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40-180gr HST vs. 45-230gr HST

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by PghJim, May 22, 2011.

  1. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    HST's have changed the game a lot with their ability to expand. Considering the 40 S&W 180gr and the 45 ACP 230gr have about the same sectional density, and they both penetrate and expand almost exactly the same, is there any advantage with the 45 ACP. I am taking my pentration and expansion numbers from the ATK HST poster.

    I have both rounds and the 45 has significantly more recoil, requires a larger shooting platform and may hold less rounds. These are both low energy rounds, so that is not a factor. I am coming to the conclusion that the 40 180gr HST may be the better round.
  2. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    45 will still expand more so if expansion is that high on your importance list I don't think you can rule out 45. I'm looking at the HST data sheet and while the 40 and 45 do expand similarly for some tests, for others the difference is as much as .1"

    I still prefer the felt recoil of my M&P 45c over every 40 I've ever shot except for the HK P2000SK. Regarding platform size, my M&P 45c is virtually identical in size to my G19 so that argument has been invalid for a long time. Just because Glock can't make a 45 ACP that isn't wide as a brick doesn't mean no one else can. The trigger reach is actually a mm or 2 shorter on the M&P.

    I don't like the reduced capacity of 45 but frankly that's way down the list of critical factors, especially for civilians. Look at it this way: in my observations over the years, most pros that can choose to carry whatever they want seem to choose 45.

    In reality they are so close that whichever you shoot better and are more confident with should be the deciding factor.

    Last edited: May 22, 2011

  3. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    I am not doubting you, but I am surprised that the M&P 45ACP would have less recoil than the 40 M&P with a 180gr. load. I generally carried a 45 over a 40, but looking at the numbers I am just wondering if others would think of the 180 40 as being as effective. I have owned G36's and G30's and they were harder to shoot fast and accurate than a G23 with a HST 180gr 40 load. Recoil is a subjective thing.

    There is alway the advise "whichever you shoot better and are more confident with should be the deciding factor". However, there are aways trade offs. I may go with a little slower splits if I thought the round would better serve me.
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  4. DRT


    May 6, 2001
    In my opinion, the .40 is a better round when looking for a CCW-friendly weapon with barrel lengths of <= 4".

    By the way, that's an expanded 180gr HST laying on top of a quarter in my avatar.
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  5. deeHKman

    deeHKman "It Is Written"

    Aug 13, 2010
    I carry a HK USPc and carry 180gr HST's. But i also have a HKc for carry its a .45. The HK in .40 180gr feels very similar to a .45. The .40 in a HK the recoil is a non-issue for me. I've shot other all steel .40's that made me not buy a .40 for many years. The 180's in a .40 most say have the least recoil. Sorry no help on the M&P never had or even held one.

    This part confuses me most say the .45 has low recoil. Its a low pressure round especially compared to the .40 caliber. I trust my carry 180gr HST's for carry as much as i do in my .45 but 8 rds vs 12 rds not a deal breaker for me but it is what it is...
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  6. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Glockoholic

    The 180gr HST is awesome. I like both, they both have the same sectional density, but the .40 usually offers more capacity so I give the .40 the nod.
  7. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    Hard question to answer for someone else.

    Personally, I find the longer dwell time of the .45's recoil cycle to offer a different level of felt recoil than the .40's of similar make. Heavy, with some torque effect, but lacking the muzzle whip of the .40's.

    Which is "better"? Pick whatever you like, for whatever reasons you think matter to you.

    Most .45 ACP platforms are larger in grip girth than the .40's. Having a bit more grip surface in contact with the palm of the hand may make felt recoil seem reduced to one shooter, but increased to another shooter. That's why it's often referred to as perceived, or felt, recoil.

    I found it interesting in one of my armorer classes that the instructor, who works for a Northeastern agency, said they had discovered over time that the .40 S&W offers a better balance of penetration combined with expansion than the .45 loads they had tried. This was apparently based on actual shooting results for them. They use what seems to suit them "best" in their view. Who can gainsay them?

