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9mm vs 40sw vs 45acp

FBI Decides On 9mm As Their #1 Choice And Have Tons Of Science Behind Their Decision

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The great caliber debate is more of a myth than anything. What you shoot well with is the best caliber for you. But, now we have a whole slew of fantastic scientific evidence from the FBI ballistic labs that helps solidify and justify their recent move to the 9mm caliber.

Earlier this year is when the FBI announced their return to the 9mm after finding that 40S&W rounds were causing too much excessive wear to their firearms.

First reported by looserounds.com, this justification below is worth the read. It may change your mind once and for all, and change what you think you may know about the 9mm cartridge.

After reading below, let us know if this changes your mind about what you will carry in the future.

FBI 9MM Justification

FBI Training Division: FBI Academy, Quantico, VA

Executive Summary of Justification for Law Enforcement Partners

· Caliber debates have existed in law enforcement for decades

· Most of what is “common knowledge” with ammunition and its effects on the human target are rooted in myth and folklore

· Projectiles are what ultimately wound our adversaries and the projectile needs to be the basis for the discussion on what “caliber” is best

· In all the major law enforcement calibers there exist projectiles which have a high likelihood of failing LEO’s in a shooting incident and there are projectiles which have a high ting incident likelihood of succeeding for LEO’s in a shooting incident

· Handgun stopping power is simply a myth

· The single most important factor in effectively wounding a human target is to have penetration to a scientifically valid depth (FBI uses 12” – 18”)

· LEO’s miss between 70 – 80 percent of the shots fired during a shooting incident

· Contemporary projectiles (since 2007) have dramatically increased the terminal effectiveness of many premium line law enforcement projectiles (emphasis on the 9mm Luger offerings)

· 9mm Luger now offers select projectiles which are, under identical testing conditions, I outperforming most of the premium line .40 S&W and .45 Auto projectiles tested by the FBI

· 9mm Luger offers higher magazine capacities, less recoil, lower cost (both in ammunition and wear on the weapons) and higher functional reliability rates (in FBI weapons)

· The majority of FBI shooters are both FASTER in shot strings fired and more ACCURATE with shooting a 9mm Luger vs shooting a .40 S&W (similar sized weapons)

· There is little to no noticeable difference in the wound tracks between premium line law Auto enforcement projectiles from 9mm Luger through the .45 Auto

· Given contemporary bullet construction, LEO’s can field (with proper bullet selection) 9mm Lugers with all of the terminal performance potential of any other law enforcement pistol caliber with none of the disadvantages present with the “larger” calibers

Justification for Law Enforcement Partners

Rarely in law enforcement does a topic stir a more passionate debate than the choice of handgun caliber made by a law enforcement organization. Many voice their opinions by repeating the old adage “bigger is better” while others have “heard of this one time” where a smaller caliber failed and a larger caliber “would have performed much better.” Some even subscribe to the belief that a caliber exists which will provide a “one shot stop.” It has been stated, “Decisions on ammunition selection are particularly difficult because many of the pertinent issues related to handguns and ammunition are firmly rooted in myth and folklore.” This still holds as true today as it did when originally stated 20 years ago.

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Caliber, when considered alone, brings about a unique set of factors to consider such as magazine capacity for a given weapon size, ammunition availability, felt recoil, weight and cost. What is rarely discussed, but most relevant to the caliber debate is what projectile is being considered for use and its terminal performance potential.

One should never debate on a gun make or caliber alone. The projectile is what wounds and ultimately this is where the debate/discussion should focus. In each of the three most common law enforcement handgun calibers (9mm Luger, .40 Smith & Wesson and .45 AUTO) there are projectiles which have a high likelihood of failing law enforcement officers and in each of these three calibers there are projectiles which have a high likelihood of succeeding for law enforcement officers during a shooting incident. The choice of a service projectile must undergo intense scrutiny and scientific evaluation in order to select the best available option.

Understanding Handgun Caliber Terminal Ballistic Realities

Many so called “studies” have been performed and many analyses of statistical data have been undertaken regarding this issue. Studies simply involving shooting deaths are irrelevant since the goal of law enforcement is to stop a threat during a deadly force encounter as quickly as possible. Whether or not death occurs is of no consequence as long as the threat of death or serious injury to law enforcement personnel and innocent third parties is eliminated.

“The concept of immediate incapacitation is the only goal of any law enforcement shooting and is the underlying rationale for decisions regarding weapons, ammunition, calibers and training.”1

Studies of “stopping power” are irrelevant because no one has ever been able to define how much power, force, or kinetic energy, in and of itself, is required to effectively stop a violent and determined adversary quickly, and even the largest of handgun calibers are not capable of delivering such force. Handgun stopping power is simply a myth. Studies of so?called “one shot stops” being used as a tool to define the effectiveness of one handgun cartridge, as opposed to another, are irrelevant due to the inability to account for psychological influences and due to the lack of reporting specific shot placement.

In short, extensive studies have been done over the years to “prove” a certain cartridge is better than another by using grossly flawed methodology and or bias as a precursor to manipulating statistics. In order to have a meaningful understanding of handgun terminal ballistics, one must only deal with facts that are not in dispute within the medical community, i.e. medical realities, and those which are also generally accepted within law enforcement, i.e. tactical realities.

Medical Realities

Shots to the Central Nervous System (CNS) at the level of the cervical spine (neck) or above, are the only means to reliably cause immediate incapacitation. In this case, any of the calibers commonly used in law enforcement, regardless of expansion, would suffice for obvious reasons. Other than shots to the CNS, the most reliable means for affecting rapid incapacitation is by placing shots to large vital organs thus causing rapid blood loss. Simply stated, shot placement is the most critical component to achieving either method of incapacitation.

Wounding factors between rifle and handgun projectiles differ greatly due to the dramatic differences in velocity, which will be discussed in more detail herein. The wounding factors, in order of importance, are as follows:

A. Penetration:

A projectile must penetrate deeply enough into the body to reach the large vital organs, namely heart, lungs, aorta, vena cava and to a lesser extent liver and spleen, in order to cause rapid blood loss. It has long been established by expert medical professionals, experienced in evaluating gunshot wounds, that this equates to a range of penetration of 12?18 inches, depending on the size of the individual and the angle of the bullet path (e.g., through arm, shoulder, etc.). With modern properly designed, expanding handgun bullets, this objective is realized, albeit more consistently with some law enforcement projectiles than others. 1 Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness: Firearms Training Unit, Ballistic Research Facility, 1989.

B. Permanent Cavity:

The extent to which a projectile expands determines the diameter of the permanent cavity which, simply put, is that tissue which is in direct contact with the projectile and is therefore destroyed. Coupled with the distance of the path of the projectile (penetration), the total permanent cavity is realized. Due to the elastic nature of most human tissue and the low velocity of handgun projectiles relative to rifle projectiles, it has long been established by medical professionals, experienced in evaluating gunshot wounds, that the damage along a wound path visible at autopsy or during surgery cannot be distinguished between the common handgun calibers used in law enforcement. That is to say an operating room surgeon or Medical Examiner cannot distinguish the difference between wounds caused by .35 to .45 caliber projectiles.

C. Temporary Cavity:

The temporary cavity is caused by tissue being stretched away from the permanent cavity. If the temporary cavity is produced rapidly enough in elastic tissues, the tensile strength of the tissue can be exceeded resulting in tearing of the tissue. This effect is seen with very high velocity projectiles such as in rifle calibers, but is not seen with handgun calibers. For the temporary cavity of most handgun projectiles to have an effect on wounding, the velocity of the projectile needs to exceed roughly 2,000 fps. At the lower velocities of handgun rounds, the temporary cavity is not produced with sufficient velocity to have any wounding effect; therefore any difference in temporary cavity noted between handgun calibers is irrelevant. “In order to cause significant injuries to a structure, a pistol bullet must strike that structure directly.”2 2 DiMaio, V.J.M.: Gunshot Wounds, Elsevier Science Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1987, page 42.

