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Difference Between 9mm and .40 Caliber

9mm vs .40 Caliber

If you want to start owning and shooting guns, you’ve probably wondered on the type of gun to start with. Two common options are 9mm and 0.40 calibers. The main difference between 9mm and 0.40 calibers is the size of the bullet. Converting 9mm to inches, you get roughly 0.35, significantly smaller than the 0.4 inch diameter of the .40 caliber.

Because the .40 caliber has a larger diameter, it also has greater mass, which directly correlates to the stopping power of the bullet. It will deliver more energy to the target, disabling him with fewer bullets. The lesser weight of the 9mm bullet means that less energy is delivered to the target. The .40 caliber is better in self-defense situations where you need to disable the assailant as quickly as possible to prevent him from getting a shot off.

But between the 9mm and the .40 caliber, the 9mm is much better suited for beginners mainly for two reasons. The first is the smaller amount of recoil produced by round. Because the .40 caliber has a larger and heavier bullet, there is also more gunpowder there to propel bullet. Recoil can mess the aim of a shooter and will often cause the next shoot to be off target. Using the 9mm lets the shooter get accustomed to the recoil and adjust accordingly before moving on to bigger rounds. The second factor is the cost of the bullets. 9mm bullets are considerably cheaper than .40 caliber bullets. So you can purchase more with a given budget and shoot more downrange. Practicing more hones your skill as a shooter as there is no better teacher than experience.

Choosing the right firearm to own and use is still largely subjective. Larger people may not feel as much recoil with the .40 caliber than someone with a smaller stature. Or a certain firearm may feel better than another. The best thing to do is to try each firearm that you are interested in and decide on which one you like best.


  1. The .40 caliber has a bigger and heavier bullet than the 9mm
  2. The .40 caliber has better stopping power than the 9mm
  3. The 9mm is better suited for beginners than the .40 caliber
  4. The .40 caliber has more recoil than the 9mm
  5. The .40 caliber bullets are typically more expensive than 9mm bullets

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  1. You are comparing apples and oranges. You might as well compare a .25 Auto with a .38 Special. WHY bother? They are different.

  2. Thank you for this article. It was very informative!

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