.40 vs .45 power....


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Diggers
July 14, 2012, 06:30 AM
So I was reading an article the other day where the writer was talking about the attributes of the .40 (which were all compromises ) To some up what the writer said; it almost loads as many round into a gun as the 9mm and it almost has the power of the .45. OK...

I've heard this comment about the .40 almost having the power of a .45 many many times everywhere but then I saw something at this web site that showed different. http://www.ballistics101.com/40_caliber_sw.php

and for the .45 http://www.ballistics101.com/45_acp.php

From these charts it seems the .40 is at least equal to the .45 for power if not just a hair past, IF all the +P loads are taken out of the running.

Does this look right?

I also noticed all of the light weight bullet loads seem to have the most power. That struck me as kind of odd too.

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PabloJ
July 14, 2012, 06:42 AM
Not even my 10mm with most commonly found defensive loads (which happen to be loaded to .40S&W levels) are equal to the .45ACP unless specialized loads from Cor-Bon, DoubleTap,......which may surpass .45ACP are used. Some on this board think 9x19 with 147gr loads is equal to .45ACP. I think what they may smoke may not be entirely approved by the "letter of the law".

willypete
July 14, 2012, 07:35 AM
Get whichever one makes you feel better. They both do the same job in different ways.

If you read enough, you'll find that there really isn't that much difference between the terminal effects of the big three auto pistol calibers, and the arguing that goes back and forth is just so much personal romanticization and ignorance.

hardluk1
July 14, 2012, 07:45 AM
Buy the handgun in the caliber you can control best and afford to shoot the most. Just not enought difference between a 9mm 357sig a 40sw and 45acp to matter. Learn to hit center of mass shots and they all work rather well. Don't do that and 6 or 7 ronds of any my still not do the job quick enought to matter to your health.

56hawk
July 14, 2012, 08:59 AM
It becomes difficult to compare calibers since different manufactures load to radically different pressure levels. However generally speaking 40 S&W is more powerful than 45 ACP. I only trust Federal Hydra-Shok and HST for self defense ammo so that is what I would compare. Here are the most powerful Hydra-Shoks in the three caiblers:

9mm 124 grain 345 ft-lbs
40S&W 155 grain 447 ft-lbs
45ACP 230 grain 414 ft-lbs

Of course that is just energy, if you compare ballistic gel and actual shooting statistics they are all very close.

jmr40
July 14, 2012, 05:15 PM
Energy numbers are not useless, but are overated if you don't understand how to use them. 100 ft lbs one way or another is not enough difference to matter and is in effect a tie in real world applications. When you get into rifle rounds and start comparing various rounds where you may see 500-600 ft lbs difference then it might matter.

Penetration and expansion tests give a more accurate picture of what rounds do. If you can poke a 1/2" diameter hole deep enough into a person, or game animal to penetrate both lungs then you have all the performance you need. It doesn't matter if the bullet starts out at .35 caliber and expands to 1/2", or starts out at .45 caliber, or .40 caliber and expands to 1/2", the end result will be the same as long as you get adequate penetration. Up to a point energy numbers do predict the amount of penetration and expansion you will get. That is why I say they are not useless, but there are other factors to consider such as bullet construction which also effects penetration and expansion.

The 45 guys won't admit this, but when using comparable bullets the 9mm and 45 are a dead tie in performance and always have been. It doesn't matter if you compare FMJ rounds in each or the best JHP loads in each, every test done over the last 100 years has shown virtually no difference. In certain conditions each has a slight advantage over the other, but you never know exactly which conditions you may face when you need to shoot. Some guys sleep better knowing they have a heavier bullet, others sleep better knowing they have more ammo available. As long as you have confidence in your gun then it will perform well for you.

I don't consider the 40 to be a compromise. It is a VERY slighty better round than either 9mm or 45 based on pure performance. With the best bullets it will out penetrate either and will give as much expansion as a 45. But there is no free lunch. To do this you get more recoil and blast than either 9mm or 45 which has to be factored in.

I've had several 40's in the past, but sold them after buying a 10mm which is the only semi-auto round that offers any significant improvement over either the 9mm or 45. I have no problem with 40, but just don't need one. I'm perfectly comfortable with either 9mm or 45 with the best loads available in either.

tuj
July 14, 2012, 05:20 PM
No matter what the round, no matter where the placement, your chances of a one-shot stop are very low. Therefore I don't think the stats matter all that much; get the caliber you can place the most shots accurately with.

Sauer Grapes
July 14, 2012, 05:41 PM
I like the .40 just because I can make faster follow up shots. I love the 45acp for it's accuracy though.

Plan2Live
July 14, 2012, 05:41 PM
Reminds me of the movie Groundhog day where the same day gets repeated over and over. :banghead:

Okiegunner
July 14, 2012, 05:56 PM
Well...it would seem a head shot with any of the above rounds should be a one shot manstopper.

Seriously though, I own as many .40s as I do 9mm. I prefer the 9mm due to less recoil, more rounds, and for me, much better shot placement overall.

intercooler
July 14, 2012, 06:12 PM
Winchester 175gr Silvertip 10mm is commercial. Should smoke a .45!

abq87120
July 14, 2012, 08:35 PM
Just practice enough to hit what you are aiming at. No one wants to get shot, not even with a .22. I carry a Glock 23, a .40 S&W. I also shoot drop-in LoneWolf 40-9 conversion and 357 Sig barrels in it. No other mods. Three calibers for about $750 with night sights via GSSF pricing. I carry the stock .40... Just to cut down on the legal hassles in an SD situation.

