45 ACP .45ACP MEME
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One of gun folks’ favorite debates is the ever-popular 9mm vs. .45 ACP. The 10mm vs. basically anything else comes close. Then there’s .30-06 vs. those who are wrong. Why, some newbies may wonder, is there such an intense and long-standing argument over the merits of 9mm compared to .45 ACP?

What’s been relatively common knowledge for some time now is that it’s not really a binary choice. The typical gun owner won’t see much difference in accuracy or performance in any real world application.

Today, you can get great ammunition in both calibers. Plenty of very good firearms that anyone would be proud to own and carry are available chambered for both rounds.

9mm vs 45 ACP caliber wars
Dan Z. for TTAG

It’s been well established that both are excellent choices for both personal protection and target work. Any ballistic advantage is incremental at best or only matters on paper instead of in real-word results (competitive shooting aside). As for “stopping power,” given good quality ammo, neither produces a wound much bigger than the other, nor is one more consistently fatal to bad guys.

What’s known about gunfights involving handguns is that shot placement wins them much more than caliber will. They’re usually over after expending fewer than 10 rounds, so capacity doesn’t matter all that much either in most cases.

The point here is that caliber matters a lot less than people like to pretend it does when it comes to handguns. Why then, does so much digital and analog ink get spilled over this ongoing debate? Why do people bicker about it online when they (should) have better things to do?

First, a lot of it is because of things that happened a long time ago. The 9mm round – and some of its close cousins, such as .38 Long Colt – was used by a few militaries and in the civilian realm for a time, but the guns had generally poor results in defensive situations. The .45 ACP tended to fare a little better.

Why was that? Militaries tend to use ball ammunition. Since little expansion happens with ball ammo tends to go through a target, .45 is going to hurt more since it pokes a relatively bigger hole. And since semi-auto pistols mostly ran ball back in the day, that meant big-bore guns like the 1911 tended to yield better results than 9mm pistols like the Browning Hi Power, Model 39 and Walther P38/P1.

Until good hollow point defensive ammunition designs came around, that is.

9mm vs 45 ACP Caliber Wars JHP Hollow Point
Dan Z. for TTAG

Old guys still argue about it because it was true back when they were learning. Some young guys argue about it because their dad/uncle/whomever told them what was true when they were a kid. It’s kind of the same reason people learn that being a Dallas Cowboys fan is acceptable. Chalk it up to bad parenting.

The reality is, good JHP ammunition has put paid to that decades ago. Modern 9mm is reliably effective with a good hollow point bullet that’s well-placed…and the same applies to .45 ACP.

Never underestimate the tribalist primate angle. Us versus them. We humans are basically hairless monkeys and we still do a lot of silly hairless monkey stuff. We see the other guys and immediately assume they’re wrong when, in fact, they’re no different from you or me, or at least not in any way that really matters.

Why is that? Basically, people are fundamentally insecure. Someone believes or enjoys something that isn’t what we believe or like, so we must somehow prove that those other people are wrong, providing the validation we so desperately crave.

The 1911 guys make fun of the GLOCK guys, the GLOCK guys make fun the 1911 guys, the H&K guys act like they’re better than everyone else and the revolver people have bingo this afternoon at 3:00pm in day room.

So, newbie…now you know one of the unspoken truths about the People Of The Gun. Then again, we’re no different from people who are into all kinds of other stuff. In baseball it is (was) the DH. In Australia, the Ford vs. Chevy thing has been the cause of riots. It also won’t be stopping any time soon, so don’t get too worked up about it.

How about you? Does the 9mm vs .45 ACP thing really matter to you? If it does, let us know why you think so.

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196 COMMENTS

    • DrewN, if that’s true, it’s not a bad idea and I guess that’s why it’s been around for a little while. Low recoil. That usually means low velocity. Which usually means little expansion. Which is usually a bad thing. Unless, not so much. A wadcutter cuts a clean, sharp wound channel. Just like it does in paper. It doesn’t tend to push arteries, nerves, organs, etc. out of the way. Any round nose can tend to do that. Even HP if it doesn’t expand. And they don’t always expand. Remember that if you prefer minor caliber.

      • Makes seeing where you hit on paper a bit easier as well. Also some of the nastiest wounds I have seen in file photos were from small revolvers pressed into the person before being shot. Now I kinda want to find some wadcutters in .429 and see what I can put together.

        • Safe, I remember two autopsies that I had to attend that had contact wounds. Both .38 Spl. I think one was a 2″. The other four. Both frontal, entering the upper abdomen and angling up though the chest cavity. One bullet exited. The other came to rest behind a shoulder blade. I don’t remember the loads. Nothing special. Except for the parties concerned. Tell you one thing. That muzzle blast following that bullet into the wound channel was impressive.

        • Nothing like a large fist sized cavity of mashed tissue after a smallish entry wound to say get off me. Also why I don’t disparage sub 2 inch magnum revolvers, not my preference but even the 327 does wicked stuff on contact……I think we may have seen that picture with it coming to a rest at the shoulder was it something from around 1984?

      • Speaking of 45 I’m watching a quite engrossing documentary on TUBI entitled “American Gunmaker :The John M. Browning Story”. If you have a smart TV you can easily download TUBI for free. From 1991. Well worth the watch!

      • As you exit the elevator, go past the nurse’s station. It’s the room where everyone is watching Bonanza on the B&W TV and wearing shoulder holsters….

        Make it fast, I’m calling the first ball in a minute.

      • jethro, your the janitor. If anyone should know where a bingo hall is… Watch out for that old lady in the back. She may still keep that old 1917 under her lap blanket.

    • I second the wadcutter round !!
      Perfect example of why “newer is better, older is obsolete” is wrong.
      Wadcutter for the win !!

  1. I honestly like both rounds and have guns for both. Both have a rich history dating back 100 years. Then again I like .40 S&W and .357 mag too. (I would argue if I had one round to do all it would be .357 mag.)

    I will say that as a reloader .45 ACP gets points for having a straight wall case (easier resizing) while it gets dinged for people making it with both small and large pistol primered cases.

    • Andrew Lias,

      If I had to choose one round to do it all, it would depend on whether I carry a revolver or a semi-auto pistol.

