.40 vs .45


October 14, 2003, 11:37 PM

I'm a newbie, and although I searched the forums on this, I didn't really find anything.

Can you all tell me the pros/cons of .40 and .45 and teh differences, even the most obvious ones - I know NOTHING.


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October 14, 2003, 11:48 PM
Typically you won't find huge differences between the premium defensive loads in 9mm, .40S&W and .45acp in stopping power, FPE, or however else you want to measure it. The 9mm is decent, the .40 is a little better, and the .45acp is a little better still.

The .45 leaves a slightly bigger hole (of course).

The .45acp is a big, but slow bullet getting most of its power from mass. This leads to a relatively strong level of recoil, but it is usually felt in the form of a slow, steady push that most people find quite easy to handle (and it is rarely unpleasant).

9mm is small and fast. Small enough that the total recoil isn't great, but the speed pushes it into your hand as a quick, sharp, snap. Not usually unpleasant due to the overall level of recoil.

.40 is kind of the worst of both. The heavier bullet means typically a stronger recoil impulse. It is a fast bullet though, so the stronger impulse is sent to your hand in a quick, sharp, snap. Many more people seem to find .40S&W recoil to be unpleasant than 9mm or .45acp.

The 9mm is a relatively small round. Due to that it can be put in much smaller packages than larger rounds or a larger gun can hold more rounds.

The .45acp is much bigger and either needs larger packages and/or fewer rounds.

The .40S&W is somewhere in between.

All are good rounds. All will serve you well. Do some research (you've started that here) borrow or rent guns in each to try. Find what appeals to you. Still, I think the more important factor is to find the platform (gun) that you prefer than the caliber you prefer when looking at these three options.

Edit: Oh, where are my manners? :o

Welcome to THR!:)

October 15, 2003, 12:36 AM
1st off, welcome to THR ;)
As for your question, stick w/ the 45 acp. Greater variety of ammo selection & just more pleasant to shoot :cool:

October 15, 2003, 12:58 AM
Here is a thead that I started a little while back that might be of assistance.

What advantage does it have? (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=43608&highlight=advantage)

Dave R
October 15, 2003, 01:06 AM
One other minor difference. Most pistols in .40 tend to have 10 round mags. Most guns in .45 tend to have 7 round mags. There are exceptions.

October 15, 2003, 02:11 AM
you may want to ignore .45acp and wait for more guns to get in .45gap which is 45acp shrunk down to 9mm/.40S&W length.

with .40S&W you will have more rounds than .45acp and 45gap due to its larger size. you would have even more rounds with 9mm. all rounds have a variety of weights which bring different speed and pentration. .357sig and 10mm can bring over penetration due to high speeds. .40S&W is 10mm with shorter shell and less room for powder bringing less speed accept in newest lightest grain rounds of 135gr and 155gr which bring 1300 and 1200fps. 165 gr rounds in .40S&W bring 1000-1100fps 180gr brings 990-1050fps 200gr rounds are not used due the fact it has little room for powder and brings a low speed and can cause case rupture or kaboom.

lighter the gr rating the more fps you should get. gr=grain/fps=feet per second.

.45acp leaves bigger hole though .45acp and .40 will expand to nearly the same size when it comes to hollowpoint ammo roughly the size of quarter if the bullet expands at all which varies from heavy clothing inhibiting expansion.

higher speed rounds are usually rated +p which goes beyound original pressure specs for the standard .45acp.

.357sig is .40S&W casing necked down to 9mm size bullet which is .355 and not .357.

.40S&W and .357sig are snapy rounds recoil similar to 9mm though on steroids. .45acp is more of a heavy slow push straight back.

.40S&W has muzzle rise which varies with pistol design,size. ie with a beretta 96G you will experience alot of muzzle rise with 180gr bullets, with a steyr m40 you will have less muzzle rise due to low bore axis and more ergonomic design.

although .45gap is new I think it may take off as it can fit into smaller pistol frames same as 9mm and .40S&W.

.45acp uses 165gr to 230gr bullets.

check out AmmoLab.com (http://www.ammolab.com)
lots of good info on variety of ammo.

October 15, 2003, 02:25 AM
Bleh. 45GAP ammo (I have never even seen it for sale yet) will be more expensive and harder to find than the other common calibers. It will probably fade out soon. The market is oversaturated with these specialty calibers (.357SIG, .40SW, 10mm). .40 is here to stay, .357 probably, and 10mm...well it's been around this long, so my guess it will never reach .45 and 9 popularity, but it will always have a cult following. the G37 is basically a G21(45) slide on a G17 (9mm) frame. Makes the pistol top heavy. For your first pistol, stick with a major caliber. 9 is the cheapest ammo so that might be a consideration.

