Whether you are new to firearms or a more seasoned veteran there are many things to think about when purchasing a new firearm. The choice you make could actually be a matter of life and death.
So in every respect, it’s an important decision.
The 9mm caliber absolutely dominates the battle for most used caliber in the US.
Developed around 120 years ago by Georg Luger (yep, that’s where it comes from) it has survived to be the undisputed king. It’s popular by the widest variety of people. Those with small hands and those requiring stopping power, even with a concealed carry capacity like the 9mm.
It was once thought a little unreliable, especially as it came from a military beginning, but advances in bullet technology have made the caliber more popular as time has gone on.
But why? Why should this specific caliber be so popular?
Let’s take a run through and find out.
31 Reasons To Own A 9mm Handgun
There is a vast array of choices in the 9mm handgun market, from smaller manufacturers to big boys like Glock, Smith &Wesson, and Sig Sauer.
There are hundreds of makes and models across the caliber, which can suit any available consumer need. A 9mm may hold an advantage over other calibers in many areas but sometimes those calibers are rare and as such are quite costly to own by comparison.
A good model in affordable and weapons in well maintained condition will not lose a great deal of there value either.
30. Magazine Capacity
Certainly, if you compare them to a revolver, a pistol in 9mm can carry a good amount of ammunition. It’s obvious why this is a useful addition.
While there is no definite figure on the average number of rounds, somewhere between 12 to 18 rounds might be a good average. The ever popular Glock 19 holds 17+1, the Beretta 92 is 15+1 and a Sig Sauer P226 is 12 rounds.
Considering the quick interchangeability of the magazines this is quite a bit of firepower that we all hope you never need.
Additionally, many 9mm manufacturers have the ability to put in extended magazines increasing the firepower.
29. Array of Sizes
Considering there are 5ft women and 7ft men it’s surprising if you think about it that there will be a 9mm pistol for everyone. From the Glock 43 which is a subcompact 9mm measuring 6.3 inches in length all the way up to the Springfield XD which is 7.5 inches.
The CZ 75B is 8.3 inches, so bigger hands may be required.
So no matter whether you are small, or just have small hands there is a 9mm semi automatic out there for you.
Almost every manufacturer, if not every manufacturer for the civilian market makes a pistol in the 9mm caliber. Glock, S&W, Beretta, or Ruger. You name it, they have a range of 9mm pistols available.
This bewildering array allows you to choose a manufacturer with a reliable reputation first, and then find an ideal firearm.
If you can’t find a pistol for you in 9mm then it’s unlikely a move to other calibers will bring you much luck.
27. Easy Maintenance and Upkeep
Not being a tiny firearm there is plenty of room to get fingers in there and clean.
There are also many spare parts, accessories, and mods available for nearly all the 9mm pistols.
26. Many Holsters
Every firearm needs a holster.
Being a popular weapon size there is a holster for every conceivable set of conditions. Ankle, concealed waistband or shoulder holsters. Whatever you need, there will be a holster or a bespoke manufacturer for your needs.
Sometimes it seems there’s more choice in holsters than in ammunition.
25. Many 9mm Shooters and Ranges
With 37% of US households owning one or more firearms, and the 9mm being the most popular caliber, it would be fair to say you are in good company.
There are just over 7000 ranges in the US (market size is $2 billion), some indoor and some outdoor, but all will have both the appropriate ranges and professional shooters to assist you in the discharging of your firearm, whether for practice or in the learning process.
There are many other people versed in the 9mm handgun to learn from and share your thoughts.
While some calibers are more experimental and some smaller calibers can be fiddly, a firearm chambered in 9mm from a reliable manufacturer will be one of the most reliable weapons on the market.
While jams, ejection failures, or magazine feeds will always happen, the 9mm has been around a long time and people have had time to perfect the weapon systems for maximum reliability.
As a caliber choice, its reliable status has yet to be challenged.
23. Good Self Defense Caliber
For all the reasons that are currently being listed, this makes the 9mm a good choice for self defense. Many prefer the 45 ACP or similarly styled calibers, and on an individual choice that’s fine, but no one will argue that 9mm is not adequate for this reason.
