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Thread: .45 ACP or 9mm

  1. #26
    Russ is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishwiz4 View Post
    I am in the market for my first handgun. I have shot several including .22, .40 sub compact, .40 full size, and 38 special revolver.

    I'm am looking for a gun for home defense, and some recreational range shooting. I don't plan on carrying much, but I would carry occasionally after I get my permit.

    I really want an xdm 45 but some people say that a 9 mm can be just as good for defense but is much cheaper to shoot. I think part of the reason I like the 45, is because it is more manly to have a big caliber gun. I am also concerned that the 9 mm could have a higher risk of over penetration in a home defense scenario.

    I am pretty confident that I want a springfield, but am open to hearing other thoughts

    let me know what you think.

    Thanks!
    Fishwiz4

    I own a Springfield XD 45 and S&W M&P Shield 9mm.

    Shooting Speers Gold Dot +P 124 JHP short barrel from my Shield 9mm is manly and YouTube ballistic gel tests will confirm my assertion.

    Modern defense ammo should calm any concerns regarding over penetration.

    I really enjoy shooting 9mm rounds. The low recoil makes for quick followup shots.

    Springfield makes a fine weapon but for concealment I prefer my Shield and I have owned a Kahr CM9 and Beretta Nano both in 9 mm and the Shield is my favorite even over my Springfield 45.

    Good luck and take your time choosing your weapon.

    Russ

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  3. #27
    Ernest_T is offline Junior Member
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    Hey, I'm also a total NEWBIE here, and still shopping for my first handgun, but I can echo the advice given above "Shoot before you buy". I've shot a total of 7 different pistols in my search so far, and one thing that has become very clear is that a gun that feels good in your hand may not perform the best for you on the range. So, my word of advice is take your time and find a local range or ranges that rent guns and test out as many models as possible before you make a decision. When I started shopping, I was pretty much ready to buy a Glock, until the very nice guy at the gun store convinced me to try a few different brands on the range before I made a decision............now I'm very glad I did. The Glock which felt great at the counter, did not work for me on the range. I did really like the S&W M&P 9mm which is on your list, which is a gun that I had not even considered until I tried it.

    Good luck in your search!

  4. #28
    Gorris is offline Junior Member
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    I was in the same position you were when I bought my first gun and I will tell you to go with a 9mm. I say this for a couple of reasons. One the ammo is a lot cheaper to shoot so you can spend more time at the range working on your skills. The second reason is that the recoil is very low so you can get use to how the weapon fires and work on technique. The third reason is that you can get more bullets on target with this caliber because of the lower amount of recoil, which is a huge bonus since you are using the fun for home defense. The last thing is that with the 9mm you wont get tired as quick while at the range and won't risk injury from shooting large caliber bullets. I just read an article about this in the Nov/Dec issue of American Handgunner. So my vote is 9mm, you won't regret it.

  5. #29
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    Wandering Man is offline GM HGF Gold Member
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    It is good to see that you are asking about your "first" gun. As mentioned above, go with what your current and future budget will tolerate. If you plan to go to the range a lot for practice and fun, and have a limited budget, go with the 9mm. A .45 is not difficult to manage and is a great gun to shoot, but ammo is pricey.

    Even my wife, who once famously asked "why would anyone need more than one gun?" (she now owns 6), admits that guns make a decent investment. You don't lose much on the re-sale, if you find yourself needing to sell one gun so you have the cash for another.

    So, don't over think this. What you buy as your first gun will be fabulous, the best gun ever, and you'll regret having ever sold it, years down the road.

    Go get what you think you want, and get the training and practice you need to stay safe. You won't be sorry.
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

  6. #30
    Todd is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorris View Post
    The last thing is that with the 9mm you wont get tired as quick while at the range and won't risk injury from shooting large caliber bullets. I just read an article about this in the Nov/Dec issue of American Handgunner.
    OK, I had to go find that article because what you were suggesting so astonished me and, after reading it, I think you missed the point of it. The author is talking about injury to your median nerve from using large-bore handguns (more like hand cannons) giving the .45-70 as an example. He did mention the 9mm and .45, but in passing. The .45 is not going to tire you out to the point of injury unless you're talking years and years of shooting thousands and thousands of rounds; at which point even 9mm could potentially cause an injury.

