9mm vs 38 special [Archive] - Glock Talk

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EL COLONEL
03-22-2012, 17:58
Ok guys of the two listed above which is a better man stopper? Thanks....:dunno:

Berto
03-22-2012, 18:00
.38sp.

I can't pass one at the shop without stopping and buying the damn thing.

copo9560
03-22-2012, 18:00
9 mm. 357 Mag beats both and can also shoot 38 for practice.

Metal Angel
03-22-2012, 18:03
Don't let the brass deceive you. .38 special is much lower pressure and is somewhere between 9mm and .380acp for stopping power. It will do the job though.

EL COLONEL
03-22-2012, 18:15
Ok 1 for 9mm and one for 38 . Anybody else ?

Decguns
03-22-2012, 18:25
The 38 Special started out life as a black powder cartridge; hence the overly large case for something that tops out at 17,000 psi. It's really more in the 380 ACP power bracket which is 21,500 psi. But the 38 Spcl can use heavier projectiles.

The 9MM works at 35,000 psi. Many of the +P+ 124 grain loadings are just 100-150fps slower than the 357 Magnum's 125gr loads which is also in the 35,000 psi realm. The 357 Magnum benefitting from a much larger case capacity to hold a lot more powder. While most commercial 9MM offerings are loaded on the wimpy side of 1180fps , the cartridge really can zing projo's when loaded to the limit.

snubfan
03-22-2012, 18:28
They have both killed a lot of people over the last century and will probably continue to do so over the next century. On paper the 9MM does have an advantage but in the end, a well placed .38 with the best SD ammo vs. a well placed 9MM with the best SD ammo are probably going to have near identical results in the real world.

Merkavaboy
03-22-2012, 18:30
Hands down the 9x19mm cartridge beats the .38Spl.

NeverMore1701
03-22-2012, 18:38
Too close to matter. I choose 9mm platforms over .38 platforms though.

rich52us
03-22-2012, 18:40
I believe with modern ammo, the 9MM is somewhat better than the .38 Special. Both are still pistol cartridges and not real "manstoppers." I carried .38Spec. for over 20 years because that's what I was required to carry. What really sets the 9MM ahead of the .38 is the pistols it's chambered in. Better ergonomics, capacity, reloads, shootability and carryability (if that's a word lol). So I carry 9MM pistols now. Just my opinion.

Brucev
03-22-2012, 18:50
I've used both for over 20 years. They are both fine rounds. I prefer the .38 Special. Why? Heavier bullet. And when fired in S&W J and K frame revolvers, the .38 Special far outclasses just about any service grade semi-auto pistol. If someone is concerned that the .38 Special is not "hot" enough, they need only look at Buffalo Bore ammunition. Those folks load .38 Special ammo that will do anything that needs to be done while staying well within SAAMI standards. A 158 gr. SWC at 1,200 FPS is a very effective load. Cool.

cphilip
03-22-2012, 18:57
Don't let the brass deceive you. .38 special is much lower pressure and is somewhere between 9mm and .380acp for stopping power. It will do the job though.

This is true. When comparing standard loads. In fact the best .380 loads beat the standard .38 spcl loads by just a hair.

Of course when comparing non standard the options go up for 8
38 special if the gun can handle plus P loads but... lets stick to comparing standard loads. In that case the .380 is about the same as standard load .38 special. And you can get the 9mm long in even more variations of loads so... it depends.

bac1023
03-22-2012, 19:29
The two are very close. At SAAMI standards, the 9mm puts out more energy. However, the 38 Special can be loaded hot.

EL COLONEL
03-22-2012, 19:42
Thanx guys .

fastbolt
03-22-2012, 19:45
.38sp.

I can't pass one at the shop without stopping and buying the damn thing.

:rofl:

Okay. That works.

BFN
03-22-2012, 20:35
Usually, 9mm, unless the higher case capacity 38sp is loaded to its potential. Buffalo Bore has 38 sp 158gr LSWCHP +P 1000 FPS from a 2" barrel.

ronin.45
03-22-2012, 20:40
Both great cartridges with advantages of their own. 9mm has a velocity advantage while .38 can go with a heavier bullet. You must choose which you think you need. I prefer the 9mm.

