Ammunition

Sit Down .40 S&W, .45 ACP — The 9mm has Been Crowned King?

Glock 22s and a Glock 23

For years, I have suffered the insults, ridicule, jokes and consternation of my fellow shooters. The 1911 crowd was never a surprise. After all, there is the classic 9mm vs. .45 ACP debate. With the advent, and near-immediate acceptance, of the .40 S&W, the 9mm’s position did not approve—nor did mine.

After years of suffering (not exactly in silence…), I finally broke down when I bought a Glock 22 in .40 S&W. The increased recoil alluded to the increased knockdown power the bullet would deliver; I was instantly intrigued. Of course, if the .40 S&W was better, what about the .45 ACP? Not that I am “gun-greedy” or anything, but strictly for, ahem, “research purposes,” a new 1911 was quickly and quietly (lest the wife or caliber foes discover my new acquisition) acquired.

multiple firearm cartridges
L to R: .45 ACP, .357 Mag., .40 S&W, .357 SIG and 9mm. It is not always the biggest cartridge that’s the best for the job or the best shooter.

A Glock 23 and SIG P250SC soon followed—both chambered for .40 S&W—the Glock 22 and 1911. I began to wonder if I had been relegated a closet 9mm admirer. Should I truly retire the SIG 228 I had trusted for close to two decades believing it to be inferior? Not a chance. In fact, quite the opposite was true. Shortly after ordering a new Glock and being sent a second Glock 22 by accident—the model was wrong, but the customization was too cool to allow me to send it back—I decided I wanted to shoot both a less powerful and more powerful cartridge out of the Glocks.

Instead of believing the 9mm to be inferior, I simply decided new barrels were required for the Glocks. I jumped online and ordered four new barrels and a few 9mm magazines. Excited, I waited by the door for the delivery that would allow me to shoot 9mm, or .357 SIG, in addition to the .40 S&W, out of the Glock 22 or 23. A significant number of rounds from all three calibers soon followed.

With options, I can now shoot the caliber de jour, but most often find myself going back to the 9mm, and here are my top eight arguments why.

1. Don’t believe old data or old tired arguments.

Perhaps, once upon a time, the 9mm was less than optimal for self-defense. That being said, I do not know of anyone that would hold still just because a 9mm was pointed at them. Since then, technological advances in bullet design and propellants have transformed the 9mm into a much more powerful pill than in the past. These advancements have not been lost on some of the nation’s top law enforcement departments or the military. The reasons leading this new reacceptance of the 9mm include lower training costs, reduced recoil to the shooter, faster target reacquisition for follow-up shots and increased knockdown and soft tissue damage.

.40 S&W, 9mm and .370 SIG barrels
Notice the difference between the thickness of each barrel. A frame built for the .40 S&W will accept smaller calibers with thick barrels, but a purpose built 9mm will not work for larger calibers.

2. I shoot the .45 ACP for competition so why not self defense?

It is true; you can be accurate with the .40 S&W or .45 ACP in competition. Many of these guns are also modified specifically for competition and the cartridges are toned down to decrease recoil. (However, even if you shot the competition just as well with a stock gun and self-defense ammunition… Yeah, that’s never really going to happen, so let’s not even entertain the fantasy.) Whatever level of accuracy and speed you can muster with the .45 ACP or .40 S&W, you’ll match, or more likely exceed, with the 9mm.

Do the bigger calibers have more knockdown power and a better chance of stopping the threat with a single shot? According to DOJ statistics, they do. However, that is a generalization. Shot placement is the most deadly consideration in a gunfight.

The lighter 9mm may be at a slight disadvantage for the first shot, but it offers a huge accuracy advantage for follow-up shots. Does anyone reading this carry a single-shot pistol for self-defense? If not, you must consider the possibility of a follow-up to be a real concern and acknowledge an advantage to the 9mm.

3. I have so many choices in 1911s. How does the 9mm compare?

More handguns are made for the 9mm than the larger calibers. This equates to more choices and a better possibility of finding the gun that fits your hand, style of shooting and purpose. Handguns are being designed with grip options that allow you to customize the platform to the shooter. Concealed carry is also more popular than ever. The smaller the caliber, the more concealable many models become. Again, this gives the 9mm an advantage in size, but let’s not forget, it also has an advantage in weight.

4. The 1911 .45 ACP has been around for over a century, what about the 9mm models?

While the 1911 design is indeed over a century old, not every 1911 has seen regular service for the last 100 years. Typically, the 9mm will see less wear and tear than its bigger caliber brethren. Because few of us have the budget to adequately test longevity, we can look to data from various government agencies that log 9mm handguns sustaining as much as 100,000 rounds during their service life. This cannot be said from the larger calibers. The longer service life also equates to less repairs and catastrophic failures from high round counts.

Tan Glock 22 with .40S&W, 9mm and .357 SIG barrels
By picking up a couple of extra barrels, you save some serious cash compared to the cost of a couple of extra guns. Switch out a barrel and perhaps a magazine and you have an entirely new gun.

5. Magazine Capacity

Magazine capacity is rather a double-edged sword and an argument that is seldom fully developed. The argument in favor of the 9mm is simply a larger capacity. Compared to the 1911, several models of 9mm will carry twice as many rounds. However, more rounds means more weight. Thus, twice as many 147-grain 9mm will weigh more than half as many 230-grain .45 ACP. More weight in the magazine is often forgotten when the shooter reads the manufacturer’s specifications and notes the weight of the gun unloaded.

A couple of arguments regarding magazine capacity are worthy of consideration. First, on average, less than four rounds (3.8 as I recall reading in a DOJ report a year or two ago) are fired in a self-defense or law enforcement encounter. This begs the question; would you rather have more rounds than you need or risk being short of lead when you need it most? There is also the possibility of carrying spare magazines, but that tips the scales back to the 9mm concerning the weight argument. Likewise, there is the matter of time to swap mags during the heat of an engagement to consider.

6. 9mms can be finicky and not shoot certain types of ammunition.

While it is true that every firearm should be tested thoroughly to ensure it will reliably digest a steady diet of your favorite ammunition, the 9mm has the edge over the 1911, but not other large caliber handguns. The 1911 was designed to handle ball ammunition and models true to the original design show a weakness in the modern era while attempting to shoot modern self-defense offerings. However, manufacturers have realized this and now offer a wide selection of 1911 models with improved feed ramps, wider ejection ports and other features that allow them to better handle these modern self-defense loads. As for non-1911 handguns chambered for the .45 ACP or .40 S&W, I have never found any feeding disadvantage when compared to their 9mm counterparts, but also no feeding advantage.

7. Selecting the Right Ammunition for Practice and Self-defense

The .45 ACP has a bit of an advantage here. In my SIG 1911 C3, I carry SIG’s Elite Performance Ammunition with its V-Crown hollow point technology. However, I cannot argue with the military’s performance record using .45 ACP ball ammunition for practice or against a determined adversary. While the 9mm does not offer the same practice and self-defense potential from a single round, it does offer a much wider selection for either practice or self-defense ammo at a much cheaper price.

For example, the 9mm is commonly loaded with 115-grain +P to achieve a high velocity. Standard 115-grain offerings are great for practice and cause less stress to both the shooter and handgun. Alternately, it can be loaded with 147-grain loads, which offer a lower speed, but a pill with more kinetic energy by comparison.

Glock 22s and a Glock 23
The only way to determine the best gun and caliber for you is to do some range testing of your own. Find the caliber that will put the most rounds in the vitals and set your ego aside.

8. There is simply no comparison between costs.

Likely the number one justified criticism against shooters is that they do not get enough range time. I am a huge fan of laser trainers, SIRT pistols and dry-fire practice sessions to build and maintain skills. However, practice with a trainer is still lacking compared to actually sending lead down range. While few of us will ever have the time and finances necessary to shoot as many rounds as we would like, the 9mm is smaller and therefore uses less raw materials. This makes it cheaper to produce and more affordable. Regardless the size of your budget, this will equate to more rounds for the same amount of cash—the rest is up to you.

Parting Thoughts

Make no mistake in reading this. I favor the 9mm cartridge… for me. However, as I alluded to in the beginning, I have been buying .40 S&W guns for the last several years. The reason? It is simple. Most .40 S&W models can easily be converted to shoot the 9mm or .357 SIG if I so choose. However, the frame of a purpose-built 9mm is too small should I want to convert it to shoot a larger caliber.

custom SIG Sauer 228 with Cerakote and Crimson Trace Laser Grips
After a couple of decades and thousands of rounds, the author’s SIG 228 9mm has seen a few upgrades including a Crimson Traces laser grips and Cerakoting by J&L Gunsmithing.

My recommendation? Shoot whatever pleases you! It is your butt on the line not mine, so it is your decision… However, I would encourage you to enjoy some time at the range while doing your homework. Ensure whatever you choose to carry is truly the best choice based on your own testing, experience and capability, and not simply based on the rambling of an old gun writer such as myself or any of the esteemed nuts cases I hang out with. Then, compare your hit percentage and round placement when selecting a caliber for self-defense. Happy shooting!!!

What caliber do you prefer? Make your best case and share it in the comment section.

[dave]

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (209)

  1. I like the bigger hole is better theory. So my preferred CC is a 3 1/2 in. double action 45 ACP pistol. Of course the best gun to carry is the one you can shoot well.

    There is rarely a need to carry a high-capacity gun with a 30 round magazine for backup unless you make enemies very easily or live in a very bad neighborhood. However, I believe in freedom so a person should be able to carry whatever they want.

  2. I also picked up a full size Citadel 1911 with ambitious safety in 9mm just so I can have one for my left hand, and so I can shoot 9mm.
    I got 45 Long Colt, 45acp, 9mm, 380, 22WMR and 22lr covered for hand guns.

    1. The M1911A! is a Great Universal Translator, even to those that Can’t Speak English. No Surprises in it’s Meaning…

  3. Both 9mm Parabellum and .45 ACP scored at or near the top of the charts for effectiveness in many tests, so both are valid choices, and most of the arguing is really just gun dudes having fun talking to one another.

    But to break it down just a bit further, 9mm is, on average, a bit better penetrator, and .45 ACP will, on average, cause somewhat bigger wounds on less protected targets. 9mm lets you carry more rounds at the same weight, which is important for militaries seeking a “force multiplier” and is never less than useful, but is not always the most important concern for a civilian using the handgun in a self-defense capacity. Many of the best firearms are now available in both 9mm and .45 ACP variants, so platform is not always determinant either.

    .357 SIG is technologically superior to 9mm Parabellum (as we would expect, being much newer) and will likely supplant it some day. Right now, it is expensive, but is by far the most ballistically consistent handgun round available. .40 S&W, on the other hand, suffers from a much higher rate of case failure than the other options discussed here, and should be avoided.

    “Shoot whatever pleases you” is not really a recommendation, but it is what people will do anyway. Individuals should practice as described in the article, explore their accuracy, recoil tolerance, etc., and draw informed conclusions as to which caliber is working best for them.

    I like .44 Special myself ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡° )

    1. @J You hit the nail on the head! After owning 7 different handgun calibers, I tried someones .357 SIG, and it was superior to all others in pretty much every way. If cost comes down, they will become insanely popular.

  4. I prefer a 1911 MEUSOC type pistol in 45 acp carried in a level 2 retention holster carrying 9 rounds condition one. The reason is that I have decided, based on my own experience, that if I am in a self-defense engagement its likely going to take place within hand to hand distances.

    Therefore I physically train to defend myself hand to hand as the primary self defense. Locking the 1911 into a level 2 retention holster assures that I do not have to think about or maneuver myself to prevent a gun grab. I can focus my full attention on the attacker and controlling their movement. If the attacker deploys a deadly weapon I train to draw my 1911 and defend myself at close quarters. My real life experience is this does not require any of what a 9mm pistol has to offer as discussed in this article.

  5. In actual shootings, all 3, 45 ACP, 40 S&W and 9mm have all done equally well at stopping bad guys. The small percentage difference is too insignificant to matter. There is no perfect bullets or calibers and anyone that thinks so is naive at best. I carry the “Baby Glock” model 26 and I don’t ponder a single thought of being outgunned. The great about lots of different guns and calibers is a person has lots to choose from. As I always, whatever spins your prop. Carry what makes you warm and fuzzy and leave it at that.
    Best wishes and stay safe everyone!

  6. .40 cal has more density for the size and was designed to punch hard. I was un biest for a long time until i had em all at the range .45 9mm .40. The .40 out performed everything with a bunch of different impact points. Lol honestly it tore things up. Not a big fan of .45. It s to wide for the speed it moves at- belongs in a revolver with more powder. 9mm and the shovey ftfive:) don t maximize the potential of this general size of firearm. If a person has a little common grasp on physics they d realize the .40 performance is more well rounded and can be loaded for various situations. Please dont ask me to post ” my sources” go shoot em all somehow and give thought to bullet shape, size and velocities. It really is common sense that it would perform better.

