I was recently talking with my cousin about handguns, as he’s thinking about purchasing one for self-defense purposes, and the subject of caliber came up.
A friend of his had been promoting the Springfield XDM .40, and as a result he was leaning in that direction. I asked him what the draw was for a .40 vs. a 9mm, and his response was stopping power. He then proceeded to tell me a story about a Philippine uprising in which the militants were doped up and it required the stopping power of a .40, not a 9mm to put them down.
Now I can appreciate a good story as much as the next guy, but there are several key issues worth bringing up. First is that he’s looking for a handgun for self-defense, not for putting down insurgencies (in which case a rifle would probably be better anyhow). Second, if someone is so doped up their brain isn’t registering the damage you’re in trouble no matter what. Third, and most important in my opinion, is that it’s all about shot placement.
If you’re able to put several quality self-defense rounds into a person’s chest, the chances of them stopping are high. This in turn brings us back to the ever important issue of regular practice. As he hasn’t been shooting in a while he’ll probably want to practice a lot before he feels confident carrying a firearm. Like most of us he has bills to pay and mouths to feed, so cost is an important factor. A basic truth is that you can usually purchase 9mm ammo for less than .40 ammo, which means more bullets to practice with.
I know it’s easy for such a topic to quickly turn into a war on preference, rumor, and speculation, but I would like to hear from any of you on this if there’s something more I should bring up to my cousin while he’s making his purchase decision.