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9mm vs .45 ACP [Debate Finally Settled]

What is the BEST handgun round?!?

The debate over the 9mm and .45 ACP is one of the most heated conversations in the firearms community.  Enough to spawn sayings you’ll see all over forums (and t-shirts).

9mm Will Kill Your Body, .45 ACP Will Kill Your Soul

Both handguns have a huge following thanks to their popularity and success in the field.

But which one is better?

I’m sure this is going to spark plenty of debate, so please feel free to let me know how you feel in the comments.

Internet kid meme
Please be gentle in the comments.

Comparing 9mm vs .45 ACP

Let me start out by saying that the biggest mistake that most people make is taking a black-and-white stance on the .45 ACP and 9mm.

Popular Pistol Calibers
Popular Pistol Calibers

You’ll hear a lot of people say that the .45 is better because it shoots a bigger caliber bullet, or that the 9mm is better because of its capacity.  Click here if you want to learn about more handgun calibers.

FMJ vs Hollowpoints (9mm and .45 ACP)
FMJ vs Hollowpoints (9mm and .45 ACP)

Both are valid points and very understandable reasons to prefer one over the other.

Even if you think size > capacity or more bullets is better, you have to admit having bigger bullets and having more bullets on tap are both worthy considerations when choosing one gun over the other.

.45 ACP primer close up
Is bigger always better? Some shooters think so.

The truth is…neither gun has a total advantage over the other one, and your personal preferences will play a lot in determining which handgun is for you.

Let’s take a look at the selling points of each one to help you decide.

About the 9mm

Praised for being compact and easier to handle than its .45 ACP counterpart, the 9mm has become one of the most popular rounds in the world.

Seismic 9mm 185gr Ammo
Seismic 9mm 185gr Ammo

For more than 30 years, the Beretta M9 and M9A1 have been the standard sidearm of the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

at Cabelas

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The Army is in the process of switching over to the SIG Sauer P320…but they’re still sticking to the 9mm caliber design.  

Even the FBI has phased out their .40 S&W sidearm in favor of the 9mm’s improved stopping power and penetration.

This begs the question: is bigger necessarily better?

Here are some of the advantages that the 9mm has over the .45 ACP:

  • It has a larger magazine capacity given a similarly sized firearm
  • Its compact nature makes it easier to carry, especially concealed carry
  • It has less recoil, making it an easier gun to handle – especially for beginners
  • The guns and ammo are significantly cheaper; sometimes as much as half the price
FBI Agents Target Shooting
FBI Agents getting some target practice in.

The 9mm also has a higher muzzle velocity than the .45 ACP because it uses lighter bullets.  This has caused a debate in the firearms community over what’s better, a fast and light cartridge or a heavy and slow one.

While the answer to this is up to debate, one thing is certain: higher muzzle velocity does equal slower bullet drop.

Something to remember when shopping around for a 9mm

One of the most attractive things about choosing a 9mm for home defense is having more rounds at your disposable.

Unfortunately, this benefit may be completely canceled out in some states due to magazine restrictions, so it’s a good idea to review any state and local laws before buying a 9mm if you’re set on having a 15+1 capacity gun.

Regarding the .45 ACP

From the days of the trusty Colt M1911 to modern .45 caliber handguns like the Glock G21 and the Sig Sauer P220, the .45 ACP has always been one of the most reliable calibers on the market.

Trio of 1911's
Trio of 1911’s

After all, it was the official sidearm of the United States Armed Forces during two World Wars and remained so up until the 1980s.

Battlefield 1 M1911
You may have noticed it in every first person shooter game ever.

If you like the idea of shooting a gun with a lot of stopping power…you’re not alone.

Many handgun enthusiasts believe that bigger is, in fact, better and love everything that the .45 ACP has to offer. Here are some of its best features:

  • Its stopping power makes it a great home defense gun
  • Over-penetration isn’t as much of a problem with this caliber (see: big, fat, slow bullets)
  • Over 100 years of testing and iteration have produced some very powerful .45 ACP bullets

While slightly impractical, the .45 ACP also has the coolness factor on its side.  It’s a battle-tested gun that’s played an important role in American history during the 20th century.

shotgun meme with american flag guy

Measuring the Two

There’s no doubt that the .45 ACP is a classic handgun that’s not going anywhere in the foreseeable future, but it just doesn’t outperform the 9mm.


45 ACP Is For Grownups

Advancements in modern defensive ammo technology have helped the 9mm improve by leaps and bounds over the past 30 years; it’s not the same underpowered round that the FBI abandoned in the early 1980s. 

With a good modern defensive ammo, the 9mm is just as powerful as any .45, just in different ways.

Springfield XDS .45 vs 9mm
XDS in .45 ACP and 9mm Guns.com

When comparing the two handguns, it’s important to note that the 9mm hasn’t become better than the .45 ACP…it just caught up to it.  

A picture is worth a 1000 words…new self-defense 9mm ammo opens up to create some nasty possible wound channels to stop attackers in their tracks.

147 Federal HST Expansion
147gr Federal HST Expansion

That is some nice expansion from the 9mm ammo, but let us not forget that the same developments in HP ammo that allowed 9mm to catch up to .45 ACP FMJ also allowed .45 ACP HP to become a real monster of a round.

Winchester 230 gr Ranger T 45 ACP Lucky Gunner Test
Winchester 230 gr Ranger T-Series 45 ACP Lucky Gunner Test

While the 147gr Federal HST expanded from 9mm (roughly .35cal) to on average 15mm or .61″, the .45 ACP expanded from (again, roughly) 11.5mm to 25mm (.45″ to 1″)

Both (roughly!) doubled in size…and since .45 ACP is bigger to start with, it became massive in the end.


Furthermore, the 9mm is more practical for the average shooter looking to spend time on the range.

With boxes of 9mm Luger rounds being 30 to 40% cheaper than .45 ACP ammo, increased range time isn’t going to break your budget; and after all, spending more time on the range does make you a better marksman.  Here are more tips on how to shoot more accurately.

However, there is always something to be said for having really big bullets ready to deal with really big problems.


Also, for you suppressor enthusiasts out there, the .45 ACP is an inherently subsonic bullet.  It fires slow and heavy bullets at a lower muzzle velocity than the 9mm and can be suppressed to near-whisper levels.

HK45 USP with mounted light
HK45 USP with mounted light

Using your handgun in tactical situations

One of the main reasons why military personnel and many LEOs made the switch to 9mm handguns was because of the deeper bullet penetration.

Unlike in a home defense situation, the ability to shoot through a wall, automobile, or various other objects in a combat scenario can be the difference between life and death.

US Navy marksmanship practice
US military marksmanship practice with the 9mm M9

The FBI agrees that the 9mm has lifesaving features.

According to a report released in 2014, the 9mm was preferred in the field because of the following:

  • LEOs have a 20 to 30% accuracy rate in shootouts, so magazine capacity is important.
  • 9mm Luger rounds have a deeper penetration than other handgun calibers.
  • FBI agents have been observed to shoot faster and more accurately with the 9mm.
  • The wound tracks of a 9mm and a .45 ACP are almost the same.
  • The 9mm’s lighter recoil makes it easier for follow-up shots.

Considering all of the advantages of the 9mm, why would anyone want to use the .45 ACP?

Well, when it comes to home defense, the .45 ACP does hold one distinct advantage over the 9mm: shallower penetration.

Don’t worry, that’s a good thing here.

As mentioned in the video, over-penetration isn’t as big if a problem with the .45 ACP because of its slower, bulky bullets.

This means you have less of a chance of hitting an innocent bystander through a wall in a self-defense scenario.     

Choosing the Best Caliber for You

You might be wondering which caliber is better for you…the 9mm or the .45 ACP.

Well, this might rock your world but I’d recommend getting one of each.

Assuming you have the money. 

Guns for sale
“More guns” is the solution to a great many problems.

Many shooters like to have the .45 ACP for home defense.  It’s the perfect grab-and-go handgun to fire in close quarters where recoil won’t pose such a problem.

Alternatively, the 9mm’s stopping power and smaller design makes it ideal for open and concealed carry.  

While there are a number of compact .45 ACP models on the market, as a general rule, you can expect the 9mm to be more comfortable to carry in a holster.

Also, in a self-defense situation outside of your home, there’s a higher likelihood that you won’t be firing your gun at close range like in a home-defense scenario.

 In this situation, you’ll be glad that you have the faster follow-up speed and a larger magazine capacity of the 9mm.

Settling 9mm vs.45 ACP

Ultimately, both guns are great weapons to have.  When choosing between the two, also consider which gun feels better in your hand.  

Some people prefer the heavier feel of a .45 ACP, while others find the light and slim nature of the 9mm to be more easy to use.

Lots of Holsters, Boondock Saints
Lots of Guns, Boondock Saints

Either way, the 9mm and the .45 ACP both pack a strong enough punch to neutralize any threat.

9mm and .45 ACP come in a huge range of flavors, some that are amazing for home defense or EDC and some that are best for punching holes in paper – no matter what caliber you pick, we got you covered in our Best 9mm Ammo and Best .45 ACP Ammo reviews.

Where do you stand on the 9mm vs .45ACP debate?  Did I leave something out?  Let me know in the comments below!

And speaking of comments…we had some fun with this video…

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246 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Fortee five

    I notice that most articles talking up the 9mm always compares the newest and best 9mm to the old slow fmj .45, not taking into account that there are now .45 with lighter projectiles and higher speeds that far and away leave the 9mm in the dust

    October 25, 2021 3:05 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    K revolver

    Pansies . Try a .357 magnum . That’s the meat eater .lol

    October 22, 2021 10:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The real reason why the FBI switched from 40 to 9mm is the same reason they switched for 10mm to 40, most cant handle the recoil and they dont pass the required score in the firing tests, same for civilians they cant handle the recoil, they groups are horrible then blame the caliber instead stop eating bacon and improve they fitness condition.

    October 19, 2021 9:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tim Parker

    Like working on a car, you have to have the right tools to get the job done. CQB scenarios where you’re within the 17’ engagements and you want to do work quietly, the .45 ACP has all of the advantages. Engagements where distance and volume of fire are important, 9mm has the advantage. Personally, I prefer carrying a small frame gun, so 9mm works best for me. At home, 12ga and .45 ACP. They’re rounds, they go boom, they go flying down the barrel. At the end of the day, marksmanship always wins out.

    October 16, 2021 3:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Branden P

    You are legally responsible for every round that leaves your weapon! When you have an over penetration or miss, which is likely in an adrenaline filled situation. Do you want to be shooting a bullet likely to go through a wall or a car door killing or maiming an innocent bystander? Not me. I'll stay with my 45.

    September 19, 2021 8:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Eric Thompson

    Look up ballistics tests... 9mm eats as much ballistics gel as a 45. Add in the big, fat, slow, it would seem the only advantage of a 45 is if the target is in the room with you. So what if they are on the opposite side of a wall? Your 45 will end up in their pocket instead of their chest... what if your outside? At a 30% hit rate during actual combat (due to adrenaline and urgency of quickness) add in a fall rate like no other (45) and it drops to 20%. So, even if the 45 "hits harder", that only matters if your on target. So follow up shots are almost more important that the 1st shot... all of these variables added up, the 9mm almost will always win the advantage...

    September 12, 2021 7:00 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Gary DelRossi

    One advantage that was mentioned I disagree with. Most shootouts are long range. Maybe for law enforcement but not personal defense situation.

    September 12, 2021 5:24 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    The FNX 45T and a few others hold around 15 rounds. Equipped with a suppressor, they make ideal home defense weapons and they are less likely to over-penetrate. Anyone that has fired a gun indoors knows the value of a subsonic round and a suppressor. Not worth a flip as a carry gun unless one is more Shaq sized than me but for home defense, it works very well. Loaded with +P rounds, they make a heckuva mess. Both 9mm and .45 ACP work...just personal preference, imo.

    September 9, 2021 1:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael S. Price

    Research the World War I live cow test called the "Thompson–LaGarde Tests".

    August 12, 2021 12:41 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael S. Price

    1. Offensive vs defensive role - as an offensive weapon the military choose the .45, as does most (all male) special operations units who have a choice.
    2. An extended double stack .45 mag will give you the larger magazine capacity.
    3. The single action 1911 still offers the most accurate platform.
    4. The main reason the military and law enforcement switched to 9mm, is to "accommodate" people (females) with weaker upper body strength.
    These points are from my personal observations as an Army Ranger, Police SWAT Commander, Private Military Contractor, and firearms instructor - no disrespect intended to the women in uniform.

    August 12, 2021 12:36 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Springfield 1911 A1 .45ACP +P ported and polished. Double tap from the leather in 1.5 seconds. Threat is neutralized. Go home safe.

      August 21, 2021 10:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Ben K

      Explain why, as a prior Ranger, why the rangers had the choice on what sidearm the wanted and decided on the Glock 17. It's simple and I know the answer, velocity and follow up shots. The damage is the same and no 2 wound channels end up being the same on 45 or 9mm. So the only real advantage 45 has is being inherently subsonic. I have both 45s and 9mm's but I'm not emotionally attached to the 1911 or 45 ACP, it's not better, it's different.

      September 3, 2021 6:01 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I heard the military downgraded calibers bcuz nowadays more ppl are inexperienced shooters. They can’t handle the recoil of a .45 or .308 bcuz many times the 1st time they ever fired a weapon is after joining the military. By the time my dad made it to Korea he was already an experienced shooter.

      September 12, 2021 11:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ed jenkins

    Will a 45 penetrate body armor within 10 feet

    August 1, 2021 9:54 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      It depends on the body armor (type and quality) as well as the ammunition used.

      August 12, 2021 1:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Not likely, but a knife can.

      August 21, 2021 10:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I totally spilt the difference and went with Beretta 96 chambered in .40 S&W. 12 RD mags, and 15 RD mags that don’t take away from the beauty of the gun. What a glory to shoot, minimal recoil, and excellent stopping power. The only drawback is that it is not super concealable for every day, but I haven’t looked into a shoulder holster. When getting my LTC the instructor was gushing all over it because I was the only one without a Glock, which I actually do have as well, but just love the 96 so much.

    I can’t say how other .40 S&W feel/shoot, but any of my friends that have shot the 96 love it’s accuracy and low recoil.

