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very unscientific .45 vs. 9mm observations

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Jaegermeister, Jul 24, 2004.

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  1. Jaegermeister

    Jaegermeister Member

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    I was off yesterday and went out to our public county shooting range. I had the whole thing to myself!!!!!!!! I decided to do a little side-by-side comparison testing between the .45 and 9mm. Ammo was Blazer Brass in 230 grain and 115 grain respectively. It seemed like very nice stuff and a little hotter than Winchester USA white box from Wal-Mart.

    I set my steel swinging disk at about 15 yards and went to work with the Ruger KP95DC. The 9mm bullets would hit the 6-inch disk with a "plink" and swing it back just less than 90 degrees.

    Next came out the HK USP.45f. The first hit on the same steel disk sent it spinning around at least four times!!!!!!!! The "Plink" was more of a "whack" and I could actualy see the flattened bullets land about three yards behind the target. I picked one up -- HOT -- and it was just under an inch in diameter and very flat. The .45 really seemed to do a lot more in terms of impact.

    I don't want to start a caliber war here, and I'm sure shooting metal plates is a lot different than flesh, but the .45 was very impressive.

    I had no problems making a half-gallon milk jug dance at 50 yards with the USP. the Ruger didn't seem as accurate in my hands.

    The rest of the afternoon was spend shooting weak-hand and rapid fire with a Ruger .22/45 with a heavy stainless barrel. I even had time to get the Yugo Mauser M48A really hot shooting standing at a target 100 yards away.
     
  2. krusty311

    krusty311 Member

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    Sound's like a great day to me:D
    krusty
     
  3. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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  4. Watchman

    Watchman Member

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    Ive noticed the same "unscientific" results when shooting bowling pins.

    The 9MM will knock them over, but it wont knock them off of the table. Unfortunatley, they have to be off of the table or they dont count.

    When hit with the .45 the pins will clear the table.

    There is no comparison. I guess thats why there is no such thing as a 9mm "Pin Gun".:scrutiny:
     
  5. gbran

    gbran Member

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    Mail Call

    The gunny on mail call had two heavy swinging targets hung from a tree. I don't know what the targets were made of, but were about the size of a 2 1/2 gallon jug...... maybe 12-15 inch diameter logs? Anyway, he shot a 9mm Luger and a milspec 1911....... There was a big difference, very impressive. But, this too, does not relate to shooting flesh.
     
  6. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    Once again demonstrating the unquestioned superiority of the .45 ACP over the 9 minimeter, which is really a "training" round. :p
     
  7. faustulus

    faustulus Member

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    The next time I go to the area of town where all the bad steel plates hang out I will get a .45. Until then I think I will stick with my nine-millio :p
     
  8. Felonious Monk

    Felonious Monk Member

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    Whew...I'm SO glad we finally settled THAT argument.

    The results:
    .45ACP = The Sword of Damacles
    9mm = training round.

    Give me lots of potent rounds in a compact package.
    Placement placement placement.

    edited to add:
    ...I remember a poll about what people would LEAST want to be shot with, and it was by far a .357 over all other rounds. 9mm +P gets pretty close to that. Good enough for me.
     
  9. GunnySkox

    GunnySkox Member

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    What's a sword hanging on a string got to do with the deadliness of a round?

    Damocles wasn't a great warrior, he was just a guy who didn't understand the precarious position of those in political power.

    Damocles, IIRC, was a messenger. At a banquet with the king of somewhereorother, he challenged the king, claiming that the monarch had the easy life, that all he did was sit around talking to people and having banquets and feasts and such. Rather than being infuriated, the king invited Damocles to spend a day with him in his Court. Damocles accepted, and they spent the day essentially as the indignant messenger had claimed, they talked to people, and ate, and were generally sort of meaningless. At the end of the day, the king instructed Damocles to look up, and there hung a sword, suspended by a single thread, directly over Damocles' head (IE: the Sword of Damocles), representing (IIRC) the potential dangers of being in power.

    Relating to the "Nuh-uh, my favorite is better!" Argument, in my limited experience, my brother's .45 was more fun to shoot than his friend's 9mm, and more comfortable. *shrug*

    ~Slam_Fire
    "Three things: Shut up. Shut up! SHUT UP!" ~Myself
     
  10. Boats

    Boats member

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    I am a .45ACP fan first and foremost, but I won't disparage the 9mm because it can get the job done on everyone who isn't the Man of Steel.

