Rate of fire vs. caliber. IE 9mm 6 quick vs. .45 2 Slow


August 16, 2004, 06:01 PM
I was discussing rate of fire versus caliber. You know, typical gunshop banter. Wouldn't a 9mm that you could put 4 to 6 very quick shots accuratly into a torso be of greater use than a .45 that you could only put 2 in during the same frame of time?

I know.......shot placement.

I know.......caliber wars are taboo.

I know.......what about a .40.

The reason it came up is two fold.

1.) the adoption of the 9mm by the Armed Forces over the .45. Could this be due to a greater ability to establish a superior rate of fire?

2. the shotgun principle, #4 Buck will overload a physical body due to the amount of trauma caused by multiple hits. Same with 00 Buck. However you could almost duplicate this effect with rapid fire to the torso.

3. I know I said two but this I came up with on my own. Head shots are improbable under stress at a moving target. Multiple center mass would be preferable to the 2 and 1 drills wouldn't it?

Just some thoughts.

Now I'll duck and cover. Remember this is not a caliber comparison as it is a rate of fire comparison. Ideally a quick .45 would be nice, however you have a point of diminishing returns. If you can shoot a quick 5 on a .45 accuratly, then don't comment (unless you must). I'm talking to the average human who shoots a 9mm faster.

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August 16, 2004, 06:30 PM
I can't really argue with that.
I go back and forth over the years in my own mind about 9mm vs 10mm (or .45).
In some situations it would work. In others mabey not.
In a home defense situation, I always wonder about an asailant that is behind a couch or door jamb. I want my 10mm for that.
Other scenarios I could see where many quick rounds would be better.
After going from 9's to .45'/10's and back, I just bit the bullet and got a Sig 9mm to keep my 10mm company.

August 16, 2004, 06:35 PM
The reason we went with the Beretta/9mm was to meet with NATO. Almost any IPSC (with one obvious and notable exception ;) ) shooter will tell you that with practice, it is easier to hit with a 45ACP 1911 than with a 9mm Beretta M9.

Having said that... if I had my choice of being able to put 6 rounds of 9mm into the bad guy than 2 rounds of 45ACP, regardless of the load.

Keep in mind, I'm a long time devotee of the 1911 and a firm believer in 45ACP. But I do currently carry a 9mm.

August 16, 2004, 06:36 PM
My guess for the switch from .45 to 9mm is that more countries use 9mm. Ammo is far more common for guns chambered in 9x19. The capacity is double that of the old .45 without much, if any, weight increase. Balistics with ball ammo are pretty lousy anyway, so you may as well give up a little there to give yourself more chances to hit and wound your target. Four 9mm are collectively bigger than two .45 caliber holes.

August 16, 2004, 07:14 PM
To me, your initial premise is flawed. You cannot put six 9mm rounds into a target within the same time that most any other trained marksman could place two 45ACP rounds into the same target area. In fact, I'd be damned surprised if you'd see a rapid-fire ratio any smaller than 6:5 (9mm/45ACP), presuming that we're talking about service pistols.

And remember - it's the one who gets there first who usually wins. ;)

August 16, 2004, 07:29 PM
I think it was Evan Marshall that compiled data from police shootings. The data showed the percentage of cases where a single torso shot caused immediate cessation of the attack. The .357 mag and .45 acp were in the 90's percent. Various 9mm were 70's-80's percent.

In other words, a single torso shot from a .45 stopped an attack better than 9 times out of 10. I would imagine that 2 shots would be very close to 100%. Two good shots from a 9mm would certainly be in the 90's, I would think.

Data for two shot stops would be interesting.

Just found some numbers:
one shot stop data (http://www.alpharubicon.com/leo/calloadgoshin.htm)

August 16, 2004, 07:50 PM
The Marshall statistics did not take into account any shootings in which there was more than one hit if I remember correctly. In the majority of 9mm shootings there is going to be more than one hit. So the data may be slanted. The .357 Magnum will have a larger sample group since a high powered, very loud revolver with only six shots is much more likely to limit the amount of shots fired.

