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Thread: Buying first gun! .45 vs 9mm

  1. #1
    Regular Member RXEight's Avatar
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    Buying first gun! .45 vs 9mm

    Hi guys! I have been doing a lot of reading here the past few days, and I will be getting my CPL in a few weeks. I just finished my exam for a 5 week course I took, and scored 100%! I'm not going to say I know a TON about guns, but I'm fairly familiar, and have been shooting 9mm, since I was 16. I'm 21 now, and with all this talk of OC, I am VERY excited to be among all of the other OCers.

    I'm very very accurate with a Glock 19, and have rented a Glock 21 a couple of times at a local gun shop/range. I'm not as accurate with the 21, mainly because of the tad longer trigger pull I have experienced, but I am still very accurate. My main concern, is since I will be OCing, size really isn't a huge issue, but magazine count is. Since I'm handy with both, what would you guys recommend, the advantage of the 19, is a larger ammo count then the 21. Which only worries me, because if I do EVER get into a situation where I do need to use it, which I hope I don't, in your opinion, would you rather have stopping power, or the advantage of having more ammunition, in case it is a multiple person attack.

    Thank you! And a bit about me:
    I turned 21 in July, and look forward to having a CPL, and being so young. One concern I have, is being so young, I may be targeted more or less by LEO's. My friend also just got his CPL, and we both plan to OC all the time. We are very into this movement, and really look forward to helping educate the public on OC.
    Thank you for all I have learned already, and all that I plan to learn!

    -Eight

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    Get the 19.. It's cheaper to shoot and you're more accurate with it.

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    Regular Member Nevada carrier's Avatar
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    I subscribe to the belief that you should carry the largest caliber you can comfortable, accurately fire. Capacity is a bonus with full size 9mm pistols and yes, it is better to have it and not need it that to need it and not have it. That being said, statistically, most self defense situations involving firearms are resolved in without many rounds being fired. I think, it was an FBI report that indicated something on the order of 2 shots or less.

    9mm is a fast moving (1200 fps), bu much lighter round. It is loaded with a fast burning powder. a .45 is a large chunk of lead, much heavier than a 9mm and it moves much slower (850-900 fps). consider the physics. and object tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an equal and opposing force. Lets say you had two 9mm rounds one moving at 1200fps and the other moving at 850 fps both of equal mass. Obviously the one moving slower will require less opposing force to stop it's movement. But then when you factor in the larger mass of the slower moving round your heavier round but the same opposing force. Now at this point i have to make it clear, that I'm not a physicist. but my guess is that both a 9mm and .45 will have similar penetration, but the .45 likely inflict more collateral trauma on impact as it comes to a stop. Collateral trauma is the trauma that is caused not to the tissues that were directly contacted by the slug, but the hydrostatic effect to the tissue not impacted directly.

    I like to think of it like getting punched in the jaw. if someone with an empty fist hit you in the jaw, it's gonna hurt, perhaps even knock you to the ground. Now someone with a roll of quarters clenched in their fist on the other hand may be a slower moving punch, but not only will this knock you to the ground, it's likely to break your jaw as well.

  4. #4
    McX
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    so many guns, so little time. buy wide and varied, enjoy each for what they are, have a variety, but ultimately you will get a .45- sooner or later. plan your guns, each one, with a purpose, that way you never sell them, unless trading up. latch onto a gun knowledgeable person, and use their wisdom before you go to the gun store. shop online. cut through the time, and such, and get a .45 right off, pick what you want, full or compact, for the job you are going to give it, holster accordingly. Enjoy!

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard RXEight - all the way from Virginia to wave at you.

    Recommend what Col. Cooper always promoted: the .45 ACP, best in a 1911 platform.

    Spend a little bit more time with various model .45s to become more familiar with the feel.
    BTW - trigger length/pull can be modified.
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    Another 1911 fan

    Welcome aboard.

    My first pistol was a Sig P220 which is a great Open Carry .45 but if you are concealing it is a little difficult sometimes which is the reason I got a Kimber Ultra Carry II (1911 platform).

    Ideally, you would be able to go to a range that allows you to rent the use of different guns to get a feel for it. A lot has to be said about the gun fitting your hand and how the snap of it is.

    My brother has a Sig in 40 S&W, and it has more snap to it than my 45s.

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    If you shoot the 19 better, get it. Carry what you shoot best, because hits with a 9mm are more important than misses with a 45. Plus, of all the things I've read on "stopping power" and 1 shot stops, the 9mm, 40sw and the 45acp are all pretty close in effectiveness with good ammunition. With that logic, I would go with more ammunition capacity.

