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Thread: .45 vs 9mm

  1. #1
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    Welp I plan on getting a Springfield XD as my first handgun and having not shot any other handgun save for a .22 revolver, i dont know much bout any other pistol calibers. I Know the .45 is a heavier slower round that has more kick and leaves a bigger hole, while the 9mm is a smaller fast round that leaves a smaller hole but i believe does additional damage from the speed? not sure if thats true or not but..anywho.

    What are yalls thoughts? Ima big fellow so im pretty sure i can manage the recoil and with the capacity of the XD id only be losing 2 rounds in the .45 vs the 9mm. (I think) But i unno which i want...

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    Regular Member PDinDetroit's Avatar
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    MontgomeryXIII wrote:
    Welp I plan on getting a Springfield XD as my first handgun and having not shot any other handgun save for a .22 revolver, i dont know much bout any other pistol calibers. I Know the .45 is a heavier slower round that has more kick and leaves a bigger hole, while the 9mm is a smaller fast round that leaves a smaller hole but i believe does additional damage from the speed? not sure if thats true or not but..anywho.

    What are yalls thoughts? Ima big fellow so im pretty sure i can manage the recoil and with the capacity of the XD id only be losing 2 rounds in the .45 vs the 9mm. (I think) But i unno which i want...
    Go to a local range and rent both to shoot. The .45 will be more of a push. Either will be a good PP Round, although 9mm is one of the current US Military Issued chambering (good to have if SHTF).

    I went with S&W M&P 9mm and .45 ACP (got both) since I liked how they shot and could have holsters that basically worked for both. The M&P have interchangeable back-straps which allowed me to configure them properly for my hands.
    Rights are like muscles. You must EXERCISE THEM to keep them from becoming atrophied.

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    Aye i was planing on doing that as soon as money permited. Thanks

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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    .45acp (Accept no substitutes.)

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    hmm that there is a purdy gun.

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    Get yourself a forty-five. You'll never look back. I all but promise you that if you go with a 9mm, you'll wish you had gotten the .45.



    -Gruu

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    MontgomeryXIII wrote:
    hmm that there is a purdy gun.
    Of course it is, it's a 1911.



    -Gruu

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    to be quite honest.........you will hear the "stopping power" argument alot between 9mm and .45.................heres the truth.........anything less than a .357 or .454 casull........and there is NO such thing as stopping power.

    You can peg someone centermass 4 times with a 9mm or with a .45 their not gonna be dead unless you hit the heart or spine or brain.........simple as that.


    Here are some facts about both rounds.


    .45 is heavy and DOES leave a bigger hole.
    9mm HPJ expands to the size or LARGER than .45 and leaves the same sized hole.

    .45 ammo is expensive
    .9mm is not

    .45 recoil can be hard to handle in compact to sub compact frames
    .9mm is not

    .45 is an amazing round
    .9mm is an amazing round as well

    .45 you can usualy only carry 8 rounds per mag.
    .9mm is readily available in 17rnd mags

    .45 has a slower velocity meaning it usualy will not over-penitrate
    .9mm has a very high velocity and can over penitrate if HPJ ammo is not used.



    so it boils down to this.

    generally the same stopping power if you use HPJ ammuniton
    generally the same accuracy.
    generally the same reliablity.
    only differences

    ammo cost
    avaliablility of magazine capacity.


    i use a 9mm because i would rather have 2 17rnd mags equaling 34 rounds, than 2 8 round mags equaling 14 rounds. and i would rather pay $22 for 100 rounds of target ammo than pay $36 for 100 rounds of target ammo

    i have shot both calibers and own both calibers. i have shot both into balistics gel.........same results on both.........just depends on what YOU feel most compfortable shooting. :-)

  9. #9
    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Well here we go with this argument again.

    Most of the post just above is not quite accurate.

    Given a 9mm (.355") and a .45 bullet at the beginning of the exercise, and assuming that both bullets are designed to expand (hollow points) if they both perform as designed, then the .45 will make a bigger hole every trip of the train. But more important, if NEITHER of them perform properly the .45 will STILL make the bigger hole. But that is only part of the equation. They both carry about the same energy when launched with a slight edge going to the 9mm.

    The recoil of the .45 is a push and the 9mm is more of a sharp quick snap. Neither of these produces a significant body jarring impact to the shooter. Either type of felt recoil is easily controlled by any competent shooter.

    Personally I carry both but prefer the .45. This argument will never end so just pick one and learn to put the bullet where it will do the most good.

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    You need to shoot both calibers before you make your purchase because you have to be comfortable with what you're shooting and know that you can handle it well.