As far as shooting .45 to 9mm at a 5:6 ratio.....I dunno about that. Maybe a 3:6 if you are shooting at a controlled rate, meaning you are still aiming. At least I cant. I have a hard time shooting controlled strings of 4 shots rapidly while staying within a baseball area. I usually "climb" the rounds or if I am trying to compensate I will zig zag up and down. With 9mm I can pretty much put about 10 rounds all within a softball sized area rather quickly. Recoil and muzzle lift are the obvious factors.

August 16, 2004, 08:05 PM
I am sure the Marshall and Sanow data is just as good as any reason you could use to pick your self defense load. Thing that really irks me about it is that the best 9mm round beats out the best 44 Magnum. I know all the theories about "wasted" energy and such but it still doesn't seem right.

August 16, 2004, 08:11 PM
RJ357 -

The best thing to do with Sanow and Marshall is forget it. The analysis is at best flawed, the data, to be generous, is highly questionable, and the conclusions are meaningless. The purpose Sanow and Marshall were to sell lots magazines of magazine articles--in that they have been successful.

August 16, 2004, 08:22 PM
"Wouldn't a 9mm that you could put 4 to 6 very quick shots accuratly into a torso be of greater use than a .45 that you could only put 2 in during the same frame of time? "

Well, dispite all the internet chatter on subjects like this, there is no answer. There are just too many variables. These variables have been discussed endlessly.
I shoot a 1911 in .45 ACP. I have shot the very same handgun for 15 years or so. At times I have shot it a lot. I once fired over 1500 serious aimed shots in a five day period as an example. I can shoot it pretty fast, with accuracy. However I can shoot a 9mm faster. In fact, I have shot a plate match with my 1911 and tried it once with a 9mm and the 9mm seemed like a cap gun. So, there is some validity in saying that you can put more rounds on target in a shorter period of time. Whether they are needed or desireable is another matter.

August 16, 2004, 08:40 PM
Six 9mms vs two .45s...

Don't be too sure that that ratio couldn't be closer to 6:5 with just a little practice.:cool: But get it down to a more realistic level of say...6:4
and ask yourself the question again. Then come and see some of our shooters put 2 45s into a target so quick that you're not sure if you heard one shot or two...with full hardball equivalent ammo.

Standin' by...

Black Snowman
August 16, 2004, 09:10 PM
I can definately shoot 9mm faster than heavier calibers. But I can also put 8 rounds of full-house .44 Mag into COM at 15 yards in less than 5 seconds with my DEagle. I image with some practice .45 ACP wouldn't be that far off from 9mm. But, shooting big guns fast requires practice, upper body strength, and the ability to work past recoil sensativity.

The military is dealing with an unknown quality of person and training costs money. The military is going to look at effectiveness per $ more than the ideal platform. If more people can be trained to hit the target more cheaply then 9mm is the way to go.

More ammo for the same weight and space. Cheaper per shot. Fewer reloads for the same number of shots. More global ammunition availability. Logistics is the major factor in modern military side-arms choices. It's about the Bang for the Buck because handguns better not be what's winning the war ;)

August 16, 2004, 09:23 PM
At 7 yards on an IDPA target all A-zone hits.
Glock 17 9mm = .21 sec. splits
Sig P220 .45 = .25 sec. splits
That works out to about a 5:4 ratio of 9mm to .45.

August 16, 2004, 09:51 PM
jeff-10 -
Thing that really irks me about it is that the best 9mm round beats out the best 44 Magnum.
I wondered about that. Since all torso shots were included, regardless of where they actually were in the torso, it might just be that the .44 shots were not as well placed.

Since these are real world shootings, they take everything into account, including any difficulty in getting good placement with a particular caliber. But that's also one of the problems: it's not just comparing calibers alone.