      If I carry a large-frame revolver, then .357 Magnum it is.
      If I carry a small-frame revolver, then .38 Special it is.
      If I carry a semi-auto pistol, then .40 S&W it is.

      For reference I settled on .40 S&W because there is a really wide range of bullet weights available. You can go with 135 grain bullets and get incredibly close to .357 Magnum velocities. Or you can go all the way up to 200 grain bullets and get .45 ACP velocities. Of course you can split the difference as well and go with 165 grain bullets and get something akin to .38 Special +P velocities.

        • My Redhawk in .41 is a bit much to carry but the Taurus Tracker is a peach. It’s my go in the woods gun.

          Underwood ammo doesn’t fit in the Taurus, probably a good thing. lol

        • LKB,

          As I clarified to Governor LePetomane below, when meant to specify a medium-frame revolver when I typed “large-frame” revolver above. That is also why I went with .357 Magnum.

          If I were planning to use a large-frame revolver for self-defense, then I would go with .44 Magnum, and probably load it with 180 grain hollowpoints (muzzle velocity around 1,600 feet-per-second!) for humans and of course 240 grain softpoints (muzzle velocity around 1,350 feet-per-second) for feral hogs, black bears, amped-up white-tailed bucks, etc.

        • Uncommon:

          I have a great medium frame .357 (Ruger Security Six in stainless, circa 1978), and a circa-1974 Model 29 in .44 mag, but for a hand cannon I always wanted a Monson-made Dan Wesson .41 mag pistol pack (easy change barrels). Finally found one of those unicorns a couple of years ago.

          Long barrel (with scope) with Buffalo Bore deer bombs is great for medium game. And a 6” barrel, chest rig, and Buffalo Bore hard casts, that’s my bear country load out.
          Just wish I could find a 4” .41 barrel . . . .

      • Large frame revolver (N frame or Redhawk) gets .44 mag, medium frame revolver (686 or GP100) gets .357 mag, the all steel small frame revolver (SP101) also gets .357 mag but uses lighter .357 loads, and the lightweight small frame revolvers (LCR) are where you want to step down to .38 special.

        • Blah, I was confused when I wrote my comment above. I meant to specify medium-frame revolver when I typed “large-frame” revolver. Hence why I then specified .357 Magnum since that is an excellent caliber for a medium-frame revolver.

          As for an all steel small-frame revolver, I still limit myself to .38 Special (including +P). Even an all-steel small-frame revolver loaded with light .357 Magnum loads is very unpleasant to shoot. Might as well just stick with .38 Special (+P) and 150 grain full wadcutters for excellent self-defense.

          Now the real trick is finding factory .38 Special 150 grain full wadcutters with a muzzle velocity of at least 830 feet-per-second out of a 3-inch barrel. I don’t think any ammunition companies make such a load.

        • I wouldn’t step down with an LCR to .38 Spl, Gov. I’d step over to the .327 Federal Magnum. Better than the.38 and six rounds, instead of five, in the cylinder to boot.

  2. Meh. I’m in the market for a 357 4″ barrel wheelgun. Want a 10mm. Got several 9’s & don’t care if I get a 45. And I’m old…

    • I think they just posted a review of a new S&W in 10mm just a few days agp. I have a Taurus Tracker in .45 ACP that I sometimes carry while hiking. If they made it in 10mm, I’d probably get one.

      • Just bought an M&P2.0 10mm at gun show on Sat. The S&W $100 rebate makes for a really great deal. Smith must be doing a huge business selling out of the M&P .45 as I was not seeing any in the place (also $100 rebate)..

  3. “The 1911 guys make fun of the GLOCK guys, the GLOCK guys make fun the 1911 guys, the H&K guys act like they’re better than everyone else and the revolver people have bingo this afternoon at 3:00pm in day room.”

    But those CZ guys are the worst of the bunch. Know-it-alls, Arrogant, annoying, and their mothers dress them funny.

    Wait a dang minute – I own a compact CZ. Bought it thinking it would be my go to EDC, but after discovering how easy the draw is from my right pocket, the LCR is now my go to EDC. Think I may snap up a CZ 75 decocker as a bedside duty piece…

    • ^ “ CZ guys are the worst of the bunch”

      HEY!!
      I resemble that remark!

      PS- the nightstand gat is a CZ 75 S/S High Polish.
      Gives me the distinct advantage as any intruder would surely hesitate at the sight of such pimp-ness giving me the tactical advantage. 🤔

      • For years I thought nothing factory standard would fit my hand like a Browning High Power. Then I stumbled on a cz-75.

        It was everything the Browning was meant to be.

    • Geoff PR,

      A full-size CZ-75 semi-auto pistol is, in my humble opinion, the absolutely PERFECT home defense semi-auto pistol.

      Why do I like it so much? Thanks to its decocker and trigger which functions in either single-action or double-action, you can chamber a cartridge and (after decocking) have the huge inherent safety of requiring a double-action trigger pull for the first shot–with the ease/accuracy of single-action trigger pull on the rest of the shots.

      In other words you get the best of both revolver and semi-auto pistol platforms without any of the drawbacks of either handgun platform.

      • that’s good, they are stoutly built. not a decocker fan. carry compact, dresser has omega full size, both on half cock safety off.
        works well for me. geoff should sell me that 2075… i know two guys that have them, never carry them, won’t part with them.
        file that under never sell a gun.

        • Yes never sell a gun. In 1984 I sold a S&W mdl25 45 Long Colt 7 in. barrel in Walnut case with cleaning kit and 2 speed loaders. Too embarrassed to mention the selling price. The bluing on this gun was amazing.

  4. “They’re usually over after expending fewer than 10 rounds, so capacity doesn’t matter all that much either in most cases.”

    Does not account for gang violence which is more prevalent than ever

    • The statistics account for all gun uses, gangland shootings are no doubt bringing up the average, it used to be 0-3 rounds fired total. BTW I’m bingo in the day room with my 45ACP revolver.

      • I dont trust my life to stats. I recently changed from 45 to 9mm for capacity. I carry a full size M&P with extended mag totaling 23 rounds, plus a spare of 23 rounds

        • I don’t trust mine or my family’s life to a douchebag politician telling me how many rounds I get to carry to defend myself. So I don’t and neither should anyone else.

