Both the 357 Magnum and 9mm are popular calibers for handguns, but they have significant differences in terms of size, power, and usage. Here is a breakdown of the differences between these two cartridges to help you decide which one is the best fit for you.

The 357 Magnum is a revolver cartridge introduced in 1934, known for its stopping power and use in law enforcement. The 9mm, or 9x19mm Parabellum, is a semi-automatic pistol cartridge developed in 1902 and widely used in military and law enforcement.

While both cartridges have similar bullet diameters, the 357 Magnum is larger and more powerful than the 9mm. Here are the key differences between the two.

  1. Size and Power: The 357 Magnum has a larger bullet diameter and can hold more powder, resulting in higher muzzle energy and stopping power. The 9mm, on the other hand, has a smaller case and less powder, making it less powerful but easier to control.
  2. Recoil and Accuracy: The 357 Magnum has a significant recoil due to its power, which can affect accuracy for some shooters. The 9mm has less recoil, making it easier to handle and shoot accurately.
  3. Cost and Availability: The 9mm is more affordable and widely available, while the 357 Magnum is more expensive and may be harder to find.

For self-defense, both cartridges are viable options, but the 357 Magnum may have an edge due to its larger size and more stopping power.

When comparing the two for self-defense, the following factors should be considered:

  1. Stopping Power: The 357 Magnum has a higher likelihood of stopping an attacker with one shot due to its larger size and power.
  2. Penetration: The 9mm has a higher velocity and may penetrate deeper than the 357 Magnum, which can be a concern in crowded areas.
  3. Capacity and Reloading: The 9mm holds more rounds in a standard magazine and can be reloaded quicker than a revolver.

In terms of popularity, the 9mm is more widely used due to its affordability and ease of use. However, the 357 Magnum has a long history and is still a popular choice for law enforcement and military use.

When choosing between the 357 Magnum and 9mm, personal preference and intended use should be taken into consideration. The 357 Magnum may be a better option for those who prioritize stopping power, while the 9mm may be a better fit for those focused on capacity and ease of use. Additionally, training and familiarity with a particular cartridge can also play a role in the decision.

Key Takeaways:


  • The 357 Magnum is larger and more powerful than the 9mm.
  • The 357 Magnum has greater recoil and is less accurate than the 9mm, but is also more expensive and less available.
  • When considering self-defense, the 357 Magnum has greater stopping power and penetration, while the 9mm offers higher capacity and easier reloading.


What Are 357 Magnum and 9mm?

The 357 Magnum and 9mm are two popular handgun cartridges known for their power and versatility. Developed in the 1930s, the 357 Magnum is a larger and more powerful round, offering greater stopping power and range. On the other hand, the 9mm is a smaller and lighter round, providing high capacity and manageable recoil. Both cartridges are commonly used by both law enforcement and civilians for self-defense purposes.

Overall, the 357 Magnum is favored for its stopping power, while the 9mm is praised for its affordability and widespread availability.

What Are the Differences Between 357 Magnum and 9mm?

When it comes to choosing a handgun, two of the most popular calibers are the 357 Magnum and the 9mm. While both are widely used and have their own strengths, it’s important to understand the differences between them in order to make an informed decision. In this section, we will discuss the key factors that set these two calibers apart: size and power, recoil and accuracy, and cost and availability. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of which caliber may be the right fit for you and your needs.

1. Size and Power

Size and power are crucial factors to consider when comparing the 357 Magnum and 9mm cartridges for firearms.

  1. Size: The 357 Magnum is a larger cartridge compared to the 9mm, with a longer case and overall length.
  2. Power: The 357 Magnum offers greater stopping power due to its larger bullet and higher muzzle energy.

When deciding between the two, it is important to take into account individual preferences and the intended use of the firearm. Some may prioritize the compactness and versatility of the 9mm, while others may value the formidable power of the 357 Magnum for self-defense or hunting purposes. Ultimately, personal training and familiarity with the chosen cartridge are essential for responsible firearm usage.

2. Recoil and Accuracy

Recoil and accuracy are crucial factors to consider when comparing the 357 Magnum and 9mm cartridges. Here are the key points to understand:

  1. Recoil: The 357 Magnum has significantly higher recoil due to its larger size and more powerful load. The 9mm, on the other hand, has milder recoil, making it easier to control and quicker to get back on target.
  2. Accuracy: Both cartridges can deliver excellent accuracy in the hands of a skilled shooter. However, the 9mm is generally considered to be more forgiving and easier to shoot accurately for most individuals.

Pro-tip: When choosing between the two, consider your shooting abilities and preferences. If you prioritize reduced recoil and easier handling, the 9mm is a solid choice. However, if you prioritize raw power and are comfortable with managing the additional recoil, the 357 Magnum can be an effective option.