It has cheaper ammunition, lower recoil, and an array of accessories to aid in self defense, as well as the different sized weapons, meaning that there will be a pistol right for you.
The 9mm has more than enough stopping power to aid a need to defend yourself as well, despite what some people prefer.
22. Good Stopping Power
Unless an attacker is wearing body armor or a bulletproof vest a 9mm round has more than sufficient stopping power. Advances in ammunition technology mean that there is a cartridge available for your needs, whether you are worried about penetrable walls or range.
The effective firing range for most shooters is just beyond 25 yards, but a 9mm range is lethal well beyond 400m, where you would be widely inaccurate.
It’s a powerful enough caliber with enough stopping power way beyond the range you would be accurate with it.
With muzzle velocities typically around 1200 fps, you’d be hard pressed to say the 9mm doesn’t have stopping power.
21. Good Range
If you consider a 22lr cartridge is lethal at 300 yards, then it shouldn’t be surprising that a 9mm round can travel over a kilometer and a half.
An average cartridge will fire flat from a handgun to 50 yards and then start dropping so that at 100 yards it might have dropped 12 inches or so.
100 yards is well beyond accurate shot placement unless you’ve been practicing since birth.
So, for all practical uses of a firearm, the 9mm has a decent range.
Along with popularity, comes a great many people who will share your decision. There are Facebook groups, and local group meetings of shooters, many of which will use the 9mm as a firearm.
As such you can discuss any problems, try different strategies, or talk until your ears fall off, about whatever concerns you.
19. Many Products
Again, because of the 9mms popularity and familiarity amongst firearm enthusiasts means that a plethora of manufacturers have popped up with some truly great products, both for training and with real life practicalities.
So there are plenty of red dot sights, Picatinny rails, lights, and suppressors, as well as safes and other items. If it’s available for a firearm, it’s available for a 9mm firearm.
18. Good for Beginners
Although many start either plinking or shooting with a 22 short, some of the shortcomings can become apparent quickly, depending upon what your purpose for a firearm is.
Owners of the Glock 44 will know what I am talking about here.
For many reasons, the 9mm is considered an ideal beginner’s weapon caliber. It is cost effective as well as just effective. It can be used both in training in on the range with ease.
As well as it makes a pretty good burglar deterrent as well.
You could file ‘fun’ under almost any caliber but if you have a Glock 44 you may get a little frustrated with the feed problem maybe.
For many reasons, not least of which is it is a well used firearm, then you can have many hours of trouble free shooting.
It’s an easy weapon to use, so it makes the fun more likely.
16. Tactical Reality
While everybody at the range thinks they are James Bond, the reality is somewhat different. The practiced marksmanship of seasoned Police officers and FBI agents only put 20 to 30 percent of their shots onto the target.
That means that 70 to 80 percent of 9mm shots fired in anger, actually miss the target when delivered by professionals.
These rounds don’t stop traveling once they are beyond where they are aimed at. They carry ongoing, sometimes with lethal results.
So, if fired in anger a full magazine of 15 shots might have 3 placed on the target. The round that strikes them must have a good chance of being a deterrent and incapacitating the intruder or attacker.
In quite a few studies, law enforcement puts shots on target faster with a 9mm than with other calibers. If you are new, a 9mm gives you the best chance than other calibers as a balance of deterrent, stopping power, and the likely rounds that will strike where they are intended.
15. Psychology of Attackers or Intruders
In any confrontation, the mindset of the intruder needs to be addressed. Arming yourself with a 9mm shows a certain understanding of firearms, particularly if the model is easily recognizable.
A 9mm Glock has more of a deterrent effect than a pellet gun for example.
Combined with good ammunition choice a 9mm wound to an assailant, or them receiving effective rounds is enough to be seriously concerning.
When seconds count and stopping power matters the caliber you choose must have sufficient power to penetrate an intruder or attacker.
Or indeed, whatever you are aiming at.
A 9mm round has more than enough penetration power. A Glock 19 with a standard 9mm round has around 1200 fps muzzle velocity and it will barely have slowed down in most self defense scenarios.
