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Thread: Stopping power 9mm vs .40

  1. #1
    Chasing Prey Yojimbo's Avatar
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    Angry Stopping power 9mm vs .40

    Since I know we have several members here who are very knowlegeble about firearms, I am hoping for some feedback regarding the stopping power of a 9mm parabellum as compared to a .40 caliber.

    I am considering purchasing a Glock- either M-26 chambered for 9mm parabellum or a M-27 in .40 caliber. In asking around I have heard conflicting things about the stopping power of a 9mm vs .40 - two freinds of mine who are also law enforcement officers have conflicting views on the .9mm with one saying that the stopping power is only slightly better than a .38 +P who recommends I go with the .40 as an alternative and the other who says the .9mm is more than sufficient and that the .40 is meant for those with machismo issues.

    So to the members in the know- is the difference in stopping power negligible between a 9mm and a .40? Is the .40 a superior round as far as stopping power goes?

    Any feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thanks folks!
    Originally Posted by EvilNed
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  2. #2
    Twitching Arcades057's Avatar
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    Stopping power is generally a myth; shot placement is what counts. Sure, a .45 or a .44 will make a nice big hole in someone, but a shot to center-mass in .22 LR WILL stop your attacked in his tracks.

    A .40 caliber is one hard-kicking son of a bitch, too. You fire a compact GLOCK chambered in .45 and you can manage it; do the same with a .40 and you're in for a surprise. I've owned the compacts of both 9mm and .40 (GLOCK 19 and 23 respectively) and while I loved both, I'd have to give the 19 an edge due to a) price of 50 rounds, and b) likelihood of delivering a good pair into a target.

    Going by general consensus, however, .40 is regarded as the round with better stopping power. Then, if you want to graduate to full male status, grab yourself one of these bad boys...



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    Rising Eyebiter's Avatar
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    Either caliber is manageable with the proper ammunition selection.

    If you go by cost per round 40 cal is more expensive than 9mm
    http://gun-deals.com/ammo.php?caliber=9mm+Luger
    http://gun-deals.com/ammo.php?caliber=.40+S%26W

    Personally I'd get the 9mm version. Less recoil and the ammunition is cheaper.

    Too many guys spend big money on a great handgun then are too cheap to bring it along to the range because the ammo costs too much.

    When you order the pistol, try several different brands of ammo until you find one you like. Then go online and buy 1k rounds of ammo for it. That way you will be encouraged to take it to the range often and practice with it.
    Last edited by Eyebiter; 08-Mar-2010 at 12:04 PM.


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    Dying fulci fan's Avatar
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    If it is for your house, I would get the 9.

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    Dead Skippy911sc's Avatar
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    A friend of mine (LEO) had the sort of experience you are looking for and passed this story on to me. He worked Narc div. and was getting ready to make a bust. They burst through the door and the lead Detective went first where he encountered a HUGE guy with a shotgun (he was on something) the office did the usual put it down, freeze, po-po thing and the guy just kept coming, he unloaded 6 9mm rounds into the guy before the officer behind him laid him out with a .45. That Detective switched, after that day, to carrying a .45. I know placement counts but I think of it this way, what is the minimum size of round you are allowed to use on hunting with a firearm, and step it up one.

    I like a good ole 1911, and have fired all of the rounds mentioned in this discussion. If you are talking about your life, don't mess around with something small. If you want to plink and have fun... go with a 9.

    For hunting I use a .460 pistol but will practice with the .454 or .45 colt. If you not planning on carrying get yourself a good old 870, the sound of the pump is enough to scare the crap out of most intruders.

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    Chasing Prey Yojimbo's Avatar
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    Thanks for your thoughts on this, folks. Quite a lot to consider here and a lot of good info.
    Originally Posted by EvilNed
    As a much wiser man than I once said: "We must stop the banning - or loose the war."

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    Twitching
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    All I can say from personal experience is that a .40 puts slightly larger holes in paper than a 9mm, and a .45 makes slightly larger holes than a .40.

    From what I've read, the difference in "stopping power" between the rounds is marginal and often overrated, especially when using modern defensive ammunition. The point that 9mm will go right through someone without doing much damage is based on using standard military FMJ ball ammunition, which you shouldn't be doing unless you're constrained by the Hague Conventions. Here is a good blog post on the subject.