Ala Tom
July 14, 2012, 08:56 PM
I have two .40's of different sizes. I chose them over .45's because I can easily buy ammo for them that delivers more muzzle energy than most .45 rounds. As an engineer I understand and have applied energy calculations in impact situations. It applies to the destruction effectiveness problem with variable target density, etc. For the most effective round, you want a round that will usually expand somewhat (but not fragment) and will carry as much energy as you can get without exceeding the limits of safety for your gun. That means no +p loads.

There is considerable variation in the bullet types and energy levels of ammo in all calibers. To talk about "average energy" for a caliber means nothing. If you want to use effective cartridges, you can buy them.

I have decided to load 180 gr JHP for defense and to shoot 180 gr FMJ FN on the range. That gives me 400 ft-lb of energy at the muzzle which I think is generally sufficient. I know you can get more energy with 155 and 165 gr bullets but I feel more comfortable with 180 gr bullets. I might get a .45 someday for the fun of it but not for additional "power" (what is "power"? It does not apply). What many people call "power" is a momentum calculation. That is not as useful in the target impact situation as energy. You hope to expend as much energy into your target as possible.

I have considered adding the .357 SIG capability but I am uncomfortable about getting more energy from a smaller 128 gr bullet. I see the .357 SIG as not much better than the .40 and the .45 as generally not as good as the .40, assuming you pick your ammo wisely.

lharrell79
July 14, 2012, 09:16 PM
If you're comparing calibers for self defense against humans, then "power" is completely irrelevant. What's more important is penetration, and expansion of the bullet. All things being equal, the 45 will make a bigger hole. Choose the one that you shoot the best.

Now, if you're talking about self defense against 4 legged critters, then you might start to worry about energy.

PabloJ
July 14, 2012, 09:53 PM
Winchester 175gr Silvertip 10mm is commercial. Should smoke a .45!
It's rated 1290fps from 5" barrel putting in .41magnum territory. It's meant to stop attacking 6'5"+ 300lb+ corn-fed lugheads.

Rexster
July 15, 2012, 05:25 PM
The current duty-type controlled-expansion JHP bullets used in both the .40 and .45 ACP will perfom very much the same these days, in regard to penetration, crush cavity, and recovered diameter. I prefer .45 ACP when I have a choice, because it is gentler to my aging, aching, formerly stronger wrist, and the muzzle blast and flash tend to be less distracting. Plus, I prefer single-stack pistols, as my thumbs and fingers are medium-to-short, even if my hands are large. A single-stack .45 is a very nice total package for me. (I am presently mandated to carry a double-column .40 while in uniform.)

As for any perceived difference is the ability to stop an opponent, I don't worry about that part. My employer mandates .40 for all duty pistols after 1997, though duty pistols current as of 1997 are "grandfathered," and .45 ACP was/is very popular among senior officers. A very large agency, we shoot many bad guys over time. There seems to be no real-world difference between .45 ACP and .40 S&W.

mljdeckard
July 16, 2012, 01:28 AM
The difference is negligible. First of all, muzzle energy has little to do with effectiveness in handgun rounds. Effectiveness in handgun rounds comes from total cavity trauma inflicted. All premium defensive rounds in all service cartridges will penetrate at least 12" in most human targets in most circumstances. So, the real difference becomes; how much less tissue will a .40 displace than a .45? Probably not much. But for me, a .40 has a bit more snap to the recoil than a .45, and I handle and shoot a 1911 better. That combined with a slight advantage with bullets like a 230 gr HST, and that a 9mm has more capacity, has kind of taken away my reasons to mess with .40s anymore.

And if we want to be serious about comparison, you should compare to a .45 loaded hotter than regular pressure, 875 fps 230 gr. Just like a .45 GAP isn't a fair comparison to a .45 acp, it should be compared to a +p load.

CDW4ME
July 16, 2012, 07:13 AM
Here is a comparison of power (KE) from a 5 shot average over my chronograph & my pistols; the 45 has a 1/4'' longer barrel.

Glock 30 Ranger T 230 gr. @ 874 fps / 390# KE
Glock 27 Ranger T 165 gr. @ 1,116 fps / 456# KE

hentown
July 16, 2012, 07:34 AM
Plenty of .40 and 9mm loads have muzzle energies that surpass the .45ACP, which has a relatively low muzzle energy. What's this touted "power" all about?? I have no use for the .40, but the fact is, lots of .40 loads are more "powerful" than most .45ACP loads.

cocojo
July 16, 2012, 08:11 AM
The energy between the 9mm, 40 and 45 can overlap each other, they are all about the same energy but energy is not where it's at. Momentum is whats it's all about and the thump factor. Heavier bullets hit with more thump when velocities are about the same. I see energy figures stated above for the 9mm at 345 for 124, yes in standard velocity but 420 with +P. Same with 45 if it's plus P it's going to hit harder just like the 9mm will. Standard velocity of a 45 is 850 with 230 grain and energy is only 360 but it's the thump and momentum that makes it hit harder. So as the weight goes up so does the momentum but in the end it's all about where you hit them and the damage the bullet does and nothing more. These rounds are so close that they all overlap each other so just pick the one you shoot best with and prefer, stay sharp, practice and stop worrying about which is better they all work the same when placed in a vital spot and all fail when they don't.