    August 1, 2021 5:38 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    .45 People talk about stopping power and knock down power. Rightfully, the 9mm counter argument is that there is no such thing. I agree. But in real life the first .45 causes a stun strong enough to slow the aggressor, the second may bring him to his knees. Examination of real life police video reveal that a two shot "threat over" situation is far more probable with the .45 over the 9mm. The 9mm may take between 3 to 6 shots to achieve the same level of neutralization.

    July 21, 2021 8:25 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      its been awhile

      August 26, 2021 8:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    If you are going to go through all the trouble to defend yourself and/ or others you might as well knock the bad guy(s) down - and take their soul at the same time.

    As a retired LEO during the transition to semi-auto in the 80s, what is too politically incorrect and never mentioned is more females and smaller statured people entered the military and law enforcement. They struggled with .357 and .45. 9mm became the universal choice and approved by agency bookkeepers and bean counters.

    IMHO (other than good social time discussions about guns and fishing tackle) forget the caliber wars. A miss with a .454 will not help you bring that charging animal down. Put several makes and models in your hand. Close your eyes, then bring the weapon up to bear. Now look at your natural sight picture. One or two will stand out. Get that one and the ammo that fits in it. e.g.: For me any Glock is a gun that I will be aiming at the dirt, while most Sigs & S&W revolvers will be on the money. Your mileage will vary.

    July 20, 2021 2:22 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'm just a regular guy, but shot placement would rule my decision. I would go with what I shoot best. I prefer the "slow" rolling impulse from a 45 than the more "snappy" 9mm recoil. That said, I'm splitting hairs, because I can handle both well enough, and I would feel well armed with either. But, I love good arguments...please, continue.

    July 15, 2021 5:37 am
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    Michael D Martin

    I have owned both and prefer the 1911A1 style and stopping power. I know that if my threat has consumed a narcotic I may have to fire my 9mm several times to stop the threat but if I hit my target with my .45acp the threat will be on the ground before it realizes that it has been hit. Now this is just me you pointed out several factors for both weapons and I agree it's to ones mind set on which weapon feels right in your hand. I say do your research and spend time on range with both weapons and carry them both!

    June 30, 2021 10:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The .45, it started stopping threats way back in 1911 and it still does just as well today. The article states that the 9mm has caught up to the 45 because of ammo advancements. Hum, didn't the 45 also get the benefit of those advancements? Therefore, per my logic class, the 45 is still ahead. My EDC is a Glock G30 and I have two Home Defense weapons, a Glock G21SF and a .300 Blackout AR 15. Capacity is not an issue because, I live in the DPRC (Democratic Peoples Republic of California)

    June 29, 2021 4:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Stephen A Watson

    I was in the Corps during the .45 ACP to 9mm swap. The Army, (of course), received them first. Another reason for the swap, one the author forgot to mention was that, for the most part, NATO armed forces had already moved to the 9mm. The .45 was becoming a dinasaur. I still posses a .45 among my various handguns, and I still enjoy shooting with it. My "house gun" of choice: .45 Long Taurus Public Defender. "The Judge". 5 Rounds of Hell.

    June 27, 2021 7:29 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I chose 45 acp. And also i want 9mm both of them. But my favorate is 45acp. And 357 magnum also.

    June 25, 2021 4:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Just ask yourself one question.
    If you are in a do or die situation and there is still one bad guy left you need to put down, and you only have one bullet left in your mag.
    Would you rather be holding a 45 or a 9mm?

    June 16, 2021 9:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Ernest Hooper

      That's way you carry extra clips.

      July 14, 2021 8:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I take my Colt Gold Cup in .45ACP any day over a typical 9mm pistol. I have total confidence in that pistol. I had a Beretta 9mm issued to me when I was 11H in the Army National Guard and it was ok, but I prefer my Gold Cup over that pistol.

    May 27, 2021 12:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Billy Ladwig

    As far as the size, my Colt m1991A ( .45 ) is no bigger then my S &W MODEL 59 (9MM ). now the m1991A normally carries 7 rounds and the model 59 carries 15 but living here in Ca. you can not have any mags that hold more then 10 rounds, so I had to buy 10 round mags for the model 59 and at the same time I found 10 round ags for the m1991A. The only advantage the mode 59 has is the rear sight to adjustable for both windage and elevation .

    May 9, 2021 9:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bruce Johnston

    .45 all the way for me. No longer carry a 1911, I now prefer Glock. They and FN took care of the capacity issue. Recoil isn’t an issue in a Glock and my G30 has out shot a few custom guns. Just feel more secure with that big fat slow round. Nothing against the 9mm, I own several, for the range, not for carry.

    April 21, 2021 4:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Travis Haley

    When did this stop being about the two rounds up for discussion? Both rounds are great in my book I definitely use both depending on the situation at hand. Any weapon or round in the right hands can be lethal just find whats the most comfortable and accurate with your shots. Neither round is worth anything if you can't connect with your target confidently and accurately

    April 14, 2021 5:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    What metric are we using to judge us as the winners of ww2? Imo our quality of life, freedom and liberty has been slowly eroded since the end of ww2. I can't think of any tangible way life is better for Americans then it was prior to ww2.

    March 27, 2021 2:15 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      How about because one half of the world isn't ruled by a racist fascist psychopathic government that's completely ok with genocide. Imagine a world where those guys held the power to wipe out the north American continent. I can't imagine that trade would be so great either. Of course they would have already wiped us out so that's not really an issue.

      Our liberties have eroded because we've had generations of snowflake feel gooders raise and educate our youth to believe their hippie nonsense and they are more than willing to trade their freedom for that occasionally fluffy feeling in their tummies.

      That has nothing to do with WWII and everything to do with people not remembering or even wanting reminders of our past to keep them on the right path. As they say, those who refuse to learn from their past are doomed to repeat it. And here were are with generations publicly embracing socialism and communism. Compl ignoring the fact that it never works and it destroys nations.

      March 30, 2021 2:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Gerald Buckles

    One important fact is the combat readiness, safety and ease of use of the 1911. It is inherently easy to remove from safe to fire and the safety is constructed well. The 1911 can be obtained in the 9mm as well as the 45 caliber but there would be another discussion circling back which is better. The 1911, in my opinion, is a fantastic user friendly design.

    March 25, 2021 8:15 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Last time I saw the statistics on it, most domestic self defense gun fights occur in 6 or less feet. Having said that, in my humble opinion, I prefer the big slow moving .45. In a 6 feet or less fire fight, if I have not subdued my attacker in 7 rounds. I'm dead.

    March 22, 2021 12:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I am an American and although I am proud of America and her accomplishments, I surely would never discredit any of the Allies contributions to victory in either World War. I also hold no delusions that the US would have defeated the axis powers by itself. The righteous banded together to defeat evil as this was surely the will of God himself. Thank you to our allies, we could not have done it without each other. Remember, pride cometh before the fall . . .

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    About "You’re welcome Europe"... well, it could be useffull to open History books : France made the biggest part of the job, with England, during WW1. And if USA made the job in the Pacific, in Europe it was USSR, for WW2. You’re welcome.

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Dang your a little Salty bro

      March 16, 2021 5:54 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        No, it's just wrong to tell half-truths & mythologize recent historical events. Uninterested folks will take it as fact and have a incorrect understanding of life past and present. So instead of boasting about something that never happened, recognize actual achievements like the almost unimaginable amount of vehicles weapons ammunition & food that we produced & ferried across the Atlantic to Pacific support and supply all of the Allies and our seemingly miraculous (midway) battles w/ Imperial Japan. A lie of omission or a good-natured lie is still misinforming people.

        October 14, 2021 11:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar


    February 17, 2021 8:06 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Felix Downs

    Great article but I would personally reconsider the “You’re welcome, Europe.” poster, considering that most Brits could argue that we managed a total of four years of your fighting for you (but certainly not intending to denigrate the US contribution, or to get into the Roosevelt v Congress debate) so this could appear a little insensitive. However, I have to admit you’re way ahead of us with the second amendment!

    January 4, 2021 8:55 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      The time fighting is a poor metric for how wars are won. A myth that TV and movies have given the world is that American warfighters won WWII, but really the amount of American blood contributed to the war effort was comparably insignificant -- especially compared to the Soviets. However, it's very reasonable to say that without American manufacturing, production, and agriculture the United Kingdom would have either fallen directly to the Germans or more likely would have been starved into submission. American lend-lease foodstuffs accounted for over 10% of Britain's over-all food supply during the war. Even on the Eastern front, a large part of how the USSR was able to keep fighting was because of American lend-lease. 11k plains, 6k tanks, 300k trucks, and 3 million tons of food were sent by the USA to the USSR.

      For the United Kingdom, after Dunkirk, the UK lost basically everything. Tanks, trucks, rifles, the UK's ability to actually fight a war was incredibly damaged and near unsurvivable had the Germans pressed an attack. The domestic manufacture of war material was not remotely able to resupply the entire UK armed forces. American manufacture and the American firearms industry was able to restock and resupply them when no one else could have.

      While it cannot be argued that Americans did not single-handedly win the war or that we contributed the most warfighters or took the most losses, it is also safe to say that without American intervention it is entirely probable that the UK would have fallen and the USSR would not have been able to push the Germans back.

      That said -- memes are really meant to be funny and normally tongue-in-cheek :)

      January 4, 2021 10:29 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Felix Downs

        Ok, I’d agree that’s a pretty reasoned response - it’s a complex issue (eg. Lend-lease conditions were allegedly exorbitant but the US manufacturing base was undeniably a godsend), plus some of the other margins you refer to were, frankly, too close to argue, so I won’t even try. We won the Battle of Britain independently of the US but how long the commonwealth would have held out could be debatable. And yes, I know memes are meant to be funny - it’s just that, unfortunately, the rest of the world can occasionally get a little weary of US flag waving (not saying it’s your fault; besides, we’re expecting America’s return as the world’s ‘good guy’ after January. We’ve really missed you since 2016!). But do please keep up the good work with the site - from a country where only the police are allowed handguns, it’s like a window on the free world. All the best from a small, cold island!

        January 5, 2021 3:14 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      J. Coats

      Did four years of our fighting? Curious comment. Why would a European war require Brits to fight for the U. S. We helped you with your war, you didn’t help us with our war.

      January 17, 2021 2:19 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Actually, the US & the West generally helped the Russians defeat Germany. Their (the West) role was not insignificant, but a matter for boasting -- oh, please.

        February 26, 2021 4:17 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Joe Pavlik

    I agree the best caliber for you is the one that you shoot the best . If you want knock down power take up boxing . There are benefits for every caliber but one thing is for sure a bigger hole yields more blood loss quicker . Considering that ballistics and expansion have increased for all calibers I like the 45 . I like the expansion of the Ranger series so I will stay with 45. I have to say I like them all from 22 to 500 Smith

    November 28, 2020 9:28 pm
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    Charles Stepp

    I'm Geezer who's first shot was with a 45 while in the Navy in the 70's. The history they told me was that the military originally was using a 38 something or other, but some weird fanatical types just kept coming at them in one of our many obscure little wars. The switched to the 45 because they needed something that transferred more energy to the target to knock them down. Mass times velocity is momentum. I have no idea how this compares with the 9mm. I'm going with the 45 because I'm also getting a Henry lever action rifle to match it. One ammo for all.

    November 9, 2020 11:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      As good a reason as any, I guess. One type of ammo in both guns makes things easier.

      November 14, 2020 9:44 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    THE Frog

    Ive loved the 45 since my Marine Corps days 50 years ago.
    Thats what I carry now.Always will.When that loud bitch goes off it gets everyones attention..especially the turd youre trying to ghost.
    And if you shoot at a car,it sounds like a hammer when it hits,and the bad guys know its not a pop gun aiming down on them.They find the gas peddle most rikki tik.
    And yes,if you arent skilled with a hand gun,dont carry until you are. I am.
    Like Barbarossa said..nothing unnerves a man more than some son of a bitch that stands when he ahould be running.
    Most clowns that shoot at you arent steady.Theyre nervous and excited.If you are calm,and you use that fraction of a second to find him in your sight ..one shot from a 45 will end the situation.

    November 8, 2020 8:50 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      The Wild Bill Hickok method of gun fighting: rapidly draw your gun, calmly stand your ground, carefully aim and press the trigger, observe the target fall, holster your gun, turnaround and walk away.

      February 12, 2021 3:16 am
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        Left out (one) seemingly small but (very) important step when take action time arrives. In dry practice, make it a habit to take a step to the left or right as the draw is occurring.

        March 8, 2021 1:00 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Left out (one) seemingly small but (very) important step when take action time arrives. In dry practice, make it a habit to take a step to the left or right as the draw is occurring.

        March 8, 2021 1:00 pm
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    9mm, 40, or 45acp Can't make my mind up and like them all. For a carry I use a compact 45. My favorite, but too heavy for every day is my 4" 41 Mag Smith. I don't think the debate will ever be answered.

    November 1, 2020 9:55 pm
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    Leonid I Suvorov

    FBI dropped 0.40 not because 9mm comes even close to it ... just affirmative action that's all it is. For one after police and FBI started using back 9mm amount of ammo that burned for arrested increased almost by 50%. Not just that - recent events with riots and looting shown total ineffectiveness of 9mm round as a defensive round

    October 11, 2020 6:58 pm
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      I like your comment,it make sense,so i will get bigger gun

      October 30, 2020 2:19 am
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    I have to agree. Get both

    October 10, 2020 10:22 am
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    James Slater

    Been a G19 fanboy a long time, just got my first 1911 and It feels way better in my hand. So I agree with having both.

    September 25, 2020 8:00 am
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    Allow me to offer a suggestion (well not a suggestion as the FBI state's so)..the FBI did not drop the .40 cal due to the improvement in .9mm ammo. They went back to the .9mm due to the fact that the new meat in the FBI were not man or woman enuff to handle the .40. Just because the FBI says, doesn't make it a fact. I guess the only improved ammo is the .9mm?

    September 14, 2020 12:30 pm
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    How can the 9mm "have the same wound tracks as a .45 ACP" when the .45 expands to an inch diameter?
    Thats half an in bigger then the 9mm?

    September 8, 2020 5:59 am
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      Damn good question and I have wondered this myself. Without the hydrostatic shock of a rifle round, wouldn't more organ and tissue damage be most important?

