Old question, I know. 9mm or 45ACP


November 26, 2008, 06:04 PM
I'm looking at a S&W M&P for a CCW role. This will be my only (as of now) compact, easily concealable auto. I am torn as to which caliber. I prefer 9mm or 45ACP in an auto. I have a few 9s and 45s and ammo consolidation is a factor with my budget. I know 9mm is cheaper but, as a great man once said, "If you have to fight with a pistol, bigger is better." I want controllability of a compact 9mm, but I want the stopping power of a 45. Advice, please!:banghead: I know I can't have it all; what is an easier sacrifice? Thanks.

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November 26, 2008, 06:43 PM
I'm no ballistics expert (and I'm sure one will correct me if I'm way off :D), but... I think a hot 9mm is pretty near the performance of a .45 (energy-wise, at least). No, you'll never get the same bullet size/weight, but I think 9mm is a very formidable defense round. I think a same-size pistol will be much more controlable for followup shots, too.
And if you intend to practice regularly, price is a big consideration, too. You can get Remington UMC 9mm for $7.95/box on sale at Dick's, versus $14.95 for .45ACP. Seven bucks more for each 50rd practice session is notable, if not, I'll PM you my bank account info where you can deposit your "extra money"! The top-shelf defense ammo is likely a good bit closer in price.
To counter anticipated replies - yes, bottom line, the 45 is a more powerful "stopper". I just think the margin doesn't justify the controllability/price. Your opinion may differ :neener:

November 26, 2008, 06:58 PM
4 cylinder or V-8?

November 26, 2008, 07:01 PM
If you have issues controlling a .45... maybe you should look into a weight set.
My wife can unload a 1911 on target in about 2 seconds.
Carry what feels good, you can hit with, and you trust.


Marcus L.
November 26, 2008, 07:03 PM
9mm: Easier to control, cheaper practice ammo, greater magazine capacity, smaller/lighter pistol.

.45acp: Bigger bullet, more damage to people(soft targets).

.40S&W: Better magazine capacity than .45acp, smaller/lighter than .45acp, cheaper practice ammo than .45acp, better penetration against hard targets than .45acp, better damage to people than 9mm.

When torn between two extremes, taking the middle ground usually gives you the best peace of mind. I say think about a .40S&W M&P.

J. Jay
November 27, 2008, 01:46 AM
Many consider the 9mm with good HP ammo to be the absolute MINNIMUM caliber for a combat round. But, the .45acp is a one-shot-stop caliber. If you can handle the .45acp without difficulties, then please dont under-gun yourself. In my opinion, the colt lightweight commander is the best combat sidearm made.

November 27, 2008, 01:50 AM
Split the difference and go with a .40 S&W

Hits with the same or more energy than the .45 cal and has the trajectory of the 9mm. What a deal!

Ken Rainey
November 27, 2008, 02:45 AM
scidx, "stopping power" with a handgun is the "great myth"...anyway, for use in a compact pistol for concealed carry, I recommend (and mostly use) a 9mm (Glock 26). I use 147 grain ammo for the heavy bullet, standard pressure and ease of shooting...it'll do the job if I will. I also have a 3 inch "short stroker" in .45 ACP that gets carried some....each pistol has it's attributes...do I feel any better able to defend myself with the .45...nope...I like it for it's nice trigger, even though it does have a stiffer recoil...but as far as having a practical advantage over the baby Glock, it doesn't for me...:uhoh:

Now in full size pistols, my .45 is my most accurate and has even help me win me some trophies - I have confidence in it...but, I'm also confident in my BHP and Glock 17 as well...they aren't as bullseye accurate, but I don't feel any less able to defend myself with them either....or even one of my good 'ol .38s ! :neener:

November 27, 2008, 09:47 AM
Get both, plus a .40, and a .32auto.

I've been collecting milsurp and police trade ins for some years. I own all sorts of pistols and revolvers. All the calibers are good, except it's hard to find French 8mm revolver ammo!