  5. A trainer once advised me to never carry a gun I’m not willing to throw at the target when it runs dry. So no more pretty 1911s for me.
    Give me a cheap, dependable and replaceable Glock all day with 15-17 rounds of 9mm.

    The 45 Colt is still my favorite caliber.

  6. Oh, I almost forgot. Why do we argue about 9mm vs. .45 ACP? I’ve always wondered why this is a question. We argue about it for the same reasons that someone thought the flint from one valley made superior points to flint from the valley to the west. And someone disagreed. We argue about it because it’s fun.

  7. One, final observation. “God carries an M-1 rifle and a 1911.” A fine man that none of you have ever heard of said that to me. Wish I’d said it.

    • Yep, Elmer Keith ended this argument 88 years ago, but some people just like to live in the past, I guess.

      • The only reason cops abandoned the .357 magnum is because of “diversity” in recruiting officers. Cops used to have to be tall men with some measure of strength. Such men could handle the power of full house .357 magnums effectively. Since the physical standard was abandoned, weaker, less effective firearms needed to be adopted so the “new breed” of officer could carry a pistol.

        Aficionados of lesser cartridges like the .45 and 9mm will go on and on about new bullet technology and ballistic gel testing, but it’s all bull cookies. Capacity rarely enters into gun fights, and the precision of a revolver’s single action trigger is unmatched by any other platform. A single cop with a 6″ .357 magnum could have taken out both perps in the 1997 North Hollywood shootout with ease from behind cover at thirty yards utilizing the single action trigger and inherent superior accuracy of the .357 magnum revolver. That’s a fact.

        The .357 magnum is still the standard that other cartridges and platforms strive to emulate, which is why the .357 sig, the .40, and the 10mm exist, all attempts at putting the power and accuracy of the .357 magnum into an autoloader. Those attempts have all failed.

        The .357 magnum is still the king.

        • Though I am a proponent of 357, and carry one of my four guns chambered in it every time I walk my dog, I have to point out that none of the officers armed with magnums at Miami-Dade were unable to stop that fight.

        • DrewR

          Only two of the eight agents were armed with a .357 magnum revolver. Most of the agents had 9mm semis or .38 special revolvers. One of the agents lost his .357 magnum revolver in the initial collision and that firearm was never fired, so only one .357 magnum was fired during the shootout.

          “Of the eight agents at the scene, two had Remington 870 shotguns in their vehicles (McNeill and Mireles), three were armed with Smith & Wesson Model 459 9mm semi-automatic pistols (Dove, Grogan, and Risner), and the rest (six) were armed with Smith & Wesson revolvers; two had .357 Magnums and five had .38 Specials. Two of the agents had backup .38 Special revolvers (Hanlon and Risner); both would use them at some point during the fight.[1]”

  8. The reason people argue over 9mm vs 45 is because the have never fired or experienced the shear joy and power of Gods handgun caliber:10mm!
    10mm is just 357+p in an auto cartridge and can be loaded to darn near 44+p pressures.
    Everything else in an auto cratrige form is Short and weak compared to it.
    10MM for the Win!!

    • Math seems off somewhere, I like 10mm and all but pretty sure it would need to be a pretty anemic 44 to some nuclear bubbas pissing hot reload 10mm for that comparison. It does seem to compare well with good 357magnum though. Also like the 357 sig for the convenient average 357 magnum similar loads.

        • Comparable Buffalo Bore loads for both:
          HEAVY 357 MAG – 180 gr. JHP (1,500fps/M.E. 899 ft. lbs.)

          Heavy 10mm Ammo – 180 gr. Jacketed Hollow Point – J.H.P. (1,350fps/M.E. 728 ft. lbs.)

        • Didn’t disagree re 357 but good read all the same. Always thought 44 special was closer to 45acp but I guess there is room for variation in loading.

        • .460 Rowland. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

          Underwood, 185 Grain J.H.P.
          (1575 FPS, M.E. 1019 ft. lbs.)

          Underwood, 230 Grain J.H.P.
          (1400 FPS, M.E. 1001 ft. lbs.)

          Buffalo loads comparatively are relatively weakly made. Don’t know why they sandbag against non-wildcat rounds, but they do.

    • ‘….can be loaded to darn near 44+p pressures.’

      Sorry but that’s the dumbest argument for a cartridge I’ve ever heard. As the muscle car guys like to say, there’s no replacement for displacement. .44 mag has a case capacity over 57% greater than the 10mm so the 4% advantage in maximum pressure the 10mm has is pretty irrelevant. By your logic 9mm and .357 magnum have the exact same level of power and .44 magnum is only slightly more powerful.

    • Calling it 357+p is a bit of a stretch, 10mm compares favorably to 357 in off the shelf loads, but top end 357 specs higher than top end 10mm in my reloading manuals.

      These are both calibers you have to be careful with in factory loads because they are often downloaded substantially. Federal HST 10mm is basically loaded to 40S&W spec at a much higher price, for example.

  9. *Glances down at the .32 I currently have on my hip*

    I feel I don’t have a lot to add to this particular conversation…

  10. A decade or so ago just before Jan Libourel the gagwriter retired he did an in depth study on the 45acp and the myths surrounding it. Jan found that the baloney about the performance of the larger calibers in the Col.Thomson Stockyard tests and the performance of the .45acp in the Jackbooted invasion of the Philippine Islands had no basis in facts.

    Libourel found that there was zero evidence the .45acp performed any better than the .38 Long Colt or the .45 Long Colt. in the Philippines. Libourel found that the troops even complained about the lethality of the 30/40 Kraig. The only gun the Troops did praise was the effects of the 12 ga. shotgun loaded with buckshot. They were using this weapon to finish off the women after they raped and torchured them. I might add that this info came from a variety of sources. There were News Correspondents from around the world that witnessed the brutality of the U.S. Troops as well as letters that were written home by the Troops themselves and to of all people their parents who naturally were horrified that the U.S. Military had turned their once normal Sons into savage killers and rapists. The parents were so incensed that they had some of the letters printed in some of the major Newspapers which caused an uproar. The President then ordered the military commanders to have the troops print retractions which of course did not even fool the naïve Americans back in the day.