D. Fragmentation:

Fragmentation can be defined as “projectile pieces or secondary fragments of bone which are impelled outward from the permanent cavity and may sever muscle tissues, blood vessels, etc., apart from the permanent cavity”3. Fragmentation does not reliably occur in soft tissue handgun wounds due to the low velocities of handgun bullets. When fragmentation does occur, fragments are usually found within one centimeter (.39”) of the permanent cavity.4 Due to the fact that most modern premium law enforcement ammunition now commonly uses bonded projectiles (copper jacket bonded to lead core), the likelihood of fragmentation is very low. For these reasons, wounding effects secondary to any handgun caliber bullet fragmentation are considered inconsequential. 3 Fackler, M.L., Malinowski, J.A.: “The Wound Profile: A Visual Method for Quantifying Gunshot Wound Components”, Journal of Trauma 25: 522?529, 1958. 4 Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness: Firearms Training Unit, Ballistic Research Facility, 1989.

Psychology

Any discussion of stopping armed adversaries with a handgun has to include the psychological state of the adversary. Psychological factors are probably the most important relative to achieving rapid incapacitation from a gunshot wound to the torso.5 First and foremost, the psychological effects of being shot can never be counted on to stop an individual from continuing conscious voluntary action. Those who do stop commonly do so because they decide to, not because they have to.

The effects of pain are often delayed due to survival patterns secondary to “fight or flight” reactions within the body, drug/alcohol influences and in the case of extreme anger or aggression, pain can simply be ignored. Those subjects who decide to stop immediately after being shot in the torso do so commonly because they know they have been shot and are afraid of injury or death, regardless of caliber, velocity, or bullet design. It should also be noted that psychological factors can be a leading cause of incapacitation failures and as such, proper shot placement, adequate penetration, and multiple shots on target cannot be over emphasized. 5 Ibid.

Tactical Realities

Shot placement is paramount and law enforcement officers on average strike an adversary with only 20 – 30 percent of the shots fired during a shooting incident. Given the reality that shot placement is paramount (and difficult to achieve given the myriad of variables present in a deadly force encounter) in obtaining effective incapacitation, the caliber used must maximize the likelihood of hitting vital organs. Typical law enforcement shootings result in only one or two solid torso hits on the adversary. This requires that any projectile which strikes the torso has as high a probability as possible of penetrating deeply enough to disrupt a vital organ.

The Ballistic Research Facility has conducted a test which compares similar sized Glock pistols in both .40 S&W and 9mm calibers, to determine if more accurate and faster hits are achievable with one versus the other. To date, the majority of the study participants have shot more quickly and more accurately with 9mm caliber Glock pistols. The 9mm provides struggling shooters the best chance of success while improving the speed and accuracy of the most skilled shooters.

Conclusion

While some law enforcement agencies have transitioned to larger calibers from the 9mm Luger in recent years, they do so at the expense of reduced magazine capacity, more felt recoil, and given adequate projectile selection, no discernible increase in terminal performance.

Other law enforcement organizations seem to be making the move back to 9mm Luger taking advantage of the new technologies which are being applied to 9mm Luger projectiles. These organizations are providing their armed personnel the best chance of surviving a deadly force encounter since they can expect faster and more accurate shot strings, higher magazine capacities (similar sized weapons) and all of the terminal performance which can be expected from any law enforcement caliber projectile.

Given the above realities and the fact that numerous ammunition manufacturers now make 9mm Luger service ammunition with outstanding premium line law enforcement projectiles, the move to 9mm Luger can now be viewed as a decided advantage for our armed law enforcement personnel.

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About Brandon Curtis | View all posts by Brandon Curtis

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady…

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster.

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  • Zachary Shumway

    So does this mean that the FBI is no longer allowing it’s agents to carry the .40 or .45 if they so choose?

    • Guest

      I doubt it, there are almost always “Approved service pistol” lists that allow police and agents to choose alternative firearms. I still see police with revolvers here, I doubt the FBI is gonna stop someone from spending their own money on their own firearms and supplying their own ammo.

      • FlipFlop

        haha, think again. You should read the requirements for FBI agents. They don’t stand out as an institution that values free though and independent action. lol
        I’m sure it serves a purpose, but nonetheless they definitely have a very narrow selection criteria with little room for outliers.

  • Louie Trocio

    mine right nor is a compact .9mm Llama pistol yet I’m still planning to buy a .45 cal Colt commander

  • Based on tests or in actual performance in the field?

    • Mastro63

      Read the article- they mention both.

      • LOL, like the Miami shootout? Good luck with that.

        • Mastro63

          The lesson of the Miami Shootout was don’t bring a pistol to an assault rifle fight.

          • jbourneidentity

            There is a degree of truth to this…

        • DavidGolani11

          Because machine gun battles happen all the time.

        • displacedjim

          So, what are you saying, that you think they forgot about that gunfight? I guess you think they should not use the Silvertips and round-nosed lead bullets used in that fight, and instead use modern bullet designs. Oh, wait, that’s also EXACTLY what this report says, too.

  • OLDNAVYVET

    Too much excessive wear???????????????

    • Mastro63

      That was the complaint about the 10mm and everyone knows your .357 will last longer if you shoot more .38’s than 158 grain .357’s. It makes sense- but I guess you can argue that a .380 or .22 LR has less wear as well.

    • jbourneidentity

      Back in the late 80s-early 90s, Colt Delta Elites in 10mm could be expected to last 300-500 rounds, sometimes less, before problems arose due to the cartridge’s battering of the gun. The S&W 1006 would go 3-5,000 rounds before trouble started. Yes, higher-pressure and higher-power cartridges do wear out guns, increasing replacement costs and degrading overall reliability of the weapon itself in the field.

      • OLDNAVYVET

        For the sake of argument how many rounds does an FBI agent fire in say 20 years?.(I already know the answer as I have family in the bureau.)

  • Mastro63

    Its a money decision. Everyone knows the cost of 9 mm versus .40 and .45 ammo. I must shoot more 9mm than .45- times that by thousands of agents.

    I love this: “it has long been established by medical professionals, experienced in evaluating gunshot wounds, that the damage along a wound path visible at autopsy or during surgery cannot be distinguished between the common handgun calibers used in law enforcement”

    Doctors trying to save a life simply don’t care about analyzing wound channels- unless its to remove fragments. I do know that doctors hate HP’s because they do work as intended. We all know that an expanded .45 is much larger than a 9mm mushroom. At the very least- it has a higher chance of hitting a major artery.

    So- money, political correctness, and – well money again are the reasons. Don’t trade in your .45, 10mm or .40 just yet- unless ammo gets much more expensive.

    • ArmedPatriot

      uh..actually they do care. There is a trauma surgeon who has a video on youtube where he shows that handgun caliber doesnt matter. Its about shot placement and penetration.

      • Mastro63

        Caliber affects penetration.

        • fish1552

          And you fall right into the myth they are discussing in the article.

          Also, your claim that the doctors don’t care because they are trying to save the person’s life is incorrect. The article does not say trauma surgeons. It says “medical professionals”. Medical Examiners are medical professionals as well. THOSE are the ones who would be evaluating gunshot wounds in this capacity.

        • Despereaux

          How so? I would think velocity would pay a more important role when comparing similar sizes. A 9 mm is less tham 0.1 inches in diameter than that of a .45 cal.

