9mm VS .45ACP ... against alligators


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Alan Fud
February 1, 2003, 11:36 PM
Those who remember me from the early days of TFL, know that I live in the Florida Everglades and that it is not uncommon for an alligator to wander out of the swamp ever once in a while and start walking around the neighborhood looking for food (small pets and young children).

I carry a .45 for protection against two legged creatures but given the superior penetration of the 9mm over the .45ACP ... The special 9mm Parabellum case with a Cal 38 S&W bullet penetrated the M1 helmet at 50 yards, but not 60 yards.
The Winchester 9mm Parabellum (1,150 f/s velocity) penetrated the M1 helmet at 120 yards, but not at 130 yards.
The Canadian 9mm Parabellum (1,250 f/s velocity) penetrated the M1 helmet at 130 yards, but due to lack of longer range facilities was not fired beyond this point.
The Cal .45 ammunition penetrated the helmet at 30 yards, but not at 35 yards.... Source: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6115 ... I wonder if I encountered a gator, would I be better off with 8 rounds of .45ACP from my Para C7.45LDA or with 8 rounds of 9mm from my 3913TSW ...

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... Comments? Suggestion?

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Blackhawk
February 2, 2003, 12:44 AM
Since you're stuck with the same number of rounds from either gun, I'd go with the .45.

ojibweindian
February 2, 2003, 01:43 AM
I remember this from TFL.

I'd use .30-06.

denfoote
February 2, 2003, 01:55 AM
Alan,
Go one silly millimeter larger to somthing say like a GLOCK 29, 10mm!!!! :cool:

seeker_two
February 2, 2003, 02:56 AM
Gator hide can be as tough as a Kevlar vest. I've heard stories of RIFLE bullets bouncing off....

This might be a good excuse to buy the CZ-52. Small hole, but it WILL make a hole...:what:

10-Ring
February 2, 2003, 02:59 AM
I'd go w/ a 45 +p+ out of my USP 45 and a couple of mags on my belt just in case.

Boats
February 2, 2003, 03:20 AM
Personally I'd want a really hot .357Mag against a gator. Then again, if you have to draw on a reptile it means the gator has gained the initiative and underpentration is unlikely at contact distance.:evil:

Use what you can shoot the fastest and then outrun the animal control guy.:what:

Island Beretta
February 2, 2003, 07:55 AM
Great post, Alan:

I remember you as a proponent of the cocktail magazine and that's how I load my magazine now!!!

Theoretically, the 9mm would be superior due to its much higher velocity and smaller diameter. This translates to greater penetrative pressure at the point of contact and therefore a greater probability to penetrate. With the 9mm the gator would fell a sharp jab whilst with the .45 the gator would fell a heavier punch due to the momentum and larger diameter.

Practically, neither the 9mm or .45 stands much of a chance of penetrating a 'gator's back, maybe if you could flip it over to the underbelly you would stand a better chance;)

Apple a Day
February 2, 2003, 09:57 AM
I like seeker_2s idea about the CZ-52. 7.62x25mm for lots of penetration, more ammo than a revolver, inexpensive enough not to regret stuffing down the 'gator's throat or using to jam its jaws open whilst you whistle the theme to Looney Tunes and head for the nearest horizon.
If you are going to use either a 9mm or .45 then I'd go with the 9mm and ball ammo.

Glock_PhD
February 2, 2003, 11:01 AM
Use what the gator hunters use. A shotgun with a slug or 00 buck.

cratz2
February 2, 2003, 11:36 AM
Glock 29: Scully's worst nightmare!!!!

Hey hey hey HEY!... Scully could handle it. ;)

I agree with Boats. I'd want a hot 'n heavy 357. And soft flat points, not hollow points.

Between the wo pistols you mention, I'd probably take my chances with the 9mm. 147 Gr SWC ammo if there is such a thing. The 147 Gr 9mm ammo tends to have about the best penetration of any ammo for 9mm or 45 ACP.

jem375
February 2, 2003, 11:45 AM
10MM or 44 mag...........

Beren
February 2, 2003, 11:51 AM
I agree with Glock PhD. 18" 12gauge, 00 or slug. Learn to find and climb trees quickly, or invite friends out who run slower than you do.

Blackhawk
February 2, 2003, 12:15 PM
Guys, he's got TWO guns, and wants to know which ONE of his TWO guns he's be better off with should a gator put him on the lunch menu.

If he's got the opportunity to make a THIRD gun magically appear, make it an M2 .50BMG pedestal mounted on a Jeep. It's effective and provides a means of making fast tracks. In fact, maybe he should just arrange for one to follow closely behind on his walks.... :rolleyes:

DonGlock26
February 2, 2003, 02:47 PM
I'd go for the 9mm and use hot 124 FMJ-NATO ammo. Fiocchi is pretty hot and cheap.

