The 9mm Handgun
James R. Rummel over at Hell in a Handbasket has a nice write-up answering the question “What is a ‘Wondernine’?“.
I have no problems with 9mm handguns. Yeah, some say any handgun caliber that starts with something less than a “4″ is wussy (9mm is about .35″). So are you volunteering to take one to prove how wussy it is? I didn’t think so. I assert that just about any handgun load is wussy. They all pretty much suck equally, in terms of the fabled “stopping power.” When emergency room techs have to deal with handgun wounds, they can’t really differentiate between 9mm Luger vs. .40 S&W vs. .45 ACP. Granted, in the past 9mm ammo had problems if you were using ball ammo for self-defense, but with advances in technology most any modern hollow-point 9mm is about as effective as you can get from a handgun round.
So why 9mm then over something like .45 ACP? As James explains, part of what makes it a “Wondernine” is the expanded capacity. Consider something like Springfield Armory’s XD(m) in 9mm. It has a 19+1 capacity, which means 19 in the magazine and one in the chamber, for a possible 20 rounds total. That’s a lot of lead. So why might someone want this much capacity? I’ve spoken about it before.
Let’s also consider that prices of 9mm ammo is less than prices for many other calibers. 9mm is so popular, so pervasive, it is a NATO standard. If it’s less expensive you can get more for the same price, you can then practice more, you can keep more on hand. I don’t see how this is a negative.
Finally, 9mm is rather controllable to shoot. It doesn’t have a lot of recoil. I mean, 11 year old McKenzie has no problems with her Glock 19:
(note, her malfunctions are intentional… they have random snap caps in there to force the practice of malfunction clearing).
Granted as she gains more strength in her forearms and wrists she’ll manage the recoil even better. Now this isn’t to say that the recoil of a .40 or .45 isn’t manageable, but when you’ve got more kick and have to manage it, you’re just not going to perform as fast. I recall one of the KR instructors telling a story on this… I may have the details wrong, but the gist was that highly trained handgunners shot courses with a .40 then a 9mm and the 9mm shooters always finished about 15% faster. When those follow-up shots matter, when a fast reacquisition of your sight picture matters, why subject yourself to something that will just slow you down?
So, 9mm handguns. They can hold more ammo, ammo that is less expensive and able to be found worldwide, and shot with more control, and be about as effective as any other top handgun round out there. I don’t see much of a downside.