I’m almost ready to buy my first semiautomatic pistol. I’ve shot a few guns, read hundreds of articles and blog posts, visited dozens of gun forums, and checked out the manufacturers’ web sites. I have narrowed down my choices to Ruger’s SR compacts and Springfield’s XDm compacts. I am leaning towards Ruger’s products because they have a narrower profile and lighter weight, which are advantages for concealed carry. Though I am anxious to try Springfield’s .45 caliber XDm compact.
I’ve learned a lot about bullets.
Through my reading I learned about the effectiveness of the different caliber bullets in terms of stopping an assailant. That’s obviously important for military purposes, which is where much of the early information came from, and it is also important when one chooses self defense ammunition. I notice that people have very strong opinions about which bullet size is better for self defense, but I am not convinced there is all that much difference. In support of that, here is a graphic that shows how modern ammunition is designed to penetrate about twelve inches, so that it enters a body but does not pass through and through to cause collateral damage to other people or property in the area.
You’ll notice the volume of tissue damage is quite similar for the various bullets listed.
The sager writers always mention that shot placement is the most important factor when it comes to using a firearm in self defense. In other words, a shot to the head or heart will probably stop your assailant no matter what size bullet you use. So they always suggest to practice, practice, practice. That makes sense to me.
So, back to my choosing a gun. I find myself conflicted between the Ruger SR9c (9 mm) and the SR40c (.40 S&W.) Since both will stop an assailant, why do I seem to want the larger .40 caliber model? (I think the thought probably comes from the same part of my brain that wants a bigger penis.) The guns cost essentially the same and are practically identical in size and weight. But the .40 caliber ammo costs significantly more. The .40 caliber bullets are larger than the 9 mm, so the magazines don’t hold as many. And the recoil of the larger .40 caliber bullet is stronger, perhaps affecting my shooting accuracy. Those are significant disadvantages. Yet there is something sexy about a “forty” instead of a “nine.” Hmm.
Two other issues play in my decision making. One is that when I really think about it, how many times do I think I will find myself in a position to need a gun for self defense? I hope never!!! There are many things I can do to avoid putting myself in such a situation. So the self defense aspect of owning a gun should probably not be the most important. I realize that the fun of shooting it at the range is more important to me.
The other issue is the cost of the ammunition. I did a little web survey yesterday to get a better feel for the difference in cost between the 9 mm and .40 S&W ammo sizes. Here’s what I found:
I randomly chose three internet ammunition sales sites, toward the top of the google search list. I also randomly chose to compare prices of Remington’s metal case (MC) bullets and Federal American Eagle full metal jacket (FMJ) because they are sold everywhere and are good for shooting paper targets at the range. I also chose to compare prices of Hornady’s jacketed hollow point (JHP) ammo because after my research that’s what I have decided to use for concealed carry, self defense purposes.
You’ll see that there is only a small difference in prices for the same type of bullet at the different internet sites. But there is a larger difference between the 9 mm and the .40 S&W sizes.
At the internet sites, they tend to list prices per box, and since there are boxes with different numbers of bullets, they also list the price per round. When you look at it that way, it doesn’t seem to be much difference, a few pennies. But when I go to the range, I don’t just shoot one bullet. That’s why I included the cost per 100 rounds. That’s more like what I shoot when I go to the range. You can see that 9 mm bullets will cost me about $25 per visit to the range, and .40 S&W will cost me about $35. I know me. I will be more likely to go to the shooting range for $25 than for $35. Over time, the $10 difference would add up.
So that’s it. Everything points to getting a 9 mm handgun. (Though I still want the .40 and a bigger penis!)