At 1200 fps a 9mm round will easily penetrate a human body and reach the vital organs.
Indeed, in ballistic gel tests, most 9mm rounds penetrate 12 to 18 inches. This is more than enough to be effective.
13. Ammunition Variety
As it is easily the most popular caliber, along with 22lr the variety of ammunition is quite staggering. Wadcutters for practice, cheap ammunition for practice drills, and effective JHP rounds for controlled penetration with self defense.
There is just a vast list of manufacturers and suppliers for the 9mm ammunition so you won’t go short haveing the right ammunition for your firearm.
12. Scope of the Weapon Caliber
With the variety of ammunition and scope of the handguns available, there are no limits really on what you might want to do with it. A 50 cal Desert Eagle might be a little large for self defense and a 22lr short pistol might be a little light.
With a 9mm you can have fun at the ranges, practice quite readily and yet still have a versatile handgun for concealed carry and self defense.
It’s an allrounder as a caliber for sure.
11. Round Lethality
As discussed earlier, with the 9mm caliber you have a variety of choices available. Longer barreled if you like with heavy grain rounds and you have a lethal weapon.
The number of round choices makes the 9mm a good choice for those requiring a round to drop a target.
Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP rounds) can be used for a controlled penetration and expand in a target for maximum damage. The round simply mushrooms inside the body to inflict as much damage as possible.
While movies love to show a round producing a good kick when fired in real life it isn’t practical or desirable. In fact, if you miss it could get you killed.
Lower recoil is much better as the barrel can be brought back onto target much faster so the target acquisition process is smoother, allowing more accurate shot placement.
Many people choose the 9mm because the recoil is sufficient to the power but not so powerful that shots on target are slower.
Surprisingly for the power, the 9mm has minimal recoil, and manufacturers have better designs nowadays to manage the recoil. Shot placement becomes easier with a 9mm.
9. Good Ammunition Availability
The 9mm is a popular weapon. I’m not sure you’d find anyone who’d deny it. With this popularity comes not only a wide variety of available 9mm rounds but they are in every gun shop or firearms retailer.
Almost everywhere within the US, you will find a nearby supplier or online retailer.
It’s simply too easy to find a round that matches your needs.
8. Proven Weapon Caliber
The 9mm was invented in 1902, so has had nearly 120 years of use in the world. It’s seen two world wars and numerous conflicts.
Law enforcement from around the globe uses it and unfortunately, many hospitals have practice dealing with 9mm rounds.
As you might expect, military bureaucrats and scenes of crime officers have ballistic data for almost every round. There’s pretty much nothing we don’t know about this caliber.
The data is in.
Along with a lot of other calibers, we can make very specific statements about a 9mm weapon.
There are studies galore so we know that it’s a proven caliber. It’d have died out long ago if it wasn’t. Limitations would have been found.
7. Excellent Defense Ammunition
Along with that ubiquitous popularity again comes the quantity and quality of ammunition for the specific purpose of self defense.
Hollow Points and Jacketed Hollow Points seem to take all the awards in this area, because of their expanding ability upon impact to cause additional damage and lessen the chance of the round exiting the body.
So a good combination of penetration, expansion, bullet grain, and cartridge power can be found to meet your exact needs.
6. Cheap and Plentiful Practice Ammunition
Along with every firearm owner comes the responsibility to make sure they are well practiced in their skills.
Many have training weapons in the much cheaper ammunition 22lr or 22 short calibers. However, there’s nothing quite like practicing with the firearm you actually would want to use. Familiarity and weapons drills are ideally used in this manner.
So it’s good that there are a variety of cheap ammunition manufacturers so you can target shoot with as well as the JHP rounds for self defense.
So there is no need to use expensive ammunition for drills.
5. Good for Concealed Carry
Ask a seasoned veteran or even an enthusiastic amateur about concealed carry and you are likely to get a variation of the following factors.
Reliable, effective, wearable, and ergonomic
When your life is on the line, the weapon and caliber must work every time, be capable of stopping a grown adult attacker, easily wearable and comfortable, as well as being easily concealed and able to be drawn effortlessly.