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    Don't overlook the G20....10 mm
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  9. #9
    McX
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    9's are cute, but you have to pound them down- probably relates to mag capacity. .40's are plum evil, 10MM are absolutely bitchin but hard to find ammo for, i'm not saying anything is better than anything, i am saying sooner or later it's club .45.

  10. #10
    Regular Member RXEight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arnaudville View Post
    Welcome aboard.

    My first pistol was a Sig P220 which is a great Open Carry .45 but if you are concealing it is a little difficult sometimes which is the reason I got a Kimber Ultra Carry II (1911 platform).

    Ideally, you would be able to go to a range that allows you to rent the use of different guns to get a feel for it. A lot has to be said about the gun fitting your hand and how the snap of it is.

    My brother has a Sig in 40 S&W, and it has more snap to it than my 45s.
    Thank you all for the feedback, and welcomes!
    I also tried a Berretta .40, but felt as if there was more recoil, then the .45 Glock.
    My friend (Who just got his CPL) actually got a Sig, in .40, and S&W also! I haven't done much research on them, but one of the reasons I'm most interested in a Glock, is because of the safe action trigger, which means I don't have a safety to fumble with as I un holster my gun.
    Do Sigs have traditional safety?

    Grapeshot- /wave! I will def try out other .45's, and I know trigger pull can be modified!
    Last edited by RXEight; 02-12-2011 at 09:00 PM.

  11. #11
    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Most Sigs are DA/SA and don't have a manual thumb safety. Some models are DAO. You can get some models with a safety but don't know why you would want one unless you got a SA only gun.

    The age old argument of caliber. Since you shoot both well it really doesn't matter much. Just use a self defense round (hollow point) whichever you choose.

    The advantages for 9mm is that it is cheaper, you can shoot more. Higher round count.

    The advantages for 45acp is that a hollowpoint 45 expands more than a hollowpoint in 9mm. 13+1 in a Glock 21 is a pretty good round count for 45acp. I have a FNP-45 that has 15+1. :-)

    Also something to consider is that I have heard of police units that have moved away from 9mm (toward 40s&w) because they got tired of having to hit the bad guy 3-4 times before they showed any sign of slowing down. I agree that 40S&W has a snappy recoil and I prefer 45 partly because of the lesser recoil and I shoot it better. 40S&W is a good compromise between energy and capacity. I figure 45acp has been killing bad guys for a 100 years and my Dad used it in WWII and Korea so it is good enough for me.

    You could always solve your dilemma by buying both. :-)

    Last edited by 45acpForMe; 02-13-2011 at 09:08 PM.

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    Regular Member HvyMtl's Avatar
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    My 2 Cents: Find a gun range that rents firearms. Shoot a 38 special, a 9, a 40, a 45, a 357. Heck toss in as many calibers you want to look at.

    Shoot revolvers, and semi-autos.

    Focus on these things: Recoil. Revolver vs. Semi-Auto (comfort, ease of use, ease of putting on target.)

    Recoil: I too, am a fan of the biggest caliber round that I can shoot and quickly get back on target. With this in mind, what does the recoil feel like. Is it a big push, quick and light snap, a hard snap, a hard big snap, etc. See which recoil you can get the barrel back on target quickest, with the size of bullet. Can you get a follow on shot quick? What recoil type are you most comfortable with? Remember, a hit with a 9 is better than a miss with a 45. (And I carry a 45. With me, a hit with a 45 is better than a miss with a 357 Magnum.) YOU are the one who has to be comfortable with the recoil and the stopping power of the caliber you choose. No one else...

    Revolver vs Semi-Auto. This is a huge issue with many gun forums. Which is better. I am going to say this: The one better for you is the one you are most comfortable with. This way you are going to practice with it more, and, heaven forbid, if the SHTF, the one you will use best. Look at the pluses and minuses of each.

    Trigger Single Action vs Dual Action. Or even a Dual Action that switches to single action after the first round is fired. To over simplify: It is the weight of the trigger (roughly 5 pounds(like nothing) vs 10 or so (do you really want to pull this?) Think of it as a safety using your brain for the last instant before the gun goes bang. Decide what you are comfortable with.

    After you have decided what caliber and what type (revolver or semi) and what type of trigger, THEN look at what is available in your price range. Again, if possible, shoot the guns you are interested in. (Via the rental at range, or thru friends.)

    What to look for in a firearm when purchasing. Pick it up. Does it feel natural in your hand? Can you swiftly and easily (naturally) target it and be accurate? Can you hold it for a long while and not be tired? Does it fit well in the type of holster you want for carry? Does it draw well? Find out (not from the salesman, as they are salesmen, and want you to buy - no offense I have been a salesman) about the reliability, and longevity of the firearm. Does it fit your budget?