kcshooter
July 16, 2012, 08:47 AM
I wouldn't care if the ballistics are exactly the same.
The recoil from a .40 is so much more "snappy".
A .45 allows much more recoil control and much faster followup shots.

shinyroks
July 16, 2012, 08:53 AM
Pardon the slight off topic, but isn't the 40 a shortened 10mm to reduce the power (I think for the FBI)? And it seems to be loaded hotter and hotter, approaching the predecessor?

And for real-world applications, wouldn't you want to compare the 40 to the defense rounds in 45, specifically the +Ps? Especially considering there are no factory "+P" for the 40... The specific loading that I am aware of in the 45 is the 185gr at 1150fps...

willypete
July 16, 2012, 09:20 AM
If buzzwords were lethal, this thread would be dead.

SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE
July 16, 2012, 09:29 AM
I was under the impression that the .40 s&w came about after S&W realized they could equal the power level required by the FBI's 10 mm load , in a shorter cartridge that could fit into 9mm sized frames with little modification ,resulting in an increase in thump for the smaller framed guns !Kevin

shinyroks
July 16, 2012, 09:52 AM
I was under the same impression, but added to mine was the FBI loads were downloaded quite a bit...

ATLDave
July 16, 2012, 10:26 AM
I was under the impression that the .40 s&w came about after S&W realized they could equal the power level required by the FBI's 10 mm load , in a shorter cartridge that could fit into 9mm sized frames with little modification ,resulting in an increase in thump for the smaller framed guns !Kevin

Once the FBI downloaded the 10mm, it's correct that the .40 is a close mimic. A lot of 10mm sold today boasts only a 50-150 fps advantage over the same manufacturer's bullet in .40.

If you go back to the full strength 10mm, the .40 is not close.

surferdaddy
July 16, 2012, 12:48 PM
I have never participated in this vs that caliber discussions, but dont most cops carry .40? There must be pretty good reasons for that.

ugaarguy
July 16, 2012, 12:48 PM
Energy does not equal power. If you believe that then an 85 grain .243 Win (http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/rifle.aspx?id=213) is just as good as a 300 gr .45-70 (http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/rifle.aspx?id=999) for for killing a moose or bison.
I also noticed all of the light weight bullet loads seem to have the most power. That struck me as kind of odd too. Well, energy equals mass times velocity squared. If I drop the mass I can increase the velocity, and the velocity being squared will, quite literally, exponentially increase the energy.
As an engineer I understand and have applied energy calculations in impact situations. It applies to the destruction effectiveness problem with variable target density, etc. For the most effective round, you want a round that will usually expand somewhat (but not fragment) and will carry as much energy as you can get
Your key phrase is impact situations. With ballistics we're dealing with both impact and penetration. Once the impact happens we have to switch from energy to momentum, and, as you know, momentum is simply mass x velocity. We also have the variable of sectional density (which itself encompasses several more variables). Energy alone is insufficient to even begin evaluating ballistic performance.
without exceeding the limits of safety for your gun. That means no +p loads.
Even if my owner's manual says my gun can safely fire +P ammunition? Can you find me some non +P .38 Super too? :neener:

vba
July 16, 2012, 01:04 PM
As others have stated energy is not everything. Frontal area and Momentum come into play.

The latter is where .45 acp shines. In comparing, for example, Buffalo Bores .40 S&W and .45 acp (+p loads) the energies are comparable:

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=25

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=12

But I will take the larger area and momemtum of .45 acp. Others are correct as well in that the recoil characteristics of .40 S&W are snappier and I have a hard time coming back on target with .40.

surferdaddy
July 16, 2012, 01:22 PM
Well, almost. Kinetic energy is generally 1/2 mass times velocity squared. Unless the velocity reaches an enormous figure. Momentum is mass times velocity. Your somewhere in between. Sorry, physics student.

Snowdog
July 16, 2012, 01:42 PM
Reminds me of the movie Groundhog day where the same day gets repeated over and over.

Perhaps we should take this opportunity to learn to play the piano and carve chainsaw ice sculptures. :D

gp911
July 16, 2012, 01:43 PM
870.

Dang, wrong argument again...

I shoot most .45s a _little_ better than .40s but I own and carry both. I slightly prefer the feel of the .45 but I am with the "they overlap so much it's a tossup" crowd.

ugaarguy
July 16, 2012, 02:03 PM
Well, almost. Kinetic energy is generally 1/2 mass times velocity squared. Unless the velocity reaches an enormous figure. Momentum is mass times velocity. Your somewhere in between. Sorry, physics student.
No problem. I always forget the 1/2 mass thing. That actually tilts the momentum equation even further toward a higher mass projectile. Of course there's still frontal area, bullet nose shape (profile of the part of the projectile impacting the barrier), barrier friction, etc, etc - tons ;) of variables.