  7. Having both a XDm 9mm, with a 3.8″ barrel, holds 20 rounds and an full size, XD 5″ Service pistol that holds 12, I’ve shot both many times. The 40Cal does have more knock down power, but is harder to get back on target for double taps, etc., and can be quite “snappy.” The 9MM is sort of sneaky, IMO. It has less kinetic energy/FT LBS. than the 40Cal, but if you use a +p or +p+ load, the velocity is amazing in the 9MM! The extra velocity makes up for having a bit less energy and creates for hydrostatic wound capability. So in a defensive situation, for me, it’s a toss up. Pick a great load for the 9MM, Golden Sabers, and you have a really great gun. BTW, depending on the load, the 9MM 115gr. can have more energy at 10-20 yards than a 147gr. I do a lot of research on my defensive loads!! This, again, is due to the considerably higher velocities reached by a +p 115gr load. I carry the 3.8″ XDm 9MM daily. I live in AZ, so it’s legal here for concealed carry.

    1. Amen brother! I have the XD mod.2 9mm 3.8inch barrel 16+1 and I LOVE IT! Am currently testing different ammo to find what’s best for my self defense wants. God bless!

  8. Such a challenging question. I’m not a tester but user. Leo since 1984. Started two agencies with 357 Mag wheel guns. Converted to 9mm with the first as department changed. Being pc for the time, press was an issue, so we went from softnose 357 to Silvertip 9mm. Two ends of the spectrum. By the time they figured the fools erand with an expanding alumni mum bullet, I was back to 357 Mag in another agency. Then we had the 155 grain 40cal built just for us and they had to retool the berretta and give it a new designation the 96D. Changed agencies and learned to love the 357sig/p229 combo. Yep, they are sure to stop before exiting the skin of an aluminum aircraft. Back to second agency to usher in the H&K P2000 again modified for our 155 grain super duper hot 40. So twilight of career and they switched us to 180 grain 40, new design, with equal to or better balistics (plus the blue third can keep more folks qualified because they didn’t transition from the 9mm with ease, that recoil you spoke of, they made another special round 135 grain 40 -soft recoil- just for them.) And now we only have to buy one bullet weight and the guns last longer than they did with the hot 155/40. I agree with you, have guns that can perform with what works best for you, but in your goody bag have the parts so when , and if..wink…wink.., you can use the bullets to be found in the future less than optimal conditions. After all, till then hopefully all we will be doing is training for those times. Have a blessed day. May the Lord come before those times are upon us. Till then, get prepared.

    1. @ Ed McRight.

      Consider the .960 Rowland instead, A 9x23mm +P “Wildcat” Round with 38,500psi Bore Pressure. And 1,440ft/sec with 4.25-inch Barrel and 1,600ft/sec with 6-inch Barrel…

  9. I say shoot what you are comfortable with, There is not a whole lot of difference, But to say the 40 or 45 is inferior to a 9 is just wishful thinking you can see in all the ballistic gel test when hit with a 40 or 45 the whole thing jumps not so with the 9 penetration it does all right if using +p+P or what ever, Then they say the 40 is hard on a gun, I happen to like my 5 shot 4.25″ SP 101 I do not feel undergunned at all and do not need 17 rnds to get the job done, In a real world gun fight if you shoot 17 times YOU are probably going to be in real trouble anyway Its very important to make your shots count, YOU are responsible for each round coming out of that weapon, And the fact a 9 is king is laughable, Most shoot a 9 better because of the lack of recoil PLAIN AND SIMPLE, A 8 or 9 round pistol in 22 mag to the face is deadly also all hail the 22 mag????

  10. Thanks to contributors … Me? Sig P938 9mm w/ Houge rubber pistol grip and extended 7 round mag. Easy to conceal carry. Not to big or small, lightweight and $11 / 50 rounds for range is cheap! Carry w/ +P Remington BLACK BELT 124 Gr. Speed, accuracy, lightweight and concealable. Cocked and locked, 8 rounds. Not the weapon of choice for less ‘common sensical’ gun tote’rs’ or more fragile (older) men/women. She totes a S&W Bodyguard 38 cal. Revolver. Only two options to consider; laser or trigger. Double action with no hammer or safety. It’s plain and simple for someone not mechanical.

  11. So, what do you think of deer hunting, close range (inside 100 yards) with 40 ccal 180gr jhp?
    With our new carbines selling like hot cakes I had to try it…and love it!

  12. say what you want about the 9mm &.40 cal being the king of handguns,My every day carry of my S&W.500 or my DE.50 are my king of handguns.

    1. My every day carry of my S&W.500 or my DE.50 are my king of handguns.

      So Kennith, print much?

      Concealed carry assumes the “concealed” part.

  13. @ ss1.

    An easy comparison is, the next time you Look At An Old Tubular Metal Bicycle. The Mil-Spec. Barrel is made of the SAME METAL, AISI/SAE 4140 or AISI/SAE 4150 Steel…

  14. I made an earlier comment voicing my choice of calibers as 9×19 NATO. I would like to somewhat amend that choice and introduce a “new” caliber to the discussion. It is the TOKAREV 7.62×25 86GR FMJ round. Faster than the 9mm, at 1400-1600 fps, it is a devastating round…The only reason I could see for the Soviets to stop production in favor of the Makarov is that there were a lotta through-and-throughs with the 7.62×25 round.

    Anyone else like this round. (I have 2 TOKs and am looking for more – primarily Russian and Chinese manufactured pistols.)

  15. It’s called the PTR 91, and it’s a .308 with a 20 round clip?
    OK, the clip that loads the magazine holds 20 rounds, but how many rounds does the magazine hold?

    1. @Archangel:

      MAGAZINE….no clip. I made a grammatical error while drinking last night. I’m surprised I wrote the rest so well.

    2. As long as it aint one of those “30 rounds per second magazine clips” as once you fire them I hear ya gotta throw them away.

    3. @ Archangel.

      Depend’s on you Ammunition Choice? if using 6.5 Creedmoor instead of .308 Winchester. Then ~23 rounds.

  16. The thing is that the 9mm just not loaded as hot as the 10mm (as in .38 made into the 38 special or 357 magnum) and even now the 10mm seems like it was downloaded from previous loads.
    The .380 is nothing but a 9mm short, so take it the other way.
    I bet everyone who talks trash about the 9mm not being enough would not like being shot with even a .380.

    1. @ Arhangel.

      Why not Swap Out the 9×19 Parabellum, for the .960 Rowland 9×23 +P+ instead, A .357 Magnum Punch…

    2. @ Archangel.

      Where the .960 came from is beyond me, most likely a Manufacturer’s Reference Code. but the .960 Rowland was specifically designed for the Luger Pistol or Barrel. It’s a “Wildcat Plus”, but can be used with either the Glock 17 or 19 But with a Kit Modification to the Barrel. A 0.3560-caliber (9.0424×23) Cartridge, carries a ~20.3622% greater Propellant Charge as compared with the .3543-caliber (9×19) Parabellum.

      There’s also a .460 Rowland (11.5×24.3) which a Substitution for the .45ACP (11.43×22.8) Cartridge too. But be Warned, the .460 is rated as an “Extreme Wildcat”, Barrel Bore Pressures are 40,000psi compared to the .45ACP’s 21,000psi. It was designed for the Colt M1911 Military Grade Barrel, NOT the Civilian Grade Barrel or Mil-Spec Barrel. it’s a “Semtex-H with an extremely short fuse”. Sorry it took so long to get answered, but first message did go through for some reason…

    3. DAMN, there really is a 960 Rowland!
      So much for being cheeky!
      I guess the 9 stands for 9mm and the 60 as in reference to the 460 Rowland.

  17. WHen I am forced to conceal carry a weapon, I carry a Springfield 9MM Mod.2 with 17+1 +P Winchester JHP rounds. All other times I carry a SAR K2 .45ACP 14+1 +P JHPs on my side. The SAR K2 is a tack driver and far more accurate than any of my 9MM pea shooters.

  18. ~ Universal Translator.

    the .45ACP (11.4554×32.4mm) “Dum Dum”, doesn’t care weather you speak Spanish, Russian, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Any Other Language. IT ONLY SPEAK’S ONE, And those people Who are “Language Challenged” HEAR THE SAME THING “GET THE HELL OUT”. Or any the “METAPHOR” They can think of…

  19. As far as a 9mm not fitting a larger caliber, I have two 1911’s.
    They are made by different manufacturers, one in 9mm, and one mil-spec .45acp.
    Everything on both guns will swap and fit properly except for the beaver tail grip safety on the 9mm fitting the frame of the mil-spec .45acp.
    The slides would swap but the internal parts were caliber specific, like the firing pin, extractor and what not.
    I spent a few hours swapping parts around, measuring and comparing.
    As far as I can tell and measure, the only difference in the frames is the feed ramp shape on the 9mm is a little smaller than the .45acp.

  20. The best caliber to chose depends, I think, on the stipulations. For the military, who is required to use full metal jacket ammunition, the .45 ACP is perhaps a better choice because these users may not use advanced hollow point, expanding ammunition. The 9mm Luger ammunition they are required to use is not much different than what many users call target, or range ammunition. Making it more powerful just gives a bullet that will more likely pass through the target. Here a slow moving, heavy, large diameter slug (the .45 ACP) is superior.

    For the rest, including police and citizens needing a self defense round, other calibers, with advanced bullet designs are worthy contenders.

    1. The .45 ACP has standard velocity of about 850 fps. Thta is too slow to allow expanding ammunition (hollow points) to reliably expand creating the stopping power of hydrostaic shock.

      So to make the ,45 ACP fast enough to expand the bullet weight is dropped significantly from the standard 230 gr to as low as 120 grains.

      If all you can use in FMJ like the military than the .45 ACP might have the edge over the 9mm in FMJ. That is except in the number of shots the pistol can fire. A 92F holds 15 rounds of 9mm. That may ‘tip the balance’ in favor of even the 9mm FMJ in firefight (over .45 acp FMJ )

      But with modern expanding ammo and the increased number of rounds and the terminal ballistics of a 9mm JHP ,and faster recovery time the 9mm JHP has the edge over the 1911 in ,45 ACP even using JHP too.

      Expanding ammo does not always expand by the way (for example when clothing or leather fill and plug of the hollow point).

      It is not the bullet ‘getting larger in diameter that contributes to greater stopping power. It is the hydrostatic shock wave that is propagated by the mushrooming round that makes it better man stopper. THis shock wave can explode water laden organs like kidneys and such even though the bullet never actually touches those organs,

      The .40 SW was just out when I was took a contract to do ballistic comparison of many commercially available;e hand fun rounds, The .40 SW was impressive though in gelatin and the few street shooting I had all the forensics on, But at that time the sample space was just too small for .40SW shootings.

      If the recoil and recovery time are not a problem for you, and some large people it might not be, then the 40SW bests the ,45ACP by a significant margin stopping power wise.

      In general though caliber is not as significant as most people think in stopping an assailant. Regardless of caliber if the slug does not hit the left ventricle of (1) the heart or (2) the slug does not enter the brain case, then there is no medical reason the attacker can not return fire on you even if mortally wounded.

  21. Lol, one never has enough guns, whole in viet Nam I seen first hand what a 9mm can do, but I also saw what a 45will do that’s Why i said good luck with the 9.some say it’s a matter of prefrence they have all these magic bullets now and I still say good luck with the 9 what ever makes you happy. The 10mm is so much better of a cartrige. Not sure Why not more feed back on the 10, they have magic bullets for you gun too!!

    1. @Robert:

      I agree with you. I do not feel safe with a 9mm, and I can’t believe why a 10mm (a real 10mm, not the watered down version) is hardly even a part of the conversation on this forum. My 10mm is always with me at home and in my SUV.

      But I own a 9mm Hi-point carbine, bought for a specific purpose. However, I’m kinda kicking myself right now that I didn’t buy the 45ACP Hi-Point carbine, and I may buy one and sell the 9mm.

    2. I have a Hi-Point 995 also. I really like the gun. I bought mine used at an auction pretty cheap. I am now considering one in 45. I’m not saying they are the greatest pistol cal carbine made but they are reliable. I’ve got many 100’s rounds thru mine without a problem. And they are inexpensive. By the way I carry 9mm. I have been considering switching up to a higher cal., not because I think the 9 is too small, but because I can. A reason to buy new guns.

    3. @ ss1.

      Sam, Try the 9×25.1mm/Dillon in the 10-mil, NOT meant to be used in the 9-mil. A “Wildcat” round. SEC…

    4. @Secundius:

      Thanks for contacting me today on an older post.

      These days I’m very comfortable with my 9mm Hi-Point Carbine because it serves a good purpose. It can do effortless shots into a very tight circle when I’m standing up, at 50 yards. A 9mm pistol cannot do that. If there is ever a time when I need pinpoint accuracy and I don’t want to use a rifle round because of collateral damage, this is my gun. It is in my SUV 24/7. It is pre-loaded with the safety on. Just this past week I switched from +P 124gr Underwood JHP’s to Fiocchi 115gr JHP normal loads, just to make it that much smoother.

      Also since my post here in June, I purchased a 9mm S&W M&P Shield, to upgrade from my Ruger .380 pocket pistol.

      So my feelings for 9mm have changed. But I still have my Glock 10mm full size in the console of my SUV, and I have my Glock compact 10mm in the drawer under the desk where I’m typing in my home office.

      I like that you recommend interesting guns and calibers from time to time. Right now, this week, almost all of my focus is on a unique assault rifle that I didn’t even know existed until last week. It’s called the PTR 91, and it’s a .308 with a 20 round clip that has the flexibility and reliability of an AK and the accuracy of an AR. At first I was excited about a similar rifle (patterned after H&K) offered by Century Arms. But my research found that the Century Arms offering was like rolling the dice on quality control, and not very accurate, and the PTR Industries offerings (on the H&K design) were very solid and serious and accurate.