    • Steve Mckenzie

      Some people cannot understand that technology has changed the caliber war. Chemist have made better gunpowder mixtures, metallurgy has given us finer alloys, and scientists have shaped those alloys for max effectiveness. You are gaining nothing over the 9mm with the 40 or 45 except recoil, and a microscopic size difference. You are losing capacity and time getting back on target. 9mm has ALWAYS penetrated further than 45, now it hits just as hard and creates a wound channel that cannot be differentiated from a 45 wound channel. Guns change, ammo changes it happened before and will happen again.
      I still find it hilarious that cops grandfather their outdated 357 6 shooters when crooks are toting high capacity glocks, when there brethren have been killed because they were reloading when they should have been returning fire. 357 mag is awesome, I own and shoot a ruger gp100. But bedside is my glock 19 with arrendondo mag extension. 21 shots of federal hydra shok before I need to reload. Will I need that many? Probably not. But why chance it. I can rapid fire at 15 yards and keep all 21 inside the 2 ring. 15 yards is further than any self defense shooting I will ever be in.
      Times change, change with them.

  • Guest

    the STOPING POWER IS A MYTH???? why no use .32acp, .25 acp or 22lr… is SHIT this document…

    • Shooters

      .32 acp, .25 acp or .22 lr has a lower Killing Power Caracteristics. The .22 lr caliber and actually pneumatic weapon has human letal caracteristics. But, this letal caracteristics (Killing Power) are in lower range of reliability for Self Defense or Law enforcement.

    • Alan Dike

      because they dont consistently penetrate well enough in ballistic jell tests to pass fbi minimum standards.

    • tom sawyer

      Handgun stopping power is a myth because even a .454 casull .460rowland .475 or .500 linebaugh can fail to stop an attacker its all about shot placement.

      A .22lr shot to the head can and will reliably kill someone, shots to the body can kill but its critical on shot placement , and any barriers like heavy clothing severely limit the reliability.

      Thats why the .32ACP, 25ACP, and even the .380 are considered minimalist carry calibers discarding any sort of derringer. Simply because without the energy other projectiles have they can fail to expand if distance and heavy clothing are involved. Even though that problem is still a concern with 9mm through 10mm its less likely because of the velocity and bullets used.

      There is no such thing as a “caliber stopping power” its shot placement stopping power. a .380,32.acp,.25acp or a 50AE ir even a .22lr to the heart all kill.

      The point is with modern projectile designs when they compare 9mm rounds of the same design as equivalent .45ACP the maximum expansion diameters are very close.

      For instance the speer gold dot. A very popular duty round in all calibers.

      Brassfetcher ballistics testing ran this test this is their data

      (thanks brassfetcher for an amazing site and great resource)

      into 20% ballistics gel the 9mm gold dot vs the .45 gold dot.

      9mm +p 124 gr at 1225fps penetrated 10.2″ and expanded to .372 sq inches

      .45 ACP +p 200gr at 995 fps penetrated 10.1″ and expanded to .385 sq inches

      The only .40S&W from speer is the standard 180gr gold dot. It penetrated past 10″ but expanded to a measly .284 also impacting at 990fps

      so the difference between a “puny 9mm” and the “knockdown powerhouse” .45ACP was .1″ of penetration and .013″ square inches in diameter.

      Hardly a big difference. So when you compare the smallest main sidearm duty loads with the largest you have a miniscule difference in penetration and expansion.

      and that is +P loads.

      I use +P+ 147gr underwood at 1235 FPS out of my 4.6″ barrel. I have no expansion data for that load but it is a speer bonded hp

      Interestingly enough the same weight of projectile not in +P or +P+ from hornady in .357 sig (the hottest load I could find) was actually slower than the +P+ I measured from my CZ 85.

      So if you are counting on the “bigger round” to make sure you hit an organ you are dealing with less than .0065″ on either side of the fully expanded projectile. Hardly an amount you could see, and or attribute to a particular “stopping shot” and say its better than the 9mm because it wouldnt have done the same thing.

      the wound paths are for all intents and purposes identical.
      And since most people (me included) shoot a 9mm faster and more accurately, especially out of a plastic fantastic than a .45 out of the same gun

      The speed is disregarding the 1911. I know there are plenty of people who can and do shoot the 1911 and yes other .45’s even glocks and the like, incredibly well they are highly skilled, the avg cop isnt an expert marksman.
      Plus the bullseye shooter with the 1911 isnt taking fire.

      • Michael Stinson

        I’ve been seriously considering carrying a .32. I’m not a LEO so my chances of ever actually using it are low, and .32’s are very easy to carry. Easy to carry equates to always carrying because it isn’t a burden to do so. If I can’t get my self out of a bad situation with 8 .32 rounds, I don’t think anything else is going to help.

        • Steve S.

          Let us know what kind of flowers you’d like at your funeral….

          • Kevin

            Steve, you are exactly the kind of guy who has an opinion, facts be damned.
            I carry a .32 and have for years.
            Rule #1 have a gun,
            I sure as hell never want to get shot with one.
            And I don’t care how big your d**k is, no one is asking you to carry anything other than what you are comfortable with.

    • Chuck Norton

      I agree that the “stopping power is a myth was a bit hasty” and/or over generalized, but with premium ammo where excessive clothing on the target isn’t an issue, I am not surprised that in calibers 9mm, 40 and 45 are actually pretty close.

    • jeffro1969

      Yes, I agree, the author is a little loose with his interpretation of the data. Expanding bullets change the calculus for “stopping power”, which is what elevates the 9mm from borderline adequate to acceptable. If you’re talking about FMJ then bigger is better.

      As for shot placement, a .22 LR is first-shot lethal with a CNS hit, but you really need a cartridge/bullet combination that will cause critical damage with less-than ideal shot placement.

    • a man

      That’s exactly right. These 9mm cult members would never settle for less than a 9mm. They are the absolute cause of the whole caliber debate. 9mm and only 9mm works for them. Nothing is better or more powerful than a 9mm hahaha.

    • Zayne Smith

      I have a 380, and to be honest im thinking of selling it. The reason is that i’d feel more confident with an edged weapon than a 380. I’d take my glock 26 as my carry gun with a nice edged weapon as back up.

      • Brian

        I like the 26. However, check with your state and local laws about carrying anything larger than a common pocket knife. My state (Tennessee) while bring very handgun carry friendly, quite explicitly states that carrying other “weapons” (long knives, clubs, batons swords, etc) is illegal.

        Just don’t want you to get into a potential legal situation, where you didn’t the local laws.

  • Kommandant Stanley

    the STOPING POWER IS A MYTH???? why no use .32acp, .25 acp or 22lr… is money! 9mm is cheap…..

  • Texas Raider

    If what they said was true, a NATO 9mm ball would be the best manstopper. And just like the Fed, they say “Any other opinion is a myth” thereby refusing to have any discussion that might lead to their point of view being WRONG. Which it is.

    • Sianmink

      “given adequate projectile selection”
      Reading comprehension much? Nobody is arguing for 9mm ball as a defensive round, that would be stupid.

  • todd

    It has not changed my mind on my opinion on the .45 acp cartridge. Agencies and departments have to find a happy medium between many factors both on the field and off. I believe shot placement is the most critical thing, hands down with no doubt. So, to me one who has been trained and train often with a .45 acp, which is money spent out of my pocket and on my budget. I can place the bullet where I need too and have a bigger piece of the bullet to increase the “adrenalin rush” in an incident. This is just my opinion. I am a student of history and history has repeatedly shown the lack of performance of the bullet of the 9 compared to the others.