CDW4ME
July 17, 2012, 08:58 AM
Here is a comparison of power (KE) from a 5 shot average over my chronograph & my pistols; the 45 has a 1/4'' longer barrel.

Glock 30 Ranger T 230 gr. @ 874 fps / 390# KE .89
Glock 27 Ranger T 165 gr. @ 1,116 fps / 456# KE .82

I added momentum numbers to my above data.
The 45 in that example has 8% more momentum
The 40 has 14% more KE
The 45 would likely expand to a larger recovered diameter, but that 40 load is no slouch.

hentown
July 17, 2012, 09:20 AM
Energy is, in fact, a measure of power. Whether power is relevant to this discussion depends on whether one agrees that the OP's question was based on a logical premise. I suggest that it's not.

If energy is not a measure of power, then what empirical measure does one use for power??

ugaarguy
July 17, 2012, 11:50 AM
Well, excuse me. Let me rephrase that for you Hentown. Energy, or raw power, does not directly equate to firearm cartridge effectiveness.

jim243
July 17, 2012, 12:19 PM
but dont most cops carry .40? There must be pretty good reasons for that.

Yep, the guns are free. No cash outlay by the rank and file. (except for their personal carry's) Most departments will regulate what an officer can carry.

Now if I tell you, you have to carry a 38 spl aren't you glad you do not have to listen to me.

Jim

shinyroks
July 17, 2012, 12:38 PM
Most of the departments here in Northern Colorado (north of Denver) will not allow on-duty carry under 45 ACP. Didn't ask about 40 S&W, don't own one so it didn't cross my mind at the time...

I know some LEOs that carry 10s here.

surferdaddy
July 17, 2012, 12:44 PM
The argument that power is equal to energy is not entirely accurate. Power is work divided by time. What we should really be applying is the equation for IMPULSE, which is mass times acceleration times time, it is represented in joules or ergs.

surferdaddy
July 17, 2012, 12:54 PM
Energy is really difficult to calculate. Even though it is conservative, it has the nasty habit of changing forms and this is difficult to measure, ie sound, heat. The transference of momentum is much easier to calculate. But I believe that impulse would yield the best results. Someone should explain the difference between elastis and inelastic collisions to ballistic folks.

surferdaddy
July 17, 2012, 12:57 PM
I would imagine 38 sp would generally get it done just fine.

GLOOB
July 17, 2012, 01:41 PM
For most any 9mm standard or +P load, there's a 40SW load with more speed, energy, diameter, mass, AND momentum.

Everyone knows that modern 9mm ammo is equally effective as 45ACP. So therefore, 40SW > 45ACP. :)

mljdeckard
July 17, 2012, 03:12 PM
That's some Michael scott logic right there.

StrikeFire83
July 18, 2012, 12:19 AM
Yawn.

918v
July 18, 2012, 12:46 AM
10mm:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z49Lbnt16M

40 S&W:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wuz_RHkS0aU

45:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwAbIdamK2A

45+P:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59GC2hAhGTk

coalman
July 18, 2012, 12:56 AM
I favor greater penetration and the most consistent aggregate performance.
45>40>9
Heavier>Lighter
Same as always. All are good enough. Pick what you like.

918v
July 18, 2012, 01:06 AM
40/10mm outpenetrates the 45

Fishslayer
July 18, 2012, 01:49 PM
Some on this board think 9x19 with 147gr loads is equal to .45ACP.

The numbers are similar if you cram a +P++ charge of powder under it. Wear gloves and eye pro. Hot loaded 9mm with heavy bullets can get interesting if ya mess with the OAL. :uhoh:

918v
July 18, 2012, 03:41 PM
If you compare the best 147 9mm to the worst 240gr 45, then yes they are equal.

NG VI
July 18, 2012, 10:07 PM
None of the service pistol bullets do anything but poke basically equal sized holes in people.

Unless you decide to compare two bullets designed dramatically differently, like an old-school 135-grain .40 JHP loaded full-out and a soberly designed 230 grain .45 like the HST or Ranger-T, but if you compare like designs, all three of the major calibers deliver results that are ultimately identical.

None of them do anything more or less than poke a hole through 12-14 inches of tissue while expanding to .65-85". The wound isn't going to be that wide, that's just the projectile itself.

NG VI
July 18, 2012, 10:12 PM
By the way, you can do math till you give yourself an aneurysm, but the service pistol calibers are all in the exact same class. None of them have a meaningful amount of energy or momentum over the others, none of them have enough energy to do anything more interesting than punch a hole smaller than the bullet in a person, none of them are wide enough or narrow enough to make the hole they punch significantly more destructive to a person, and none of them have so much more or less momentum than the others that they behave differently.

It's like comparing the horsepower of a Honda Fit and a Toyota Yaris.

It's a total waste of time.

coalman
July 18, 2012, 11:49 PM
None of the service pistol bullets do anything but poke basically equal sized holes in people.

... if you compare like designs, all three of the major calibers deliver results that are ultimately identical.

None of them do anything more or less than poke a hole through 12-14 inches of tissue while expanding to .65-85". The wound isn't going to be that wide, that's just the projectile itself.