November 27, 2008, 09:54 AM
.45 acp isn't that bad. You can always just pick a lower velocity jhp, and many cheap fmj practice rounds are featherweights too. There's no need to compromise, and then you can work your way up to the hot stuff.

However, a 9mm is nothing to laugh at either.

November 27, 2008, 11:40 AM
they both make tiny holes.

It's where you put that tiny hole that matters.

November 27, 2008, 11:53 AM
But, the .45acp is a one-shot-stop caliber.

Or would be if such a thing actually existed

November 27, 2008, 12:05 PM
Although I carry a .45 most days now, at times I do carry a 9MM. With today's ammunition the 9MM aint the same animal that people like Jeff Cooper and Chuck Taylor lamented so much about not being a good man stopper. With today's better hollow point ammo the 9MM is a little cat with some big claws. AND, even plain old full metal jacketed rds are still killing people every day all over the world:p

November 27, 2008, 12:40 PM
I would give the .357 sig a nod if you reload. 10+1 capacity in compact, tons of power, a simple barrel switch and you've got .40 cal. Plus the bottleneck gives an already extreemly reliable weapon even easier feeding. Will be getting one myself as soon as i'm no longer broke

November 27, 2008, 02:23 PM
I don't think the caliber makes as much difference as the bullet design and the skill of the shooter with his gun. Whatever you use, you should practice enough to become very familiar with your gun and able to shoot it with speed and accuracy.

If you study the ballistic gelatin test data for the best modern 9mm ammunition, you will see that it penetrates 13 to 14 inches in bare gelatin and expands to 0.65 to 0.80 inches in diameter. The same tests on .40 and .45 ammunition give results that aren't that different. Here are a couple of links for Winchester Ranger and Federal HST ammo tests:

Winchester Ranger test data (http://www.winchester.com/lawenforcement/testing/testing.aspx#)

Federal HST test data (http://le.atk.com/general/irl/woundballistics.aspx)

After looking at this data, I tend to favor the 147 grain standard velocity products in 9mm for these two brands of ammo.

The 9mm has the advantage of cheaper practice ammo and generally lower recoil, allowing you to put more shots on target in a given time. So you can make a good argument that 9mm may be just as good as .45 for defensive use. I have plenty of .45s but I am using a 9mm gun for carry more and more.

November 27, 2008, 03:40 PM
SCIDX said:
I want controllability of a compact 9mm, but I want the stopping power of a 45.

Controllability can be had thru practice, even with a .45. As a previous poster mentioned his wife can empty a clip in 2 seconds onto the target. I'm nowhere that good, but decent enough to get the job done and getting better everyday.
Keep in mind ammo price, for me, isnt that important. I'm not rich, but have few bills, few expensive hobbies and just LIKE practicingLOL So, it's whatever works for you...


November 28, 2008, 02:29 PM
If you can not control a .45 ACP you most likely won't be able to control a 9mm either.

November 28, 2008, 02:40 PM
4 cylinder or V-8?

Well, almost... more like 4 cyl or 6 cyl

If you want 8 cyl look at 10mm Auto.

Honestly, the 9mm will be enough for 99.999% of self defense scenarios. With modern, expanding ammo it will do the job just fine. The only reason I would use a .45 is if I was restricted to FMJ ammo like the military.

November 28, 2008, 06:24 PM
9mm or .45acp will both serve your purpose just fine. Shoot one of each and make your decision from there. As for .40S&W, if you enjoy muzzle flip, try one of those as well. I own several firearms in all three. Out of the three I enjoy .45acp most, followed by 9mm, my .40S&Ws do not get shot very often. For my own personal opinion of the matter, I see nothing of added value the .40S&W does that can not be done in better shooting 9mm or .45acps.

November 28, 2008, 11:22 PM
.45 ACP in an H&K USP Compact is a great choice, if you can afford to spend the extra money.