      Check out the PTR Industries website. I have my eye on the PTR G.I. R model, which is entry level but still much more accurate than an AK per a technical expert I talked to at PTR Industries. I’m trying to sell my Ruger Super Redhawk 44 magnum on BackPage, and as soon as it sells, I’m buying the PTR 91 G.I. R. I’m an extremely compulsive buyer, so I may have to do a big price drop on the Ruger 44 to get what I want (I mean what I crave, LOL).

      Please check out the PTR Industries website. I would like your opinion on what you see. They have many models.

      Have a good night!!

    5. @Secundius:

      The “PTR G.I. R” has an OD green polymer stock. I’m focusing on it because it’s only $854 at Atlantic Firearms, and because the PTR expert told me the accuracy is very good in terms of groupings at 100 yards. It has a 18″ match grade tapered barrel.

      The more expensive “PTR 91 FR” has a 18″ match grade BULL barrel, and gets even tighter groupings according to the company expert.

    6. @ ss1.

      Hey Sam, First Post didn’t Take, so sending you another. Saw your comment about a Longer Barrel for a C93 in 5.56×45? Found a Match Grade Barrel of ~26-inches in length, IF Your Still Interested. About $499.99 USD. SEC…

    7. @Secundius:

      After doing research and reading reviews, I am no longer interested in Century Arms C93 or C308. The PTR91 is manufactured much better and has better MOA groups.

      Then something else happened just yesterday at the range. My DPMS LRS 308 (Gen1) AR-10, with 16″ barrel, slightly outperformed my Savage 10T bolt action with 24″ bull barrel at 200 yards. I put them head to head against each other with Federal XM80C FMJ 149gr ammo.

      I decided to keep my AR-10, and I’m really wondering why I need a very heavy 24″ bolt action rifle if it can’t even shoot a tighter group than an AR-10 at 200 yards. The Savage 10T has a bipod and the scope crosshairs were virtually still and unwavering every time I softly pulled the super smooth trigger. So I was expecting a tighter group. On the other hand, my AR-10 has no bipod, and I was just posting up the vertical grip handle with my hand on top of a sand bag.

      Both weapons, the Savage and the DPMS would have hit a human or animal target with every shot I fired yesterday.

      Regarding the PTR91, I’m still very excited about it, but I have to sell at least 1 gun, maybe 2, before I buy it. Money is tighter for me now.

    8. @ ss1.

      Hey Sam, Definitely KEEP the PTR-91F and the AR-10.

      The DPMS LRS-308 and the Savage 10T. If there AISI/SAE 4140 Annealed Cold Forged Chromium-Molybdenum (40%) Carbon Steel or AISA’SAE 4150 Hot Rolled (Resulfurized) Chromium Alloy (48%) Carbon Steel Barrels. It means they have a LOW “Carbon” rating in the barrel, also Mil-Spec. Can have an effect on Accuracy depending on Ambient Air Temperature at an Outside Shoot Range. Heat will Cause to Barrels to “Droop”, as much as 0.075-inches in deflection of a given shot. The “4140” is rated at ~+800F and the “4150” is rated at ~+1,100F, before the Barrels will “Burst”.

      Bolt-Actions, are an acquired TASTE among Shooters. I’M a Bolt-Action Person! If you ever “CHANGE” your Barrels, see about getting “Arisaka” Barrels. NOBODY has ever Burst an Arisaka Made Barrel, the last person that tried was P.O. Ackley (of Ammunition Fame) in 1946. Before his Testing Equipment Failed at 120,000psi. Their Expensive, but WELL Worth the Price. Carbon exceeds 93%. I know SAM, Sensory OVERLOAD, Too much Information! But that’s the type of person that I AM. SEC…

    9. @Secundius:

      I also get accused of too much information at times, so it’s OK.

      Speaking only about my Savage 10T bolt action today, I thought that a 24″ thick bull barrel is supposed to command accuracy. Maybe I need to be shooting 168gr boattails to see the real performance it can put out? But then those are heavier bullets that will drop more at longer ranges. Any comments on that?

      The 10T stands for 10″ twist. I thought that was supposed to be good too, but maybe it takes the correct bullet to perform well?

      I didn’t realize that match grade barrels had a tougher/harder steel grade. Maybe if I get super serious about bolt actions, I may have to go that route some day.

    10. @ ss1.

      Hey Sam. Steels vary, there’s “Wilkinson” Steel, “Krupp” Steel, “Vickers” Steel, “Arisaka” Steel, etc. Currently Arisaka Steel is the Best on the Planet, they use it to make Samurai Swords. And anyone with a “REAL” Samurai Sword, will tell there’s NOTHING BETTER. But that might Change Soon, because South Korean Company “Posco” Has Developed, probably the TOUGHEST Steel Ever Produced, just recently. Three Times the Strength of Titanium at 1/3 the Cost. No Name For It Yet, but right now it’s called “Ti5Al5V5Mo3Cr” Steel. Nobody is quite sure weather they (Posco) plans to use it Barrel Making at this time. USS Steel is Owned by Posco.

      The TOP Barrel Makers in the USA, are from BEST to Least Best: Broughton, Schneider, Shlen, Rock Creek, Benchmark, Brux, Kreiger, and Bartlein. These ARE NOT from Best to Worst, BUT the TOP BEST from #1 to #8 in the USA. Don’t “Confuse” Mil-Spec. with Mil-Std. “Mil-Spec.” meet’s the Bare Minimum of Mil-Std. A AISI/SAE 4140 or a AISI/SAE 4150 are “Good” Mil-Spec. Barrels, but there FAR from being the Best. A Top of the Line Mil-Spec. is AISI/SAE4340.

      “Arisaka” Steel ranges from AISI/SAE 1075 to AISI/SAE 1095. The Type 38 and Type 99 were both a AISI/SAE 1090 Carbon Stainless Steel with a 93% Carbon Rating. An AISI/SAE 1095, is 95% or Greater Carbon Rating. Keep in Mind “Price” and “Wait” Time when choosing a Barrel. Some Specialized Barrel Company have a Much as a YEAR wait time, before you get your barrel. SEC…

    11. @Secundius:

      Thanks for introducing me to barrel technology. Some day when I decide to go this way in my gun hobby, your write-up will be here because I flagged it in my inbox, and because these CTD articles seem to last a long time.

    12. @ ss1.

      Hey Sam, Tell Me About It. I’ve “Barely” Scratch the Surface in Reading some of the “The Shooter’s Log” Articles. At the Rate I’m Reading Them, It’s going to take at least 5-years to read the One’s I Know About. And 10-years to read the One’s I DON’T Know About, If CTD doesn’t Bury Me with NEW ONE’S FIRST. SEC…

  22. I just love seeing this argument: “Since then, technological advances in bullet design and propellants have transformed the 9mm into a much more powerful pill than in the past.” So, what you are saying is that zero manufacturers have improved the .45 or .40 and ONLY, exclusively updated the 9mm. Bull ! The .45 and .40 have also seen these technological improvements and now the bar has been raised and the 9mm still lags.

    1. I have all three calibers I prefer the S&W .40 because it combines the knockdown power of a heavy bullet with moderate recoil to the faster 9MM with less stopping power.

      Recoil is not an issue as I have no problem handling any large caliber magnum pistol.

      The problem with the 9MM is you need to be precise with that first shot because any follow up shots are at a moving target that will more than likely be shooting back at you and you won’t have the ideal scenario for self defense.

      One shot from a larger caliber (in my experience) usually puts the assailant down lessening the chance that he will shoot you!!!

    2. I agree with your comment regarding larger caliber bullets, although I have no way of knowing how much experience you have putting down assailants with smaller and larger calibers in order to gain your perspective.

      My outlook is that the .40 is a caliber that really has no role. It’s this in between round that is a little bigger than a 9mm, and a little smaller than a .45. I carry a .45 because I can handle it and want the power, and my wife loves her Beretta 9mm because it’s more comfortable for her to shoot. Neither of us even consider a .380.

  23. .40 for me. happy medium and I can handle the snap recoil. The key words in this are “for me” all the calibers are good. Like the OP said… “shoot what you can shoot well.” Thanks to all the commentators here for being out there to help protect all of us.

  24. I just bought a Sar K2 in 45 acp for concealed carry. That may seem an unlikely choice but it will be carried on my power wheelchair. The Sar carries enough ammo to resolve nearly any social situation. Loaded with Glaser Safety Slugs or something equally nasty it should be more than adequate.

  25. I have fired all of the above. the new 357 Automatic is very accurate at 75 feet, 9mm is OK, but I still prefer my 1911A1 Springfield for shooting and self defense. I have no problem with the weight or recoil and the 230 grain bullet has great stopping power.

  26. Look at the Strasbourg Study. The 9mm incapacitated the test subjects (approximately 160 pound goats) as quickly as 4.72 seconds. Only 4/100 of a second slower than the mighty 45 cal. One round used for the 9 was only a 60gr. The shock factor of the higher velocity smaller round worked well. If anything, look at the data that took over a year to produce. Pretty neat.

  27. I remember finding out the army had been using 9mm, which begs, in combat .357 sig should be the minimum in a COMBAT situation. Now for us in the civilian environment, I have no problem with a 9mm or recommending said caliber. Even a 380 acp or a 22mag has its place. The best caliber for carry is one you can shoot on target through an entire mag. And yes, even a 22lr can be effective. I have used 45acp,9mm,22mag,380acp and a 38 special for carry at various times, I am confident in all of them, but I do notice I carry the 9mm more and I only got “converted” 7yrs ago, I’m an old 45 man.

    1. I love my Springfield Armory XD Compact .45 ACP. 11 or 14 rounds. It’s my carry choice. I also have a Glock model 19 and a .380 that carry on occasion. The .45 ACP has plenty of knock down power is accurate, comfortable to carry and you can always get ammo for it.

  28. I just want to say thank you to everybody. All your comments are food for thought, and it is by listening and evaluating each other’s comments that we learn. This is a great forum and you can believe when I say that I read everyone’s comments and asses them all in order to learn and progress as a person who carries and is willing to use a gun to defend innocent people from criminals and terrorists,

  29. “In all my years, I’ve never heard such a fantastic….LOAD OF TRIPE”- Chicken Run
    Seriously?! Are you a ballistics expert with decades of experience utilizing the latest in ballistic measuring devices? Or the survivor of numerous engagements using a variety of calibers?!
    No.
    You’re a writer with an opinion.
    And obviously biased opinion!
    You even state that you decided not to give other ammunition a chance, deciding to stick with the 9 mm and just buy new barrels.
    But the main issue that I draw with this article is the fact that you’re not even trying to be objective in your assessments. You talk up the benefits of the 9 mm and attempt to push aside it shortcomings by complaining that ballistics information was from “years ago”, yet you have no problem pointing out the shortcomings of other calibers and their respective platforms.
    9 mm is King? Maybe in your world where you were fused to give any other calibers a chance.
    But in this world, the one the rest of us call reality, The opinions of one gun writer with a biased view do not equate to the be-all end-all.

    1. He’s a writer. He’s allowed to have an opinion, and he’s allowed to write about it. Maybe you don’t agree. You have that right. You also have the right to voice your opinion. You don’t have to be so nasty about it though.

  30. The great debate? For me its not in the velocity or muzzle energy or any real ballistic argument. It’s simply what I shoot best. I previously owned a Glock 23. I absolutely loved this gun. But as time went on it wasn’t kind to me. I have bulged discs in my neck and have had three lumbar spine surgeries. The .40 S&W simply caused a lot of pain to shoot. I “flinched” and jerked the trigger almost every time. My wife has a 908 Smith in 9mm. I was in love. I could shoot without pain which equated to more accuracy. I could hit follow up shots and even double taps easily. The best part, no pain. When I looked into the 9mm ammo offerings I was also impressed. I could carry a viable self defense weapon that both offered great accuracy (even in my hands) as well as adequate power. Given today’s ammunition I dont feel like I traded down to a 9mm I feel like I found the perfect caliber for my needs. After all, why have a gun that is not affective for me to use and risk my life on my less optimal performance? I would rather have a caliber I shoot well and feel absolutely confident in my performance.

  31. I find the gun I carry most is a Colt Python in .357 mag. I carry it because it fits my hands well, I’ve killed deer at 50-65 yards with iron sights, and follow up might be slow but the accuracy compared to most automatics evens it up quite a bit. Second go to is my 1911 in .45 ACP, nothing fits me better in an automatic than a 1911 I just prefer them over most anything. I’m a big guy, I shoot a lot, and I have large hands, which I’m sure has a lot to do with these choices. IMO choose the largest caliber you can reliably shoot without much fatigue, then you have a winner.

  32. The 9mm origin or the 45 call begining are less important than the performance of the round. I’m still a believer in the 38 super. The popularity of the round has been scooped up by th 357 sig. They may both go the way of the go one bird.

  33. The 9MM 9×19 cartridge is a German cartridge invented by Georg Luger, but it was in use before WW1 so its deployment predates the “Nazi” or Nationalist Socialist Party (aka Nationalist Socialist Progressive Political Movement) by almost 20 years.

