Friday, August 17, 2007


9mm vs. 38 Special: The Cartridges & the Guns

By Stephen Camp

While reading comparisons of the pros and cons of the pocket 380 versus the snub 38 I noted a reader suggesting a comparison of the pocket nines to the popular 38 compact revolvers. Other projects and responsibilities prevented my starting work on such an article immediately, but during the interim I decided that it might be better to compare not only the pocket nines to the pocket 38 Specials, but the service size handguns in both calibers as well. I will do the best I can in this regard with the firearms that I have available.

I also recalled reading that some state that the 38 Special and the 9mm are equivalent in terms of "stopping power". We'll take a look at some actual average velocities from both calibers from different length barrels and see what the truth actually is and how much is just hot air. Bullet weights will be as close as possible between the two calibers for a more meaningful comparison.

Also included will be reasons for my own selections between the two and why. These are not necessarily recommendations or even suggestions, just my own admittedly subjective observations. The reader can decide if he or she agrees and make his or her own decisions. I have little use for the "only-my-way-is-right" approach since I don't have the wisdom necessary to make all decisions for all people. What is "right" for me doesn't necessarily mean that it is right for anyone else. Let me add that after many years of trying about everything that was available, I made my own decisions. I listened to others in many cases and others I ignored, but in the end I wound up with what works for me. Please let me suggest that this approach be considered in your own decisions.

Often compared are 380 and 38 Special handguns as exemplified by the Bersa Thunder and Colt Agent shown above. The merits of the revolver vs. semiautomatic are often mentioned, but sometimes the debate centers only on the ballistic capabilities of the cartridges. I have approached the subject myself in the articles linked here for those who might have interest:

This article's focus is the 9x19mm compared to the .38 Special not only in different loads and bullet weights, but from different barrel lengths for both. Pictured are "new" vs. "old" technology cartridges. The 9mm shown is Winchester's 127-gr. +P+ Ranger, a round considered one of the best in that caliber. The .38 Special is a Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P, an example of the "old" approach. Often referred to as either the "FBI" or "Chicago Load", many still consider it to be one of the best. (It is sometimes erroneously called the "Treasury Load". The Treasury Load incorporated a 110-gr. JHP at high velocity.)

Also discussed will be such things as magazine/cylinder capacity, ease of reloading, as well as other advantages and disadvantages of the handgun types encountered when choosing between the revolver and the semiautomatic. Felt recoil and practical accuracy will also be covered.

We will look at the compact nines such as the Glock 26 and compare them to the typical J-frame 1 7/8" .38 as well as the 3" and 4" barrel revolvers. Larger 9mm pistols will also be compared with respect to actual chronographed ballistic performance as well as handling characteristics.

When comparing barrel lengths on revolvers versus automatics, we find that with the latter we must take the chamber into account. Revolver barrels are measured from the muzzle to the face of the forcing cone. For example, an S&W Model 638 has a listed barrel length of 1 7/8" and the bullet actually does actually accelerate that distance. A Colt 9mm Commander has a listed barrel length of 4 1/4", but the 9x19mm case length is right at 0.75". This is because the chamber is included in the barrel length. Therefore, the actual effective barrel length is 3.5" in this example. Simply deducting case length is not exact. Some bullets engage the rifling quicker than others due to their shape, but deducting 3/4" is close enough for general discussions.

.38 Special: Like the 9mm, this cartridge hit the ground circa 1902. It was intended to improve the ballistic performance of the .38 Long Colt which tossed a 150-gr. nonexpanding lead bullet at roughly 770 ft/sec. This had proven ineffective against Moro warriors during our conflict with them from 1898 to 1901. Because of this the military pressed the .45 Colt back into service. In normal trim, the .38 Special would achieve roughly 850 ft/sec with a 158-gr. lead bullet from a 6" barrel. I leave how much of an improvement this actually was to the reader. It should also be noted that the service rifle at the time (.30-40 Krag) had some failures to "stop" the determined Moros. I suspect that the .45 Colt did too, but can certainly see a larger diameter nonexpanding bullet at 250-255-grains at roughly 900 ft/sec offering more potential as a "stopper" than the .38 Long Colt. It was the .38 Long Colt that "failed" against the Moros, not the .38 Special. (Frankly, I suspect that its performance would not have been significantly better with the ammunition available at that time.)

The .38 Special has a maximum length overall of 1.550" and case length is 1.155". SAAMI pressure for the standard pressure load is 17000 PSI. The +P has a ceiling of 20000 PSI. There are no SAAMI specifications for +P+, but there are some +P+ rounds available in this caliber. Bullet diameter is usually .356 to 0.358".

I have not researched the history of this cartridge. Some say that it was originally offered in black powder and the switch to smokeless necessarily involved keeping pressures low because the existing guns couldn't handle much more pressure safely. Others say that it was simply because of the quality of some .38 Special revolvers. I actually do not know the definitive answer as I don't shoot this round in poorly made revolvers and am not a real "historian" of either handguns or ammunition.

Regardless of the real reason, the safe working pressures for this round are among the lowest and this is the reason that the physically larger .38 Special cartridges' velocities are usually considerably lower than those of the high-pressure 9mm round.

The .38 Special served this nation's police from federal agents to town marshals for the biggest part of the last century. I carried a 4" S&W Model 10 as my first duty gun when a fledging police officer. The caliber is still popular today, but more so in the compact snubs than the full service type revolvers that used to fill lawmen's holsters. It has a reputation for accuracy. I'm not sure how much of that is due to the fact that its recoil is mild from the service weapon and most police matches were fired with lighter loaded target wadcutters. I do know that some of the tightest groups from any service guns I've ever seen or shot were done with the 4" S&W Model 10 Heavy Barrel and Model 15 Combat Masterpiece. The popular bull barrel match guns were scary accurate in competent hands.

Seen more often today in snub nose form, the guns still possess more intrinsic mechanical accuracy than most of us can make use of, but are harder to shoot accurately. This is due to shorter sight radius and the lighter weight of the guns themselves. The lighter snub may be much easier to carry than its heavier counterpart, but this works against its practical accuracy. However, these lightweight revolvers are certainly accurate enough for close-in defensive shooting in practiced hands. It has been my observation that most folks opine that these guns are harder to shoot accurately than many of the .380 automatics and believe that this is a major reason that the .380 also remains popular. Unless shooting the super small 9mm pistols, felt recoil is usually not mentioned as being "bad", but the sharp recoil of the hot-loaded Airweight (or lighter) snub often is.

The J-frame Model 638 is smaller and lighter than the all-steel K-frame 3" Model 64. Weighing less and with usually smaller stocks felt recoil is greater than with the heavier/larger revolver even if the same ammunition or load is being used. One is easier to hide, has shorter sight radius, and has greater felt recoil. The other is slightly harder to conceal, larger, weighs more, but is almost always easier for most people to shoot well. Its felt recoil is not usually objectionable even though it will normally produce higher velocities than the 1 7/8" J-frame.

At one time, the full-size .38 Special revolver was routinely seen in police holsters either by choice or regulation and not surprisingly, in more than a few dresser drawers for home defense. Some were snubs, but I'll bet many more were 4" versions just like those toted by US police. Today I'll wager that the 3" K-frames and lightweight J-frame versions are the more popular.

The S&W Model 10 Heavy Barrel was once very commonly used by police officers. Most were seen in square butt configuration. My first duty revolver was just such a gun. The Model 10 pictured was made more recently and with the round butt frame. The duty size .38 revolver is not as popular as in decades past. For those interested, here are some thoughts on that topic:

As is true with most things, there are both strong and weak points to the more compact .38 snubs versus the larger revolvers in that caliber. Where the J-frame or its equivalent is easier to conceal, it can be harder to shoot accurately and felt recoil is greater. The service style revolvers are easier to shoot accurately, have less felt recoil and greater velocity when the same ammo is used in it or the snub. The snub nose may have equivalent potential accuracy, but its practical accuracy can be less if not used in skilled hands.