For those that choose to dismiss the differences, at least dismiss them in surface area (not diameter) and percentages (not numerical value) since this is the accurate/correct relative comparison.
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Xwc9Bz0ezeA/TaiWCHmEY0I/AAAAAAAAEkM/p9tglLT5C6s/s800/compare%25209-40-45neg.jpg

M7
July 18, 2012, 11:56 PM
By the way, you can do math till you give yourself an aneurysm...

That's funny...

I've been messing with the MacPherson and Schwartz bullet penetration models (the latter being much easier to work with than the former) over the last month or so, but my head has yet to explode.

Maybe I ain't tryin' hard enough...

M7
July 18, 2012, 11:57 PM
For those that choose to dismiss the differences, at least dismiss them in surface area (not diameter) and percentages (not numerical value) since this is the accurate/correct relative comparison.
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Xwc9Bz0ezeA/TaiWCHmEY0I/AAAAAAAAEkM/p9tglLT5C6s/s800/compare%25209-40-45neg.jpg
You do those charts yourself, coalman?

ActionJax
July 18, 2012, 11:57 PM
Yup.....Accurate and quick follow-ups. This is what matters.

coalman
July 19, 2012, 12:21 AM
You do those charts yourself, coalman?

Yes. Folks talk a lot about "the numbers" but many consistently make the common mistake of comparing diameter (e.g. 0.451" - 0.355" = "only" 0.096") and very small numerical values (e.g. 0.400" - 0.355" = 0.045") when minimalizing differences. So, I created the chart to illustrate the correct/accurate comparison of surface area and percentages. The differences via the correct method of comparison, on paper, are more profound. And, pictures are worth 1000 words as is said. This is of course all just the acedemics of "the numbers", but at least it's the right acedemics of them.

M7
July 19, 2012, 12:33 AM
Yes. Folks talk a lot about "the numbers" but many consistently make the common mistake of comparing diameter (e.g. 0.451" - 0.355" = "only" 0.096") and very small numerical values (e.g. 0.400" - 0.355" = 0.045") when minimalizing differences. So, I created the chart to illustrate the correct/accurate comparison of surface area and percentages. The differences via the correct method of comparison, on paper, are more profound. And, pictures are worth 1000 words as is said. This is of course all just the acedemics of "the numbers", but at least it's the right acedemics of them.

The chart is an interesting approach. At first, it appears a little daunting, but once you take the time (maybe 30 seconds) to look at it, it's not that bad.

Copied to my "files" for future reference. Thanks. :)

coalman
July 19, 2012, 01:07 AM
The chart is an interesting approach. At first, it appears a little daunting, but once you take the time (maybe 30 seconds) to look at it, it's not that bad.

Copied to my "files" for future reference. Thanks.

You are welcome.

Illustrative 9mm vs. .45acp comparison:
Expansion assumption: 9mm = .65" and .45acp = .75"
Penetration assumption: 9mm = 12" and .45acp = 13"
So, with 9mm, best aggregate case IMO, you get an object that starts 38% smaller, that ends 25% smaller and penetrates 8% less. What's that worth to you? This is the question and those are the numbers.

You can see, in this example, that 9mm does "close the gap" (starting vs. ending size) and this is the truth behing the oft misrepreseted "leveled playing field" comment. And, I believe this illustrative example to be a best aggregate case bias to 9mm in the numbers used for comparison. Again, what's what worth to you?

But, that's all just this illustrative example and IMO best case for 9mm. If the 9mm expands to .60" and the .45acp to .80", or 12" vs. 14" penetration, it changes quite a bit. And, comparing the optimal/top loads in each the differences, on paper in gello tests, only get larger in aggregate performance. It's a sliding scale as well.

And, capacity comes into play of course. For 9mm, you can have 15-30% more of those smaller objects to hurl at the target if the opportunity allows and/or requires. Lots of moving parts in the consideration.

Disclosure: I use 9mm and .45acp.

hentown
July 19, 2012, 07:37 AM
Well, excuse me. Let me rephrase that for you Hentown. Energy, or raw power, does not directly equate to firearm cartridge effectiveness.

Thanks for the edification. So, as a I suspected, empirical measure and terms like "power" are irrelevant to this discusson. :cool: I somehow thought that the OP's question, about which this thread is so dedicated, had to do with .40 vs. .45acp "power". Guess my memory's failing me??

Buckeyeguy525
July 19, 2012, 07:54 AM
Here is a pretty interesting thread of 9mm vs 45 with ballistics profile and range tests...

http://www.defensivecarry.com/forum/defensive-ammunition-ballistics/91063-9mm-fine-ballistics-data-included.html

Buckeyeguy525
July 19, 2012, 07:57 AM
The only reason I have owned 40's is because most 45's don't fit in my hand that well

NG VI
July 19, 2012, 09:10 AM
What's the average frontal surface area of a human male torso?

At what point is a projectile wide enough to defeat living tissue's elasticity and leave gaping wounds?

M7
July 19, 2012, 10:06 AM
You are welcome.

Illustrative 9mm vs. .45acp comparison:
Expansion assumption: 9mm = .65" and .45acp = .75"
Penetration assumption: 9mm = 12" and .45acp = 13"
So, with 9mm, best aggregate case IMO, you get an object that starts 38% smaller, that ends 25% smaller and penetrates 8% less. What's that worth to you? This is the question and those are the numbers.

