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Thread: .45 v's 9mm

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    manta's Avatar
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    .45 v's 9mm

    Hi coming from the uk, I see that most americans seem to be big fans of .45. In Europe 9 mm would be most commonly used by police military and civilians . A lot of americans seem to rubbish 9mm. During ww2 9mm would the most commonly used cal used in smg's and pistols and was seen to be effective , killing tens of thousands . You also hear this rubbish about a hit from .45 in the arm leg or finger will stop someone in their tracks. If you want to stop someone in their tracks you will need a shootgun or rifle. I would be intersted in your views .

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    cougartex's Avatar
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    I have both 9mm and .45. I prefer the 9mm.

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    manta's Avatar
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    Hi i have both as well , like shooting them both on range , But for personal protection i would prefer 9 mm for mag capacity and control .

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    I have been on the 45 bandwagon a few times. But truthfuilly, I am a little more accurate with 9mm> It's also cheaper, and I can shoot more rounds before fatigue sets in.

    Also, handguns are pour manstoppers anyway. It depends on shot placement - and, if you get the right hollow point ammo, the difference between the 2 isn't that great

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    They have more in common then the differences most say they have. The diameter is 0.097" apart from one another. The 45 Auto shot at a standard velocity with a 230 grain bullet at 850 fps will produce 369 ft/lbs of energy while a 9mm Parabellum shooting a 115 grain bullet at 1155 fps will be producing 341 ft/lbs of energy. So we have a spread of only 28 ft/lbs of energy, the target won't be able to negate the difference! One round uses high velocity and a light projectile to reach that energy level while the other uses a heavy projectile moving along at a slower speed. Besides capacity and the size of frame needed to fire them, I think the differences are pretty moot. Time spent quarreling over this issue would be much better spent at the range improving marksmanship and becoming proficient with the firearm of your choice. Choose your battles wisely. For me any of the calibers in self defense firearms such as 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, 38 Special, and 357 SIG are comfortable to shoot, but have an adequate amont of energy needed to defend one self and I feel just learning to shoot well what you have is the most important thing equipment wise we can do. All for variety too, all sorts of people are different, so that means all guns shouldn't be the same. As long as a gun is reliable, fits your hand, and shoots well enough, all is good.

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    falchunt's Avatar
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    doesn't make much difference

    I am of the belief that it really wouldn't make much difference on either caliber. For me, I couldn't afford to pay for .45 ammo, so I decided to go with a 9mm in stead. As someone stated earlier, I believe accuracy is far more of concern than the diameter or foot pounds in this debate.

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    I get more 'charge' out of shooting .45s. They are just fun to shoot, and pack a wallop with any cartridge you choose to use. Besides, they are as American as apple pie, and I like American things.

    I have several 9mms, and I like them, also. Properly loaded, they are probably gonna be about as effective as a .45, in the hands of an experienced shooter. Loaded with practice ammo, they are very pleasant for beginners to learn with, and the ammo is less expensive than other center fire ammo.

    Both rounds have proven themselves, spanning about a century, so there's really no need to dog either one, in my opinion.

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    .45's make big holes 9mm's make dang big holes too. I shoot mostly 9mm and carry one everyday. I trust the 9 amd my ability to make a good shot to do the trick. If I had a .45 I would still hit the BG in the same place there would just be a bigger hole.

    RCG

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    manta's Avatar
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    Hi have to agree with most of the posters on this topic . The british had the same debate on pistol calibers went for a large slow moving cal .455 . but switched to .38 and 9mm during ww2 for reasons of supply ease of training conscrips . Most calibers are compromise recoil weight ect .9mm seams to be a good compromise . I wont get into the debate about .308 and .233I owned a .40 for shooting on range didnt realy like , Dont see the point of the calibre, Sold it and bought a paraordnance 14 45 i much prefer it .

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    I have owned and used both, as many here have. I agree that a handgun is NOT a fast manstopper or a sure manstopper. I am of the school that a 12 ga. load of buckshot works a hell of a lot
    better. BUT, I still enjoy shooting my 9mm's more than the .45....I reload for it, for one....and the .45
    has just been too expensive to stock up on lately.