The same arguments hold true for the 9mm semiautomatics, but it does seem that there are fewer complaints concerning felt recoil with the smaller nines than with the lightweight .38 Special snub nose revolvers.

Let's take a look at some average velocities from the .38 Special guns. Figures listed are based on ten shots fired ten feet from the chronograph. Where possible, the same load's velocity is shown from different length barrels. Not all listed loads have such commonality. In some instances, the average velocity will be only from one revolver and barrel length.

.38 Special Average Velocities



Bbl (in.)

Velocity (ft/sec)

S&W M638

Corbon 110-gr. DPX*

1 7/8


S&W M64

Corbon 110-gr. DPX



S&W M10

Corbon 110-gr. DPX



S&W M642

Corbon 115-gr. JHP +P+*

1 7/8


S&W M64

Corbon 115-gr. JHP +P+



S&W M10

Corbon 115-gr. JHP +P+



S&W M642

Federal Nyclad 125-gr. HP*

1 7/8


S&W M10

Federal Nyclad 125-gr. HP



S&W M642

PMC Starfire 125-gr. JHP +P

1 7/8


S&W M64

Magtech 125-gr. JHP +P**



S&W M10

Magtech 125-gr. JHP +P



S&W M64

Federal 147-gr. HS +P+***



S&W M10

Federal 147-gr. HS +P+



S&W M642

S&B 148-gr. Wadcutter

1 7/8


S&W M10

S&B 148-gr. Wadcutter



S&W M642

Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P

1 7/8


S&W M64

Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P



S&W M10

Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P



*Discontinued load

**Guardian Gold line of JHP

***Law Enforcement Restricted HydraShok load

In no case did we see a bullet over 125 grains break 1000 ft/sec. The Corbon 110-gr. DPX (standard pressure load) did by over 100 ft/sec, but this bullet has been a problem for me in some snub revolvers. Approximately 20% were not stable and did not strike targets at 15 yards straight on. (It should be noted that all of the standard pressure DPX loads worked perfectly from 3 and 4" barrels. This load is no longer available and has been replaced with a +P version. Perhaps this will boost velocities just enough to get perfect stabilization in the 1 7/8" barrels.)

Without question, the speed demon of this bunch was the discontinued super-hot +P+ Corbon 115-gr. JHP. This load used 9mm 115-gr. Sierra Power Jacket Hollow Points loaded in .38 Special cases. This stuff is hot. Though ejection was fine in each revolver I tried it in, I personally do not use it in my J-frame .38 Specials. I think it's just too much and will either have excessive flame cutting, frame stretching, or crack the forcing cone. Felt recoil is sharp and memorable from the little aluminum frame snubs, but it is not bad from the K-frame revolvers.

Generally speaking, we can expect velocities from about 850 to 950 ft/sec from most 110 and 125-gr. loads in .38 Special depending upon barrel length and whether the load is standard pressure or +P.

(For what it's worth, I continue to use the Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P in my .38 Specials regardless of barrel length. The reasons are pretty simple. It has a good reputation among those who have used it in fights and I find that the fixed revolver sights are usually pretty well "on" for this load. It is reported to have less than stellar expansion when fired into 10% ballistic gelatin after passing through 4 layers of denim, but this "problem" goes away in the 3 and 4" barrels. It appears that the 800-840 ft/sec range it travels from my snubs is right on the ballistic edge of reliability through barriers. At speeds closer to 900 ft/sec this load reportedly works fine in such tests. I leave it to the reader to decide how much merit the "denim test" does or does not have.)

Note also the average speeds for the 148-gr. wadcutter load. Other brands chronographed very little faster. These keg-shaped bullets are sometimes recommended for self-protection. They do have reduced recoil to be sure, but I'll take my chances with something a bit faster.

Now let's take a gander at the 9mm cartridge.

9x19mm (AKA 9mm, 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum): This compact, high-pressure cartridge hit the ground in 1902 and was adopted by the German navy in 1904 with the army following suit in 1904. Since that time, the 9mm has been the military sidearm round for more than a few countries. It fought on both sides during WWII in the guise of the Browning Hi Power and has seen its share of bloodletting for all of the last century and into this one.

SAAMI pressure ratings for the 9mm are 35,000 PSI for standard and 38,500 for +P. There are no designated SAAMI specs for +P+ that I can find. For that reason, if a person opts for +P+ ammunition I'd go with one of the "known" ammunition makers such as Winchester, Remington, Federal, or Corbon.

Maximum cartridge LOA is 1.169" and case length should not exceed 0.754".

Though its popularity in the US has grown significantly, the 9mm has never been as popular here as in Europe. In this country I believe it has usually played second fiddle to the .45 ACP, a strong favorite amongst defense-oriented shooters. I also believe that in its better loads, the .45 is more potent than 9mm, but when the latter is being used with its best loads, I'm not convinced the difference is staggering and maybe not significant. Because no two gunshot wounds or people are exactly alike, it is very difficult to quantify "stopping power."

In service style pistols the 9mm is a very easy round to shoot well. In the more compact guns, felt recoil does increase depending upon the size and weight of the pistol. Some opine that because of the locked breech used in 9mm pistols, felt recoil is not as sharp as with a similarly sized .38 Special firing warm loads. I tend to agree but understand that my most "compact" 9mm is a Glock 26. Firing the polymer frame Kahr has not resulted in any unfavorable memories concerning recoil.

Just as the increasing number of states allowing for some form of licensed concealed carry of handguns by private citizens, compact 9mm handguns are continually being produced and sold because there is a demand. In this, the compact nine mirrors the popularity of the long popular .38 snub.

Though somewhat eclipsed by service semiautomatics in .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and the ever-popular .45 ACP, the 9mm in a full-size gun remains quite popular. I own several and have no intentions of selling them.

The Browning Mk III represents the traditional single-action service pistol while the Glock 26 represents the move toward more compact 9mm pistols. In the picture on the right we can see the same G26 compared to the traditional S&W J-frame .38 Special. The Rohrbaugh R9 is a more compact 9mm as are examples from KelTec, Kahr, and others. For those interested in the Rohrbaugh R9, an article on this gun was contributed and can be read via the link below:

Though it is by no means limited, there are probably more ammo selections in 9mm than .38 Special and bulk ammunition for range use is definitely less costly in 9mm.

In this picture we see the K-frame S&W Model 10 snub with 2" barrel and the Model 042 with its slightly shorter 1 7/8" tube. The all-steel K-frame is significantly easier to shoot if recoil is a problem. The lightweight compact J-frames are easier to conceal and carry but the cost is increased felt recoil. My own subjective observation is that felt recoil in the steel frame Model 10 snub is very similar to that of the Glock 26 or steel-framed Kahr K9.

I do not own any 9mm revolvers so velocity comparisons cannot be with exactly the same barrel lengths. I lost interest in the 9mm revolver when I shot some and experienced difficulty in extracting cases when +P loads were used. I am told that this does not exist in all 9mm revolvers. I've shot only two and it did in both of those. One was an S&W, the other a Ruger.

Earlier we described the difference in the way revolver and automatic barrels are measured. When listing 9mm velocities, I will give the pistol's actual bbl length in inches and what I call its "effective bbl length." This is simply the total barrel length less 0.75". It gives a more accurate understanding of the speeds attained after passing through that length of rifled barrel. (Data from the Rohrbaugh is taken from the article linked above.)

9mm Average Velocities



Bbl Length (in.)

EBL (in.)