Still, if the sample numbers are large, and include hits at many torso locations, it would indicate the .45 is less dependent on placement than the 9mm.

August 16, 2004, 09:55 PM
I can see 5:4 or 5:3.5 with full-size handguns (e.g., Glock 17s and five-inch steel 1911), but take say a Glock 26 and a Kimber Ultra CDP, and I'll bet you see the gap open up considerably--probably to at least a two or more likely three to one ratio.

August 16, 2004, 10:26 PM
Oh yeah....I forgot about that. We were comparing somthing to the tune of a compact 1911, I think a Kimber to a Glock 19. I didn't even realize that size of the weapon would be a considerable difference.

August 16, 2004, 10:30 PM
Concerning the 9mm vs 44 Magnum issue, even relating it to Mr Marshall, assuming similar yet undecisive placement, I'd imagine the better 9mm loads (124 Gr Gold Dots, Ranger Ts etc...) would have better stopping abilities than an average to good 44 Magnum would. Most folks that have talked with veterans should know that inumerous wounds from rifles were survived... The bigger/more powerful rounds tend to go straight through.

Honestly, to use the whole 'I wouldn't wanna stand downrange from...' thing, I would rather be shot with a 44 Magnum with, say, a Remington SWCJHP than a 127 Gr +P+ Ranger.

August 16, 2004, 10:40 PM
Even with 9mm splits at .25 and .45acp at .33 seconds you are still in the 4:3 ratio range.
To get at the ratios you are talking about you'd have to have 9mm splits in the .20sec. range, and .45acp splits in the .50sec. range. hence a 5:2 ratio.
That is one very slow .45acp shooter and one fast 9mm shooter.

August 17, 2004, 05:59 AM
Oh! It's a 1911 .45 against a Glock 9mm? Okay...I'd set the
rate of fire at 6:5 in FAVOR of the big bore. I thought we were
racing 1911 vs 1911.:p

August 17, 2004, 06:50 AM
The one problem I can see as far as civilian defence goes is explaining four hits on an attacker in court.

That is why I opt for a 45ACP.


August 17, 2004, 07:30 AM
Wildehond said:

The one problem I can see as far as civilian defence goes is explaining four hits on an attacker in court.

Well, I wasn't even gonna go there, but since you did...:cool:

We can argue that a clean shoot is a clean shoot, but you can be sure that the question will come up, and it won't be in your favor. To wit:

"Can you try to explain to the good people of the jury exactly WHY you
felt like you had to shoot him THAT many times??? Admit it. You WANTED to kill him!"

Consider this while bearing in mind that what the average juror knows about guns and gunfights comes from watching movies...scenes that
depict people being vaulted over cars after being hit once with a pistol
round...and gaping, bloody bullet wounds after being shot with a "Nine".

Whether or not it holds true to life isn't the issue...THEY believe that this is really how it happens, and the question won't be why you felt that you had to shoot him, but why you felt that you had to shoot him 5 or 6 times. Much easier to make a case for defense with one or two than with a magfull. Bet on it.

Do you really believe that your lawyer can convince a Soccer Mom that the ineffectiveness of a pistol round would require multiple hits in order to shut him down? Ever try to argue a point with somebody who already has their mind made up before you start? She's watched the movies! She KNOWS
what a gun can do!

Think about it...



August 17, 2004, 07:42 AM
I don't know how things go in court but it would be easy to explain: whether they would listen is another mattter.

The guy attacked me with deadly force. I fired on him and continued to fire on him until he stopped his attack. I didn't count the number of rounds I fired, I was only interested in their effect: whether or not he stopped his attack. If he had been valted over a car, he wouldn't have been there to get shot five times. In fact, since he didn't fall down and kept attacking me, I wasn't even sure I was hitting him, so I continued to fight for my life.

August 17, 2004, 07:47 AM
444 said:

I don't know how things go in court but it would be easy to explain: whether they would listen is another matter.