  34. “Shot placement is an important, and often cited, consideration regarding the suitability of weapons and ammunition. However, considerations of caliber are equally important and cannot be ignored. For example, a bullet through the central nervous system with any caliber of ammunition is likely to be immediately incapacitating. Even a .22 rimfire penetrating the brain will cause immediate incapacitation in most cases. Obviously, this does not mean the law enforcement agency should issue .22 rimfires and train for head shots as the primary target. The realities of shooting incidents prohibit such a solution.

    Few, if any, shooting incidents will present the officer with an opportunity to take a careful, precisely aimed shot at the subject’s head. Rather, shootings are characterized by their sudden, unexpected occurrence; by rapid and unpredictable movement of both officer and adversary; by limited and partial target opportunities; by poor light and unforeseen obstacles; and by the life or death stress of sudden, close, personal violence. Training is quite properly oriented towards “center of mass” shooting. That is to say, the officer is trained to shoot at the center of whatever is presented for a target. Proper shot placement is a hit in the center of that part of the adversary which is presented, regardless of anatomy or angle.

    A review of law enforcement shootings clearly suggests that regardless of the number of rounds fired in a shooting, most of the time only one or two solid torso hits on the adversary can be expected. This expectation is realistic because of the nature of shooting incidents and the extreme difficulty of shooting a handgun with precision under such dire conditions. The probability of multiple hits with a handgun is not high. Experienced officers implicitly recognize that fact, and when potential violence is reasonably anticipated, their preparations are characterized by obtaining as many shoulder weapons as possible. Since most shootings are not anticipated, the officer involved cannot be prepared in advance with heavier armament. As a corollary tactical principle, no law enforcement officer should ever plan to meet an expected attack armed only with a handgun.”

    “In order to predict the likelihood of incapacitation with any handgun round, an understanding of the mechanics of wounding is necessary. There are four components of projectile wounding. Not all of these components relate to incapacitation, but each of them must be considered. They are:

    (1) Penetration. The tissue through which the projectile passes, and which it disrupts or destroys.

    (2) Permanent Cavity. The volume of space once occupied by tissue that has been destroyed by the passage of the projectile. This is a function of penetration and the frontal area of the projectile. Quite simply, it is the hole left by the passage of the bullet.

    (3) Temporary Cavity. The expansion of the permanent cavity by stretching due to the transfer of kinetic energy during the projectile’s passage.

    (4) Fragmentation. Projectile pieces or secondary fragments of bone which are impelled outward from the permanent cavity and may sever muscle tissues, blood vessels, etc., apart from the permanent cavity. Fragmentation is not necessarily present in every projectile wound. It may, or may not, occur and can be considered a secondary effect.

    Projectiles incapacitate by damaging or destroying the central nervous system, or by causing lethal blood loss. To the extent the wound components cause or increase the effects of these two mechanisms, the likelihood of incapacitation increases. Because of the impracticality of training for head shots, this examination of handgun wounding relative to law enforcement use is focused upon torso wounds and the probable results.” (Source: http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf)

    Any well-placed round with good penetration, decent permanent cavity, and possibly fragmentation (the least likely to occur with handgun bullets) will do the job. Almost all modern bullets will meet these criteria…

  35. I have carried all of the above at one time or another either as a duty weapon or a CCW gun, and I keep coming back to the 1911 platform in .45acp just because it’s the most comfortable, and familiar to me.

    I have never felt that the 9mm was inferior to the .45, and for many years carried a Walther TPH in .22 lr as both a back up and CCW gun. Shot placement is KING.

    Although the average police encounter may be less than 4 rounds, in this day and age, in a personal protection situation you may be accosted by more than one adversary . . . more ammo on my person makes me warm and fuzzy, so I currently carry a 1911 with a 12 round mag, and a spare mag or 2 when I venture into the city.

    Lastly, I don’t believe in “Practice Ammo”. If you are going to bet your life on a handgun, practice with what you carry. Sure you can brag to your buds about your tight groups with your down loaded rounds, but it may be a completely different outcome with your chosen “self protection rounds”.

    YMMV, for me it’s one of my 1911’s and 230gr ball ammo

  36. Keep in mind that the 40S&W and 45ACP are AMERICAN cartridges and the 9×19 or 9mm Luger is the NAZI cartridge. The only reasons that the Luger round is more popular are cost and mag capacity.Per round hits on a man sized target are more effective with the 40 and 45.Be a patriot,buy a 40 or 45.Don’t be a Seig Heiler.

    1. The last box of 9mm ammo I bought, and it was a long time ago because I load my own, it had stamped right there on the box for everyone to see “Made in the USA. So, Seig Heil to you too.

  37. I’m an “Old Dog” who doesn’t learn new tricks easily BUT…… I carry an XDs .45 loaded with ATOMIC rounds. These rounds deliver a 185 grain JHP at 1,225 FPS muzzle velocity and 600 foot pounds of kinetic energy. This is the only high velocity ammo I’ve found that gives consistent accuracy out of my XDs’ 3.3″ barrel. I had to polish the ramp to increase feed reliability and I polished the action to slightly reduce follow-up shot timing. Tritium sights and 7 round extended mags finished out the improvements. I’m as satisfied and confident as I can be with a weapon for self-defense. I find the recoil is almost identical to my .40 and follow-up shots are quick and accurate.

    The magic advice: Continuously experiment with different guns and ammo. At the end of the day, USE WHATEVER WORKS BEST FOR YOU!

    Guys – Keep up the great work at CTD!!!

  38. Bang. Chunk of metal hits bad guy at high velocity. Squeeze and repeat.

    In 1993, a man I know was instantly paralyzed from the chest down during a robbery. He was shot in the SHOULDER with a single .22 round. It bounced around inside him for a couple of milliseconds before severing his spinal cord. The police told him if it had been a .357, it would have just torn through his shoulder instead.

    In 52 years of shooting, I have never purchased a so-called “self defense” round. EVERY round was a self defense round until the ammo manufacturers decided they could sell plutonium tipped, glow in the dark, chest bursting ammo. Regular ol’ ammo then became “good for target shooting and plinking” (a useless word).

    You can’t know the effect of an actual caliber until you’ve been shot with it. All the statistics and reports on the planet cannot come close to knowing firsthand. Ever hit your thumb with a hammer? Ever been in a high speed head-on collision? Ever been shot? If you haven’t (I have) get to know someone who has and get them to REALLY tell you what it’s like, not the movie version.

    p.s. I own several .45 ACPs, but my carry gun is a Ruger P95 in 9mm … “Like a tank in your hand”.

    1. My carry gun is an SR9C. Love it. Don’t leave home without it. I had a P95 before the SR9, but the grip was just a little big for comfort.

    2. …and Mec-Gar makes a seventeen (17) round magazine that is the same size as the original factory mag.

  39. So honestly I just recently had the same internal conflict, went out and grabbed an XD-S .45. Took it to the range and soon realized that even it being a small compact .45 the recoil vs. my Walther PPX 9mm was barely noticable. And it’s accuracy over 10 yards was dwarfed by the Walther. So here’s the question 7 .45 rds or 16 9mm? My accuracy is better with my 9mm. Eventually my choice was to leave the 9mm home for the wife with the AR’s. Any invader would be quickly deterred or quickly
    Incapacitated. The Springfield would be taken on the road with me when I felt carrying was necessary.

    But in all honesty I feel much more confident that if faced with a real life threat my life is safest with my Walter PPX 9mm in my hands.

    When it comes to handguns anyway…

    -Zach

  40. Ref the “FBI Shoot Out” referenced earlier and the 9mm – please remember that this is 2015, and not 1986. If you had been keeping up with bullet design, you would be aware that in 1986 there was no FBI standard for bullet penetration. Since that time (almost 20 years) every major ammunition manufacturer has developed 9mm loads that achieve and exceed the FBI’s penetration standard. It was clearly pointed out in the article that the 9mm (and other calibers) have vastly improved since that point. If you’re basing your criticism of the 9mm on the performance of a 1986 Winchester Silver Tip, you have failed to do your research.

  41. It all boils down to what one feels comfortable with, I’ve carried 45acp’s,.38spl +p,40s&w,9mm,.357mag, never giving a second thought as to which one would be the ultimate one shot ends all as I allways practiced a quick doubble tap to center of mass. I personally prefer a 45acp but For now my EDC is a Kahr CW 40.
    One should allways go with what they feel is best suited to their needs and what they are confident with and not the popular opinion of the moment.

  42. years ago i met a wwII vet, he told me he was shot 6 times by a german with a 9mm. the american pulled out his 45 and shot the german once. i realize shot placement is important,it seems less important when using a 45. i choose the 45 over 9mm. i do admit i no longer shoot 45 i upgraded to 10mm

  43. L just want to thank all my police officer friends and everybody out there involved in policing for doing what you do.I shoot bullseye for fun and can shoot the balls off a rabbit with a 45,but it is nothing compared to dealing with an armed felon.Bless you!

  44. Fred Jones pretty much sums it up. Shoot what you are comfortable with. My 44 mag wheel gun is a cannon to shoot but I’m comfortable with it and trust it because a wheel gun just does not fail (having an accurate 100 yard range deer killing capability doesn’t hurt either) . Trust is the issue. Shoot what you trust and are comfortable with. Get to know your gun. Accept what it can and cannot do. If it isn’t right, then change it to something that fits you and the purpose you have in mind.

    1. roger that !
      I love my .44 mdl 29 , smooth and fun to destroy 2 liter pop bottles full of water,,, (guess what the body mostly consists of !? lol)

      had to stop reading near the top, felt like the democrats forcing the benefits of affordable health care !!! geesh !

      but john, you nailed it on being comfortable ! 🙂

  45. Took a different but similar route. Started with a .357 revolver, but when I went to semi-auto, I started with a G21 in .45 ACP with and aftermarket slide and milled red-dot site. Recently I switched to a G20 in 10mm (traded straight up for the G21 and kept the aftermarket slide). So now I can shoot .45, 10mm, and .40 with a conversion barrel but I reload so I’ll probably just load 10mm brass to .40 pressures for practice… or so I thought.
    I recently bought a .22 conversion slide to teach my daughter to shoot. Know what? It’s darn fun and very cheap. 4 different calibers on the same platform… Gotta love Glock.

  46. As an avid shooter and a part time self-defense instructor (both armed and unarmed), I have always advocated “fondling” handguns to find one that fits the shooter’s hand and feels the most comfortable. Then, look for the caliber. I work with my students to find a caliber that they can shoot comfortably, whether that be a .380, a .9mm, a .40 S&W, a .45 ACP, or even larger.

    I have found that once the student has found a handgun that is comfortable for them to handle and a caliber that they can shoot accurately, they are much more inclined to go to the range to put a few rounds into a target.

    For me personally, I carry a full size 1911. I find that the 1911 fits my hand and I shoot it very well. It’s my personal preference.

    In the distant past, before I became an instructor, I was pulled into most caliber arguments. “The .45 has more knockdown power than the .9mm! Plus, the .9mm is such a fast round that it will punch little holes in your target!”

    Another instructor encouraged me to do my own research, and what I found surprised me. True, the .45 has more kinetic energy than the .9mm, it does move slower than the .9mm and usually leaves a much larger hole in your target. However, for most (non-gun) people, the .45 ACP round is too much for them after putting just 50-100 rounds down range. These same people usually have no problem putting many more rounds down range with a .9mm.

    What I teach, to any shooter, it shot placement. Start with the basics, then start adding speed to it. As the author points out, it’s all about shot placement. In the research I have done, it is very rare that there is a single shot fired into the target that stops the attack. More often than not, with adrenaline pumping, multiple shots are fired.

    Thank you, to the author, for this very insightful piece.

  47. Disappointed in this. I thought this was going to include some new science or technology rather than the same old personal opinion.

  48. I’ll stick with the old shooting standard: “Shoot the largest caliber handgun you are comfortable with.” I can shoot a .44 mag for a long time and with accuracy, but I can shoot indefinitely with my .41 mag and .40.

    1. So the gist is the 9mm is less expensive, less weight and could be shot using +p ammo( not cheap).And recoil is less because you will invariably have to shoot more than once becausevjt is aftersll a 9 mm.
      I have owned a Sig 9mm since 2003( replaced a barrel or two a spring here and there) and love to go to the range and kill and maim cardboard backed paper targets.
      I work as a jewelry courier and a Sig .40 cal p229 has never left my side while working. My legal back up is abSig p239 usually with a .40 cal barrel depending on the trip ….sometimes I use the .357 SIG if when we overnight in a city with a good range.
      To make a short story long…not convinced.
      If the weight difference between a loaded 9mm vs a loaded .45 tips one toward the 9mm…I’ll say no more. Nice article just don’t think it holds water. In my humble opinion of course, those that carry 9mm for self defense….more power to you.

  49. Mr. Dolbee should review the usage of “less” versus “fewer,” but overall there are good points made in this article.

    “Shoot whatever pleases you!”

    People are going to do this anyway, so if you’re going to advocate passionately for 9mm, go all the way with it.

    I think the points about reduced training costs and loaded weight are not brought up often enough. Additional points that some might consider important: the high percentage of case failures in .40, reduced effectiveness of .45 against body armor.

