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9MM vs 45 ACP in a single stack carry pistol

12150 Views 71 Replies 37 Participants Last post by  SCmasterblaster
I have read many pieces about which is a better defense round a 9mm or 45ACP. In almost every case they point out the a 9mm is a better choice due to the number of round which most 9mm have. My question is in a single stack carry pistol (Glock 43 9mm or Glock 36 45 ACP) with the same number of rounds, which one would you guys consider be better.
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I think people are fooling themselves if they think a 9mm hit will do as much damage as a good 45 given the same hit (getting the same hit is another matter). But I don't like the way a G36 fits in my hand or down the front of my pants so I carry a G43.
 

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Given I already have a G41 and tons of 45ACP, the choice is already sort of slanted for me!

I think the question is more what fits your hand better, though. The G42/G43 are way smaller than the G36 or G30S, for example. Too small for my taste in fact. I'd have to get an extension for the mag if I was going to go with a G42/G43, it feels weird having my pinky floating with no support.

I just actually held a G36, G42 (in lieu of a G43, which they had just sold), and a G30S today at the gun store, and I think I'm actually going to go for the G30S in the end, I didn't think the G36 was that much smaller in my hand than the G30S, not enough to sacrifice the double stack anyway. I also pretty much wouldn't want one without the pinky-extension on the mag (the 10 round mag in the case of the G30S, was perfect for me).

I'd really say hold them all if you can, before deciding. It was a clear decision for me after holding them all.
 

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I'm sold on the new technology going into 9mm defense rounds. From everything I been reading they are as effective as the larger rounds. And have a higher velocity. And the timing for second shot re-siting is better on a 9mm
 

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It'd be which gun I'd shoot better with.

I'm all over the place with a .45 ACP Glock, that includes the .45 GAP. When I shoot my 1911s, they're tack drivers. Now with 9 mm Glocks, I can shoot those all day, all night no problems.
 

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I'm also a huge fan of the 9mm. I began buying.40 S&W guns time and again because I never liked the recoil from a .45 and felt tougher with a .40 but now I'm realizing that I can shoot more accurately with a 9mm and also due to cost of ammunition I find that i practice more often than I did when I was buying $20 a box .40 S&W
 

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If all you've read convinces you that 9mm is better than .45 simply because of the capacity, you need to work on your marksmanship. And to the posts that say 9mm ammo has improved, I agree. But along with that so has .45 made mostly by the same manufacturers. It is silly to compare the incapacitating and knockdown power between the two. There simply is no comparison. The big hole, larger expansion, and shock power gives all to the .45. So you lose two or three in capacity, depending on the gun. Even a 1911 provides you with nine shots. With a single combatant you'd better already have him down in the first several rounds or you are the fatality.
 

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I'm certainly not an expert by any means, but my understanding (putting aside the caliber war - which does more damage, etc.) is the question is which caliber/pistol do YOU shoot better and more accurately. Which round can YOU accurately fire and get back on target for follow up shots quickly. Most say 9mm for obvious reasons due to the soft recoil, but I'm sure many experienced shooters close that gap (compared to an average shooter) and can fire multiple rounds accurately in a short period of time. Like they say, a perfectly placed shot of any caliber will stop an attacker, but how many can actually make that one perfect shot under stress on a moving target possibly coming at you?

Long story short, for me, it would be a 9mm since I'm a relative noob and have only recently started shooting 45 ACP. All my formal training (just defensive pistol classes) to date have been with my 9mm's... I am very comfortable at this time with that round. Also, I would image the G43 is slimmer and more comfortable to carry for most than any 45 ACP pistol (eg. G36, G30s).
 

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I find the push of a .45 to be quicker to get back on target than the snap of the 9mm. Totally different feelings. The 9mm raises up, the .45 goes back into my hand, thus easier to bring back on target. Neither are hard kicking, just different. Now when you get into subcompacts there is a whole new ballgame. They are all worse than mid or full sized guns.
 

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I've seen many people wounded or killed with both caliber weapons and believe me I wouldn't want to choose which I'd rather be hit with, they both do the job. As some said, it's all about placement, all bullets can kill. I carry a Glock 21SF with 14 rounds at the ready and knowing what I know about the nutcases we have living in this country now I wonder if 14 rounds is enough once any battle starts. Single stack anything would be out of the question these days. Smaller guns for concealed carry may be a bit more comfy to carry but peace of mind tells me differently. I remember transporting a bad guy from the hospital to lockup some years back. He was shot 8 times with a 9mm, treated at the hospital for a few weeks and ready to go through the booking process for his crimes. When we got to lockup he asked me if I'd taken all the bumpy roads there on purpose and I told him no, I didn't. I lied! :)
 

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I have read many pieces about which is a better defense round a 9mm or 45ACP. In almost every case they point out the a 9mm is a better choice due to the number of round which most 9mm have. My question is in a single stack carry pistol (Glock 43 9mm or Glock 36 45 ACP) with the same number of rounds, which one would you guys consider be better.
Buy the G43 - and don't look back.
 

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If all you've read convinces you that 9mm is better than .45 simply because of the capacity, you need

work on your marksmanship.
I will agree, all day long, that shot placement is key - true for hunting and true for self-defense.

However, there are more factors at play in a desire for higher capacity than someone's lack of shooting ability and relying on a "spray and pray" mentality. To simply state that if you can't shoot a gun with bigger bullets and lower capacity well (i.e. .45 ACP) you better practice more is a tired argument and somewhat condescending.

