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Train with a heavier caliber than you carry?

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by Evil D, May 22, 2016.

  1. Evil D

    Evil D Loaded Pockets

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    I was at the range yesterday with my brother-in-law and had this idea, just wondering if I'm on to something or if this is just a shower thought.

    He carries and shoots a .40. I carry and shoot a 9mm. He's a little less experienced than me and his groups tend to show that.

    After shooting for a while, we traded guns. He typically shoots a Whalter PPX but had out his XD-S .40, while I was shooting my G19 and Shield. When he got the 19 in his hand he was banging out groups on par with the best that I've ever shot. I attributed that to the 19 being a larger gun with more grip and easier to control, but then he backed it up with the Shield.

    Now, I'm a firm believer that you should train with what you carry, both in the model of gun and caliber. But, he was going on and on about how he thought he was more accurate because it was a 9mm and not so much because of differences in the gun.

    To back that up, I did have him rent a G23 and G27 because I've got him curious about buying a Glock. His groups with either of those were about on par with what he was shooting with his XD-S and PPX. So, it got me thinking that maybe he's right and it has to do with caliber. Maybe he's anticipating recoil, etc.

    It started to make sense to me that if you're used to firing a hand canon, then in the heat of a self defense situation you were carrying and firing a lighter firing caliber, you might be more accurate with it.

    Does this make sense or no? It doesn't seem very practical to own two guns just for this reason, and it's probably more logical to just stick with the round you're more comfortable.
     
    Last edited by Evil D, May 22, 2016
  2. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    What were the bullet weights and velocities of the two calibers that were used?
     
  3. Evil D

    Evil D Loaded Pockets

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    Just standard Federal range ammo, nothing fancy. Factory loads I guess you'd say.
     
  4. Tortuga

    Tortuga Loaded Pockets

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    I'm no expert by any means and I look forward to the feedback here. I myself shoot a G20-10mm and a .40. I'm quite comfortable with the caliber but I can get a lot better. When I break out my G19 ever so often, my groups are always tighter and I feel more accurate with it, but I do still prefer my 10mm's. I personally feel the same way your buddy does and have often thought of raising the topic on a forum as well. I am sure there are many different reasons for why it feels this way, but for me I have just become comfortable with the idea of practicing with a heavier caliber makes Me more accurate. I do store my G19 as my HD firearm though.
     
  5. BubbaFett
    • In Omnia Paratus

    BubbaFett Loaded Pockets

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    I don't know that I'd build a system around it, but I have noticed that after practicing with .357 my 9mm seems like a pea shooter.
     
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  6. Tortuga

    Tortuga Loaded Pockets

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    I agree with not really building a system around it.
     
  7. Kilted1

    Kilted1 Loaded Pockets

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    I agree that the difference is likely in the caliber. While there's nothing inherently inaccurate in the calibers or the guns themselves, the .40 is a lot more difficult to control than a 9mm. But training with anything other than the equipment you're going to be using in the field is a questionable idea at best. While there's nothing wrong with training with a variety of calibers and guns, the main focus of training should be with whatever you're carrying.
     
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  8. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    This post is reserved for a lengthy response that will, hopefully, provide part of the answer to your post. I don't have the time to repondd at this time.
     
  9. Matt Shepard

    Matt Shepard Loaded Pockets

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    Typically the 40 will have a snappier recoil, depending on the gun. It could be that he is anticipating that and flinching just a bit.
     
  10. les snyder

    les snyder Loaded Pockets

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    comments from a gamer... I've been shooting the practical shooting sports (USPSA/IPSC) since 1982, first with a 175 power factor 1911 and currently a 133 power factor G34...I believe you will get a better evaluation of your carry pistol by engaging a multiple target string than concentrating on shooting a tight group on a single target... try 3 or 4 target group to see how your pistol recovers with a quicker shot cadence, coupled with multiple sight alignments
     
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  11. Telstar

    Telstar Loaded Pockets

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    I will concede that there is likely a slight measurable difference with scientific instruments but generally speaking.. worrying about bullet weight in regards to "training" is over thinking the process.
     
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  12. maillet282

    maillet282 Loaded Pockets

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    iMHO. Train as you fight. Fight as you train. Is what I've always been told. Get comfortable with the weapon you carry every day. Know it inside and out. Known how to clear every type of stoppages. From a empty mag to a double feed to a stove pipe.
     