    Take what you read in the gun rags with a grain of salt. They're more ads than articles and I can't remember the last time one of them had a negative review on anything they ever tested.

  7. #31
    Gorris is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    OK, I had to go find that article because what you were suggesting so astonished me and, after reading it, I think you missed the point of it. The author is talking about injury to your median nerve from using large-bore handguns (more like hand cannons) giving the .45-70 as an example. He did mention the 9mm and .45, but in passing. The .45 is not going to tire you out to the point of injury unless you're talking years and years of shooting thousands and thousands of rounds; at which point even 9mm could potentially cause an injury.

    Take what you read in the gun rags with a grain of salt. They're more ads than articles and I can't remember the last time one of them had a negative review on anything they ever tested.
    Sorry about that I guess I misunderstood the article. I didn't really read the article for the reviews on guns I actually bought it because I was looking for training information. Thanks for the help though. I still think the 9mm is a great choice though.

  8. #32
    Scott9mm is offline Member
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    I'm a 9mm fan but American Rifleman did a recent stopping power showddown:

    Handgun Stopping Power: Sizing Up Your Options

    Note that all 9mm is not equal when it comes to self defense. But 9mm is hard to beat considering mag capacity, cost, effectiveness, and comfort ... plus there are MANY guns available in 9mm,

  9. #33
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    One to the heart with either will end the threat. As a newer shooter I would advocate the 9mm, you can always get a .45 down the road. Just do yourself a favor, which ever you decide on, take a training course to learn how to shoot it. It doesnt do you any good with either caliber, if you cant hit your target....

  10. #34
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    Re: .45 ACP or 9mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Harryball View Post
    One to the heart with either will end the threat. As a newer shooter I would advocate the 9mm, you can always get a .45 down the road. Just do yourself a favor, which ever you decide on, take a training course to learn how to shoot it. It doesnt do you any good with either caliber, if you cant hit your target....


    My plan is exactly what you have said here. I am planning on a 9mm unless I fall on love with a different caliber at the range, then I plan on finding a tactical type shooting class and taking classes for permit to carry.

    Thanks!

  11. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishwiz4 View Post
    My plan is exactly what you have said here. I am planning on a 9mm unless I fall on love with a different caliber at the range, then I plan on finding a tactical type shooting class and taking classes for permit to carry.

    Thanks!
    You should fall in love with a gun, not the caliber. that will come later on with experience. Take your permit safety class, then the real class. If you need help finding a class ( Professional training) send me a PM. In your profile it doesnt show what part of the country you are in.

  12. #36
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    Re: .45 ACP or 9mm

    I am in Eastern North Dakota.

  13. #37
    Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishwiz4 View Post
    I am in Eastern North Dakota.
    I have a friend in ND. He was in the boarder patrol for 23 years. Maybe if you are close I could set up a meet and he could show you some things....

  14. #38
    Todd is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishwiz4 View Post
    then I plan on finding a tactical type shooting class.
    Putting the cart before the horse there a bit. A lot of those classes have prerequisites that you have taken intro courses first, so do that! Learn the basics and fundamentals before you literally start running around with a gun in a more advanced class.

