extremely accurate. I had a Colt Lightweight Agent which would consistently put all shots, using wadcutters, into the same hole at 15 feet.
The old rule of thumb is 1" spread per yard of travel. So at 1 to 7 yards that gives you maybe a 2" to 8" wide pattern - that's not exactly "just point it at that end of the room and pull the trigger" spread. Testing by some sources suggests actual spread is only 1/3 to 1/2 that rate. Personally, I know my Mossberg 500 (12 GA) spreads bird shot (#6 or #8) to about a dinner plate sized pattern at 15 to 16 yards. Rifled slugs obviously are single projectiles that must be aimed, and even the #1 buck I've got in there (alternated with slugs) does not spread like the bird shot. Hence, if I ever have to use it, I plan on aiming fairly well. I don't want to incapacitate a limb, I want to knock down anyone that needs it and take them out of the fight immediately.
If energy isn’t important why do rifle rounds out perform pistol rounds?
Agreed. A S&W 5 shot 38 is my wife’s favorite carry firearm. No hammer, no safety, no muss, no fuss, point and shoot... She doesn’t train as often as I do.
I’m with you there. I carried a 9mm overseas, and I will tell you if I had a choice I would of packed 45 acp. Of course a pistol is only good to get to your rifle though, which should be a 30 cal battle rifle. Again, I carried the 5.56mm overseas. No thanks.
In this day and age this is becoming more important than ever.
When seconds count, police are minutes away.
The amount of tissue it damages is dependent upon energy and velocity, as well as how well the bullet expands. A high-energy full-metal-jacket which just passes through and expends most of its energy into the wall behind the bad guy is not as good as a lower-energy hollowpoint which expands and delivers all of its energy into the bad guy.
But a high-energy bullet which expands and delivers all its energy into damaging the bad guy is better than either of the former.
.88 magnum. Accept no substitutes.
I've also ah "borrowed" my wife's .38 spl 5 shot revolver on occasion. Our smallest carry option is a Ruger 380 LCP. Not terribly a fan of the 380 just because it is no fun to operate/shoot. It's one redeeming quality is its size - you can carry it almost any time. Heck, I've got a couple of loud swim suits I could probably carry it in the pocket of without printing. (sorry for the mental image of a middle-aged white guy in a swim suit...;-)
Yet another “firearms expert” that doesn’t have any actual experience. I’ve seen the 9mm and the .45 used in combat - the .45 was a killer, the 9mm was a wounder.
The M-14 in 7.62mm killed reliably close up and at distance, the M-16 didn’t do as well.
I was shot by an AK. I’m still here.
Gun writers are a dime a dozen.
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