    As far back as 1891 when the 7×57 and the 6.5mm rifles were being used in Africa W.D.M.Bell wrote in his articles and books that it was shot placement not bullet diameter that killed, yet we still have the boys who like to beat the big bore drums on the lethality of “bigger bullets are better”.

    Agnes Herbert who was perhaps the greatest female hunter of all time also found that her trusty 6.5mm Mannlicher (A caliber today that is considered anemic) killed all manner of big and even dangerous game as well as her borrowed Uncles .450 Double gun. She stated two things, that the only difference she found was that the 6.5 made a slightly smaller blood trail but killed as well as her .450 and she stated that the Gun Writers of the day did not know what the hell they were talking about. Does this all sound familiar even today??? As a matter of fact Agnes Herbert was perhaps the first gun writer to teach people to shoot with both eyes open.

    One of the most interesting battles over bigger v/s smaller caliber came about when Elmer Keith (perhaps the biggest gunwrier liar of all time) and Jack O’Connor (perhaps the most honest gun writer of all time) argued back and forth about the subject. O’Connor who was once the dean of Journalism at Sul Ross State University baited Elmer Keith mercilessly (who had only a grade school education) and O’Connor made a fool of him just about every month the raging controversial articles were published. O’Connor writing for OUtdoor Life and Keith for Sports Afield.

    Pistolero Magazine back in the 1980’s shot barnyard pigs in Mexico and found that the 9×19 made the pigs jump higher and squeal louder and killed as well if not better than the .45acp.

    I myself have shot big corn fed Whitetail Deer with the 9×19 (some of which weighed before dressing at 190 lbs) and had no problem killing them.

    The 9×19 shoots flatter because of its higher velocity.

    The 9×19 ammo is lighter to carry

    The 9×19 has better penetration

    The 9×19 retains its velocity longer.

    The 9×19 usually holds more rounds than other calibers which is life or death if you are attacked by more than one person and with roving gangs in the big cities or even break-ins firepower is paramount.

    The 9×19 has less recoil so most people shoot it more accurately.

    The 9×19 can generally be gotten in a smaller frame gun than the 45acp which means that the 9×19 is more concealable and its lighter in weight as well as having far more models and brands to choose from.

    And lastly I had several relatives which were in the Battle of the Bulge and they preferred the FN High Power over the U.S. 1911 pistol. I think that alone says it all.

    • You would have thrived on being a soldier in the PI in the day. You could have let your SS fly. And you wouldn’t still be a virgin.

    • Oh look, dacian got himself involved in yet another discussion for which he has zero knowledge having to copy-n-paste from others and even threw a couple of lies in with it.

    • Dacian, I normally think you get a bad rap on this site, but here you are trying to convince us a dude named “Liberal” should be believed over a man named “Thompson”.

      I don’t think you’re going to get very far with that!

    • …and another thing. You forgot to mention that it is much harder for a man to stick his finger in the barrel of a 9mm than a .45, which significantly reduces your risk of it blowing up on you.

    • Oddly enough the 5.7 proved plenty lethal at Fort Hood. Of course, back then only one company made a pistol in that caliber, and ammo was nowhere near as expensive as it is now.

  11. I really don’t care, but sometimes I just can’t help myself and pile on a 9mm bro with “two world wars”, “because they don’t make a 46 ACP”, or even “stopping power”.

        • It is a neat answer to what can you do with extra volume if you stop caring about wear. Until we get the safe act figured out with Bruin 45 super is about the practical (and affordable for normal people) limit for 45 autos here in NY.

        • It’s not so bad Safe, sure there’s accelerated wear on the chamber, but less a problem when using a CHF barrel (FNX-T, mine) and an effective brake to slow down the slide.

          Doesn’t mean that it won’t wear faster, because it will, only to a smaller degree than lesser barrels.

          The Mag-na-port style cut comp you guys up there are regulated to though that hokey law, that sucks. It has little effect on slowing the slide which is an absolute necessity. What .4sixty really needs is an external braked-comp that does the job effectively, as to not hammer the frame and internals.

          It’s a damned shame they won’t let you have one, it saves a load of wear on anything chambered in Rowland.

      • Absent the brake one could in theory mill ports into the barrel for a compensator to be questionably legal but typically when I see 45 super it is upgraded springs and some internal parts that apparently slow down the lock/unlock process somehow (1911 stuff) or just the spring and a new barrel (Glock). Up end I have time to build up an experiment budget until our laws catch up to where the rest of the country is headed.

        • Best served with the extra milling I think on an extended barrel past the slide. Don’t know offhand if that would trigger running afoul of the regimes directives. Bonus being increasing velocity with the extended barrel, and not losing with a more traditional eyebrow port style.

          Problem would be finding a test subject that’s not threaded, which if I recall, will have you stuck in between a rock & hard place. Extended bull barrel perhaps being a great candidate, if one can be found or commissioned?

          Mechanically, it would be a much simpler operation than having to match slide ports to the ported barrel.

          For Super, it’s viable & fine with spring/internal upgrades, SMC is where it really starts stretching the boundaries of what those can do to mitigate. Heavy SMC loads are beyond the capabilities of those minor improvements, and my comfort zone without some braking function.

          Rowland territory otoh, will straight up break your shit if you don’t take extreme measures to reduce recoil. On polymer gunm’s especially, but I’ve seen a couple of steel frames peen & crack too.

          That said, I’ve been running mine for 1/2 a decade with no issues. However, I only run Rowland inna woodz, and train with it infrequently due to (as you noted above) high expense.

        • I would imagine something kkm or barsto in the 5 to 6 inch range pistol depending for the starting point but would probably want to do that cash and carry the way our AG has been about everything regarding parts. Wouldn’t trust her to keep up with dates of purchase re legal then and grandfathered (sometimes). And even then it’s a tricky call if compensated non threaded is legal (varies by county/official you ask) so 45 super for near term………or h&k maybe. Currently would probably just get a Glock 20/40 then get a separate slide+barrel+spring (need to research gen 4 options) for 45acp/super.

    • “because they don’t make a 46 ACP”

      Wellllll, kinda they do, although the actual diameter doesn’t match up. .four60 Rowland. Most powerful purpose designed SA handgunm round this side of .fifty AE. Except you can handle it without requiring Shaq sized paws.