The 9mm has been used plenty of times in the concealed carry role and doesn’t get a load of complaints. Are there other choices, sure, but a 9mm can easily rule the day.
Manufacturers have been making weapons for the 9mm round for over 100 years. That’s 100 years of weapon advancement as well as ammunition knowledge.
At every step of the way, knowledge is gained and designs minimally altered to make a 9mm weapon as effective as it can possibly be.
Nowadays each weapon can have thousands upon thousands of rounds down it with little upset. A 9mm weapon has great longevity because of this process and will need fewer repairs than most.
They are robust and reliable given most conditions of use.
For any of the available calibers, most people will shoot the 9mm most accurately. Some people will find smaller calibers more accurate, and some the 10mm is more accurate, but as a balance, most can shoot a 9mm comfortably.
Most people find it easy to shoot.
As most law enforcement agencies place a premium on shot placement above anything else, then why not make it easier on yourself to hit the target.
Again, harking back to popularity, many, many 9mm weapons are made. Glock has made millions of 9mm pistols all on its own.
As such the mass production effect comes in and the cost lowers with respect to the lower selling calibers.
This means that a new 9mm firearm is very affordable for many. Ammunition bought in bulk can seriously bring down the cost as well.
1. FBI and Law Enforcement Use the 9mm
And finally, is if to eclipse all the other reasons, the military has always used the 9mm but recently the FBI switched to the 9mm as did law enforcement so the 9mm has the backing of government agencies most interested in getting the caliber of their weapons correct.
Incidentally, in 2019 the US Secret Service announced it was moving towards the lighter, and more efficient 9mm caliber.
Law enforcement in general is moving towards using the 9mm, and their reasons are cited as ease of use, reliability, low recoil with stopping power.
In 2018, the FBI announced it was moving towards using the Glock Gen 5’s as the new service weapon of choice.
So there is a recent trend of the law enforcement arm of the USA moving towards the 9mm. If it’s good enough for them when they put their lives in danger, it’s probably good enough for the rest of us.
Why You Should Consider Owning A 9mm Handgun
So above is listed the 31 reasons you should consider owning a 9mm weapon above other calibers. Everyone has different opinions and needs, but you shouldn’t exclude the 9mm as a viable option.
It is just so ubiquitous, so in reality, you could probably come up with 100 other reasons.
The 9mm is affordable, popular, effective, and is used by almost the entire US law enforcement personnel who have conducted exhaustive studies, including penetration data and target acquisition.
While many will opt for the .40 S&W or the 45 ACP, and that may be fine for any individual need, for many the 9mm is easy to shoot, and that’s an important factor.
It’s popular for a very good reason, even if it does have those who condemn it.
Benefits Of A 9mm
Most US households that have a firearm will probably have more than one. If it’s defense you are after, at least one of those should be a 9mm.
Its ease of use, between all members of a household might be a factor that tips the decision for you. Its size means it can be used by almost anyone.
Yet it packs enough punch to be effective,
Compare this to a 22 short or a 10mm weapon that might be too small or too large. Again, everyone is different and has different requirements so choose what’s right for you.
Just don’t overlook the 9mm just because it’s popular.
Owning a 9mm in a group of people who like the distinction of being different may not do you any favors, but it is a great caliber that has stood the test of time.
This list may have looked biased, as many of the points can be made for other calibers.
The point isn’t to degenerate other calibers, but to point out why a 9mm holds its own in the battle of the calibers. Many people swear by the caliber, and now it seems law enforcement is joining the fray.
Are there cons of a 9mm. Sure.
Other calibers have more stopping power if that’s what you are after, and 22 rounds are much cheaper.
As an allrounder though, the 9mm is far from the bottom of the list, and many, many people consider it nearer the top in terms of handgun choice.
Caliber, in and of itself shouldn’t be the only choice when considering a weapon. Nevertheless, it is an important consideration. Magazine capacity and ease of use are always useful, as is ammunition choice, low recoil, stopping power, good hand weight, and affordability are hard to argue with if you pick a 9mm.