You can see, in this example, that 9mm does "close the gap" (starting vs. ending size) and this is the truth behing the oft misrepreseted "leveled playing field" comment. And, I believe this illustrative example to be a best aggregate case bias to 9mm in the numbers used for comparison. Again, what's what worth to you?

But, that's all just this illustrative example and IMO best case for 9mm. If the 9mm expands to .60" and the .45acp to .80", or 12" vs. 14" penetration, it changes quite a bit. And, comparing the optimal/top loads in each the differences, on paper in gello tests, only get larger in aggregate performance. It's a sliding scale as well.

And, capacity comes into play of course. For 9mm, you can have 15-30% more of those smaller objects to hurl at the target if the opportunity allows and/or requires. Lots of moving parts in the consideration.

Disclosure: I use 9mm and .45acp.

coalman-

Lots of moving parts- I'll say! :D

I notice that you are making assumptions for the expansion and penetration depth of bullets in your tables- which is just fine so long as they are "educated guesses".

Have you considered using either the Schwartz or MacPherson bullet penetration models to predict your bullet's terminal penetration?

With both models, expansion can be determined in water tests- or you can play 'what if' and use an expected value like 1.50 or 2.00 times the JHP's original diameter- you are already doing that anyway by presenting all of the possibilities in your tables. It might be to your advantage to know if a particular JHP, if it expands to a certain diameter, will pass through a body or remain within it rather than assuming that they all pass through- or come to a stop. :cool:

Obviously, there is no need to test FMJs and the like in H2O since they will not expand when subject to those conditions and will usually "keep on truckin' " after they hit the average size body.

You could then put together tables that graphically display the relationships you are exploring plus others like "permanent cavity mass and volume vs. expanded diameter" and "expanded diameter vs. penetration depth".

:)

Loyalist Dave
July 19, 2012, 10:55 AM
This is one of those lab arguments that crop up from time to time. There are so many "flavors" of .45 ACP and .40 S&W, and several different barrel lengths on handguns that launch them, that unless the individual checks his or her actual handgun with ammunition and a chronometer, in my personal opinion, there is no real way to understand if one or another type of ammunition will do well on terminal ballistics from that handgun.

Think about it, does identical .45 ACP ammunition do the same job on impact when it's launched from an "officer's model" 1911A1 vs. a Government 1911A1 with an aftermarket 6" barrel? Does the .40 S&W from a Glock 23 act the same on impact as when it's launched from a Glock 22? At what range, if any, is there a significant difference, and is that a distance that might influence the majority of SD encounters?

You can show all the testing data that you want, and get a general idea of what one round might do vs. the others, but until you test your gun it's an "on paper" argument. The best ammo on impact ever devised wouldn't be the best if your personal handgun for some reason didn't shoot it very accurate.

LD

M7
July 19, 2012, 11:09 AM
This is one of those lab arguments that crop up from time to time. There are so many "flavors" of .45 ACP and .40 S&W, and several different barrel lengths on handguns that launch them, that unless the individual checks his or her actual handgun with ammunition and a chronometer, in my personal opinion, there is no real way to understand if one or another type of ammunition will do well on terminal ballistics from that handgun.

Think about it, does identical .45 ACP ammunition do the same job on impact when it's launched from an "officer's model" 1911A1 vs. a Government 1911A1 with an aftermarket 6" barrel? Does the .40 S&W from a Glock 23 act the same on impact as when it's launched from a Glock 22? At what range, if any, is there a significant difference, and is that a distance that might influence the majority of SD encounters?

You can show all the testing data that you want, and get a general idea of what one round might do vs. the others, but until you test your gun it's an "on paper" argument. The best ammo on impact ever devised wouldn't be the best if your personal handgun for some reason didn't shoot it very accurate.

LD

Then I'd imagine that you are probably a big believer in doing your own testing, yes?

I've never heard of the term "lab arguments". Can you clarify? Sounds like a couple of guys in white lab coats slugging it out. :D

coalman
July 19, 2012, 12:08 PM
I notice that you are making assumptions for the expansion and penetration depth of bullets in your tables- which is just fine so long as they are "educated guesses".


No broad assumptions made. Any illustrative example requires numbers to be selected. Selecting different numbers get diffferent results. Many cherry-pick. I believe my illustrative selection was fair, and even a somewhat bias (best/better aggregate) case to 9mm.

Regardless, the chart simply shows the relative comparison based off those assumptions. The main point in any "on paper" comparison being that surface area and percentages are the correct method of comparison. That's the main thing I hoped to communicate with the chart.

I've found in my keyboard commando reading of gello tests that .60-.70 and 12-13" for 9mm and .70-.85 and 13-14" for .45acp to be pretty consistent aggregate numbers in the gello tests. There are highs and lows, but the keyword is aggregate.

Clearly, compare the .70 13" 9mm (best) to the .70 13" .45acp (worst) and all appears the same. That's what many 9mm fans choose to do IMO. On the flipside, the .45acp camp will profess the .60 12" 9mm and the .85" 13" .45acp. Bias shows.


Have you considered using either the Schwartz or MacPherson bullet penetration models to predict your bullet's terminal penetration?