  • todd

    oh and one more thing, if this is true, then why is it that Homeland security and other agencies are still using the S&W .40?

    • Lyle Smith

      Money, you can’t just switch 50,000 plus agents weapons at one time.

      • Thomas Griffin

        Plus, DHS has millions of 40 cal rounds stock piled.

    • makinthemagic

      Government inertia. Contracts and equipment are in place. When the contracts coming up, maybe the next RFP will allow for 9mm.

  • Clare Beck

    I will not argue here for one caliber over another, use what you like. Just remember modern “science” is often tilted toward whom is paying the bills. Every two to three years they reverse their findings on this very subject, as well as eggs, salt, and coffee!

  • Guest

    good now o will be able to get all the 45 and 40 i want.

  • Barry Newman

    now i can get all the 45 acp and 40 sw i want. i really dont care what the FBI says or does. If the want to go back to the Miami days so be it its up to them.

    • displacedjim

      Barry, it’s obvious that this report clearly would NOT return them to the “Miami” days, because they certainly would not bring back the 9mm Winchester Silvertip and .38Special round nosed lead based on this study.

    • jbourneidentity

      Barry, today’s 124-grain +P Federal HST or Speer Gold Dot is not yesterday’s 115-grain Silvertip. There is simply no comparison. Today’s 9mm ammo is orders of magnitude more effective. Ayoob documented the use of Winchester 127-grain +P+ 9mm in a large city and had 30 almost instantaneous stops. That’s incredible. On the other hand, one felon soaked up 9 rounds of 230-grain JHP from a .45 and kept on shooting until a round hit him in the eye and entered his brain. It’s an imperfect science, but ammo makers are getting better, and the 9mm is enjoying the benefits.

  • longxxxisland

    BUT MUH STOPPING POWER
    BUT MUH FORTY FIVE

    • Resist_Tyranny

      Nope. Just a rumor. I did testing on a material used in a bullet proof brief case. Every round was tested against it, including the magnums and .5.56. Only 2 round penetrated it, 9mm and 5.56.

  • sarge325

    If the most important variables are accuracy, felt recoil/speed for re-engagement, and wear on the weapon, then the FBI should carry .22 caliber handguns. Obviously, larger calibers (provided they are backed by more powerful cartridges) are more effective in stopping a human threat, as are very large, powerful calibers for stopping a larger threat. No one would recommend a 9 mm for grizzly bear defense. Size matters. Now, modern 9 mm cartridges may perform as well as some .40 ammo, but obviously .40 ammo could be upgraded to surpass that. I agree the modern 9 mm is acceptable, but the .40 is better. If you’re not fast and accurate, practice more. If your weapon wears out faster, replace it more often.

    • Danny

      EXCELLENT, I also share this same opinion!!

    • David

      It’s bigger it must be better…. did you miss the part where it says 9mm and 40 cal wound channels can’t be differentiated?
      And why are you talking about grizzlies when the article is about 2 legged targets??

      • sarge325

        Thanks, my reading comprehension skills are fine. It said that wound channels with suped-up 9 mm rounds aren’t much different from regular .40 rounds. Obviously, the .40 can be packaged to be more powerful (and create more damage) than a 9 mm. As I said, the 9 mm is acceptable for defense against humans, but a more powerful round is more effective, unquestionably. Lots of experts think the 9 mm is only barely acceptable, while the FBI currently disagrees. I favor having more than the minimum. You’re welcome to go with the 9 mm.

        • David

          Even without “souped up” 9mm the wound channels are indiscernable. I used to be a .45acp die hard.. then the 40 cal made me a believer. With the current incarnation of 9mm ammo I have become a 9mm shooter. Technology moves faster and faster. I have no problem keeping up.
          I have been thoroughly convinced through not only reports but range time that 9mm defense ammo is the way to go. Shoot some 2×4s or wet phone books and I, nor my range buddies could tell the difference. Not even with the mushroom left over.
          If i can do the same amount of damage and increase capacity. … why not?? It’s the exact same reason I switched to 40cal from 45acp.
          It’s not just the FBI who are actively making the switch, NYPD, LAPD, CPD all following suit.
          When I want to feel like a big man I shoot my 44 mag Alaskan with stupid reloads. When I woods carry it’s the 44 as well. For 2 legged defense and concealed carry it’s 9mm.

          • sarge325

            Thanks for those details, David. Sounds good.

        • David

          I was a die hard .45acp man then the 40 cal changed my mind
          Same wound channel larger capacity.
          Even without “souped up” rounds the latest incarnation of 9mm defense ammo is indiscernable from 40cal. I read the reports and then tried them out, on wet phone books and 2×4s. Me nor my shooting buddies could tell a difference. Not even with the leftover mushrooms. So like with the 45acp, I decided same wound channel more capacity plus lighter recoil….
          When I want to feel like a big man I shoot my 44 Alaskan. When I woods carry, again 44mag.
          But for 2 legged defense and cc I have gone 9mm, for the same exact reasons I left 45, only with the added benefit of lighter recoil. Modern ammo changed my mind once again.

          • sarge325

            So, rereading the article, I don’t see convincing evidence presented. It says MEs can’t tell the common self-defense rounds apart when looking at wound channels, but there would be a large range of variables present, not a systematic study. I’ll take your word that you saw no difference in your own testing, but a more powerful round is a more powerful round. For example, PDX1 +P 9mm is only 396 ft-lbs, while PDX1 .40 (not souped or suped up) is 476. That’s a significant increase in delivered energy. That has to help depending on a variety of factors like clothing and placement. Again, a massively powerful round (my .454 Casull bear gun) would do massive damage, but would lose out on capacity, weight and recoil. A puny round (.22) would win on capacity, weight and recoil, but be inadequate on delivered energy. Both the 9mm and the .40 are excellent rounds for human threats. The .40 has very good capacity (my Glock is 15+1). Recoil is no problem and accuracy is excellent if you’re well practiced. Until more specific data are presented showing that the lower powered 9mm has unquestionably equal effect on target, anyone choosing the .40 has made the right choice for himself, just as is true of anyone choosing the 9mm.

          • David

            Don’t know how much more evidence you need, the FBI throws major coin into these studies. I on the other hand had 2×4s, plywood, a rack of frame nails and an old pair of work jeans. Also too much time and like minded buddies!! Like I said no difference. We even started blind guessing who could pick the .40 damage, until we figured that a guy had a 50/50 chance of getting it right, because we all admitted to just plain guessing. Two things I learned; first off, hornaday, federal and speer make extremely consistent defense ammo, second I learned none of them makes a current .40 cal that is better than current 9mm. On paper it looks better, but I found the same thing the FBI did, real world action is the same. 40 got traded in. Sure the .40 is still viable, but why deal with the “.40 snap” when you can get the same performance with higher capacity? Maybe the extra energy goes into the muzzle rise?? Idk.

          • sarge325

            Good job, David. If I had a place to do that, I’d have done what you did and convinced myself.

  • Guest

    I have myself recently switched from a .44 mag and .40 S&W caliber handguns to 9mm. I absolutely 150% buy into the notion that the most effective round is the one that you can place on target reliably and consistently. I think it is silly of some here to suggest that since this argument is mad then why not use .22. The discussion is meant to be about SIMILAR sized rounds that are most expected to be carried by today’s law enforcement. I would add that a .17 HMR rifle round placed on the head or major organ, within 20 yards, would be just as deadly as any of the aforementioned rounds if you really want to quibble over it.

    Main point to be understood here is that shot placement is much more critical than the size of the bullet. Combine that with some of the new expanding, and fracturing bullets being made and you quite simply just have all you really need. The unfortunate is that it is male genetics to always want to compare d**k sizes and in their minds bigger is always better.