    I have a fair number of .40's & .45's, myself (5/.40's & 8/.45's). I've carried a couple more (each) .40's & .45's as issued weapons, too. I tend to find the .45's easier to shoot rapidly, controllably and accurately compared to the .40's ... although ... doing a lot of shooting with my various .40's seems to make shooting my 9's & .45's seem an even easier task. I still train & practice all of my 9's, .40's & .45's as often as possible when working ranges.

    Do whatever works best for you, or makes you feel good. Practice well and frequently with whatever you choose.

    I generally don't make my weapon/caliber choices based upon the vagaries of a single ammunition choice, though. I've used any number of brands, calibers & bullet weights/styles over the years. I don't rely on being able to have continual access to any particular brand of ammunition all the time, year in & year out.

    Then again, as I've spent more time as a firearms instructor & armorer over the years, I've moved "caliber" and "ammunition choice" increasingly farther down on my own list of preferences and important criteria when it comes to defensive handguns.

    Suit yourself.

    If I were required to carry HST ammunition I'd pick whichever caliber was chambered by the pistol I felt like carrying, or was issued, at the moment. No big deal.
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  8. Jayock


    Dec 8, 2004
    Boulder, Colorado
    Both very adequate rounds, for sure!

    As others have pointed, I describe the recoil between the two as 'different' rather than 'more or less'. The 45 kicks harder, but th 40 has more muzzle climb. The 45 kicks longer, while the 40 has a crisp sharp recoil. This difference makes it more personal than other comparo's in regards to felt recoil.

    I like both calibers and rounds. The one argument that I'll throw out, purely for consideration, is plugged HP situation. While rare, an HP may not expand, for reasons including a plugged cone. In this situation the .45 has an advantage.
  9. cole

    cole Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    If that were the case: .45acp because I don't like the snappy .40sw recoil. Since it's not the case: .45acp because it aggregately penetrates more and expands more overall than .40sw. IMO, read or reread all THIS for the acedemics of it. The 180gr was my choice in .40sw, but it's not a 230gr .45acp. And, as I always say, compare the percentages and think in terms of surface area:
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  10. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    Cole - we are talking about specific rounds not general caliber and according to their poster they a penetrate and expand the same.
  11. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    May 31, 2007
    Old Colorado City
  12. cole

    cole Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Roger that. But, I'm, confused. THIS poster?

    How is a bigger number "the same" as a smaller number or visa versa? I interpret "same" to mean equal. Meaning, the numbers will be, well, the same (i.e. not different).

    The 180gr is a GREAT load. But, they are not "the same", and the aggregate numbers favor the 230gr .45acp, even on this poster, when you look at the overall picture (opposed to just cherry-picking certain columns), especially when you think in terms of surface area and percentages.

    The 180gr .40sw may be a better choice for some, but not because it's "the same" as a 230gr .45acp. And, this data/chart just compares the non-bonded HST. I prefer bonded bullets that expand a bit less to favor a bit more overall penetration.

    I guess I'm missing something important here. :dunno:

    Attached Files:

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    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  13. For concealed carry when you really don't want anyone to spot or suspect a gun on me, I go with a 40 in my G27.

    For uniform or what I did, plain clothes, where it did not matter much if someone suspected or occasionally spotted your gun, I go with a 45 in my 4506. Regardless of what the numbers, say I firmly believe that the 45 has more stoppig power, and I like punching bigger holes!! :supergrin:
  14. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    In sim size guns, some would say the 40 offers slightly more recoil/torque. As to terminal performance, pretty darn close. So I would let platform decide.:dunno:
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  15. lucky-gunner


    Oct 5, 2009
    I tend to lean towards the 40 S&W as my preferred SD/HD round. I don't notice much difference in recoil. I started shooting on 2-4" 357 mag revolvers. Not that much fun as a kid but recoil has never been an issue now.