  15. #39
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    Re: .45 ACP or 9mm

    That makes sense. Good point

  16. #40
    DonJ441 is offline Junior Member
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    I, too, am new to the gun scene. I've had a 45 for over 40 years, but never used it...until one of my sons purchased a Beretta 9mm and wanted to hit the range with his dad. I used the 45 for the first time in all these years, and realized it to be too large for a carry pistol. I will admit it is neat to have. I then purchased a Sig P238, thinking the smaller the gun, the better the carry. Now, after several months of searching the net and putting much more thought in the process, I re-thought the whole carry/home defense process. As every one here said, due your due dilligence in your searching. I used "Hickok45" for alot of my 'study'. I made a list of all 9mm carry type pistols and kept notes on pros and cons of each one. When I got it down to a couple, I went to the store to handle them and get a feel for each gun. To each his own, and this is not a recommendation, but I decided on the Springfield XDm 9mm compact...for both the size and carry options and for the mag capacity for a home defense gun. So, best of luch in your quest. As you can tell, I'm no expert, like many that have answered, but I have recently gone through a similar process as you are. Have fun. By the way, a really good source, from my search, is: SportsmansOutdoorSuperstore.

  17. #41
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    Re: .45 ACP or 9mm

    ^^^ thanks. I have pretty much decided on the xdm9, and leaving towards the full size, but the compact is still interesting. I could buy more of the large mags, but I'm not sure about the shorter barrel, especially since I will not be carrying this gun. I may want to carry in the future, but I don't have a permit yet. I was sorta planning on buying a different carry gun if/when that happens (maybe a .45 at that point)

  18. #42
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    Fishwiz4. You have officially entered into one of the greatest and long running debates in firearms history, the 9mm vs. .45.

    There are two basic schools of thought in regards to this. Those that feel the slower, heavier bullet is the best and those that feel the faster, light bullet is king. This has gone back and forth for years.

    The .45's reputation for a manstopper is long lived. There have been studies, statistics, cows shot, ballistic gel shot by the ton and the hits keep on coming. The 9mm got a bad reputation in regards to stopping power and the same tests and studies were conducted. It all comes down to a few basic things.

    Modern 9mm defensive ammo has come a long way. Better and heavier bullets and so on. The .45 trend has gone the other way with bullet weights getting lighter and faster. To me it all comes down to your ability to place the shot where you want it and need it to go. Generally speaking this is easier to do with a 9mm. The trend lately has been to build the smallest gun in the biggest caliber. They are meant to be carried a lot and shot a little and this is not really a good thing. Just because you can stick a .500 S&W magnum in a snubnose revolver does not mean you should.

    The choices you have mentioned are good ones. Personally I would stick to the full size guns for your first. Compact guns are great for concealment but again generally will not be as easy or accurate to shoot as their full size brothers due to their shorter sight radius and increased recoil.
    Once you have mastered that then move on to something else. I carry a gun professionally in nasty places around the world. It has varied in models from Beretta, CZ-99's, Browning Hi Powers or Glocks but I have always carried a 9mm and have been restricted to ball ammunition due to international law and the simple availability to resupply but I have never felt under gunned or has it ever let me down.
    I realize that the restrictions that I face will not be a concern with you you have to realize the myth of the one shot stop does not exist no matter what the caliber. You shoot and keep shooting until the threat stops doing what he was doing that made you shoot him in the first place...period. Whether this is one round or twenty nine.

    As has been stated the 9mm is cheaper to shoot so that could/would lead to more rounds fired which would generally lead to better accuracy with your chosen firearm. The .45 ACP is a great round and they make great guns for the caliber and I own several but when home I normally grab a 9mm of some type to carry. On the other hand my dedicated home defense gun before I grab a rifle is an M&P .45 with extended mags, threaded barrel and a weapon mounted light.
    It has nothing to with the caliber the gun shoots well for both my wife and I and is amazingly accurate. As has also been stated get some training on weapons manipulation, clearing malfunctions, reloading and so on. Many places offer "tactical" classes for the new shooter and cover everything from firearms safety to drawing and shooting from unconventional positions.

    Keep us posted on what you get

  19. #43
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    I have been converted!
    I used to champion the .45 ACP as the one and only effective fight stopper.
    But arthritis has taken its toll, and I just can't do the .45 thing any more.
    So now I am convinced that the very best way to stop a fight is to carefully place a .380 ACP hollow-point bullet into my opponent's head.
    Thus my conversion to 9mm—9mm Short, that is.

