From STACY T @ gunreports.com underneath Sig Sauer 1911 C3 No. 19GS0031 45 ACP

I work in a level one trauma center. The most common gunshot wounds we see are multiple hits from a 9mm, 99+ percent of whom survive. The rarest we see,that is, make it to the hospital are those from a .45acp. The last (and only) two that came in over the last year were “code traumas” who were essentially DOA. Neither survived. There is no substitute for shot placement but under less than optimum conditions a heavier bullet of larger caliber will always do a better job as a stopper.

30 Responses to Firearms-Related Comment of the Day: .45 vs. 9mm Edition

  1. Point well made, I’ve been saying the same thing for years. The 9’s are cute and the recoil is very manageable for most shooters. I’ve always preferred the 45’s, and the recoil on a quality 45 is very easy for most with practice. I also love my 500’s and it’s true that most people won’t be able to handle these VERY BADGIRLS, but they sure are fun and extremely accurate. They didn’t mention anyone coming in with a 50 cal wound, most likely because these are rare and you’ve got almost no chance of surviving a direct hit.

  2. That has always been my point about the .45 ACP. The man that taught me how to shoot a 1911 always told me the story about when he was in Korea he saw a man get shot by a “commie” who had picked up a Thompson. The way he told it, the man spun around in a circle and hit the ground like a sack of potatoes, they were sure he was dead. When they checked on him, he had been hit in the hand. Now I don’t know how much the story had been embellished, but that story has become mythic lore in my mind. It also sealed the supremacy of the .45 in my mind forever.

    • The story was probably true. The bullet didn’t have the power to spin him around but he was reacting to the pain of the wound. Pick up a hot horse shoe sometime and you will invariably make a motion with the burned hand as though you were trying to sling peanut butter off your fingers. The man was instinctively trying to get away from the dog biting his hand. Hands are filled with nerve endings. any hand injury is a bitch.

  3. The 9mm is a nice round, but generations of shooters have known that the .45 is the best pistol round. Not much has changed since grandpa fought the Gerries at Belleau Wood. It seems like there should have been more progress in the last hundred years, but there hasn’t. The .45 is still king.

    • How about the .40 round? I was shooting a .40 and a .45 at the range last weekend with a friend and I found the .40 far more easier to aim and control. I found the difference to be between me peppering the target versus shooting it between the eyes.

      • If you can do that with a .40 then good on ‘ya, it is a very good round. I carried a .40 when I worked for the Sheriff’s Office, but I found it to be way too snappy. The .45 is more of a push and comes on target faster for me.

      • A .40 is my carry gun, and the effectiveness of the .40 caliber places it second to the .45 (my personal opinion to be taken with a grain of salt). The advantage of the .40 is capacity and weight, but the new generation of plastic .45s may level the playing field.

  4. *sigh*
    Okay. Which 9mm rounds were represented? Are we talking hollowpoints, FMJ, what?
    How are you telling the difference between 9mm para, .380 ACP, and .38 LRN or FMJ? A lot of this stuff looks very similar after hitting a target, but there is a difference. Unless the cops involved have the gun in an evidence baggie, how do you know which is which?
    What is the total number of 9mm shooting victims, vs. the total number of .45ACP shooting victims? What’s the skill level of the shooters/the hit locations of the shots? If you get five patients come in with 9mm holes in their keisters and two patients come in with .45ACP holes between their eyes, does it still mean that .45ACP is superior?
    Most importantly: Of the folks who were shot with 9mm’s HOW MANY STOPPED ATTACKING? Even the much-tonguebathed Jeff Cooper said that the goal of an armed citizen is to make an aggressor stop right now. Is that happening here?

    Geez guys, a little less fanboyism here.

    • It’s just anecdotal evidence of a fairly obvious assertion – if you get hit by a bigger bullet, you will likely suffer more damage. Not accounted for are things like followup shots and specialty ammunition. I’m guessing the ER doc is dealing with mostly poor people and as a result, I’m going to guess that most were shot with FMJ.

  5. criminal ammo is universaly FMJ. per FBI crime stats.IIRC. I love my 9mm, but if I had to use FMJ I would feel better W/ a 45.