      And the best part? That rated for Rowland handles the lesser 45 SMC, Super, and ACP with no changes necessary with a well tuned v.2 recoil assembly (most of the time). I carry 9, but 15+1 Rowland is on my nightstand table, loaded with SMC.

  12. Did it ever occurre to anyone that the cartridges we’ve just mentioned: .38 Spl., .45 Colt, .45 ACP, 9mm Luger, S&W .357 magnum, Remington .44 magnum. Did I miss one? Yeah, Atomic, we won’t forget 10 mm. More on that later. Anyway, the others. All of these calibers are 100+ years old. Or, soon will be. And we are still talking about them. More importantly, we are still carrying them. In harm’s way. Every day. Wonder why? Because they still work. All of them better than 100 years ago. There really is not much new under the Sun. The same 240 gr. .44 Spl. hard cast semi-wadcutter at 900 fps that put your great-grandfather’s aggressors on the ground will do the same to yours. Understand, I have, and carry 9mm. However, I believe bigger, deeper holes are the solution to the handgun question. That said, the rifle is the answer to almost any question you can ask.

    • Its true. and I completely agree. They all work well enough for their intended purpose.. a Handguns purpose it to be there to help you get to your Rifle.

    • Don’t forget the .40 caliber. (And I don’t mean Booger.) It’s not yet a century old, so it’s the “baby” of the bunch. It’s still been around a while, though.

      ” … the rifle is the answer to almost any question you can ask.”

      Who played “Lumpy” on Leave It To Beaver?

      • Are you referring to the the .40 Short and weak… the one that is a dumbed down kid brother to 10mm? It’s only the NKOTB because some limp wrists at the FBI couldn’t aim 10mm straight. I agree it is a fine Self defence round… but what is the point of 40 s&w+p if 10mm can do it better and has even more headroom and power to spare? Just use a lower power 10mm.

        • Smaller grips for smaller hands and previously drastically lower cost otherwise generally agree

  13. I’m up for caliber wars. It’d be cool to see some articles about .357SIG, .327 Federal, FN 5.7, 16ga, .224 Valkyrie, and other lesser-known/lesser-used calibers.

    • ‘Seems everyone forgets .41 magnum.’

      No truer words have ever been spoken about a cartridge. But as for me, I have .357 AND .44mag so I think I’m in the majority in not having any need for an in between cartridge. Fine round on it’s own right though.

  14. this happens
    because certain people
    we will call them “crazy people”
    allow their sense of self
    and self worth
    to become inextricably attached
    to the caliber theyve always used
    or are using now
    or their firearm choice
    or their mode of carry
    its easy to make these people out in a crowd
    they say things like:
    “9mm sucks”
    “40 sucks”
    “glocks suck”
    “open carry sucks”
    “if you carry with an empty chamber
    you might as well just shoot yourself in the head
    to spare someone else the inconvenience
    of having to do it for you”
    the internet will be a better place
    when these people learn
    how to stop letting their own personal psychological inadequacies
    from getting all over the rest of us
    who just want to have a conversation
    about what we believe
    is the best caliber or gun or mode of carry
    that is best for us right now

  15. Shot placement is everything. The size of the hole doesn’t matter. Police have been shot 5 and 6 times by 9mm or 45acp. And they overcome it and still arrested the suspect.
    The sound of gun fire stops all criminal attacks. It’s even better when the criminal is hit with a bullet. And hit in the right place. A small controllable hand is the best way to defend yourself. When you have to conceal it. A stacco is thousands of dollars and weighs 3 pounds. Most people will have a difficult time concealing a gun that size.

    I’m happy with my NAA 22 mag pug. Also my Bobcat 21a and my keltec 32.

  16. 23 years as a cop and researching handguns. In the real world the .45 hits about twice as hard as the 9mm. Period. Killed several deer at close range with the .45. Sure hollow points improve the 9mm. The .45 is improved as well. so called stopping powder studies are mostly a product of the imagination and a simple hoax with no validity at all.
    This article is proletarian at best the same thing many inexperienced individuals have parroted for years. A waste of time.

    • “Stopping power” as a stand alone ‘quantitative measure of bullet performance in relation to lethality’ is a myth ‘term’ perpetrated as a marketing tool. People take it too seriously, some don’t understand the context at all, and people argue back and forth over it in one-round-vs-another-round fashion. Some elevate it to an almost ‘religion’ aspect mantra. And some write about it like they know what they are talking about trying to justify it with all sorts of history and definitions and characteristics like the idiot at wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stopping_power) making it seem believable.

      When it comes to the actual action, there are only two main concerns involved with bullet impact ending the bad guy threat for the ordinary law abiding citizen:

      1. If lethal.
      2. If not lethal.

      That’s it. Its real simple. The bullet that does either of those that results in the threat ceasing to be a threat was the correct bullet for the job. The trick is choosing the bullet that has the best chance of doing that quickly, not the bullet that hits harder than another.

      • correction: The trick is choosing the bullet that has the best chance of doing that quickly AND completely,
        not the bullet that hits harder than another.

        • To Booger Brain the twit that thinks he knows everything about anything and what he does not know is not worth knowing.

          Laughable ignorance. Its bullet placement and penetration to the vitals you moron.

      • @dacian

        “Its bullet placement and penetration”

        And I never said it wasn’t. In case you didn’t notice, and you didn’t, I was talking about the bullet its self in terms of lethal or not lethal in reference to “Stopping power” as a stand alone ‘quantitative measure of bullet performance in relation to lethality’ being a myth – you ignorant, no reading comprehension, delusional moron.

        Seriously dacian, learn to read and comprehend what you read.

        • To Booger Brain

          You are still wrong. Even if a person uses full metal jacketed ammo the results are still the same. When the heart stops or the lungs cannot hold air the person dies.

          This is the exact reason WDM Bell used nothing but fmj bullets on the most dangerous and biggest game on earth the Elephant. So as one can see your usual rectum gas shows you once again do not know what you are talking about.

          Keep replying you only succeed in making a bigger fool of yourself.

        • @dacian

          Even after it being explained to you – you still miss the context and lack the reading comprehension to understand. You’re a moron.