    • a man

      Good for you. But none of us buy into the fact that you are going to hit your target perfectly on the first shot every time in the heat of the moment. More power is better. Less is not more.

    • Kalroy

      Little lady killed a grizzly with a single shot rifle and a 22long (not 22lr). So placement. I, however, will never get that kind of placement without even more luck than she had.

  • Despereaux

    Bad comment…

  • Shooters

    Stoping Power is a realy mith, is an commercial interpretation term. The real term is Killing Power whit all caracteristic of any caliber. In this FBI publications , the 9mm caliber has most and best caracteristics of Killing Power… In conclusion, all of them caliber has a Killing power, from lower to higher caracteristis. About the result of the FBI investigations, the 9mm caliber has most higher caracteristics of Killing Power. So, for this caracteristics the 9mm caliber is the most reliability for self defense and law enforcement.

    • seabee.73

      perhaps you should read the history the 45acp and why it was developed. It was all about “stopping power”.

      • Buck Farack

        Yes the .45ACP was developed for the military to gain more “stopping power” but the Geneva Convention only allows for fmj ammo, hollow-points are forbidden. In that situation, yes there’s a difference between .45 & 9m. You missed the section of the articlle that stated that the evolution of high performance hollowpoints has completely changed the dynamics between the calibers. all things being equal (capacity especially) I’d rather hit someone w .380 Hornady Critical Defense rounds over 9mm fmj target rounds.

        • your_mind_is_like_a_parachute

          FBI established protocols for calibrating gel covered with 4 layers of denim to create consistency in tests. These kinds of tests reveal that saying, “9 is pretty much the same as .40,” is a bold faced lie.

          -9mm Hornady Critical Duty is a popular law enforcement round for LEOs with 9mm handguns in use. It creates an average of less than an inch in permanent cavity.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoG0v-znj80&list=PLE269EFEBEDCF75FE&index=7

        • your_mind_is_like_a_parachute

          -.40 Winchester SXT is projectile used by several federal law enforcement agencies. Tests in the same calibrated gel produces wound cavities far in excess of 2X typical 9mm bullets.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIP_mK9IciY&list=PL700D12C5B5B21AB4&index=9

          Now, I will say, in your elevation, humidity, and temperature, you could get slightly different results. But if you calibrate your gel the same way for both tests and use tight controls, you will see that saying that modern hollowpoints from 9 to 45 are, “about the same,” is simply incorrect and spreading false information.

          But stick with what’s best for you, as there are many factors in how rounds handle and what not. One gel result being significantly more devastating doesn’t necessarily mean “better” in application.

  • Pingback: The Caliber Debate Continues... – The 2nd Amendment Post()

  • Charles L Bloss Jr

    Once my sheriff’s office changed from .357 revolvers, to .45 semi-autos, that is all I have carried. When I retired it was six months after we changed from S&W 645 pistols to 4506 pistols. I was given my service pistol upon retirement, it had been to the range once (50 rounds). I have carried a CS 45 since that time. I keep a 4513 TSW beside the bed. I think the 9mm is subject to over penetration. The 9mm short, or .380, is not and thus makes a good caliber for smaller pistols. I have several pistols in this caliber. No one will ever convince me that until we are issued phasers, or laser weapons, anything is better than the venerable .45acp.

    • FlipFlop

      good to know logic and scientific data are so easily discarded in favor of tradition and rumor in the mind of a law enforcement veteran. I’d posit that exactly this type of non-thought and complete detachment from reality is the premier fault of most LEOs, and the cause of much of the controversy in interactions w/ the general public. Cops are supposed to be thinkers and problem solvers, not emotionally driven simpletons incapable of critical thought.
      just my opinion of course, feel free to cling to familiarity in the face of overwhelming scientific data to the contrary.

      • Danny Griffin

        “Cops are supposed to be thinkers and problem solvers, not emotionally driven simpletons incapable of critical thought.”

        That’s funny.

      • brownj00

        Come on now. You are setting yourself (and others) up for disappointment if you expect cops are anything but normal human beings, 100% subject to human nature and normal psychology.

        Every field has it’s commonly accepted prejudices, and confirmation bias tells us people see the evidence the way they WANT to. Evidence that supports you is “great” and evidence that undermines you is easily dismissed- it’s automatic and people don’t even realize they do it (in most cases). To say it another way, we love info that “proves” we were right all along, and we ignore info to the contrary. Tell me I’m wrong! :D

        Also, the principle of psychological consistency should tell you that the LONGER someone holds a view, and the more PUBLICLY they’ve made their position known, the harder it is for them to let go of it, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. If it’s true of Nobel prize scientists, how not so for any average LEO or you or me? “Experience” can be a two edged blade in this respect.

        So… good to know Mr. Bloss is exhibiting perfectly normal human behavior. If you want to be more persuasive for your view then do that. Otherwise you’re just wagging your finger for no good reason (denigrating him doesn’t make your position any more or less accurate). Coincidentally, that is also normal human behavior so I’m happy to cut you/me/the rest of us a little slack there. :D

  • Gern Blanston

    ill keep my m&p40c and compact 45’s that I carry. it’s what im used to and I know I can hit what I point at….

    • FlipFlop

      only logically sound defense of larger calibers I’ve seen here.

    • Danny

      I agree, being used to, and very proficient with, a particular handgun and caliber, even if it happens to be larger than 9mm, does NOT sell a man short. Have you ever seen how fast “Jerry Miculek”, can double tap a set of snake eyes, on a target 20 some yards away with his S&W M&P in .40S&W caliber? I know very few of us are able to shoot anywhere close, to as much as he dose, but it does give food for thought, to those who want nothing more than a 9mm, with Premium ammo. Be trained, safe and very aware, while carrying you favorite handgun with Premium ammo in it, then you’ll be alright. Nuf said.

      • Kevin Banks

        Yep, That is the key – what you use, are comfortable with, and proficient with.

      • Kalroy

        “Damn your Vulcan logic Spock!”

  • jbourneidentity

    Until you actually wear a badge, make the split-second decisions and do the job, you are not allowed to make such comments. After all, no one here is telling you how to be an oral-loving prostitute.

    • Phil Rozzi

      I should come over there and rape you in the ass pig.

      • OG Mudbone

        You’re going to do nothing. All of you keyboard warrior lawyers have gone way too long without an assbeating to learn respect. Fucking hate this generation of pseudo-anarchy libertarian shitheads. None of you serve or get actual experience beyond what you find on the internet, WHICH has become the leading point of the spread of misinformation. If your numbers are being reported on a state or federal site i’m going to take it as bullshit. You kids have been on the internet for little too long to understand the GOLDEN RULE of internet. “Don’t believe everything you read.”

    • brownj00

      So… you don’t support the Constitution? Because I’m pretty sure he’s “allowed” even if you don’t like it. At least assuming you live in the same country I do. Better to say until he wears a badge and faces those situations he shouldn’t think he’s qualified to offer an intelligent opinion.

      Everyone is entitled to some opinion, and the rest of us are entitled to ignore the ignorant ones. I wish we would exercise that right too.

      • jbourneidentity

        Thanks for the civics lesson. I had no idea I needed a lecture on the Constitution since I’ve spent my entire adult life protecting it while most others were safely asleep in their beds. I think I will follow your advice and ignore ignorant opinions. I’ll start with yours.

        • brownj00

          I only asked the question so you could clarify your position, but I notice you took offense and didn’t address what you really said. I meant his opinion was ignorant, not yours.