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    Freedom1911's Avatar
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    When this question comes up I normally direct people to a page at my forum that has about 3 or 4 good articles on the 9mm. But here is one of them.
    The 9mm round is much better now than it was at the end of WW2. And Hand guns in general are much improved.
    With rounds like the Corbon DPX 9mm there is no reason to think that a 9mm can not be as effective as a 45. or a 40sw.
    I can put a link to my forum page with all the articles on it if this forum permits it.


    9mm Ammo History and Popularity
    Charles E. Petty for GlockWorld.com

    Since the United States adopted the 9mm Luger (M882) cartridge and M9 Beretta pistol for service use, interest in the cartridge has greatly increased. Law enforcement agencies are changing from the old standby .38 Spl., and ammunition manufacturers are developing new loads and bullets for a cartridge actually older than the .45 ACP it replaced in service use.

    The popularity of the 9mm Luger/Parabellum (9x19mm) has been constant in Europe since World War I. Logistically, it is desirable for its size and versatility that allows its use in both pistols and submachine guns. It provides better ballistics than its contemporaries such as the 7.63mm (.30) Mauser, 7.65mm (.30) Luger/Parabellum and is comparable to other 9mm's such as the Bergman-Bayard, Browning Long or Steyr.

    Although the cartridge has been continuously available in this country, the relatively recent popularity of high magazine capacity double-action pistols, (known colloquially as "wondernines") is largely responsible for the renewed interest.

    If those pistols had been chambered for some other cartridge, I would be writing a different story, for the affection seems not for the cartridge but for the pistols. The interest is almost exclusively in the area of defense, for although the 9mm can be used in some competitive events, the military, law enforcement and civilians are concerned about defensive handguns.

    Ammunition for the 9mm is loaded by virtually every manufacturer in the world, and within the U.S. there are at least 25 different loads produced by the five major companies that market factory ammunition. Bullet weights available range from 88 to 147 grains, with ball or full metal jacket (FMJ), soft point and hollow point types routinely loaded. There is even a lead hollow point (Federal Nyclad), although all the others are metal jacketed types.

    Table 1 (at the end of this document) lists most of the currently available loads from American makers. Looking at this list, is it any wonder the 9mm users could be bewildered? Most authorities would probably agree that the 124 grain FMJ and 115 grain JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) are the "standard" bullets and would also classify the 115 grain JHP as the "Standard" defensive load, but this is far from settled. There has been an extensive debate on the subject of 9mm bullets, and it seems to me to have done little more than further muddy already murky waters.

    The unfortunate FBI shootout in Miami (April 11, 1986) has provoked controversy and widespread discussion over the effectiveness of the 115 grain hollow-point (HP) ammunition used by the agents armed with 9mm pistols. Equally learned authorities cannot agree. One camp says the round was inadequate, while the other thinks the ammunition performed as it was intended. If a consensus has emerged, it is that we should rethink what constitutes adequate penetration for a handgun bullet.

    The argument of 9mm vs. .45 has also been resumed but not settled. The debate of revolver vs. automatic has not been settled either, although law enforcement agencies across the country are switching to the high-capacity 9mm pistol. The thinking behind this is that the magazine capacity, "firepower," is an asset.

    Even though the average number of rounds fired in a gunfight has remained relatively constant at approximately three, it would seem that civilians and law enforcement have adopted some of the same thinking that caused the Armed Forces to switch to automatic weapons.

    Extensive research has been done on ammunition and bullet design for the 9mm, and it has probably received more attention than any other handgun cartridge in history. This has led to the great variety of ammunition available and the obvious question of which one is best. If we were to ask each manufacturer, it would surely pick one of its own loads, but would probably be hard pressed to defend, on an objective basis, it's choice. In fact, the whole topic of ammunition and bullet performance is short on objective information. There simply is no clearly best gun or load. Much of the information circulated, even in informed circles, is simply based upon subjective observation or opinion.

    But at least one much-reported myth seems to have been debunked. Much credence was attached to the discussion by high velocity bullets, and it was widely reported that this was necessary and desirable. Research reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that the truth is something else. Col. Martin L. Fackler, M.D. of the Letterman Army Institute of Research, an acknowledged and outspoken authority on wound ballistics, writing in the May 13, 1988 JAMA, reported that the elastic nature of most tissue tends to prevent serious trauma caused by hydrostatic pressure.