      • .40 cal, you said, “When it comes to the actual action, there are only two main concerns involved with bullet impact ending the bad guy threat for the ordinary law abiding citizen:

        1. If lethal.
        2. If not lethal.”

        Many people hit with a .22 LR die a couple days later, but dying two days later doesn’t do anything to stop the bad-guy threat.
        More people die from .22 LR rounds than any other cartridge, so the little .22 LR is definitely lethal, but it doesn’t have stopping power.
        Shoot someone with a .45, and it’s more likely to stop them, whether they die or not. Shoot someone with a .22 LR, and they’ll continue to attack you and your family — and then die two days later, when it’s too late to save your family’s lives.

        • to Stuck

          More propaganda. If you want to see the stopping power of the so called lowly .22 L.R. just watch the Reagan attempted assassination. Several large powerful men were literally blown off their feet. The bodyguard hit in the shoulder area with the .22 was spun around and then the bodyguard crashed to the ground. Jim Brady was blown off his feet with a shot to the head and Pres. Reagan said he felt that as if he was hit by a freight train and then admitted he collapsed as he was being pushed into the limo.

          There have been incidents where people were shot through the heart with a .177 cal pellet gun and dropped dead on the spot.

          There have also been incidents when people were hit by more than one .12 gauge slug and not only survived but stayed on their feet as well.

          I read a story years ago where a cop shot 3 robbers with one shot a piece with his .38 special and all 3 dropped dead right on the stop. Not bad for the .38 special always being laughed at by the boys that are always beating the big bore drums.

          And here was man who was jumped outside a bar one night by 3 thugs and he shot all 3 with one shot apiece with a .25 auto and they all fell down dead on the spot.

          And ditto for a lady cab driver that was kidnapped and about to be murdered. She also used a .25 auto. So much for the .25 auto being a mouse gun and totally worthless, real life proved otherwise.

          There is never any guarantee of stopping anyone with any so called big bore miracle caliber as many factors enter the equation including how much adrenaline may be pumping through their system.

          Another personal case: I once shot a whitetail deer with a 9mm at about 25 yards which did a complete 90 degree flip and landed on his back while in another incident I shot a deer at a range of only about 12 inches (yes 12 inches) and the deer just looked at me for a second or two before slowly sinking to the ground. Again you can never predict what your shot will do no matter what the caliber you happen to be firing.

          And one more example. Bill Judd a then famous elephant hunter back in the day along with his son shot a bull elephant 6 times with a .577 Nitro Express and old Bill still got stomped into a pancake. So much for big bore elephant rifles blowing elephants off their feet.

          I fondly remember a buddy of mine once chastising me for carrying a .25 acp which he screamed in my face was totally worthless. I simply told him that when I come out of dark alley at night after taking a piss that a .25 acp in my hand is much better than just having my dick in my hand. We both laughed about that reply for years. I have no doubts that if I had ever had occasion to use the .25 acp that the guy hit with it would not laugh, dance a jig for fun or run a mile before collapsing in the the dirt.

        • and that’s why….

          “Stopping power” as a stand alone ‘quantitative measure of bullet performance in relation to lethality’ is a myth ‘term’ perpetrated as a marketing tool.

          The trick is choosing the bullet that has the best chance of doing that quickly AND completely, not the bullet that hits harder than another.

          If a .45 does that, fine. If 9mm does that, fine. If a .22 LR does that, fine.

          There are cases of bad guys being hit with .45 and they still continue to aggress, same with 9mm and .357 and .38 and .223 and .40 S&W and 10mm. There are also cases where a .22 LR stopped a bad guy from aggressing. And although shot placement and penetration matters that’s not what I was talking about and never said otherwise. I’m talking about the actual physical bullet in terms of the mythical ‘stopping power’, a bullet used in defense can only have two effects in the end and that is either being lethal or not being lethal.

          Its only quantitative if the bad guy is no longer a threat. The end result of the threat ending in your favor is what matters. You can’t say before hand for a fact that one bullet will achieve that over another, you cant say ‘stopping power’ as a stand alone ‘quantitative measure of bullet performance in relation to lethality’ is a real thing simply because you can’t predict the future. ‘stopping power’ as a stand alone ‘quantitative measure of bullet performance in relation to lethality’ is a myth.

          When it comes to the actual action, in the end you can only quantify the results in the bad guy ceasing their aggression in terms of a bullet as the bullet either being lethal or not lethal. You can’t predict that before hand even with shot placement and penetration being considered. You can say ‘likely hood’ or ‘probability’ in a predictive manner but you can’t say ‘stopping power’ as a quantitative thing before hand. Either one of those, lethal or not lethal, is fine if it achieved the goal of the bad guy no longer being a threat.

          Once again, context matters…

          “Stopping power” as a stand alone ‘quantitative measure of bullet performance in relation to lethality’ is a myth ‘term’ perpetrated as a marketing tool.

          When it comes to the actual action, there are only two main concerns involved with bullet impact ending the bad guy threat for the ordinary law abiding citizen:

          1. If lethal.
          2. If not lethal.

          That’s it. Its real simple. The bullet that does either of those that results in the threat ceasing to be a threat was the correct bullet for the job. The trick is choosing the bullet that has the best chance of doing that quickly AND completely, not the bullet that hits harder than another.

        • to Booger brain the man who claims to know everything about anything and what he does not know is not worth knowing.

          Quote———-The trick is choosing the bullet that has the best chance of doing that quickly AND completely, not the bullet that hits harder than another.———-quote

          Booger Brain if you were not so damn stupid you would realize that the term “expanding bullet” is an advertising gimmick.

          Bullets are affected by a variety of circumstances and problems far too complex to go into here and you would not have the grey matter to comprehend the info anyway. Suffice to say that sometimes bullets do not expand at all, sometimes they expand a little and sometimes they expand too much. Any of those cases combined with distance, adrenaline , velocity, penetration, expansion, bullet placement, bone matter or lack of and a host of other factors makes the caliber controversy an exercise in futility and fantasy.

          To claim as you do that a certain bullet is guaranteed to be better than another in all shooting situations is the height of pure stupidity on your part.