    Of course if I want some plates, poppers, or pins down right freakin' now I reach for my .357 Magnum. It reaches out and puts the hurt on a lot faster and further than my 1911s can.:D
     
  11. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    I have done basically the same unscientific testing between my full-size (5" barrel) 1911 in .45 acp and my Beretta Storm in 9 mm with a 16" barrel. The targets were 1/2 size steel silhouettes set up to wobble when hit. As with the spinners noted above, but not mentioned, shot placement is critical. On a spinner, if you hit high, close to the pivot point, it takes a lot more energy to make it spin than hitting it lower, away from the pivot point. My aim point was the little bitty heads on the silhouttes. They measure 2x2". The impacts from the .45 acp were much greater than those from the 9 mm rounds. The wobble produced was much greater and it took longer for the target to stop wobbling than when shot with the 9mm rounds. So it looks like the .45 acp would be the way to go, right?

    I noticed in Jaegermeister's post that he was able to collect flattened .45 acp rounds but made no mention of the flattened 9mm rounds. There may be a good reason for this. The .45 rounds, being heavier and traveling slower are not as prone to disintegration on impact as the 9 mm rounds were. As the rounds disintegrate on steel, they carry away energy. So the .45 rounds are able to actually dump more energy into the steel than the 9 mm as more of the .45 remains intact.

    FYI, I did the same test shooting .50 gr. frangible 5.56 out of my AR15 and compared it against 5.56 XM193 55 gr. Both rounds disintegrated on impact with the steel, but the frangible produced less target wobble. It could have been due to the lighter weight, but the frangibles also travel faster and so I sort of thought the difference would offset. Anyway, the solid rounds moved the target more than the frangible rounds. I sort of figured it was because the frangibles were able to bleed of energy more easily than the solid rounds, but I have no way to verify that.
     
  12. Rival

    Rival Member

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    Momentum VS. Kinetic Energy

    From scientific point of view what you observe by shooting metal swingers is the momentum of the projectile. Momentum is the mass times the velocity of the projectile. .45 bullets have greater momentum than 9mm, but comparable kinetic energy (mass times its velocity squared).

    Now I know that when you shoot solid object and there's energy transfer between them with little loss of energy (energy that goes to destroy tissues for example is just not there when you shoot metal swinger), then momentum is more important - that's why solid objects react stronger to being hit with heavy .45 bullet.

    Now I have no idea how kinetic energy and/or momentum translate into damaging live tissue. Some folks say momentum is more important, some folks say if two projectiles have the same kinetic energy AND all of it is "spend" in the body - that means they will cause identical damage. I just don't know. I do know that when FBI was testing 9mm and .45ACP ammunition in ballistic gelatine, .45ACP was proven to be marginally better. Marginally means that there was no HUGE difference found in wound volume between top .45ACP and top 9mm ammo.

    If somebody here knows more about momentum/kinetic energy debate, please enlighten me. Thank you.
     
  13. gbran

    gbran Member

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    600 Nitro vs .22 Short

    Ah yes, the ole caliber wars. Somewhere between the 600 Nitro and the 22 Short you'll find a sweet spot of calibers that are sufficient for self defense. The real question is what is the smallest caliber you'd trust your life with. Shot placement is very important, but it doesn't always trump caliber. I say shootability and carryability with a reasonable caliber is the most important criteria. My minimum is the 9mm.
     
  14. stans

    stans Member

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    Experience in IPSC shooting, steel plates and poppers.

    9mm hits dead center, a "ting" is heard and the steel slowly falls. A peripheral hit with a 9mm usually only yeilds the "ting" and a little wobble.

    45 ACP hits dead center, a "thwang" is heard and steel drops with authority. A peripheral hit with a 45 ACP frequently resulted in the steel slowly falling.

    Now there was the time when I was a 9mm fanatic and I had a friend who was a 45 nut. So we set up a real scientific test to prove once and for all which was the superior caliber. My gun, a S&W model 39-2, stoked with Winchester 115 grain Silvertip hollowpoints (proved 100% reliable in this 9mm). His gun, a Colt Series 70 model 1911-A1 stoked with 230 grain FMJ (it would not feed hollowpoints reliably). The target was a big, ripe watermellon.

    He went first and was sure that the 45 ACP would cause the mellon to explode. BLAM! Nice, round entrance hole about 1/2"diameter, exit wound was slightly larger. Next up was me and my awsome 9mm. POW! Nice, round entrance hole about 3/8" diameter, exit wound was...where did the back of the mellon go? It blew the back out of the mellon.

    So there you have it. When shooting at steel plated bad guys, hit 'em with a 45. If they have watermellons for bodies, shoot 'em with a nine!

    ::neener: :scrutiny: :D
     
  15. Bill B.

    Bill B. Member

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    My father told me about the 45 vs. the 9mm they did in World War II. They took a German helmet; no German in it by the way, and shot it with three handguns.

