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Old question, I know. 9mm or 45ACP

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by scidx, Nov 26, 2008.

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  1. scidx

    scidx Member

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    I'm looking at a S&W M&P for a CCW role. This will be my only (as of now) compact, easily concealable auto. I am torn as to which caliber. I prefer 9mm or 45ACP in an auto. I have a few 9s and 45s and ammo consolidation is a factor with my budget. I know 9mm is cheaper but, as a great man once said, "If you have to fight with a pistol, bigger is better." I want controllability of a compact 9mm, but I want the stopping power of a 45. Advice, please!:banghead: I know I can't have it all; what is an easier sacrifice? Thanks.
     
  2. MSC

    MSC Member

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    I'm no ballistics expert (and I'm sure one will correct me if I'm way off :D), but... I think a hot 9mm is pretty near the performance of a .45 (energy-wise, at least). No, you'll never get the same bullet size/weight, but I think 9mm is a very formidable defense round. I think a same-size pistol will be much more controlable for followup shots, too.
    And if you intend to practice regularly, price is a big consideration, too. You can get Remington UMC 9mm for $7.95/box on sale at Dick's, versus $14.95 for .45ACP. Seven bucks more for each 50rd practice session is notable, if not, I'll PM you my bank account info where you can deposit your "extra money"! The top-shelf defense ammo is likely a good bit closer in price.
    To counter anticipated replies - yes, bottom line, the 45 is a more powerful "stopper". I just think the margin doesn't justify the controllability/price. Your opinion may differ :neener:
     
  3. Scratchy

    Scratchy Member

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    4 cylinder or V-8?
     
  4. FoMoGo

    FoMoGo Member

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    If you have issues controlling a .45... maybe you should look into a weight set.
    My wife can unload a 1911 on target in about 2 seconds.
    Carry what feels good, you can hit with, and you trust.


    Jim
     
  5. Marcus L.

    Marcus L. Member

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    9mm: Easier to control, cheaper practice ammo, greater magazine capacity, smaller/lighter pistol.

    .45acp: Bigger bullet, more damage to people(soft targets).


    .40S&W: Better magazine capacity than .45acp, smaller/lighter than .45acp, cheaper practice ammo than .45acp, better penetration against hard targets than .45acp, better damage to people than 9mm.

    When torn between two extremes, taking the middle ground usually gives you the best peace of mind. I say think about a .40S&W M&P.
     
  6. J. Jay

    J. Jay Member

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    Many consider the 9mm with good HP ammo to be the absolute MINNIMUM caliber for a combat round. But, the .45acp is a one-shot-stop caliber. If you can handle the .45acp without difficulties, then please dont under-gun yourself. In my opinion, the colt lightweight commander is the best combat sidearm made.
     
  7. gglass

    gglass Member

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    Split the difference

    Split the difference and go with a .40 S&W

    Hits with the same or more energy than the .45 cal and has the trajectory of the 9mm. What a deal!
     
  8. Ken Rainey

    Ken Rainey Member

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    scidx, "stopping power" with a handgun is the "great myth"...anyway, for use in a compact pistol for concealed carry, I recommend (and mostly use) a 9mm (Glock 26). I use 147 grain ammo for the heavy bullet, standard pressure and ease of shooting...it'll do the job if I will. I also have a 3 inch "short stroker" in .45 ACP that gets carried some....each pistol has it's attributes...do I feel any better able to defend myself with the .45...nope...I like it for it's nice trigger, even though it does have a stiffer recoil...but as far as having a practical advantage over the baby Glock, it doesn't for me...:uhoh:

    Now in full size pistols, my .45 is my most accurate and has even help me win me some trophies - I have confidence in it...but, I'm also confident in my BHP and Glock 17 as well...they aren't as bullseye accurate, but I don't feel any less able to defend myself with them either....or even one of my good 'ol .38s ! :neener:
     
  9. Z71

    Z71 Member

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    Get both, plus a .40, and a .32auto.

    I've been collecting milsurp and police trade ins for some years. I own all sorts of pistols and revolvers. All the calibers are good, except it's hard to find French 8mm revolver ammo!
     
  10. Prepster

    Prepster Member

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    .45 acp isn't that bad. You can always just pick a lower velocity jhp, and many cheap fmj practice rounds are featherweights too. There's no need to compromise, and then you can work your way up to the hot stuff.

    However, a 9mm is nothing to laugh at either.
     
  11. shamus

    shamus Member

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    they both make tiny holes.

    It's where you put that tiny hole that matters.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2008
  12. Treo

    Treo member

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    .