There are many factors that contribute to one's ability to accurately shoot and control a pistol: handgun size, hand size/strength, muzzle flip and recoil (exacerbated by smaller guns, "pocket pistols" if you will) for example. Some people simply can't shoot a .45 as well as a 9mm, given any amount of practice.

The marksmanship argument aside, sometimes it is simply nicer to have more shots because maybe there are more targets to shoot at. If I have to take on more than one adversary, you bet I want more than 6-9 shots, preferably without having to reload. And that's not because I'm a poor shot, rather it is because of the following:

the posts that say 9mm ammo has improved, I agree. But along with that so has .45 made mostly by the same manufacturers. It is silly to compare the incapacitating and knockdown power between the two.
The concept of "stopping power" and "one-shot stops" when discussing typical handgun service cablers (9mm, .357 Sig, .40 S&W, .45 ACP) is a myth. "Incapacitating" ability and "knockdown power" are also myths. The following article is one of many that you can easily find to refute the idea of the "magic bullet/caliber" idea when it comes to handguns:

http://www.policemag.com/channel/we...opping-power-myths-legends-and-realities.aspx

Notable quotes from the article:

"...no single ammunition that is typically used by law enforcement officers today can reliably claim to have superior stopping power..."

"...look for ammunition that reliably lives up to its claims of penetration and expansion but don't believe that these two factors alone are related to stopping power..."

"...shot placement with any commercially available ammunition will offer you the best chance of maximizing your duty ammunition's stopping power..."

"...The ultimate stopping power rests with your training with your weapon system..."

Given this - yes absolutely train and hone your ability to put rounds accurately on target. But, also don't expect that one good hit by a magic bullet is going to solve all your problems because you have a super-duper .45 ACP with all this "knock-down" power.

That said, if I were only facing one threat adversary then I would generally be ok with 6-9 available rounds of .45 with the premise that it's going to take me at LEAST one but more likely 2-4 well-placed hits to stop that adversary. Bump up the number of assailants to two or more and I quickly want a LOT more shots available to me, preferably without reloading. Being attacked by two or more bad guys is certainly not hyperbole or paranoia - it happens.

There is simply is no comparison.
Actually, you can compare them - let's look at the Federal HST in 9mm and .45 ACP standard pressure loads:



You can see that both the 9mm and .45 ACP give fairly consistently similar results in regard to expansion and penetration.

Basically, the only difference is a slightly larger expansion potential of the .45 over that 9mm. From the comparison chart above, the average size difference between expanded 9mm and .45 bullets shot through different media is .12" in favor of the .45. This is slightly less than 1/8" and this average considers the seven examples, but discarding the high and low figures.

So, yes, the .45 starts off bigger and consequently expands to a net larger size than the 9mm - this is logical given the relative sizes of the two bullets. You have to decided for yourself if the .12" greater expansion is worth the tradeoffs, which I'll discuss shortly. In terms of penetration, which is the more critical factor, there is no appreciable difference between the 9mm and .45 ACP.

The big hole, larger expansion, and shock power gives all to the .45. So you lose two or three in capacity, depending on the gun. 1911 provides you with nine shots. With a single combatant you'd better already have him down in the first several rounds or you are the fatality.
In practical terms, you lose more than "two to three in capacity" when you considered capacity relative to gun size. You mention the 1911 with nine shots. That is a full-sized government or commander sized 1911 typically, or an officer sized w/ extended magazines. That is a lot of gun for a lot of people, with a fairly limited capacity, and can be difficult to conceal.

My 15+ year EDC CCW gun has been a Kimber Elite Carry officer's sized 1911. I typically carry eight rounds in it - 7+1. My newly acquired Glock 43 also holds 7+1 with a TTI +1 baseplate. The G43 is significantly smaller - in all ways (yes to include caliber ;) ): length, height, weight, thinness. This translates into much easier concealabilty, (I think I made that word up) more comfortable carry, and some people will find it much easier to shoot well (I've been shooting long enough that I can shoot both equally well).

Now, exchange that Glock 43 with a Glock 26 and the capacity advantage leaps to the 9mm's favor (10+1 with a flush mag, and 12+1 with a +2, which I don't feel significantly degrades concealability) while retaining the size advantages of the G43 except for the greater width/thickness of the 26 over the 43, but still not really exceeding that of the 1911.

In an attempt to compare apples to apples more closely, let's look at the G43 and the G36 - pretty much identical in terms of capacity but the .45 ACP is significantly larger. Now compare the G30 and the G19 - kinda similarly sized but the G19 easily surpasses the G30 in capacity. So, if you compare a fairly large 1911 with nine shots to a sub-compact 9mm (G43 for example) then capacity is similar and you benefit (perhaps) from the larger bullet, if that makes you feel better. However, in similarly sized platforms, the capacity edge is heavily on the 9mm's side.

Given what I've pointed out in terms of bullet performance in regard to typical handgun calibers, I don't feel like I'm sacrificing anything by choosing a 9mm over the .45 ACP. I get significant and adequate expansion (if not quite as big as an expanded .45) and I get the same (at least) penetration with the 9mm as I do with a .45 ACP.

So yes, the primary benefit is significantly more shots (of an arguably more controllable, and consequently more accurate round) when comparing similarly sized platform. That, combined with negligible (read: indistinguishable) differences in performance between the calibers I'll pick the 9mm for SD carry.

ALL that said, I still love the .45 ACP and will always be a 1911 shooter at heart.

Apologies for the essay.
 
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