          So just answer the question directly: Does your service entitle you to declare other people do not have the right to exercise free speech? Do you have the right to tell others they cannot speak? Feel free to clarify that’s not what you meant.

          And don’t think I was some dopey civilian who never served, because you’d be wrong there. You don’t like being challenged when you are wrong, I get that. That just makes you human like the rest of us. Like I said, you’d be right on (and more effective) to say he was clueless, ignorant, and opinionated. Just trying to silence everyone who disagrees with you doesn’t help.

  • BigFED

    In 50+ years of carrying, having a serious social discussion or three, and had literally hundreds of conversation with LEOS and others involved in shootings, and in some discussions with survivors (including both LEOs and suspects) not ONE of them was willing to be shot again by ANY caliber!!!

    Most important factor – HAVE A DAMN HANDGUN if you don’t have rifle or shotgun!!! If you can legally carry – CARRY THE DAMN THING!!! Do NOT be one of those idiots who says “I only carry it when I think I’m going to need it”!!! Nobody is going to send you a message that “today is your day!” and what are you going to be doing TODAY that you haven’t done many times before? I heard that statement from a number of bumdasses that came to our gun shop for the concealed carry course without a clue WHY they were getting the permit! Second most important factor – LEARN TO USE IT!!! Third most important – BE PREPARED TO USE IT!!! Fourth – Keep your eyes open! They are your early warning system! See something you don’t like, DON’T GO TOWARDS IT!!! And finally – YOU ARE NOT A POLICE OFFICER. Be a good witness until there is a direct threat to you or some one with you that YOU KNOW is not involved!!!

    All of what I said has NOTHING to with caliber because if you do the right things, caliber becomes irrelevant! And when it does become relevant, ANY of the common calibers (9m/m – .45) will do the job, but the ARE NO MAGIC GUNS OR BULLETS!!!

    • Julie

      9mm will keep you on target for faster repeat center mass shots. 45 second and leave the 40 to the outdated tough guys.

    • Kevin Banks

      Thank you. Most having this debate have never been in front of a speeding 9mm round. And who in their right mind would?

      • Kev

        I’ve been shot in the stomach and head with a 9mm.

    • Stuart Brown

      Good post sir, well said.

  • Sailingwindward

    “LEO’s miss between 70–80 percent of the shots fired during a shooting incident”

    It is clearly evident that the problem isn’t the caliber, or the firearm. I would strongly suggest the FBI spend the time and money on training, and forget this nonsense of trying to convince themselves and us that it’s the caliber or the gun because they failed to properly train.

    Gun-Control is 1″ group at 25 yards. –Wilson Combat–

    • Usmc Forever

      I recently saw a wilson combat fail while a taurus pt1911 was blasting away. I smiled and kept dining steel with my Glock 21sf. Even read reputable stories of them failing in ISPCA and 3 gun matches.
      WC is so overated it’s funny. Beautiful, but overpriced and overated.

  • Thomas F. McDonald

    it’s all about politics. More and More Police and all Military are switching to 9mm. Once the Government gets a “universally” accepted Caliber they will ban public ownership of 9mm ammo. Just Like Mexico, The UK, most all European Nations Japan the list goes on

    • Darren

      Not buying that conspiracy theory. Wouldn’t civilians just switch to 45s or go back to 40 cal? How would they enforce such a ban? If It did happen many honest men would be reloading 9mils and it would be like alcohol prohibition!!! Move over moonshiners!! Not saying it couldn’t happen, but it makes little sense to me.

  • Cmdr Tim

    You can’t judge until you live in our world and walk in our footsteps..Convenience store Monday morning quarterbacks irritate me. Davids’ comment was indicative of a mindset and of the uneducated.

    • David

      American police kill more civilians than anywhere else. Not to mention we lock up more citizens than almost every other country but one!!! The American justice system is flawed. Police kill entirely too much.Cops are not combatants, and should stop carrying themselves that way.

      • Sara

        When one of my professors told us we lock black men up at a higher rate than Apartied S.Africa at its height, I slumped into my desk. I felt ashamed as there were black students present. We honestly lock up more blacks than a regime that was openly racist!!! Most of them being multiple petty pot charges.
        I was floored. I can’t remember how many times we got caught with pot in high school. We had a student present in the classroom who did 3 months so he wouldnt be stuck on probation and screw up his college education. For a couple flipping roaches in the ashstray!!! The American justice system is seriously flawed and it starts with the street cops. Yeah I know weed I know weed is still illegal in most places, but cops shouldn’t pick and choose who to enforce it on. Especially when it’s enforced to the max on minorities and swept under the rug for many whites. Shame on us.

        • Damir Čolak

          So what? Blacks commit more crimes per capita than whites. That’s why you have so much of them in prison.

          • Sara

            Believe that all you want. Like I said I got caught with weed in high school a few times and didn’t even get a slap on the wrist. Black guy in my class gets caught and is put into the system. Numbers look that way because of situations like that.
            All the numbers come from convictions.

          • Dicaeopolis
          • Sara

            I am awake. You are the one asleep. The drug war is crap. Since it was started we lock up blacks at a higher rate than anyone. What is so hard to understand about that? I get caught with weed and it’s basically a joke kids will be kids situation. Black guy has his education put in danger. Our system is flawed. Did blacks all of a sudden get worse after the drug war started? Because almost instantly they started being locked up at a higher rate. Open your eyes and lay off the misdirection. I am clearly about stupid drug laws, so your link is irrelevant.

          • JDO1947

            Apples and oranges! We’re talking VIOLENT crime.

          • Bowtie41

            I live near St. Louis.Approx 200 murders last year.Nearly all were gun crimes being blacks killing blacks,This has nothing to do with convictions,just the pure number of violent offenses.Also consider what was done to Ferguson.Looting,burning,and the VAST majority(not all though),were commited by blacks.We have many,many fine black citizens in the Metro area,but the crimes don’t lie,and we didn’t “fabricate” the stereotypes.

        • Kalroy

          You realize there are probably more blacks in America then there were in South Africa? So your professor used a ridiculous statistic and should have given you the per capita statistic, which would’ve been much more useful to helping your critical thinking. It’s unlikely, however, that that would have aided his obvious agenda.

          • Sara

            More blacks in the US than in South Africa!! You sound absolutely RIDICULOUS. You are the one with an agenda here facts are facts, and you didn’t base your comment on one. There are more than double the blacks in South Africa than the US. Way over double. You have been lied to, or just talking out your bum. That’s why you said “probably” from the beginning, because you had no clue what you are talking about.

          • Kalroy

            Quick look and I find 2011 census for South Africa at 41 million black. The United States at at 37.6 million from the 2010 census or, from the CDC 41.7 million. So I’ll give you that there may be more black people in South Africa than in the United States (but there may not be so probably was accurate). It is certainly not double the amount and I don’t know that there was a time in the last half century that may have been correct. Incidentally, where did all that anger come from? I didn’t attack you, and yet in the second sentence of your rebuttal you attack me personally. That shows a lot of anger, perhaps even hatred for someone you’ve never met and know nothing about.

          • James

            Apartied ended in S. Africa in the early 90’s. The entire population of S. Africa at that time was about 35 million (I do not know how many of those were white). The black population in the U.S. today is about 38 million.

            I am not disagreeing with your overall point, I am just pointing out that everyone should investigate the facts before making such assumptions.

      • Phil Rozzi

        You have to remember that in Europe and everywhere else cops actually get an education. In the US you get kids coming back from wars with PTSD and mental disorders, take a 6 month course and come out a cop. What can you expect when a chef or hairdresser requires more education.

      • JDO1947

        Are the French allowed to carry?