Why did the Navy Seals drop the 9mm and go back to .45s? Food for thought.

November 28, 2008, 11:33 PM
oh boy. here we go again. :D

November 28, 2008, 11:45 PM
Forget the caliber. Shoot them both. Which ever you can shoot better and faster, is the one you choose.

November 29, 2008, 12:27 AM
Rent, rent, rent ........ and then rent some more. Finally, buy the gun that felt the most comfortable and that hit the target the most consistently. Both rounds will more than take care of a BG if, and it's a big IF, you can hit him!

November 29, 2008, 01:05 AM
First off don't let us make the decision for you. We are only good for giving you advice and ideas. You need to shoot both and decide.

I personally think the 9mm is better suited for short barreled pistols for obvious reasons: less recoil, more capacity, and more reliable jhp expansion in short barrels. Also I am not entirely convinced that the .45 is such a greater manstopper that in warrants those disadvantages. But to each his own.

November 29, 2008, 01:44 AM
9mm and .45 ACP is my first choice in HD. Next is my .357 magnum/.38 spl. revolver as my BUG.

Train with what you want and stick with it. It won't make any difference in what caliber you use if you can't shoot accurately.

November 29, 2008, 01:54 AM
"..."If you have to fight with a pistol, bigger is better."..." He was wrong. Which do you shoot better? Nothing else matters.

November 29, 2008, 03:19 AM
Use the largest caliber that you feel you can shoot effectively.

But, the .45acp is a one-shot-stop caliber.

I too would be interested to hear your stories/sources RE 1-shot "man-stopping" in a .45 ACP. My grandfather spent 3 wars as a battlefield surgeon treating people wounded with the same, and wouldn't back that claim.

I have a battle buddy wounded in the shoulder by an AK in Afghanistan, and not only did it not stop him; brother was still combat effective as long as it was necessary. Good thing he wasn't hit by a "killer" .45 instead of that 7.62 Short. :rolleyes:

Shot placement reigns supreme.

November 29, 2008, 03:23 AM
Originally posted by C-Grunt http://thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5100969&postcount=71
Thats got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

First off, MISSING with a 5.56? Maybe if the guy never shot before, but Marines and Army grunts these days are held to a high standard with their rifles. This isn't the day of the M1 Carbine, and these aren't AK-47's. Their M16s and M4s. These rifles are used in competitions all over the states because its hard NOT to hit something.

Second, a "good hit", you probably mean one to a vital. I'd like to see anyone in the face of danger stop and think about the shot he's making. Generally, you get your rifle on target and shoot.

Thirdly, you compare our men in Iraq and Afghanistan to kids? These guys don't go through over 6 months of training to think that their rifles have Hollywood's physics defying bullets in it. These aren't morons, their soldiers. You should think a little better of them.

Fourthly, getting shot in the body and having the bullet go straight through you IS NOT something you should survive, grace of god or otherwise. You shoot anyone in the body with a rifle caliber .303, .308, .270, or other caliber bigger than .22 (by at least .05 inches), and they WILL go down. The heavier bullet means it can store more energy, which in turn causes greater injury to the target upon impact. It's simple physics. If I threw a pen at you, you'd be a little agitated. Now, if I threw a rock at you, you'd bleed or have a broke bone. If I hit you with a car doing 40 mph or more, you'd probably be dead. Just use your common sense
Ok first off just to let you know, my screen name stands for Charlie company Grunt. I got that because I spent my 4 years active duty in the Army in 2nd platoon C company 1/30 Infantry Battalion 3rd Brigade 3rd ID.