Bingo. Explanations are easy. Making them believe it is another matter.

Double Naught Spy
August 17, 2004, 09:24 AM
alduro, if you can't shoot a .45 acp very quickly, then your choice has to be to go to a smaller caliber such as a 9 mm. So, if your shooting ratio is 6 9mm to 2 .45 acp, there is no question, you gotta go with 9 mm. Don't confuse your capabilities with what can actually be done by others. I shoot with some folks that may be able to shoot a 9 mm out of the same platform a little faster than a .45 acp out of the same platform, but they shoot .45 acp out of their perferred platforms better than many 9 mm folks do out of their platforms. For example, I can shoot my .45 acp 1911 a goodly bit faster with accuracy than some folks I know with 9 mm Sigs.

As noted, out of the same platform, a ratio of 6:5 may exist and since the 6 are 9 mm and the 5 are .45 acp, I would take the 5 over the six, any day.

August 17, 2004, 02:25 PM
This is all just talk and theory.

Grab a 9mm and a .45. Get a timer. Go to the range and shoot.

It isn't even close to 2/6, more like 4/5. And that is single action vs. single action.

August 17, 2004, 02:42 PM
I rarely shoot for speed, but I have compared a steel CZ 75B Compact with a steel Gov't 1911. Side by side. Pick one up, pick the other up. I was paying attention mostly to recoil. I could barely tell the difference. The better trigger on the 1911 would make up for whatever minute difference there was.

You would probably feel a difference with different calibers out of the same gun--but who carries a 9mm 1911 anyway?

On a related note: when I find a bag of $100 bills on the sidewalk--should be any day now--I'm thinking of ignoring my purist sensibilities and getting a Baer Heavyweight Monolith in 9mm. Should shoot like a compensated cap gun...

August 17, 2004, 02:51 PM
This is all just talk and theory...Get a timer. Go to the range and shoot. Well, if we all did that boards like this would become obsolete. :)

August 17, 2004, 03:06 PM
Grab a 9mm and a .45. Get a timer. Go to the range and shoot.

That's what I did. The drill was simply two rounds on each of two targets, from the holster. One was at five yards, the other widely spaced to the side and out a bit further. I shot this drill a lot.

I used a G19, CZ75 in 9mm, a Les Baer PII .45 tricked out and a Kimber Pro Carry CDP. I also shot the .45 pistols with my 168 power factor gamer loads and Federal HydraShok self defense ammo.

I already knew I would post the best scores on something like the IDPA classifier with the Baer and weenie ammo. That combination was the fastest on the four round drill I set up. The second fastest combination was the full size gun with full boat loads.

When all was said and done,I decided to continue carrying the light weight 1911 style gun even though it was not the best performer in the speed department. Why? Because the pistol is in a decent chambering, .45 Auto, it is light, and I shoot it well enough.

FWIW, the time to the first shot is for all purposes the same with each gun as is the first split. The transition to the second target is almost the same, but the split on the second target is a bit slower with the light weight gun because my grip starts to erode. The difference on the drill is only about a quarter of a second for all four rounds. In the gun games that can add up, but on the street I'll sacrifice the time for other considerations.

August 17, 2004, 06:10 PM
The one problem I can see as far as civilian defence goes is explaining four hits on an attacker in court.

That is why I opt for a 45ACP.


Tell me, oh wise one, exactly how many shots is it going to take to stop an aggressor?
How about these guys?

Boise, Idaho. 9-20-97. Traffic stop to shooting.

Brothers Craig and Doug Brodrick killed. Officers Winegar wounded, Stall killed. Bad guys hit 32 times w 45 ACP JHPs before they went down.

One brother took 25 hits of 45 ACP JHPs in two volleys as he walked around his car, the other took 7 hits of 45 ACP JHPs, of 52 total rounds fired by 7 officers. Brothers returned fire w 9 millimeters, wounding one officer and killing another in the gunfight.