Velocity (ft/sec)

Rohrbaugh R9

Fiocchi 115-gr. FMJ




Glock 26

Fiocchi 115-gr. FMJ




Rohrbaugh R9

Win. USA 115-gr. FMJ




Glock 26

Win. USA 115-gr. FMJ




Rohrbaugh R9

Win. 115-gr. STHP




Rohrbaugh R9

Federal 124-gr. HS




Glock 26

Corbon 115-gr. DPX+P




SIG-Sauer P225

Corbon 115-gr. DPX+P




Browning Mk III

Corbon 115-gr. DPX+P




Browning Mk III

Corbon 115-gr. JHP +P




Glock 26

Corbon 125-gr. JHP +P




Browning Mk III

Corbon 125-gr. JHP +P




Glock 26

Win. 127-gr. +P+




SIG-Sauer P225

Win. 127-gr. +P+




Browning Mk III

Win. 127-gr. +P+




SIG-Sauer P225

Remington 147-gr GS




Browning Mk III

Remington 147-gr GS




I do not have access to all guns and all loads so comparisons will have to be approximate and not as exact as I would prefer. Nonetheless I believe that at least some "ballpark" observations can be made. In most cases, bullet weights between 9mm and .38 will not be the same, but I'll get them as close as I can. With that in mind, let's compare some of the loads.

First, let us take a look at the Rohrbaugh R9 compared to the J-frame snub. The R9 has an effective barrel length of 2 1/4" compared to the actual 1 7/8" bbl of the little revolver.

With Corbon 110-gr. DPX, the J-frame averaged 1077 ft/sec while the R9 obtains the almost identical 1072 ft/sec with Winchester 115-gr. USA FMJ. Using standard pressure Federal Nyclad 125-gr. HP, the snub got 836 ft/sec. With the standard pressure Speer 124-gr. Gold Dot, the Rohrbaugh averaged 1054 ft/sec, a significant increase of 218 ft/sec. Looking at the super hot Corbon 115-gr. .38 Special +P+, we see the snub getting an incredible 1188 ft/sec! The R9's owner fired no really warm loads, so I have nothing to really compare with, but this is a really stepping out for a snub. It is an exception to the rule and a load that I'm leery of in the J-frame revolvers. Likewise, I don't have anything in 9mm in the shortest bbl length to compare to the 158-gr. load.

Moving up to the Model 64, recall that it has a 3" barrel. That's fairly close to the 3.11" effective barrel length of the SIG-Sauer P225. From the revolver's 3" tube, Corbon 110-gr. DPX averaged 1118 ft/sec. From the P225, Federal 115-gr. JHP got 1177 ft/sec, an increase of 59 ft/sec. The Model 64 attained a very fast 1349 ft/sec with the Corbon 115-gr. +P+ round compared to 1337 ft/sec when the same bullet was fired at +P (not +P+) from the 3.11" barrel of the P225. The difference is only 12 ft/sec; I think we will agree that for all intents and purposes, the Corbon +P+ .38 from the Model 64 and the +P from the P225 are equivalent. The Magtech 125-gr. Guardian Gold JHP +P attained a more typical 927 ft/sec from the 3" revolver compared to the 1081 ft/sec for Hornady's factory "Custom" XTP from the P225, a standard pressure load! The 9mm beat the .38 this time by 154 ft/sec and w/o going to +P. From the Glock 26 with its shorter effective bbl length of 2.71", the Corbon 125-gr. +P averaged 1188 ft/sec. This beat the 3" Model 64 by 261 ft/sec. Moving into +P+, the 9mm tossed the excellent Winchester 127-gr. Ranger Talon JHP at 1215 ft/sec from the P225 and 1246 ft/sec from the Glock 26. This amounts to the 9mm beating the .38 by 288 and 319 ft/sec, respectively. With the 147-gr. +P+ Federal HydraShok load from the 3" wheel gun, we see an average speed of 911 ft/sec. From the near equivalent 3.11" effective bbl length of the P225, Remington 147-gr. Golden Saber attained 942 ft/sec. This difference is only 31 ft/sec and probably meaningless. The point is that this was a maximum effort +P+ .38 load and standard pressure 9mm.

Going to the 4" service length Model 10, we see that the standard pressure Corbon 110-gr. DPX reached 1122 ft/sec. The Browning Mk III 9mm Hi Power has an effective bbl length of 3.91" and tossed the 115-gr. Federal "Classic" JHP at 1177 ft/sec, winning by a mere 55 ft/sec. The super hot and discontinued .38 Corbon 115-gr. +P+ sizzled from the 4" at 1412 ft/sec. From the slightly shorter effective bbl length of the Hi Power, the 9mm +P from the same company and using the same bullet averaged exactly 1 ft/sec less. Magtech 125-gr. Guardian Gold +P reached 960 ft/sec from the 4" revolver bbl. The standard pressure version of Speer's 124-gr. Gold Dot hit 1109 ft/sec from the Hi Power, a gain of 149 ft/sec. The +P version reached 1200 ft/sec besting the .38 by 240 ft/sec. The hot Corbon 125-gr. JHP +P screamed across the chronograph screens at 1312 ft/sec, decisively beating the .38 by 352 ft/sec. Moving into the 147-gr. weight common to both calibers, the 4" Model 10 averaged 917 ft/sec with the +P+ load. From the Browning, the 147-gr. Golden Saber hit 1033 ft/sec. This beat the 4" revolver by 116 ft/sec and at standard pressures.

What we are seeing is actually greater case capacity but lower operating pressures (.38 Special) versus higher operating pressures but smaller case capacity (9mm). I have little doubt that if the ammunition makers had the financial incentive to do the research into better .38 Special bullets and more efficient powders for that cartridge's capacity and working pressures, we would see some really nice gains in this grand old cartridge. We are seeing at least some attempts now. CCI/Speer recently introduced a "short barrel" line of ammunition and this includes .38 Special. That load is +P and the bullet is a Gold Dot weighing 135-gr. Initial reports indicate that it moves about 860 ft/sec from a snub to about 975 ft/sec from a 4". Folks testing it in 10% ballistic gelatin are reporting that it expands even after passing through external barriers such as denim. I have not personally tested any of this company's newest short barrel loads, but will in the near future if at all possible. The Gold Dot bullet design has proven to be a reliable performer and is a favorite for many shooters. For those wanting the highest velocities for a given bullet weight, try Corbon. I have found that most of the time, actual average velocities at least equal and generally exceed their published nominal speeds.

So what's the bottom line? Is the .38 Special just as "powerful" as 9mm? In my observation, the answer is "not usually." There are some exceptional loads that do show equivalence with the usually faster 9mm. In general, I think it's safe to say that a +P .38 Special can sometimes be equivalent to a standard pressure 9mm load in the same (or nearly the same) bullet weight. Usually the 9mm +P and +P+ will walk away from the .38 +P equivalent from the same or nearly equivalent barrel lengths.

So which is the best to carry? I will offer my own choices. As mentioned early on in this report, my decisions may not necessarily be the right one for another single solitary soul, but they work for me.

In the compact defensive handgun, my first choice remains the J-frame Airweight S&W and almost always the Model 642. My primary reason is that in my now tame lifestyle, I find this revolver to be most conveniently carried 24/7 in a pocket holster. Around the house and sometimes away, it may be my primary weapon. When carrying another handgun, it is still present. If you think this option might be right for you, I add this caveat: You absolutely must practice with it if you are to be effective. The steel frame versions are a bit easier to shoot because the extra weight absorbs a bit more of the recoil, but for me the Airweight aluminum frame revolver works better for pocket carry. These are not as light as their titanium successors, but neither are they heavy. More importantly, the Airweight version can be used with lead bullets. With the even lighter titanium guns, one is restricted to jacketed ammunition only. Their lighter weight allows lead bullets to unseat themselves in recoil. This has never been a problem with any of my aluminum framed Airweights.