  17. Atomic, didn’t want you to think I forgot you, or 10mm Auto. Great caliber. Fills a gap that needed filling for years. So did .41 Remington magnum. Both held niche markets. Both should have been more popular than they are. The 10 mm may be coming back. In a larger niche market. I met Col. Cooper briefly. A gentleman. Speaking of the .41 magnum. I once fished with a couple of cops out of Sebastian Inlet. Good times. They were fraternal brothers. They, and a third officer, broke up a robbery at a supermarket. They were issued S&W .41 Magnum. Fixed sights. Model 57? Anyway, all good guys standing, one walking wounded. No citizens harmed. Two bad guys on the tile in the store. Remember the “thought he was a get away driver”? Remember the third badge? Yeah, he’s outside too. Everyone walked away. Except the bad guys. Point is, those .41 S&W magnum revolvers did they’re job. You know, Atomic, I think I’ll take a Colt Delta Elite 10mm (or similar).and a S&W 4″ HB N frame .41 Remington mag. Another project.

    • So great to hear it. Some persons above didn’t check the proper loading for the Buffalo bore ammo correctly on 10mm vs 44 special visa here:
      https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=271
      And here
      :https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=219
      Just like the 45 ACP the 44 special is a bigger bullet, but it travels much slower and has less foot pounds of energy behind it. Oh well, never doubt some people’s inability to actually check facts. I wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy both the wheel gun and if you’re going to get a 10 mm Auto 1911 I recomend
      Les Baer :https://www.lesbaer.com/Kenai.html

    • So glad to here it! Unfortunately persons commenting above didn’t check the proper loading for the Buffalo bore ammo correctly on 10mm vs 44 special.
      Just like the 45 ACP, the 44 special is a bigger bullet, but it travels much slower and has less foot pounds of energy behind it.
      I wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy both the wheel gun and if you’re going to get a 10 mm Auto 1911, I STRONGLY recommend Against the delta if your going to shoot the heavy stuff. The colt delta elite wont handle the heavy loads as well as the steel back then was softer and heavy 10mm rounds WILL wear out the gun. Go for the Les Baer: Les Baer :https://www.lesbaer.com/Kenai.html

  18. You guys can debate this till your blue in the face. For me, there is no debate to be had. There is only ONE clear answer here…BOTH

    They both have their place in this world and a proven history. Both are deadly. Although neither one will seperate you from your lungs. This simply is a non-issue.

  19. Because there are benefits and drawbacks to both 9mm and .45. The same goes for all categories in the old as dirt weapons and caliber wars.

    A person’s natural tendency is to favoritize individual attributes of each subject. However, the subject is inconsequential as the answer we seek is why. There is no right or wrong.

    What’s correct for one person is of no consequence to another. A healthy discussion should be all that remains.

  20. Both have their benefits/ drawbacks.
    Personally, I find 45ACP’s recoil impulse very pleasing, especially coming from a 1911. That solid ‘thump’ vs. a sharp ‘crack’ just makes handing sooooo nice. Also, it’s impossible to (honestly) argue against 45’s effectiveness.

    9mm though, is also a great round, with well-proven effectiveness. Big bonus points go to the fact that it’s available in moderate-sized handguns (CCW-friendly) with considerable capacities.

  21. Every time this comes up I am reminded of this:

    https://www.police1.com/officer-shootings/articles/why-one-cop-carries-145-rounds-of-ammo-on-the-job-clGBbLYpnqqHxwMq/

    Anything can happen but this why I choose the .40 for EDC.
    Shot placement is always key and don’t think that the bad guy is just going to fall down.
    “no evidence of drugs or alcohol was found in his system.”
    I love the .45 but in this case it just didn’t cut it but would a 9mm or .40?
    Who knows? I know there used to be a video of a Chicago cop in the ’70s
    He and his partner had wheel guns and they put a bunch of rounds into a guy.
    The guy shot at them first and it was game on.
    The guy was hopped up on something but after taking 30 hits he was still fighting.
    The cop who did the video finally reloaded his .44 special and took out the guys knees.
    The perp finally went down and they had to kick guns away from the guy.
    He was still alive but died in the hospital. If I find the link I’ll post it.

    • Outliers hardly ever happen but when they do they absolutely make everyone take a third look at what they are doing and how.

    • Same here, but I had forgotten one detail:
      “Now unfailingly he goes to work carrying 145 handgun rounds, ALL 9MM.”

      .45 ACP failed to stop (until the 56th-second CNS hit) so he switched to 9mm and tripple the ammo.

      • I also just learned that “Tripple” with two Ps describes a horse gait similar to an amble, where the horse alternately moves both near and both off legs.

        I mean to type “trippple”, meaning three times.

  22. I’m primarily a revolver guy, but I have to respect the modern 9×19 cartridge. No other round packs such an adequate punch in such a small package. And I guess I’d rather be shot once with a .45 than twice with a 9mm.

    • Quite a bit higher velocity in 9mm. When you get into the P rounds, they are in the neighborhood of 1400 fps depending on the manufacturer, some are even higher. .45 ACP is around 830 fps. That velocity makes a big difference. I’d rather not get shot but I think if I had to choose, I’d take the much slower slug behind door number 2 and the new car please.

  23. All the calibers stated are weak compared to the mighty 20mm. The only problem is the size and weight of the piece to shoot it with.

  24. I have handguns in .22, .38/.357, 9 MM, .45scp and .45 Colt. For carry, I am limited to ten + 1, so the extra capacity of a 9 mm is a nonissue. I would happily carry either 9 or .45, but the 9s are usually smaller, lighter, and easier to conceal. I have an EMP in 9 mm that is a wonderful carry piece. Even if it is only 7 + 1, it is quite accurate all the way out to 7 yards (and further frankly, but that is the classic self defense range).
    My bedside guns are 1873 Colt clones in .45 Colt hand loaded with hollow points. I wouldn’t expect to need more that one or two shots with them, assuming I connected.
    Probably the most powerful round I’ve shot to date was .45 Colt, with a 250 grain lead bullet over 40 grains of black powder; it is a real thumper. No surprise the US Army asked Colt to down load the rounds to 30 or 35 grains.
    I shot a Glock .40, and its recoil was not noticeably different than a 9, for what that’s worth.

    Carry what is comfortable and that you shoot well. When SHTF, you want to make hits on target. That is all that really matters. If you wouldn’t want to stand in front of one, you know it will do what is needed.

