A different type of 9mm vs .45ACP thread


July 29, 2008, 10:38 PM
This is a question like calling the doctor and asking, "I have a sore throat and my head hurts. What's wrong with me?" or asking the mechanic, "the car has an odd tap when I am idling but not when I turn left" when the car is at home in the garage.

But since I do that all the time, I'll ask the oddball question here...

Got back from the range tonight where I shot my Springer GI 1911 and S&W MP9. My .45 work was done with mild 185 LSWC and 200 LRN handloads and some commercial 230gr WWB and CCI Blazer FMJs. My MP9 work was done with 115 WWB and a mild 125 LRN handload. The GI is stock (arched MSH, short trigger, barleycorn sights) and the MP9 is stock, with the small grip installed.

Conventional wisdom says "everyone knows it's easier to shoot a smaller caliber than bigger one." One would think I would shoot the 9mm better. But surprise-surprise, I shoot the 1911 better. (And, FWIW, my first 5 185 LSWC reloads all hit my 3" bull at 10 yards.)

I know there are lots of possibilities:
-Grip design
-1911's single action vs. MP's striker
-1911's heavier weight

Anyone want to try to diagnose this? I'm curious... I ran out of sunlight to try to diagnose this further tonight...will have to try again soon.


If you enjoyed reading about "A different type of 9mm vs .45ACP thread" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Kilted Cossack
July 29, 2008, 11:17 PM
A couple of quick thoughts.

How much experience do you have with a 1911? If, as is frequently the case with Texans, the answer is "lots" then thats a big part of your answer right there. NOTHING feels as good, as instinctively, perfectly, absolutely right in my hand as a 1911. (Well, if we're talking guns . . . . )

Also, while we all grew up on stories of the .45 ACP's wrist-wrenching recoil, actual fact is a little different. In a steel frame gun like the 5" 1911, the ACP is a modest and efficient little package even in hardball form, and the softball and lighter cast loads are simply dainty to shoot.

Then let's throw in the factor of "they've been using it for a long long time in the military and at Camp Perry." We have "cracked the code" on the .45 ACP. We know how to make it accurate. In fact, the accurate handloads are about the only ones you can find. Americans are tinkerers, and shooters, and we have ironed the wrinkles out of cartridges like the .45 ACP, .38 Special, the .308 and the mighty .30-06.

The 9mm has never struck me as a cartridge that has gone through that refinement process. My impression is that in Europe smaller calibers are used for target shooting--I could be wrong. I don't think we Americans have refined the 9mm because, during the Wondernine Craze, the emphasis was on lots of shots, and we had to get used to sometimes 'combat accurate' pistols.

Need more input data! Go shooting again.

July 29, 2008, 11:53 PM
Gotta love the natural pointability and inherent accuracy of the 1911 design + the .45acp cartridge. These babies were made to be shot while riding a horse and the single action trigger is oh so nice.

July 29, 2008, 11:56 PM
Conventional wisdom says "everyone knows it's easier to shoot a smaller caliber than bigger one."

You're only going to tell a difference when you start pushing speed, as recovery time can sometimes be faster with 9mm, depending on other factors (size/weight, hand-fit, bore-axis, etc). If you're taking your time, resting on a sandbag etc, caliber is not going to matter too much in that regard, apart from inherent differences in accuracy of the pistol, ammo, sights, S.R. etc.

But you could always get experimental, and splurge for a 1911 in 9mm. I personally like .45 A.C.P.

July 30, 2008, 02:26 AM
I bought the 9mm Les Baer PII. Does not have the 1.5" guarantee. It is not as accurate for me as the .45 PII with the 1.5" guarantee. I doubt that the 9mm is as accurate as the .45, but I'm working on it. So far I like the 125 gr Hornady Action Pistol about as good as anything. Just a bit spendy for plinking.

For me the 1911 is good for accuracy. Recoil is certainly manageable with a 5" steel gun and target loads. I'm not sure I get to dainty, but then I do have a 10 lb recoil spring, some Clays and some 200 gr SWC that I might try to achieve dainty.