If interested in using/carrying a J-frame, these articles might be of interest:

If considering a mid-size gun, I have grown really fond of the 3" bbl. revolvers in either .38 Special or .357 magnum. For me, they are significantly easier to shoot accurately at speed than the 1 7/8" snubs or even the all-steel 2" K-frames. That extra inch of sight radius is significant for me. Frankly, I don't do much better with the 4" gun compared to the 3"! This surprised me, but such has been my experiences with them on several range sessions to check that very point.

When I carry a revolver as a belt gun, it is very often this Ruger SP101 w/3 1/16" barrel. The well-worn Model 642 and at least one speed loader carrying Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P back it up. Both guns hold 5 shots and the J-frame speed loader for the S&W snub fits both guns. My normal first six shots in the little Ruger .357 are Remington 125-gr. Golden Sabers. This is a mid-power .357 load, but one that I can control at speed for accurate hits. These average 1189 ft/sec. (That sounds very close to the 9mm Winchester 127-g. +P+ 9mm at 1215 ft/sec fired from the SIG-Sauer P225 with its effective bbl length of 3.11".)

Were I in gang territory or expecting to deal with more than a couple or three miscreants, my choices might be considerably different, but for most situations, I am confident and satisfied with the SP101 backed up by the Model 642 and one extra reload. At the same time I am not going to argue that perhaps a better combination might be the Glock 26 backed up by the snub. That the Glock holds 10 + 1 before reloading compared to the SP101's five is a strong point in favor of the little autoloader.

For most of us, the revolver will require longer times to reload than the autoloader given equivalent amounts of practice. This is certainly an important consideration, but is it the overriding one for you in your particular situation?

For a defense-minded shooter, this Glock 17 with expanding ammunition might be a prime choice in 9mm. It holds 17 + 1 shots and gets high velocity with most 9mm rounds. My mother's gun is a Colt Police Positive loaded with standard velocity 125-gr. Federal Nyclads. She is not a shooter, but she "understands" this revolver and can handle its mild recoil. My wife's personal revolver is an S&W Model 65 LadySmith. It is loaded with Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P. She is not a shooting enthusiast and this combination is what she understands and prefers to the many handguns I've had her shoot.

It should come as no surprise that when carrying a 9mm belt gun, my first choice is almost always the Browning Mk III 9mm. Like the single-action 1911, it is a vintage design that some call "obsolete." For me it is a handgun that lets me put 9mm holes where I want them quickly. Earlier I stated that I believed .45 ACP to be a more potent stopper in some loads. That does not mean I believe the 9mm to be anybody's weak sister. With my loads of choice in the Hi Power, I do not feel ballistically undergunned. I can hit with this pistol and accurate hits are required regardless of handgun caliber in my view. The reader's choice in 9mm sidearms for belt carry might be very different from mine. Fine…if that's what works for that reader.

For me there are other deciding factors in my choice of carry guns. If required, I could carry a 4" .38 Special revolver with my choice of loads and feel fine, but I'd prefer a 9mm weapon of equivalent size or a .45 auto. In the most compact versions of either the .38 revolver or the 9mm auto, I cast my lot with the revolver. I find them very secure in pocket holsters since most of their weight is forward and much less in the butt of the gun, unlike the automatic. In the compact Glock 26 I see intellectually that it is a superior choice to the 3" revolver with its lighter trigger pull and significantly greater number of shots between reloads. I still simply prefer the mid-size wheel gun most of the time, but in service size pistols, I much prefer the 9mm Hi Power to any .38 revolver.

I am hoping that this report has accomplished a couple of things. I have tried to show how the .38 and 9mm stack up ballistically and that perhaps there are other considerations besides "power" that enter our individual equations for the ideal carry gun in either of these calibers. Generally speaking, I do believe that 9mm can have a ballistic edge over the .38 Special most of the time, but also remain convinced that the revolver round can strike a telling blow with good ammunition and in practiced hands. I had much rather have a .38 revolver that I could shoot accurately at speed than a 9mm automatic I was not comfortable with or lived in constant fear of it malfunctioning even if it never had. (Some folks simply do not trust automatics. I believe that faith in one's personal defensive arm is essential. The revolver certainly can malfunction, but the perception of "six (or five) for sure" remains reality for some people. The simplicity of the double-action wheel gun is also a plus for persons not inclined to practice much at the firing range.)

The snub .38 with 158-gr. +P lead hollow points is as "low" on the "power ladder" as I choose to go. The 3 and 4" .38 revolvers with the same ammunition move up from that bottom a good deal and from either of these two barrel lengths I believe the .38 Special to be a capable performer with that load. (I'm sure that there are others, but right now, I have more experience and trust in the "old technology" 158-gr. +P LSWCHP.)

While I believe the 9mm to be a more effective defense caliber with several loads, I am not saying that the .38 cannot be effective. As with many calibers there is some ballistic overlapping between the two. For most of us, either caliber can be a very decisive and viable anti-personnel round. Power, penetration, expansion, etc are important aspects of defensive handgunning, but so is trust in one's weapon, personal preferences, and being able to get the shots.

If you considering a defensive handgun in either .38 Special or 9mm, shoot as many of each as you are able if possible. Get some good training and attain the skill level necessary for you to get accurate hits quickly. Consider your own personal lifestyle/job situation and then make the decision that is right for you.



Jewish extremists put ancient death curse on Sharon & OTHERS

Judiasm News and Information
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Jewish extremists opposed to Israel's looming pullout from the Gaza Strip have dipped into ancient ritual to put an Aramaic death curse on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a news website revealed.

In a cemetery ceremony presided over by a rabbi, around 20 radicals held a "pulsa dinura", which means rod of fire in Aramaic, imploring God to curse a believed sinner, said the online edition of the Yediot Aharonot.

The ancient Jewish rite was presided over by rabbi Yossef Dayan at dawn on Friday in the ancient cemetery of Rosh Pina, in the northern Galilee region.

As befits tradition, only those who are married, meaning no widowers or divorcees, people aged over 40 and the bearded were able to attend the event, Dayan was quoted as saying.

The group urged "the angels of destruction" to kill Sharon, participants said, stressing that a human assassination attempt on the prime minister was "futile" given his massive security protection.

The ceremony took place near the grave of Shlomo Ben Yossef, a member of the ultra-nationalist Jewish movement Beitar, who was hanged in 1938 under British mandate Palestine for taking part in an attempted attack on an Arab bus.

Baruch Ben Yossef, one of the participants, said the spot was ideal.

"He is Sharons antitheses. Ben Yossef sacrificed his soul for the people of Israel, while Sharon is robbing the nation. We hope the Lord will take him from us," he was quoted as saying by the website.

Far-right Israeli activists also held a "pulsa dinura" to pray for the death of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, a few days before the prime minister was assassinated by a Jewish extremist for trying to make peace with the Palestinians.

WND Exclusive
3rd SPP summit shrouded in secrecy
Bush to interrupt Texas vacation to join Mexican, Canadian leaders

Posted: August 13, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007

President Bush will interrupt his summer vacation in Crawford, Texas, next week to attend the third summit meeting of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, slated for Aug. 20 and 21 in Montebello, Quebec, at the five-star Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello resort.

President Bush to join leaders of Mexico and Canada at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello resort in Quebec next week for the third summit meeting of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America

Bush will meet with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the event.

The meeting has been hidden in a cloud of secrecy until WND obtained from an Access to Information Act request a previously unreleased copy of a government report detailing agenda plans for the third SPP summit.

According to WND reports, as many as 10,000 protesters are expected to be in Quebec to oppose the meeting.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada's national police force, and the Sûreté du Québec, the state police, plan to maintain a 25-kilometer protest-free zone around the Montebello resort where the meeting is to be held.