      September 8, 2020 6:30 am
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      Probably because it doesn't penetrate as far. Force is mass times acceleration squared. Muzzle velocity is key. The .45 is bigger, but not that much bigger. However the 9mm is much faster. It's just going to tear stuff up more in there.

      January 8, 2021 5:02 pm
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      Look at 5.56 vs 7.62 - the 5.56 makes havoc (spinning widely) when it enters the body which results in way more damage than the difference in diameter.

      January 23, 2021 3:29 am
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        Give Me Freedom

        If either 5.56 x 45 or 7.62 x 51 are using hollow points or soft points the damage will be greater. 7.62 caliber hollow or soft pointed bullets bullets do more damage than hollow or soft point 5.56 millimeter. And full metal jacket 5.56 bullets are not more effective than 7.62 x 51 using full metal jacket from what I have read.

        July 28, 2021 9:10 am
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      1” ? Golden saber .65 “
      Placement regardless the expansion will do the job.
      I’m from South America and police there uses 9mm round nose, enough to kill more outlaws in 1 month that all the US police in 5 years.

      June 7, 2021 10:59 pm
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    Kenneth Dougherty

    Everything is a compromise. The same size 9mm semi auto usually holds more rounds (often 15+1) than a 45. That is good. But the 45 does outperform the 9mm realistically. I keep ARX 118 grain ammo in my Glock 30 (10+1) which is 45ACP. 1350+ FPS in my 5 inch barrel Colt Gold Cup. 1300+ FPS in my Glock 30. No 9mm arguably matches that bullet's performance. ( Look it up) I'm a person who lives in a rural area, no longer military and not a cop. Here in my area ( and pretty much every american homeowner) it will be a gunfight that will be fought at close range, fewer than four bullets shot and be over in seconds. I'm not making this up. These are FBI statistics. I'll take the the bigger bullet. More stopping power. I'm not knocking the 9mm as a protection weapon. I would and have felt safe with one.
    Where I grew up an old timer who was still an incredibly good shot was asked which he would rather be holding in a gunfight. 9mm or 45acp? He pulled out a 9mm round and a 45 acp round and held them both in his hand. The difference between the two cartridges in size is dramatic. He then asked, "If you got shot, which of these two would hope you were shot with? Case closed.

    August 16, 2020 11:16 pm
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      This depends what you mean by "outperforms the 9mm". 9mm: having more range, muzzle velocity, more accuracy(depending on the professionalism of the shooter), less recoil, a smaller cal(meaning the gun will have more capacity) and more penetration(Depending on the grain). The 45: Has more JHP expansion, More knock down power(even with a FMJ). The 45 has more cons than it does pro's, specially with modern day guns. I don't care what you carry, it being a 22lr or 50AE, just make sure you carry something.

      October 5, 2020 7:05 am
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    The FBI employs some smart people. Over decades, many Ivy league graduates have gone there and it is the highest standard of law enforcement in our country.

    If they've conducted studies and have a general opinion the 9mm is better for fire fights in the field, that is a very strong point in favor the the 9mm. The lesser destructive force is balanced out by higher accuracy over multiple shots and more ammunition available in states without restrictions. Even in states with restrictions, you will shoot more accurately with 10x 9mm vs 10x ACP, so there is that in favor of the 9mm. I would think soldiers in fire fights face similar circumstances, except with more opponents who may also have body armor, which would favor the 9mm further, since it pierces armor better.

    A key advantage, as stated, is the 45's shallower penetration for home defense. Sure enough, it is certainly more destructive from what I've seen. The point that the wound tracks are almost the same according to the 2014 report is very surprising to me and frankly illogical looking at the bullet size, both uncollapsed and collapsed. Perhaps the slowing velocity is a factor here, but that seems unlikely to me. If the wound channel is indeed the same, then the 45 is the inferior round in all regards except home defense.

    August 11, 2020 10:10 am
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    I would argue, from a Marine Corps POV, that during my time in service " The 90's" most of us were of the mindset that the stupidity if the DoD had destroyed our 1 shot 1 Kill motto by bringing in the 9mm hole puncher because that's all it was good for seen as how the GC only allowed us to use FMJ Copper Tops.... This was perhaps one of the worst rounds ever but as they point out, " cheep" is the way of thinking every time we had some Democrat dip shit signing away new legislation on what we were allowed to do our job with...To hell with the opinions of those actually doing the job such as in the case of a radical jihadie who took 17 copper top shots and kept going..... Had that been a 1911, he wouldn't have had 17 body parts to loose....

    July 30, 2020 11:22 am
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      Locally we are seeing a lot of police involved shootings using 9mm, and they empty the clip almost every time. Then the news says the perp was taken to hospital with life threatening injuries.
      I do not have much experience with guns in general and do not own a hand gun. Firing the 9mm at the range was fun, then I fired the .45...had to peel the smile off of my face.

      In my under experienced mind, you don't take 4 .45 rounds to the upper body and suffer life threatening injuries....you just plain and simply die. Owning at least 1 9mm seems practical though, as availability of ammo is likely even in a SHTF situation.

      December 6, 2020 12:19 am
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        David, PPT Editor

        "taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries" is a standard line because police and EMS cannot pronounce death. Nurses in some states and in some situations and doctors are the only ones that can.

        December 6, 2020 10:02 am
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    I've owned & fired both repeatable over the years. Recently I did a test. PAt 50 yards My 9mm puts a hole cleanly thru a concrete block....My 45ACP breaks the block into peices.... I placed an 9 in diameter wooden pole in the ground.... Firing 12 rounds my 9 mm wouldn't penetrate it or do catastrophic damage to it. My 45ACP at 12 rounds was well on the way to chewing it apart. For pure destructive power there's no contest...none. While a 9mm is discussing the situation A 45ACP ends the Debate.....with prejudice

    July 3, 2020 12:47 pm
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    Lorenzo Torres

    Yo prefero el .45 acp tambien.

    July 1, 2020 3:06 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Yo también

      February 12, 2021 3:27 am
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    In states like Connecticut where magazine capacity is limited to 10 rounds, would this restriction alter the debate in any way? Perhaps favoring the .45?

    June 30, 2020 8:57 pm
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    isidro javier herrera gonzalez

    pros y contras, el 9mm. es mas liviano y desarrolla una velocidad supersonica, su proyectil aerodinamico y la velocidad de boca, le dan un poder de penetracion, pero mientras no toque un organo vital, el adversario seguira disparando, aun herido por la 9 mm. El .45 acp es un proyectil mas pesado de 230 granos o casi 15 gramos de peso, de ahi que su velocidad sea subsonica de apenas 264 mts/seg., pero la ventaja es que con un simple roson pone fuera de combate a un adversario, aunque no necesariamente tenga que matarlo. yo prefiero una .45 acp de gran capacidad, p 14, una mega star, una glock en modelos 21 y 30; todas ellas por el gran poder de contundencia.

    June 20, 2020 5:47 pm
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      Lorenzo Torres

      Yo prefers el .45 acp turn.

      July 1, 2020 3:04 am
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    Dawson Fude

    SO, 9MM is better.

    June 18, 2020 8:50 am
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    Jesse Haddix

    I have to agree you do need both a 9mm and a 45 cal as far as comparing them I feel it is apples and oranges both are great

    June 9, 2020 6:26 pm
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    Well written article. Having said that, here is something to consider. One thing I see a lot of people point to as proof that the 9mm is nearly identical to the .45 ACP in performance is the FBI testing protocol. What they neglect to take into consideration is that in order for a cartridge to meet the testing criteria, the cartridge is required to get a minimum of 12" of penetration. There is a plethora of loads in both 9mm and .45 that do a better job of expanding and out perform the FBI test rounds in nearly every way. One excellent example would be the Lehigh Defense max expansion loads in either caliber. But, because they get less than 12" of penetration in ballistic gel, they are not tested.
    Bottom line, the FBI testing protocol and testing results are really more examples of government inefficiency, and should not be held in such high regard in my opinion. I mean, the FBI testing protocol is just like Mil-Spec—it sounds cool til you actually know what it is.

    May 16, 2020 10:49 pm
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    When I shoot a Glock 19 defensively I am shooting a stream of 3-5 shots which land in roughly a 2 1/2" circle. This should bring a target down. I shoot one shot with a 45 and the muzzle blast brings the barrel up sometimes cocked sideways some making it slow and difficult getting the gun back on target. 45 auto shells cost more too.

    May 16, 2020 6:41 pm
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      My 1911 in 45 has little recoil barely if any more then a 9mm. I think the recoil of 45 is way overblown. I also own a glock 19 as well.

      May 18, 2020 5:43 am
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        I agree with the .45 recoil being overblown. Also for me a thicker grip adds to my control, control adds to faster more accurate follow ups. Thing is, no shoe fits everyone, no caliber fits everyone

        May 21, 2020 7:40 pm
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    Jathan Stewart

    I carry a fn fnx 45 tactical every day so capacity is irrelevant I carry 32 rounds of 45 the weight doesn't bother me I can control the recoil well enough follow up shots are quick and on target with a 4-6 inch group speed shooting so I'm staying with my 45 I don't belive the 9mm is less of a bullet i just like the size diffence and the look of a big bore firearm is all i love shooting a 9mm and will definitely buy multiple but for carry 45 and if I need more penetration than get a 10mm which is op compared to 9mm and 45

    May 1, 2020 8:47 pm
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    Barry Newman

    My 45 acp has a muzzle velosity of 1000 fps 510 foot lbs. 9mm is not close.

    April 16, 2020 9:47 am
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      Yeah its not close because its way higher moron

      April 27, 2020 6:38 pm
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        Marc Sayer

        Really? What's the data source that claim is based on? Because according to BBTI, out of 10 different 9mm rounds tested, only one round, the Cor Bon 115 gr JHP +P, managed to make 500 foot lb in a 6" barrel. All the rest, including +p loads, came in under that number. With half coming in under 400 ft lb. http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/megraphs/9mm.html

        Whereas in .45, fully half of the rounds made 500 ft lb or more in a 6" barrel, and one round made better than 600 ft lb

        Ballistics101.com's handgun testing is even more comprehensive and makes the .45 look even more powerful.

        Their testing shows seven 9mm rounds that equal or exceed 500 ft lb, with 4 hitting between 511 and 540 ft lb. 540 ft lb was the highest recorded muzzle energy for the 9mm in their testing. That's out of over 100 different rounds tested. http://www.ballistics101.com/9mm.php

        OTOH their .45 testing showed a much higher max muzzle energy with a number of rounds considerably over 600 ft lb, and had far more rounds (23 rounds) coming in over 500 ft lb. http://www.ballistics101.com/45_acp.php

        Not dissing the 9, in fact it's what I carry. Just keepin it real, and saying I'd like to see the testing that backs up a claim the 9mm has "way higher" muzzle velocities than the .45 ACP.

        June 12, 2020 11:00 pm
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    I carry a Sig P320 Compact in .45 ACP (I mainly carry .45 ACP) and 357 SIG.
    Personally, I feel 9mm needs a boost in its speeds, because you are sacrificing bore size. That’s where the .357 SIG comes into play. It’s essentially a 9mm magnum.

    Feel free to check out these sources:

    Ammunition research (from notes I’ve made from sources)




    Mechanics of Handgun Wounding
    All handgun wounds will combine the components of penetration, permanent cavity, and temporary cavity to a greater or lesser degree. Fragmentation, on the other hand, does not reliably occur in handgun wounds due to the relatively low velocities of handgun bullets. Fragmentation occurs reliably in high-velocity projectile wounds (impact velocity in excess of 2,000 feet per second) inflicted by soft or hollow point bullets. In such a case, the permanent cavity is stretched so far, and so fast, that tearing and rupturing can occur in tissues surrounding the wound channel, which were weakened by fragmentation damage. It can significantly increase damage in rifle bullet wounds. (Adding my own word here: in other words, once a bullet hits the nearly 2000 FPS mark, temporary wound cavity matters)


    My personal word:
    In conclusion: These people that sit at the alter of the FBI make me laugh. When you actually test the loads on living breathing targets (like the Strasbourg test) , that (to me) is the best indicator. If I’m going with a traditional hollow point, give me .45 ACP Federal HST +P at 950 FPS. If I’m going for a fragmentation round, give me a .357 SIG from Liberty Civil defense at 2,300 FPS. Both rounds are more than enough to put a guy down. The HST .45 ACP does it with its massive permanent wound cavity (for a handgun). The .357 SIG Liberty does it with its rifle like speeds dumping its energy immediately on target and making temporary wound cavity matter. Not to mention the permanent fragmentation wounds are nasty in themselves. Basically, I believe with smaller bores you need to make use of their speeds and get a temporary wound cavity that matters (to make up for its smaller permanent wound cavity). With bigger bores, you need only worry about the reliability of your hollow point expanding (after going through material) and going 10–12 inches or so in the body to avoid over/under-penetration. At the end of the day though, a bigger bullet is theoretically better. The entrance and exit wound will be bigger (with a good hollow point).

    February 9, 2020 12:32 pm
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    tony d willIiams

    I have both, I have practiced more with the 45 ACP. Most of my practice is at 10 yards, I do vary 10 feet to 20 yards. I walk, run, stand, drop, moving toward and sideways to targets which are set standing height and kneeling height. I have my shooting partner tell me which to shoot. I consistently place the 45 rounds in an 8" area. And no the target is not shooting back so the stress level is low.
    I am beginning to practice with the 9 mm more. I bought it for my wife close to 40 years ago, then she decided not to shoot anymore, sad and not so safe. I may not always be there.
    I have been shot, it happened in the suburbs back in '74. I have been shot at a couple more times, they missed. It is a dangerous world, much more than most believe.
    My defense weapon is the 45 at this time. I am good with it, plenty of muscle memory and everything flows easily.
    The choice for anybody should be what they are comfortable with and accurate with.

    20 ~ 30% accuracy, you have got to be kidding? They need a lot more practice.

    January 16, 2020 8:00 pm
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      20-30% really isn't that bad. They are often shooting at moving targets who may be taking cover and at the same time the officers are trying to take cover and not get shot themselves (this isn't range shooting). Studies done on combat troops show similar hit ratios to these LEO stats.

