.40 vs .45


March 11, 2009, 01:51 PM
Curious what you all think about the .40 vs. .45 dilemma?

Stopping power?

Anything else?

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March 11, 2009, 02:21 PM
I have a .40, I love it, its been proven (as far as I'm concerned) by law enforcement, and the ammo is pretty plentiful right now. I don't have a lot of experience with the .45, but I'm positive its a good round too. In my opinion, they are both perfectly adequate defense rounds but .40 seems to have much better ammo availability at the moment, at least in my neck of the woods.

March 11, 2009, 02:27 PM
Stopping power?

Cost is about a wash.

Stopping power is more a function of which one you're more capable of shooting accurately.

Availability: pretty much any pistol caliber is more difficult to find in quantity nowdays.

March 11, 2009, 02:40 PM
.40 is the modern .38 special. It'll do the job, just not as well.

I keed, I keed...... well sorta. :D

March 11, 2009, 02:41 PM
The cost difference is negligible, particularly between defensive loads.

REAL WORLD stopping power is pretty much a wash. I don't care as much for the increased ft/lbs of energy in the .40 as much as I like the increased wound channel of my 230 gr HSTs. Either one penetrates enough to be considered a viable defensive pistol round.

I have never seen a shortage of either cartridge, however, life seems to be much simpler when I only look for 230 gr WWB.

In every pistol where I have been able to shoot both the .40 and .45 version, the .40 had snappier recoil than the .45

March 11, 2009, 02:46 PM
Curious what you all think about the .40 vs. .45 dilemma?

I didn't know there was a dilemma. I assumed they would both do the job just fine. Never heard of a bad guy being shot in the chest and saying "gee, I'm glad it was only a .40... had it been a .45, I might be even more dead"

;) Teasing... WELCOME TO THR!

To be serious... the only time having a .45 would really be better is if you had to abide by the Hague Convention and only use FMJ. For the rest of us that can use expanding ammo, its all the same.

March 11, 2009, 03:14 PM
To be serious... the only time having a .45 would really be better is if you had to abide by the Hague Convention and only use FMJ. For the rest of us that can use expanding ammo, its all the same.

I agree.

March 11, 2009, 04:24 PM
If you think caliber is the question or problem, you simply don't understand.

38,357mag,9mm,357SIG,40S&W,10mm,45acp. And few other more esoteric caliber (38super, 9x23 45gap etc....) have history of being RELATIVELY effective. And in every case a poor substitute for a rifle round or if close range, a shotgun with at least #1 buckshot as a minimum.

Make sure your weapon fits you. You should not have to adapt to fit the gun. Most guns either fit or don't. today, gun makers are now making weapons that can fit several different size hands. It is one of the reasons the 1911 is and has been so revered. It can be made or adapted to fit almost any hand size. For over 100 years Saint Browning was ahead of the curve there too.

Choose good bullets in what ever caliber was the caliber your platform/gun of choice was designed for.

Being reliable is the number one through three reasons to choose any weapon.

Quality training, and a lot of it. Quality practice, Maintenance, cleaning, and lubrication as needed.

The fellow who I am referring to below, is the leading researcher in "stopping" power in small arms in the United States. The FBI use him quite often.


If you take a handgun to a gun fight, Darwin has a place for you. You get caught in a fight with a handgun, you go to a gunfight with a shoulder arm, unless you have a strong need to reinforce Darwins theory's.

Go figure.


March 11, 2009, 04:34 PM
Whatever gun fits you the best, and if you're on a budget then a cheap caliber to practice more. But, for certain applications (such as highway patrol needs) a gun with more penetration like a .357 sig, 10mm, or a .40 are preferable for shooting through car doors and what not.

David E
March 11, 2009, 04:42 PM
100 rds of WWB .40 costs $28 while 100 rds of .45 acp costs $35.

It adds up, if that matters.


March 11, 2009, 04:44 PM
.40??? Whats a .40? .45ACP is my choice.

March 11, 2009, 04:48 PM
a .40 is just a castrated 10mm... :D

But if you're having a dilemma, I suggest getting both and letting them shoot it out in your gun safe... and see which comes out unscathed... LOL

Seriously... it's like chosing between a redhead and a brunnette... they'll both do the job, just one does it with more 'tude..