(Story continues below)

WND has reported that a multinational business agenda is driving this upcoming SPP summit according to the heavily redacted document obtained from the Canadian government.

The memo clearly states at center stage in the Montebello SPP summit will be recommendations by the North American Competitiveness Council, regarding promoting North American competitiveness for multinational corporations through "integrating" and "harmonizing" regulations between Mexico, Canada and the U.S.

The council, an executive group composed of 10 top multinational corporations from each of the three SPP countries, was constituted under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide guidance to the 20 SPP working groups of U.S., Mexican, and Canadian bureaucrats.

WND has also reported that President Bush will discuss at the summit a plan to send U.S. military assistance to Mexico to assist Mexico's military and civilian law enforcement agencies to combat Mexican narco-criminals and drug lords.

The leaders at the end of their summit are expected to make a statement on U.S. military aid to Mexico, provided their discussions have reached a point of agreement and conclusion.

At issue are questions of how the U.S. military can limit involvement to equipment and training, and how U.S. and Mexican officials can be certain the corruption common to Mexico's drug war does not subvert their effort or provide sophisticated equipment and technology that ends up in the hands of the drug kingpins.

WND has also reported the Montebello SPP summit will create a coordinating body to prepare for the North American response to an outbreak of avian or pandemic influenza.

The three leaders also plan to create a coordinating body on emergency management similar to that set up for avian or pandemic flu.

WND previously reported on National Security Presidential Directive No. 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive No. 20, which allocate to the office of the president the authority to direct all levels of government in any event the president declares to be a national emergency.

WND also has previously reported that under SPP, the military of the U.S. and Canada are turning USNORTHCOM and Canada Command into domestic military command structures, with authority extending to Mexico, even though Mexico has not formally joined with the current U.S. – Canadian USNORTHCOM/Canada Command structure.

WND has also learned the Montebello SPP summit will include discussion of a proposal to provide U.S. military assistance to the government of Mexico to help Mexico's military combat narco-trafficking in Mexico.

The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America was declared at the first trilateral meeting held at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on March 23, 2005.

The second SPP summit meeting was held by President Bush, Mexico's President Vicente Fox and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancún Hotel in Cancún, Mexico, on March 31, 2006.

The SPP website, maintained by the U.S. Department of Commerce, lists a "2005 Report to Leaders" dated June 2005 and a "2006 Report to Leaders" dated August 2006, which document over 250 memoranda of understanding and other agreements that have been signed by the SPP working groups.

Most of these SPP memoranda of understanding and other agreements cannot be found on the SPP website or elsewhere on the Internet published in their entirety.

No comparable "2007 Report to Leaders" has yet been published on the SPP website.

WND has applied for press credentials to attend the Montebello SPP summit to report on the proceedings.

Middle East
Aug 17, 2007
Missing US arms probe goes global
By David Isenberg

WASHINGTON - The issue of missing US weapons in Iraq is getting, as Alice said in Wonderland, curiouser and curiouser. What started out as a mere report documenting improper bookkeeping procedures for assault rifles and pistols given by the Pentagon to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005 is turning into an international scandal.

It started on July 31, when the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report "Stabilizing Iraq: DOD [Department

of Defense] Cannot Ensure That US-Funded Equipment Has Reached Iraqi Security Forces". A classified version of the report will be submitted to Congress next month.

The report found that since 2003, the United States has provided about US$19.2 billion to develop Iraqi security forces. As part of that effort, components of the Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I), are responsible for implementing the US program to train and equip Iraqi forces. The report found that as of July, the DOD and MNF-I had not specified which DOD accountability procedures, if any, apply to the train-and-equip program for Iraq.

As Congress funded the train-and-equip program for Iraq outside traditional security assistance programs, the Pentagon had a large degree of flexibility in managing the program. Normally, the traditional security assistance programs are operated by the State Department. Since the funding did not go through traditional security assistance programs, the DOD accountability requirements normally applicable to these programs did not apply. Thus the DOD and MNF-I cannot fully account for Iraqi forces' receipt of US-funded equipment.

As a result, the GAO found a discrepancy of at least 190,000 weapons between data reported by the former commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I) and the property books. The GAO report indicates that US military officials do not know what happened to 30% of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year.

The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. According to that report, 13,180 Glock automatic pistols, worth as much as $46 million on the black market, were unaccounted for. The more recent GAO study puts the total figure for missing pistols closer to 80,000. In addition, the report found that US officials in Iraq could not account for 751 M1F assault rifles and 99 MP5 machine-guns.

It seems a virtual certainty that many of the Glocks have been diverted to the black market. An article in the current issue of Newsweek magazine quotes a senior Turkish security official, who said his government estimates that some 20,000 US-bought Glock pistols have been brought from Iraq into his country over the past three years.

The GAO reached the estimate of 190,000 missing arms - 110,000 AK-47s and 80,000 pistols - by comparing the property records of the MNSTC-I against records US General David Petraeus maintained of the arms and equipment he had ordered, after he was brought in in June 2004 to build up Iraqi security forces.

The gaps between the two records are enormous. Petraeus reported that about 185,000 AK-47 rifles, 170,000 pistols, 215,000 pieces of body armor and 140,000 helmets were issued to Iraqi security forces from June 2004 through September 2005. But the property books contained records for 75,000 AK-47 rifles, 90,000 pistols, 80,000 pieces of body armor and 25,000 helmets.

The fact that the weapons are not fully accounted for does not necessarily mean they are all missing. It is possible that the US military simply does not have the supporting records confirming the dates the equipment was received, the quantities of equipment delivered, or the Iraqi units receiving the items.

On the other hand it seems fairly likely that some of the missing weapons are being used against US forces in Iraq. Given that the most readily accessible black market for those stolen weapons is in Iraq, some of those are going to be bought by the insurgents.

In fact, the problem could be considerably worse than the GAO report indicates.

According to Amnesty International research, additional hundreds of thousands of US-approved arms transfers from Bosnia-Herzegovina to Iraq could also be missing. In a May 2006 report, Amnesty revealed that Taos Inc, a US company with multiple DOD contracts, subcontracted to a Moldovan/Ukrainian company called Aerocom to transport hundreds of thousands of arms, more than 90 tonnes of AK-47s, and other weapons from Bosnia to Iraq between July 31, 2004, and June 31, 2005, for Iraqi security forces.

US military air-traffic controllers in Iraq, however, said Aerocom never requested landing slots to touch down in the country. Aerocom smuggled weapons to Liberia in 2002 and was operating without a valid license in 2004, according to the United Nations Security Council.

As of August, Amnesty was still awaiting a reply from the Pentagon regarding its investigation into the Bosnia-to-Iraq weapons shipments.

And, in a move that can only be likened to the fox guarding the hen-house, it turns out, as the Los Angeles Times reported on August 13, that there may have been another factor at work, namely the US government's use of Viktor Bout - a Russian air transporter who also happens to be the world's most notorious arms dealer.

When the US government needed to fly four planeloads of seized weapons from Bosnia to Iraqi security forces in Baghdad in August 2004, it used Aerocom. But Aerocom is tied to Bout's aviation empire. The problem is that the planes apparently never arrived. US officials admitted they had no record of the flights landing in Baghdad.

Why the US government would have used Bout-controlled Aerocom - which had already been linked to supplying arms to Liberia when it was ruled by Charles Taylor and to drug traffickers in Belize - is a mystery in and of itself, considering that by 2004 Bout was very well known to the US government as a global gun-runner whom they wanted to put out of business.

The latest development occurred this week when it was reported that that Italian anti-Mafia investigators had uncovered an alleged shipment of 105,000 rifles of which the US military command in Iraq was unaware. The Italian team, in an investigation code-named Operation Parabellum, stopped the $40 million sale and made four arrests. The consignment appears to have been ordered by the Iraqi Interior Ministry. The US high command in Baghdad admitted it had no knowledge of any such order, even though the ministry is supposed to inform the US before purchasing arms.