      February 14, 2020 8:33 am
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        Many independent studies have been done about actual combat shooting accuracy. The reality is that 30% is on the high side. NYPD study had their officers at 18% accuracy in gunfights. Accuracy is affected by the stress of being shot at, the need to establish effective cover, high respiratory rate from the exertion required to get to that cover, moving (and sometimes multiple) targets and other factors. Unfortunately for LEOs, the kind of training that can effectively simulate actual firefights is limited to our special forces folks, as most PDs don’t have the budget or manpower to train well for actual gunfights. The only good news is that those gunfights are extremely rare.

        March 16, 2020 4:07 pm
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        Or shooting people in the back while they are running away.

        March 22, 2020 5:36 pm
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          What may look like running away to someone not involved, might loot a lot more moving to cover from someone getting, or anticipating getting, shot at.

          March 25, 2020 6:05 am
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      what do you expect from them? 50%? Lmao. 30% is being nice. They hardly hit that number. It’s not about practice - it’s all about the situation they’re in.

      March 27, 2020 2:16 am
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    Dennis Celery

    The bullet doesn't matter if you can't shoot it with some accuracy. Whatever works for *YOU* is the best choice. Use a gun and round that you can shoot well - which takes practice.

    January 4, 2020 7:24 am
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    Alaska Fan

    So I'm an operating room nurse in a level 1 trauma center. I've seen A LOT of patients shot with numerous calibers. I've never had anyone die from being shot with any handgun round. Not to say they didn't die on the street, but once they made it to surgery they survived. I had one patient shot 11 times with what looked like a .380 or 9mm, hard to tell on xray. He survived wounds to the chest, back, both arms and both legs.
    Now to the .45 issue: one patient was shot in the back of the leg with a .45 hydro shock round mid way up the leg which lodged in the back of the knee. I'm positive it was a hydro shock because of the distinctive shape of the bullet. Even though this is supposed to be an excellent round, with great expansion in gelatin, this bullet had almost zero expansion.
    When it comes to the issue of 9mm vs .45, obviously bullet placement and bullet construction is key for stopping an assailant. However neither caliber is magical, as some may believe.

    December 31, 2019 6:15 pm
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    So, here is the STRAIGHT skinny on the 9x19mm v .45ACP debate.

    The .45ACP is a superior defensive round, all else being equal. The whole point of a defensive firearm is to STOP an attacker as quickly as possible. In a gunfight, every round which is fired, by either side, is potentially lethal. The object then becomes to stop your adversary from firing bullets at you. Bullets which strike the human body, yet do not hit the Central Nervous System rely upon blood loss to drop blood pressure and cause incapacitation. This, unfortunately takes time to accomplish. A direct hit to the heart or aortic arch can take as long as 8 seconds to result in unconsciousness. It usually takes longer for lung and lower toro hits to produce the same results. And, we all know that the more damage done, to the body, the faster the blood loss. This can be accomplished two ways. 1) by making bigger holes and 2) by making more holes. The .45acp makes bigger holes, all else being equal. The 9x19mm allows you to make more holes, from a standard pistol, than a .45 caliber pistol [albeit only 2-4 more rounds in the 9mm]. But, firing rounds takes time. So, if you only have a few seconds to fire, then you may not discharge any more rounds from the 9mm handgun than you did from a.45 ACP handgun. This negates the added magazine capacity advantage of the 9mm.

    As to increased penetration, this is only really a concern for LE. And, if you are really concerned about penetration on hard targets, then you should probably be carrying a magnum or the .357 SIG or 10mm rounds, not a 9x19mm or .45 ACP.

    Grip circumference on the 9mm and ,45 pistols is not that different. As most modern shooting systems use a two hannd grip, the grip circumference is negligible. It is not an issue.

    Recoil is largely the same between the 9x9mm and the .45 ACP. Both produce muzzle energy levels in the 380 ft/lb to 425 ft/lb class. Interestingly, the 9x19mm rounds generally produce higher muzzle energy which, as we all know from Newton's 3rd Law, produces an equal and opposite reaction. This reaction is recoil. So, which round actually produces more recoil? In the case of average muzzle energy for a given caliber, that would be the 9x19mm. But, with an effective grip the difference in recoil is not significant to have any real effect on the effective use of the handgun.

    So, caliber choice. Whatever floats your boat. You have to live, or die, by your choice. the increased effectiveness of the .45 ACP roound is negligible with today's modern expanding bullets. In certain situations, such as home defense in the middle of the night, the slightly higher capacity of the 9mm handgun may make it a preferred weapon. Concealability is rarely an issue, so a smaller 9mm really has little advantage. And, once you get below 9 rounds in the weapon, bullet effectiveness becomes much more important. So, pick what you like, as long as the handgun iis suited to the job at hand.

    What is much more important is training and practice. Let's be honest here, most gun handlers simply do not practice enough to be reliable pistoleers. Even the training provided is usually lacking. LEOs average 20-30% hits in a gunfight. This is criminal. In a gunfight, the least acceptable hit percentage is 60% and less than 80% should be frowned upon, strongly. Bullets which do not trike the target are worthless for self defense and represent a real danger to innocent bystanders. So, get training. Practice both bullseye and tactical shooting skills. Because when you are confronted in your living room, at a distance of 10-15 feet, you have to drop him before he can fire or you are going to get hit. This will likely require a head shot. Can you do that under stress? Better find out.

    December 28, 2019 11:36 am
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    I think there was a fundamental mistake about over penetration in this article. 9mm do not penetrate deeper on average. The truth is both velocity and mass increase penetration just as both increase energy, but this is what we have to realize. When it comes to generating energy, all things being equal, increasing velocity does this more quickly than increasing mass. This is why K.E. = 1/2 x mass x velocity squared. In other words, when computing energy, you half the mass (as it counts less) and square or exponentially increase the velocity (because it accounts for more).

    It appears to me, however that when comparing calibers in terms of penetration, the opposite is true. I have always heard greater mass can cause over penetration, and certainly fast and heavy bullets go through people. As one coroner I heard from said, he's never seen a .357 Magnum leave a body and he's never seen a .44 Magnum stay in one.

    I offer two pieces of evidence to support my notion that .45 ACP penetrates slightly more on average. The first one is indirect evidence. If you look up the Buckeye Firearms Association article comparing calibers, 9mm fails to incapacitate 13% of the time while .45 ACP fails to incapacitate 14%. Statistically this is a dead heat and well within any reasonable margin of error; but remember, the 9mm and .45 ACP wound channels are essentially the same in size, so what is the difference?

    In fact, unlike the other calibers in this study, over half of the 9mm rounds from the 1800 bodies involved in shootings were FMJ. As a trauma room doctor pointed out in one article I was reading, bullets that leave the body are less effective than ones that stay in. In this study, .44 Magnum failed to penetrate 13% of the time tied with 9mm and .40 S&W (and within the margin of error of .45 ACP). The reason why these calibers don't do any better is that they are more likely to over penetrate (thus doing less energy as much of the bullet's energy is released outside the body). Certainly this is easy to understand with the .44 Magnum because it's increased velocity and mass produces essentially twice that of 9mm, but you can't say that about the other calibers. Now you may assume that the 9mm's must be effective because they simply passed through the body since more than half were FMJ's. That's a reasonable assumption, but it's not the only possibility. It could be that when hollow points fail, 9mm isn't going deep enough, and perhaps the FMJ's don't overpenetrate in this caliber as much as others (especially because the most popular FMJ rounds are usually lighter 115 grain bullets). Okay, this isn't very convincing one way or another, so I decided to go to both the Lucky Gunner website and Ballistics.101 for data on the calibers. When I went to the former, I added up all the ammo the conducted ballistic gel tests for and averaged them out. The average penetration is as follows: .380 ACP (14.9"), 9mm (17.1"), .40 S&W (17.9"), .357 SIG (18.0"), .45 ACP (18.1"), and 10mm (18.9"). The .380 is obviously light and slow and has the least penetration. .357 SIG has the fastest velocity by far, but is in the middle of the pack with .40 S&W. .45 ACP and 10mm, both being slower heavier bullets than .357 SIG have greater penetration.

    When I went to Ballistics101.com a few years ago, I got all the data from the rounds they're tracking and averaged them out per caliber in terms of energy. The results are as follows: .380 ACP (217 ft. lbs.), 9mm (379 ft. lbs.), .40 S&W (447 ft. lbs.), .45 ACP (447 ft. lbs.), .357 SIG (526 ft. lbs.), , and 10mm (650 ft. lbs.). If you notice, .40 S&W and .45 ACP have the same average energy, but as I showed earlier, .45 ACP penetrates more on gel tests. This backs up what I am saying about mass accounting for more in terms of penegation as velocity builds energy more than mass. As you can see with .357 SIG, which has greater velocity and mass than .45 ACP, it still penetrates less. Of course, 10mm which has less mass than .45 ACP still has more energy than the other calibers because its a relatively fast bullet and it's heavy, but it's not as fast as .357 SIG but it penetrates significantly more.

    One other thing of interest is that in the Buckeye Firearms study both velocity and mass increase accuracy, but again, accuracy favors calibers that can excel and one or both of these things. After examining the gunshot wounds, the study ranked accuracy as follows for chest and head shots: .380 ACP (76%), 9mm (74%), .40 S&W (76%), .357 SIG (81%), .45 ACP (85%), and .44 Magnum (88%) (there was no information on 10mm). .380 ACP, 9mm, and .40 S&W are all within the margin of error, but .357 SIG, .45 ACP, and .44 Magnum are not, and they are all heavier and/or faster on average.

    This is not exactly scientific. But the data from all three sources tend to lean towards heavier bullets penetrating more than slower ones, and then tend to be more accurate. Again, velocity and mass both increase accuracy, but mass seems to get us there more quickly just as we see with penetration, while velocity appears to build energy more quickly. It's this ability of 9mm to produce enough energy and not over penetrate which makes me think it competes with the big guys. It should be noted however, that the only round that was slightly outside the margin of error for incapacitation was the .357 SIG & Magnum which were the only rounds that not only beat shotguns, but they also tied centerfire rifles in their failure to incapacitate rates from the Buckeye Firearms study. Again, I am not claiming anything is conclusive, but what I can say is that it does not appear that lighter faster bullets appear to penetrate more. If anything, it's the opposite.

    November 26, 2019 5:49 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Excellent well researched response. If you don't currently write articles professionally, you should consider doing so.

      January 24, 2020 7:06 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      As to why heavier projectiles penetrate more than light ones, given similar shapes, is due to conservation of energy. Heavier projectiles shed their kinetic energy more quickly than heavier projectiles. As the mass of the projectile does not change, appreciatively, what is reduced is the velocity of the projectile. And, lighter projectiles shed velocity faster than heavier projectiles. Some times much faster.

      May 27, 2020 7:56 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Momentum equals mass times velocity. Heavier bullets have more momentum at the same velocity as a lighter bullet. The 45 has more momentum than the 9mm. The 9mm has to have much higher velocity to have the same momentum as a 45. Momentum is what gives more knock down power. Momentum is more important than energy for potency.

      July 27, 2020 7:18 pm
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    Donald Brown

    I’m a big fan of the Colt 1911 45 with 7 and 8 round mags and have carry one cc for a few years. I shoot the 1911 platform better than any semi auto or revolver I’ve ever shot. I soon will be adding a Colt Commander in 9mm to my cc option.

    November 19, 2019 3:48 pm
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      Dennis Celery

      The one that works best for you is the best choice.

      January 4, 2020 7:20 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Listen--great article but here are thedsalient poinyts.
    * more rounds (20-30% accuracy by FBI measures)
    * lighter recoil faster follow up shot (see above)
    * Lighter gun
    * Universal availability or AMMO--actually should be #1 !!

    November 18, 2019 4:59 pm
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    Angela Waterford

    I like that you said that the 9mm pistol is ideal for open and concealed carry. My husband doesn't like the sound of loud guns, so I might buy a silencer for it if this will let me buy a gun for myself without him complaining about its sounds when I'm training. This way, I can make sure that he'll have some peace when I'm trying to fire some rounds on a practice target.

    November 18, 2019 8:57 am
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      Stan Robertson

      "My husband doesn't like the sound of loud guns".....For Christ sakes, get him a pellet gun.

      December 9, 2019 7:26 pm
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    Joseph Rietdorf

    More misinformation about the 9mm vs 45. These people think the 9mm shoots magic bullets and the 45 is just slow and heavy. Shoot them both at the same velocity at a block of gelatin. 130 gr VS 230 gr HPs at 1000 fps. Unless you through simple logic out the window, the 45 does more damage.

    November 14, 2019 8:08 am
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      Jen Rush

      Thank you! My experience has led me to the same conclusion. That’s why my husband is getting a Sig Sauer .45 ACP for Christmas.

      November 25, 2019 7:10 am
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    Kenneth Dougherty

    If a higher capacity magazine (15) might be needed (such as law enforcement), go with the 9mm. If a 10 round magazine is more than you would likely ever need (a homeowner), go with the 45. Pick any popular defense ammo made in both 9mm and 45ACP and the 45ACP causes more damage. But if both of these two are more than your are able to shoot comfortably, consider the 380. Quicker on target and more accurate shots with a less powerful cartridge will usually defeat slower on target and less accurate shots from a more powerful cartridge in a gunfight. Practice, practice, practice. People tend to practice more with a weapon they are comfortable with.

    October 6, 2019 1:47 am
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    Ralph Key

    My wife was a Harville from Alabama. Hum.
    I settled the issue by having 32, 380, 9mm and 45. I carry the XDx in 45 but I also carry 9mm in a PPQ. They are equally comfortable to carry and to shoot. Just get both calibers. I use Hornady critical defense in both caliber. Critical duty allows barrier penetration. We really have the best there can be in terms of equipment so learning to employ them is the big issue other than defense against democrats.

    September 10, 2019 9:30 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      You may need that Democrat at your side while fighting off the Russians, Chinese, or other foreign enemies. Don't be so quick to kill your brother just because his opinion is different than yours .

      October 2, 2019 7:45 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Where do I stand on the 9mm vs .45ACP debate?
    I couldn't decide, so I bought (built actually)...BOTH!

    September 6, 2019 10:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Which is it? You say bullet technology has caused the 9mm to catch up with the .45acp. Then you said because of bullet technology, the .45acp has also improved. If the latter is true, the .45acp is still a better round. This article is biased toward 9mm anyway. Sure, they will both do the job, but a fatter heavier bullet is better for man stopping. It just takes more practice to be proficient which many want to skip....

