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  1. #1
    armed_preacher's Avatar
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    .45 vs 9mm for personal protection handgun

    When I asked about a 9mm as a personal protection gun a good instructor friend told me this:
    9mm is an effective caliber, gives you high capacity and is inexpensive to purchase. The .45 gives you more "stopping" power in a gun about the same size as the 9mm.
    yet I see a lot of 9mm suggested here....

    Comments on the quote above?

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  3. #2
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    All pistols are weak, puny weapons. 9mm is much cheaper and faster to shoot, and is perfectly adequate for stopping an attack when loaded with good, modern JHPs.

    If you really want to stop a fight, get a rifle or a shotgun. Otherwise, 9mm is fine. The best thing to do is to settle on one, then move on to the things that actually matter in self-defense: mindset, gunhandling, marksmanship and tactics.
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  4. #3
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    I'm pretty much of the same opinion. I like a 45 but it has more to do with what I shoot better than stopping power or any other of the arguments. Modern ammo really evens out the playing field. I don't like to allow cost to effect my choices I tend to go more with what I am the most comfortable shooting. That's what I tell others to do as well. Find what works and run with it
    Last edited by DevilsJohnson; 11-06-2008 at 06:07 PM. Reason: DAmn spell chekr :-P

  5. #4
    jeb21 is offline Member
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    This is an old debate that goes back at least 20 years or so. As a general rule placement of the shot is more important than the actual caliber used.

    9mm generally has less recoil, pistols chambered in this caliber are a bit smaller, and normally can carry more rounds with compared to most 45's. Also the 9mm is typically less expensive to buy.

    The 45 is a highly respected handgun rounds, is less likely to overpenatrate and the big holes that it makes are very comforting.

    Advocates for either rounds can point to specific examples when the round performed admirably and specific examples of when the competitor round failed to stop the bad guy.

    If you are new to handgun shooting, a 9mm is an easy platform to learn on and the ammo is inexpensive.

    Ultimately, the choice is very personal and depends on what you shoot better and feel the most confortable with.

  6. #5
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    Either one will put someone down if you hit them. It all comes to preference. See if your local range rents guns and try the 9mm vs 45 and see which one you like better.

  7. #6
    Teuthis is offline Member
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    The bullets make a big difference in the effectiveness of each caliber these days. A high-velocity 9mm round makes a quite similar expansion path in ballistic gelitan to that of the 45 ACP and 40 caliber. Penetraion is also quite similar. The bullet expansion of the 9mm approaches that of the 45 ACP. I think Mike makes a strong point for the 9mm. It is "easier" to handle for a beginner too, though I believe you could learn to shoot either of them.

    Up close, for self defense, I prefer the 45. I think it is worth learning to shoot it. Bullet weight still has significance to me, as well as the impact of the round. Military Special Forces, and those in law enforcement who may have to use handguns in close combat, overwhelmingly seem to desire the 45 ACP over other calibers.

  8. #7
    Ptarmigan is offline Member
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    There is no such thing as stopping power when it comes to handgun calibers so I think the information you got is flawed, with all due respect to your friend.

    Like Mike said, if you want stopping power, get a shotgun or a rifle.

    All that being said, the 9mm is a great round and will serve you well. There are also many great choices in both guns and ammunition on the market today.

  9. #8
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    dmp
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    I had this debate, mentally, and settled on the .40 - which I purchased tonite, actually. I shot it back to back with the 9mm (my wife was beside me in the next lane trying out pistols, so I borrowed the 9 she had). I felt just fine with the 40 - slightly sharper recoil, but after putting most round where I wanted to see them, I don't feel the 40 is 'too much gun'. Ammo was quite a bit more expensive, though. It's probably a stupid reason...but one factor that put me solidly over to the side of the 40? The size of the holes in the paper target between the two



    That's my $.02

  10. #9
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    After all these years of carrying a 9mm,. I've decided to get a 45 ACP carry gun. I prefer the larger caliber

  11. #10
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    It's been my experience that every single person I've ever heard make that kind of statement has never had to deal with real-world situations concerning "stopping power". They are merely parrots, endlessly repeating what they've heard.

    There are 9mm loads that have more power than some .45's. Nonetheless, power is not what brings a person down. Shot placement is what does. I wish my dad were still alive today. He survived Korea and Viet Nam, and he could tell you a lot about how ineffective the .45acp - or any other pistol caliber - can be if you don't put the bullet where it needs to be.

    PhilR.