An Iraqi Interior Ministry official insisted the weapons were mostly for Iraqi police in al-Anbar province. But given the close relationship between the Shi'ite-led government and Shi'ite militias and the irregular nature of the arms order, the disclosure prompted suspicion that the eventual destination could have been the militias, or police units close to them.

Furthermore, why the police in Anbar would need more weapons raises more questions. The Pentagon has issued 169,280 AK-47s, 167,789 pistols and 16,398 machine-guns to the 161,000 police in Iraq and 28,000 border police.

David Isenberg is a senior analyst with the British American Security Information Council. He is also a member of the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute, contributor to the Straus Military Reform Project, a research fellow at the Independent Institute, and a US Navy veteran. The views expressed are his own.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Taking a Look at the FNP9 Pistol

By Stephen Camp

FN, short for Fabrique Nationale, is and has been a producer of fine firearms for decades. Located in Belgium, it is well known among shooting enthusiast, but not so familiar to all that purchase firearms. Examples include firearms with the Browning name such as their older line of bolt-action rifles, automatic shotguns, and the Browning Hi Power pistol. Though mentioned in other articles, I think it's worth mentioning again that Browning Arms Company never manufactured these firearms; they imported them in the US. Thus, when FN competed with their FN-marked Hi Power against the "real" Browning Hi Power, their guns sold for considerably less. The FN name was just not as marketable in the US as Browning's name.

Well, the same sort of thing is happening again. FN makes the 9x19mm pistol this article focuses on in the US at a US facility. The slide is marked "Made in USA". Whether the parts are made here or in Belgium, I do not know. A firearm can be made in another country, but assembled in the US and said to be made in this country.

It probably doesn't matter anyway to most folks.

FN says that this is a new entry that is primarily aimed at the military and police markets. Though said to be available in single-action only as well as other variations, the only ones I've seen were the traditional DA/SA pistols. As I understand it, the FN-marked FNP9 pistols do not allow for cocked-and-locked carry while the Browning-marked Pro-9's do. I have not seen or handled one of the Browning guns so I cannot report on this first-hand. I've read that the Browning-marked Pro-9 has a magazine disconnect. My FN-marked gun does not.

Here is the left side of the FNP9. It sort of mimics the SIG-Sauer in my opinion but on the FN, the decocker is rearward of the slide stop lever. The lever in front of both is for field-stripping the pistol. The decocking lever on this pistol version is ambidextrous.


Trigger Pull: SA is rated at 3.96 to 5.06 pounds. DA is rated at 8.8 to 12.1 pounds.

Weight: 24.8 oz (according to the FN manual, but 25.2 oz according the FN USA's site, and 1lb. 14oz or 30oz according to the Browning site.) To find out, I weighed my empty FNP9 and got 25.5 oz, but my scale is not the most accurate. I think that the 25.2 oz weight is probably correct. I loaded 10 rounds w/115-gr. bullets into the magazine and got a total weight of 5 oz. I think this is where at least the major part of this discrepancy occurs. (The gun is available in the US with 10-rnd magazines in states restricting magazine capacity while the standard capacity magazine available in the rest is 16. FWIW, with 16 rounds, the total weight of the cartridges and magazine is 9 oz.)

Capacity: 16 + 1, (10 + 1 in some states)

Length: 7.40"

Height: 5.40"

Width: 1.55"

Barrel Length: 4" (rifled length: 3.15")

Pitch: 1:16, right-hand (The manual says "1:6" but comparing it to a BarSto Hi Power bbl, the twist does appear very similar and I believe it is 1 turn in 16" and that the manual's description is a misprint. A 1:6 twist would be very, very fast. In any event, it does not appear as fast as the 1:10 twist in the factory Hi Power bbl.)

Sights: Fixed, 3-dot with both front and rear dovetailed into the slide

Sight Radius: 6"

Magazine Safety: Not in this version, but reported present on others with Browning markings

Internal Magazine Safety: Yes

Frame: Polymer w/steel slide rail inserts

Slide: Stainless steel (Slides can be had in a "dark" finish, but the slide is of stainless steel. I do not know how well the dark finish does or does not wear.)

Extractor: External (protrudes when a round is in the chamber and serves as a loaded chamber indicator as well.)

Accessory Rail: Yes

Initial Observations: Though my preference in semiautomatic pistols remains the single-action and in 9mm, the Hi Power, this newer entry into the crowded field of DA/SA pistols seems to be pretty well thought out…at least in my opinion. It has features that I like and others that I do not but this is true of any and all handguns I've examined or owned and another example of failing to find the elusive perfect pistol!

I was very favorably impressed with both the double and single-action trigger pulls. I estimate the first at around 10-lbs and the latter at close to four. It breaks cleanly though not so cleanly as a tuned 1911, but very, very little does. Neither the double or single-action on this pistol precludes its being used effectively in the defense scenario. At least in this example, it's good to go out of the plastic box. The trigger guard is large enough and designed such that my finger doesn't contact the bottom of it when firing the gun.

The polymer trigger has a trigger stop on the rear, but still allows a slight amount of overtravel. Take-up is there but not "bad" in my view.

The magazine release is not ambidextrous and on this gun it is set up for the right-handed shooter. It is also very easy to depress with the trigger finger for lefties. Its does not protrude far enough from the frame to encourage accidentally dropping the magazine and its spring feels plenty strong. Magazines drop freely when released whether loaded, partially loaded, or empty.

The decocking lever drops the hammer when depressed in the manner of the Walther PP-series of handguns. When used, the hammer falls to what might be likened to a half-cock position. When the hammer is lowered by hand, it rests against the rear of the firing pin. This pseudo-half-cock position is safe as the internal firing pin safety blocks the pin from striking the primer unless the trigger is fully rearward. When fired DA from the half-cock position, there is no noise until the gun discharges. When fired DA after the hammer has been fully lowered by hand w/o using the decocker, there is an audible click as it passes the half-cock position. I recommend using the decocker.

The polymer frame has a checkered front grip strap. The rear grip strap is removable via a screw and two choices are available: arched, which is the way the gun came, and flat. I like the arched version and have not considered trying the included flat one, but other folks might feel just the opposite.

I like that the trigger guard is rounded rather than "hooked." I am ambivalent about the "raised square" checkering on front of it.

The magazine well is cavernous! It makes speed reloads a snap, but it also requires that the magazine floorplate be a wide affair. This is of no importance for a gun worn by a soldier or policeman, but will come much closer to printing for the lawful concealed carrier wanting to carry extra magazines.

The magazine well is cavernous and allows for quick reloads. For me, a downside is the wide magazine floorplate. (There are guides farther in the magazine well that keeps the magazine from fitting loosely.) The magazine disassembles in the same manner as the familiar Hi Power magazines. The body is polished stainless steel while the floorplate and follower are polymer. The magazine offers plenty of "room" for cartridges of varying length. Even the longer-than-normal Remington Golden Sabers fit and functioned flawlessly in the gun's magazine.

The gun's extractor is a massive claw design and one that grips the cartridge rim firmly. It is flush with the side of the slide when the chamber is empty, but protrudes when a round is chambered. Its top is painted red. It is obviously intended as a loaded chamber indicator.

The FNP9 extractor is massive and grips the cartridge rim quite securely. Its claw reminds me of the Glock or CZ-75's extractor.

The recoil spring is coated with a reddish colored substance and has flat coils reminiscent of the factory Glock's. It is a captive affair on a full-length guide rod. The rear of the guide rod is of black polymer while the front is of polished stainless. I have not yet figured out how it comes apart or if the entire recoil spring/guide rod is replaced as an assembly. I much prefer "non-captive" recoil springs but see where this arrangement prevents the guide rod or spring from being lost…unless both are lost together! I detest the things.