    Another claim is that the sonic pressure wave created by a bullet entering tissue is responsible for trauma. Dr. Fackler draws an interesting parallel between a relatively new medical treatment, the lithotryptor, for the age-old problem of kidney stones and bullet impact. He writes, "A lithotryptor generates a sonic pressure wave three times the amplitude of the one from a penetrating small arms projectile and up to 2,000 of these waves are used in a single treatment session, with no damage to soft tissue surrounding the kidney stone."

    The widely accepted belief that increased velocity improves performance has led to the development of high velocity and +P+ loads for the 9mm that are similar to those developed for the .38

    Special. Remington, Winchester and Federal all market controlled-distribution loadings that are sold only to law enforcement agencies or the U.S. government. These are loaded to pressure levels that are above those accepted as standard by the industry.

    The current SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturing Institute) standard for 9mm Luger ammunition specifies a maximum product average chamber pressure of 37,400 p.s.i., but, the +P+ loads exceed this by a substantial margin. A limit of 42,000 p.s.i. has been proposed for this ammunition. For comparison, proof load pressure (nominal average) is set at 49,800 p.s.i. Now the situation is even further confused, for Remington has begun to market +P 9mm Luger ammunition with a proposed pressure limit of 38,500 p.s.i. To clarify, +P ammunition is available for commercial sale while +P+ loads are not.

    All of this raises the question of what the civilian shooter can use in his gun. Even though the ammunition manufacturers take pains to insure that special law enforcement loads do not circulate in civilian channels, it is unrealistic to expect that some will not "leak" out. The same is certainly true for M882 service ammunition, and it is important that the civilian shooter who encounters any of these loads be able to recognize them and understand that this ammunition is different. M882 NATO ammunition as loaded by Olin Corp. (Winchester) and formerly loaded by Federal is currently specified to drive a 124 grain FMJ bullet at 375 meters per second (1230 f.p.s.), which puts it in nearly the same league as the various +P+ loads.

    U.S.-manufactured M882 NATO 9mm ammunition can be identified by the headstamp which, in the typical military fashion, identifies the maker and year of production--example WCC 88 or FC 86 (signifying Western Cartridge Company, Olin Corporation's Winchester-Western ammunition division, manufactured in 1988 or Federal Cartridge Company, manufactured in 1986). In addition, the current production also carries the NATO stamp of a circle with a + sign inside of the circle. Law enforcement loads will usually have the +P+ designation as part of the headstamp and may have "L" or "LE" as well. We should quickly point out that civilian use of this ammunition is discouraged by all concerned and carries many of the same cautionary statements that were issued for +P and +P+ .38 Spl. loads.

    Winchester requires purchasers of +P+ ammunition to sign a release which states in part: "The 9mm 115 grain +P+ cartridges covered in this purchase order are specially loaded to achieve higher velocity. Therefore, the pressure level is higher than standard 9mm Luger cartridges. Individual cartridges may achieve pressure which may approach or exceed the proof load pressure a particular pistol may have been subjected to in factory proofing.

    This cartridge is not recommended for use in any aluminum frame and/or cylinder pistols and may cause damage to modern steel pistols because of the higher pressures.

    "THESE CARTRIDGES SHOULD BE USED IN MODERN PISTOLS ONLY. CHECK THE CONDITION OF THE PISTOL OFTEN. IF DOUBT EXISTS AS TO THE USE OF THESE CARTRIDGES IN YOUR PISTOL, CONSULT THE PISTOL MANUFACTURER."

    The demand for +P+ loadings has caused some consternation among firearm and ammunition manufacturers and there has been some finger pointing both ways. So, in an effort to clarify the situation, all of the major manufacturers and importers of the popular "wondernines" were queried about their position on the use of NATO and +P+ ammunition in their products. This is something of a hot potato as far as the firearms manufacturers are concerned, and most were understandably cautious or did not reply at all.

    A Smith & Wesson spokesman indicated that S&W was not in favor of using +P+ ammunition, although it was studying the subject. This presents an interesting paradox, for the Illinois State Police, one of the first agencies to ask for +P+ loadings, is a major user of S&W pistols.

    Perhaps the most telling response came from Firearms Import & Export Corp. (F.I.E. Corp. is the importer of the TZ-75 and TZ-75 M88 pistols). Corporate counsel Patrick M. Squire responded:

    "Although these pistols are tested with proof loads in the Italian Proof Bank at Gardone, we do not recommend a steady diet of high pressure ammunition for any firearms. We are strongly against trying to get .45 performance out of the 9mm Luger cartridge, or trying to "magnumize" any of the non-magnum calibers, as this can push the limits of predictable pressures too close to the boundaries of safety."