July 30, 2008, 02:55 AM
Wrong thread.

July 30, 2008, 04:12 AM
All other factors aside, I would put it down to sights. Simply (and I believe irrefutably) put, your M&P has superior sights to the GI.

For that matter, darn near every modern handgun has theoretically superior sights to the GI originals. That tiny little front blade and that tiny little rear sight just aren't as conducive to accuracy as modern, bold three-dot sights (or straight-8's or whatever else you may prefer) are.

Now, that doesn't mean I am disparaging your 1911. The GI can be shot with accuracy suitable for target or defensive work, but not as easily as a modern gun like the M&P. What they do have going for them is that they are accurate to what the military actually carried, and there is at the very least a sentimental value to that. The GI is a good, solid, basic gun that can get the job done, but the simple truth is that the GI sights are inferior to anything approaching modern sights.

July 30, 2008, 08:09 AM
Could be a couple factors. Familiarity. Trigger. Sights. Does the GI have the stock narrow sights. They are great when you have time to line them up. I suspect if you hurried your shots...like in a combat situation...the M&P would do better. It's sights are bigger and easier to pick up and it should have less muzzle rise for better recovery time.

How long have you been shooting the M&P. The trigger will always be stiffer than the 1911...but it will smooth out after several hundred firings.

July 30, 2008, 08:59 AM
I've got a Colt Commander and a Glock 19, and I've noticed the same thing. One thing I chalk it up to is simple physics. The Commander is darned heavy. It has a great deal more inertia and, as such, tends to resist drifting around as you try to hold the sights on target. The Glock, having less mass, has a decreased ability to resist outside forces and remain at rest, so to speak.

July 30, 2008, 10:28 AM
I had a 1911 last year (Rock Island Tactical) but traded it around Christmastime for a 3" SP101. Love the Ruger, but had the itch for a 1911 again. At a LGS, I saw a previously-purchased-but-never-fired Springer GI in the used gun case so I snatched it up.

This was my 2nd trip to the range with the Springer, the first attempt with my .45 reloads.

I've been shooting the MP since last fall - only factory stuff until April, and then acquired dies & bullets to start rolling my own. Since then, it's been a mixed lot of factory & reloads.

The GI has the old style, thin sights but you know - I like 'em.

I did a little dry-firing last night after I posted, having spent a few minutes wiping down the pistolas with a little Hoppes. I think it's probably a trigger issue...the 1911 is clean and crisp in the 5-6 pound pull range where the MP is still pretty stiff and probably in the 8-10 pound pull range. Of course, the other things - grip feel, weight, etc. - all have a factor as well.

What can I say? I love that GI. I wish it had an ambi safety and beavertail, but those can be added on later. For now, I have a relatively inexpensive and wonderfully fun and suitably accurate gun: what more can a fellow ask for?

(Oh, yeah...and about 1000 cast boolits ready to reload!)

I guess I'll just have to keep practicing to learn that MP. "Honey, I have to go to school tonight?" ["For what class?" she asks.] "Ummmm....triggernometry." :D


July 30, 2008, 11:31 AM
You are gonna have to buy more guns to test this properly!:D You will need a 1911 style 9mm and a non-1911 .45. That way you can see if it is the caliber that you shoot better or if it is the style of gun.

July 30, 2008, 12:13 PM
I always, and I mean ALWAYS, shoot my S&W 1911 .45 better than my smaller caliber handguns. It's an "entry-level" 1911, nothing done to it, no target sights, completely stock. I think there are a couple factors: it's 5" barrel is actually the longest barrel out of all my handguns, a full-size 1911 fits my hand as if it was custom made by Mr. John Moses Browning especially for me, having the longest barrel in my handgun collection meens it also has the longest sight radius, and some unexplainable thing inside my brain wants to rationalize that a big, heavy, slow-moving bullet out of a heavy all-metal handgun (not a rifle) will go where you point it better than a piping-hot little 9mm out of a lighter gun.