  • jeffro1969

    More accurately, handgun stopping power isn’t a myth but it’s all about the BULLET. If you’re using FMJ bigger is better, but once you bring expanding bullets into the mix the minimum threshold for “stopping power” becomes a very different calculation. The 9mm is, and remains, the minimum for self-defense but if the bullet expands and blows a 1-inch hole through the target then it’s more than enough.

  • Bill Hulings

    The FBI changes their minds every few years. Who gives a shit what they think? They have done them all. The 9, the 10, the 45. They’re in a revolving door.

    • David

      They do change their minds every few years, because manufacturers spend a ton of money on chemist, metallurgy and scientists, giving us better ammo When ammo changes they take note and put it to the test. If that weren’t the case law enforcement may still be relying on 38/357 6 shooters. 40 was the best choice for self defense/law enforcement, and me!! Now we can get 40 performance out of a 9mm, more ammo before a reload and better shootability with equal trauma.. I made the switch.

      • Bill Hulings

        I shall take it under advisement. Thank you. And keep using my Kimber loaded with Federal 230 gr. Hydrashocks.

        • David

          Nothing says shootability like a 1911. Love my colt MKIV with chip McCormick power mag, but it and my Smiths are range toys only. Not gonna carry 8 in mag and 10 on hip, when I can carry 15 in mag and 20 (mag extension) on hip. Not to mention my 1911 has needed repairs twice. Lost a day at the range due to plunger pin issues. If it had been a gunfight I’d be dead. 1911s and revolvers are what you show your friends. Glocks are what you show your enemies. I will probably never pull my gun in defense, but if I do, I won’t be relying on technology of yesteryear. Ever see a 1911 fail in competition? I have, at least 3 times. Ever see a glock fail in competition?
          Me neither!!

          • BigFED

            I started out in law enforcement in the early 1960’s using a personally owned new Colt 1911 and I was nearly the only one using one at qualification time (agency granted exception). After a few years and a “serious social discussion” or three, I exited law enforcement for a better paying career, but I continued to work in the firearms field ever since. I now CHL carry a SIG (any one of several models I have). So, I have about 50+ years of GOOD experience in all aspects of firearms.

            When the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) law was passed in Texas in 1995 (in effect in 1996), our range was one of the first to start training applicants. Several of our customers were former military and showed up to take the shooting proficiency part of the course with their “old slab side” 1911’s. Anyone want to venture a WAG (Wild A__ Guess) on what handgun failed most often during the course of fire? And that was for those that actually remembered HOW to use it. And then there were those that COULDN’T. Worst offenders? Yup, retired/former military! I got to the point that whenever I asked a CHL applicant if they knew how to shoot, that when they said “I’m former/retired military”, I would say, “With all due respect, that is a ‘NO'”. Spent my entire life (I’m well over 70) as a military dependent as DoD employee so I know well the lifestyle.

            With todays good performing ammunition and reliable handguns, a good selection is available for almost everyone.

  • 2OLDGUNGUY

    I saw this starting when they replaced my M14 with that POS M16 back in 1965. Then along came the Berretta in 9mm and the old 1911 was put to pasture. Well, the US Armed Forces had to adapt to all the wusses and pusses we had coming into the military who just couldn’t handle a real weapon. They had all kinds of reasons, more capacity was the big thing, but ten licks with a tack hammer will not do what one with a sledge hammer will do. I have no factual data or charts with pretty colors to present to you, but I have seen the changes result in the deaths of many US Soldiers because of a lack of stopping power (ability) from the girly man weapons now issued.

  • BigFED

    After reading some of the comments from the “armchair experts”, the ONLY study that is valid is the one for any ONE shot! No two things are EXACTLY identical in any subsequent shooting! Something is ALWAYS different on the next shot/shooting. No one gets shot twice (or more) in exactly the same place, wearing exactly the same clothes, at exactly the same angle, at exactly the same distance, same muscle tension, exactly the same weather, etc, etc. That is why they are called “variables”!!! Even something as obscure as the projectile velocity of any subsequent shot(s). Not every round has EXACTLY the same velocity as all the other rounds in any given box of ammunition! That is why there are lot number on the boxes. And that same ammunition shot out of a different gun, while the same make, model, barrel length, etc,) is going to different from gun to gun! It may NOT be much, but it IS a variable!!!

    Any one thing can change everything and there are ALWAYS more than one variable that “varies”!

    I’ve had people come into our range with “high dollar” guns and buy the cheapest ammo they could to practice and then load up for carry with their “high dollar” carry ammo, not knowing if it will even cycle in their gun!!! Had one customer with a SIG P-232 that shot with us almost weekly. He shot 95gr FMJ. I asked him what ammo he carried and he mentioned a very good name brand (and recommend) load. I suggested he do something he had not done, that he run a couple of magazines of the ammo through his gun and guess what? It failed to cycle properly, leaving him with a semi-auto “single” shot! The bullet design (conical), seating depth and other factors made that ammo just a tad too long to reliably cycle through the magazine and up the feed ramp properly! Apparently, SIG had more than one report of their P-232s cycling with that popular brand and must have made a slight “adjustment” to the feed ramp and or mag design. When it happened at out range, we had the customer contact SIG directly since SIG wouldn’t always “work with us dealers” and we were not SIG authorized armorers.

    NO MAGIC GUNS OR AMMUNITION!!!

  • coyote-hunter

    Some people like blondes, some like brunettes, and then there are those that like redheads…I’ll keep my redhead and .45, good shot placement with a big bullet will ruin their day, ….Its shot placement and where that 1st shot goes, same as hunting…. you can shoot a .300 Win mag at a 130 lb whitetails, but unless you hit that deer in the vitals, it will not die quickly….

  • Lar Atwork

    I don’t buy any of the new fbi propaganda. They went to 9mm for women agents and agents who can not shoot for snot.

    The military went to 45 acp to stop people the 38 could not.
    It is still valid today……but hey the government never lies right ?

  • James Greenbaum

    Generally a good article. Mostly intended to explain why FBI is going back to the 9mm, because of shot placement and better cartridges. But no one is going to dispute that .500 S&W, .44 Magnum, .50 Action Express, etc. will produce more devastating wounds and likely stop the threat faster than 9mm. At some point, spray & pray must give way to accuracy. And if accuracy becomes the primary concern, then why not use a Ruger Super Blackhawk? Single-action won the West.

  • a man

    Lol gotta love this 9mm cult propaganda wrote on this Web page. Links that do not go to the topic they claim to. False information. Claiming the ballistics are identical between 9mm – .45 ACP.
    Hogwash to make 9mm fanboys feel their round is superior.

    Let’s see. A 9mm 120ish grain @ 1200fps does “exactly the same” as a .40 S&W 165 grain @ 1200fps? Whatever makes you feel better about your 9mm.

    Lies won’t make your 9mm more powerful in the real world, though. That’s a fact.

    Statistics say police miss 80% of their shots. And people really think they are going to hit the heart or CNS? Wishful thinking. I want to be able to cause more damage to whatever I do hit, and not be deflecting off bones like the 9mm always does.

  • Franco Eldorado

    I have all of the above caliber in the same style guns. I once was a big fan of the 45 and still like it a lot but I personally think the 40 beats it unless you are using +P. Then it’s really equal. Personally 9mm has improved a lot but you must test the ammo with the gun. +P will abuse the gun just as bad as 40 and you can’t alway count on expansion. On steel the 40 drives with much more authority. With that said my pocket gun is a kahr in 9mm. I also have a G19, G27, G22, G29 and G30sf. If I was going to a gunfight I’d take the G22 and hunting backup the G29. Both .40 projectiles

  • But, but why do they need a higher magazine capacity? If sates prevent citizens from having them why allow LEOs? So they can kill more black people?