Not really. I consider this all a sliding scale. Any model has assumptions (e.g. a multiplier) and those assumptions will apply in similar fashion to all modern examples. And, surface area and volume are exponential values (small change = big difference) when making comparisons.

Regardless, modern advancements in design have benefited all service calibers, though I think 9mm the most because it had the most ground to make up to begin with. IMO, 9mm did "close the gap" but there is still, at minimum, the 38/25/8 difference I noted above.

Skribs
July 19, 2012, 12:22 PM
At what point is a projectile wide enough to defeat living tissue's elasticity and leave gaping wounds?

I've understood it to be more a function of velocity than diameter. There's the crush trauma - that's what the diameter affects, and the cavitation trauma - which is based on whether the cavitation is wide enough to break elasticity, and it's velocity that determines the cavitation.

Coalman, I'd like to point out, if the lower number is -25%, the bigger number is actually only +20%. 5/4 vs. 4/5...Benelli makes the same mistake in their ComforTech recoil charts.

Regardless of whether you look at diameter or surface area, percentages or measurements - the question remains: what does a 20% wider (expanded) bullet actually give you in terms of performance? It's not like a video game where we can say the 9mm does 30 damage and the .45 does 36 damage, so you can take down your target in 3 hits instead of 4. You're not stopping the target by taking out a certain volume of tissue - you stop the target by disrupting vital organs.

This is why a lot of people look at the measurements instead of percentages. With a 0.75" expanded diameter, you have 0.1" extra over 0.65" to nick that artery or get a better hit on that vital organ. Which means the only times the .45 will offer a more "solid hit" than a 9 is when the 9 was not enough, but was within 0.05" on that side (since the 0.1" covers both sides), of being enough.

The other side, the surface area side, deals more with rapid blood loss than with vital tissue disruption. Rapid blood loss isn't going to quickly stop an attack, especially with a handgun, it is more of a secondary effect.

To me, it really boils down to the fact that I would have to "miss" by 0.05" in order to make the difference between 9 and .45, in your example, for the .45 to be wanted. So that begs the question - what are my chances of missing but being within that limit?

ETA:

On penetration, if you need 13 inches to reach the heart (because of angle, arm in the way, etc.) and you only penetrate 12", that doesn't mean you did 92% of the work. You did very little, since you didn't do much to the heart.

Percentages are nice, but only if they're meaningful. In this case, unless you're talking about the volume of the wound tract as it relates to blood loss, I don't think the penetration or surface area percentages tell us much. With a handgun, it's more about what you hit, which is more about "enough" penetration and proper placement.

coalman
July 19, 2012, 12:40 PM
Coalman, I'd like to point out, if the lower number is -25%, the bigger number is actually only +20%. 5/4 vs. 4/5...Benelli makes the same mistake in their ComforTech recoil charts.

Correct. It's all about whether you compare the larger to the smaller or the smaller to the larger. Whether you say something is "smaller" than something else or something is "larger" than something else. Regardless, there may be a better way to say it than I stated above as I have not really thought about all this in years since making the chart. Thanks.

This is why a lot of people look at the measurements instead of percentages. With a 0.75" expanded diameter, you have 0.1" extra over 0.65" to nick that artery or get a better hit on that vital organ. Which means the only times the .45 will offer a more "solid hit" than a 9 is when the 9 was not enough, but was within 0.05" on that side (since the 0.1" covers both sides), of being enough.


I do not agree with this. I consider surface area contacted given identical placement. Opinions vary.

Skribs
July 19, 2012, 01:01 PM
The difference is whether you're looking at what you hit vs. how big of a hole you make. If you're looking at what you hit, then you take the radius from the POI - you hit anything within that radius as deep as the bullet penetrates. You don't hit 25% more organs by having 25% more surface area.

The other, which you're looking at, is how big of a hole. This shows in tissue damage as well as creating a pipeline for blood loss. In this case, you do make a 35% bigger hole by penetrating 8% more with 25% more surface area.

(At this point I'm just thinking out-text), it is possible you get a semi-decent hit on the heart with a 9mm, that would get a lot more surface area if you had a .45. If you only get a small sliver, which would be say 0.05" of the bullet nicking the heart, then the .45 would get a much bigger arc by having 0.15" hit...

mljdeckard
July 19, 2012, 01:16 PM
I think it illustrates the importance of getting as many good hits as you can, regardless of what cartridge you use. I cringe a little at phrases like; "Shot placement is king", because in a real-life gunfight, all hits are good. But the more hits you get, the more you multiply the amount of tissue displaced. I certainly agree that a bigger bullet, particularly something like an HST, might be somewhat more effective, but when you multiply hits, I think the difference becomes insignificant very quickly.

918v
July 19, 2012, 05:24 PM
But, that's all just this illustrative example and IMO best case for 9mm. If the 9mm expands to .60" and the .45acp to .80", or 12" vs. 14" penetration, it changes quite a bit. And, comparing the optimal/top loads in each the differences, on paper in gello tests, only get larger in aggregate performance. It's a sliding scale as well.

The best 9mm, a 147 HST, penetrates 12" and has been shown to expand to as much as .81" in ballistic gel. If you compare that to a mediocre 230gr 45, or even a pretty good 45 like a RA45, the 9mm is actually better per your surface area argument.