    1. German Luger 9mm .......... went through both sides and the helmet never moved.
    2. German P38 9mm ........ went through one side of the helmet and sent it rolling with a dent on the other side.
    3. 1911 45 ACP ........ did not go through the helmet but knocked it over 20 ft.


    Their conclusion was to shoot the Germans below the helmet! :D ;)


    The GI's actually did this "test" by the way. I didn't make this story up but did find it amusing.
     
  16. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with the thread title! :)

    Rival is right. What you're observing is momentum transfer. You can verify that .45ACP has higher momentum than the 9mm in a couple of seconds using a calculator.

    It's kind of hard to relate momentum to the effectiveness of a projectile. For example, a baseball thrown at 60 mph has about equal momentum to a .45ACP 230 grain bullet. Still, you won't find many people who would suggest that a baseball is as effective as a .45.
     
  17. guns'ahoy

    guns'ahoy Member

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    i bet i could make the target swing around 5 times by throwing a baseball at it or pusing it with my hand.. both of which are obviously far deadlier than a 9mm round OR a .45acp

    :p
     
  18. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    Once again demonstrating the unquestioned superiority of the awesome yet sometimes underrated mighty 9MM, while the .45 acp remains a mere slow moving punkin' ball :p
     
  19. Richochet

    Richochet Member

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    Ask the FBI why they no longer carry 9MMs. ;)

    No doubt 9MMs will kill. But so will a .22 LR. Frankly, I had just as soon carry a good .22. No, it's not as powerful but easier to place bullets where they need to be.

    I used to go to an old gravel pit where people dumped all sorts of things from kitchen appliances on down and I LOVED to take along several different guns for comparison tests.

    Bottom line there is NO comparison between the .45 & 9MM.

    Finally, years ago as a police officer and manager of security company I got to see real people shot with different handguns. Trust me, you don't want to catch a .45 bullet anywhere with your body.

    I respect guys who love their 9's but there really is no comparison with the dumpy, slow moving, old .45.
     
  20. pauli

    pauli Member

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    guns'ahoy nailed it.

    this is simply a measure of transfer of energy between two rather inelastic bodies. shooting steel plates is a useful research tool for finding out what a round might do against an armored target, but entirely useless for figuring out what it will do against a soft one.

    (of course, when dealing with armored targets, you've STILL got options - light, small, fast, penetrating round, or a heavy 12ga slug to try and make the front of the vest touch the back :cool: )

    actually, i must make a caveat - such tests ARE a good research tool for determining how to deal with a target who has a steel plate in his head. as this is the internet, one can presume that a significant fraction of participants in any discussion have, at some point, suffered severe head trauma, so this may apply to some of you. ;)
     
  21. sm

    sm member

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    From the mouth of babes...

    Private range , a mom and daughter.

    I was working with them, mom has just rec'd her CCW in the mail and I'm also teaching the daughter to shoot a .22. We are finished and just policing our brass. Two fella's show up and begin talking "caliber this and caliber that" waiting for us to make range clear. The mom and I are gathering the tarp where the brass fell, and the daughter is holding the bucket for us to dump the brass into it. It ain't cheating if it works - its ingenuity :p

    The daughter has been policing brass from elsewhere on the range , when clear and safe and tossed this brass into bucket as well. Good kid, cute as a button.

    She hears the "caliber wars"...
    Daughter is blowing tufts of hair from her face...If you miss - don't make much difference whatcha shoot... :D

    Back inside...
    The mom puts the BHP and 1911 away,I took to shoot... checks her CCW, A Glock 26. I dump the bucket of brass on the carpet remnant to sort brass, the daughter is helping me...again she has that look of concentration, blows the tufts of hair....oh I hate .40, I hate it , I hate it , I hate it...the nine gets in the .40, the .40 gets in the .45...oh I hate .40.... :p

    Kids say the darndest things...
     
  22. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    Then ask them why they dont carry .45s either. Then why dont you ask them whatever happend to 10mm. The FBI does NOT represent the pinnacle of firearms knowledge by even the greatest stretch of the imagination.

    i've seen dead people killed with .22s and ive seen dead people killed with .45s. They were all just as dead. And ive also seen people walking around and chatting after being shot.
     
  23. faustulus

    faustulus Member

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    Back away from the horse, he's had enough. :)
     
  24. Gabe

    Gabe Member

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    You know if that FBI shootout happened today, we would be asking where were their M4s instead of if they needed a more powerful pistol.
     
  25. Tacblack

    Tacblack Member

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    Ask the FBI why they no longer carry 9MMs

    OMG please don't tell me you place much faith in the FBI when it comes to weapons, calibers or tactics. These are the people everyone else uses to point out what went wrong and why. They are good investigaters, as for the rest they carry whatever is trendy and new.

    You have to hit the target first, so carry whatever you do that best with.
     
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