August 17, 2004, 08:23 PM
Even more recently, there was the guy that took three good hits from top of the line .45 ACP ammo (RA45P), walked into his house, proceeded to fire another 30 shots, and refused to surrender when SWAT arrived--they contained him and allowed him to bleed out. There is absolutely NO guarantee a .45 ACP will stop an attacker with one or two shots (and there is no guarantee a 9x19 won't)--that whole line of reasoning is ridiculous.

August 17, 2004, 08:50 PM
A case history: (Before this one gets too far off-topic to salvage)

Brothers Craig and Doug Brodrick killed. Officers Winegar wounded, Stall killed. Bad guys hit 32 times w 45 ACP JHPs before they went down.

These things happen, but it's an extreme circumstance. For every one of these incidents, you can find 10 in which the bad guy went down like a sack of wet laundry after being shot in the shoulder with a .22 short.
Let us try to stick to "Most Likely" occurrences...

A quote:

There is absolutely NO guarantee a .45 ACP will stop an attacker with one or two shots.

Neither is there any guarantee that a given attacker will drop with 2 or 3
body shots from a .308 or "Ought-Six". The notion that every incident and
every bad guy is going to require being shot to ribbons is as ridiculous as assuming that any handgun will guarantee a one-shot stop.

Okay...back to the topic. Wildehond and Tuner...Stop hijackin' the thread!:D

August 17, 2004, 09:46 PM
I can only cite experience gained in 18 years of civil-unrest confrontations, including being (unwillingly!) present at rather more than 100 gunfights, some as a participant, most as an observer. I've also been shot more than once, all with 9mm. or lesser calibers - and I'm still here, which might say something...

In general, I saw 9mm. (hardball and 1980's-vintage JHP such as Winchester Silvertip, Federal 9BP, etc.) produce poor "instant stop" results. Frequently, half-a-dozen or more rounds would be required, and even this did not guarantee that the target would be out of the fight immediately. I saw more than one occasion where a machete-wielding BG took six or more rounds of 9mm to COM - and they were good hits, too, shredding heart, lungs and other organs - yet still survived and stayed on his feet long enough to eviscerate the shooter. Not pretty... :barf:

On the other hand, major calibers (.44 Special, .45 ACP and Colt, etc.) tended to produce good stopping results with one to two hits to COM - and it didn't seem to matter much whether JHP or hardball or SWC rounds were used. The targets seemed to go down faster and harder, and were much less likely to get up again and be troublesome.

(.357 Magnum loads seemed to perform about as well as the big bore stuff, provided they were full-house loads. The 158gr. JHP's seemed to over-penetrate with monotonous regularity, but still did a number on the target, while the lighter JHP's were OK, but sometimes not fully effective on hopped-up attackers. For this reason, I prefer the Winchester Silvertip 145gr. load in my .357's today - "best of both worlds" sort of thing.)

I know and accept that current JHP technology has improved tremendously over what was available in the 1980's: but as a result of my experience, I remain viscerally distrustful of the 9mm. as a "stopping" round. Sure, it's as lethal as any other handgun round: but how quickly?

I tend to want my handgun "stopping" calibers to begin with the numeral "4", with the exception of .357 Magnum, where I'll take a full load of good 145gr. Winchester Silvertip JHP anyday, and feel very comfortable with it. For backup, I'll take a 9mm. or .38 Special compact handgun, but I won't fully trust it - that's why it's a backup to something more potent!

As to rate of fire: I want to hit with something effective. Given that requirement, I'll practice until I'm sure I can do so. I can certainly obtain hits faster with a lower-recoiling round, but if those hits aren't necessarily as effective as bigger calibers, why bother? Practice, practice, practice...

August 17, 2004, 10:22 PM
take say a Glock 26 and a Kimber Ultra CDP, and I'll bet you see the gap open up considerablyI agree. Even here we see .45 shooters admitting their times with a 9 are faster. Shrinking the gun is only going to make the time differences more pronounced...