    Glocks are pushed a lot (not wrongly) due to the fact they are a lot in use, and are used by many PDs (who get incentives to buy them.) My only concern with most Glocks and some other brand/ models out there (XD?) is the fact you must pull the trigger to break the firearm down for cleaning. IMHO this is a concern, as you must really make absolutely sure the firearm is empty, and pointed at something you dont mind blowing away. As long as you take that precaution and do not slip in your diligence, you will do fine with a Glock.

    So. Caliber. Type (revolver vs semi.) Trigger. Feel. Accuracy. Price. Brand. Model. In that order. (Though you might swap accuracy over feel, again it is a personal preference.)

    Remember, if you do not like the gun, you will not practice with it, and will not be able to protect yourself with it...

    Best of luck. This is a learning (and HELLA fun) experience. Enjoy. Oh, and heads up, it is addictive, and the purchase will not be your last...
    Last edited by HvyMtl; 02-12-2011 at 10:22 PM.
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    Campaign Veteran Cavalryman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RXEight View Post
    I'm not as accurate with the 21,

    -Eight
    To me, that sums it up, especially for a first handgun. The truth about "stopping power" is that accurate shot placement trumps everything else. Nothing that you can carry on your belt will have enough power to stop a bad guy if you don't place the shot somewhere vital.

  14. #14
    Regular Member RXEight's Avatar
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    45acpForMe- Loved your post! Especially about buying both I called my friend last night who has the Sig, and he said the same as you, about the Sigs having no safety, and the long first pull. Like I said before, I would prefer not to have a safety to fumble with, so I will def be looking at a few Sigs!

    HvyMtl- My one concern about revolvers, is the fact that a gun grab may happen, and with a revolver, you most likely have a hammer, so in the unfortunate case a gun grab is attempted, and a hammer is pulled back, I would like to minimize the probability of my gun going off, when I don't want it to. I AK aware that most modern revolvers do have a "safety" as to where it will not fire if dropped, or will not fire unless the trigger is pulled, but I would rather not take my chances ya know? And in my opinion, when a semi fails, its often your fault by not having the gun clean, or limp wristing, or improper technique, but that's just my opinion. Oh, and I know all about it being addictive!!! I love shooting, and can not wait for some of the outdoor ranges around here!

    Cavalryman- I know exactly where you come from. I will be doing a lot of practicing though shortly, so hopefully I can feel more comfortable, and accurate with a .45!

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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RXEight View Post
    45acpForMe- Loved your post! Especially about buying both I called my friend last night who has the Sig, and he said the same as you, about the Sigs having no safety, and the long first pull. Like I said before, I would prefer not to have a safety to fumble with, so I will def be looking at a few Sigs!
    The other advantage of Glocks is that they are dirt cheap. A Sig will usually cost you significantly more than any Glock.

    If you do decide to try some Sig's, the P220 is the 45acp version whereas the P226 is for 9mm,40s&w,357sig. The P220 comes in different sizes and flavors. The P226 doesn't have different sizes. So a Carry version of a P220 is about equivalent of a P229 compared to a P226. Rent one and see if you like it. I have all sizes of P220's (except the 6inch $2800 one) . I also have one P226 in 40s&w just in case 45acp becomes rare again. I prefer the full size since I OC anyway. The Carry version is nice too but since it is only .5 inches shorter not much easier to conceal. (3.9inch barrel vs 4.4inch)

    My favorite P220 is the stainless elite which is heavier but helps with recoil management. The Elite series is worth the money if you can afford it (night sites, short reset trigger, wood grips, beavertail). If you can find a new one for under $1050 you are doing well.

    http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProdu...stainless.aspx

    A standard P220 is much less. http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=249994701

    Both Glock and Sig are workhorses and won't disappoint you as far as reliability. Most people either love or hate Glock (I am neutral). The best way is to try one and see how you like it. The only negative for the Sig P220 is capacity 8+1 vs the Glock at 13+1.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by 45acpForMe; 09-06-2011 at 08:08 AM.

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    As fa as a single stack 45 goes, the sig 220 is about as good as it gets if you don't want a 1911. I like the grip and feel of the 220 and the 226, but for some reason I can't stand the 229. I have a few friends who love them, and I just can't get comfortable with them. The 229 seems to have a strange grip design, to me anyway. Sigs are generally very nice pistols and a used one probably goes for about the price of a new glock.

  17. #17
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Take your time, shop around, get your hands on as many different firearms as you can, and seek opportunities to fire the ones that suite you best.

    And allow yourself to change your mind! I'd window-shopped for a carry firearm for several years, and after handling one at a gun show and firing one belonging to a friend of mine, I'd made up my mind to buy either a Ruger LCR or an SP101. While at my second gun show in town, I stumbled across a CZ 85 B, and was hooked.