I was a SAW gunner during the initial invasion into Iraq and saw my fair share of combat there. During my second tour in 05 I was stationed at FOB Normandy near the Iran border. Only a few firefights there as the insurgents got their butts kicked big time when they tried that crap. LOTS of IEDs though. Most of my Command staff, ie 1st Seargent, CO, LTs and what not came from the Ranger Batts. My last 1st Sgt was with the 10th mntn unit that rescued the guys from the wholw Black Hawk Down fiasco. I NEVER ever ever heard anyone say anything about the lack of lethality of the 5.56. -in my unit-

Hell, in 05 we even had a SF group on our FOB with us. I got to know them as we played video games together. All of them carried M4s and !!!gasp!!! Beretta 92s. Well one guy did have a nice 1911 and the sniper had a sweet custom 300 win mag. I asked them about there load outs and what they have experienced and you know what they said?

"If your aim is good, it doesnt really matter what you use. We use the M4 because its light, accurate and can be replaced easily if damaged. The Berettas are accurate and hold a lot of rounds. If Im low on ammo I can get some from your unit."....This is coming from some bad a** dudes right there. Scary good.

Now to tell the truth, before I went to combat I was a big skeptic of the 5.56. Hell I even went further and said we should all be shooting 7mm Rem Mags. After my experiences out in the desert I am a HUGE 5.56 fan. That doesnt mean I dislike the 7.62. In 05 I was a Humvee gunner as well and preferred the M240B even over the .50 M2.

November 29, 2008, 04:50 PM
I prefer 9mm to any caliber, its just easier to shoot and it costs less. I love .45 too, but 9mm is what I prefer. Millions of people all over the globe trust thier lives to 9mm and 45, either one is great IMO.

November 29, 2008, 06:16 PM
The .45 isn't much harder to control than the 9mm in my opinion. Yes, it (the .45) does more damage, but I think the total amount of damage delivered to the upper body or CNS in the end is sufficient with either caliber. I like 9mm because its alot cheaper.

November 29, 2008, 06:57 PM
I have guns in both.... but when you put a 9mm round next to a .45acp round, there is a rather large difference. I carry the .45 a lot more than the 9mm.

November 29, 2008, 09:34 PM
My wife can unload a 1911 on target in about 2 seconds.

Yeah, but she may be 6' 200lbs, with big giant arms:neener:

Either caliber will do the job, if you do your part;)

November 29, 2008, 09:37 PM
When torn between two extremes, taking the middle ground usually gives you the best peace of mind. I say think about a .40S&W M&P.

Right there is the direction I would (and will soon) go. I agree wholeheartedly.

November 29, 2008, 09:57 PM
Anything less is too much less. Depending on what the target is, a .22 Long Rifle might suffice. Generally when one MUST stop a drug-crazed assailant, a .45 ACP shrinks to minimal control. No, a .45 ACP does not kick like a mule, AND far less than a .454 Casull. No female should be subjected to firing a .454 Casull, ever. cliffy

November 30, 2008, 12:35 AM
I own a couple of single-stack 45ACP pistols and a couple of double-stack 9mm pistols. I shoot the 9mm pistols better than I shoot the 45ACP pistols. Recoil isn't the problem directly, although it is a factor. I can get back on target much faster with the 9mm pistol. In a serious situation, I want to have the pistol that I shoot best, provided I am comfortable with the effectiveness of the caliber, (that rules out the .22).

I understand the blood out/air in social work objective and agree that a 0.45" hole is better for that than a 0.356" hole. I also understand that one doesn't stop shooting until the 'situation' has been resolved. I, for one, don't train for one-shot situations. Fifteen 147 grain Speer gold dots from a 9mm pistol compares quite well with seven 230 grains from the 45ACP, (that's 5.34" versus 3.15" of "total hole" for those interested in such arcane details). Granted, I may not be able to put all fifteen of the smaller bullets on target in the same time I could for the larger seven, but it will be pretty close.

These caliber war posts give me a headache.............:banghead: (My bedside gun is a revolver and a 12 gauge shotgun is standing in the corner.)

November 30, 2008, 12:39 AM
My short answer to this question is always the same: which ever one you shoot more accurately. I own both and prefer the .45 for SD, but I don't ever feel under-armed when I carry my 9mm.

