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9mm better than 45 acp for defense???

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by GCO, Nov 30, 2007.

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  1. GCO

    GCO Member

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    Seems like the majority of people I've encountered think the .45 is a much better defensive caliber than anything smaller. However, about a week ago I encountered a group--a few LEO's, one NRA instructor, a few gun enthusiasts, and a former Marine/current gun shop owner--who said they favored 9mm's because:

    - 9mm has "much" better penetration because of its much higher velocity. One said he'd heard of .45's not being able to penetrate car doors. (theboxotruth.com shows otherwise, but does show .45 going through about half as many phone books as 9mm.)
    - 9mm causes "much" more devastation. Several said they'd shot cinder blocks, etc. and 9mm's would pulverize the blocks whereas .45's usually just took chunks out.
    - 9mm is more accurate.
    - Blackwater personnel prefer 9mm instead of .45.
    - 9mm+P+ is about the same as .357 magnum (thanks to ammo improvements in the last 20 years). I told this to another gun shop guy--he thought it was a joke. 9mm is the same diameter as .357 though...

    Other points they made (less recoil, cheaper ammo) I agree with. Then I've got a lot of anecdotes on the other side of the coin, including:

    - 9mm's overpenetrate
    - 9mm's do minimal damage. One gun shop guy related a story of cops dispatching a bear--one guy unloaded 9mm's causing minimal impact; another pulled out his .45 and put "big holes" in the bear, putting it down. (One of the former group called this BS.)
    - The military hates 9mm and wants to (or is) switch to .45. Of course, they're allowed to only use FMJ.
     
  2. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    This is likely much less to do with stopping power and much more to do with keeping the same ammunition as the military for simplified logistics.
    Some of the soldiers who used the 1911 during WWII hated the thing for various reasons. It is almost a requirement that the soldier hate some element of the gear he is given - and since not many have experience with the 1911 today, there's less complaining about it.

    Overpenetration/hard surface penetration:
    These two may have nothing to do with each other. The 5.56, excellent at armor penetration, has less chance of overpenetration than .45 FMJ. The 9mm is also superior to the .45 in armor penetration, and I have heard that .45 FMJ will go through more ballistic gelatin (simulating human muscle tissue or some such) than 9mm FMJ will, which probably explains the bear story - the 9mm may not've made it to the vitals.
    What's more, the theory now is that you want overpenetration (to a degree). You want an entrance wound and an exit wound.

    The 9mm vs .45 debate has been going on steady for... at least 20 years. No clear answer to it. Professional folks carry 9mm and they carry .45. You'll be pretty well served with either if you do your part.
     
  3. R&J

    R&J Member

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    On Glock Talk, I once saw a photograph of a corpse, a perp, who had taken something like thirty-nine (not sure of that number, but it was up there!) 9 mm rounds before he cooperated and bled to death. True, not one shot hit center mass. Not one shot was a throat or head shot--at least not "clean".

    I've never seen nor heard of a perp that required "thirty-nine" rounds of .45 ACP to incapacitate him.

    It's true, 9 mm is faster (supersonic) and flater flying than the pudgy .45 ACP. But the .45 ACP makes big sloppy holes and shatters bone. It's a proven man stopper, and has probably "stopped" more bad guys than any other caliber to date.

    I've got both a G17 and G21. While I don't feel under gunned with my G17, my G21 is my bedside gun...

    --Ray
     
  4. mikec

    mikec Member

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    9mm is more accurate... Back when the US military went to the M9 there were questions by the bullseye shooters who were wondering how they could get 9's AS accurate as their .45ACPs. I stopped hanging around the bullseye people shortly there after, not sure how many have switched to the 9x19.

    Blackwater has people operating in a war zone and probably getting some supplies from the US military. (I do not know for sure.) Anyway, they are operating in a war zone where 9x19 is common, .45ACP is less common.

    9x19 ball has a less then stellar reputation. Luckily, I can load the 9's I own with JHPs.
     
  5. surjimmy

    surjimmy Member

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    The 45 is a fight stopper end of story... I'm not bad mouthing the 9mm, but where ever u hit a bad guy with a 45 ends the fight.
     
  6. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    Partly because there aren't many high-cap .45s, and because police don't seem to have taken to .45s.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Gusenberg
    Thompsons and a shotgun were used. Shotgun fired twice.
     
  7. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

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    My take is either will be fine if you get good hits.

    Here's the data straight from winchester on what all 4 of their standard pressure service caliber loads do through different barriers, take a look at it, see what you think you might be needing to shoot through and decide if there is difference enough for you to want to switch caliber.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Euclidean

    Euclidean Member

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    Oh God, make it stop! Make it stop!

    :cool:
     
  9. Walter W.

    Walter W. Member

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    I do not want to be shot by either .45 or 9mm! FMJ, JHP, and SWC would all suck.
     
  10. Blarelli

    Blarelli Member

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    I've stopped listening to all the caliber arguments. I think anything 9mm and above is enough. After that, it is about shot placement.
     
  11. Robert Hairless

    Robert Hairless Member

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    Can't take it, huh? If you crumble during the caliber wars how can we trust you to make it through a Carolyn McCarthy speech or the Obama/Clinton campaigns?
     
  12. Euclidean

    Euclidean Member

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    Rebuttal: all three are morons and as such I ignore what they have to say at this point (but not the danger they pose). But you're quite right I can't stand to listen to any of them talk for more than 2 seconds.

    But I'll be serious for a second here.

    ALL HANDGUN CARTRIDGES SUCK. NONE OF THEM HAVE ENOUGH POWER, NO GUN HOLDS ENOUGH ROUNDS, ETC. ETC.

    Pick one you think might suck the least and just run with it.
     