LASTRESORT20
03-22-2012, 20:46
I prefer 9mm

barth
03-22-2012, 20:47
Speer GDHP from a 4" barrel -
38 +P 125 gr === 945 fps 248 E
9mm +P 124 gr =1220 fps 410 E

no contest

cowboy1964
03-22-2012, 22:11
A lot depends on what barrel length .38 we're talking about. 124gr @ 1200 fps from a Glock 19 or 135gr @ 850 fps from a snubby. The choice is obvious.

FLIPPER 348
03-22-2012, 22:42
Ok guys of the two listed above which is a better man stopper? Thanks....:dunno:


In my P7- 9mm

In my snub revolver -38sp

oldman11
03-22-2012, 22:47
Both great cartridges with advantages of their own. 9mm has a velocity advantage while .38 can go with a heavier bullet. You must choose which you think you need. I prefer the 9mm.
You can get 9mm in 147 grain, that's pretty close to even. I do prefer the 9mm.

Zombie Steve
03-22-2012, 22:57
The 38 Special started out life as a black powder cartridge; hence the overly large case for something that tops out at 17,000 psi. It's really more in the 380 ACP power bracket which is 21,500 psi. But the 38 Spcl can use heavier projectiles.

The 9MM works at 35,000 psi. Many of the +P+ 124 grain loadings are just 100-150fps slower than the 357 Magnum's 125gr loads which is also in the 35,000 psi realm. The 357 Magnum benefitting from a much larger case capacity to hold a lot more powder. While most commercial 9MM offerings are loaded on the wimpy side of 1180fps , the cartridge really can zing projo's when loaded to the limit.

I don't understand how comparing pressures has anything to do with it. Standard .45 Colt tops out at 14,000 psi, and stomps on both rounds.

Metal Angel
03-22-2012, 23:13
I don't understand how comparing pressures has anything to do with it. Standard .45 Colt tops out at 14,000 psi, and stomps on both rounds.

Because 9mm and 38sp are basically the same size bullet... So pressure is what differentiates their performance. 45 is a much bigger bullet, so you can't compare it to 38sp or 9mm by pressure.

Bill Keith
03-22-2012, 23:24
I'd opine that the one that is more deadly is the one that was aimed better. Use what you know how to use:wavey:

Zombie Steve
03-22-2012, 23:36
Because 9mm and 38sp are basically the same size bullet... So pressure is what differentiates their performance. 45 is a much bigger bullet, so you can't compare it to 38sp or 9mm by pressure.

Pressure doesn't differentiate their performance. Speed does. If you had the same case volume and bullet, then yes, pressure would determine which one performs better. Not the case comparing 9 and 38.


Consider .308 (62,000psi) and .30-06 (60,000psi). Same bullet, the '06 can drive it faster at lower pressure.

7mm-08 (61,000psi) and 7mm Remington Magnum (61,000psi). Same bullet, and the 7 mag has a good 300 fps on the '08.

WarEagle32
03-23-2012, 01:27
Speer GDHP from a 4" barrel -
38 +P 125 gr === 945 fps 248 E
9mm +P 124 gr =1220 fps 410 E

no contest


^^^ this!! This isn't even a close comparison. The 9mm is hands down a lot stronger!

fowler
03-23-2012, 07:29
The 9mm has more power even in a short barrel. The 38 spec. is the perfect wheelgun snubnose cal. Both will work,but in a combat pistol I,ll take a hi-capp full size 9mm over a full size 38 wheelgun everytime.

whitebread
03-23-2012, 09:41
Speer GDHP from a 4" barrel -
38 +P 125 gr === 945 fps 248 E
9mm +P 124 gr =1220 fps 410 E

no contest

Exactly why I carry .357 Magnum in my snub nose. :cool:

Cream Soda Kid
03-23-2012, 09:59
I carry one or the other frequently. In 9MM, itís JHP 9BPLE, +P+ 115 grain in a G19 or G26. In .38 Special itís Black Hills JHP +P 125 grain.

While the ballistic numbers are higher in the 9MM, the .38 Special is fine.

I feel comfortable and confident with either one. Or, sometimes I just go with .357 Magnum, 125 grain.

BFN
03-23-2012, 10:42
9mm wins all day every day
Speer GDHP from a 4" barrel -
38 +P 125 gr === 945 fps 248 E
9mm +P 124 gr =1220 fps 410 E

no contest


Wrong answer. The 38 special has 50% more case capacity, can be loaded with a heavier bullet and more powder.