    I think it's a good idea to find a range that rents guns, give each a try, and see what feels most comfortable for you. The best choice is whatever you're most accurate with. I personally don't find the difference in recoil to be very significant, and it will be even less with a high-performance 9mm round, so that may not be a big factor in favor of 9mm. Other factors to consider are that you'll get slightly higher magazine capacity with 9mm and 9mm is cheaper so you'll get more range time with the same ammo budget.
    Last edited by Publius; 09-Mar-2010 at 10:52 AM.
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    Dying fulci fan's Avatar
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    The 45. is an ass kicker. It definatley has stopping power because the bullet is designed to create "hydrostatic shock" (at least the ammunition I shot.). I heard it is similar to getting hit with a cannon ball rather than the bullet going right through.

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    Dead Exatreides's Avatar
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    I think we use to talk about something like this a lot in the old forum in the fiction section.

    Though I think it was the FNp90 vs the UMP or mp5 or something like that. Same argument about smaller rounds and higher velocity and rpm, vs larger slower rounds.

    Can't remember who won that argument...though I do think I favored the FNp90.

    Really its all just about personal preference and what you feel comfortable shooting.

    Remember whatever range you have with a pistol is going to be in doors and pretty close(if its for home protection sort of thing) So I always consider what weapon I can raise to someone's chest/head the fastest and deliver as many accurate rounds as possible.
    "if wishs were fishes we'd all cast nets" - Gurney Hallack


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    Twitching strayrider's Avatar
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    As Arcades mentioned the term "stopping power" is highly over-emphasized. Any round, properly placed, that can penetrate bone and disrupt neurological (brain, spinal column) function has "stopping power". Larger caliber bullets (9mm-.45 ACP) have a tendency to do this more effectively than the smaller calibers (.25, .22LR).

    More important than stopping power is the ability to properly place the round in the target. Center mass (heart, lungs, spinal column) is the most effective area to place the shot (head shots, though not impossible to make, are often difficult in a "stress fire" situation).

    As such, I'd advise Yohimbo to visit his local range and test fire pistols of different calibers and find out which he is the most comfortable and accurate with. Go with the largest round that you can effectively and consistently place in the kill zone.

    For home defense go with a shotgun using a light load, #6 birdshot, for example. Bullets can and will penetrate doors, walls, etc. and pose a danger to others--especially in an apartment/condo scenario. Plus, as someone else correctly mentioned, a shotgun being cycled for in preparation for firing has a sound that will often stop an intruder in their tracks and send them them running.

    If they choose not to flee, keep in mind that an intruder does not break into your home to talk or make new friends. Their socio or economic deprivation is nothing that should be taken into consideration--NOT your problem, in other words. Your responsibility is to your family and yourself. If the intruder does not comply with your instructions--if they take so much as a step in your direction--do not hesitate to pull the trigger.



    -stray-

  11. #11
    Walking Dead DubiousComforts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yojimbo View Post
    I am hoping for some feedback regarding the stopping power
    Who or what are you trying to stop, Jimbo?

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    Dead Exatreides's Avatar
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    Personally I like to think what could stop Giant rabid bears... You know like the kind that scare the shit out of you in Condemned 2.

    What do I need to stop that.
    "if wishs were fishes we'd all cast nets" - Gurney Hallack


  13. #13
    Walking Dead DubiousComforts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exatreides View Post
    Personally I like to think what could stop Giant rabid bears... You know like the kind that scare the shit out of you in Condemned 2.

    What do I need to stop that.
    A good cheat code?

  14. #14
    Dead Exatreides's Avatar
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    Where I'm from...We don't have cheat codes for Rabid bears.
    "if wishs were fishes we'd all cast nets" - Gurney Hallack


  15. #15
    Dying Wooley's Avatar
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    I'll +1 to what others have said about shot placement being more important than caliber, renting each gun and seeing which one you find more accurate and controllable, and then add buy lots of cheap practice ammo for it and hit the range with it, maybe even consider some kind of professional training.

    Training would be very helpful in learning how to recongize a bad situation and therefore avoid it, or try to minimize it, as well as how to improve your ability with the gun, learn malfunction drills, reload drills, and tactics like retention, room clearing, and such to make you more effective if it does come down to settling things with hot lead.

    Then get some good, reliable defensive ammo-Golden Sabers, Hydrashoks, Hornaday TAP, etc, and then put the rest in the hands of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You'll have done the best you can.

    Oh, and the difference size wise between a 9mm and a .40 is about .05ths of an inch, since the 9mm is a .35 caliber bullet or 35/100ths of an inch wide and the .40 is well, 40/100ths of an inch. Lots of people think that because their gun's caliber starts with a 4, it's some kind of magical death ray. It's not. There's been failures to stop people from harming others after being shot with everything up to a .50 BMG and a 20mm cannon.

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