  13. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Member

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    Sounds like a group you'd meet at a gun shop BS'ing and probably have something to sell or trying to impress a newbie....
    Someone needs to be concerned about the "individual" behind the gun in regards to his training/intent and how you will react to the situation rather than the caliber....:)
     
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    .45 ACP is better than 9MM. Period.

    I do not want to get shot with either, and a 9MM through the heart would be really bad, but the .45 is still better. :cool:
     
  15. Jayb

    Jayb Member

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    Unless you can put the shot where you want it, caliber is not relevant. A hit with a .22 LR beats a miss with a .45 every time. These caliber discussions will continue, and continue, and continue........ et al :banghead:
     
  16. Geno
    • Contributing Member

    Geno Member

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    The following videos will help the viewer make an informed decision regarding this thread's very question:

    1) Deadly Weapons: Firearms and Firepower, ANITE Productions.

    2) Deadly Effects: Wound Ballistics, ANITE Productions.

    They are graphic videos, but excellent and professionally created.

    Doc2005
     
  17. Kimber1911_06238

    Kimber1911_06238 Member

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    .45/9mm is better based on your PERSONAL OPINION
     
  18. birdbustr

    birdbustr Member

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    If you are worried about what to carry, 9mm or .45, then go the middle route with a .40cal. It's supposed to be the best of both worlds.

    I don't know about the accuracy thing either. It does seem to be easier to get tighter groups with smaller caliber weapons. I think that is due in large part to recoil and the shooter, but truly one is no accurate than the other.
     
  19. slabuda

    slabuda Member

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    either will work as will any other caliber carried by LE if you hit the right spot--just pick what ever is reliable, fits your hand well and you shoot accurately

    why do I choose .45? I dont know nostalgia may be one reason?

    the main one i think is if a round wont expand for what ever reason (heavy clothing/glass etc.) its a .45 regardless and starts heavy. others only expand to/past .45 after expansion and start at a lower weight. I figure something big and heavy is better than small and light if it may not expand and may possibly loose some mass. Id rather start ahead of the curve


    edited to add id be happy to carry any of the above ie 9mm .357sig .40 .45 in an auto loader pistol
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I don't think my .45 and it's 400 ft lbs (I could get over 500 out of it with +P loads, but don't see the need) is any more effective for self defense than my 9mm pocket sized Kel Tec at 410 ft lbs with a +P load. Both use modern bullets. Thing is, I don't like to carry daily IWB and that KT fits a pocket easily. So, guess which caliber I rely on most. Actually, I'm perfectly happy with a 158+P .38 special. I can shoot all these weapons well and hit what I want to hit even out to 25 yards if necessary. Hell, I plink at a 12" gong at 100 yards with the .38 all the time just for fun. HITTING YOUR TARGET is more important than energy or bullet diameter or momentum or how ever you define "knock down power" as if there was such a thing. Don't rely on the hardware is all I'm saying. Carry something big enough, but that you know you'll carry every day. .380 is getting on the low side, but if a P3AT is as big as your dress allows, carry it and be happy! Just be sure the software is up to the hardware. .357 magnum is a GREAT powerful caliber, but if you flinch, can't handle the flash bang out of your 12 ounce unobtainium revolver, it's pretty worthless unless you just get lucky. I don't like to rely on luck.

    I've yet to find a .45 I can pocket. The P11 is about as big as a pocket gun gets for me. I carry a .38 J frame ultralite a lot. I recently put down 3 hogs in a hog trap with that .38 and the penetration on one of 'em impressed me so much, I'm sorta warm and fuzzy with the old .38 now. :D It's a real easy gun to shoot and hit with (for me, some don't like snubbies, but I shoot it well), is easy to pocket, and is plenty powerful enough if you can place that 158 grain chunk-o-lead.
     
  21. Just Jim

    Just Jim Member

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    :neener: Well I hate to be a stick in the mud but I don't think it is as much about caliber as it is the vehicle that delivers it. 9MM is great if you have a bullet hose to send em at your target. The guy with all the 9mm holes in him found out 9s kill even if it takes a full mag to do so.:banghead::banghead:

    jj
     
  22. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I tell ya what, you willin' to stand there and take ONE +P nine center mass? Not me.
     
  23. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

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    OOoooooo! Real operators. OOoooooo.

    OOooo-key. Whatever.

    What do actual fights stopped & threat neutralized statistics say?

    This is an ancient argument. Seeing as how your post count is currently as of this writing 2, I'm guessing you haven't been around THR long. Use the search -- you'll find endless and fruitless discussion on it. It tends to go something like this:

    "9" "45" "9!" "45!" "penetration!" "great big hole!" "old fart!" "pansy!"

    With sometimes other numbers (like .40 and .357) thrown in.

    You'll notice I haven't said which (if any) I favor.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2007
  24. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

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    Since we have another 9mm vs. 45 thread going, folks wanting to participate are asked to not let this thread degenerate as is so common when any two caliber comparisons seem to come up.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  25. NASCAR_MAN

    NASCAR_MAN member

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    Seems like the 45 vs 9mm vs 10mm crap got started when a few FBI guys in Miami went up against a couple of guys with semi-auto rifles and shotguns. All of a sudden, the FBI figured out that..."Gee, my pistol isn't near as deadly as a semi-auto rifle!" Duh...your pistol ain't a Star Trek Death Ray Capt Kirk!

    Nevertheless, talk about "Penetration" and "Stopping Power" became the norm - and the fact that the agents went up against guys with vastly superior firepower (and accuracy!!!) was still ignored.

    Point is this...get a pistol that you can "Hit" with. Only "Hits" count. And, if you see a guy with a rifle or shotgun - and all you have is a pistol - then RUN unless you are one hell of a shot!

    NASCAR
     
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