    Here's how I made the same decision except with a Kahr instead of an XD:

    1. Comfort: The recoil of the .45doesn't bother me one bit so it didn't really come into play. The difference in ergonomics in the two guns I was looking at was so minimal as to also not come into play.

    2. Capacity: The difference in my case was 1 or 2 rounds. I just wouldn't have cared unless the difference was 4 or more rounds.

    3. Price and Availability: .45 costs twice as much or more and is not quite as easy to find in the current ammo situation. The more I can afford to shoot, the more proficient and confident I will be. That is important to me.

    4. "Stopping Power:" I'm not gonna lie to myself, I'd prefer a .45 in a self defense situation. However the chances I'll need to use my weapon are very, very low. After all, I do everything in my power to avoid a bad situation in the first place. If I do need to use it I'm going to make my shots count and not lean on the caliber of my weapon. I have no doubt that 9mm will get the job done when I do my part.

    The bottom line is that you have to do what is right for you. If money is not an option and the recoil isn't a big deal then why not choose .45? If 9mm will allow you to shoot more oftenor you're concerned about capacity then I doubt you'll regret going that route.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Let's get recoil out of the way first thing. Recoil could be said to fall under three categories: perceived, felt, and actual.

    Perceived recoil is the shooter's perception of recoil; his sensitivity to this, which can be a factor of anticipation and perhaps a little anxiety. Training and practice can go a long way to assuage this effect.

    Felt recoil is real and primarily involves the shooter/firearm relationship; how the gun sits and feels in the hand. Let's face it, some guns just do not feel good to some people and that is likely to increase the felt recoil. Grips, grip frame shape and angle, bore axis-to-hand relationship, the shooter's hand size vs the size of the gun, etc. All are factors with felt recoil.

    Actual recoil. You have little control over this. It is the amount of recoil energy generated by the gun/cartridge combination.

    I have never been recoil sensitive, though I certainly have owned and fired guns which were just not comfortable to me at all (a 9mm and a 1911 .45 I once owned come to mind).


    Ahh, the battle between the 9mm and the .45ACP. You left one out; the .40S&W. If you learn nothing else from this thread, know this. There is more BS floating around when it comes to guns and caliber arguments than you can imagine. Learn to separate the BS from the truth and you will be past the first phase.

    Ignore statements such as, "a .45 will knock a man clear off his feet", or "a 9mm will blow his head off", or "dum-dum bullets (yes, you still occasionally here this) are illegal in most states but use them anyway". Be leery when people talk about "knock down power". And be very suspect of those who make wild assertions and try to appear as though they know all there is to know about guns and ammuntion. Even people who work in gun shops. They can be among the worse ones. In the end, it's mostly just garbage, all garbage.

    There have been tremendous advances in defensive handgun ammunition over the last ten years. Superb factory loadings are available in all of the popular calibers. But it still boils down to this. Shot placement. Hitting your assailant in places where the bullet will do the most good - for you. This means penetration and effectiveness, and your ability to deliver rounds to target.

    The 9mm, .40S&W, and the .45ACP are all excellent choices in their best loadings so do your homework and learn as much as you can. As several have mentioned, do yourself a big favor and fire all three. Also spend a little time evaluating guns to find the one that best suits your wants and needs. If you like the XD, consider the M&P Smith and Wesson and the Glock, too. All of these are fine pistols but what is most important, besides quality, is what feels and works best for you.


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Is this going to be your everyday carry defensive gun?
    Defenitly go to a range that rents pistols, and see how they feel. Or you could compromise between the different calibers you mentioned and go with a .40 S&W.
    You are also going to want a gun that feels right on you in a holster, not something that is too large for you to carry comfortably, or too small it gets lost in a pocket full of crap.

    AndI wouldtake round capacity into consideration higher up on the "needs" category over theprojectile size & wieght.

    Using a pistol in a defensive situation is not going to be the same as shooting at the range, shots may be missed, an empty gun is nothing but a small club!

    I have shot everything from little .25 caliber POS's (I got it for $30.00 from a pawn shop) to .50AE desert Eagles (mine was a .41Mag) I settled in on a .40 XDm with 17+1 capacity, and got the GF a 9mm. (the .40 was a little too "flippy" for her) but my alltime favorite carry gun is a .357 revolver. but maybe it is becuase I have had it for over 20 years?