Byron Quick
November 30, 2008, 04:03 AM
cliffy, me lad, I hope you never run into Tamara- she who carries a Delta Elite on her right hip and a snubnosed .44 Special S&W in her purse as her BUG and say something like that. She'll tear you new orifices.

If you run into someone who looks as if she might be a Valkyr in disguise, remaining silent on such issues would be most prudent.

You wouldn't want her to ask you to dance.

Yeah, but she may be 6' 200lbs, with big giant arms

Not Tamara, 6' yes, 200 lbs. no. big giant arms, no. Rather slim really but if it goes boom it's her bosom buddy and she can shoot better than most men I've ever seen. Not to mention having a literally encyclopedic knowledge of firearms, their mechanisms, and their history. Check out The Arms Room http://cosmolineandrust.blogspot.com/ where she posts a photograph and essay on one of her guns at least weekly...The Sunday Smith is particularly enjoyable. She's about got a book there.

November 30, 2008, 11:11 AM
One of my more embarrassing moments was in a gun shoppe near Carson City.

I was discussing matters of recoil and accuracy with the counter guy, and said something about how manageable a certain pistol might be.

He chuckled. "You should ask her about that."

"Her" turned out to be a 5'2" petite freckled blond, somewhere in her late thirties or early forties. What would you like to know? I shoot everything in here, and it all works just fine." Among the "everything" were .357s, .50s, .44s, .454s, .45s, and so on. She briefed me on all of them. Just as matter-of-fact as you please.

I came away with a new respect for the phrase "knowing how to shoot." I had a chance to relate that conversation to the proprietor of the other small gun shoppe in town. Mike and Chet both laughed. "I see you've met Sylvia. You might not want to take her on until you've been shooting a while."

Oh, and as to what works best for SD? Well, Sylvia carries a .38 spl revolver, 'cuz what matters is where the holes go, and she can put those holes where she wants them.

Chet carries a full-sized 1911, 'cuz that's what he shoots well. Mike carries a Kel-tec pocket pistol in 9mm, 'cuz it's easier to carry, and he can hit whatever he needs to with it -- oh, and Mike is the CCW instructor.

Me? I'm gonna carry whatever I can hit with and whatever I can carry easily. It won't be either of my full-sized pistols, 'cuz I'd have to be wearing a coat. Your CCW should be something that a) you can hit with, and b) you'll actually carry.

Don't do you much good if you're leaving it home half the time on account of it's too much trouble.

Choose something you can always carry and that you can hit stuff with -- put the holes where you want them -- and get good with it.

Don't worry too much about the diameter thing.

If you have to shoot someone, and you actually hit him, there's a good chance he won't volunteer to let you hit him again.

And that's what it's all about anyway.

All you want to do is persuade him that he doesn't really want to bother you any more.

November 30, 2008, 03:12 PM
No female should be subjected to firing a .454 Casull, ever. cliffyMy wife has the .454 Alaskan on her "to get" list.
I have seen more than 1 petite woman firing .454s and .460s.
Knowing how to shoot a certain pistol properly goes a LONG way in managing its recoil.


November 30, 2008, 10:51 PM
It is all about what works for YOU. I shoot my HK45c better than my G19. The recoil is different and I handle the 45 push better than the 9mm snap/flip. But, that is just me. While I carry the HK, it is hard to argue with 15 rounds of 9mm v 8 of 45.

Darth AkSarBen
December 1, 2008, 12:14 AM
My wife has some carpal tunnel in her hands and shooting my Taurus 24/7 pro .45 hurts her wrists. The Bersa .380 Thunder, now that she can shoo pretty well. Not as powerful as the other, but it's what she feels comfortable with, and shoots.