    • My anecdotal $0.02; When working in an inner city ER, almost all of the bullet wounds I saw looked to be from 9mm FMJ rounds. They were very survivable injuries.

      Always wondered why these gang bangers didn’t use a more lethal round. Perhaps due to their inexperience with the gun they were using. Or they were cheap maybe? Who knows…

      • Inner city firearms skillz are often learned via TeeVee.
        And to paraphrase PJ O’rourke, Crip’s and Blood’s Scout Troops rarely award Marksmanship Merit Badges.

        • If a gangbanger is aiming at you, then you most likely won’t get shot. But if your just an innocent bystander, you’ll most definitely get shot. I love the way these fools hold the gun sideways cuz they think it looks cool.

  6. Marshall & Sanow still have the largest dataset of handgun cartridge effectiveness in real-world shootings.

    Shot placement is crucial.

    Roundnose ammo of any caliber was consistently the worst stopper in any caliber.

  7. I own a 9mm specifically because I don’t want to kill. I want to own a gun, to have protection in emergencies, etc., but I would far prefer to disable and otherwise freak out an invader with a bullet wound than to kill him outright.

    • what is wrong with killing?

      If you call the cops in any scenario, if they draw to engage, they will most likely kill the criminal. I can understand legal liability issues but not moral ones.

        • Well, I do respect your opinion, but the thing is that 9mm does have the potential to kill an assailant. All service calibres are unpredictable in their performance. This one anecdote from ONE trauma center in ONE city may not always tell you the whole story.

          If you are unwilling to kill your assailant in combat you will most likely falter in your attempt to stop the threat, and they probably could close the distance to armed combatives and then you’d end up as a statistic the antigunners love to scream about (“oh, he took your gun away and will use it against you”).

  8. The 500 S&W round is KING, the 45 is the CROWN PRINCE, and the 9 is the COURT JESTER. All of these rounds can kill you, even the lil ole 22 can ruin your day, but as far as instant stopping power the 50 and 45 rule. DaveP asked some good questions, but we all know that wherever a 9mm shot is placed, it could never do as much instant damage as the 45 or 50. I have 8 types of S&W500 ammo from 300 to 700 grain including hollow points to flatheads, and they are all show stoppers. The 700 grain is the nuclear bomb of all handgun ammo, and is truely amazing. All you have to do is get some real bowling pins and shoot them The 9 might knock it over, the 45 will knock it over, and the 50 will completely destroy it.

  9. OH BOY, I forgot to include my 44’s. We all know how well DIRTY HARRY’S favorite performs, even thou my 500’s refer to them as DIRTY HARRIET.

    • The only “problem” (if that’s the right word) with the .44Mag and the .50 is that not everybody can shoot them. The .45, for all its stopping power, is gentle to shoot compared to the .50 and .44 and even the .41.

  10. I completely agree with you Ralph, the 50 and 44 are only for a handful of people. My Kimber 45’s are so easy to shoot that even first time shooters look like pros with these babies. My 50’s and 44’s are equally accurate, but the recoil is not for the average shooter or even most experienced shooters. I just returned from my local range where I met a NYPD officer shooting a 40 S&W. I let him try all my 500’s and he was completely amazed and awed by their power. His last shot was with the 700 grain T-REX thumper from ranger rick in Alaska. I wish I had a picture of his face when this lil bomb went off. It also left a nice lil dent in his hand, but he still thanked me and said this was the most fun he’s ever had at the range. He also said that he hopes to never face one of these babies back in NY.

  11. If the ‘The 1911 Sucks’ post was tantamount to trolling, then 9mm vs 45ACP has to be full-on click-magnet material. Got me, I guess.

  12. I call horse nuggets on the “99%+” statistic. All my life I’ve heard arguments about “99% of…” and I’ve yet to see anyone produce valid stats to show even 1% of the people making this statement know what they’re talking about. As soon as someone says “99%” of something, I get that 1000 yard stare and lose interest.

    As for 9mm vs .45–my vision is getting blurred again…I’m kinda lookin’ away…interest fading……..gone.

  13. I was under the impression that the 125 gr. 357 magnum was the king of one shot stops, and that’s essentially a 9mm.

    There’s more to stopping power than bullet weight.

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