Why I like the 9mm…..

A couple things I want to state right off the bat.

  1. I am NOT saying that the 45ACP, 40S&W, .357 Sig, 45GAP, or any other pistol caliber is inferior to the 9mm. Shoot what you can shoot accurately with the ability to get back on target for follow up shots regardless of caliber. Period.
  2. A pistol is NOT the ideal defensive or offensive weapon. It is vastly under-powered compared to a rifle. ALL common pistol calibers including the 9mm are not manstoppers and actual documented shooting data indicate no advantage from one caliber to the other. Shot placement is the deciding factor.


The 9mm has been attractive to me for several reasons:

First up – capacity.

The 9mm cartridge offers the highest capacity available in all major pistol offerings. It is not uncommon to find pistols with capacities between 15-19. I see this as an attractive benefit providing fewer magazine changes and more time on target. Bottom line – carrying 4 spare magazines in 9mm provides a higher number of rounds than alternative calibers.


Next – recoil.

The recoil from full size “combat” pistol is very timid and manageable. With proper grip and stance targets can be engaged with multiple shots in short order….accurately.


Then – cost.

9mm ammunition is just less expensive than all other comparative calibers. This affords more practice and more ammunition storage for the same amount of money. This is a critical item as storing as much ammunition as possible is certainly important.


Lastly – comfort and ergonomics.

I do not have the biggest hands in the world and have found that the grip size of the 9mm to fit me well. A pistol that feels comfortable and I can get a good wrap around will shoot better in my hands than one that is uncomfortable.

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Like I said – I am not saying that the 9mm is better than any other caliber. Rather, these are some reasons why it works best for me. If you like the 45ACP – great! If you like the 40S&W – awesome! If you like the 10mm – good for you!

Of course – the best caliber is the one you have when you need it.



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  1. Pistols protect our person; rifles protect our freedom. The difference is the ability to project force over a larger area.

    .410 shotguns and .22s are potent calibers – in the hands of skilled and determined marksmen. Other ‘mouse gun’ calibers have their place as well. The problem is the smaller the caliber, the greater the skill required for effective use. Women with small hands tend to like the smaller calibers and smaller sized guns they shoot. Unfortunately, too many never develop the skills to really become lethal with that .380 or smaller automatic. Small calibers offer the ability to carry more rounds and often larger magazine capacity and they do tend to lightweight and convenient.

    I suppose this is a good trade off if you can’t reliably hit what you aim at and value convenience over tactical ability. My father once remarked about a man that he would rather have him trying to kill him than to scare, with the intimation that the intentional kill shot would likely miss and an intentional miss, kill by accident. Some wisdom there.

    The mental leap from victim to fighter and then from fighter to sheepdog often involves rethinking choice of calibers. Like others who have seen the elephant, I love the .45acp for its sheer human stopping capability – without the over penetration and concomitant danger to non-combatants. What’s more, there are many time tested and reliable platforms for this round.

    Is the 9mm an effective and practical defense round.? Bet you bippy it is. So is the .40, 10mm, .45acp, and .44 magnum. I think it incumbent upon each contemplating going into harm’s way to intelligently choose the most lethal caliber that they can reliably shoot well. Ability changes with practice, with actual experience, and with physical changes that happen to us. I remember my father putting away his semi-automatic when his strength waned to the point he couldn’t reliable work the action. He carried his father’s .45 revolver for a while and successively smaller calibers.

    I am not much a believer in cost saving on weapons, especially after hearing that first supersonic crack of a bullet fired with intent passing close by. Buy the very best weapons you can afford.

    It is so important to choose, wisely.


  2. Any weapon is better than no weapon at all!
    The ballistics of the 9mm is very good.
    380= 9mm short
    38 special= 9mm
    357 magnum= 9mm
    I’m sure there are others too.
    UZI long barrel 9mm is very accurate and surprisingly quite!

    • Bubba – I had a Marlin Camp 9 tears ago and with the increased barrel length it really put some extra velocity – and accuracy into the 9mm cartridge. Another gun I wish I had never gotten rid of.

  3. I love my Glock 19. My wife, daughter-in-law all love it and are very accurate with it – they now all have their own. I’ve got to agree with you Rourke. Thanks PR for sage words.

  4. I bought a Springfield XD9 a while back and I love it. My wife can shoot it just fine, and now claims it as hers. For her, it fires low and right, and she has adjusted to it just fine. It’s all about the training. A good plus for the 9mm is that it is the most commonly used round for military (all branches use the 9mm, with the otnly exception being most Special Forces who use .45), and most police. Should something go down, and you have to find rounds, this will be the caliber you are most likely to run into.

    • Blue – I had an XD9 for a while and found it extremely accurate. Wish I had not gotten rid of it.

      As far as the 9mm being a great caliber due to the availability I had always thought that as well until after the Sandy Hook shooting. Due to its popularity and so many people having i people wiped out the shelves. Those with odd calibers fared better – at least in that instance.

  5. Some good friends carry the XD9. It and all of the Glocks get good reviews.

    As an old Luddite, I like my pistols to have hammers and with some platforms that means a choice of trigger pulls. Then there are those that have trouble with the different pulls of SA and DA actions. I carried the P220 for much of my federal career and with tuning found it to be a wonderful pistol capable of amazing accuracy. Most of ours were shot out at 50,000 rounds. I wonder if the more modern pistols make it that far?

    Intentionally carrying a weapon into harm’s way requires a special mindset – confidence in judgement, confidence in ability, confidence in equipment.

    Every pistolero should have a good knife. Knives are a forever weapon. I have one that was custom built for me (and others that ended up in a unique situation) and several of the Randal Mk I combat knives. I like my fighting knives with large blades and sturdy tangs but that is off topic.

    Bottom line, carry what works well for you.


  6. Rourke. I carry a XDM 40 and I just returned from a week at Front Sight training facility, and in 4 days of shooting a handgun, I shot 800 rounds of ammo. I took my grandson and his father with me and I lent his father one of my XD 9’s, and my grandson used his P 95 that I gave him for Christmas. After shooting this many rounds, I am beginning to think more along the lines of the 9mm. 800 rounds in 4 days, my bones were getting sore with the 40 cal. I know the others were younger, but they had no problem shooting the 9’s.
    I have a 50 yd range in my back yard that I want to do a lot of shooting. I went to Front Sight to learn to do my practicing correctly. Now that I intend to enjoy my old age, and enjoy my love of guns, I think I will change using my 40 cal for one of my 9mm.
    Thanks for the article to make me feel better about going from the 40 to the 9.

    • Thanks for sharing John R – XDM9 would make a very nice addition to your collection I am sure and would be easier on the wallet(and wrist).

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