My dad tells me stories of his days as a Marine in Vietnam, and says that the standard issue 1911s were so bad, you could stick your pinky finger in the end of the muzzle and rattle the barrel around inside the bushing with the gun in full battery. He says that beyond 9 or 10 yards, you were lucky to hit the side of a barn. A lot has changed since 1968, and my 1911 is very accurate out to 30 yards or more. I am still trying to get used to my Beretta 92, even though that feels almost as good in my hand as the 1911.

July 30, 2008, 12:31 PM
You are gonna have to buy more guns to test this properly! You will need a 1911 style 9mm and a non-1911 .45. That way you can see if it is the caliber that you shoot better or if it is the style of gun.


Do me a favor, lions, call my wife and tell her this for me, would ya? Then, when the hearing returns in your ear after she screams at you, let me know what she said.

Actually, I would love to try a Ruger P395 some day. Can those be carried cocked & locked (my short fingers have problems with double-action trigger length on some autos, i.e. CZ75B), or is the safety decock-only?


July 30, 2008, 12:49 PM
If your M & P 9 has such a crapy trigger as mine did when I bought it, I would have no doubts you did better with your 1911 of any brand even. After Dave Bowie did a number on my M & P action, this gun is the most accurate semi I have ever shot. I amaze myself even with the accuracy it has given me, for I sure don't consider my self . a "shooter". I like everything about my M & P NOW..

July 30, 2008, 12:52 PM
[Nevermind...Google gave my my answer...and can't delete this waste of bandwith...sorry...:banghead:]


July 30, 2008, 01:19 PM
I have been shooting an HK P2000 in .40SW with the LEM trigger for about 3-4 years now and just recently forayed into the 9mm realm with a SIGPRO SP2022 with a SA/DA trigger. I thought I would shoot it better than the HK due to the SA trigger and lighter caliber, but in fact, I don't shoot it as well, due to the trigger being slightly gritty (new gun with only maybe 500 rounds through it so far), larger grip which doesn't suit my smaller hands so well, and higher bore axis which seems to cause more muzzle flip. I was really suprised by this.

Now, even MORE recently, I bought my first 1911, a Taurus PT1911AR, which I have had unbelievable problems with, but that's a different story. The point is, the first time I took it out and shot it, I was able to shoot it more accurately and more rapidly than either of my other guns, by a pretty wide margin - with 230gr hardball. I haven't even gotten good with this gun, it's only had about 100 rounds through it at my hands, and I already shoot it better than either of the others!

I think the reason is a combination of the slim frame which allows a better grip, low bore axis and high hold (under a beavertail grip safety), VERY clean, light, short trigger (after a good trigger job from a smith), and heavy weight which more than compensates for the moderate recoil from the 45ACP. I think the 5" barrel and long sight radius helps, too.

I suppose my point is that, in my experience, the 1911 is a superbly shootable gun. I think this is why it's so favored by so many professional shooters, whether they be competitors (Brian Enos, Rob Leatham, etc.) or operators (Delta, Marine Force Recon, etc.).

For a long long time I thought all the 1911 love was hype. Now I really do believe that it may be the most shootable handgun I've ever shot. I love it :)

July 30, 2008, 11:20 PM
I should probably start a new thread, but I'll try this here first.

Regarding 9mms, for those that shoot these two guns, compare the CZ 75 (preferably a SA model, but the standard 75B or 85 will work for what I'm asking) to an MP9. HOw do you feel about them? One comment frequently made about the MP is it's low bore axis. The CZ has that too, doesn't it? I know the CZ is more closely akin to a HiPower than a 1911, so it might not be exactly what I want. Need to find someone in my neck of Houston who has one that'll let me shoot it and try it...<hint, hint>

I guess what I might be interested in looking for - in the future - is a true single action 9mm (i.e. not striker fired) that's not a 1911 (i.e. not so bloody expensive). There was some talk, at one point, about Rock Island producing a 9mm in 1911, but I haven't heard anything.


If you enjoyed reading about "A different type of 9mm vs .45ACP thread" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!