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    John James Mullery, a man with a lengthy criminal history, had broken into his ex-girlfriend's apartment with the intent of killing her. He prepared himself by ingesting copious amounts of PCP and cocaine. Reponding to the break-in was career officer Steve Chaney and his novice partner Linda Alsobrook Lawrence. During the ensuing struggle Mullery absorbed 10 rounds of 125 gr. .38 Special JHP +P ammo and didn't go down until Chaney shot him in the pelvis. At one previous point when Chaney had the advantage he grabbed Mullery by the hair and fired one round at near muzzle-contact distance into his head. Chaney later recalled that he could see the tunnel-like wound the shot had created. Chaney retreated to gather his wits only to look up and see Mullery rising to his feet with six previous shots already in him, including the head shot. Chaney delivered four more shots, the last being the pelvic shot. And then even as Chaney struggled to pick up his deceased partner's body and carry her out of the room, Mullery still had enough strength left to crawl halfway through the doorway where he finally expired.

    Lesson: Regardless what you're using do not underestimate the will of your opponent.

    Well I have always advised people to find a caliber that is easily controllable and accurate for them. No matter the round if you can't hit the target in a firefight you might was well be throwing rocks. Find a caliber that is easy to control and allows you to get shots center mass as many times as possible. It does you no good to have a caliber that you can't control and in turn you take a huge risk of hitting a bystander then your intended target.

    Some guys can handle a .45 ACP like it was a .22. Others do more harm then good trying to control a large caliber like the 45 ACP and they end up killing an innocent person. When a round leaves that gun, your responsible for every round and what it hits. People just need to get the Hollywood nonsense out of their head and find a caliber that works best for THEM not dirty harry.
    -I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you screw with me, I'll kill you all.
    -Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    Marine General James Mattis,

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    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    Here's the answer to all of your caliber questions: Find the pistol of the largest caliber that you can most comfortably carry and handle and learn to use it.
    Bitka Sve Rešava!
    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

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    ODA 226 wrote:
    Here's the answer to all of your caliber questions: Find the pistol of the largest caliber that you can most comfortably carry andhandle and learn to use it.
    Agreed, but there are people on both sides who put their opine of the best caliber above commonsense.
    -I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you screw with me, I'll kill you all.
    -Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    Marine General James Mattis,

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    well with the advancements in self defense ammo. either caliber will do the job, im not pushing 9mm over .45 in any way, i love both calibers. i guess it really boils down to what is compfortbale for the shooter. a .45 to the face will make someone just as dead as a 9mm. and vice versa. really depends on what you like more.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    ODA 226 wrote:
    Here's the answer to all of your caliber questions: Find the pistol of the largest caliber that you can most comfortably carry and handle and learn to use it.
    Years ago I took the full blown two day NRA firearms safety course. Day two consisted of two lectures; the first from a lawyer and the second from a captain in the Fairfax County Sheriff's department (this was at the Arlington-Fairfax chapter of the Izaac Walton League).

    Both of the lecturers were members of the league and the police captain was on the range nearly every Saturday morning. This LEO said nearly the exact thing which you have underlined here.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

  18. #18
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    While my name 45acpForMe shows my decision, yours is personal based on some of the good advice above about trying different calibers and guns.

    Now I get pissed that in these threads there is always someone comparing a JHP 9mm to a ball 45. For self defense you will not be carrying ball ammo unless you haven't found any yet. Like another post above JHP don't always expand so a 9mm JHP that does expand is at best like a 45 that doesn't! A 45 that does expand is much larger than a 9mm that does or doesn't expand. Get the picture?

    Another area that grinds me is cost. If this is a primary pistol for self defense cost should be a minor issue. How much is your life worth? Yes 45acp rounds cost more. Before the ammo shortage I could get a box of 9mm for $12 and 45acp for $15. Big whooping deal. I agree that what ever you choose you should practice and that cost will be a little more for the 45.

    My ONLY issue with 45 is the capacity of the gun. Most of my guns are 8+1 and 10+1. If you went with Glock or Springfield you can get 13+1 and H&K 12+1. If capacity is a really big issue with you look at 40sw which the XDM can hold 17+1. The 40 is a good compromise between 9 and 45. I just figured that if 45 and 1911's were good enough for my Dad and the army for 75 years or so, I couldn't disagree.

    Capacity comes into play also when you consider adrenaline and accuracy during a self defense encounter. My concealed-carry instructor told us that a trained police officer misses 50-80% of the time. 50% with a revolver, 80% with a semi. His reasoning was with fewer bullets you are more careful in aiming. With a hi capacity mag you can spray and pray (in semi-auto mode of course). So all those bullets you spray have to go somewhere. With 50-80% (or more since you don't seem to be a trained police officer) missing the mark you are responsible for them legally. Just something to keep in mind when deciding.