Shane
February 2, 2003, 03:10 PM
I don't think either round will do more than annoy a gator. They've got tough skin, and are very sturdy critters. I don't think any handgun would be particulary effective on a gator, except possibly a 10mm semi-auto or 44 magnum (or greater) revolver.

DeltaElite
February 2, 2003, 03:17 PM
10mm, get a 10mm. :D
It is a hunting round and ballistically superior to the 9 and 45.

agtman
February 2, 2003, 04:40 PM
"9mm VS 45ACP ... against alligators."


Looks like somebody didn't read the manual. :eek:

It says right here: "For reptiles with snapping jaws, apply liberal doses of 10mm Auto into the head, throat and other vital areas. Repeat as needed." :D

:cool:

BHP9
February 2, 2003, 05:30 PM
For an animal like an alligator remember they are often found in water and this presents another problem. Calibers like the .45acp and even 40 S&W and 10mm are almost useless for this type of shooting.

The smaller the bullet and the higher the velocity results in way more penetrations especially in water. Many years ago my Uncle used a BroomHandle Mauser in 7.65x25 for shooting sharks and it was one of the few pistol calibers that had enough velocity left to penetrate the water and reach these hideaous. savage beasts when he was shooting into the water. Its small diameter and high velocity did the trick where other calibers failed especially like the .45acp which he tried using. The 9mm worked but not as good as the higher velocity 7.62x25 Mauser caliber.

Dave Markowitz
February 2, 2003, 09:38 PM
Either Peter Hathaway Capstick or Jeff Cooper (I disremember which) wrote about hunting crocodiles in Africa. Not the same as alligators, but similar.

Anyway, he noted that the only way to get a sure, immediate stop on a croc was with a brain shot, so the favored weapon was a bolt action rifle in .270. The crocs would be shot while sunbathing (the crocs were sunbathing, not the hunter. :D)

So, if I was going to carry a pistol for alligator defense, I'd go with a high velocity round that gives good penetration, e.g., 9mmP, .357 Mag, or 7.62x25, and shoot for the head.

bpisler
February 2, 2003, 11:11 PM
I would use whichever pistol i was most accurate with,in 9mm i would use a 124gr +P or +P+ fmj.In the 45 iwould try to find some 230gr +P fmj's or order a 400cor-bon barrel.

longspurr
February 2, 2003, 11:25 PM
There is an interesting book written by 2 fellows that did some professional croc hunting in Africa. I think it is "Eyelids of Dawn" or something similar[I can't find my copy right now]. They cap several hundred croc's with a 22-250 doing brain shots while they are in the water with the croc's!! Very sporting!!

My vote goes for the 9mm with flat nose FMJ's. Shot placement is everything for these guys.

RON in PA
February 3, 2003, 12:54 AM
Why waste a bullet, call Steve Irwin and he will rastle that critter and get it out of your hair.

denfoote
February 3, 2003, 03:31 AM
Hey hey hey HEY!... Scully could handle it.

Maybe so, but Scully and her cadre of female agents are the reason why it costs me $20 to shoot a box of 10mm!!!! :cuss: :banghead: :fire:

MitchSchaft
February 3, 2003, 03:38 AM
I've heard stories of RIFLE bullets bouncing off....

If you head a human head at a certain angle, a rifle bullet will bounce off of it, too.

Onslaught
February 3, 2003, 04:08 PM
Glock 29: Scully's worst nightmare!!!!
If Scully'd had a 10mm, Queequeg might still be with us today!
http://www.notenet.fi/~mervim/grafael/petx/quagmirequee.jpg
Why waste a bullet, call Steve Irwin and he will rastle that critter
You don't need Steve, all you need is a stick, a blindfold, and a shoestring...
http://www.myaimicon.com/ikons/IKON270835e5265acfe8bb27e797d57b2868283415d108.gif

Given your two choices Fud, I'd go with the 9mm and some 124gr NATO +p++ fmj ammo.

Missouri Mule
February 3, 2003, 05:46 PM
I'm thinking Marlin 30-30. But since you asked about a handgun, I honestly believe I would NOT feel overly confident with either of your choices. For a critter that could potentially find out if I taste like chicken I absolutely want "More Power!"

I would begin by considering a hot tmj 10mm in a 1911 then move up from there. :uhoh:

CWL
February 3, 2003, 06:10 PM
As for all large dangerous game, penetration, penetration, penetration.

Either round in the hottest +p FMJ round you can find.

You're still rolling the dice either way since a gator is so nerve deadened that it'll probably still charge and chew you a bit even after you score a brain/heart/major organ hit. Don't count on it bleeding out.

I think a chicken carcass thrown as a distraction while you ran, would work better.

BHP9
February 3, 2003, 06:43 PM
I think I found a solution to the problem. The hand grenade. I love em. Just toss one over the side into the water. Problem solved.