The 147gr 9 has alot more sectional density than s 230gr 45, so what it lacks in momentum it makes up in sectional density. The two rounds have similar expansion and penetration, similar velocity, and similar wounding capability.

M7
July 19, 2012, 06:13 PM
The best 9mm, a 147 HST, penetrates 12" and has been shown to expand to as much as .81" in ballistic gel. If you compare that to a mediocre 230gr 45, or even a pretty good 45 like a RA45, the 9mm is actually better per your surface area argument.

The 147gr 9 has alot more sectional density than s 230gr 45, so what it lacks in momentum it makes up in sectional density. The two rounds have similar expansion and penetration, similar velocity, and similar wounding capability.

Nice point.

Your perspective is one of the reasons that I prefer the use of mathematical penetration models (the MacPherson and Schwartz bullet penetration models being the best of the breed so far as I am concerned) for considering what bullets do in soft tissue simulants like calibrated gelatin.

If you think about it, they (mathematical models) contain within their construction all of the answers to all of the possible variables (impact velocity, retained weight, expanded diameter, sectional density, and any other factor that I didn't include) that determine what bullets do in such mediums. All that remains for us then, is to "punch in" the desired numbers and gather the results.

If these models are really good; that is- their results agree strongly with gelatin test data- we can almost throw out the gel molds.

Almost.

:)

coalman
July 20, 2012, 12:28 AM
The best 9mm, a 147 HST, penetrates 12" and has been shown to expand to as much as .81" in ballistic gel. If you compare that to a mediocre 230gr 45, or even a pretty good 45 like a RA45, the 9mm is actually better per your surface area argument.


Exactly. The best 9mm does trump the worst .45acp on paper. In the spirit of a "best case" 9mm HST noted above, in the much-loved gello tests, the 230gr 45acp HST can penetrate greater than 13" with expansion to more than 1". Cherry-picking happens on both sides. This is why I prefer aggregate data and this is my general rule of thumb gello test observation outcome comparing optimal/top loads:
- 30/10: .45acp HP vs. 9mm HP = 30% more surface area and 10% more penetration
- 15/5: .45acp HP vs. .40sw HP = 15% more surface area and 5% more penetration

When you take volume (e.g. a cylinder) into account the differences increase greater still:
9mm: .65" @ 12" = 4.0ci
.45acp: .75" @ 13" = 5.8ci (~150% of .65")
---
9mm: .70" @ 13" = 5ci
.45acp: .85" @ 14" = 7.9ci (~160% of .70")
---
9mm HST: .80" @ 12" = 6ci
.45acp HST: 1" @ 13" = 10.2ci (~170% of .80")

O' the joys of all the numbers...

It's all about whether you compare the larger to the smaller or the smaller to the larger. Whether you say something is "smaller" than something else or something is "larger" than something else.

Decided to update the chart. As was noted, the % depends on if your reference is the smaller or larger value/number. This chart accounts for either. Feel free to check the numbers.
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-hlnZ4cTL0Qo/UAj5Vwc6DQI/AAAAAAAAF60/70FLP9ekYMs/s800/surface_area%2520%2528Medium%2529.jpg

357autoloader
July 20, 2012, 12:33 AM
Lmfao

saturno_v
July 21, 2012, 12:17 AM
Not even my 10mm with most commonly found defensive loads (which happen to be loaded to .40S&W levels) are equal to the .45ACP unless specialized loads from Cor-Bon, DoubleTap,......which may surpass .45ACP


This should win the prize for one the most ridiculous statements of the month on THR.......a full power 10mm "may surpass" the 45 ACP??? :eek::what: It "may surpass" like 70% more energy you mean?? We need to talk to your dope dealer, definitely he gives you some bad stuff....

What's next?? A 44 Magnum is "barely above" a 45 ACP?? I heard it all.....

FYI Pretty much all standard 40 S&W loadings exceed in energy any standard pressure 45 ACP...fact.

Old Scratch
July 22, 2012, 10:18 PM
I have have been a big believer in the 9mm for many years, but I cannot ignore field performance. Using a 9mm on critters, even as small as 'posssum, can be rather disappointing over the short term. By contrast, a stiff 45 acp load seems to do much better. There's something to the argument for a bigger diameter bullet.

918v
July 22, 2012, 11:48 PM
Have you seen the videos I linked? Are you telling us those critters can ell the difference between the 9 snd the 45 if both cause a similar wound channel?

coalman
July 23, 2012, 01:10 AM
I have have been a big believer in the 9mm for many years, but I cannot ignore field performance. Using a 9mm on critters, even as small as 'posssum, can be rather disappointing over the short term. By contrast, a stiff 45 acp load seems to do much better. There's something to the argument for a bigger diameter bullet.
Have you seen the videos I linked? Are you telling us those critters can ell the difference between the 9 snd the 45 if both cause a similar wound channel?

No, but anyone can tell the difference between shorter and longer. What I believe these folks to be saying is:
1) I shoot it with something smaller/ligher and it continues to move around longer
2) I shoot it with something larger/heavier and it continues to moves around shorter
No animal whispering needed for that observation and I think we all get it. And, more coordinated, purposeful movement after being shot clearly translates importantly to two legged critters. I'll digress, I just get a bit amused by debate misdirection.

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