  • William

    Where are the kinetic energy charts for comparison. That’s the ONE thing that is ALWAYS missing from caliber comparisons. I want to see energy from the muzzle and energy drop offs over distance.

  • JImmy

    The 10mm is best but the FBI chickened out,they are recoil sensitive people.Don’t listen to them,they don’t know what they are talking about.

  • JImmy

    9mm was most famous for going through the heads of the Nazis’ helpless concentration camp prisoners. The 45 ACP was most famous for putting down fanatical charging banzai Japanese soldiers on Pacific islands.The only reason to choose the 9mm over the 40,45 or 10mm is that the shooter is not stoic enough to handle the recoil of mild cartridges.Too many women and small men in federal agencies and police departments are afraid of calibers that ARE superior to the 9mm.It is physics not just wound channel.A 10mm 135 gr @ 1600 FPS is going to hit harder than a 9mm 124 gr @ a little over 1000 FPS.

  • JImmy

    I apologize but I shoot the 500,454,44 mag,357 mag and 10mm without any problem,to me the 9mm is like a 22,especially in a 25 ounce pistol.I’m done.

  • JImmy

    Ok ok so i’m not done.I just had a thought.Is the FBI choice of the 9mm just another brick in the foundation of the feminizing of America? That pussy American men cannot handle a 40 cal? You do realize that the 45ACP was created to knock down people? The US was fighting MUSLIM moro tribesmen in the Phillipines.38 special revolvers shot too many drugged up Moro fanatics who just did not stop attacking.They managed to cut off too many Americans heads.The 45 ACP was the solution to the problem.It knocked the attackers down and US officers stopped losing their heads.

  • Robert

    The reason (in my mind at least) as to why the bullet type is generally ignored is because this all came about (again, in my mind at least) due to the military switching its standard hand gun caliber from 45 to 9mm, and all military ammo is FMJ/Ball ammo because of the Hague Convention regarding ammo in armed conflict. Nevermind the fact that the switch was due to the 9mm being a NATO standard, the 9mm is god because the military made the change (said with sarcasm). Ultimately the article is right, it comes down to shot placement, it doesn’t matter how big your bullet is, if you can’t hit your target right, you can’t win. My open carry is a 1911 in 45, my concealed carry is a Taurus in 9mm, my last ditch concealed is a Para warthog in 45. Why do I carry these? Because I’m comfortable with them, and they work for me, plain and simple. Train with what you’ll use, and use what you train with.

  • Earl

    What about magnum rounds? I would say a .357 magnum beats a 9mm what about a 9mm magnum? .44 magnum? If cost is not an issue the .50 cal desert Eagle. I have fired a FMJ 9mm luger and an FMJ .45ACP at a 1/4″ aluminum plate from a distance of 25 yards. results: 9mm punched a hole through the plate while the .45 made a lard dent but was stopped cold and fell to the base of the target. The .45 round flattened to the diameter of a 50 cent piece and the jacket mushroomed and detached. My conclusion here is the the .45 has more stopping power as it did not pass though the target and thus imparted all of it’s energy while the 9mm only gave up a partial amount

  • Michael Parker

    Did the FBI forget about the Miami Massacre?

  • Ah Shumaker

    The basis of the FBI study was their experience with the Glock .40’s. The Glock pistols are fine weapons, but the .40 caliber Glocks are the poorest of the line. I’m not sure why they seem to be inaccurate or hard to shoot and obviously neither is Glock or they would fix it. I agree that the difference between the Glock 9mm and Glock .40 performance wise is large The FBI was the agency that championed the .40 after the disastrous Miami shootout in 1986 because the 9mm’s and .38+P’s weren’t effective in stopping the perpetrators and now they go back to the 9mm. How ironic. Of course the principal bad guy in that action was armed with a Mini 14 .223. The thing is that the FBI was taking on criminals they knew used long guns and had military training and they had no rifles themselves. Handguns are defensive weapons, they weren’t meant to handle the role of assault weapons. The FBI was simply under armed regardless of the handgun caliber they happened to be carrying that day. So caliber isn’t important and penetration is the key along with accuracy and rapid shot strings. The solution seems to be the FN 5.7, which does all those things with a 20 round capacity, lighter weight, and higher velocity round. The caliber debate will continue anyway. it should be noted that the FBI are not gunfighters. They are primarily investigators. The federal agency that traditionally had gunfighters was the Border Patrol.

  • Someone curious

    When posting, please check your grammar prior to submitting your opinions. Thank you.

  • Just1Saddletramp

    Anyone who argues that a large caliber pistol doesn’t have ” stopping power” has never seen someone get shot.

  • Sam

    I have a question for Brandon (if you read this). With you writing the article can I ask why you still opt to carry the .40 Cal instead of the 9mm. Preference?

  • Good. You go to 9mm. Please send me your “biig bollitts” and I’ll dispose of them for you! I’ve used the .45 ACP since 1969 and it works well for me. If you can hit with your pistol, why change to something else?

  • Rick

    Truth be told (it won’t) the reason for selecting the 9mm is both political and economic. It is NOT about what is the most effective “man stopper” round. Because of political correctness, we have “persons” in law enforcement –and other branches of emergency services– who lack the physical characteristics for the work. If the hands are not large enough or the grip strength is lacking to the point that the most proven man stopping round can’t be handled, then those people should be disqualified from the job. Lowering standards has resulted in lower performance and increased risk for the innocent lives depending on emergency services to help keep them safer. Before someone throws in references to Army Rangers, etc., the standards were “adjusted” to make that a reality. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. Political correctness has already cost many lives. If it is left unchecked, it will destroy this Nation.

  • JDO1947

    Perhaps they have “tons” of female agents?

  • Ramón Cortés

    I was a fan of 45acp but change to Walther P88 with NATO ammunition and this is the best for my peace of mind.

  • John H

    Well This report is all and good BUT, The real truth behind the 9mm craze is most police departments including the FBI had a rating of over 80% misses. If the majority of the people were to shoot a 500S&W and then shoot a pistol in 22 mag they would have a higher % rate of hits with the 22mag and this is what is going on. Of course the 9mm is easier to shoot than the 40 or 45. In my city the female officers could not pass the physical part of training so they dropped it. Same as the Army and other branches have changed technics so females can qualify. this is it in a nut shell. And all of a sudden everybody jumps on the band wagon that the 9mm is more capable than a 40 or 45 NO people just tend to shoot it better. If you need 17 or 22 rounds of +P+P+ or what ever to do the job you are shooting an inferior weapon, If you need to double tap to get the job done you are shooting an inferior weapon, Will it get the job done that’s up to you, But the 9mm is not new, Its not a better round, People just tend to shoot it better because it has less recoil PERIOD. For the average cop and homeowner it is the better choice but do not fill peoples heads that it is a superior round because it isn’t. Just tell the truth, Wait and see the next big shoot out and they will all be saying they were under gunned and need more power and harder hitting bullets

  • Bowtie41

    I am sure many of you are WAY more learned and informed than I.But one thing I picked up in this article,is they refer to special LEO ammo.Would the caliber battle be different on what I,the “normal” citizen,carrying “over the counter ” ammo,be different?I appreciate any input.Thank You!

  • camp168

    We will be having this discussion again in 10-15 years. Because that is how long it will take for the FBI to realize-AGAIN- that the 9mm luger is a joke cartridge. They caused all this mess and now they are going to double down. The FBI is nothing more than a huge beauracracy run by bean counters. Cost was the biggest concern here, not the safety of the average Agent.