Freightman
February 3, 2003, 07:24 PM
The brain on a large gator is about the size of a small walnut, better place your shot good. Even after he is dead he can do considerable damage for a long period of time, GOOD LUCK I want something that is efective a LOT further away than a pistol or revolver.

docbones
February 4, 2003, 02:19 AM
Gentlemen,

It has been neat to hear some of the tongue in cheek comments on this subject. But, some of the comments regarding cartridge performance have been outright absurd. I say this out of concern for all of us woodswalkers. As most people know, long before the alligator was listed as an endangered species (1967), it was harvested with abandon. In that non-protected time, I knew men that routinely relied on the .22 LR (one shot between the eyes, mostly H&R revolvers) for most of their dispatch needs and one man who preferred (get ready) a knife. (I also knew one guy who routinely wrestled gators, but, hey, it gets pretty boring in La. and I can only correlate it to tipping cows. Just something to do.) Placement was the point. Any cartridge of decent intensity, when correctly placed, will do the job easily. In any instance where the angle of incidence is too acute in relation to the given target, then penetration could be an issue, of course, with most any caliber. However, just a moderate amount of awareness and a little common sense can go a long way to securing your safety. Gator courtship (a loud process) begins in April and takes place in water (stay out of the water!). From May throught June, the female builds her very large nest, lays her eggs, and jealously guards both (stay out of the water and away from her adjacent nest!). Alligators at any stage in the life cycle are very vocal. Listen and be aware. Of course, all this is to say there is no panacea. But, I would feel fine with either caliber and would definately prefer a centerfire handgun to a rifle, as it is a weapon of opportunity, more easily used under duress and close quarters. Bottom line is to ALWAYS have a gun and to be a good shot with a cool head (Because you will not out run the gator if he is mature and motivated).

Regards,

Docbones

yzguy
February 4, 2003, 12:46 PM
I would think that either would be good with shots to the head. I have seen a .22LR from a MKII penetrate a scull of a gator (nuisance) and I'm pretty sure 9mm and .45 would do better...

JMLV
February 4, 2003, 01:10 PM
BUT PREFER A TOK. SMALLER GUN THAN THE CZ AND A BIT EASIER TO CARRY. YOU MIGHT JUST WANT TO CARRY ONE FOR BACKUP WHEN WONDERING THE NEIBORHOOD IN "GATOR" SEASON. KEEPING THE 45 AVAIABLE FOR 2 LEGGED CRITTERS YOU AR3 MORE LIKELY TO ENCOUNTER.

HankL
February 4, 2003, 08:07 PM
If Carlyle wasn't in the hospital I'm sure that he could tell us.:(

docbones has some good things to say.

Lone_Gunman
February 4, 2003, 08:32 PM
It is interesting to hear what people who are 1000 miles from the nearest gator would recommend for stopping them...

Either 9mm or 45 will work fine. A 22 LR will work just as well though.

This isnt Jurassic Park. You can leave the artillery at home.

Kilgor
February 4, 2003, 08:58 PM
If I remember the original story he scooped up his daughter on land when a gator headed for her. So water penetration isn't neccesary as I assume he's smart enough to stay out of the water and isn't hunting them.

Either of the two would be ok, but I'd prefer a Glock 20 10mm loaded with 180+ gr. full load ammo such as Corbon 180 JSP or TexasAmmo 200 gr. XTP or FMJ-FP.

docbones
February 5, 2003, 12:15 PM
On the other hand, there is a simpler fix, if time allows. Tabasco, high heat and peanut oil gives you delicious results with old Wally Gator and you can then just rename him Stumpy!



Docbones:D

zorba
February 6, 2003, 03:56 AM
I just came back from FL and was led to believe that gators are protected under FL law, so when would it be legal to shoot them?

Alan Fud
February 6, 2003, 05:50 AM
Just like with a human, it is legal to shoot them when they posse the danger of death or serious injury to yourself or another party with no course of escape ... meaning if I can see the pupils of his eyes and he's heading in my direction even though I've changed directions, that a good indication that he is interested in me.

And just to clarify, I do have .357's and 10mm's but they are full-size guns and I don't normally carry them as my CCW ... I'm just asking if caught off-guard, which one of my CCW would serve me better against a gator attack.

Thank you for all of the replies.

Silver Bullet
February 7, 2003, 02:06 PM
I don't have one, but isn't a .357 SIG supposed to be a pretty good penetrator ?

XLMiguel
February 7, 2003, 03:17 PM
Freightman made an excellent point about the size of a gator's brain, I would add that it woudl be a good idea to familiarize oneself with alligator anatomy to KNOW where that walnut is and shoot accordingly. When in doubt, stick it in his eye, that should cause the critter to lose interest in you pretyy quickly.