I carry my .45 all the time, and if in shorts and T shirt I use the SmartCarry holster. It will even fully conceal the Bersa .380 as well. ArfinGreebly said it best above. It is how good the shots are placed as even the lowly .22 had put men down. Hence we have a Brady Anti-Gun organizaion because of the lowly .22 and what it did.

December 1, 2008, 12:47 AM
9mm is fine. its just as effective, and its 1/2 the price. that means you can shoot more frequently and practice more.

December 1, 2008, 07:15 AM
I"m just a big fan of the 9mm we carry the .357 sig now but my personnel own weapons is a 9mm I just shoot it better and the few shootings I've been present for both with 9mm and .357sig the results were the same can't say which one would of been a one shot stop as mutilple rounds were shot. But on the range scores overall went down when we went to the .357 sig. Hasn't shot a .45 since my MP days in the 70's so I don't know how that would compare to the .357. Shot placement is the key which ever round you use the 9mm allow more range time due to cheaper ammo for most of us and that is what will count.

Be safe

December 22, 2008, 12:48 AM


9mm versus .45 ACP...

The .45 is approx 1/10 of an inch longer in diameter, and will expand a tiny bit farther than the best 9mm HP round.

The answer is so simple. Pick a reliable pistol (I'm talking Glock, H&K, M&P, SIG...etc...and make sure you test it out A LOT because even the best pistol manufacturers make lemons) that you shoot accurately with and practice as often as necessary to become proficient at hitting whatever target you want from 5-10 yards away.

December 22, 2008, 05:36 PM

My understanding is that the new top quality 9mm dedicated personal defense rounds have a one shot stop history, in real events, in the lower 90 percentile..

The 45cal. round of the same type, I believe, under the same circumstances has a real event history of one shot stops in the mid 90's percentile range...

We're not talking fmj's here, but rounds designed as man-stoppers, and priced accordingly.

I have a S&W CS45 that I really like, and it offers 6+1 rounds.. Overall, it's about the same size and weight (to the feel, never weighed 'em) as my 3rd Generation 9mm 6906.. The 6906 offers 15+1 rounds of 9mm ammo, (Using the SW5906 mags w/SW extender)..

I like the 6906 too... So, is it 7 rounds of flying ash trays, or 16 rounds of 115gn jhp DoubleTaps?

I consider both excellent weapons, and it would "seem" that the 9 extra 9mm rounds would more than off-set the difference between the 7 45cal offerings vs the 16 round 9mm offerings..

I guess one consideration would be if you were expecting to be gang attacked by more than 7 people but less than 17 the 9mm would get the call? Or if was just a small gang, of say 7 or less, probably the 45?

It's always something...:D

Best Wishes,




December 22, 2008, 05:43 PM
The 9MM versus 45 battle will always rage on. I carry 45, know a lot of guys who swear by it.. know a lot of guys who swear by their 9MM. Ford/Chevy/Dodge 9MM/40SW/45ACP/10MM/etc. Go with what you're comfortable with and a good shot with.

Baba Louie
December 22, 2008, 07:02 PM
Old question, old answer. Which ever one you like and shoot best. Both are compromises. 9 will be cheaper to feed for practice. Good defensive ammo will cost more no matter the caliber. Both will put a hurt on someone if need be.

Wasn't it Fairbairn (or Sykes) who taught Col Applegate to shoot in pairs due to the inefficiency of itty bitty handgun rounds (as opposed to rifle cartridge power levels) the Shanghai police used back in the day? (I can't believe it's already been 10 years since the Col. passed. God I'm getting old) I think he said they used either the .380 or .32 due to the size of their typical constables (senior moment suffering from CRS)

Bullet design has come a long way in 50 years. You're not limited to ball ammo only. If you are, you might choose bigger hole making ability of the 11.25mm. In any case, you gotta hit whatcha aim at, so buy either one, buy a lot of ammo and practice with a purpose. (a good class or three will do wonders for ya, even if you choose a lowly S&W Model 10 or 13:D)

You'll be fine. ;)

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