  20. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    I have been converted!
    I used to champion the .45 ACP as the one and only effective fight stopper.
    But arthritis has taken its toll, and I just can't do the .45 thing any more.
    So now I am convinced that the very best way to stop a fight is to carefully place a .380 ACP hollow-point bullet into my opponent's head.
    Thus my conversion to 9mmó9mm Short, that is.
    Sorry to hear that, Steve. Sounds like your aim hasn't suffered.

    Assuming that you're not joking, do you handload for the 380? My loading blocks are too thick for the little buggers.

  21. #45
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Old age takes its toll.

    However, I can still make from-the-holster 20-yard head shots, quickly and effectively...with the .380, that is.
    Two seconds each, I think.

    I no longer reload anything. I have enough handloaded .45 ACP and .30-'06 in stock to keep me supplied well into my 10th or 11th decade. I do still scrounge empties, when Jean and I practice, but I have no idea about what I'm going to do with them.
    I have never reloaded .380 ACP, or, for that matter, any pistol cartridge other than .45 ACP. I don't have the tools, nor have I ever before had the need. But still, I scrounge empties. It must be either a mental illness or a function of my dotage.

    I haven't used a loading block for more than 45 years. I didn't need one, since I've loaded everything on first a Lyman turret job, and then a Dillon progressive press.
    (I full-length resized .30-'06 cases on a separate, one-stage press. From there, they went right into the Lyman or the Dillon.)

  22. #46
    berettabone is offline Banned
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    The ole art ritis is starting here also....an aquaintance and I were talking about it the other day...he pretty much shoots nothing but .45, and I shoot nothing but .40...........but we both carry .380.....we figure, if your going to shoot someone, why hurt yourself in the process

  23. #47
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    Scrounging brass can quicklly become an obsession. I have to force my self to look up when I'm at a range. Otherwise I spend my whole time looking for good, or even mediocre, brass.

    I did an evaluation on an offender 6 or 7 years ago who was accused of murdering a man. He used a .380 on his victim. The victim died.

    I guess .380's aren't as harmless as some suppose ...
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

  24. #48
    deskjockey12 is offline Junior Member
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    My choice for a gun that serves both as a sport pistol for range shooting and home defense is a S&W 357 Model 60 with 3 inch barrel. I use it as a 38 since IMHO it is too slight a gun for a steady diet of 357 rounds. However, it will take on 38 +P all day long and not beat you up. I thoroughly enjoy taking it to the range to shoot regular 38 rounds. You always have the option to load with 357 rounds. As a defense weapon a draw back may be the 5 round limit, but I also have a 9mm and 20 inch double barrel Before buying either of my hand guns I rented and tested many models of revolver and semi-autos before purchasing. Everyone will tell you whatever feels right for you is the right answer. Hard to argue that. Good luck and enjoy your time at the range. I sure do.

  25. #49
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    Re: .45 ACP or 9mm

    I just thought I would let you all know that I "pulled the trigger" today and am the proud new owner of a xdm9. Just got the black one, a few boxes of ammo, and few targets. I can post pictures, but everyone knows what it looks like.

    Thanks to all of you for helping this rookie make an informed choice!

    Now I am I full fledged member of the site, and I look forward to getting to know you guys.

    Fishwiz

  26. #50
    bassjam04 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishwiz4 View Post
    I just thought I would let you all know that I "pulled the trigger" today and am the proud new owner of a xdm9. Just got the black one, a few boxes of ammo, and few targets. I can post pictures, but everyone knows what it looks like.

    Thanks to all of you for helping this rookie make an informed choice!

    Now I am I full fledged member of the site, and I look forward to getting to know you guys.

    Fishwiz
    Very nice gun and you wont regret that purchase.Just get ready because you now have the bug-and your want list will grow the more you read here! Haha. I also personally think you made the right choice going 9mm as your first gun. As others have said,way cheaper to shoot and that translates to more time on the range.Have fun.

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