    Beretta replied: "Beretta is still in the process of evaluating many of the new +P+ loads and cannot advise on their use at this time."

    Browning, on the other hand, forwarded a copy of an internal test report in which it fired 5000 rounds of Remington +P+ 9mm ammunition in a Browning Hi Power pistol. "Inspection of the Hi Power system reveled no unnatural wear to the locking surfaces or any other area. Headspace was checked and found to be acceptable." The conclusion: "...the 9mm Hi Power system appears to be durable enough to withstand long-range [term] shooting of the new ammunition from Remington."

    Glock is even more positive and states that its guns are designed for continuous use with NATO ammunition and, therefore, may be used with +P+ because, "This type of ammunition does not exceed maximum NATO specification pressure levels and is totally compatible to be used in Glock pistols."

    In an effort to evaluate the differences between standard and +P+ loads, samples of each were fired in Glock 17 and 19 pistols. As expected the slightly shorter barrel of the Glock 19 produced somewhat lower velocities, but the gun, which had previously been 100% reliable with a wide variety of ammunition, began to experience some malfunctions when shooting any of the +P+ loads. Sometimes the slide failed to go completely into battery, and it was felt that the slide rebounded out of battery in a whiplash response to the higher recoil. Thorough cleaning and lubrication did not relieve the problem. But when shooting standard ammunition, the pistol resumed its previous faultless level of reliability. No malfunctions occurred with the Glock 17, regardless of ammunition. M882 ball ammunition was fired in both guns without malfunctions. The results of the shooting tests are shown in Table 2 {at the end of this document).

    If all of this sounds like a Catch-22 situation, it is.

    People with whom I have spoken at all of the companies currently loading +P+ ammunition have remarkably similar sentiments. All have said that they provide what their customers ask for. At first this may sound like a cop-out, but it is undeniably true, for the ammunition industry is driven by consumer demand. Whether consumers are the general public or law enforcement agencies does not matter. Competition is so fierce in the ammunition business that all of the makers feel they must provide products that are asked for as long as the requests are reasonable. This situation goes back many years to the original .38 Spl. +P+ loadings developed for federal law enforcement agencies and, as the 9mm has been popularized, has spread into that cartridge. Nor is it without precedent in civilian circles. Handloader have long sought to "improve" performance, primarily by increasing velocity, which customarily results in higher pressures.

    Law enforcement leaders are concerned, legitimately, with two factors which are more than a little contradictory. They wish to provide their officers with ammunition which will incapacitate a determined assailant effectively, but not endanger bystanders.

    They want a bullet that will adequately penetrate to reach vital organs, but not exit and create a hazard.

    Products such as the Glaser Safety Slug or other pre-fragmented projectiles have been offered as a solution, but no consensus exists on their effectiveness.

    One relatively new development attracting much interest is the use of heavier bullets, specifically 147 grain JHP designs, in the 9mm. Testing has shown that this particular weight seems to provide the best compromise of expansion and penetration. The ammunition is loaded to subsonic velocities of between 950 and 1000 f.p.s. Both Winchester and Federal load 147 grain ammunition, but only Federal's is available to the general public.

    When Federal introduced its new Hydra-Shok line of premium handgun ammunition, it originally offered the 147 grain bullet to law enforcement in a +P+ load, but pressures were only slightly above Federal's limits for standard loads. Testing found a combination of components that reduced pressure to acceptable levels and the ammunition is marketed for general sale. There is, however, no conclusive evidence that the 147 grain loads perform better than more conventional ammunition in actual shooting situations.

    Obviously all of this effort is directed at shooting human targets, and this is where the research problems arise. While it is possible to make a bullet perform practically any way you want it to in a test medium such as ballistic gelatin, no two human shootings are exactly alike and the intangibles often outweigh the simple factors of penetration or expansion. In September, 1987, the FBI conducted a workshop on wound ballistics that reached the following conclusion: "Except for hits to the central nervous system, reliable and reproducible instant incapacitation is not possible with any handgun bullet."

    One of the participants, Sgt. Evan Marshall of the Detroit Police Dept., commented, "It is often very difficult to successfully produce incapacitation without producing death."

