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  1. #1
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    Question 38 Special Vs 9mm Luger ??

    There are still poeple out there that still belive that the 38 Special is more powerful than the 9mm Luger !

    All you have to do is shoot both and you'll plainly see the 9mm is more powerful both in hand and on paper.

    Why does this still happen ?
    You Can Take My Gun When You Pry it From My Dead, Cold, Hand !

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 38 Special Vs 9mm Luger ??

    Like you mentioned th 9mm seems to be the better round easier to shoot pending the handgun 4" k frames and up can be pretty accurate in 38spl. But overall the 9mm seems to have out grown the 38spl in load and useage.

    38spl years ago use to be the Law enforcement and the target round before the 9mm was popular here in the states. But as we can see now the 9mm is the most popular of the two in law enforcement and personal self defense. My testing also shows that 9mm mushrooms more consistently but 38 spl can still be loaded heavier. The 158 hp nycads seem to be very good rounds in 2" J frames or snub noses and 4" revolvers. The 110 P+ jhp are good performers in the 4" guns also. In the hot rounds the 9mm has a slight lead the Corbon and like P+ or P++ rounds have nearly 357 magnum ballistics. Of course so it can be said about tne 110-125 P++ 38 spl rounds.

    Both are proven personal protection and target rounds. Like you I do give the edge ever so slightly to the 9mm.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 38 Special Vs 9mm Luger ??

    Quote Originally Posted by PhillyGunslinger View Post
    There are still poeple out there that still belive that the 38 Special is more powerful than the 9mm Luger !

    All you have to do is shoot both and you'll plainly see the 9mm is more powerful both in hand and on paper.

    Why does this still happen ?
    This is based on what reseach? Links?
    "Man is not free unless government is limited." - Ronald Reagan

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 38 Special Vs 9mm Luger ??

    You are way oversimplifying. Especially if you are going by the subjective feel of the round being fired. Don't forget, with a 9mm semi-auto you have the mass of the slide adding to the felt recoil. As to "on paper", foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle can often be misleading when it comes to actual terminal ballistics.

    The .38 Spl was originally formulated to handle heavier bullets, generally 158 gr. It has been pretty well determined that the 147 grain 9mm's are, in most cases less than ideal for SD. To do a valid comparison (which is difficult under even the best of circumstances) you would need to compare equal bullet weights out of the same length barrel. Given the greater powder capacity of the .38 Spl - all other things being equal (fired from non-vented test barrel), I would expect to find the .38 Spl surpassing the 9mm. In the real world, it's a different story. For the most part the .38 Spl is a revolver round, so you have the B/C gap and the resultant loss of velocity. While I haven't seen the actual ballistics, I'd have to think that a 124 gr +P 9mm fired from say a Sig P226 may barely surpass a 125 gr +P .38 Spl from a 4" K or L-frame Smith, and stretch that barrel to 6" (to compensate for the B/C gap) and you are closer still.

    Your blanket comdemnation of the .38 Spl really doesn't hold water. I'd trust my life to either, and often do - and I never feel under-armed because of caliber choice.

    JMHO

    Adios,

    Pizza Bob
    NRA Patron Member

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 38 Special Vs 9mm Luger ??

    Quote Originally Posted by PhillyGunslinger View Post

    All you have to do is shoot both and you'll plainly see the 9mm is more powerful both in hand and on paper.
    All handgun rounds are very poor man-stoppers. They are all pretty much equal, and rely on either a CNS hit, or traumatic blood loss to stop an attacker.

    That being said, the smallest anybody should carry is 9mm.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 38 Special Vs 9mm Luger ??

    I'm with Pizza Bob on this. Both are good. Both will save your life. The edge to the .38 is the larger bullet and the damage it can do. I have build 180 gr. JSP +P loads for a .38 and have them be usable. A 147 gr. HP for a 9mm is only so so. I don't know of many 9mm's with a 6in barrel and none with an 8. Is one better than the other, depends on what you are doing. I carry both.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 38 Special Vs 9mm Luger ??

    Quote Originally Posted by JustinM View Post
    That being said, the smallest anybody should carry is 9mm.
    Tell that to James Bond.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 38 Special Vs 9mm Luger ??

    Quote Originally Posted by WVBob View Post
    I'm with Pizza Bob on this. Both are good. Both will save your life. The edge to the .38 is the larger bullet and the damage it can do. I have build 180 gr. JSP +P loads for a .38 and have them be usable. A 147 gr. HP for a 9mm is only so so. I don't know of many 9mm's with a 6in barrel and none with an 8. Is one better than the other, depends on what you are doing. I carry both.
    Im talking factory loads and velocities. Im in no way bashing the 38, I like the 158 gr SWC +P "Chicago" load, and carried it in my model 66 smith.
    I know you can't go by paper but the 9's velocity and energy is greater.
    The new 147 grain loads in HST +P and Gold Dot +P are noted as very good now, not like the old subsonic crap that was out in the 90's. Yes if you handload you can load the 38 hotter than a 9mm. Marshall and Sanow show the 9mm with a higher one shot stopping rate as well. I know many here will discredit M&S but it can't be total bullshit. Or Can it ?
    You Can Take My Gun When You Pry it From My Dead, Cold, Hand !

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 38 Special Vs 9mm Luger ??

    Actually, the 147gr variety of modern 9mm defensive loads is about as good as it gets. They expand reliably and penetrate deep. You guys are working off of 20 year old data.

    Justin is right on this one. Properly loaded with modern hollowpoints, a 38 is as good as anything (other than the lack of capacity)

    And the m&s stuff is BS, is not grounded in medical science and in no way reflects reality.
    Last edited by victory; February 15th, 2011 at 10:44 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 38 Special Vs 9mm Luger ??

    Quote Originally Posted by victory View Post

    Justin is right
    I usually am

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