9mm

All posts tagged 9mm

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was created with the purpose of safeguarding the freedom and security of its members, through political and military means.  As of mid-2016, there are 28 Member Countries across primarily North American and Europe, but also including Turkey, which straddles Europe and Western Asia.

…and Military Means”  NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes, but if diplomatic efforts fail, NATO has the military capacity needed to undertake crisis-management operations.  Such operations can be carried out under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, NATO’s founding treaty, or via UN mandate.  NATO countries may act alone, or in cooperation with other countries and international organizations.

As a result of the Treaty, NATO member countries have standardized use of certain ammunition for certain firearms:

  • 9×19 NATO is the sidearm, or handgun, cartridge of choice.
  • 5.56×45 NATO is the intermediate, or Assault Rifle, cartridge of choice.
  • 7.62×51 NATO is the longer-range rifle, sniper and medium machine gun cartridge of choice.  (Note that in some cases, other rounds are also used for long range sniping, such as the .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum.)
NATO-Catridges

7.62×51, 5.56×45 & 9×19 NATO

 

The Benefits of Ammunition Standardization & Alignment for NATO Members.

Standardization and common use of ammunition provides the following, extremely important logistical benefits: 

  • Interoperability & Ammunition Sharing between NATO forces. 
  • Commonality of manufacturing, and reduced manufacturing costs. 
  • Widespread, Global availability, which greatly reduces delivery costs and complexities.

Knowing brave men and women from the United States proudly serve all over the globe, alongside militaries from other NATO member countries, standardization is a key strategy for ensuring ammo is always available, in large quantities, when and where needed, and doing so in a cost effective manner.

 

Why is this Important to Firearms Enthusiast?

Quite simply, NATO spec ammunition is effective, ubiquitous, and relatively cheap.  Despite what you read in some corners of the InterWeb, and while everything has limitations and tradeoffs, major NATO countries wouldn’t have standardized around these rounds.  Nor would these rounds continue to remain the standard if they weren’t effective.  And since they are the standards, 9×19, 5.56×45 and 7.62×51 can be found just about everywhere in the World; in large quantities, and generally at reasonable prices since “surplus” ammo is often made available to the public.  So, until something drastically changes (like the .300 Blackout supersedes 5.56 as the intermediate round of choice), NATO ammo will continue to be mass produced, and continue to be available at reasonable prices, long into the foreseeable future.  The same cannot necessarily be said for non-NATO imported ammo, and that’s without even getting into the doomsday, SHTF, prepper arguments, which we’ll leave to other corners of the InterWeb.   

Another benefit of guns designed to fire NATO rounds is that they can generally also safely fire the “civilian” version of the NATO round.  Depending upon the actual caliber you choose, this potentially gives you more options, and options are always good.  For example, guns chambered for 5.56 NATO can safely fire .223 Remington rounds, but the reverse is NOT true.  This is because per SAAMI specs, the 5.56 NATO round is loaded to a hire pressure than .223 Remington.  It’s a similar story for 9mm NATO ammo, where true mil-spec 9mm NATO is loaded to a higher pressure than standard 9×19 Luger.  9mm NATO is actually closer to “+P” SAAMI spec commercial ammo.  That said, since there is one in every bunch, it’s important to note that .308 Winchester is the outlier, where the opposite is true.  Civilian .308 ammunition, designed for long-range, big-game hunting, is actually hotter than standard mil-spec 7.62×51 ammo.  Just note that while these are generalities, it is up to YOU, in EACH and EVERY CASE, to ensure you use the proper ammunition for your firearm.  Not using the proper ammunition is dangerous, and could result in personal injury or death. 

So, if you live in a NATO Member country, you can’t go wrong choosing a gun that fires a standard NATO cartridge.

Be Aware! Be Prepared! Be Safe!

© 2016 Inside The X Ring.