9mm +P 124 gr 1220 fps 410 E
38 special +P BB 158 gr 1250 fps 547 E

Both are effective, but the 38 special can be loaded hotter.

spec357
03-23-2012, 10:59
As someone mentioned Capacity does play a role. For me I would have to add accuracy too. I have a 357 mag sp101 that I usually load with 125 grain 357 and it's a handful to shoot, I only have 5 rounds. And I'm not consistently that accurate with it, even with 38's! Now I also have a CZ P01 that holds 15 rounds of golddot 124+p in a size similar to the Sp101, that I am amazingly accurate with and on paper it beats 38 special. So for me it's a no brainer that I choose 9mm.

cowboy1964
03-23-2012, 11:31
Wrong answer. The 38 special has 50% more case capacity, can be loaded with a heavier bullet and more powder.

9mm +P 124 gr 1220 fps 410 E
38 special +P BB 158 gr 1250 fps 547 E

Both are effective, but the 38 special can be loaded hotter.

That quoted velocity for the BB is from a 6" barrel. That particular hardcast round would also be extremely overly penetrative too. It's a woods round. So no, it may not in fact be a better "manstopper".

fastbolt
03-23-2012, 12:35
I've used both 9mm & .38 S&W Spl for many years. (This from someone who primarily carried.357 Magnum & .45 ACP as a young cop. ;) )

A couple things I like about the .38 Spl revolver cartridge revolve around (no pun intended) bullet design and the ammunition not having to be fed up a barrel feed ramp & chambered, especially when less-than-optimal grip support might occur and "feeding timing" might be adversely affected.

I also like how the revolver cartridge can use a bullet with a larger exposed nose cavity than that often used in semiauto pistols.

Granted, with the better designs being produced in modern 9mm pistol ammunition, these revolver "advantages" are probably less critical than they might have been previously viewed.

Another advantage of personal defensive revolvers is that they don't require magazines.

Also, I've seen some older pistols and revolvers brought through classes& range quals by private owners. Guns which had been somewhat neglected (to the point of abuse) by the owners over the years. Bear in mind that even some folks who lawfully carry handguns for defensive roles may neglect them and fail to maintain them for long periods of time. It's much more often been the neglected revolvers that functioned and fired, than the similarly neglected and abused pistols.

Of course, my 9's & .38's all get periodically inspected and maintained, and I trust all of them to serve their intended roles in an optimal manner.

FWIW, I own more .38's than I do 9's. ;)

ronin.45
03-23-2012, 18:20
You can get 9mm in 147 grain, that's pretty close to even. I do prefer the 9mm.

You can even get factory 9mm up to 158gr, but if you want to go extreme you can load 180's in 38.

Berto
03-23-2012, 18:29
At their max SAAMI pressures and similar bbl lengths, .38sp can drive heavier bullets to higher velocities than 9mm can.
The 9mm generally has better ballistics because it needs to be loaded into the 30K psi range to insure reliable function in pistols.
.38sp is generally loaded to mild pressure as a low recoil alternative to .357mag.

Bottom line:
I can load ammo in my .38sp snubby that will perform just as good as anything I load in my 3.5" 3913.
For example a +p 124gr gold dot in my 3913 will hit approx 1150fps, as will a 125gr +p jhp .38sp Buffalo Bore from my 2.5" 242 snubby.
The hottest 147gr in the 3913 is +P+ 147gr Buffalo Bore load, good for about 1100fps, same as +P 158gr .38sp from a similar bbl.
Any knowledgable handloader will tell you .38sp can do more than 9mm as well, it holds more powder.

Berto
03-23-2012, 18:30
You can even get factory 9mm up to 158gr, but if you want to go extreme you can load 180's in 38.


Or 200-230gr.:whistling:

ronin.45
03-23-2012, 23:21
Or 200-230gr.:whistling:

Exactly. The fact that it can handle heavier bullets is what I was pointing out. I imagine you could have some custom solid bronze penetrators made in 300gr. You may need to shoot them in a magnum cylinder though!:supergrin:

pmwglock19
03-24-2012, 09:45
In my opnion, use what you shoot the most accurate. Having more bullets and missing the side of the barn is not as good as hitting the intended target.

NeverMore1701
03-24-2012, 10:14
I'll never get why some people seem to assume that if you shoot one type of gun well, you can't shoot another type well too.