All in all, if you aren't prepared to shoot gators (i.e. with a .357 or 10mm), then you've got to shoot with what's in hand, and it all gets back to shot placement, doesn't it?

I know gators can lung with great velocity, how fast can they go for 10-20 yards, i.e.how hard is it to out run one? Good luck.

swampgator
February 8, 2003, 04:53 PM
I just came back from FL and was led to believe that gators are protected under FL law, so when would it be legal to shoot them?

Yes, they are. And unlawfully a gator in Florida is a felony. There is an established hunting season for permitted people to hunt them. The permits are drawn at random from applicants.

That being said, in a bona fide defensive shooting I doubt anything would ever really come of it. And I don't mean an Uncle Ned South Park "he's coming right at me!" shoot.


As for head shooting a gator: As others have posted the brain is extremely small. There is an unprotected spot on the skull extending back from the center of the eye "hump" back down the head towards the tail. Looking at the stuffed 4 footer in my office the area is roughly about 1 1/2 " square.

A .22 lr to this spot will stop a gator.

As an aside, unprovoked alligator attacks are quite rare in Florida. From the FWCC website: "Between 1948 and January 1997, 225 alligator attacks on humans were documented with seven of those resulting in fatalities." You can add in 2 more in North Central Florida since 1999.

General information regarding alligators in Florida, as well as very good links to sites concerning other crocidillians:
http://wildflorida.org/gators/

Hope this helps,
gator

JMLV
February 9, 2003, 10:12 AM
FROM FISH & WILDLIFE ABOUT GATOR ATTACKS IN FLA OR ELSE WHERE. THEY PREFER TO QUALIFY THEM AS "DROWNINGS" RATHER THAN ATTACKS LOOKSA BETTER TO THE TOURISTS. ALFER ALL IF A gator gets you and noone see's it but the body is found at a later date its easy to say you drowned aND THE GATOR DID "WHAT CAME NATURALLY" AND ATE THE DEAD BODY, CHECK OUT A BOOK CALLED "MANKILLERS" (i THINK) LOTS OF INFO AND RESEARCH IN THERE ON CRITTERS WHO WILL KILL US IF GIVEN HALF THE CHANCE AND THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE A LIVING COVERING UP THE FACTS FOR A variety of reaSONS. i HAVE TO FIND MY COPY TO GET THE AUTHERS NAME. iTS THE SAME WOMAN WHO DID THE BOOK ON COUGER ATTACKS.

Dr.Rob
February 9, 2003, 05:59 PM
Most animals are only really dangerous when provoked. Unless it IS actively eating your dog/kid/mother in law leave it alone.

docbones
February 9, 2003, 08:17 PM
When they are hungry and you, your child, or your pet look tasty. Reality. It is inescapable.:cool:

Docbones

Onslaught
February 10, 2003, 11:42 AM
Not a flame, just a statement of personal experience coupled with an uncontrollable, intensely psychotic need to protect my little girl when even the mere thought of some remote danger might pop up in conversation.

I don't care WHAT Fish & Game says... Alligators LOVE dogs and children. All it takes at my favorite campground/fishing spot is one or two of either species to play along the river bank for a few minutes to entice a "swim-by" of an interested Alligator or two.

Fortunately, there's a 3 to 5 foot artificial embankment and a wooden fence spanning the entire length of the bank in that park. Gators can't get up, and properly attended children can't get down.

If I lived where FUD lives, I'd have an electrified, barbed wire fence around my back yard. :D

firestar
February 11, 2003, 01:58 AM
I've done some testing of my own of these cals and a few others.

First let me state without any hesitation, a hot loaded 9mm fmj will out penetrate a hot loaded .45 fmj EVERY TIME!

Now that is clear, I don't want people claiming that a .45 has more penetration. It doesn't, accept it.

Bearing that in mind, I would have to take the 9mm over the .45. Even the 9mm may not penetrate but it stands a better chance of doing it than a .45.

krept
February 11, 2003, 08:32 PM
along the lines of that comment...

the .45 might not have penetrated the helmet, but if a guy was wearing that helmet he might not be "ok" afterwards. Baseball bats are notorious for underpenetration, but many times the dents they make are good enough.

a gator is going to take multiple shots of any handgun round, especially if you don't have the luxury of aiming for it's pea brain or boiler.

I would absolutely stick with the .45. Not because it may or may not be superior to the other bullets, but because you are USED to it.

Good luck...

swampgator
February 11, 2003, 09:18 PM
posted by onslaught:
I don't care WHAT Fish & Game says... Alligators LOVE dogs and children. All it takes at my favorite campground/fishing spot is one or two of either species to play along the river bank for a few minutes to entice a "swim-by" of an interested Alligator or two.

No flame on this end, however, realize that alligators associate children and dogs as a food source only after they've been exposed to humans.

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