    August 31, 2019 9:23 pm
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      Give Me Freedom

      In my opinion 185 grain .45 Auto hollow points are a better pistol round than any 9 millimeter Luger out there. But I think 9 millimeter Luger is a better carbine round over .45 Auto. In my experience the 9 millimeter is effective to about 110 yards and semi effective beyond that. I got rid of my .45 Auto carbine because I found it less effective beyond about 60 yards.

      But I would definitely take a .45 Auto pistol over 9 x 19 handgun in most situations.

      July 27, 2021 10:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    It's all about the ammo. With the latest 9mm defensive rounds it's come down to choice not effectiveness

    August 5, 2019 8:54 am
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    Charles Johnson

    .45. Over penetration matters in public too.

    August 3, 2019 5:05 pm
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    Tony King

    The link is entitled to be wrong lol, the capacity of 9mm the distance and all is great . However breaking the use of the bullet is to protect yourself. You shouldn’t be shooting in long distance situations if it’s self defense situation. You need fewer rounds to do the job so you don’t get excessive force charge , so that rules out the capacity as being a decision factor in the debate . The fact of the high muzzle velocity will lower the enteral damage done to organs . The faster bullet will move an artery out of the way where a slower bullet like .45 will take the artery out . This will eliminate the threat on fewer rounds. Now that being said the 9mm has its place in a high performance situation. The law enforcement and military need that exact type of round and the 9mm is the perfect gun for those situations.

    July 21, 2019 5:18 pm
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    I don’t understand why a situation in a street would be different than at home. There is a difference between an LEO and a civilian. As a civilian I shouldn’t find myself in a situation in the street to have to shoot into cars and where I live by code all exterior walls are concrete. I have played many scenarios in my head and I always conclude that the proximity of an assailant in the street would be greater than the proximity in a home. I can’t see the situation where I would have to return fire on someone standing 25 yards away and where I would initiate shooting against someone at that distance. LEOs have completely different considerations. I used to carry 9mm and I switched to an XDS 3.3 chambered in 45 ACP. With the 7 round magazine it fits in my jeans front pocket. At 3-8 yards distance, which is the most likely scenario I would find myself in need to draw, if God forbid the situation arises, aiming would be instinctive and firing would be done with one hand. At such a distance a 45 round would be a lot more effective than a 9. I had never thought about all this before the day that an Iraq veteran, who loves hunting, told me “use a BB gun to shoot rats in your backyard and carry a large magnum as a backup against a hog charging against you...”.

    June 16, 2019 4:05 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      ZzZxXx 0o0o0 xXxZzZ

      You're 100% right the big boy can handle a coyote and a wolf so why waist your time carrying something that cant protect you from the both of them??

      June 25, 2019 9:23 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Patrick Flynn


        July 5, 2019 9:57 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Because 99% of people will never fight off a coyote attack let alone see a wolf and if your wandering into areas with wolves carrying a 9mm your pretty stupid as those places also have bears who aren't going to be impressed with the latest plastic fantastic

        August 5, 2019 8:57 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I carry and would defend my life with 9mm round. That being said, I would go to hell and back with my HK USP 45. It’s the gun I run classes with and is setup on my battle/SHTF rig.

    June 7, 2019 6:17 am
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    Stacy Leighton

    I would have to say that for me I am more accurate with a .45 acp then a 9mm but that may be because the 1911 is a better fit for me and feels better balanced then a polymer 9mm

    June 4, 2019 9:10 pm
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    Vance David

    I will always favor 45 Acp over 9mm. This doesn't mean I don't own a 9mm. I also carry .357 Sig In the winter time for thicker clothing on my would be enemies. One thing I do like about 9mm ammo that wasn't mentioned is the weight especially in bulk. 45 bullets weigh a ton In a ammo can! One thing I like about the. 45 is that it's so much easier to see the holes on a B27 target at 25 yards than 9mm holes. When you said buy both at the end I was thinking .45 for carry and 9mm for backup.

    June 2, 2019 1:16 pm
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    I am pretty much in agreement with the author, GET BOTH! ...and I have gotten both, plus the 40 Cal Big Brother 10mm. As if the 9mm is the only benefactor of "ammo advancement", well, I also have the awesome 460 Rowland which overlaps 44 Magnum power levels in a 13 round Glock 21 magazine. Plus they have extended mags of many sizes Or back the other way, you can run 9mm NATO, +P adn all of that song and dance. I believe you can make darn near any caliber and pistol you have just as flexible as the next caliber. I'd love to find a 10mm SubSonic round in the 250gr range, my son has a Kriss Vector with a SilencerCo can. Very accurate pistol setup

    May 24, 2019 5:06 pm
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    S. Squirrel

    I split the difference, .357 Sig gives you the same number of rounds per mag as the .40 but with the ballistics of a .357 magnum. When I really want to do some damage my S&W Govt. chambered in .400 Corbon gives me the power of a 10mm in a 45 ACP case size. Another benefit is that both are bottleneck cartridges dramatically lowering the chance of a failure to feed malfunction, an issue with both the 9mm and .45.

    May 16, 2019 5:19 am
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    I find it funny that people pretend that modern ammo has only improved the 9mm. It’s such a pathetic argument. The same gap between the 9mm vs 45 still exists. While modern ammo allows a 9mm to reliable penetrate sufficiently and expand to over .6”, the 45 can now reliably penetrate sufficiently and expand to over 3/4” of an inch. It’s still creating a bigger wound and crushing more tissue. The 9mm on a per round damage basis is NOT as effective as a 45. That is simply bologne. Now when you factor in shootability, cost, and capacity you can make an argument that the 9mm is the better round but it is NOT as effective as a 45 when it comes to terminal ballistics. That is just simply a foolish claim to make. Some modern 45 jhp loads are creating wound channels on par with 12 ga foster slugs. Modern ammo has not only benefited the 9mm

    April 30, 2019 11:36 pm
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    I don't think a ATTACKER/HOME INVADER will know the difference between a 9mm or a 45cal to the HEAD, NECK or a double tap in the CHEST!! One of the GREAT things about FIREARMS in AMERICA is VARIETY!! One of the BAD things about FIREARMS in AMERICA is the DEMOCRATIC LIBERALS!! Either one will do the Trick unless it happens to be a VERY RARE ATTACKER who has a super tolerance for pain & Blood loss or is on some kind of super man DRUG!!

    April 22, 2019 5:10 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Till yesterday I carried .22LR. You ask why? Well it will make holes in bad guy/rabbid dog … I am confident that I can stop attack with .22LR cause I can shoot 8 rounds in about 3 secconds center body mass, palm size group. But as I wrote before, I will be sent to jali for that and I dont like small places :D
      So I purchased big bore gun :D and hope for rapid blood pressure drop which will cause unconsciousness, or that this bullet will go trought and break spine.

      April 24, 2019 3:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Somethig to the discuters, even for an author.

    I live in less free country, I still can carry my pistol, but EU wants to limit my magazines (blah blah blah). But the greater concern is, that Judges in my country do not like defensive shooting.

    First to mention, we are limited to FMJ rounds, no HP no JHP, just plain FMJ.
    Second, our judges demand, that each shot has to be beforethought = you can shoot perp once and then you have to evaluate, if he stoped his attack. If not, you may shot again but not before. So if you double tap someone or use Mozambique you are in lots of troubles and you are looking for serious jali time for murder.

    The above writing concludes that my next pistol is .45ACP (already ordered Glock 41 MOS) and if I have to ever use it (and I hope not) - it will be one shot center body mass and wait if bad guy want to do something else. If so, another one which should lead to enough blood pressure drop to lose consciousness.

    April 7, 2019 11:31 pm
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      Justin Vaughan

      If you have to reassess after every shot, then that first shot needs to count. If cost is no issue then .45 is probably best. But if cost IS an issue, then a well placed shot with a high grain 9mm FMJ is better than a poorly placed .45—what I mean is that you have to get your time in at the range. If you have a budget that, hypothetically, only allows you to fire 100 rounds at the range per visit every week/month, then that same budget will only get you 60-70 rounds with a 45. That's a big difference, and could be the difference between a heart shot and a lung shot. Both kills, but one kills instantly, the other allows for return fire from your attacker.

      But that's all a moot point. If you need your first shot to count more than anything, then why aren't you carrying a .357 magnum? Low capacity isn't your issue, so it seems that a powerful revolver would be ideal. Plus, law enforcement, judges, and the average person usually see revolvers as less threatening than a high capacity auto-loader. Since defensive rounds aren't an option, you'll want the highest grain bullet you can get, in a soft point wadcutter—which I don't think are even available in 9mm or .45 ACP. So that's another reason why you should get yourself a subnose. 357 magnum: the ammunition options are superior for your particular circumstance.

      July 10, 2019 4:45 am
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    john schroeck

    I agree with you completely,I like and have both -a DW Guardian in .45 and a sig p365 9mm for carry.The choice on which to carry depends upon where I am carrying and why for that day.I believe the ability to have both options covers more scenarios.Great info BTW.

    February 22, 2019 6:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      One of the great things about FIREARMS in AMERICA is VARIETY! A ATTACKER/HOME INVADER will not know the difference between a 9mm & a 45cal to the HEAD, NECK or a DOUBLE TAP to the CHEST!! They will both have the same result!

      April 22, 2019 5:14 am
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    Vicente Taboada

    45 acp, with a father like the one we had,
    And the proof he show.
    My dear friend, is nothing ups there tha can be compare to the amazing 45 acp.
    For self defense close or far away.
    We can hit a moving target at 75 yards away.
    Need more.?

    February 12, 2019 2:37 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      45cals are GREAT and so are 9mm, but If you Hit a ATTACKER IN the NECK or CHEST with a 9mm he is not going to say, "It's only a 9mm let me finish attacking this person"

      April 22, 2019 5:17 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    This is a great article period.! I would like to add that the FBI test comparisons that are referred to are only half the test. The true stopping power goes to the 45 acp (I.e. death) 92+%, 9mm is just over 50%. Center mass Shot placement. Which is why spec ops and the FBI still have 45 acp in their arsenals. Operational goals dictate which weapon to carry. The FBI and the army’s surgeon General have done extensive data gathering. It’s good advice and have fun digging. some info is well hidden for obvious reasons.

    February 10, 2019 6:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      But barrier's and body armor slows 45's down to BB gun effectiveness! I was watching COPS and some ACCIDENTALLY shot a 45 at a motel, it went across a 100 foot (or so) Court yard through the Flimsy motel doors Hit a man standing up and the bullet fell into the man's POCKET!! He didn't even have a BRUISE where the 45cal bullet hit him!!

      April 22, 2019 5:23 am
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        Tim R Hughes

        I know better than that.
        I carried and used the 45 ACP in the military. Your statement is factually in error.

        September 30, 2019 10:36 am
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    Joe Miller

    The U.S. Navy was the last branch of service to go to the 9mm. When I was in we still carried the Colt 1911 .45. Great weapon! My instructors told me that the main r reason the Navy didn't want to switch to a 9mm was that you can hit a 300 pound man with a 9mm as he's running toward you. You can hit him multiple times and he can keep coming at you. With a .45 you can hit him anywhere, even in the arm or shoulder, and you're going to knock him down. Every time. In the real world a single hit with a .45 will stop him. An unmoving target is pretty easy to hit again if needed.

    January 26, 2019 11:10 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Saw a Gentleman post earlier that he’s proficient with a .45 at 75 yards. Outstanding. But that’s still a bit of a long shot for a sidearm in a firefight. That being said, every one raves about the FPS of the 9mm. So say it has a 500 FPS advantage. At 75 yards (225 ft) you talking about the round arriving a mere .5 seconds faster. I’m not aware of any Humans that can dodge a round in under 1/2 second.
      I’ll stick with my slower freight train that will knock a person flat down, even on a sloppy hit, lol.

      April 17, 2019 7:03 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Justin Vaughan

        The FPS isn't about dodging the bullet, that would be ridiculous, as you pointed out. It's about energy. A lighter round traveling faster than a heavy round, if the difference is substantial enough, will carry similar energy. When comparing a 115 grain 9mm round to a .45 ACP bullet that weighs twice as much, that difference is so substantial that the energy foot pounds can be nearly equal.

        That said, the. 45 will make a bigger hole, which can be a decisive factor in lethality. But the idea that the .45 will stop a man in his tracks no matter where you shoot him is preposterous. It isn't a miracle round. Now a .44 magnum round to the arm or leg? Yeah, dude doesn't have a usable arm or leg anymore. A .357 magnum round can have similar effects. But a 9mm is going to be nearly as effective as a .45 ACP in almost any circumstance if the shot is a hit to the chest or to a limb. Joe Miller's Navy instructor was just another of those guys who spread myths based in sentimentality instead of facts. He probably also thought that a .22 LR will bounce around inside the rib cage. They say those things from a position of authority and impressionable young guys grow up and repeat them decades later.

        July 10, 2019 4:59 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      That is the EXCEPTION!! Most ATTACKERS will not realize the difference of being Hit with either bullet!! Expecially a HEAD, NECK or double tap CHEST shot!! Most ATTACKERS even if not mortally wounded will address thier WOUND TRY to save THIER LIFE & not get SHOT Again!!

      April 22, 2019 5:28 am
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      Give Me Freedom

      You said: "With a .45 you can hit him anywhere, even in the arm or shoulder, and you're going to knock him down. Every time. In the real world a single hit with a .45 will stop him."

      This is simply not true. Very few handgun rounds will stop reliably with one shot or "knock him down." This is why the center mass target shooting with a double tap is taught with handgun self defense. I like the .45 Auto round. (I carry .40 Smith & Wesson or a .45 Auto pistol with concealed carry.) But the .45 Auto does not have the power you are claiming it has.