    I expect that I wouldn't shoot as accurately as I would like. Due to that I prefer a platform that offers the largest amount of chances for me to get rounds on target.
  16. Eagle22


    Feb 6, 2009
    Raleigh NC

    I shoot both frequently. The .45 is more of a push then the .40 Recoil is about the same, at least to me.

    I am more accurate and quicker with double and triple taps with the .45 (R1A-1911) vs the .40 ( Glock 22) Under 10 yards.

    10+ yards for single shots I am better with the Glock 22 and the .40 vs the .45

    Both using Federal Ammo: .40 with HST 180g & FMJ 180g and .45 with HST 230G and FMJ 230g

    have also use Federal 165g HST and FMJs which I like better then the 180g, WWB 165 gn FMJs in .40

    and Federal High Shok JHP 185gn very accurate with this round and very accurate with the Speer Gold Dot 230gn ( best of the ammo that I have used, costs a bit more) in .45

    For the Cost and accuracy I like the Federal High Shok JHP 185g

    For Accuracy and Expansion, Speer Gold Dot 230gn

    Dont get hung up on charts and pictures. Pick ONE and practice, Practice and Practice more.

    In a Self Defense situation, hopefully you will never get into, pick the platform and caliber you are most accurate with. The capacity does not matter. Most likely you wont use more then 2 or 3 rounds. ( from FBI data on self defense shootings )

    True Combat, yes 15 rounds

    Good Luck

    Edit: I use Gold Dot 230g for my carry load in the 1911
    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  17. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    If you do not think that energy matters at all, and it is only the permanent crush cavity and the things the bullet breaks along the way, then the 40 cal. 180gr HST is the bullet for you. Testing today against gallon water jugs, I found it expanded to 0.92" on bare jugs and penetrated through all three jugs. Through 4 layers of denim, it expanded to 0.84" and penetrated all three jugs. It recoils like a 9mm +p. It did not explode any jugs, but if you think that energy does not matter, I cannot see why anyone would not carry it.
  18. cole

    cole Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Got it. So, genuinely curious question: How do you see them as "the same" when the poster numbers differ?

    Also, one thing I notice on 9mm and .40sw data is that it tends to be better-best case. Whereas, 230gr .45acp tends to be average/typical case. If you take the time to read through the TESTS and compare the outcomes, you'll find different numbers for .40sw than THAT POSTER and that the poster, as a marketing tool (particularly to LE), is pretty much better-best case for 180gr .40sw (and 9mm). Some time back, I was likewise curious, so I ran a spreadsheet on the data from those tests:
    Red = >12"
    Green = >13"
    Blue = >14"
    Black <14"

    ATK-FC FED HST .40sw 180 8.00 (penetration) 0.45 (expansion)
    ATK-SC Federal HST .40sw 180 9.25 0.51
    ATK-SD Federal HST .40sw 180 9.83 0.55
    ATK-Sac Federal HST .40sw 180 10.00 0.53
    Butte Federal HST .40sw 180 10.50 0.92
    ATK-Aurora Federal HST .40sw 180 10.75 0.98
    ATK-SD Federal HST .40sw 180 11.17 0.92
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .40sw 180 11.25 0.50
    ATK-FC FED HST .40sw 180 11.38 0.65
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .40sw 180 11.50 0.94
    ATK-Sac Federal HST .40sw 180 11.75 0.94
    Butte Federal HST .40sw 180 11.75 0.77
    ATK-SC Federal HST .40sw 180 12.00 0.95
    ATK-SD Federal HST .40sw 180 12.08 0.75
    ATK-Collins Federal HST .40sw 180 12.25 0.91
    ATK-SD Federal HST .40sw 180 12.25 0.78
    ATK-Kern Federal HST .40sw 180 12.50 0.52
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .40sw 180 12.50 0.77
    ATK-SD Federal HST .40sw 180 12.67 0.80
    ATK-FC FED HST .40sw 180 12.75 0.79
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .40sw 180 13.00 0.79
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .40sw 180 13.00 0.79
    ATK-Sac Federal HST .40sw 180 13.00 0.77
    Butte Federal HST .40sw 180 13.00 0.77
    ATK-FC FED HST .40sw 180 13.25 0.70
    ATK-Kern Federal HST .40sw 180 13.50 0.73
    ATK-SD Federal HST .40sw 180 13.50 0.69
    ATK-Aurora Federal HST .40sw 180 14.00 0.75
    ATK-Sac Federal HST .40sw 180 14.00 0.74
    ATK-SC Federal HST .40sw 180 14.00 0.75
    ATK-SD Federal HST .40sw 180 14.17 0.73
    Butte Federal HST .40sw 180 14.25 0.62
    ATK-Kern Federal HST .40sw 180 14.50 1.01
    ATK-Sac Federal HST .40sw 180 16.00 0.66
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .40sw 180 17.00 0.52
    ATK-SD Federal HST .40sw 180 18.25 0.52
    ATK-Sac Federal HST .40sw 180 20.00 0.53

