Caliber wars rage on. Truly, we’ll never all agree on what’s the best to use. One thing we can all agree on, however, is the simple fact that having a gun in any caliber is better than not having a gun on you at all. As you can likely imagine, I own guns in many different calibers, and yet, I choose to carry those chambered in 9mm to protect my life.
Before we get into the “whys” of 9mm, let’s quickly talk about the “why nots.” Or, in other words, why some people don’t like it.
First, 9mm, to some, is under-powered. Sure, when compared to the bigger, heavier, and therefore slower .45 ACP, the 9X19 Parabellum doesn’t create the same wound channel. In case you weren’t sure, the wound channel is the devastating path left behind from the bullet as it passes through flesh.
Second, the nine is much too quick for some. When you take its quickness and add the overall narrow size of the projectile, it can pass through objects like walls, and keep going.
While both of those downsides to the 9mm self-defense cartridge are real, the benefits far outweigh them, at least to me. My goal is not to change your mind on what you carry, but to maybe help you understand why some people trust their lives to an “under-powered” cartridge.
Before we get there, let me state that it is absolutely impossible to generalize all 9mm handguns into any category, and I’m speaking about one of my guns, which is a Springfield XD9, in full-size, 4” barrel form. Some other nine mills will have similar characteristics, and some won’t.
I also want to say right now that this is not me de-legitimizing .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .357 Mag, .38 Special, .44 mag, .357 Sig, .380 ACP, or any of the others on the market. They are all great for what they are and were intended to do.
Let’s get started …
Listen, I’m broke. I mean, I literally don’t have any money for ammunition. So, I have to buy the absolute cheapest ammo I can find to practice with. The fact that I’m broke doesn’t stop me from training on a weekly basis, though. After all, my main goal whenever I carry (which is every single day of the week, even now as I type this I have a gun on my hip) is to be able to protect my family from an attacker.
9mm ammo is definitely cheaper than just about anything else out there. So, even if it doesn’t have the exact ballistics that its bigger brothers and sisters have, its similar enough to be effective while affordable enough to allow me the opportunity to practice with 100+ shots per week.
This is key, because if you don’t practice enough with your concealed carry gun, you’re not going to be as effective with it.
Follow up shots:
My full-size handguns chambered in 9mm allow me to get back on target much quicker than even some of the heavier guns in bigger calibers. A lot of the time, a bigger gun helps with recoil management which is why you never really ever see .45 pocket pistols.
The 9s usually have less recoil because it’s pushing a smaller projectile through the barrel. In other words, less force is required to get it going. Obviously, quicker follow up shots mean more holes, even thought they’re smaller than .45 ACP and .40 S&W.
Not so under-powered, depends on ammo:
While some folks will have you believe that it is under-powered (like I pointed out a few paragraphs ago) I like to tell them that it isn’t under-powered, but under-rated.
No, the wound channel is not as big as a .45. But, because I can place more shots on target, faster, those big-enough holes add up to more damage, over all. At least, that’s my opinion. Again, opinions are like butt-cheeks. Everyone has them, and they all smell.
Not all guns chambered in nine come with the ability to hold a lot of rounds. But, a lot of them do. My Springfield is a 16+1 handgun, and even some of the 1911s out on the market in 9 millimeter are 10+1, whereas those in forty-five are seven or eight round magazines.
One of my concealed carry rigs—which is a holster and mag pouches allows me to have a total of four 16 round magazines with a round in the pipe. I’m horrible at math, but I believe that if I multiply some digits and carry the one, that gives me 65 rounds of ammo. That ain’t bad!
Trusted by military and police:
The 9mm has been the go-to handgun round for the United States military since they adopted the M9 in the 80s. I know you’ve likely heard some grumblings about it, but keep in mind that military personnel aren’t allowed to use JHP ammo in combat, like the rest of civilized society is. In battle, if ball ammo must be used, the .45 is a better way to go. But, I’m no longer in the military and can carry whatever I want. Unless, of course, New Jersey is my destination.
Also, if it was incapable as a self-defense cartridge, I’m not sure why the FBI would be moving to it, and away from the .40 S&W.
Finally, there are tons of different kinds of ammo available in 9mm today that are capable of inflicting some serious damage. If you don’t have one it’s almost a shame. They range from small to big, and everywhere in between. Plus, bullet and powder technology have come a long way to inflict some serious damage on your attacker.
Zombie Lives Matter, Too:
Listen, it doesn’t matter if you believe in zombies, little green men, volcanoes, EMPs, or the big one shaking the entire world, 9mm will be readily available in such an event, simply because it’s so popular. By the way, whenever I use terminology like that on this website, it’s a codename for something else that’s far more likely to happen. What? Think about it it a bit. It’s not that hard to figure out.
We may not all agree on what’s the best to carry. Much in the same way that Marines poke fun at the Chair Force (and they try to poke fun back, though, it never usually works as well for them), .45 ACPers will poke fun at us who are confident enough to carry a smaller cartridge. All that matters at the end of the day is that the Chair Force comes to pick us ground pounders up, and that you and I have each other’s backs when the stinky brown stuff comes into contact with the circulating air pusher.
What is your favorite self-defense round? Let us know in the comments below. Then, make sure you sign up for Gun Carrier’s FREE Newsletter, so you never miss a shot.