    1. The shortcomings identified after the Miami shootout were due to the ammunition in use at the time and not an inherent weakness in the 9mm caliber. The FBI itself has revisited its analysis in the last few years, and concluded that with modern hollow point ammunition the difference between the 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP has become largely irrelevant in practice.

      All will require multiple hits to reliably stop a threat, and so the FBI concluded that the 9mm is the better overall choice due to increased magazine capacity and faster follow-up shots due to less recoil.

  50. I shoot and carry a 1911 45acp RIA. I had a nice colt 1911 but had to sell it during the hard times.Both are great guns.
    Years ago I bought the first model glock that came to the U.S. I shot the snot out of it but didn’t really like it all that much. I sold it .

    Watch legally armed americas glock 21 vs RIA 1911 torture test.
    It will make any 1911 guy smile.

  51. I have used a 1911 in a gunfight. I have used a p226 in a gunfight. I have used a Model 29 in a gunfight.

    All three got the job done.

    I am convinced that in the triumvirate of shooter, weapon, and ammo…..it is the confluence of the three that allows one to walk away from a gunfight…….oh, and the Good Lord lookin’ over your shoulder!

    1. Well said. My similar experiences as a concealed carry handgun holder brought me to the same conclusion.

      “Amat Victoria Curam – “Victory Loves Care (Preparation)”

      Even if you are prepared and trained and with the right weapon, you can still miss even at 10 feet due to adrenaline and need the Good Lord’s help……

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayZ_Cn0E6Qs

    2. If so, then he effectively missed because when you make the decision to pull the trigger you keep shooting until either the threat has gone down or is no longer a threat. Fortunately for all parties, the Good Lord intervened and no one was hit.

    3. If you watch some of the related videos linked at the end, you can find a TV show clip about the incident that includes the officers involved discussing it with more detail. There’s a lot that happened out of sight of the dash cam.

      The officer withdrew to take cover behind the engine block (which is off-camera to the left), and at some point the shooter with body armor (already off-camera to the right) fled the scene on foot. A shooter who has fled the scene is no longer an imminent threat.

      Fortunately, both officers survived without serious injury (largely due to their own body armor) and both suspects were later apprehended and are currently serving long prison terms.

  52. Wow Chris, I happen to agree with you. I have ten shotguns. I only have one that I have absolute confidence in and it’s a puny 28 gauge that drops pheasants just by me knowing I am going to hit them every time with that little lightweight gun.

    Same with the hand gun. Can one instinctively hit what they are aiming at without really aiming? Yes if the gun fits and you have confidence in it. Think of it as a golf swing, it should not be something you think about. Muscle memory takes over with practice and the right flex in the club. When one finds what works best for them then all that is left is practice.

  53. I’ve said this before, although I learned on the 1911, carried one for twenty years, am comfortable in the extreme with the 45 ACP round, I have learned to really like the 9MM.
    Why? I bought a 1st gen. Glock 27 for concealed carry when they first came out as a concession from carrying my full size Springfield and Colt 1911s. Although not recoil sensitive, I found the trigger bite of the little Glock in 40 S&W a nuisance after a couple of magazines and the time to second shots increased. A couple of years ago I ordered a Lone Wolf stainless barrel in 9MM for the Glock 27 and have been amazed at the accuracy and ease of shooting.
    I can shoot both jacketed and lead, the increased weight of the thicker barrel helps with recoil and the trigger bite is gone. I find it more accurate than the stock Glock barrel in 40 S&W without the extra weight being enough to affect its carry comfort. With the right ammo, its as good a fight stopper as my 1911s, very accurate, smaller, lighter and holds more rounds. What’s not to like?

  54. I read your article and did come research. I looked up Underwood Ammo’s website for their best 9mm and .45 cartridge and found the difference in ft lbs to be 90 ft lbs in favor of the .45 at 592 ft lbs. So, you’re correct about the 9,.40, and .45. But, I’ve been carrying 10mm for that very reason as it is more effective than 9mm, .40, and .45. Their best ballistics for the 10mm was 806 ft lbs for 155 gr JHP at 1530 fps. The 10mm is unmatched by the other calibers. I find the recoil controllable and I can get quick double taps. I’m sticking with the 10mm.

    1. Mark in Dallas, I am with you in the 10mm. I carry a Colt Delta Elite 10mm. The only drawback is the cost and finding ammo. I used to have a Glock 20 but it started having problems so I sold it and acquired the Colt.

    2. Amen. I love the .45.
      However, it’s no match against the 10mm. I do shoot both. The 10mm trajectory is much flatter. I use Double Tap and Underwood ammo for my 10mm. Even at 100 yards, the 10mm has far more power than a .45 at the muzzle.

  55. You don’t have to choose either a 9mm OR a 1911, you can get a 1911 that shoots 9mm. RIA has several models of 9mm 1911s. You can also get 40, 10mm, or even 22 if you’re in to that sort of thing.

    1. Have we Totally given up on the 38 super. To me, the best of both worlds. Runs like a 9mm magnum. Less recoil than a 45 and hits like a bear. Bring this round back where it truly belongs.

    2. The best answer to that question is another question.

      What major manufacturer(s) are making a semi-auto pistol in that caliber?

      While certainly not worthless, revolvers have been largely left behind as a primary handgun for law enforcement or civilian carry.

    3. To expand on the above (since editing isn’t an option):

      While there are a handful of companies making a 1911 variant in 38 Super, there just isn’t the broad availability of firearms and ammunition like there is in 9mm/.40/.45. Whether the demand or supply dried up first is hard to say.

  56. We need to get over the shot placement comments. It’s old, it’s common sense and it’s understood, and it just makes for fill space. And I don’t need to keep reading about “shot placement.” What if all the car forums started off with “your brakes stop the car, so without proper foot placement you’re going to have to follow up with better foot placement. It’s not the size of your foot…it’s the +P muscles in your quads.” K, I digress, but it’s as irritating as getting the Kardashians thrown in your face every single day. LOL.

    Stick with the big bore stuff, people, and put these “self proclaimed expert opinions” to rest. There’s a reason the A10 Warthog (the world’s most awesome battle aircraft) uses a 30mm rotary cannon and not a 50 cal. machine gun. Bigger is deadlier. The FBI had their chance with the 10mm, but they became wussified like the rest of our society. And now the “experts” are trying to ‘prove’ that 9mm is as good as anything else, when we should know that 9mm is simply a path to easier qualifying in order to keep their jobs.

    1. @Chris.

      So true. There can be no logical argument against the fact that a bigger, nastier round does more damage than a small bore bullet. Otherwise, the police and military would use .22LR, and they don’t. All these people with their ballistics analysis based on muzzle velocity and terminal speed are up in the night. Shot placement, angel of entry, whether the bullet hits a bone on the way in, too many things to even cover affect the damage a bullet does on entry. A small bullet does less damage. Period.

    2. The correct way of framing the 9mm vs .45 debate in your analogy is to argue whether the .30 or .50 Browning machine gun is the better tank killer to put on the A10. The correct answer is “neither” – the 30mm cannon is vastly superior to both.

      Similarly, the correct answer to “what pistol caliber offers the best one-shot stop” is “none of them – you need a rifle for that”. Since it’s expected that multiple shots will be needed, the FBI decided it makes more sense to use the caliber that offers faster and more accurate follow-up shots.

    3. So by your logic, A10’s should be armed with .30 caliber rather than 30mm because the smaller caliber allows for faster multiple shots?

    4. I can’t tell whether you just didn’t read my post correctly or are being deliberately obtuse. To avoid confusion I’ll skip the analogy entirely.

      The FBI’s recent research showed that one-shot stops with common pistol-caliber rounds are simply a myth, and that improvements in hollow point design have made the difference between the calibers essentially negligible in practice. Therefore, it makes more sense to choose the caliber that offers higher magazine capacity and faster followup shots (9mm Luger).

    5. I’ll ignore your comment about being deliberately obtuse, since I neither do that nor do I allow myself to be drawn into debates that detract from the topic at hand.

      The argument that lot’s of small caliber hits are better than a few large caliber hits is ongoing and will go on forever. My statement was simply to reflect that, IMHO, it is better to score multiple hits with a large caliber handgun than multiple hits with a small caliber handgun. Yes, 9mm can and is effective, but with a 13+1 capacity, in the hands of a skilled shooter, multiple hits with a .45 are more effective than multiple hits with a 9mm, or as some on this discussion have tried to allude, with a .22LR.

      This is why, using your example, anti tank rotary barrel guns are 30mm rather than 5.56 or 7.62. You, along with everyone else, are free to use whatever you like, but for me, when I have the option, I will use a more powerful and larger handgun round that will do more damage, as opposed to a smaller handgun round.

      This changes when we are talking about rifle calibers at ranges under 400 yards. My preference in assault rifles is the M4 in 5.56. I’ve used both the M4 and the AK in actual combat, and I prefer the M4, but in terms of handgun rounds for personal sand family defense outside the home, I will go with a .45 because of the greater mass and shock. In the home, while i always have a .45 on my person, I actually prefer a 12 gauge. Having said all this, my wife carries a 9mm, and she is very effective with it.

    6. You’re certainly free to carry the caliber of your choosing, but your preference for a 12-gauge at home (where weight and concealment are not a concern) is very much in line with my point about caliber choices.

      The ideal caliber for stopping power is something in a rifle or shotgun – but since those are generally inconvenient to carry and difficult to conceal we opt for a handgun instead. Once you’ve stepped down to a major handgun caliber (9mm/.40/.45 or similar), you’ve lost so much stopping power that the difference between one caliber and another with modern hollow point ammunition is largely academic.

      This is why the FBI is going back to the 9mm while the military (which can’t use hollow points due to the Hague Convention) is considering going to a larger caliber handgun when they replace the M9.

    7. @Chris:

      I congratulate you for writing the most common sense post of this entire blog. The A10 Warthog analogy is excellent. And your comment about the FBI and 10mm is classic!!!! I love 10mm, and my 2 10mm’s (G20 and G29) are by my side every day and night.

      And your Kardashian comment is excellent as well. I feel the same. Let me put it this way. I don’t know what’s more annoying, seeing constant articles here glorifying the calibers I don’t like, or seeing Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on TV every day.

    8. Well said – thank you for posting. I think I will buy a glock .45 next. I have a 12 ga Wingmaster 870 and love that. Any thoughts on the Glock? One of my friends swears by them. And I agree – in the home, I prefer the shotgun. Will never fail.

    9. @Peter.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I have to confess that once Glocks were on the market, I wanted a Glock. The day I bought my Model 21 was one I’ll never forget. I am still impressed by the accuracy and ease of deployment of that same Glock 21. There are many .45 Glocks to choose from, and I am just the kind of guy who will always carry a full sized .45 if it is at possible. Try a few out and decide on which one you want. Glocks are smooth, reliable, and accurate. What more could you ask for?

      As for home defense, you and I are on the same page. The gun in the mount next to my side of the bed is a 12 gauge Saiga with a 10 shot magazine of 00 buck and a mounted light. The back-up on the night stand next to me is a Glock 21 with a mounted light and 13+1 HTP 230 gr HP ammo.

      But in the end, it is the gun you shoot best with that is the “right” gun for you. Choose your favorite and a couple of alternates, practice with them so that it is muscle memory to do what needs to be done, and then go our with confidence that exudes :”I am NOT a victim” to everyone who sees you.

  57. “Ensure whatever you choose to carry is truly the best choice based on your own testing, experience and capability, and not simply based on the rambling of an old gun writer…”

    Indeed, whatever you are comfortable and accurate with will perform for you better than the best gun built for hands other than yours.
    Personally, I’m an M1911 man, it fits my hand perfectly, I can shoot the tacks from the target (and have) and it’s right for me. It’s not right for many others and they have to find that which works for them.
    For, if you’re fumbling with a weapon that doesn’t rest well in your hand or you can’t hit the target, in time of emergency, you’re still defenseless.

  58. If u ever get into a shoot out, and u use a 9 MM stick your head between your knees and kiss it good bye. 9 MM are nice, but to protect myself and the ones I love I will always carry a Glock 45 cal Stopping power one shot one kill 9 MM one magazine one wounded mad dog. ( S.T.K. ) Shoot to Kill.

  59. When first introduced to the 9mm back in the Dark Ages (mid 1970’s) I had very little faith in the stopping power of just another .38…that’s why I opted for my .45 as my service and self-protection firearm…the S&W 9mm autos I tried didn’t feel good in my hand and weren’t all that dependable in the feed and fire department…we (in the police departments) were having to deal with activists from several “radical” organization on both sides of the racial debate and to top that off there was the problem with crazies hopped up in PCP and whatever else they could find to smoke, snort or inject…a 95 to 115 grain 9mm just didn’t give me much of a warm fuzzy feeling.
    In today’s world, with the goverment having switched over to the 9mm and more of our service members being exposed to it along with a vast number of police departments and the cartridge manufacturers seeing the need for more variety in bullet types and velocities, I’m becoming more willing to have my opinion changed…although it’s gonna take a lot of convincing for me to holster on something other than my Colt…!!!

  60. Thank you for your thoughts. Leaving it open for the shooter was the way to finish. I have been shooting sence I was 12, and 54 now. The caliber that you can handle (hit the target) best is the one for you to use. Today’s personal defense loads are made to do the most damage posable. Mr Dave is right, spend more time on the range.
    Thank you Dave, 9mm barrel on order for my Glock!