    As for 9 mm vs .45 ACP, that argument's been around since the early 1900s. The short and sweet of it is that the .45 packs more punch but has fewer rounds and is a bit more difficult to double-tap accurately.
    Last edited by since9; 02-16-2011 at 05:19 AM.
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    rly? try tell him that :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-rRjb6dC1U

    any pistol can DT just fine if one practices. a lot of us find .45 a lot easier to DT with .45 as it's recoil isnt as snappy.

  19. #19
    Regular Member KansasMustang's Avatar
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    Smile

    All of the recommendations previously given are good. I can't add much, if anything. Carry what you shoot best, for me it's a .45 ACP specifically a Springfield XD45. I like the fact of the knockdown power of a .45 cal as well as the 13+1 capacity. I'm not an agent of Springfield Arms but I play one on TV Haha. I truly enjoy shooting that weapon. But get what you feel is right for you and then go buy a .45 ACP.
    ‘‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’ Thomas Jefferson

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    Regular Member turbodog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HvyMtl View Post
    My only concern with most Glocks and some other brand/ models out there (XD?) is the fact you must pull the trigger to break the firearm down for cleaning. IMHO this is a concern, as you must really make absolutely sure the firearm is empty, and pointed at something you dont mind blowing away. As long as you take that precaution and do not slip in your diligence, you will do fine with a Glock.
    Umm....shouldn't one always make sure ANY firearm is empty before cleaning?.....Just sayin. :-)

    Good points/suggestions in your post there HvyMtl.

    If you get a chance, make it out to a gunshow. You'll get a chance to lay your hands on all kinds of guns to see what fits your hands best. Comparison shopping is always easiest when ya got plenty to compare in one place.

    I'd favor anything in 9mm (especially as a first gun) but next in line would be .45.

  21. #21
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Regarding ballistics - interesting, simple read:

    Ammo by the Numbers: What Do All Those Numbers on My Box of Ammo Mean?
    http://www.guns.com/ammo-by-numbers-...all-those.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by RXEight View Post
    ...one of the reasons I'm most interested in a Glock, is because of the safe action trigger, which means I don't have a safety to fumble with as I un holster my gun.
    Do Sigs have traditional safety?
    I don't carry a Glock, but I have the same type of safety. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. I may get flamed for this, but I carry with the safety off, hammer down so no need to fumble with it as I un-holster.

    Edited to add: I consider hammer down to be the hammer against the firing mechanism. If hammer down relates to gravitational position (meaning cocked) then someone please correct me.
    Last edited by hrdware; 02-16-2011 at 01:58 PM.

  23. #23
    Regular Member sultan62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hrdware View Post
    I don't carry a Glock, but I have the same type of safety. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. I may get flamed for this, but I carry with the safety off, hammer down so no need to fumble with it as I un-holster.

    Edited to add: I consider hammer down to be the hammer against the firing mechanism. If hammer down relates to gravitational position (meaning cocked) then someone please correct me.
    I usually say "hammer back" or "cocked" just to clear up possible confusion.
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  24. #24
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hrdware View Post
    I don't carry a Glock, but I have the same type of safety. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. I may get flamed for this, but I carry with the safety off, hammer down so no need to fumble with it as I un-holster.
    If you also have a round in the chamber, that's Condition Two. You'll get no argument from me, as that's the way I carry all the time.

    I consider hammer down to be the hammer against the firing mechanism. If hammer down relates to gravitational position (meaning cocked) then someone please correct me.
    Your use of the term "hammer down" is the correct terminology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HvyMtl View Post

    Glocks are pushed a lot (not wrongly) due to the fact they are a lot in use, and are used by many PDs (who get incentives to buy them.) My only concern with most Glocks and some other brand/ models out there (XD?) is the fact you must pull the trigger to break the firearm down for cleaning. IMHO this is a concern, as you must really make absolutely sure the firearm is empty, and pointed at something you dont mind blowing away. As long as you take that precaution and do not slip in your diligence, you will do fine with a Glock.
    As a (multiple) Glock owner, I agree. As with all pistols, make certain the gun is unloaded before cleaning/dry firing/etc...

    I don't know if it's kosher for me to list a brand name product here, but www.safedirection.com (I have no affiliation, just a satisfied customer) among others sell ballistic pads that you can utilize in the process of unloading your firearm just to make sure. Before I purchased a ballistic pad, I used a couple bags of powdered cement in my basement (doubled up on each other) for dry firing. These were much cheaper that bullet resistant fabric and are probably just about as effective (they don't look as nice, however).
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