  12. #11
    Thallas's Avatar
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    Honestly like many others have said, no gun will make a difference if you do not have proper shot placement. I have shot both a .45acp and a .9mm and use my glock as my carry weapon. I find that having the extra rounds gives me peace of mind in the grand scheme of things.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwreck View Post
    I've decided to get a 45 ACP carry gun. I prefer the larger caliber
    +1... I also (get ready to jump on me guys) relate the bullet mass to a baseball bat. The small knobby end can hurt when it's pushed into your ribs (read 9mm, high velocity) but, the big, fat, slow end of the bat (read .45 slow velocity) can knock you down when it's pushed into the ribs. Learned this lesson from the Vietnam era. Mainly, it's what you have confidence in both caliber and accuracy. Key word...ACCURACY. Just my .02.

  14. #13
    hideit's Avatar
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    Mike: "All pistols are weak, puny weapons. 9mm is much cheaper and faster to shoot, and is perfectly adequate for stopping an attack when loaded with good, modern JHPs."

    do you think the 44mag / 460mag / 500Mag are puny?

  15. #14
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hideit View Post
    Mike: "All pistols are weak, puny weapons. 9mm is much cheaper and faster to shoot, and is perfectly adequate for stopping an attack when loaded with good, modern JHPs."

    do you think the 44mag / 460mag / 500Mag are puny?
    I think his reference is to weapons that can be carried. After all, that is what we're talking about here...caliber for a carry weapon to be used for self-defense.

    -Jeff-

  16. #15
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Yes, I was referring to normal carry guns, not those intended for use on large game.
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  17. #16
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    I like .45s and I shoot them as well, if not better than 9mm. My personal preference for a CCW is the XD45, although I probably carry 9mm and .380, just as often.

    But 9mm is probably the more sensible caliber, for most folks, simply because it is cheaper to shoot, and has a moderate recoil. This translates into a gun that you are more likely to practice with, and as others have said, how well you use it is much more important than what you use.

    Buy something that you will spend a lot of time practicing with.

  18. #17
    Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Whatever you get, learn to shoot it, and shoot it well. Shot placement puts the caliber wars on the back burner. Capacity shouldn't be that much of an issue either. You might however consider the costs of ammunition in the various calibers as well. If you carry, you should practice often.

  19. #18
    Ptarmigan is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod
    Whatever you get, learn to shoot it, and shoot it well. Shot placement puts the caliber wars on the back burner. Capacity shouldn't be that much of an issue either. You might however consider the costs of ammunition in the various calibers as well. If you carry, you should practice often.
    Great advice.

  20. #19
    Wandering Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    All pistols are weak, puny weapons. 9mm is much cheaper and faster to shoot, and is perfectly adequate for stopping an attack when loaded with good, modern JHPs.
    And yet, calibers as small as .22 can still kill:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081108/.../child_charged

    I know, it was a rifle, but still, any gun has the potential to be lethal.

    As the guys point out above, start with the gun you can handle and feel comfortable with. Never look back.

    Of course, there is the little problem of "gun addiction" that comes along with your first purchase ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwreck View Post
    After all these years of carrying a 9mm,. I've decided to get a 45 ACP carry gun. I prefer the larger caliber
    So after all these years you're giving up your Walther addiction?
    Glad to see treatment finally worked.

    WM
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

  21. #20
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering Man View Post
    And yet, calibers as small as .22 can still kill:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081108/.../child_charged

    I know, it was a rifle, but still, any gun has the potential to be lethal.
    True enough, but killing isn't the same as stopping.
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  22. #21
    Wandering Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    True enough, but killing isn't the same as stopping.
    Well, I've not heard of a dead person continuing an attack, but ...


    Actually, my point is that with all the talk about "stopping power" it might be easy for a newbie to believe that s/he can point a .22 .32, or .380 acp at somebody and think they will only wound the person if it should go off. Therefore, the small bore guns are "safe" to play with.

    Or worse yet, they are OK to leave loaded and unlocked around the house when kids are around.

    WM
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  23. #22
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering Man View Post
    Well, I've not heard of a dead person continuing an attack, but ...
    I understand your points. But shooting a guy with a puny .22 so he can die at the hospital in twelve hours isn't quite the same as putting him down right now with a 5.56mm HP or a load of buckshot.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  24. #23
    Wandering Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    I understand your points. But shooting a guy with a puny .22 so he can die at the hospital in twelve hours isn't quite the same as putting him down right now with a 5.56mm HP or a load of buckshot.
    I'm glad you understood the point.

    To focus on "stopping power" and neglect lethality of small calibers may lead to complacency ... which is dangerous.

    The first comment was humor. I really haven't ever heard of someone continuing the attack after death. And a really big caliber gun is more effective in stopping someone in their tracks. ...

    ... Unless you miss.

    WM
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

  25. #24
    KCabbage is offline Junior Member
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    Greetings,
    With good loads there isn't very much difference.

  26. #25
    armed_preacher's Avatar
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    just wanted to thank all for the great input and participation..

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