  61. A well placed .25 Caliber round will do as much internal damage bouncing around and shredding everything it touches. A .380ACP these days, with the right self-defense round, is as effective as the majoity of .9mm rounds on the market. .9mm rounds sail through a target readily where a .40 Caliber punches a large hole and transfers that energy into a massive wound cavity and lastly, a .45 Caliber round hits a target like a 5 pound sledge hammer at full force swing. Each round has a purpose. Each can kill. For that matter, a .22 short, long or long rifle can cause a fatality as well. The debate will continue. As for me, I would not chose to be the test subject for ANY of these rounds!

  62. Personally I would not crown the 9mm, because I believe it is a matter of preference. There have been issues raised on kinetic energy, and knock down. Effectiveness is based on range time and self defense training regardless whether it is a .22 short pistol, 380, 9mm, 40, 45, and etc. The amount of time practicing and firing will determine how effective you are in the time of need. I have the 380’s to be be popular with sales people, who deal with a diverse crowd of people, because it is easier to conceal and not really noticeable. Something to remember, when in the business world wearing casual attire, and dealing with people with a diverse thought on conceal carry.

  63. Another old man with biases, but as previously stated. I love both my 1911 45 and my S&W 9mm but I can definitely lay more lead in the chest with my 9mm. And let’s face it. That equates to me winning the fight. Hopefully

  64. The key words of the whole article; ” Shot placement is the most deadly consideration in a gunfight.” (DOJ) That being said, simply answer the following question logically: With proper shot placement, is a bigger wound channel more likely to stop the threat faster then a smaller wound channel? That puts the question to rest, period.

  65. I would not give up my 9mm. When I bought my first pistol, there were no .40 cal. There was typically only 9mm and .45 cal. I wanted something that was more controllable. I now have expanded my 9mm collection. I am in the Armored Transport industry, and have been for almost 30 years. Many of my co-workers carry a .40 cal., which seems to be the way to go today. I do not own a .40 cal, since it would be for range and self defense. As mentioned in the article, there is also a cost that goes with it. This cost dictates how often firearms owners go to a range to practice. I do very well with my 9mm on the range, and am very greatful I have never been put in the stressfull situation of self defense. I recently read an article that compared energy of certain rounds. Granted this one is a little apples and oranges, but a 124 gr. 9mm HP has the same as a 230gr .45 ball. Not sure on the distance, but would not wanted to argue with either. When asked by people that are considering purchasing their new handgun, I say almost the was line as the author. Shoot was please you. If you have the luxury of going to the range with someone that you can try their weapon, do so. Go to stores and find something that is in budget and most important, that fits your hand. Enjoy shooting and stay safe.

  66. Yes, different strokes for differerent folks. I love my new Springfield Mod.2 in 45 ACP. Having been shooting for years, this was an easy gun to become acquainted with. I have practiced extensively with, and have been become quite fast and accurate with it.

    However, when I grab my wife’s Mod.2 in 9mm right after I have been banging away with my 45 ACP version, the 9mm feels like a .22, with hardly any preceived recoil, and barely seems to move off target. I always say “Wow!” So, I still ask myself: Which do you want to carry?” No answer yet.

    1. I think drderek has a good point. I’d ask, what tool fits your evening or outdoor outing event best. Are you going to a quiet restaurant or a big outdoor event that has a mixed crown of people? Facing a gang lends me to want more magazine capacity giving one time to get out of Dodge. . Facing a bear – I’d prefer the biggest hole I can make and hope that I can run faster than you. (just kidding, I’d stick around and help kill the bear – hope you would too). There are different hammers for different nails. Drderek brings up probably the most important issue; – what are you comfortable with and do you have high confidence in that handgun you are shooting? Is it comfortable, reliable and accurate enough for your requirements? When you find the right one, marry it and get to know it well. You will be fine over time if you spend time getting to know your your new best friend. Works in life too.

  67. I enjoy this lively debate. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t think there is a best all around handgun. How many different hammers do you have in your shop; how many hammers do you need? Explain that one to your wife… I have about 50 different hammers that do different tasks. I find it much easier to shoot the HK UPS Compact than the Sig 239 .40, (both good concealed carry although large weapons) even when configured down to 9MM. (push back recoil of the 45 versus pop up recoil of the 9mm. Browning 9mm High Power has the capacity advantage over the HK .45. The author brings up an important point about reliability and longevity. These weapons aren’t cheap. The cam lock firearms seem to perform better and more reliably over many thousands of rounds than the link lock system of the 1911. Head space is also less of a concern and easier to fix on the cam lock guns. Don’t get mad at me – I love 1911’s too, it’s just a different type of hammer in your toolbox. It’s slim trim feel is attractive. It’s nostalgia and track record is unbeatable. But I’ll stick with what the Navy Seals prefer. Once it was the HK UPS now it’s the Sig 226 9mm 15 round). Their sidearm must function every time in some pretty rough gunky conditions including under water (I don’t recommend you try that). Choose wisely and don’t scrimp a few bucks on a compromise. I’d rather have a .25 mouse gun than no gun on a dark night in the bad part of town. Speaking of that, the Seecamp 380 is a good choice for minimum size and reasonably good security..

  68. Good article, and once again their are a lot of other opinions, I know for a fact that the new era of 9mm ammo is tons better than it was back in the eighty’s when the armed forces went to it, and I carry 9mm part of the year when warmer weather and dress makes it a better choice, but I also carry 45 acp, S.A. TRP, which is a first shot bulls eye gun, I doubt if I were to have to use this gun if attacked, that more than one shot would be needed, I also have a several 45 acp’s and one new one, the SA, XD MOD 2 in 45 acp, which I might fine myself carrying in warm weather just because this gun is so compact and shoots so well, so I guess I’m saying use the gun that you can handle the best and feels like part of you, when I shot in comp. I learned that becoming one with your gun was the key to being an accomplished shooter, the new ammo is also offered in most calibers today, 9/20/45, so you’re good to go with any of them….

  69. Like a lot of things different people will have different opinions as to “what is best.” I like my Honda VTX 1800, my neighbor likes his Harley Road King, and a friend swears by his Ducatti. Truth is they are all fine bikes and will do the job.
    Guns are no different and what makes or breaks the inherent value of any caliber is one’s ability to efficiently and effective ability to operate whatever choice one makes. There are exceptions though.
    I like the 9mm and have several but I’ve been around long enough to remember the FBI Miami Shootout that made the FBI seriously reconsider why they were using 9’s and seek a round with better stopping power. This led to the 10mm which was soon discarded for the .40 cal.
    I had a friend (retired) on a city police force who had to testify at a grand jury as to whe he felt the need to pump 12 rounds of 9mm into a man who was firing at him. His answer was “it took all 12 to stop him then I ran out of bullets or I would have fired more,”
    Chemical forensics would later show that the man had enough PCP in him to
    To knock out a horse. Hence the exception.
    Until a person’s heart or central nervous system is shut down they can keep firing back. Shock, drugs, and alcohol add to a person’s ability to keep going when in all reality they should have given up the fight.
    It’s great to be an exceptional shot, regardless of the caliber, at the range but paper targets don’t shoot back.
    Find a properly run “shoot house” where simulated pressure is induced with shoot, don’t shoot, were your shots effective and you’ll find a whole different ball game.

  70. I live in California, where magazines are limited to ten rounds. That somewhat minimizes the value of a double stack magazine, although +3 rounds is not to be sneezed at. My concealed carry permit does not allow any kind of modification in any carry firearm, so that eliminates any kind of switch barrel carry. Any kind of ballistic improvement for a given caliber bullet can be applied in the manufacture of any other caliber bullet. There is no such thing as a “one shot stop” caliber/bullet. I have personally witnessed men shot in combat, and not immediately be aware that they were wounded. I carried an M1911A1 most days of my life during over 24 years of military service. The M1911A1 is my primary concealed carry pistol.

  71. Model 70 Colt Commander in .45ACP with Remington +P 185gr JHP “Golden Saber”, or barreled in .38 SuperAuto shooting Remington +P 124gr. “Golden Saber”.
    The rounds feed consistently, and have sufficient size and velocity for penetration and energy transfer, and are relatively inexpensive.

  72. Enjoyed the thoughtful article.as a armed Officer, I carry one of four favorite duty guns, as whim carries me. A S/A Ultra V Compact in.45.
    A Taurus 99 AFS in 9 mm. A Ruger GP 100 in .357. And a Taurus 7 shot .38 cal. All Ported. I love each for their quality, and feel comfy in defending myself or someone else, with any of them. I have gone to Ballistic tip rounds, as I like the Increased velocity and ft #’s of impact. No gun is perfect for all who pick one up. Likeability and comfort are individual criterion. I like my .45 as it overcomes much of the vest b/s. Broken ribs and internal tissue damage have a lot going for it. My 9, holds 18, a comfort in a shoot out, and I like the “Dirty Harry” factor with the .38. The Ruger has a hell of a bang and is a Cadillac item. The Springfield .45 quality is a joy. My .38 is the gun I own that everyone who shoots it, immediately wants to buy it. I would suggest that my new Beretta .22 and High Standard Olympic .22 are fun, less expensive to shoot, but full load rounds at the range are better for keeping one duty ready to shoot.. My thoughts only, but I come from a shooting family, and have about 70 years of doing that. Be safe, shoot straight, keep it pointed row range and follow the Range Masters directions.

  73. This is one of those articles where I must smack myself in the face to make sure I’m reading this nonsense correctly. People complicate guns way to much. It’s actually very simple. There are pros and cons to every different caliber of firearm but the bottom line is the 40 or 45 caliber firearm will be more effective at dropping a target quickly and penetrating objects like a car door or windshield. Not to mention if you are buying the 9 millimeter to reduce penetration in an attempt to save your children in the next room you’ve already made a critical error. But maybe you should go research ballistics to figure that one out yourself.

    The 9 millimeter is going to have better follow up shots which is arguably not important since most engagements will happen at about 25 feet and you should be aiming for center mass anyways but I digress. I recommend spending all of that time focusing on purchasing a firearm that will be accurate and actually go boom when you pull the trigger and then shoot shoot shoot until it feels like a part of your body.

    While I sit here and listen to the argument that a nine millimeter is better suited for women or the more petite of us men I watch my 5 foot 0 tiny little wife pulling remarkable groups and incredible follow-up times from her 40 caliber Glock and I think to myself…Self.. Maybe people just need to shoot the gun that they want to shoot until they are an expert with that gun.

    Case closed 🙂

  74. #2 The lighter 9mm may be at a slight disadvantage for the first shot, but it offers a huge accuracy advantage for follow-up shots. Back in the early 70’s when I was being trained in the Army, the old first shot kills, move on to your next target. Not killing with your first shot may very well get you killed before you prove your aim with a second and then follow on shots. My 45 is my soul killer and I work to make the 1st shot the only shot necessary. I have read over the decades that 9mm is king, but that is your opinion to have. I started with 45, went to 9mm, then to 40 and finally came back to 45 and will carry it to my grave. revolver (.357 and .44 mag). Eli’s coming always

    1. no one stop bullet, then you have not learned to shoot properly. I have witnessed gun fights, watched them on video and still stand by my 7 shot 1911. I am 63 and have not needed 10 rounds yet. Altho I do not live in the communist state of California and I also carry a 12 round 45 when I feel I need to carry the extra weight for a work out. Having shot about every caliber there is (I have an 85 year old friend still reloading and he has guns I never new existed), I will stick with my .45. When I saw my first 9mm bounce off a windshield, that was all I needed to know

  75. I’ll stick with my Springfield XD .45 compact. Reliable, concealable, 10+1 capacity with a 13 round extra mag. I own a couple of 9mm pistols as well but I carry a .45.

  76. Yet another victim of internet ballistic reviews and sages gone wrong. Here’s a clue…9mm just didn’t magically become an awesome man-stopper just because of time and advertising revenues. But the powder is better, but the, uh, powder is better. I have a cool slow-mo camera to excite viewers with the 9mm gel tests. Let’s face the real facts. The real fact is that 9mm is very much easier to qualify with than anything of man-stopping substance. The FBI desk jockeys that push a pencil all day have no real interest in combat. They just need to qualify, and what easier way than with the wussified 9mm? The 9mm reminds me of current political correctness with youngsters growing up. They’re all winners, right? The latest Spelling Bee was a tie for cryin’ out loud! What’s a spelling B? It’s a competition, just like golf. At least with golf, if there are 3 guys tied for the win, they go to a playoff. They don’t give them all 1st place trophies and money! It’s a competition! The bottom line is that ‘fer real’ ammo will show up as large and fast. The FBI had their chance with the 10mm, but as time and Miami memories passed by, all they wanted was something easier for qualification. That “entitled” mindset of getting by without a need to train. After all, I’m a pencil pusher with an accounting degree. I do statistics. I haven’t seen “field duty” since, well, ever. I just want to keep my job. Can we qualify with a .22 pistol? It’s pretty deadly if you hit someone in the eye, several times. And can the qualifying course be just bench shooting, please? I have a little gas this morning from those donuts.

  77. I started shooting 357 mag’s in the early 1970 and never looked back at
    the 45 ACP that I carried everyday in 1963 till 1965 in the Army. I started purchasing 1911 A-1 45 ACP, 460 Rowland. 38 Super and now have 5 that I enjoy shooting at the range. I have one S&W Sigma 9 F that I enjoy shooting and it is a down size in fire power after shooting a 38 Super. But every ammo has it use for what every your needs are.

