9mm vs 40
Usually, when people talk about what ’s the best caliber, it mostly has to do with concealed carry. The question that is constantly asked is, “What should I carry?”
You can check out our Blog on "The Best Way To Choose Your Next Concealed Carry Handgun"
Well, in order to come to a conclusion, let’s get to know these 2 calibers a little bit better.
The 9mm has been around for well over a decade now. It was developed by designer Georg Luger, in 1902. Many people think that the 9mm Parabellum was an answer to the less powerful .380 caliber. This is false since the .380 didn’t come around for another six years or so. Check out our blog .380 vs. 9mm for more info on this.
The .40 S&W was developed by Smith & Wesson and Winchester for Law Enforcement as an answer to the Miami Shootout and the Federal Bureau Of Investigations ( FBI ) 10mm round. Law enforcement agencies and police departments wanted a round with equal performance in a smaller or medium frame gun. The round came out in 1990 along with the S&W Model 4006
Now, let us compare these 2 sought after rounds side by side. 9mm ammunition has a higher velocity due to the size of the round which is between 115 and 147 grain but not by much. Some data shows that they are almost identical. The .40 S&W will have a heavier projectile within the range of about 135 to 180 grain allowing this round to releasing more energy upon impact. When it comes to ballistics the win goes to the 40 S&W
Here is where it gets interesting. The .40 caliber does release more energy but not by a whole lot either. The 9mm releases about 10 - 12 % less energy than its competitor. Also, there are ammo manufacturers that say their 9mm can match up in stopping power against other 40 cal. rounds In ballistic gels.
Now, this is just ballistics that we are talking about. Let’s talk about what many people think of when it comes to concealed carry.
9mm ammo is well liked by the majority for many reasons. One being its popularity. The fact that you can walk into any gun store or sporting goods section and pick up a box makes it suitable for everyday carry. This also allows for many manufacturers to play the “supply and demand” game and bring the price down. The consumer loves this because it allows people to shoot their 9mm loads without breaking the bank.
Most gun manufacturers use the same 9mm pistol frame for both calibers. Glock is notorious for this. The only difference is the barrel size and magazine. With that being said, the gun chambered in 9mm is going to hold more rounds than the .40 S&W. This is because the .40 cal is a larger round and takes up more space in the magazine limiting its round count lesser than that of the 9mm.
This argument is usually refuted with “well, if you are shooting a .40 cal, you don’t need that many rounds” This may hold true but remember the ballistics on these 2 rounds, they are not that far apart. Another thing to consider is rapid fire. The .40 cal kicks harder than the 9mm. This may be a downside when trying to come up on your target for a follow-up shot.
It’s all gonna come down to what you feel is best for you. More rounds when carrying? More knock-down power? Will you be ok with more recoil? What about price and availability? Try them both out if you get a chance.
At the end of the day, it comes down to one question, “Are you carrying?”
Know your state and local laws. Do your due diligence. Train and know your gun safety rules and start carrying.
Thanks for your time,
Rene Aguirre is the founder and owner of Bravo Concealment. Rene has been carrying concealed on a daily basis for over 8 years and has been a CHL (concealed handgun license) holder for more than 20 years. Finding a high interest in firearms for many years, Rene started Bravo because of the “lack of” a good concealed carry holster on the market.