The gun's internal firing pin safety appears to work in a manner similar to the Colt Series 80 line of 1911-pattern pistols and the firing pin itself is retained by a retaining plate. I liked this; I could easily remove the firing pin and spring for cleaning and inspection. Wrong! I cannot remove the retaining plate! It won't budge. I suspect that it might be held in place with a rear plunger that operates off of the spring used for the extractor, but I do not (yet) know this as I have not found an exploded diagram of the gun.

The slide's finish is nicely done in a fine matte and no tool marks are visible on the sides. Very fine ones are visible on the front but are not large or detracting. Besides, if a person is being shown that end of the gun in real life, they are likely not thinking about fine tool marks! Very few are visible inside the slide. The slide, barrel, and recoil spring assembly weigh approximately 15 ounces, making the "upper" by far the heaviest component of an empty FNP9.

I find the gun to be a comfortable one but fully admit that this is subjective. To me, the FNP9 feels sort of like a Hi Power combined with a XD-9. Trigger reach in double-action is not excessive for my hand.

The pistol's fixed sights are quite useable as they come and on this pistol they were well regulated out of the box. POA matched POI out to about 15 yards, the farthest distance I've yet shot the gun on paper. They are of the typical three-dot design though I figure night sights will be on the way if the pistol proves popular.

The feed ramp on the FNP9 is both wide and more smoothly polished than this picture indicates. There is also very good chamber support for the cartridge. None of the fired +P or +P+ cases showed any "belling" or excessive expansion at their six o'clock positions. I do not expect the FNP9 to suffer any of the "KB's" sometimes associated with some other handguns. From the rear, this barrel resembles the Kahr's.

Internally, the FNP9 must be more "complicated" than the single-action Hi Power or 1911 and its components seem to be almost "modular" but I cannot say this with certainty as I've not (yet) detail stripped the pistol. Its stainless rails on which the slide rides do not appear to be molded into the polymer frame. I think that they can be removed for replacement if necessary but I am not 100% sure of this.

Chronograph Results: In my experience, it is a mistake to assume anything about actual velocities from a given bbl length. Some barrels are "faster" than others are and not all barrels for the same caliber are of the same actual diameter. In any event, I chronographed several loads from the 115-gr. to 147-gr. bullets.

Average velocities as well as extreme spread and standard deviation are based on 10 shots fired 10' from the chronograph screen.

FNP9 Chronograph Results:


Average Velocity (ft/sec):

Extreme Spread (ft/sec):

Std. Deviation (ft/sec):

Federal 115-gr. JHP




Corbon 115-gr. DPX +P




Corbon 115-gr. JHP +P




Hornady 124-gr. TAP




Win. 124-gr. Partition Gold




Win. 127-gr. Ranger +P+




Win. 147-gr. STHP




Speer 147-gr. Gold Dot




Rem. 147-gr. Golden Saber




Chronograph results were pretty much in line with what I expected. In my view, they are respectable for bullets utilizing slightly over 3" of barrel length. None of the cartridges tested today had bullets that engaged the rifling. Manual ejection was no problem.

Shooting: In this initial range session with the FNP9, quite a few rounds were fired. They were:

100 Fiocchi 115-gr. FMJ

100 Sellier & Bellot 115-gr. FMJ

50 Federal 115-gr. JHP

20 Corbon 115-gr. DPX +P

20 Corbon 115-gr. JHP +P

20 Hornady 124-gr. TAP

25 Winchester 124-gr. Partition Gold

50 Winchester 127-gr. Ranger +P+

20 Winchester 147-gr. Silver Tip Hollow Point

20 Speer 147-gr. Gold Dot

25 Remington 147-gr. Golden Saber

I also fired several odds and ends that I had laying around in my range box, but the FNP9 fired in excess of 450 shots today.

Because this pistol is not intended as a target gun, I fired for groups only at 7, 10 and 15 yards. The bullseye targets were all fired single-action. The gun showed no strong preference for a particular load at least in my hands, but all grouped plenty well in my opinion. In fact, I was surprised at the mechanical accuracy present in the pistol. Perhaps there is something to the CNC machining! The gun's slide-to-frame fit showed less horizontal and vertical play than expected and there was no barrel-to-slide movement.

This 15-yard target (right) was fired from a seated position using two hands and with wrists braced. All shots were fired single-action.

Since this pistol is intended to save its user's hide, I also fired on a FBI Q target, which sort of resembles a large bowling pin. In this shooting, I fired the first shot double-action as one probably would in a serious situation where times are short and adrenaline high.

This target was fired a 7 yards. I started with a two-hand hold in a low ready position and loaded the pistol with 16 rounds. Three shots were fired in the usual "Failure to Stop" drill, i.e., two to the body and one to the head. Shots were fired as quickly as I could get a flash sight picture. The first shot was fired double-action with the subsequent two shots being fired single-action. This allowed 5 complete FTS shootings. I marked each string's first DA shot with a number. The "6" was the last shot and was fired DA. The first shot hit the "Q" but that was the only one of the entire 16 that did! I felt the second DA shot being "pushed" but it was "gone" before I could correct it. The ammunition used was Winchester's 127-gr. Ranger +P+.

My main double-action shooting is done with the revolver. The vast majority of my semiautomatic shooting is with single-action pistols, but with some more practice, I believe that this little gun can be easily managed for defensive purposes.

Observations: To me the gun's felt recoil was considerably less than expected. Muzzle flip was present but was in no way "bad." Ejection and extraction were consistent with standard pressure loads landing about 4 feet to my right. Hotter loads landed a couple of feet farther out. I found the gun easy to handle and user friendly. In other words, there was not the slightest indication of hammer or slide bite.

To try and see if ignition was positive or just "on the edge" I fired 100 rounds of Sellier & Bellot ball. This ammunition has harder primers than most. Each and every round fired fine.

There were exactly zero malfunctions. Feeding was "slick" and without hesitation regardless of whether it was FMJ or any of the several JHP's used in today's initial shooting. The gun was not cleaned during the session and it did not get sluggish. I doubt that I'll run a test to see just how many shots can be fired between cleanings, but I'm satisfied that the pistol is capable of very fine reliability, something that is absolutely essential in a defensive arm.

Primer strikes were reasonably well centered and positive as is seen on this fired Fiocchi primer. See the small raised area at the 9 o'clock position? I wonder if the folks at FN copied the SIG-Sauer handguns such that the firing pin doesn't retract quite as quickly as it might in an effort to keep debris from the firing pin channel? Whether this is true or not, there were no problems with any cartridge ignition, regardless of manufacturer.

Though not my favorite genre of semiautomatic, I do think that the FNP9 a.k.a. Browning Pro-9 is a very good example of the breed. The double-action pull is smooth and not "bad" by any stretch of the imagination…at least in this one example I've tried. The single-action is very good and better than quite a few DA/SA pistols I've tried in the past. I probably won't change anything on this handgun.

I was pleased at the quality of the gun for the money spent. I think it was well worth the $409.99 paid at a nearby retail store. The FNP9 came with two extra 16-shot magazines not counting the one in the pistol. I am told that the Browning version only has one extra magazine but I have not seen one for sale, so again I have no first-hand observation of this.

Will the pistol hold up to lots of shooting? Probably and I've read of them going over 2500 problem-free shots so far. Still, for shooters this is not that many. Time will tell on that, but close examination after today's session showed almost no wear and FN is a rather well respected arms maker. Again, time and lots of rounds down range will tell the tale, but so far I am very favorably impressed with the little thing's performance.

Though not perfect, I think that this FN pistol is a very good example of a DA/SA autopistol. I believe that it either is or will be available in SAO as well as DAO as well as the more usual DA/SA. Whether this pans out is unknown to me, but I find the gun a viable performer as is.