March 11, 2009, 07:38 PM
Got one of each. I have complete faith either will leave the muzzle when and if I need them too... and if I do my part I can reasonably expect either caliber perform as well as a pistol caliber can.

Mike J
March 11, 2009, 09:28 PM
If you are near a range where you can rent both I would suggest you see if you can shoot both calibers in the same platform to see which you shoot best. Spending a little money on this now could be a lot less expensive than buying a gun & then after shooting it deciding you don't like it. I like my .40 caliber pistols but have never shot .45 so can't comment on that.
Here is a link you might find interesting www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf

March 11, 2009, 10:53 PM
I had a .40 Commander built to go along with my .45s. I thought it would make a nice IDPA and defensive gun. I found I didn't like shooting or reloading the caliber as much as the .45acp. The higher pressure round and super-sonic (ear splitting) crack of the lighter bullets were annoying. Heavier loads in the subsonic range were OK. I also found the .40 finicky to reload for best accuracy - not impossible, but it was harder than with .45acp. Not a concern if you are buying (or are issued) commercial ammo.

So, to me it breaks down like this:

1) Reloading and pleasant to shoot - big edge to .45

2) Need high capacity - big edge to .40

If I were a beat cop or combat soldier, I'd might go with a high-cap .40 over anything else out there. For personal/home defense and recreational shooting, I like the .45acp.

March 11, 2009, 11:34 PM
I don't have anything against the .40 but between the 9mm and .45 ACP, all my autoloader needs are met.

March 12, 2009, 12:41 AM
dilemna? really? :scrutiny: The 40 short & weak vs. the 45 acp? I've owned 5 49 caliber pistols -- sold them. I currently have 5 45's and counting ;) no dilemna here :D

March 12, 2009, 08:10 AM
I have twice as many .45's as I do .40's but its the .40 that I carry every day.

March 12, 2009, 09:12 AM
I think it depends mostly upon shot placement. I shoot the 1911 in 45ACP better than I do my SIG in 40 S&W. I can place the shots better and place more shots with the 1911 as the recoil is more easily managed for me. The 40 has a sharp nasty recoil impulse to me, whereas the 45ACP is more of a "push" with much less flip.


March 12, 2009, 09:19 AM
Not a big fan of the .40S&W. High working pressures, snappy recoil, and about the same cost as .45 stuff. I'd rather have a .45 and I do!

Now 10mm, thats a whole different story.

March 12, 2009, 09:40 AM
Count me in with Taurus 9mm.

If I want capacity 9mm is fine, if I want a larger bore .45 is fine.

.40 sounds nice but I think the other two rounds are well proven enough to fit the bill.

March 12, 2009, 11:44 AM
Having owned and shot both, I think I prefer the .45 the most. Felt recoil seems to be less with the .45ACP, but I'm using a Glock 27 and a 4" 1911 for comparison. If you can, go to a range that rents out Glocks in both .40 and .45 and see which you prefer more.

March 12, 2009, 12:30 PM
Each has its pros and cons. The .40 has a higher capacity that can be put into a smaller grip, but noticably snappier recoil.

The .45 tends to recoil as more of a push than a snap so is a little easier to shoot rapidly. Capacity is lower than the .40 and grip is bigger. Cost is about the same between the two. The .45 seems to be more accurate from my experience.

You just have to weigh the pros and cons and decide which ones are more important to you. Or do what most people do and own guns of all popular calibers.

I won't even get into a stopping power debate. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

March 12, 2009, 12:41 PM
Hehe... stopping power... A baseball bat has more stopping power than a bullet so that is pretty much a moot point. I personally don't mind .40s at all and will probably be buying one just because of the snappy recoil... Doesn't really make a lot of sense does it? I want to get used to the snappiness so when I go to other calibers I won't flinch and I will be able to handle them easier than if I just go from a weak caliber to a more powerful one.

March 12, 2009, 01:22 PM
I would consider that if you plan to reload, that some .40 cal. handguns like the .40 cal. Glocks, do not have fully supported chambers. Brass life will be shorter if you have that type of chamber and could be dangerous with weakened brass. I don't know all the pistols that use this type of unsupported chamber, so its worth checking into if you plan to reload. LM

March 12, 2009, 04:52 PM
Which one would you prefer being shot with? I would rather carry the one that you do not want to get shot with.

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