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Very specific caliber debate. Larger or smaller caliber in same size gun?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by PlayboyPenguin, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    Okay, I touched on this subject in another post but it became obvious that a more specific thread regarding caliber changes in the same size gun could be interesting.

    My situation is that, regardless of the season, I wear the same type clothes at work year round. Because of this I do not have the option of moving up to a larger gun during the winter months. I have to have something that conceals easily and comfortably. Up until now I have been carrying my Kahr PM9 and it really fits the bill.

    Now that cooler weather is here I start thinking about penetration since people coming in tend to be wearing coats and sweaters. Since, as I said before, I cannot move to a larger gun I have to make the choice between keeping 7 rounds of 9mm or moving up to a .40s&w round in the same gun...sacrificing the additional round I get with the 9mm version.

    I personally made the decision to give up the extra round and go with the round that performed better in penetration test a friend and I did with denim and other coat materials. I picked up the Kahr PM40 from Cocktailer today. Now I just need to decide whether or not to keep the PM9 or sell it since I have the PM40.

    What choice would you make if faced with the same options?

    My dress style at work.

    IMG_9683.jpg
     
  2. jordanvraptor

    jordanvraptor Oregon City, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I had a PM9 and never felt undergunned. I'd be curious to know how it compares in recoil. In the end its all about bullet placement in my view.
     
  3. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    Bullet placement is always the key factor, but when presented with a case where you are capable of hitting the same spot with either gun the penetration capabilities of the caliber make a huge difference. Even if I hit perfectly COM I am still out of luck if the bullet does not penetrate the clothing. :)
     
  4. CEF1959

    CEF1959 Willamette Valley, Oregon New Member

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    I don't think it matters much either way. How many times have you heard about a concealed carry situation where the outcome was determined by 6 vs. 7 rounds? Or where the guy pulled out his concealed 9mm and died saying, "If only it had been a .40 cal."

    In real life, a confrontation that requires you to use your CCW is going to be (a) EXTREMELY rare; (b) decided with very few, if any, shots fired; and (c) where minor differences among calibers will be relatively unimportant compared to things like surprise, speed, and calmness, and shot placement.

    Carry what you feel comfortable and skilled with.
     
  5. WhyteCheddar

    WhyteCheddar East of Moscow by the Willamette Well-Known Member

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    I did a quick search and came up with several bits on this issue.
    This is just one of them.
    I skimmed a couple and it seems to me that relatively heavy clothing doesnt have a whole lot of effect on a basic JHP round.
    But if you do an exhaustive research on it you may find something completely different.

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/tacticalbriefs/2006/04/02/0604-02a.htm
     
  6. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Can you elaborate on the clothing penetration tests you did? Did you find any reading material about that?

    A friend of mine and I put 5 1 gallon plastic milk jugs filled with water in a row. We cut up some old jeans and wrapped the first jug with five layers of denim. We then shot the setup with 9mm +P 124 gr Hornady XTP/HP. It was a hand load, but we had chronographed enough of the matching loads, and used load data to believe they were "+P."

    The bullet ripped through the wrapped jug (ten layers of denim total,) entered the second jug but didn't penetrate the back of the second jug. It settled in the bottom of the second jug. That's two layers (two sides of the jug) of denim wrap, three layers of plastic jug material and a gallon of water plus about 1/2 of the water in the second jug.

    We tried it again with the same load and same type jugs etc but without the denim. The bullet exploded the first jug, went through the second jug and stopped in the third jug.

    In both cases the bullets were fully expanded and intact as you might expect.

    We were firing through a chronograph set out at ten feet, and the jugs were at 20 feet. The gun barrel was 4", semi auto. Chrony vel, 1180. loads were with 5.7 grains Allliant Unique and standard CCI SP primers.

    Edit! This is my experience only. The load data is slightly beyond specs from Alliant. Please DO NOT use this load without working up to it in your gun with a chrony - better yet, don't use it at all! I could even have a typo or brain fa*t in there!


    I do not want to get hit by one of those loads. :thumbup:

    We didn't test a shorter barrel in jugs, but we shot the Kel-Tec PF-9 with those same loads through the chrony and got only about a 60 fps drop in speed.

    No one can argue that the .40 is a heckuva a lot more powerful but dang it's nice to carry that tiny little PF-9. :) I had two of them and just sold one and am regretting it.
     
  7. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    In a nutshell, our tests pretty much showed that all three calibers do very well on basic tests but the 9mm started to suffer more when we wrapped fabric around the targets.

    We were using wooden boards as targets and all three calibers penetrated very well against plain boards. When we wrapped the boards in denim the .40 and .357sig did not seem to suffer at all and the 9mm only suffered a little bit (it tended to break up a bit). However, when we added multiple layers (ie: denim, fleece, quilting) the 9mm started to show a great deal less performance. It seemed to lose penetration much quicker than the other two. With three layers (simulating jacket over hoodie and denim or flannel shirt) the 9mm would often not penetrate the board at all.
     
  8. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    What weight bullets were you using? In our (granted, unscientific) tests, we came away not caring for the 115 gr 9mm. We did a lot better with "slightly" slower 124 gr bullets.

    $.02
     
  9. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    Try www.lightningwear.net this looks like what you need for the club. There is a video demo also,click on the holster and it will be on next page.You could tuck the shirt in and still carry both Kahr's.....:laugh:

    Came across this on Ebay today and thought of you. Thinking I might just get one myself.
     
  10. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    I'm disappointed I thought you'd be much prettier then that Playboy :bluelaugh:

    Seriously though if your concerned about penetration either carry a 45 or run FMJ's. I agree that a heavier bullet will generally do a better job as well. I carry a 380 when it's warm out and/or I don't feel like lugging around one of my 45's. When I'm carrying the 380 it's loaded with FMJ due to concerns about penetration as well, even though it is rather unlikely that 380 JHP's will open up out of my LCP anyways.

    Do I feel under gunned when I'm carrying the 380? You bet I'd much rather be carrying a full size 1911 but I am relatively confident that the 380 will do the job if I do my part.
     
  11. badclam

    badclam willapa bay Sunny SW WA Active Member

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    With your build and that shirt an in the waist band 45 acp with the officer length grip. If your right handed use a left handed holster so the bottom of the grip faces forward and up blending into your side. It will be undetectable to anyone that's not trained to look for gun's. I'll send you a photo if you don't get what I'm saying. I doubt anyone will downplay the serious ability of the 45 acp to stop someone from doing bad things. If seven rounds aren't enough then you've not trained or you've gotten yourself into a REALLY BAD situation.
     
  12. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    I know exactely how you mean but since I wear my top shirt unbuttoned that will not work at all. Plus, that method impedes movement in many circumstances and I am constantly moving.

     
  13. tac

    tac UK, Oregon and Ontario. Well-Known Member

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    On addition to the usual 9mm Browning HP, loaded with 124gr military FMJ, I carried my dad's Walther PP in .380ACP as a back-up, loaded with 90gr Winchester Silvertips [all that I could get back then]. With two 20-round mags of 9mm and two mags of seven380ACP, I felt quite well off.

    Of course, I had a H&K MP5K as well, with six mags of 30 to hand in case things got serious. As I noted in another thread on another forum, I never felt undergunned by having the puny 9mm to rely on - in that respect I was just like any other soldier who has done the same since 1908.

    Don't be putting the 9mmPara down so soon, you guys - I've never seen anybody shot in the eye with one just blink and walk away.

    tac