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  13. grayman

    grayman Loaded Pockets

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    So does this include practicing with the same ammo you carry on a regular basis? I realize that it impractical to go to the range and burn 200 rounds of premium jacketed hollow-point self-defense ammunition. However, it's equally impractical to never shoot the ammo you carry. My preference when I buy a carry weapon is to purchase several boxes of different defense rounds to run through the firearm. I'll generally do this after putting 200 rounds of target ammo down range. I do this primarily because you can have two identical guns that perform differently with the same ammunition. So I find the ammo the handgun performs best with, and that's what I carry. I periodically fire a couple boxes through the handgun during practice sessions

    I think it really comes down to practice more than what you shoot. If you're not plagued with a bunch of bad habits, with enough practice, you develop muscle memory. I'm a firm believer in trying to introduce some stress into your shooting. Doing so helps to improve your performance in the event a self-defense (stressful) situation presents itself. The best way I've found to do this is to participate in gun games, e.g. USPSA, IDPA, Steel Challenge, etc..
     
  14. dreiwhit

    dreiwhit Loaded Pockets

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    IMHO, you need to practice like you will play, so that means practice with the exact weapon and ammo that you will be carrying.

    I've heard that a lot of folks have problems with the .40 because it tends to be more "snappier" (for lack of a better word) than other calibers in the same weapon. Some law enforcement agencies are moving away from the .40 just for this reason.

    If your brother-in-law shoots a 9mm better, IMHO, he ought to get a decent 9mm pistol and go with that. Due to advances in bullet technology, the 9mm is a lot better round than it was 30 years ago.

    FWIW, I carry and shoot a S&W M&P 40. Although I can shoot it fine, sometimes I wonder if I would have been better off buying the M&P 9.
     
  15. Trave1ingEast

    Trave1ingEast Loaded Pockets

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    I'm not a fan of the idea. But hey, whatever works right.
     
  16. Ram Man

    Ram Man Loaded Pockets

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    This (I also shot IPSC/USPSA for many years, and trained new shooters/range officers)- a tight group on a single target is not entirely representative.
     
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  17. grayman

    grayman Loaded Pockets

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    When I was old enough to get my CCW license, bought myself a S&W Sigma .40 S&W. I found I preferred the feel of 135 gr. Federal HydroShok. It just felt and performed better than the 180 gr. in my opinion so that's what I went with. I buying some boxed ammo in a store one day and a guy in line behind me popped off and told me I should just go with 9mm if I was going to buy such lightweight rounds. At the time I didn't understand about ballistics, velocities, and wound channels. I was going by feel. Within a year or so had moved to .45 ACP. Again, I preferred the feel of a 185 gr. bullet to a 230 gr. in the .45 ACP.
     
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  18. adnj

    adnj Loaded Pockets

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    Train with what you carry.
     
  19. gazz98

    gazz98 Loaded Pockets

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    I generally agree, train with what you carry. I think the only benefit of firing a "bigger" pistol on occasion is re-learning recoil management and how it affects accuracy, mag reloads, offhand shooting, etc. My wife and I carry 9mm. I wouldn't buy a 40 or 45 just to practice with a bigger caliber but I would borrow a friends now and then for some practice time. Donate some ammo or $ for what you shoot.
     
  20. steviesterno

    steviesterno Loaded Pockets

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    USPSA, steel, 3 gun shooter here. i am almost identically accurate on a static line with a 45 full defense power ammo and powder puff 9mm loads (both our of good 1911s). The real difference comes during multiple shots on the same target. recoil doesn't super matter if you're transitioning between targets, only if you're coming back to the same target. It feels significantly slower to recover with a 45, but the timer shows it's actually only about 1/10th of a second difference between that and a 9mm between fired shots.

    that said, I carry 9mm because I like the way recoil feels (fast, snappy slide vs the slow punch of a 45), it holds more rounds, and it's cheaper to practice with so I do it more. end of the day you should do what makes you happy and carry what you feel makes you feel safe


    Also, don't go shoot a steel match with a 22 after practicing with the 45. you will be waiting there for the gun to come back down even though it never left, and your brain will slow your finger down a bit to keep up with the bigger anticipated recoil.
     
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