    Another consideration is you can own more than one gun. I would suggest considering having a 45 as your primary gun on your hip and a 9mm in your pocket as a BUG. (You can also find 45's that fit in your pocket too if you want to reverse that) I carry 45 both as primary and BUG. It is simpler shopping for ammo.

    While considering the ammo shortage, everyone said that 9mm was the best to have and would be easier to find. I saw the exact opposite. I was buying 45 when all the 9mm was out. It seems to me that 40 is available more than either 9 or 45 but that just may be my area.

    Whatever YOU decide is correct. All the calibers 9,40,45 will work. Part of the fun of shopping for a gun is finding one that meets all YOUR criteria. :-) Happy Hunting!

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    very well said. i just personally choose the 9mm. i have .38's .380's, 9mm's , .40's, .45's. .357 and a .44 mag plus a .500 S&W.........i have become proficient with all of them. i love my .45's i carry a small frame warthog .45 tactical as my backup piece along with a S&W ultralight in my boot. but my primary is a large 5" beretta 92fs. it fits my hand the best *other than my glock* and i LOVE the long trigger pull on the 1st round. keeps me from having "oh $hit shoot" in a tense situation.

    Plus the very high ammo capacity re-assures me that if im facing multiple attackers i will not run out of ammunition. usually in traning i force myself with every draw to only fire 4 rounds at max that way i dont confirm to the whole "spray and pray" stereotype. but at the same time i know that i have over 30 rounds to work with. last thing i want is to have my first 7 shots miss due to shock and have 1 left then have to change mags while being fired on before i can get to covor.

    but yet again its just a personal preference. in all reality my 9mm will make someone just as dead and gone as my .45 will any day of the week. its not really about power its about shot placement, a .25 to the face works as well as a .308 rifle round to the face as long as you place your rounds where they need to go.

    and luckily for me here in Maine 90 of the people that buy 9mm are thug wannabe's and all they buy up is the FMJ ammo, so HPJ is readily available and cheap, i pay $22 for 50 rounds of finocchi 124g HPJ with horiniday tap lead in it.


    base fact.......either one kills. its not a question of better or worse really. just more of what tickles your fancy. almost like the glock vs sig argument.........both are reliable , both are tanks, both do the job. just personal pref.

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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    jay75009 wrote:
    ......almost like the glock vs sig argument.........both are reliable , both are tanks, both do the job. just personal pref.
    Don't get me started... :-)

    Sig == AR15

    Glock == AK47

    If I was fighting in the mud or desert I may go for the AK47 or Glock. Otherwise the Sig and AR15 are as good or better. (Although I would prefer the 7.69x39 bullet over the .223, except when carrying spare ammo)

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    45acpForMe wrote:
    Now I get pissed that in these threads there is always someone comparing a JHP 9mm to a ball 45. For self defense you will not be carrying ball ammo unless you haven't found any yet.
    Along the same lines (and for the same reason) I'd be a happy camper if people would stopusing the performanceof 9mm FMJ to condemn the caliber as a poor choice for self defense.

  22. #22
    Regular Member dukenukum's Avatar
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    the big reason I choose the .45 over 9mm for a defensive round was my Dad had the reloading dies and the bullet molds for .45 yep no big .45 is better than 9mm stuff.

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    I started off with wanting ONE gun to fill both of my needs - hunting and PP.

    I considered everything and ended up with a 10mm. Has 9mm-like capacity and more power than a .45acp.

    15 + 1 of .357-like power.

    Shot placement is paramount but penetration istoo when it comes to hogs, so I pick my ammo accordingly.

    Versatility - I also get to swap out the barrell for 40sw or 357sig. Don't care about the 9x25 option but it's there too if I wanted. So I havethree guns in one. If shtf I should be able to find ammo if I run out of reload material.

    Nosingle gun is perfectfor everyone - just the one that suits you best.

    Love my Glock but would love many others too, if I had the money.

    Fusions have my interest at the moment for the next purchase.



    Good luck and happy hunting for that gun.


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    i've been thinking about getting a 10mm........best of both worlds, does anyone know if glock makes one?

  25. #25
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    jay75009 wrote:
    i've been thinking about getting a 10mm........best of both worlds, does anyone know if glock makes one?
    GLOCK makes two 10mm pistols.

    A full size model 20 and a "subcompact"model 29.

    Recently they introduced these two models in the SF (slim frame) size, so I guess it's really 4 pistols now.

    I just picked up a 20SF this week. The grip feels better to me than the 20 did. I plan to get a 29SF soon.



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