    ATK-FC FED HST .45acp 230 7.88 0.60
    ATK-FC FED HST .45acp 230 9.00 0.57
    ATK-Kern Federal HST .45acp 230 10.75 1.04
    ATK-SC Federal HST .45acp 230 10.75 0.67
    ATK-LA Federal HST .45acp 230 11.00 0.74
    ATK-Sac Federal HST .45acp 230 11.25 0.69
    ATK-FC FED HST .45acp 230 11.50 0.96
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .45acp 230 11.75 0.84
    ATK-FC Fed HST .45acp 230 11.88 1.11
    ATK-Aurora Federal HST .45acp 230 12.00 1.00
    ATK-Collins Federal HST .45acp 230 12.25 1.00
    Butte Federal HST .45acp 230 12.25 0.90
    ATK-LA Federal HST .45acp 230 12.50 1.19
    Sig Federal HST .45acp 230 12.50 1.19
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .45acp 230 12.75 1.04
    ATK-SA Federal HST .45acp 230 13.00 0.96
    Butte Federal HST .45acp 230 13.00 0.82
    ATK-Kern Federal HST .45acp 230 13.25 0.64
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .45acp 230 13.25 0.86
    ATK-SA Federal HST .45acp 230 13.25 0.97
    ATK-Portland Federal HST .45acp 230 13.50 0.82
    ATK-Sac Federal HST .45acp 230 13.50 0.97
    ATK-SC Federal HST .45acp 230 13.50 0.99
    ATK-FC FED HST .45acp 230 13.88 0.86
    ATK-FC FED HST .45acp 230 14.00 0.82
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .45acp 230 14.00 0.85
    ATK-Portland Federal HST .45acp 230 14.00 0.90
    ATK-SC Federal HST .45acp 230 14.00 0.87
    Butte Federal HST .45acp 230 14.00 0.61
    ATK-Aurora Federal HST .45acp 230 14.25 0.97
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .45acp 230 14.25 0.65
    ATK-Portland Federal HST .45acp 230 14.25 0.58
    ATK-Kern Federal HST .45acp 230 14.50 0.85
    ATK-Portland Federal HST .45acp 230 14.50 0.83
    ATK-SA Federal HST .45acp 230 14.50 0.86
    ATK-SA Federal HST .45acp 230 14.50 0.86
    ATK-Portland Federal HST .45acp 230 15.00 0.89
    ATK-Sac Federal HST .45acp 230 15.00 0.86
    ATK-Portland Federal HST .45acp 230 15.25 0.85
    ATK-SA Federal HST .45acp 230 15.50 0.64
    ATK-FC FED HST .45acp 230 16.00 0.86
    ATK-LA Federal HST .45acp 230 16.00 0.88
    ATK-Portland Federal HST .45acp 230 16.00 0.48
    Sig Federal HST .45acp 230 16.00 0.88
    ATK-Pierce Federal HST .45acp 230 19.00 0.51
    Last edited: May 27, 2011
  19. cole

    cole Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Water jug tests aside, the 180gr HST is a GREAT choice for a .40sw. :thumbsup: