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9 mm vs .40 S&W vs .45 acp

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by iluv2viddyfilms, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. Aceman


    Nov 30, 2008
    There is the physics, and then there is effect on a nervous system. I'll say bigger is generally better...generally.

    And so is faster. Generally.

    But big and fast is definitely best.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  2. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009

    Everything you need to know, in order of importance:

    1) Shot placement & penetration

    2) Permanent cavity

    3) Temporary cavity

    4) Fragmentation (not applicable to these handgun calibers)

    #1 is 99% of what's important. The rest is gravy.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012

  3. Gregg702

    Gregg702 Gold Member

    May 1, 2010
    Las Vegas
    Yup, but bigger means fewer rounds.
  4. High Altitude

    High Altitude

    Nov 19, 2005
    All you have to do is look at why someone was stopped with a 22lr. Usually it is because the bullet destroyed something very vital, like the heart or aorta etc.....

    Now use a round that consistently penetrates enough to reach that vital even if it has to go throw an arm or some other soft barrier.

    Then you have to actually shoot that bullet so it hits the vital part.

    Look at hard barrier performance if you are LE.

    In the end 9/.40/.357sig/.45 all have what it takes to reach that vital through a soft barrier if you place your shot.

    If you shoot someones heart with a 9mm or a .45 it isn't going to make any difference so I will take an added advantage and have more capacity.

    Hard barrier performance is a different story.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  5. arclight610


    Dec 2, 2009
    First, I'd like to point out that the numbers you are using are very skewed. The 9mm loading you list is 115 gr @ 1300. That is a VERY atypical 9mm loading. That's +P+ verging and close to .357 sig performance. If you want to go that route, there are +P+ versions of the .45 ACP called the .45 Super and .460 Rowland that get close to 44 Magnum energy.

    Also, Wikipedia lists other 45 ACP loads that you didn't include such as the 185@1225 for 616 ft/lbs.

    You were trying to match high-end 9mm performance with low-end .45 performance.

    Anyways, real-world shootings say that there is not much difference between the major service calibers. I've always been a 9mm guy my entire life, and part of me still is. However, when I bought my first .45 about 6 months back the difference was apparent. The .45 slug did more damage to my target holders, hit steel targets with more authority, knocked bowling pins down easier, and cut larger holes in stuff.
  6. glock2740

    glock2740 Gun lover.

    Jun 19, 2008
    NW Ark.
    Great post. :thumbsup:
  7. homersapien


    Jan 5, 2004
    Ahhhh...the never ending "which caliber is best" argument, where the 9, 40, and 45 crowd argue back and forth while the 357 and 10 guys - truly the best combat rounds - sit back and smile.
  8. Caver 60

    Caver 60

    Jun 12, 2007
    IMO, any centerfire non-magnum handgun caliber is a marginal one shot fight stopper at best.

    Bill Jordan used to say something like, if you know you're headed into trouble, make your war weapon a rifle or shotgun and quit arguing about unimportant details like which handgun caliber is best. And he was a master 357 magnum shooter.
  9. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank Who?

    May 15, 2010
    NW Florida
    Nothing handheld is a reliable manstopper.
  10. mcflyfyter


    Sep 10, 2011
    This is my opinion, and usage:

    .45 For Offense
    9mm For Defense
    .40 General use/truck gun
  11. Gunhaver

    Gunhaver the wrong hands

    Jan 24, 2012
    Barrel length is rarely brought up in these discussions. Usually rounds are tested from full sized handguns but when they're fired from short barrel carry guns things change. .40 is generally said to be too "snappy" because it gets up and out of bed faster than the lower pressure 9mm and .45ACP. The downside to this is having the gun recoil further off target than a 9 or .45 would and slowing follow up shots. I tend to think that the first shot is the most important so I count on making that first shot count with the round that's going to hit the hardest from a 3.5" barrel.

    Then there's the fact that .40 is a whole lot louder than the other two. I'm not sure how much the "OH $*!*" factor is worth if you miss but I like to think it's good for something.

    We all rationalize why our carry round (and gun and holster location and grip and countless other factors) is best. This is my process. I have a 9mm and .45 as well and I'm a logical fellow so if anyone can provide evidence why I should be carrying another round I'll make the switch.
  12. Jack19


    Jul 16, 2001
    Southeastern USA
    Pick the one you shoot well and can reliably use to accurately put rounds on target.

    Everything else is meaningless; if you can't stop the threat it doesn't matter what you carry.