      July 28, 2021 12:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I say buy the a 10mm... Higher muzzle velocity & muzzle energy than the 9mm & .45.... True 10mm auto ammo like the kind from Underwood is hotter than .357 mag & .41 mag... Almost reaching weak .44 mag specs... Take the 155gr XTP 10mm round from Underwood. Muzzle velocity 1500,,, muzzle energy 774... Hot stuff. Nuclear.... But if you just have to have a 9mm or .45... I would most def go with 9mm for carry... You never know how many attackers you will be dealing with & if they all have weapons themselves, the more ammo you can shoot the better... Plus if you scared of not a enough knock down power with the 9mm. You can always double or triple tap your attacker... Also use hollow points, I would go with Federal HST 124gr.... Plus with the 9mm your follow up shots will be on target better & your groups will be nice... If you looking for a slugger for something like car defense or home defense. You most definitely want to go with the .45... Use federal Hst 230gr... But the 10mm has the speed of the 9mm & is even faster & has the power of a .357 mag ---- .41 mag depending on the ammo you buy... Plus it holds 15+1.... You have the triple package. Speed, power & high capacity.... Hope I was some help....

    January 21, 2019 6:00 pm
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    raptor jesus

    Not a lick of science in this article. Fortunately plenty exists.

    The penetration myth is a myth. Your 45 and your 9mm will both go clear through the walls in your house. As will pretty much anything under #4 buckshot.

    Regarding "damage" - both have about the same amount of energy, both leave indistinguishable wound tracks in pliable human tissue - we're not clay. The bigger bullets may make a temporary cavity but the permanent cavities are pretty much indistinguishable to coroners.

    Basically, all handguns are poking holes in squishy meat bags.

    December 29, 2018 5:11 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    To say that the 9mm is justbas oowerful than the .44, is totslly nonsense. As a Patrol Officer I have seen both in action in the real world, not the bull crap settings of a test range. No way in hell can the 9mm possibly ever match the .45, or even the .40 S&W, at stopping people.

    Some can say that you can carry more rounds ina 9mm than a .45. Not in California and some other states that stop you a 10 rounds mags.

    Many say that it is all about round placement, true, but I have seen .45 rounds place in none critical areas and still knock the person off theor feet. While the 9's, well, they kept on fighting on theor feet.

    Seriously, people think that the 9mm rounds are the only that made progress in development. Not true at all.

    This is the true reasons behind the FBI changing back to the 9mm. Lousy ass training and poor shooting skills of theor agents. Even the FBI report states that 9mm makes it easier for their agents to qualify.

    Only because many pokice depts as hiring more and more females. Switching to the 9mm makes them look less sexist.

    Here is what an okd timer officer wrote about the subject. He hits the nail perfectly on the head.

    He wrote: “The FBI and many police departments are going back to the 9mm for one reason and one reason only – it’s easier to qualify with a 9mm. Departments around the country, in their never ending effort to do more with less, don’t allow for practice hardly at all anymore. Thus, you have a yearly day qual and a yearly night/low light qual and that’s it. They want a 210 or better the 1st time through and then you get back to work. It’s truly sad that worthless police management who sit on their asses all day behind their desk in their A/C can implement near-sighted ideas like this, but it is what it is. I shoot 240 consistently with my 40 and would never carry a 9 unless I had to. It’s simple physics – what’s going to cause more damage…a Federal HST 147gr 9mm going 1000 fps or a Federal HST 180gr 40 going 1010 fps? These are the ammo that most departments use. Getting back to the point – the 9mm gives less recoil and many cops nowadays can’t shoot for shit. – 15 years ago, a 210 or 215 was something to be embarrassed about. Now – I see these new cops high fiving each other for passing. I think rather than going to the 9mm to mask the underlying problem, they should put $$$ into teaching cops how to shoot.”

    December 22, 2018 11:02 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      raptor jesus

      Do the math. Energy is a square of velocity. They're both about the same energy in most common defensive rounds between the two calibers. Until you're reaching velocities where hydrostatic shock becomes a thing (2,500+ fps) you're poking holes in flesh bags. Just ask the coroners - they can't tell the difference between someone shot by the two (they came definitely tell when a rifle is involved though).

      December 29, 2018 5:14 pm
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    leon guinsad

    according to some of my police friends who's used a 9mm pistol to the bad guys, even they pump bullets the bad guy still able to run for safety, so they now replace their service firearm into M1911 cal.45.

    December 4, 2018 9:15 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    You cant beat the trigger on a .45 1911. I have many .45s and 9mms. When I'm in the woods I use .45 cast. Going to the store I take my 9 with 124 gr hst. Only because it's easier to hide. I would take the 1911 but some folks freak when they open carry. Go out and shoot some pumpkins, you will see the massive difference between 45 and 9mm. .45 being a nuclear bomb!!!

    November 27, 2018 10:57 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Same old crap different day. The same tech that has caught the 9mm up to the 45 has made the 45 even more superior. If capacity isn't a factor 45 rules the roost. As a civilian I doubt the I will need an ammo dump under my gun to defend my life. If I did, I would either aviod the area or take a rifle. I own both 9 and 45 because I enjoy both and in a shtf both will be needed. But apples to apples the 45 will always be a superior round.

    November 25, 2018 10:11 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      capacity man

      I love both rounds, but after seeing so many shootouts on liveleak, I have come to the conclusion that you are probably going to miss more than you think so have more rounds than you think you need.

      December 21, 2018 4:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      i agree and i hear that every day. "the 9mm has evolved to the current power of the 45 acp" as if there have been no developments in the 45 acp and the 45 acp has stood still. The 45 acp has further developed as has the 9mm still making it a far superior round.

      March 9, 2019 2:20 pm
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    John Doe

    I love your Pro / Con's of each. I do exactly as you stated, we think alike. Only thing I would add is my home defense pistol fights me to my rifle...since pistol rounds are weak compared to a good old 5.56. Great article!!

    November 15, 2018 8:10 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      John Doe

      ps I have always thought, why do "they" argue the 9mm hollowpoints advanced and are the same performance as 45 now. I get that, but as you said, the same tech is applied to .45 and now the expanded .45 is much larger than the expanded 9mm...so 45 still beats 9 by a wide margin (size wise), if they both expand.

      Best argument I ever heard was, even if your hollowpoint fails to expand, a .45 will always punch a .45 hole. If a 9mm fails, it won't perform anywhere close to an unexpanded .45 and will punch a tony hole. So .45 is the guarantee to punch big holes, with 9 you have to have the right conditions. Then again, if penetration through a bedroom door, heavy jacket, glass, etc your .45 won't make it to the target, so much to think about! Maybe alternate .45 hollow point and hot buffalo bore or extreme penetrator (best of both worlds).

      November 15, 2018 8:17 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        1. Any high penetration rounds for handguns beyond fmj are usually considered as "armor piercing" and therefore illegal in the us.
        2. If you are using ap rounds in a home defense scenario and your shot goes through a wall and hits your neighbor, good luck justifying it in court.
        3. Modern 9mm hollowpoints nearly always expand, especially if you're using +p rounds at close range it's pretty much guaranteed.

        April 15, 2019 7:11 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Give Me Freedom

      If you are going to use 5.56 x 45 make sure you get ammo that uses 69 to 77 grain soft or hollow points as they are far more effective than 62 or 55 grain full metal jacket.

      I know most of the ammo I use will be full metal jacket so I picked 7.62 x 51 and 7.62 x 39 as my rifle calibers. I try to get soft and hollow point ammo for both but it is far more expensive for 7.62 x 51.

      I also like 9 millimeter Luger as an alternative long gun round over .22 Long Rifle as recoil sensitive people can shoot this and do more damage.

      July 28, 2021 9:28 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    jack says if you throw a rock to throw the biggest rock.

    November 3, 2018 8:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Like, Jack Bauer? Sparrow? Nicholson?

      November 5, 2018 4:52 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Killing the BODY "in this world" is MORE than Sufficient.

    I don't believe that MEN can Kill the SOUL....It's GOD BREATHED Genesis 2:7.... and since the "SOUL" is "GOD-BREATHED", then The SOUL is "IMMORTAL".!

    That would explain why unbelieving (LOST) people in "HELL" "BURN, but NEVER BURN-UP"..!!!"???

    October 29, 2018 10:35 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Pastor Ken Rodway

      This really isn't the place for an in depth spiritual discussion, but your comment was interesting. You are right; the soul is eternal, and only God can condemn it to hell, and ultimately to "the Lake of Fire."
      Actually, we ALL have a soul, but only TRUE Christians (born again believers) have a spirit.
      Contrary to world-wide teaching, not one of us was born (or created) in the "image and likeness of God." In fact, since the world began, only 3 people have been:-
      Adam, Eve (before they sinned), and the Lord Jesus Christ (Who never sinned.)
      Adam and Eve passed on the nature of sin (spiritual death) to the whole human race (see Romans 5:12-21), which is why we MUST be "born again of the spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God" (see John 3:3).
      In short, we ALL live for ever: the only question is WHERE?
      Spirit people go to Heaven... Soul people go to hell. Any one who reads this should know that vital truth!
      God bless.

      November 16, 2018 9:01 pm
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        Did you know Eve was not the first woman? Just saying, look it up.

        November 27, 2018 11:02 pm
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          Big Bores Forever

          I'm pretty sure the .50 AE can kill the soul. It kills everything else. Maybe we can have that as a debate topic? Or does it take a .500 Smith? Back in the day, there was a revolver chambered in .600 Nitro Express.... just saying.

          December 13, 2019 4:06 am
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      It's just a saying, relax,

      November 27, 2018 11:00 pm
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    Bravo Tango

    If you are choosing the 9mm simply because of capacity, you might want to also consider the FN Herstal FNX-45. It has a capacity of 15+1 and it's a 45 ACP. Just saying.

    October 10, 2018 8:24 am
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      John Doe

      Yea! I literally just bought one of these. I do just like the author says. Glock 43 9mm is my every day carry, IWB. FNX 45 T is my bedstand gun with 15 +1, RMR and 1000 lumen Surefire. My plan is to magazine dump the pistol towards the threat, en route to my Colt M4, then lay down a wall of suppressive fire until the police respond to my alarm.

      November 15, 2018 8:08 am
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        Tracy Stover

        Good evening!
        I recently moved to my country property and am living alone. I've done some research on the differences regarding handguns, but now I'm getting a little confused. With having very minimal firearm experience, could you recommend a good choice?

        Thanks in advance,

        November 19, 2018 6:53 pm
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          Go to a range and rent some guns until you find one that you can shoot well. Then buy noise canceling ear muffs for about $20 because if you ever pop one off indoors it will hurt your ears. Also buy a super bright flash light it will help you see and blind the intruder. Practice practice and take a gun class to learn the law. Or you could end up in prison. Don't be scared but owning a gun is a responsibility.

          November 27, 2018 11:10 pm
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          Justin Vaughan

          In case you actually see this, if you are wondering about self defense in the home, you need a shotgun. There is absolutely nothing more effective.

          July 10, 2019 5:08 am
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    Rahul Ray

    I love 50 ae..

    October 6, 2018 4:43 pm
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      Try firing one off indoors in the dark with no ear protection. I guarantee it's not something you'll want to do again any time soon.

      April 15, 2019 7:15 am
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    For the elderly, the recoil of the standard 1911 45 is lesser because of its weight. They are not an ideal  carry gun, howyever. The subcompact 9mm, is an ideal carry gun but it's lighter weight makes recoil control difficult. The upward recoil maybe lesser but 9mm has a twisting recoil motion.
    I had thousands .45 230 grains  hardball and some +Ps hallow points with my standard 1911 when I tested my friend's full size 9mm. I was surprised because the gun twisted in my palm about 1/2" or more to my left with a sharp pinging  sound that was not very comfortable to my ears.

    October 2, 2018 6:48 am
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    I don't think one is better than the other either. I agree with what the majority of old veterans say. All bullets kill. Use what you can use the best. I myself started out carrying a 22.lr handgun because it was what I shot since I was a kid. My grandfather gave it to me back in the early 1990s before he died. He had a friend that was teaching me to shoot at a campgrounds we used to visit each weekend. Anyway my grandfather died before his friend could teach me more. The campground lot got sold. And by that time I lost interest in learning more. Later on in life I started to practice shooting again and worked with many different calibers. I finally settled on the .380acp for awhile because the size of the handguns matched my older 22lr Handgun. Later when they started coming out with pocket 9mm handguns I started to practice with those. Now I carry a 3.2 inch barreled 9mm. I do like shooting the .45acp But a 1911 commander as much as I love it, is harder to fit in my pocket. However I don't really feel the average .45acp has that much more recoil "if any more" than a hot 9mm round.

    September 11, 2018 8:38 pm
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      All bullets kill... Eventually. If a guy rushes you with a knife and you shoot him with a few rounds of 22lr in the chest he'll probably die. Just not before he stabs you to death.

      April 15, 2019 7:18 am
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    Mr. WOLF

    The 45 acp has better stopping power. Thats a fact. Bigger holes are better ones. I have shot many things living and not w both calibers and i have to say that 45acp does noticeably more damage. This isnt a pride of ownership statement either. Currently i own no 45,s. My 2 primary guns are a Canik TP9SA 19 shot 9mm and a 7 shot Taurus TRACKER 357magnum. And honestly the 357magnum puts em both to shame. Bottom line though... all are great weapons. 9mm is a better beginners and plinkers gun and 45acp is more for someone experienced thats wants to lay the smack down.

    August 11, 2018 10:50 am
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    Here we go agin, 9mm vrs 45,
    I started shooting at age 8 I am now 64, aferter seeing many debates on this topic, here is my own opinion the best pistol or rifle for self defense is the one that you can shoot the best. What ever cal.
    If you can hit with one and allways misswith the others , I think I would chose the one you can make the most hits with, just from my own exsperance , I had some mild steel targets out at my home we used to shoot at all day and almost every day with .38 spl, And 9 mm, then I bought a kimber1911
    In .45 acp, with 230 grain target rounds we started shooting the same targets we shot with the 9mm and 38 spl, well guess what
    No more mild steel targets to shoot at, it completely deformed
    All the targets, conclusion is I guess if your shooting steel targets you better use ar500 steel if you don't want to destroy them with you .45, but for self defense
    Any cal will work depending on shot placement.

    August 2, 2018 3:49 pm
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    Dustin Carter

    The one thing I never see mentioned about the .45 acp is that because it's a slower round and over penetration issues drop dramatically it, FMJ is still a very good SD/HD ammo. I have shot drywall and 2 inch plywood and have gotten little penetration from 5 yds with a Smith and Wesson 645. white box Winchester was the ammo..

    August 1, 2018 2:12 pm
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    Very informative article! I will always have a 1911, because it is my favorite gun to shoot. The best ergonomics, the feel of the recoil, and let's not forget about how gorgeous it is!

    However, I am getting an M&P9 2.0 for my daily carry. I've finally finished up college and paid off my loans, and I'm ready to get back to the range at least weekly to improve my accuracy now that my budget allows.

    .45 ACP does have more advantages than stated in this article, namely that the .45 will not get deflected by bones nearly as bad as the 9mm (for example, pro bowlers, as they age, would rather stick with a 16lb ball and have less speed than drop to a 15lb ball and keep their speed high - the difference between a 15lb ball and a 16lb ball going through the pins is astonishing).

    However, if trained professionals only have 20-30% accuracy, it's not unreasonable to think that many of us would only have 15-20% accuracy in a self defense scenario. That means 2-3 hits per mag in 9mm vs 1-2 hits in .45 ACP. And this is all before we even talk about the lack of concealability of .45 ACP double stack.

    Overall, I'll carry 9mm when outside my home, eventually acquire a double stack .45 ACP for home defense, and will shoot the 1911 for fun :)

    June 27, 2018 2:23 pm
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      Red Crow

      Why not buy a double stack 1911, like my ParaOrdnance p14-45?

      August 14, 2018 8:06 am
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      People make dumb comments

      He obviously said that the 9 will penetrate better then the .45 thats why the military adopted it and left the .45 in the past.

      September 2, 2018 8:45 pm
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        The 2 main reasons for the switch was 1. cost 2. ammunition since all our NATO allies use the 9.

        October 2, 2018 10:35 pm
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    I have several 9 mm different brands but no cheap gun, Glocks, Smith & Wesson and CZs... I couldn’t get the thought out of my head my Colt I sold in the 90s so had to buy a SA 1911 loaded... great weapons all... just don’t worry about home defense... I keep my 870 close by for those rats that might want to drop by uninvited...

    June 25, 2018 4:36 pm
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    J Stern

    Hello everyone,

    I can only say this: When your life - and the lives you protect - depend on 18 ready available bullets, you’re going to wish for more. And then some more.

    Engaging, defensive and cover fire; they all require lots of bullets. Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst case escenario. Your life depends on it. No looks or ballistics tests are going to help you there. Only your focused aiming and bullets. Lots of bullets.

    June 8, 2018 7:00 pm
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    This is a debate that will go on as long as there are those who don't want to accept the laws of physics. The US military adopted the 38 Long Colt in 1892 thinking service men could carry more ammo and the cost to manufacture and transport would be lower per round. Funny thing though, the administrators weren't the ones facing the enemy and while the 38LC was easy to shoot (basically a 9mm Luger ballistic wise), it did not stop determined attackers so the Army re-issued the 45 Long Colt.

    If you want to stop a varmint, use the largest projectile feasible. Varmint applies to large game too..

    May 22, 2018 10:43 am
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    Burton Craig

    Ha, Ha, Ha. you make me laugh. Bullet tech has come a long way for the .45 also.. ya ever seen the hole a .230 grain HST makes?..960 dia. 1 shot equals. 300 thousands of an inch diameter more than a 9mm HST.. my 1911 short trigger pull is fast. But then a .22 in the eye works to.

    May 1, 2018 10:00 pm
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    Full Metal Sweater

    A lot of this pissing contest about pistol calibers is very egocentriccentric. The matter of fact is that the three most commonly carried/used semi automatic calibers (9mm, .40 s&w, .45 acp) are all equally quite weak compared to shotgun and rifle rounds.

    Any reference to "stopping power" in regards to the aforementioned rounds is laughable.

    The best advice when employing these rounds in a true self defense situation is a follows: "Apply judiciously and generously until the threat has stopped".

    The 9mm is no pea shooter and a.45 acp is not a one shot giant killer. Be situationally aware, proficent and accurate with your weapon and the rest will fall into place.

    April 27, 2018 8:01 pm
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      Stopping power is not the same as joules or ft/lbs. On these metrics, the rounds are generall equal.

      However, physics will not be denied, and .45 ACP, while slower, is heavier, and will therefore break bones that 9mm would otherwise deflect off of. Mass is an important factor!

      But, like you said, all of this arguing is moot if you cant hit your target!

      June 27, 2018 2:29 pm
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    J Funk

    Fair & balanced article. I have many .45 and 9mm. My personal favorite without a doubt is the 1911 design, even though it's heavy, expensive to shoot, and has a limited magazine. It feels good in the hand, is built like a tank, and definitely a 'cool' looking piece. The main drawback is the 8 round magazine (WC). I can shoot my Sig 17-round magazine all day and not feel my wallet getting lighter by the minute. Still, if someone breaks in the house I keep a .45 S&W revolver next to the bed. Point and shoot, only need to hit my target once...then they're down. There is no perfect handgun, life always has compromises.

    April 27, 2018 2:32 am
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    n 2014, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a report detailing the potential combat effectiveness of the 9mm cartridge when compared to other calibers such as the .45 ACP and the .40 S&W cartridge that was specifically developed for use by the FBI. The report indicated that the new powders and more advanced bullet designs used in current 9mm defensive loads allowed for the caliber to deliver almost similar performance to other calibers, like the .45 ACP, and .40 S&W. In addition to this, the lower recoil, less wear, cheaper ammunition and higher capacity were all reasons that the report cited for the recent surge in orders of the ammunition from various police agencies. With a wider selection of officers being able to shoot handguns chambered in 9×19mm, many departments choose this caliber so they can standardize around a single firearm and loading, making logistics and supply easier. Due to all of these factors, law enforcement orders of 9mm ammo from all major ammunition manufacturers have spiked significantly.

    The FBI report made it clear that the more consistent accuracy of 9mm in the hands of their less experienced shooters was a factor in their returning to 9mm as their standard handgun caliber. It was also made clear that the almost same effectiveness of 9mm compared to .40 S&W and .45 ACP was due to the high quality of 9mm ammunition available.

    New powders and more advanced bullet designs used only work for the 9mm not 45 acp or 40 S&W? That is kind of odd to me!! Anyone else think the same thing?

    April 19, 2018 2:38 pm
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      The main argument is basically that once a threat a stopped, it can't really become more stopped. Yes, 45ACP with defensive loads and .40 S&W with defensive loads do more terminal damage than 9mm with defensive loads. However, that damage is effectively wasted since the cartridges were designed so that they worked as ball ammo. Increasing the lethality of them is moot since they were already the benchmark.

      Once it is dead, it cannot be deader.

      9mm defensive brings it on par with 45acp and 40s&w ball - and that is what it needed to meet for it to outperform them since you also get the gains of capacity, less recoil, cheaper, and easier to train with.

      Also keep in mind that the study, and their recommendation, was based off of the assumption that they were going to be equipping thousands of people with the new weapons. They needed a standard that could be applied to everyone - not what was best per person.

      If you, as an individual, can put in the training required to fully leverage 40S&W or 45acp then it can be a great choice for personal defense.

      If not then 9mm is an amazing option now.

      April 19, 2018 3:06 pm
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    FWIW, I find the 45 recoil is "smoother", whereas 9 & 40 seem to be "sharper", making the muzzle flip harder to recover from.

    Plus, I think the just plain weight of the 45 carries more "oomph". Maoris beware.

    April 18, 2018 6:04 am
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    yeah...you say the 9mm bullet has gotten better, but in reality both have gotten better. Thanks for the one sided argument.

    April 13, 2018 7:08 am
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      I noticed that also that new powders and more advanced bullet designs seem to ONLY apply to the 9mm. Why is that? If new powders and more advanced bullet designs used helped make the 9mm better then would not the new powders and more advanced bullet designs also then put every other caliber a step up also?

      April 19, 2018 2:41 pm
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        They obviously apply to other calibers as well. The point is that 9mm is now sufficient to stop most attackers with 1 shot, while also having the advantage of increased capacity and reduced recoil. Modern .45 acp is overkill against most targets (which isn't a bad thing in itself, but better to have the extra capacity if you don't really have to trade a significant reduction in lethality for it).

        April 15, 2019 7:41 am
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    Nathan j

    This has been a very interesting post! Along with comments as well! I currently carry a .40 s&w. Due to its bulky size I generally leave it wedged in between the front seats of my truck so I can access it fairly quickly, I never badly carry it because of the uncomfortable size and also because I live in Florida a lot of people still don’t support concealed carry as much as I’d like them to so I worry about it peaking out from under the bottom of my shirt and causing an issue with someone. I am currently looking into a kimber ultra carry ii or a sig p938. I am really leaning toward the dog in a .45 it also comes in 9mm though for who likes that. Does anybody have one of these that can state how their carrying experience has been? As well as reliability? I would probably carry the gun inside the waist. I know the kimber is a little bit bigger but from what I can tell not a noticeable difference because the sig comes with an extended clip with a finger grip on it which you would definitely want if you didn’t want your little finger to hang off the bottom. I am still open to 9mm that’s why I was considering the sig but I do love the style and extra safety features of the kimber.

    March 20, 2018 5:42 am
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    Years ago when 9mm was the craze I purchased a Browning model 39. When i saw people who were actually shot with it and survived I opted for the 40 S&W. My dream gun has always been a 1911 in 45 cal but after watching the video I'm on the fence again. Capacity is a good factor to concern as long as rounds are selectively placed otherwise is just becomes another spray and part scenario. Maybe a 1911 in 9mm and good defensive ammo is in my future. I like the heavier gun though due to the longer site radius, repeat target acquisition and the ability to steady the weapon. What do you think?

    February 24, 2018 1:11 pm
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    Big Sarge

    230 grain .45 +p at 950fps is moving at least as fast as the 9mm subsonic 147 grain round. As far as capacity goes, I live in a 10 round state. I’ll take the big 45 any day.

    February 14, 2018 7:28 pm
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    The Probert

    "Well, this might rock your world but I’d recommend getting one of each."
    Best advice ever.

    February 3, 2018 5:30 pm
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    Brandon Harville, There is a link to a notorious anti-gun organization in your article. I'm sure when you wrote your "9mm vs .45 ACP" article back in April 2017, your link labeled "canceled out in some states" did go to "smartgunlaws.org" where their information on gun laws was displayed. But no more. Today it sends your readers to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence." This far Left, anti-gun rights organization slants and grossly misrepresents events by omitting vital information from their "articles" and adding bald faced lies. Saying Islamic Terrorist attacks were really just another "gun violence incident" is a vile misrepresentation of reality. Please take immediate action to change this link and ensure no other articles on Pew Pew Tactical contain links to that dishonest propaganda site.

    January 19, 2018 1:26 pm
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      Eric Hung

      Hi Holmes, you're right. I'm removing that link since it looks like it was redirected.

      January 20, 2018 12:13 am
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    As a beginner, I'm going hiking with lots of bears. which should I use a 9 mm or a .45?

    October 24, 2017 2:24 pm
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      October 24, 2017 5:16 pm
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      Eric Hung

      If there's bears...I'd go with bear spray first. If you're really intent on a firearm...go bigger.

      October 26, 2017 2:33 pm
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      In that case consider a 10mm or .357 magnum (better get a .44 magnum) depending on how big the bears are.

      January 7, 2018 5:51 pm
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      If you're hiking with bears, I presume they would protect you. Otherwise,

      April 18, 2018 6:07 am
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        .45-70 also!

        April 18, 2018 9:39 am
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      12 ga shotgun ask anyone outfitter in Alaska what they carry you can buy a Shockwave and have more power then any pistol.

      April 19, 2018 1:08 pm
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      If worried about an encounter with bears, I'd take nothing less than 357 Mag. or 44 Mag. for Grizzly.
      On the other OTH, if you're proficient with either the 9mm or 45 AUTO, then, go with it.
      Shot placement will be your main concern with any bear.
      I've taken black bear with both the 44 mag. and 45LC with one shot kills, both head shots.
      One of the biggest I've seen taken was 465lb. with two shots in the heart from a 40 S&W.
      All this being said, get good with whatever you get, then, just go with.

      September 8, 2018 2:43 am
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    In the old days cowboys put 5 rounds in their 6 shooter and money in the last chamber to be used to bury them. The other point is shoot someone in the hand with a 9 he drop his gun shoot them with a 45 they will drop their hand. If you're a professional you should hit what your shooting at, or don't carry,

    June 14, 2017 3:41 pm
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    Enjoyed the reasoned comments. Good show all. I was a die hard .45 fan but when I got the concealed license, it just wasn't comfortable to carry. After some trial and error I did find a 9mm I was comfortable with and it concealed well. Like many others, I use the .45 at home (and in the car) with the primary at home a Mossberg Persuader. If you come into my home, they're carrying what's left out in a bag.

    April 14, 2017 8:56 pm
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    James Brown

    I carry a Glock 30 concealed . I prefer more shock per hit. I also carry the Ruger LC9 as a backup. I personally know of more more people surviving being shot with a 9 than a 45acp. Two were head shots. I'd prefer to hit with a slow moving baseball than a faster golf ball . But this is my decision. This debate of 9 versus 45 just comes down to personal choice with today's ammo.

    April 13, 2017 6:13 pm
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    Never ending dilemma: 9mm or .45, AR-15 or AK47, BMW or Mercedes, Apples or Oranges...

    Personally I like them all! :)

    April 13, 2017 1:50 pm
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    Here's an old lady's take on it: the best gun/caliber is what YOU shoot best.
    My "bedroom" gun (the one I keep ready for home defense situation) is a 1911 Gov. 45ACP. Why? Because out of all my handguns, this is the one I'm most accurate with. I don't rely on the bullet (nor the sound of racking the gun, nor the sound of explosion to scare the intruder away). I rely on my skill to execute the shot.
    The best bullet will fail, if shot placement is poor. Next, speed of follow-up shots doesn't come from the caliber. It comes from the shooter. It's both in physical and mental ability. I'll be shooting faster when I'm more confident that I can hit the target (the closer the distance; the bigger the target; the easier to handle, more accurate the gun...).
    And that's why an old lady clings to her old 1911 :)

    April 13, 2017 6:56 am
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      Bob W.

      God bless you Miss! :)

      June 15, 2017 12:45 pm
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      My kind of old LADY,but,she's probably too young for me.