  25. 9 vs. 45 actually goes back to the early days of repeating firearms. The “.36” of cap and ball revolvers is actually a .38 by modern reckoning (they measured from a different part of the rifling in those days) and thus 9mm, while the “.44” is a .45. Is the .44 overkill the prevents you from having a remotely handy gun, or is .36 enough for man? (For the record, from what I can find using an 1858 Remington the best 6.5 .36 loads with BP have 186 ft-lbs energy and 16.57 ft-s momentum and the best 5.5 inch .44 is 289 ft-lbs energy and 19.28 ft-s momentum, about akin to a 2 inch .38 Special and a 4 inch 9mm in momentum)

  26. 9mm? .45? Fah…Real manly men carry a 50AE Deagle.

    And if you run empty it doubles as a war hammer.

    Till Valhalla

    (LOL)

  27. A .45 1911 is a great gun. It does a fine job with keeping the paperwork for the 9mm Glock orders from blowing around.

  28. 9mm? .45acp? I just got a Glock in each caliber and call it done. Which one do I carry? Depends on the day of the week, the weather, what pants I am going to wear, and if I’m going to Bingo or not.

  29. 120mm smoothbore but I have to wear a really big jacket.
    I keep it in the garage.

    Any caliber with the proper ammo from .380 and up is going to pretty much do the same thing.
    Caliber wars for handguns used for SD for bipeds is stupid.
    The perfect lucky shot incapacitates in one round.
    On any given day some lunatic may have to be shot 30 times or more because they are still fighting.

    “In this free-for-all, the assailant had, in fact, been struck 14 times. Any one of six of these wounds – in the heart, right lung, left lung, liver, diaphragm, and right kidney – could have produced fatal consequences”
    That was with a Glock 21 in 45 ACP and they guy who was shot was still fighting.
    It took 3 shots to the head and the guy finally went down but was still alive.
    He eventually died.

    A pistol is really just until you can get to your long gun.
    That’s regardless of caliber unless it’s a .500 S&W Magnum.
    Hit someone center mass with a couple of rounds with 2,842 ft⋅lb of energy.
    If they are still standing afterwards and even if they are wearing a vest, you have an issue.

  30. One thing I have noted in most comparisons is they use .45ACP in 230grn ball.
    Never something like 185grn semi-wadcutters or even HP at a higher FPS.

    Shoot what you are comfortable with or just like better.
    I would like to have a FN5.7, something in .38Super, 10mm, but I cannot afford it.

    • Can’t afford the gun or the ammo? Either way 2 are reasons to get into reloading and one is going to be interesting to see what happens over the next decade or two.

      • Gun for the most part.
        I committed to reloading for common ammo and standardization in my collection. Are there a lot new wonder, new round of the month, I would like to have. Sure. But when it comes down to it, I need one round that can do most of the jobs most of the time.
        And just spent $3k to fix a rear transfer case and brake job.
        Been reloading since the late 90s to include exceeding SAAMI specs to reduce bullet jump.
        Invested in casting too.

        • Glock is fairly ok for price re 10mm I am sure there are 1911 versions that can do better but it has fit the bill for reloading madness especially with aftermarket barrels for anyone I know with one. FN S&W and others are probably ok as well I just haven’t seen them tested across various loadings. 38 Super I have only ever seen in 1911 and not cheaply so I absolutely see where you are coming from there (my shell plate selection for an obsolescent press also is not readily available for it) and really have not seen much of it. As for 5.7 wouldn’t even know where to start past some of the copper solid loadings are neat but are generally sold out. For the moment mostly focusing on 44mag and 357 sig for reloading experimentation and 22 for most shooting.

      • For this strange reason, something compels me that a long gun might be a better investment . . . dont know why . . .

    • One should own at least one gun in each major caliber so that one can give the perpetrator the choice of which caliber they wish to be shot with. End of caliber arguments.

  31. This reminds me. Gotta go reload the Vulcan miniguns, that party down the street got a little too loud last night so I ‘asked’ them to tone it down.

  32. I see Sam’s bizarre fixation on lecturing the rubes about the superiority of hollow point ammunition continues unabated.

    • lol

      Weird aint it? A needle can be 100% lethal, yet have zero stopping power. A bag of sand can be an instant stopper, yet be non-lethal.

      Yet folks conflate the two.

  33. Packing a revolver in .45 Colt. And it’s a single action.

    Bingo beats being surrounded by rainbow flags and rainbow posters in the kiddie room with all the plastic shooters.

  34. Carry the one you can conceal, shoot accurately, and shoot quickly.

    First shot on target is more important than anything else.

    • Wyatt Earp wrote (iirc) – ‘Take your time in a hurry. Make your first shot count.’

      He favored double barrels and 45s…

      If whitetails could shoot back, all the older deer hunters would be shooting slugs.

      People who thought “stopping power is a myth” would be ‘deerly departed’… :p

  35. A ” just looking” trip to a local gunshop a couple of years ago netted me a 10mm Ruger SRH which promptly got sent off to Tyler’s in texas to get rechambered to IMI 10magnum. Now it shoots anything from mild 40s&w through very “stout” 10 magnum handloads, all in moon clips and all readily dropped in a jacket pocket on ejecting. You guys don’t know how nice it is not chasing down expensive brass until you’re given it a try.

    • Never even heard of 10mm magnum and not the easiest to find info on besides an extra 6ish mm of case length. Best thing on caliber wars is there is always more to learn.

        • Good luck, trying to stick to 22 and 44 reloads this month but there are things in 357 and 480 floating around.

  36. I carry both depending on the weather. I’m a 1911 45acp guy at heart. Part of the reason is I reload all my own and I can reload 45acp brass virtually forever. I do carry a hellcat in 9 when I need something more discreet and I reload 9, but I really have to track how many times I’ve reloaded a particular 9 case.

    As to effectiveness, I think they’re pretty even.

  37. Since 9mm is comparable to 45ACP, the greater capacity makes it the natural choice except by one metric, suppression. A standard 45 is quieter with a can than 9mm is and for that we must give our thanks to Browning

    • The flat nose 40sw works rather well and was (need to check lately) cheaper than 45. To be honest if I am down to just ball it really will not matter what I carry so long as it works.

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