    Over the many years that I have been shooting, I have observed a lot of changes in both guns and ammunition and view the modern expanding handgun bullet as a major advance. But they are not the complete solution, for it is impossible to predict how much, or even if, a bullet will reliably expand. In order for a handgun to be a totally effective defensive weapon, vital organs must be hit. It is desirable for the ammunition to expend most or all of its energy in the target, but again this is not entirely predictable.

    While increasing bullet velocity increases energy, it is questionable whether this is really meaningful in practical terms. A 200 f.p.s. increase in velocity (about what you get going from standard to +P+ 9mm ammunition) does not guarantee significantly better results in actual shooting situations. When you consider that this gain, roughly 15%, is accomplished at an increase in pressure that could be as much as 33%, it makes me wonder if it is all worthwhile.

    A source familiar with the ammunition purchases of law enforcement agencies agrees and reports that interest in the +P+ loads is limited. Some agencies are firmly committed to it, but far more are looking at the improved standard velocity loads from all the major makers as well as the 147 grain loads available from Federal and Winchester. Very limited testing of the new Remington +P 9mm load indicates that we may see a similar situation to +P .38 Spl. ammunition. It produces a meaningful energy increase at the expense of a relatively small rise in pressure.

    It would appear that the solution to the problem of ammunition lies not with the ammunition at all, but with the marksmanship of those using it. Evan Marshall began his discussion of ammunition with a simple statement: "There are no super bullets." A handgun is a compromise necessitated by circumstances, but shooters subject themselves to more recoil and noise, and their guns to exaggerated stress, in the mistaken belief that velocity alone will magically "improve" handgun performance. So, instead of searching for super bullets or higher velocity, why not accept the limitations of handguns and concentrate on marksmanship?

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    Seabee's Avatar
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    .45 vs 9mm

    Damn.... Now I gotta carry both !!!

  14. #13
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    I'll say one thing I like about the 45 is that it isn't pushing the limits pressure wise to make power for standard loads which is pushing 21,000 psi while +p loads fall around 23,000 PSI. 9mm produces around 35,000 psi for standard loadings an 38,500 psi chamber pressure for +p loads.

  15. #14
    Baldy's Avatar
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    None of this matters at all.
    Shot placement is King.
    Penetration is Queen.
    Everything else is Angels dancing on the head of a pin.
    Last edited by Baldy; 07-13-2010 at 11:40 AM.

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    Not to much difference between most defensive calibers

    Perhaps either caliber would provide fewer failures if we practiced as much as we worry about our caliber's stopping potential.

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    manta's Avatar
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    Hi I am surprised there is not more defence of .45 from diehard .45 fans . Have attitudes towards 9mm changed in america ?

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    No, you just landed in a 'pocket' of 9mm shooters. Most of the .45 shooters are tired of arguing about it, and the fresh new 9mm lovers are just getting cranked up.

    There are still huge numbers of .45 die-hards out there. But there are also a huge number of new shooters out there, since the 2008 presidential and congressional elections. A lot of folks have awakened to the fact that this crop of socialist politicians will take their guns, in direct defiance of the Constitution, if they can figure out a way to sneak the legislation by the public.

    With Internet forums available, these newbies find a gun forum and ask what semi-auto would be best to start out with, and 9mm is the logical answer. They shoot them, and like them, and recommend them to their friends. Many will become genuine gun nuts and will eventually progress to the .45, but right now, they're stuck on 9mm.

    At least, that's my take on it.

  19. #18
    hideit's Avatar
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    the latest ATF data is out for 2008 and it documents that for american manufacturers only - there were about 10,600 more 9mm's sold than all .40 and .45 combined - so don't be too harsh on the american loving the big 45's - i would bet that if you add in the foreign manufacturers in those numbers the difference would be even greater

  20. #19
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    I am not a .45 ACP die-hard.
    It's just that, as I get older, I'm finding it harder and harder to see those tiny, thin 9mm cartridges.

  21. #20
    tony pasley's Avatar
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    Not that I am a die hard 45 lover and faithful follower of St. John Moses Browning. I have carried a 45 since Dec.1969 and have found no sound reason to change. I have owned most of the different platforms out there and still have many of them but nothing feels as right as a 1911 in 45 acp to me.

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