      December 2, 2017 11:21 am
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    What an awesome read. All the comments are great. It gives perspective from both sides. I carry both 9mm and .45 ACP (not at the same time.) It just depends on what I am wearing and how much concealment I want. I have a Sig 1911 Ultra Compact .45 and a Sig P938 9mm. The 9mm is super small and light weight (about 16oz empty) and the 1911 weighs almost twice that. The 1911 has a 3.3" barrel and is also small. Both in MY OPINION have similar kick to them. I don't want to carry anything bigger. I do take into consideration penetration behind what I am aiming at with the 9mm because of over penetration, but you must ALWAYS be aware of what is behind the perp. A shift to the right or left could clear the background behind them. It is always situational awareness no matter what.

    April 13, 2017 4:49 am
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    Call me crazy but home defense SCREAMS for a good ole Mossberg cruiser with a nice laser sight and maybe a strong, blinding flashlight for perps' who go 'bump in the night' into your coffee table. It'll take all kinds of enthusiasm away from your intruder whether you use choked turkey shot or 00. Less 'intent' to kill when LEO show up to take your statement and you're less likely to injure a family member 3 rooms away! Also loud as hell - enough to alert everyone in the house and even if you miss, the intruder is less likely to stick around to hear the mechanics of a pump signaling a second shot is on the way whether they're armed with a piece or a crowbar, unless they intend to harm you, rather than just steal your stuff.
    9mm in the field just makes sense, for all the reasons Eric lists plus those of you fine, well informed readers. Full sized .45 or .50 for when you really mean 'permanent' and final business and .300 BLK fmj rounds through a sbr (I know, tsk, tsk) or tactical pistola for 1200-1300 fps during a full blown war or zombie apocalypse! Will still have a long-range, full length rifle or carbine slung over my shoulder too...Why compromise when it comes down to multiple enemies wanting you dead or wanting to taste your brain? Talk about high-capacity magazines! Yes, I fully appreciate state round limitations (even if I don't necessarily agree with them) so long as I have enough mags to hold out in such a life/death event., God forbid....
    Still, nothing like the feel of a nice heavy, ..45. customized to your liking as your arsenal 'anchor'. Even better if you have the means and the skills to build one yourself, get to know what you're shooting inside and out!

    April 13, 2017 1:12 am
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    I really admire the professional comments that was written. However, how about the hollow point bullets that's suppose to stop and explode once they enter the body.Is that a myth or not? Please inform. What is the best Hollow Points for a Glock 19? .

    Thank You!

    April 12, 2017 9:59 pm
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      Don't know about explode, but a good hollow point will EXPAND. There are many good rounds for the G19 for social work. WIth that size gun/barrel you have lots of options.

      DoubleTap.com uses Speer Gold Dots and has some hot loads.
      Hornady has an XTP +P 135gr that is an excellent design.

      Some people carry a 124gr for summer and 147gr in cold climates where the BG might be wearing a Carhartt over sweaters, etc.

      BTW, I like the 9mm and .45 pretty much equally and have both calibers. For HD, I have a 12gauge but my G19 is fine. For CCW I'll carry it in winter, then my G43 in summer and an LCP2 .380 BUG in my pocket.

      April 13, 2017 10:44 am
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    My first thought is: .45 is better because it's bigger. As mentioned by another person's comment above, any more than a couple of rounds down range may escalate the possibility of your prosecution, (Unless you are against multiple attackers.). Aside from that, aren't they using the same bullet technology on .45 as they are on 9mm? Wouldn't that make the.45 leap farther ahead again, in terms of "better"?

    April 12, 2017 9:17 pm
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      I could not agree more! Good point.

      April 13, 2017 5:20 am
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    Jay Fryman

    any lower powder grain ammo with a soft or no jacket on the led.. Most people I know use hollow points as they tend to have less penetration through walls and the human body but leave aone nasty show stopping wound...

    April 12, 2017 8:41 pm
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    Joseph Jones

    What is a "safer" 9mm ammo for home protection, one with similar (or if possible less) penetration risk vs. the average .45 ammo?

    I plan to soon buy a 9mm or .45.

    I love Eric's articles. Well written, and no trash talking, rare in the gun world. Thanks, Eric!

    April 12, 2017 8:00 pm
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    John Baker

    have the .45 pistol/carbine combo, luv 'em. practice once a month, and can do 6" group at 8-10 meters with pistol... as far as pretty, get the desert camo... and I had money left over for ammo. Can't go wrong with that.

    April 12, 2017 7:20 pm
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    Jay Fryman

    Having some experience with both calibers and owning every one you can name I would also like to mention body armor/bullet proof vest testing. A 9mm will sting ya but a 45 will break your ribs.... Just my two cents. Not that a low rent trash bag would be wearing a vest if he decides to break in your casa but with the cost of bullet resistant vests getting cheaper and cheaper any things possible. My advice is practice, practice, practice!! Muscle memory combined with good ole fashion "practice makes perfect" will allow you to drop a man in one shot and it won't matter what you grab in the night! Except for maybe a BB gun!

    April 12, 2017 7:10 pm
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    Hmmm, always been a 1911 45cal chap,although 38cal is certainly better than 9mm which has been known to bounce off suspects believe it or not.Good article,interesting points!


    April 12, 2017 6:49 pm
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      Full Metal Sweater

      Did the "suspects" who had 9mm rounds bounce off of them happen to be wearing red underwear and a big "S" on their chest.

      I really hope you were joking with your statement. If not please remember Grand Theft Auto is just a video game, not real life.

      April 25, 2018 7:40 pm
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    ERIC! (Pew Pew Eric) Keep the awesome info coming, I love your emails and love your site!

    Thanks for bringing our gun culture forward...

    April 12, 2017 6:36 pm
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    Cody! You effin ROCK! I could not agree with you more on every level.

    April 12, 2017 6:31 pm
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    Which is best? Whichever caliber you shoot most accurately. I have pistols chambered in .22lr, 9mm Luger, .40 S7W, 357 SIG, and .45 ACP. Apart from the .22lr, I would consider using any of them for self-defense. My personal preference for a home defense handgun is a full-sized pistol chambered in .45 ACP. For mid-sized pistols I like .40 S&W which tends to cut the difference in capacity, ammunition cost, projectile mass, and muzzle velocity between 9mm and .45 pretty nicely. For compact or subcompact pistols I tend to favor 9mm due to recoil considerations in the smaller, lighter guns, and the magazine capacity limitations. I might possibly be able to shoot 9mm slightly faster but I seem to have consistently better first shot accuracy with .40 S&W and 45 ACP.

    April 12, 2017 6:21 pm
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      Adam w

      I don't think i would hesitate to use my ruger 1022 for home defense with modern rounds like stingers or velocitors the new browning rounds that go 1450 fps. i have used them on Coyotes and have seen the damage they are quite impressive. I would recon my 5 or close to 6 inch barrel Walther p 22 loaded with them with rapid shots would do okay . My father is a Doctor and interning in the E.R. His first patient was a guy shot right by the belly button. He didn't make it and when they found the round it was in his neck. I realize these instances are rare but one things for sure i can cut a target in half with rapid shots so easily with a 1022 because of zero recoil i think i could shoot 4 rounds to 1 outta my 45. I am not sure if i would like to be hit by one 45 acp or 4 high velocity hollow point 22's ( honestly i can say neither but i do not disagree just throwing my 2 cents in it is all about shot control and placement. Not always which round is bigger, faster, more powerful!!!!

      April 13, 2017 11:18 am
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    First; opinions are like, well you know, the hole on your back side. First mag size for home or personal defense holds no water! In the majority of the states, anything more than 2 rounds down range puts in in the pin for excessive force! With that being said it all lies on personal preference. The best home defense round of all time is a good old 12 gauge 2 3/4" low brass #6 shot. It stops would be's and penetration is a non issue. I prefer to carry a 45acp because it rips arms off bodies and a 12 gauge in the house.
    I would love to hear everyone's thoughts.

    April 12, 2017 6:21 pm
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    Today's 45s aren't that slow. The ones that I carry travel at 1000 fps. A big, fat, 230 grain hollow point at that speed will drop the MF faster than a 9mm any day of the week.. My state has a 10 round limit. I'll take 10 "flying ashtrays" over the puny 9mm anytime.

    April 12, 2017 6:18 pm
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      Or pick up some Federal HST 185 grain 45 ACP, 1140 fps! That's up in 10mm territory!

      April 13, 2017 1:50 pm
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    Mark R. Holcomb

    9mm vs. .45. I say different tools for different tasks. If I am going mowing in bear country, my 1911A1 and eight FMJS are with me in case God forbid a bear attack.s. If I am passing through Welfareville and Methport on my way to the Promised Land, My TP 9 with 5 extra loaded 17 round magazines of 115 grain JHP will be with me. And if a Riot Festival ;looms, I'll be riding in the back seat doing Green Beret carry of either my AK or AR, too. I want harm for nobody, and especially me and mine, too.

    April 12, 2017 5:17 pm
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      I'm not sure 45 is a good choice for bear country, most folks choose a large caliber magnum revolver with bonded solids for that job. The rest of your post I am 100% onboard with!

      April 12, 2017 5:47 pm
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        ROBERT E.

        What about a 357 Magnum?

        April 12, 2017 9:49 pm
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    Good show! I thought this was going to get way uglier in the comments. Thanks for the article, and for the mature comments.

    I'm carrying a 45, and it was because of the lesser penetration that I decided on it. But it's like buying a vehicle, or picking out a new bass as far as there are pros and cons to each one. For me, it's an SR1911, an old 4x4 Toyota with a stick, and a Pedulla...

    April 12, 2017 5:16 pm
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      Adam W.

      my choices on all 3 are exactly the same i thought that was oddly coincidental since all 3 are not the most common choices. Usually i hear 40 cal ford truck fender blah blah blah

      April 13, 2017 11:03 am
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    I think the 10mm trumps them both...

    April 12, 2017 5:14 pm
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      By that logic the 50 AE is even better!

      April 12, 2017 5:45 pm
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    Over penetration should not be an issue. If you're afraid of what's behind your target you shouldn't be shooting in the first place.

    April 11, 2017 5:23 pm
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      Scenario: Armed burglar breaks in and is standing in the area in which your child/roommate's facilities is now based behind him.

      Option one; You choose to have ammunition in your pistol that is know to over penetrate because why would you need a bullet that doesn't fully penetrate something. Now you must shout for him to get down/leave, because your selected ammunition could possibly over penetrate and harm someone in another room, and hope the situation doesn't escalate to him reacting in instinctive action by charging or shooting at you. This would most likely result in you firing at the assailant in a less accurate fashion as well as possibly harming others.

      Option two; You select a certain ammunition that has been proved to not fully penetrate. You fire at the armed person/s and take down the threat. The situation is now dissolved without any bystanders in the background getting injured.

      Most situations are going to involve you protecting/defending yourself with others in the background. If you conceal carry then there is a 90% chance of bystanders being in your firing line. Not every confrontation is going to be 'range based'.

      April 11, 2017 7:51 pm
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        Wrong, you change the angle. Drop to a knee which will angle your bullet trajectory upwards and if the rounds exit his body they should be travelling in a safe direction.

        April 12, 2017 5:42 pm
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      Matthew Collins

      The problem is you can't always be sure of what's behind your target in a defensive situation. In a self-defense scenario, you're using your firearm because if you don't, you or a loved one will be harmed. If you live in an apartment, or even a neighborhood, there's no way to know what's behind your target.

      FMJs go through wood, plaster, sheet rock, and most anything else in your walls like its nothing, so there's no way to know what it may hit on the other side. Its not about hitting something or someone behind the assailant, it's about hitting something through the wall and the garden fence behind the assailant.

      April 12, 2017 9:23 am
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        No one in their right mind willingly chooses to use FMJs in a pistol or rifle for self-defense. Expanding bullets passing through a bad guy should have little energy left, just don't miss.

        April 12, 2017 5:45 pm
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          Everyone wants to put down the 45 and take up the 9 because they wont take the time and energy to get proficient with the 45, and if you are too weak or candy a## you never will master the 45. The marines and FBI went to the 9 so women could qualify because only 1 in 10 can with a 45. though they cant come out and say so. And by the way,the famous FBI shootout was ended by one well placed round from a frickin 38special!!! the heavy slow 45 stays in the body and delivers most of its energy to it. any bullet that passes through the body only delivers 10% to 20% of energy to the body, like the hot 9mm that are famous for over penetrating human targets, not jello it is ENERGY that is stopping power. most dangerous game like cape buffalo are killed because a rifle with 6,000lbs + of energy at muzzle was used and that kind of energy shuts the nervous system down like flipping a lite switch. Ive been reading these articles for years and most of them are skewed in favor of the 9 by ammo selected for the test.They pick the hottest 6 9mm and the weakest 6 45s and shoot jello. Ive been doing this for 40 years. hang yourself an old school iron skillet for a target. shoot it with a hot 9mm. It will punch through and swing it a little. shoot it with a hot 45acp and it will tear a huge ragged hole and dang near clothsline out the hanging rope. the 45 wins hands down over the 9mm. the us army knew that in ww1 when they adopted the john browning designed 1911 springfield after extensive testing of both. Stop trying to justify taking effective weapons away for less effective ones. Kind of like when they took away the man stoppin 308 cal m14 and gave them a stinking 223 varmint round to fight a war with in nam. real world testing and experience trumps skewed charts charts and shooting blocks of jello which are nothing more than a STARTING POINT to give you an idea what a cartridge MAY BE capable of in a REAL WORLD situation. been there done that.To quote a man who has shot some people"you can kill a man without stopping him and stop a man without killing him" shoot him with a hot 9 that fails to expand due to being plugged with leather jacket and rips through with only say 20% energy transfer or 70 pounds roughly and he is gonna be on you. shoot him with a 45 that does not over penetrate and has 80+% energy transfer or 275 lbs minimum and the fight is over.

          July 3, 2021 11:18 pm
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            Give Me Freedom

            ". . . like when they took away the man stopping .308 caliber M-14 and gave them a stinking .223 varmint round to fight a war with in Vietnam."

            I hear you. My picks for rifles were 7.62 x 39 and 7.62 x 51.

            My primary indoor home defense weapons are only a .40 Smith & Wesson carbine and pistols chambered in .45 Auto and .40 Smith & Wesson. Firing one of my rifles indoors would mean likely permanent hearing damage and a bullet ripping through my exterior walls at high velocity.

            July 28, 2021 2:05 pm