October 15, 2003, 06:48 AM
Being new to guns, I'd recommend a .22 first.

Of course, of the larger common defense loads, I'd then recommend a 9. Cheap, pretty easy to shoot, tons of guns to choose from. If you go the route of the .45 I'd recommend staying away from the .45gap unless you try one and find that it really, really fits you, but the only gun I know that is chambered for it is the G37. There are tons of guns already out there in .45acp that I'm sure would fit you if you wanted that larger bore. Many of my friends that are not familiar with guns are afraid that my .45acp will be some sort of cannon made to break their wrists but nothing is farther from the truth. The recoil is there obviously, but is not hard to control. Besides, it isn't the recoil that affects accuracy, it's the anticipation of the recoil that affects accuracy.

Hmm... I just reread that first post, forgot to mention about .40s&w. I don't have too much experience with .40 except that I'll support the claim that it's the worst of both worlds. More recoil than a .45 and faster recoil than a 9. It isn't something painful and it doesn't affect my accuracy, it just for some reason doesn't fit me. It is cheaper I think than .45acp though and I think it'll be around for a very long time. If it were my choice, I'd go with a .45 over a .40 if those were the only options.

If you have no experience at all with firearms, I honestly would recommend an airgun or possibly something in .22. Both are extremely cheap to shoot and will teach you all you need to know about proper safety and discipline. For comparison, the best price I can get my .45acp for is about $9 a box of 50 at a local gun show every few months. I can go to my local store and buy a box of .22LR at $10 for 500 rounds.

Anyway, to sum up, I'd recommend a .22, 9, .45, and then .40, in that order.

October 15, 2003, 06:50 AM
Oh, and I forgot to say one last thing. Try them all and find what fits you best. Not all calibers (or the guns that go with them) fit every person.

October 15, 2003, 07:01 AM
Ok, thanks for everyone's replies!

The reason I'm asking is because I'm looking at the Walther P99, but it only comes in 9mm and .40 - no .45 yet at least. What would you recommend doing? Think they will come out with a .45 soon, like S&W?


October 15, 2003, 07:39 AM
I am suprised nobody has said it yet, get a 10mm it is a .40 on steroids!:D

October 15, 2003, 10:49 AM
Makes the pistol top heavy. What does THAT mean??? All Glocks are top heavy. :confused:

Zak Smith
October 15, 2003, 11:38 AM
I started with a couple of .40SW pistols (HK USP, Glocks) and have since changed over to shooting 9x19 and .45ACP. Both are more pleasant to shoot than .40.


October 15, 2003, 03:14 PM
The reason I'm asking is because I'm looking at the Walther P99, but it only comes in 9mm and .40 - no .45 yet at least. OK, so you have decided what platform you want. That is the proper first step.

The rest depends.

9mm is just fine for defense, however many people don't trust it (they are under the impression it is underpowered, a reputation it earned years ago with old ammo designs, today it is unfair but still there). Even though 9mm is "good enough", if you don't trust it don't go 9mm. Once you have a good platform, some degree of accuracy, and a caliber that is "good enough" the next most important variable is confidence and if you don't trust 9mm (even if you should) you just won't have the confidence you need.

Personally, I'm not a big .40S&W fan but it is a decent caliber.

How much experience do you have? If you are a new handgun shooter you need a lot of practice. In that case the 9mm is much cheaper to shoot. Another possibility is to start with a .22lr (real cheap practice), save for another gun, then get whichever you want. By then maybe the Walther will even be out in .45acp.

For cheap practice, .22lr is the cheapest (~$10 for 500 if your gun will work with the cheap "bricks", though not all guns will, and about $3-4 for 100 for decent ammo like CCI Mini-Mag). 9mm is also pretty cheap (as little as $11 for 100) and is also suitable for defensive use. If you want the Walther, you can get a 9mm for cheaper practice and occasional defensive use and have the same platform as your usual defensive gun (either in .40 now or .45 later). If you go with a .22lr the Walther P22 is ergonomically basically a shrunken P99 so skills practice should transfer over pretty well.

If you like .45acp then you can wait for the Walther to come out in .45 and maybe get a 9mm or .22lr for practice in the meantime (as previously mentioned). There is another option as well, the S&W SW99 is essentially the same gun and it is available in .45acp.

October 15, 2003, 04:26 PM
smith and wesson SW99 is out in .45acp its got same trigger as walther p99 and you will save some money going with SW99 bout $100 on the .40S&W and 9mm models the .45acp version is new and bit more in price. the gun is made in joint venture with walther.

rock jock
October 15, 2003, 08:35 PM
Like most folks here, I have guns in 9mm, .40, and .45ACP. All of them are fine and all find their way into the rotation for my CCW gun.

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