Let’s assume you’ve gone through, or are in process of following all proper State and Federal laws for your upcoming purchase.  Let’s also assume, you’re a new shooter.  So, what handgun or pistol should you purchase?  This is a pretty easy one for me to answer.
  • If you want a semi-auto, go with a full-sized 9mm.
  • If you want a revolver, get a medium to large, steel framed .357 magnum with a 3-4″ barrel.

So, right now you’re reading this and thinking, “OK, I understand the semi-auto recommendation, I expected as much, but you’re seriously recommending an ‘old fashioned’, double-action wheel-gun as a viable first gun purchase for modern times?”  Yes!  I won’t agrue reliability (though there are plenty that will), but I will point out the following:

  • With no external controls like safeties or slide locks, the revolver is simple and easy platform to operate.
  • With no slide to rack – something new shooters may find intimidating or even physically difficult to do correctly – the revolver is sometimes perceived by the new shooter as easier to safety check.
  • All double-action revolvers can be shot Double-Action (DA) or Single-Action (SA).  The same is not true of all semi-autos.
  • The revolver is still a very viable and suitable defense weapon.
  • Versatility.  This one’s admittedly a bit of a stretch, but you might be able to do more with your .357 Magnum revolver and use it in more ways than your 9mm semi-auto.

 

Why a full-sized weapon? Again, assuming you are new to shooting, you are buying a gun primarily for recreational and / or home protection purposes:

  • The weight of a full- size pistol or medium to large, steel frame revolver with a 3-4″ barrel will lessen felt recoil.
  • The longer barrel length will increase bullet velocity, but more importantly to a new shooter, will lessen muzzle blast and noise.
  • The better balanced full-sized handgun with a longer barrel will in most cases be easier to shoot more accurately than a sub, sub-compact or pocket sized pistol.

 

Why the 9mm?  The 9mm (also called the 9×19, 9mm Luger, 9mm NATO, 9×19 Parabellum) is used many military organizations around the World, and by many United States Law Enforcement agencies.  Therefore, it is one of the most popular handgun rounds in the World.

  • Ammo is easy to find virtually anywhere in the World, and relatively cheap.
  • It’s easy to shoot, especially from full sized pistols.
  • It’s a proven, very effective defensive round, especially with the proper ammo.
  • Your full sized 9 will most likely be a double stack, meaning it will hold a double digit round count.
  • The concern with the 9mm in a defensive role is it’s inability to penetrate cover such windshields or car doors, etc.  This shouldn’t be much of a concern for the civilian shooter.

It’s hard to go wrong with a full-sized 9mm.  You shouldn’t feel under gunned in a defensive situation, you won’t go broke target shooting and it should be soft shooting enough that you will practice often without developing poor shooting habits.

 

Why the .357 Magnum?  The .357 Magnum is a time tested, versatile powerhouse.

  • Use soft shooting .38 specials for recreation and practice.
  • Use .357 Magnums for personal defense or hunting – the .357 Magnum is a popular handgun hunting cartridge where allowed by law.
  • Use shot-shell (also commonly called snake-shot) loads for critter control.
  • Today’s medium to large frame wheel-guns come in six to eight shot varieties, which is ample for most things the new shooter is doing.
  • The concern with the .357 Magnum in a defensive role is over-penetration.

A 7-shot .357 is one highly capable firearm.  Perfect for back-country hiking, camping or field use.  Near the top of the list for home and personal protection.  Readily used for hunting and able to put everything from small-to-deer-sized game on the table.  It’s also a fun plinking or target shooting gun.  It offers versatility that is very difficult to beat.

 

Both are easily great calls for your first handgun. You can’t go wrong either way.  Visit your local gun store and check out different makes and models of both. Pick the one you are most comfortable with, and the one that fits best in your hand.

 

Final quick thought: If you get the auto, I highly recommend a .22lr conversion kit.  Even easier, quieter & cheaper shooting with the exact same form, function & controls of your primary weapon.