This pistol is available in a slightly more compact version but I have neither seen nor shot one. I wish that the FNP9 had an extra inch of bbl and slide though. The gun is quite compact and I would prefer a bit more sight radius on the "full size" pistol. This is probably a minority view.

Will the FNP9, even in a long slide version replace my Hi Powers or 1911's? Not a chance! I do not find the FNP9 (or Glock, XD, S&W MP, etc) nearly so appealing as the classic "wood and steel" guns I grew up with. Some of these I see almost as elegant as works of art.

That emphatically does not mean that I don't respect these latter day shooters…for I do.

I will most likely be hanging on to this one. If you are interested in such a pistol, you might check at: and at to see more on this pistol.

The gun is available now in .40 S&W and rumor has it that a .45 ACP version is in the works.







WND Exclusive
Possibility of terrorism adds to financial worries
Worldwide market contraction would be aggravated by attack

Posted: August 16, 2007
2:30 p.m. Eastern

© 2007

A balloon of no-money-down home loans and easy credit for corporate buyouts, followed by the perfect storm of inflation and declining home values, has set the stage for what economic experts believe could end up a literal "meltdown" in the global economy.

It's the result of a combination of factors, but some warn that as bad as it is – Wall Street has lost about 10 percent of its value in the past few weeks – it would undoubtedly be aggravated by a major terrorist attack, which would create tremors felt by millions.

"We've never had a crisis like this while we're at war," said Craig R. Smith, president of Swiss America Trading, and an expert on financial issues including tangible assets.

"Homeland Security is warning [about the potential] over the next two to three weeks of another terrorist attack," he said. "If we are hit with terrorism, it would send these markets into a tailspin. Consumers already are nervous and fearful that they're going to lose their homes, that their 401k [retirement fund] will be chopped in half."

"Osama bin Laden knows how delicate the system is," he added. "If there was a small dirty bomb attack, or a homegrown cell attack, we would have a meltdown on Wall Street," he said.

A new warning from the Stratfor terrorism intelligence report echoes Smith's concerns about an impending attack.

"One of the reasons for the heightened concern," the report said, "is that most everyone … is surprised that no major jihadist attack has occurred on U.S. soil since 9/11. Many plots have been disrupted, and it is only a matter of time before one of them succeeds. Simply put, attacks are not difficult to conduct and the government cannot stop them all."

The organization said it believes al-Qaida retains its ability to conduct "tactical strikes" but probably cannot pose a "strategic threat."

"While this may be reassuring on one level, people can and will be killed in a tactical strike. The fact that an attack is not strategically significant will provide no immediate solace to those near the carnage and confusion of a tactical attack," the service said.

Such an incident could prompt a 2,000-point drop, Smith suggested.

"For the first time in the last 25 years, I'm trying to figure out what to do," he said. Important, he said, is an absence of panic on the part of consumers, and he suggested one shouldn't make major investments or divestments with that attitude.

Jerome Corsi, a Harvard political science PhD who has written several best-selling books, collaborated with Smith on "Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil." He agreed that the meltdown could be severe.

The two documented in the book that Americans consume more than 25 percent of the world's oil but have control over less than 3 percent of its proven supply. This unbalanced pattern of consumption, they assert, makes it possible for foreign governments, corrupt political leaders, terrorist organizations and oil conglomerates to place the citizens and the economy of the United States in a stranglehold of supply and demand.

"The bursting of the mortgage bubble and the bursting of the worldwide credit bubble have caused a major worldwide meltdown in credit markets, which has slipped over into the stock market," Corsi told WND regarding the current situation.

He said the expansion in recent years of the available of credit literally abandoned a more "disciplined" approach that would have held down borrowing.

"You've had subprime loans wildly out of hand and commercial paper which … should have been rated junk bond status but has gotten rated much higher than that. There have been leveraged buyouts that never would have happened but there was available credit," he said.

"Hedge funds have had wild access to credit. A pool may have a billion dollars worth of assets … but may borrow 10 or 20 times that," he said. "When the stock market goes up, everybody wins, they can pay the investors, make a nice profit. But when the market adjusts downward … the underlying assets drop in value."

Some of those fund investments will end up being literally worthless, he said, with its resulting impact on the market.

"The losers are going to be anybody who has these funds: banks, pension funds, institutional investors. They're going to have to take trillions of dollars in losses," he said. "It's hard to see where the bottom is going to be."

At the consumer level, such conditions can produce tragedies, Corsi said. Perhaps a consumer purchased a house for $167,000, but wasn't really qualified so borrowed 100 percent of the value of the home at that time – on a variable interest rate loan.

Now with inflation, the interest rate and payment will rise. At the same time neither the consumer's income is likely to rise, because of tight economic conditions, nor is the value of the home likely to rise, because of a depressed market.

And now the home is worth only $157,000, so the consumer cannot even sell out to pay off what is owed.

Corsi warned that the "unconscionable credit party" held in recent years will result in "hundreds of thousands" at risk of losing their homes.

Smith, whose company has grown from a $50 startup to accumulate sales of half a billion dollars, said the current situation has taken years to develop, and could take much time to solve. He said the beginning was when consumers switched from the old-fashioned save-up-$200-and-buy-a-TV attitude to picking it up now and paying $19 a month.

As the use of credit expanded, people who did not pay their bills on time were targeted by those who accepted a higher risk, and the subprime market was born. In recent years, as the Federal Reserve has allowed conditions that generated huge amounts of credit, those loans were made to consumers on homes – often at 100 percent or more of the value of the collateral home – as well as corporate buyouts.

Hedge funds and other investment entities then bought up bundles of those loans.

But when the combination of inflation and declining property values started hitting individual consumers, the crunch became intense for the investors.

A French bank, BNP Parabas, recently said it was shutting down redemption of some of its funds because there was no way to determine the value of the underlying collateral, so it couldn't set a value for the investments.

"What you have happening, with all of these market factors converging, is that investor confidence is totally shattered," Smith told WND. "People thought you could put money in the stock market and it would stay. We've blurred the line between savings and investments. If you put $1,000 in the stock market, that's not savings, that's an investment."

Then hedge funds, he said, "used Wall Street as a casino."

He said it's the first time he's seen the influences converging as they have at this point. And it's worldwide, affecting markets in Europe, China and other areas, in addition to the U.S.

"There's a huge contraction going on," he said.

Robert Chapman, author of the International Forecaster, an economic newsletter with an international audience estimated to number over 100,000, warned in his July 25 newsletter, "We face a collapse in real estate and then in the stock market, which are parts of a larger banking crisis."

Chapman has warned for months that just as the bubble burst, followed by a burst in the real estate bubble, now the global debt bubble is an issue.

Specifically, for over a year Chapman has predicted a collapse in the heavily leveraged $1.4 trillion dollar unregulated hedge fund market and the little-understood derivative market where leveraged exposure may be as high as $500 trillion.

As WND has previously reported, John Williams, an econometrician who publishes the website Shadow Government Statistics, has been predicting an economic downturn.

"The dollar could lose as much as 30 percent of its value in 2007," Williams told WND in January. "In 2007, we are likely to see the economic downturn of 2006 develop into a structural recession and yet we have international trade and federal budged deficits careening out of control."

"Against the backdrop of intensifying inflationary recession, the dollar has started taking some early and heavy blows," Williams writes in his current subscriber newsletter. "The sub-prime mortgage difficulties have gained media prominence, but they are just the beginning of difficulties for mortgage and other asset-backed securities."

Williams summed up his concerns about the likely bursting of the liquidity bubble this way: "Debt upon debt, leverage upon leverage – the sub-prime real estate loan problems are symptoms of bigger issues."




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