    1. Started out shooting the 1911 in the 1950’s, kind of stuck on 45 acp or long colt, but have 357’s and a couple of new 40 cal, but I bought the glock 17 when it first hit the market, i think it is in the back of my gun safe somewhere, shooting a 9 mm is like shooting a 22 cal, I just don’t see the stopping power in them, they didn’t work well in Desert Storm or Desert Shield, those individuals hopped up on hash or something else kept on coming the 9 mm didn’t even phase them, but my 1911 stopped them in their tracks. while I don’t have anything against a 9 mm I just prefer something that is going to put them down and keep them down, some people like their 9 mm and that’s fine, the gun I carry today is a Ruger P-90, heavier than a 1911, same fire power, less recoil, and allows me to get back on target quicker. So not hating 9 mm, just don’t have a use for them.

  78. #1 My 45 is always ready with ball ammo.
    #2 I’ve shoot my 45 with ball ammo in quite a few pistol teams and did well it. NO pipsqueak loads.
    I own several 9mm handguns and indeed I like the high capacity mags.

    Going to a gunfight? my 1st choice will always be a 12 gauge, 2nd choice what ever is handy

  79. I like 9mm. More 9mms fit my hand than .45s. I demonstrated how much better I could hit with a 9 over the department issue G21 .45s. Before long, the whole department had switched to 9mm. I’d rather get there with less, but do it more accurately and faster.

    1. People who I have seen that like 9mms are mostly the ones that shoot a lot and pray that they hit the target. I perfer the stopping power and accuracy than having more ammo and shooting more just because I feel better with having more ammo

  80. To start this conversation I started my carry life as a determined 45 guy. While in the Army I carried the 1911 as a sidearm, do to toting the M-60. I must say, it never failed me so why depart from a good thing. When I became a police officer, I was issued a S&W 686 in 357 Mag, no slouch in performance there. Then the switch to auto loaders and my first Glock 17. As you stated in your observation the 9mm allowed for faster followup shots and increased ammo. Thanks to the Man upstairs I never needed them. So I guess I’ve carried my fair share of handguns, each has a place and it’s pros and cons. I still carry all the above and the 40 cal as well. You see there’s no one magic gun or round that does it all. Each has it’s place, but it’s practice that sets apart the shooter not the gun you carry. I train weekly and as an NRA instructor, I tell all my students that as well. Keep them clean and shoot them often.out

  81. I own and have fired all of these plus the 9×18, 9×21, 9×23, 10mm and .38 Super (in semi-autos. I enjoy them all, but nothing I’ve encountered over the past half century has taken me out of the M1911 .45acp “crowd”.

  82. Some of us like blondes, some like brunettes, and some prefer redheads, same goes with handguns, we each prefer one over the other, although they all will work….personally i prefer brunettes and a 1911 .45…they both feel good in the hand(s).

  83. The most comprehensive data taken from police reports of shootings, rates the 357 Magnum as the deadliest pistol round. On average, it takes less than two shots to immobilize an attacker. All other pistol rounds take more than two shots.

    Magazine capacity is for cops or people who can’t hit their target in an emergency situation.

    If you are serious about defending yourself, carry a rifle or shotgun.
    One shot generally equals one immobilization, One double 0 buck beats 9mm every time. Plus, people typically don’t mess with a nut-job walking around with a long gun slung over their shoulder.
    I prefer my Remington with a short barrel and extended magazine.
    Nothing to pump, just click the safety and squeeze. The only problem is cops who don’t know the law and take the constitution in their own hands.

    For concealed I carry my great-grandaddy’s Colt police positive in 32-20 Winchester. It fires a rifle bullet, is small, easy to conceal, has zero recoil, and his has a documented history of stopping bad guys in their tracks.

    1. @Lance:

      “rates the 357 Magnum as the deadliest pistol round”……USED BY POLICE DEPTS.

      “Magazine capacity is for cops or people who can’t hit their target in an emergency situation.”…..Lance, famous shootouts discussed on these forums, and stories told by lawmen, say that EVERYONE has trouble hitting targets in a shootout. That’s why I’m happy with 16 in my Glock 10mm, compared to 6 in your .357. Plus I can load my next mag quicker than you can grab and use your speed loader.

      “I prefer my Remington with a short barrel and extended magazine.”……..Can you tell me which model you’re referring to? If this is a shotgun, I want one.

    2. I have to agree with ss1.

      Don’t get me wrong, my first handgun years ago was a Ruger .357 Stainless Security Six. It was an awesome gun and I sold it to a friend of mine who was a Smoke Jumper so he would have a powerful handgun when jumping into the back country, but I am pretty much an auto guy now. I have a .357 DE, but it’s too bulky to carry so my EDC is an XD .45.

  84. Bernie d sees the light! In a defensive situation you want stopping power not speed in a round.45acp was specifically designed for that purpose.

  85. Yes, the only problem that I can see is, if you do have to defend yourself, the bullet would go through several people.

    1. @Bernie:

      Yes thanks for bringing that up. Last night I was imagining the VMax instantly fragmenting, but the bullet tip may not perform like it was designed to perform on a varmint. It may penetrate a lot. I don’t know the true answer, but maybe there’s some YouTube videos to study. I just threw the 5.7 into the discussion because I get so bored with all the 45 ACP, 9MM and 40 S&W love that goes on at these forums.

  86. “Thus, twice as many 147-grain 9mm will weigh more than half as many 230-grain .45 ACP.”

    Dave,
    Could you rephrase this. I’m not quite understanding what you meant to say there, although Bilbo Baggins would probably know exactly.

    Good article, by the way,
    Thanks.

    1. Sorry, you are right. That could have been worded a bit better.

      Let’s say you had magazine loaded with 16 147-grain 9mm cartridges (bullet weight only for comparison). That would be 2,352 grains total weight. This would then be compared to a .45 ACP with half the capacity or eight rounds of 230-grain bullets for a total of 1,840 grains. It is just a minor comparative point to show that the higher capacity of a smaller caliber may weigh more and undermine the advantage the 9mm firearm had in mass weight.

      Thanks for reading and calling me out on this point. ~Dave Dolbee

    2. Yes, I see what you mean now. Although part of the extra weight for the 16 rounds of 9mm could be attributable to the 9mm being loaded into a double stack magazine, while the 8 rounds of .45 cal are loaded into a single stack magazine.

      It would be interesting to compare the weight difference if both cartridges were loaded into a double stack mag, or both were loaded into a single stack. For instance, which weighs more the XDS magazine loaded with 7 rounds of 9mm, or the XDS loaded in 5 rounds of .45 cal?

  87. I recently purchased the FN 5/7. I own several 9111’s in 45 cal and several 9mm’s. However, I love th he 5/7. It’s actually small rifle cal extremely fast but the recoil is less then the 9mm. If you like having firepower, the 5/7 holds 20 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber.

    1. @Bernie D:

      Wow I had no idea that the magazine holds 20. That is significant!!

      I did more research on the ballistics and the 40gr VMax has the velocity of a S&W 500 Magnum, and the muzzle energy of a 9mm. I’m assuming that the VMax at that velocity is exploding and creating a huge wound channel.

  88. I only carry Hornady Critical Defense ammo in either .45ACP, .357 Magnum, 9mm, .380 Auto, and when I really want big there are six .410 versions in The Governor. Besides what is loaded in the firearm, I carry spare mags, speed loaders, or extra ammo on my belt. It all depends on the season, my clothing, holster, and the potential situation I am heading into. I do not depend on one caliber or firearm for all conditions. In the woods it is my Ruger GP-161 on an open carry gun belt setup. You should see the battle rattle I wear into a movie theater in winter….Glock 21 in a Bianchi strong side holster, 3 spare mags in a VooDoo Tactical carrier, and my SureFire Defender flashlight on a Wilderness Tactical belt; all hides under a Carhartt coat just fine. I don’t want to be caught in a soft target unarmed or outgunned.

    1. @Galaxie

      Smart man. I don’t blame you at all. We don’t even go to movie theaters anymore.

      When I’m going anywhere with my wife I wear a pair of 5.11 Covert Cargo Pants (http://www.511tactical.com/511-covert-cargo-pant.html) with an XD.45 (13+1 230 gr HTP) in an IWB Crossbreed holster on the right with an extra mag on the left; a PF9 back up in a pocket holster in the inside left pocket with an extra mag on the right.

    2. @Mikial:

      I send you this because one thing I really need to improve upon is my concealed carry options.

      I looked at the cargo pants on-line, and also your holster. The pants look so casual and simple. Are you saying the cargo pants enable you to use the IWB Crossbreed holster? What are you doing with your shirt to conceal that XD45?

    3. Yes, they do. They have a lot of belt loops (more than normal pants) that will take nice wide, strong belts, and an elastic waistband. They are honestly the most comfortable pants I’ve even worn. There are no issues whatsoever with the IWB holster staying in place comfortably. Because they don’t have any external cargo pockets, they don’t attract attention to you like a regular pair of cargo pants would. Trust me, police and anyone who knows anything about guns profile anyone wearing cargo pants for a second look. With a lot of pants, I have to buy them a size too big in order to leave enough room for the IWB holster, but with the elastic waistband these work fine for me in my normal size. When wearing these pants, I carry a full sized EDC with an extra mag, a BUG with an extra mag, knife, cell phone, flashlight and the usual assortment of keys, wallet etc., with everything completely concealed and still easy to get to. The covert pockets all have zippered closures with purpose built pouches inside for magazines and gear, so there’s no worry about anything falling out.

      As for the shirt issue, my wife and I are very casual dressers and usually wear T-shirts untucked, so that part isn’t a problem. I just make sure I get shirts loose enough not to imprint that I have a gun in my belt.

      If I’m in a situation where a T isn’t appropriate I have to use another carry style such as a shoulder holster, but the pants still provide pockets for mags and gear. If I’m in a suit or business casual clothes, I sometimes use a “Sneaky Pete” or “Bulldog” belt pouch that looks like a smart phone carrier. You can easily fit whatever you want in a shoulder holster and a sub like a PF9 or LCP9 in the Sneaky Pete, or a P32 in the Bulldog. Both smaller than I like, but better than nothing.

      You should look at the line of 5.11 shirts made specifically for concealed carry. They have false buttons that cover snaps down the front and Velcro closed slits on the lower sides to facilitate getting your shirt open for a draw. You can generally buy them cheaper on sires like LA Police Gear than on the 5.11 site. Either way, most IWB holsters do have the tell-tale clips over the belt, so you have to work around that.

      Regarding holsters, for me, the Crossbreed is the best choice. It’s comfortable and dependable. I have no concerns carrying anything locked and loaded in the appropriate Crossbreed. Alien Gear are a similar design and some people like them, especially since they are half the price, but for me they don’t work as well because the backing behind the pistol’s grip does not cover it completely so it rubs and pinches me. No, I’m not overweight, they just don’t fit me as well. But either company is high quality and both provide excellent customer service.

      Sorry for the long reply, but hope that helps, Brother. Be safe . . be strong.

    4. @Mikial:

      Thanks VERY MUCH for taking the time to explain all about holsters and pants and shirts. I have copied all of this, including the comments you made under the video, to a holsters.txt file on my desktop. I guarantee I will make one or more purchases very soon based upon what you have written.

      Mikial, I have a comment about something else you posted earlier. Are you sure you don’t want to go to movie theaters anymore? You know someone can attack in all kinds of public places. I took my wife to see Furious 7 last night, and I highly recommend that movie in a theater. I just wish I could have gone several weeks ago when it was in the IMAX theater.

      It’s just friendly advice for you.

    5. @ ss1.

      You know what, you’re right, Brother.

      My sweet young wife wants to see Jurassic Park, and I want to see Fury Road. So we’re going to to the cinema as each film comes out. I refuse to be intimated by crazies and wack jobs.

      I have worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq the west bank, etc., so if I can’t deal with some nut job in a theater, then I guess i didn’t learn much.

      Thanks for helping me put it in perspective.

  89. My pistols are 10mm, 44 magnum, and 50AE. I believe 10mm should have been incorporated into this article to make the argument more interesting. Of the 5 calibers the author has brought into the article, I only respect the .357 magnum.

    But instead of touting the 10mm like I always do, I want to submit another pistol caliber which seems intriguing. The people I have met who own a 5.7 x 28mm really like the choice they have made. I’m not an expert on this caliber, but FNH makes a nice 5.7x28mm pistol, and if anyone on this forum has experience or has done research with this caliber, I’d like to hear it.

    1. The problem with the 5.7 is simple. High pressure cartridge with limited ammo choices and only ONE commercially available handgun, the Five-seveN. Add to that, the size of the Five-seveN and its almost luxury cost (usually about $1200), and it’s clear why it hasn’t taken off. That said, I carry one with a SHTF IWB holster and 20 of the SS197’s (40grn VMax) loaded.

    2. Nick thanks for your input as a 5.7 owner. My feeling is that there’s a lot of really cool, really powerful and excellent weapons out there that have not “taken off”. I’m happy that they haven’t.