August 17, 2004, 11:05 PM
Greeting, IMHO : MY own experience is that a .45 ACP 5 inch govt. will be on target as quickly as the same number fired from a Glock 17. The difference is so small that the reciever will not notice any difference. Next: It is my personal experience that a +P+ 9 mm will not come close to what a hollow point full power 44 mag will do from my 8 inch revolver. Next: muliple shots during a life and death defence shooting is likely to be "normal", because the threatened person, may fire muliple shot very fast before he stops to consider whether or not the assailent is finished. After it is over, he may not KNOW how many shots he fired in self defence.

August 18, 2004, 03:19 PM

1 I never said I was wise
2 It is my personal choice. I did not say it is what everone should do.
3 One shot through the hart will stop an attacker. If there is no fresh blood in his brain he will stop. A shot through the heart stops a cape buff!
4 a 45 bullet should make a bigger hole it the heart.

So stop worrying about which gun is best. Buy one you like. Buy ammo with the rest of your money and learn to shoot it well. Then you should have a better chance of surviving a gun fight. I gun fight is not fare and it is not always the best one that wins, but you can increase your chances to live through it.

The 1911 in 45acp is the handgun I prefer to use.

I like glocks. I personally think that the G17 is one of the best hanguns ever designed. I just shoot better with a 1911 in 45.

I shall be sighing off now. I thought we are free so give our opinion, but it does not look like it. I have better things to do with my time. I have to prepare for a para shoot on Saturday anyway.

wildehond (a.k.a the dumb one)

August 18, 2004, 07:24 PM
I am wondering if to a jury it would appear more of a justification to the suing relatives of the perp/decedant that "excessive force" was used by the victim if the shooter were to pump a perp with six 9mm rounds vs. a double-tap with a .45?

My first post, and simply another way to look at this thread. Regards.

August 18, 2004, 08:29 PM
We can play games with how a DA and/or jury might spin things to Hell freezes over, for example, "Ladies and gentlemen of jury, the accused purchased and used .45 calibre handgun, a cartridge intended for the military to use in wartime, because his intent was to kill the victim," or "Ladies and gentlement of the jury, the accused sought and out purchased the biggest, deadliest cartridge he could find--a .45 designed for military use!"

Bottom line is with service (full-size) weapon the differences in rate of fire will be minimal (but it will take more training, practice and dedication to maintain proficiency with a .45 ACP), but as the weapons become smaller, the differences in rate of fire will become greater (and the the .45 ACP will require even more training and practice to maintain proficiency).

When we get right down to it, both rounds generally work and work well (for the 9x19, I would add with current generation preimium bullets), and both rounds have failed spectacularly. There's no great likelihood that you would required more than two or three good hits with either.

While some .45 ACP aficianados seem to be concentrating on a scenario involving one target (e. g., "six hits with a 9x19 vs. two hits with a .45 ACP"--and tacityly acknowledging 9x19 has a higher rate of fire), they seem to be ignoring the possiblity of multiple targets--six hits on three targets vs. two hits on one target. ;)

August 19, 2004, 02:02 PM
9mm vs. .45? How about .50BMG at 500 rpm vs. 40mm at 350 rpm. I like that argument better.:) When it comes to my one and only butt I don't care if I have to empty the magazine and reload twice, run out of ammo, and run away, so long as I am around to argue what caliber I should have been carrying after the fact.:)

August 19, 2004, 02:08 PM
If your worried about rate of fire, just get some of those "low recoil" Federal ammo or download the .45. If you need "more ammo", just a full capacity .45.

The basic premis of the question is flawed as are the solutions.

I've never had a problem shooting one faster or slower. As a matter of fact, I can clear a pins faster with a .45 than a .22. And this is swapping topends so I am using the same trigger, frame, grip etc.

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