    Or would be if such a thing actually existed
     
  13. bakert

    bakert Member

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    Although I carry a .45 most days now, at times I do carry a 9MM. With today's ammunition the 9MM aint the same animal that people like Jeff Cooper and Chuck Taylor lamented so much about not being a good man stopper. With today's better hollow point ammo the 9MM is a little cat with some big claws. AND, even plain old full metal jacketed rds are still killing people every day all over the world:p
     
  14. jackslayer

    jackslayer Member

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    I would give the .357 sig a nod if you reload. 10+1 capacity in compact, tons of power, a simple barrel switch and you've got .40 cal. Plus the bottleneck gives an already extreemly reliable weapon even easier feeding. Will be getting one myself as soon as i'm no longer broke
     
  15. pogo2

    pogo2 Member

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    9mm is pretty good

    I don't think the caliber makes as much difference as the bullet design and the skill of the shooter with his gun. Whatever you use, you should practice enough to become very familiar with your gun and able to shoot it with speed and accuracy.

    If you study the ballistic gelatin test data for the best modern 9mm ammunition, you will see that it penetrates 13 to 14 inches in bare gelatin and expands to 0.65 to 0.80 inches in diameter. The same tests on .40 and .45 ammunition give results that aren't that different. Here are a couple of links for Winchester Ranger and Federal HST ammo tests:

    Winchester Ranger test data

    Federal HST test data

    After looking at this data, I tend to favor the 147 grain standard velocity products in 9mm for these two brands of ammo.

    The 9mm has the advantage of cheaper practice ammo and generally lower recoil, allowing you to put more shots on target in a given time. So you can make a good argument that 9mm may be just as good as .45 for defensive use. I have plenty of .45s but I am using a 9mm gun for carry more and more.
     
  16. maxxwilde

    maxxwilde Member

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    SCIDX said:
    Controllability can be had thru practice, even with a .45. As a previous poster mentioned his wife can empty a clip in 2 seconds onto the target. I'm nowhere that good, but decent enough to get the job done and getting better everyday.
    Keep in mind ammo price, for me, isnt that important. I'm not rich, but have few bills, few expensive hobbies and just LIKE practicingLOL So, it's whatever works for you...


    M
     
  17. Drail

    Drail Member

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    If you can not control a .45 ACP you most likely won't be able to control a 9mm either.
     
  18. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

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    Well, almost... more like 4 cyl or 6 cyl

    If you want 8 cyl look at 10mm Auto.

    Honestly, the 9mm will be enough for 99.999% of self defense scenarios. With modern, expanding ammo it will do the job just fine. The only reason I would use a .45 is if I was restricted to FMJ ammo like the military.
     
  19. R12GS

    R12GS Member

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    9mm or .45acp will both serve your purpose just fine. Shoot one of each and make your decision from there. As for .40S&W, if you enjoy muzzle flip, try one of those as well. I own several firearms in all three. Out of the three I enjoy .45acp most, followed by 9mm, my .40S&Ws do not get shot very often. For my own personal opinion of the matter, I see nothing of added value the .40S&W does that can not be done in better shooting 9mm or .45acps.
     
  20. elktrout

    elktrout Member

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    .45 ACP in an H&K USP Compact is a great choice, if you can afford to spend the extra money.

    Why did the Navy Seals drop the 9mm and go back to .45s? Food for thought.
     
  21. burningsquirrels

    burningsquirrels Member

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    oh boy. here we go again. :D
     
  22. gazpacho

    gazpacho Member

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    Forget the caliber. Shoot them both. Which ever you can shoot better and faster, is the one you choose.
     
  23. benderx4

    benderx4 Member

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    Rent, rent, rent ........ and then rent some more. Finally, buy the gun that felt the most comfortable and that hit the target the most consistently. Both rounds will more than take care of a BG if, and it's a big IF, you can hit him!
     
  24. Ben86

    Ben86 Member

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    First off don't let us make the decision for you. We are only good for giving you advice and ideas. You need to shoot both and decide.

    I personally think the 9mm is better suited for short barreled pistols for obvious reasons: less recoil, more capacity, and more reliable jhp expansion in short barrels. Also I am not entirely convinced that the .45 is such a greater manstopper that in warrants those disadvantages. But to each his own.
     
  25. mauiglide

    mauiglide Member

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    9mm and .45 ACP is my first choice in HD. Next is my .357 magnum/.38 spl. revolver as my BUG.

    Train with what you want and stick with it. It won't make any difference in what caliber you use if you can't shoot accurately.
     
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