      I wouldn’t mind having a 5.7 with a SHTF holster either. I just now saw a SHTF holster in a YouTube video, and it looks pretty concealable.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp4AYAEuetc

    3. These composite holsters are really a good idea, since you have the comfort of leather against your body, but the security of kydex to hold your weapon and protect the trigger to prevent an ND.

      My apologies to those who have heard it before, but I strongly recommend Crossbreed Holsters over the clones like SHTF and Alien Gear. They are simply better made and the backing completely protects your body from the grip of the gun. Neither SHTF nor AG do this, and SHTF is almost as pricey as Crossbreed.

      Just my opinion, but one based on personal experience., i have an AG holster that I’ve used 6 times (trying to give it a fair break-in) and then tossed in the box.

    4. @ ss1.

      You could also go with the .22 Spitfire (.224/5.7×33). IAI MDL888 M1 Carbine 5.7 Spitfire, costs about $675.00 USD. with a 18-inch barrel. Get a Enforcer stock and reduce to barrel from 18-inches to the Enforcer’s 7 to 9.5-inch barrel length. Make a NICE “Truck Gun or Stowaway”…

    5. @ Nick.

      That’s NOT entirely true, You just need to know WHERE TO LOOK:
      1. Barrel Conversion of the M1911 is Available
      2. Kel-Tec PLR-16 AR Pistol in 5.7
      3. Masterpiece Arms MPA57SST
      4. Excel Arms X-57R Rifle/Carbine
      5. Excel Arms X-57P Pistol,
      6. AR-57 Carbine Upper Receiver Conversion
      7. Contender in 5.7
      8. Sandy Gun Works M1 Carbine Johnson 5.7 Spitfire…

  90. This debate will never be resolved, and so many of the arguments are either really getting old or are skewed in favor of whichever caliber the person doing the arguing supports.

    This article, for example, does not really debate/compare 9mm to .45ACP, but consistently harps on the advantages of modern 9mms over the 1911 models. I guess the author doesn’t know about all the other modern .45 ACP handguns out there, or chooses to ignore them because they don’t support his arguments about mag capacity or time back on target for a second shot due to .45 recoil.

    My EDC is an XD or a Model 21 with 13 round mags and the ergonomics and recovery of a modern .45. And yes, I have shot USPSA matches using my EDC Model 21 with factory ammo and only the modification of a 4 pound trigger, so I understand second shot recovery.

    On the other hand, my wife loves her Beretta 92 with it’s 17 rd mags and nasty HP loads, and trust me, she is damn effective with it. To be honest, the only caliber in this conversation that seems to be on the downward spiral is the .40, no offense intended to the .40 fans. But, of all the handguns we own, and we own a lot from .22 to 44Mag, there are no .40s among them because, in our humble opinions, they just don’t provide any real benefit over either my preferred .45 or my wife’s preferred 9mm.

    In the end, the best handgun and caliber is the one that works best for you. Period.

  91. I found the article and some of the comments interesting. Basically I do not always base impact force on the caliber of the firearm, but there are exceptions. I have handled all the firearms in the debate. My preference is a 40SW. Since I am a bow hunter, I prefer a 40SW on my side in bear country. It has not been proven that a 9mm will stop or deter a bear. There are numerous hunting articles that support this. Yet for conceal and carry I would drop down to a 380, 38 hammerless special, or 357.

  92. OK-so in WW2 the Germans shot our kids and our boys either recuperated our had a long death.Our boys shot the Germans with John Moses Brownings 45 ACP. and the Germans died. End of story.

    1. @steve b.

      Soldiers do not rely on sidearms except as last-ditch weapons. Mr. Browning’s venerable .45 ACP was rarely used from sidearms against the Germans in WWII or any enemy in any war.

      Furthermore, today’s 9mm rounds bear little relationship in terms of terminal ballistics with what the Germans occasionally shot out of their Lugers in WWII.

      Anyway, both the 9mm and .45 ACP deliver insufficient kinetic energy to stop an attacker physiologically without a CNS hit, so they both rely on either psychological stops or direct CNS hits to stop attacks. So, both the 9mm and .45 ACP are functionally indistinguishable for self-defense purposes, and pissing contests between their respective fans are frankly foolish and grossly uninformed.

    2. Which just reinforces the need to place defensive shots well under pressure. In other words, no matter what you carry you need to train regularly in dynamic training scenarios and settings.

    3. Great respond and absolutely agreed! Handgun calibers are only marginal man stoppers. As you pointed out CNS hits do the trick. Shot placement is key with any weapon. Today’s 9mm is not a joke. If the right load is chosen, I trust the 9 as much And 40 or 45. Follow up shots are easier as well. Don’t dismiss the 9 so quickly. The +p+ very potent.

  93. That’s a strange poll. I don’t really even believe it. 9mm just .380 on steroids. I will just continue to use my .45ACP’s to protect my family.

  94. I feel skepticism is healthy really.But we are all best served by the truth.

    Here is url to part of the video interview I did in this research of handgun stopping power with LA officer and decorated Vietnam Veteran. He describes am shot point blank in the head from across a kitchen table with ,45 ACP FMJ..and the guy shot is not even slowed down a bit and neither is he seriously injured either!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSc4HzKSt_0&feature=youtu.be

  95. Like the old saying about beauty and the beholder’s eyes, the caliber selection should always be in the hands of the one who pulls the trigger!

    One interesting unrelated comment…..that picture of the three barrels standing side by side show me the vast differences in quality of modern ordnance machining!

    1. Not really. The three barrels represent three different calibers. The smaller the caliber, the thicker the wall must be to fit the .40 S&W frame. ~Dave Dolbee

    2. Look at the rounding, the finish and the base. The one on the left is well machined. The other two look like like torture for the outgoing bullet and a home for chamber failures due to metal failures.

  96. I agree that the 9mm has gone through some transformations for the better. The self defense rounds out now are leaps and bounds over the earlier stuff. I carried a .38 special…then a glock 17 and finally a S&W m&p .40 cal. I too have the glock..3 barrels like the author but my shining star is my .357sig in my glock 33. I carry a colt defender .45cal off duty but the 9mm is what I shoot at the range as the rounds are cheaper to shoot. 9mm is not my King but maybe close enough like a prince.

  97. I must agree. I was contracted years ago about 17 years ago to do handgun terminal ballistics for major ‘after gun market’ company on the stopping power of handgun ammunition broken up by caliber and bullet style weight and manufacturer.

    I spent a year on the study, interviewed scores of shooters from LEO’s to Drug Dealers, to people defending their homes from invaders and even a few “domestic disputes’. I firred hundreds of rounds in to controlled gelatin and carefully measured the TSC and PCM etc.

    I had access to all forensic reports from the shooting incidents and the police reports,including load, caliber,weight, bbl length, bullet type etc.

    The gelatin test matched the actual field data surprisingly well too. I know some will trune red faced to hear this, but th .45ACP was not a great man stopper. At 850 fps it does not generate enough hydro static shock,it is just to heavy and moving too slow.

    In JHP it does better, but weight must be bullet reduced and velocity increased. Naturally you get more recoil and recovery time..There were not enough shootings incidents with the 40SW at the time I did the study to really be statistically significant.

    However the profile in gelatin of the 40 SW JHP looked similar to .357 Magnum 158gr JHP which had the field record of being the number one man stopper. A 4 inch Bbl is need the ,357 in 2 incgh BBL does not reach its real potential and is I feel a mistake to use with the ,357 Magnum. YOu might do better loading with .38 JHP Plus P and save the trmnedious recoil and recovery time and awesome muzzle flas as the ,357 in a 2 inch BBL is not going to give much if any more stopping power that ,38 JHP +P.

    The 9mm in JHP and especially the specialty loads that sell in 20 rd boxes for Self-Defense purposes did very well in the reat shootings I studied and in Gelatin, The TSC was impressive for this round especially considering it low recoil.

    The bottom line in one sense is any handgun is bit on the light size as weapon to stop an animal as large as a human being, especially with an adrenal pump or drugs in his system.

    And all the EMR surgeons I talked too at length told me two things:
    1) They saw immediately if a patient had been shot with FMJ or JHP and JHP was far more devastating. and

    2) the only two places a bullet would quickly or instantly stop a person was if it ruptured the left ventricle of the heart or entered the brain case.

    I founf 4 cases of people shot point blank in the head, forehead actually, with 45 ACP FMJ and the bullet spun around the skull and did not penetrate the brain case.In these cases the person hit was not stopped and in one case jumped across the table and grabbed the 1911 and began beating the shooter almost to death with it.He was an ex convict (both were) and it was gambling dispute.

    In nay case you best keep shooting until the threat to your life is clearly gone. It seems “once is not enough’ here as a rule

    1. @Peyton Quinn

      “the only two places a bullet would quickly or instantly stop a person was if it ruptured the left ventricle of the heart or entered the brain case”

      Excellent point.

      That is why rounds that do not produce enough hydrostatic shock to disable the CNS do not stop attacks immediately, short of a direct CNS / brain hit or a psychological stop (and even a direct hit to the heart does not produce an immediate stop).

      The common self-defense rounds that DO deliver enough kinetic energy to produce enough hydrostatic shock are the .357SIG, .357 Mag and 10mm. The 9mm, 40 S&W and .45 ACP all fail to deliver enough kinetic energy to disable the CNS without a direct hit.

      I think this is supported directly by what you learned in your research.

    2. I think Mr. Quinn pretty well nailed it, and his findings are confirmed in the book Stopping Power by Evan Marshall and Edwin Sanow, which examined actual shootings and found the 9mm and 45 to be pretty much identical in % of one shot stops, and that comparison held true whether the ammunition was ball or JHP. I have to respectfully disagree just a bit with Mr. Quinn as to whether any handgun cartridge really generates enough velocity for hydrostatic shock for that to be a significant factor; that generally becomes an issue only with rifle cartridges based on my readings. I think it’s fair to say, and most of the clinical researchers agree, that physiological incapacitation only occurs with CNS hits or a shot that disrupts the heart. In short, it’s all about hydraulics and electronics – and shot placement. And shot placement can be problematic to say the least with a target that refuses to stand still and facing you, and while you’re enjoying an adrenalin dump that makes a dozen double-espressos look tame.

      So the objective facts are that the 9mm and .45 are for all intents and purposes equal in stopping power. If you feel that the .45 is the clear winner, more power to you, but just accept that you’re basing that decision and how you feel and not what the facts support. And that’s OK, since it’s a personal choice and you’re the one who has to live with the decision.

      We should all also accept that the pistol, in whatever caliber, is an uncertain fight stopper, and Mr. Quinn is exactly right to suggest that you need to keep shooting until the threat to your life is clearly gone. And I’ve always loved the quote from Clint Smith that a handgun is what you use to fight your way to a rifle.

      May none of us ever have to do that.

    1. I have to agree with Michael K.

      I realize a lot of it is personal preference, and I like 9mm’s, my wife carries a 9mm, but if I go out with anything less than a .45 I feel under-armed. I understand the author’s arguments, but I do just fine with the recoil of a .45 and I feel good knowing I have 13+1 230 grain htp rounds locked and loaded.

      If the perfect gun for you is a PMR30, .22Magnum, then God bless you, carry it and use it well, but I love my .45ACP. I own them in Glock, XD, 1911 and even a Hi-Point (which is a very accurate gun).

    1. Dave,

      The 9mm, 40 S&W and .45 ACP are popular self-defense rounds that share a key factor in common — not one of them delivers sufficient kinetic energy (~600 ft-lbf) out of a 4″ barrel, to make a physiological stop reliably without a direct CNS hit. Of the common self-defense rounds, only the .357 SIG (only certain loads), .357 Mag and 10mm deliver that level of kinetic energy.

      The 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP force a self-defense shooter to rely either on a psychological stop or a direct CNS hit — in the absence of which an attacker will likely have the capacity to do harm even after being shot.

      Compared even to the lowly .22LR, the 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP are no better at psychological stops (which happens in the vast majority of Defensive Gun Uses) and only marginally better at direct CNS hits (only a small percentage of all DGUs). So, the pissing contest among the fans of the 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP is basically moot — those 3 rounds are functionally indistinguishable from each other for the purposes of self-defense.

      The hard numbers of kinetic energy and the DGU statistics are what they are — and those numbers paint a very clear picture when reviewed dispassionately: self-defense shooters are pretty much wasting money by using more powerful rounds than the .22LR, unless they take the step up to .357 SIG, .357 Mag or 10mm in order to accomplish physiological stops reliably without direct CNS hits.

    2. Ballistic properties, kinetic energy and even penetration against gel tests are only useful to a point in discussing the effectiveness of any particular round in an actual defensive shooting situation. Shot placement, angle of entry, hits on weight bearing bone and connective tissue structure, and the relationship of the shooter to the assailant all impact the outcome of any shooting incident.

      If the 9mm, .40. or .45 were no more effective than a .22LR, then police and the military would all be carrying .22’s, which they obviously aren’t. And trust me, soldiers in every modern war from WWI to Afghanistan have at times had to rely on their pistol as I had to in Iraq. Further, I would like to see a situation where a .22LR was as effective in bringing down an assailant or a dangerous animal as a .45 or even a 9mm. I think anyone who lives in bear country would differ with you on whether it is just as effective to carry a .22 as a .45.

      http://www.adn.com/article/20140715/sterling-man-kills-9-foot-grizzly-trying-break-his-home

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