3. Cost and Availability

When comparing the cost and availability of the 357 Magnum and 9mm, the following factors should be taken into consideration:

  1. Price: The 9mm ammunition is generally more affordable compared to the 357 Magnum.
  2. Availability: The 9mm is widely available, making it easier to find in stores and online. The 357 Magnum may have more limited availability in certain areas.
  3. Variety: Due to its popularity, the 9mm offers a wider range of options in terms of bullet types, brands, and manufacturers, which can affect pricing and availability.

Overall, the 9mm is a more cost-effective and easily obtainable option for most shooters, while the 357 Magnum may be pricier and harder to find in certain cases.

Which One Is Better for Self-Defense?

When it comes to self-defense, choosing the right firearm is crucial. Two popular options are the 357 magnum and the 9mm. But which one is better? In this section, we will compare and contrast these two calibers, focusing on three key factors: stopping power, penetration, and capacity/reloading. By understanding the differences between these two firearms, you can make an informed decision on which one best suits your self-defense needs.

1. Stopping Power

Stopping power is a crucial factor to consider when comparing the 357 Magnum and 9mm cartridges for self-defense. Here are steps to assess stopping power:

  1. Consider bullet design: The type of bullet, such as hollow points or expanding bullets, can enhance stopping power.
  2. Evaluate energy transfer: Stopping power is influenced by the amount of energy transferred to the target upon impact.
  3. Assess penetration: A balance between penetration and expansion is important for effective stopping power.

Historically, the term “stopping power” originated in the early 20th century when police officers required firearms capable of immediately incapacitating assailants. This led to the development of more powerful cartridges like the 357 Magnum.

2. Penetration

Penetration is a crucial aspect to consider when comparing the 357 Magnum and 9mm ammunition. Here are some key points to understand about penetration:

  1. The 357 Magnum typically has greater penetration due to its larger bullet size and higher muzzle energy.
  2. The 9mm, although smaller in size, still offers sufficient penetration, especially with modern self-defense ammunition.
  3. Penetration depth may vary depending on the specific load and bullet design.
  4. Factors such as bullet construction, velocity, and target material can also impact penetration.
  5. Both calibers are capable of penetrating clothing, barriers, and achieving sufficient penetration in self-defense scenarios.

Overall, both the 357 Magnum and 9mm provide adequate penetration for self-defense purposes, but the 357 Magnum has a slight advantage in this aspect.

3. Capacity and Reloading

When comparing the capacity and reloading of the 357 Magnum and 9mm, there are a few key factors to consider:

  1. Capacity: The 9mm typically has a higher magazine capacity than the 357 Magnum. It can hold more rounds, ranging from 10 to 17 rounds, depending on the firearm.
  2. Reloading: Reloading the 9mm is generally easier and faster compared to the 357 Magnum. The 9mm has less recoil, allowing for quicker follow-up shots and faster reloading.
  3. Speed: The 9mm has a faster muzzle velocity, meaning the bullet travels at a higher speed. This can result in more energy transfer and better expansion upon impact.
  4. Stopping Power: While the 357 Magnum is known for its stopping power, the 9mm has proven to be effective in self-defense situations due to its higher capacity and faster follow-up shots.

Consider your personal preferences, intended use, and training level when deciding between the two for capacity and reloading capabilities.

Which One Is More Popular?

When it comes to handguns, the debate between the 357 magnum and 9mm rages on. Both of these ammunition types have their own unique strengths and purposes, but which one reigns supreme in terms of popularity? In this section, we will delve into the history and usage of both the 357 magnum and 9mm, and then compare their popularity in two key areas: civilian use and law enforcement/military use. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of which ammunition type is favored by the masses.

1. History and Usage

The history and usage of the 357 Magnum and 9mm cartridges play a significant role in understanding their popularity and practicality. Here is a list outlining the key aspects:

  1. Development: The 357 Magnum was developed in the 1930s as an improvement over the 38 Special, while the 9mm originated in the early 1900s for military use.
  2. Applications: The 357 Magnum is commonly used in revolvers for self-defense and hunting, known for its stopping power. The 9mm, on the other hand, is a popular choice for military, law enforcement, and civilian use due to its effectiveness and manageable recoil.
  3. Availability: The 9mm is more widely available and affordable, with a larger variety of ammunition options. The 357 Magnum, though less common, can still be found in specialty stores.

2. Law Enforcement and Military Use

Law enforcement and military agencies have varying preferences when it comes to the 357 Magnum and 9mm pistols.

  • For law enforcement agencies, the 9mm is often the preferred choice due to its higher magazine capacity and lower recoil, allowing for faster follow-up shots in high-pressure situations.
  • However, some law enforcement personnel prioritize maximum effectiveness and may opt for the 357 Magnum, known for its stopping power and penetration.
  • Military forces typically rely on the 9mm as their standard sidearm due to its versatility, availability of ammunition, and logistical advantages.
  • Specialized military units, on the other hand, may choose the 357 Magnum for specific purposes such as sniping or close-quarters combat.

Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to choosing a handgun, the debate between the 357 magnum and 9mm has been ongoing for decades. Both have their loyal followers and their own unique strengths. But when it comes down to it, which one should you choose? In this section, we will explore the factors that should be considered when deciding between the two. From personal preference to intended use and training, we’ll breakdown the key differences and help you make an informed decision.

1. Personal Preference

When deciding between the .357 Magnum and 9mm for personal use, personal preference is a crucial factor. Here are some steps to help you determine which one aligns with your preferences:

  1. Research: Educate yourself on the characteristics, performance, and advantages of both calibers.
  2. Handling: Visit a shooting range and test both calibers to see which one feels more comfortable in your hand.
  3. Ammunition Availability: Consider the availability and cost of ammunition for each caliber in your area.
  4. Recoil Management: Evaluate your ability to handle recoil and choose the caliber with a recoil level that you are comfortable with.
  5. Accuracy: Assess your shooting skills and determine which caliber allows you to achieve better accuracy.
  6. Intuition: Trust your intuition and select the caliber that you feel more confident and comfortable with.

2. Intended Use

When deciding between a .357 Magnum and a 9mm, it’s important to take into account your intended use. To help you make a decision, here are some steps to follow:

  1. Determine your primary purpose. Will you be using it for self-defense, target shooting, or competition?
  2. Evaluate the specific requirements. Consider factors like stopping power, accuracy, and recoil control.
  3. Research the availability and cost of ammunition. Make sure that the type of round you need is easily accessible and fits within your budget.
  4. Consider the size and weight of the firearm. Think about whether you’ll be carrying it regularly and if size and weight are important factors for you.
  5. If possible, visit a shooting range. Test both calibers to see which one you feel most comfortable and confident shooting.

By following these steps, you can determine which caliber is most suitable for your intended use.

3. Training and Familiarity

  • Handling: Familiarize yourself with the weight, grip, and overall feel of both the 357 Magnum and 9mm handguns.
  • Training: Seek professional instruction to learn proper shooting techniques, safety protocols, and maintenance for both calibers.
  • Practice: Develop muscle memory and accuracy through consistent practice sessions at a shooting range using both calibers.
  • Recoil Management: Gradually increase shooting distances and use proper grip techniques to effectively manage the recoil of each caliber.
  • Reloading: Familiarize yourself with the reloading process specific to each caliber, including reloading equipment and techniques.
  • Safety: Always prioritize safety by following proper firearms handling procedures and storing firearms securely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better for home defense, 357 Magnum or 9mm?

The answer to this question depends on personal preference and individual needs. Both cartridges have their advantages and disadvantages. 357 Magnum is known for its stopping power and ability to penetrate barriers, making it a popular choice for law enforcement and self-defense. On the other hand, 9mm has lower recoil and higher magazine capacity, making it easier to handle and potentially more effective in close quarters combat. It is recommended to try out both calibers and determine which one you are more comfortable with.

Are there any significant differences in ballistics values between 357 Magnum and 9mm?

Yes, there are significant differences in ballistics values between the two cartridges. The 357 Magnum has higher velocity and muzzle energy compared to 9mm, which results in better penetration and stopping power. However, 9mm has a flatter trajectory due to its higher muzzle velocity, making it easier to aim for precise shot placement.

Is it true that 357 Magnum has gas leakage issues?

No, this is a myth that has been busted by many experts and senior members in various gun forums. The 357 Magnum does not have gas leakage issues as it is a rimmed cartridge, which allows the gas to escape through the rim rather than the case mouth. Gas leakage can occur in poorly designed firearms or with improper reloading techniques, but it is not a common issue with 357 Magnum ammunition.

Can 9mm be used for martial use like 357 Magnum?

Yes, 9mm can be used for martial use just as effectively as 357 Magnum. While 357 Magnum may have more stopping power, it also has higher recoil and limited magazine capacity. 9mm may not have the same punch as 357 Magnum, but with proper shot placement and adequate training, it can still be a reliable option for martial use.

Which is more commonly used by police forces, 357 Magnum or 9mm?

It varies depending on the department and location, but in general, 9mm is more commonly used by police forces due to its manageability, higher magazine capacity, and availability. However, some police departments still use 357 Magnum for specific purposes, such as hunting or special operations.

Is it true that 357 Magnum has a forcing cone issue?

It is a common misconception that 357 Magnum has forcing cone issues. This may have been true in the past with older firearms and hotter powder charges, but with modern manufacturing techniques and improved case design, forcing cone issues are not a common occurrence. As long as you use quality ammunition and maintain your firearm properly, you should not experience any issues with the forcing cone.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}