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View Full Version : 9mm, .40S&W, or the 45ACP - Which is better for personal defense ?


G35
October 16, 1998, 02:49 PM
9mm, .40S&W, or the 45ACP - Which is better for personal defense ?

Rob Pincus
October 16, 1998, 04:17 PM
Shot placement is more important than caliber.
That said.....

IMHO this depends almost entirely on where you live. All of the rounds are capable of doing the job. The trick is getting to the body.
If you live at the equator a 9mm will most likely pentrate anything that your atacker may be wearing rather easily, but in the middle of the winter in Maine, a 9mm could have to fight its way through layers of clothing, clogging your hollowpoint and slowing the bullet.

I live in Tennessee, I carry a .40 HPs

When I lived in Vermont I carried a .45 during the winter and I staggerd FMJ in my mag.

Of course, sometimes I have to carry a .32 or (before I found out I was violating NFA and had to get rid of it) a .25 in a wallet holster. the real trick is shot placement.
Bring your weapon to the target and pull the trigger a few times and your problem is almost always going to be solved with any of the three calibres.

Doc
October 17, 1998, 03:48 PM
For personal defense, carry the largest round you can handle consistently and use the same gun for business or pleasure.

Roy
October 17, 1998, 05:52 PM
I carry a .45 on duty as a police officer. Off duty I cary a Ruger SP101 357 MAG in the summer and a custom Springfield Armory 1911A1 in the fall and winter. The 40 S+W is great but expensive to shoot. I dont trust a 9MM pistol to kill someone very fast. I think they are best when used in a sub gun.

Doc
October 17, 1998, 07:58 PM
Beware of the man who has only one gun. He probably knows how to use it.

Exodus
October 19, 1998, 11:29 PM
The type of round is always going to be dependent on your target. I've seen on video a large man take 5 .357 +P+ service revolver slugs to the chest and was still moving and going for his piece(He lived by the way.) I've also heard proven stories where a perp took a full magazine of 9mm and was still going(w/o a vest). What's the cure?
Get comfortable with a gun and train yourself to tap two into the chest and one in the head on paper targets. Remember that the primary purpose for carrying is to stop the threat on your life-do so in an expedient way.

ShadedDude
October 21, 1998, 12:37 PM
I like the .40 S&W
I have never liked 9mm so I will tell you right off that I am biast, but I shot .45 for alot of years, I went to .40 because the stoping power is very close to that of .45, but it has ALOT more penetration. I decided to move to .40 alltogether because I have come to the conclusion that at this point in my life I dont need to be shooting alot of diferent calibers, until I can hit anything I want with the .40
just my $.02

HK40
October 24, 1998, 10:06 PM
I like the .40 S&W. It is compareable to the .45, but most .40's hold an extra few rounds. When talking about post ban civilian mags, most 9mm's and .40's are the same (10). That being the same, the .40 can do everything the 9mm can, only better.

Para Bellum
January 21, 2005, 05:02 PM
The best shooter I know carries a Glock 17 on duty (police firearms instructor) and a .22 (!) off duty. Placement over bullet diameter. I am sure he kills instantly with one .22 bullet. So is he.

Stranegly enough it seems to be a rule: the worse the skill the bigger and heavier the bullets :D

PS: Why do all the big bore enthusiasts not go for an Eagle in .50 caliber? why stop halfway at a .45?

Dave T
January 21, 2005, 07:03 PM
I'm going to give you the most honest answer you will ever get to this question:

The one you have with you!

Think about it...
Dave

WillBrayjr
January 21, 2005, 07:52 PM
The bigger the round the better. Shoot all three calibers and pick the one you're most comfortable with. If you're comfortable with say the 9mm and the 45acp, then pick the 45acp.

nobanforme
January 21, 2005, 08:08 PM
I also like the .40s&w It just seams to work for me . Accurate and powerful. :)

"Doc"
January 21, 2005, 10:58 PM
Para Bellum "Why do all the big bore enthusiasts not go for an Eagle in .50 caliber? why stop halfway at a .45?"

Good point, and to be honest I don't know a single person who would carry a Fifty-Cal... even the most stern big-bore enthusiasts... I guess the olde proverb "Don't use cannon to kill mosquito," applies... :eek:

For a short time I have carried a .45 comfortably for work and after hours, but I might be going back to 9mm (temporarily) due to a single-action firearm (1911 in my case) conflict with my agency. Even though it means more time on the range for me, I'm fully confident that the 9mm can bring me home each night. :cool:

Wildcard
January 21, 2005, 11:27 PM
shot placement
training
caliber

in that order.

juliet charley
January 22, 2005, 09:10 AM
The bottom line is there is NOT enough difference in effectiveness between any of them with current generation premium ammunition to make a difference. They will ALL work most of the time. They will ALL fail spectacularly some of the time.

It is more important to pick a weapon that fits you well (comes easily to the hand, points naturally, etc.). Good hits, regardless of the calibre, are more important than calibre. Pick a weapon (and calibre) you can shoot accurately and quickly. Calibre is not as important as good, fast hits.

WillBrayjr
January 22, 2005, 09:13 AM
I know a guy that carries a Desert Eagle in 50A.E. If you ask me thats alittle overkill.

Nanuk
January 22, 2005, 09:18 AM
Actually the .40 is ballistically identical to the .357 Magnum. My Agency adopted the .40 over the 9mm and the .45. We went from .357 revolvers to semi auto's (Beretta's) :barf:. I now carry an H&K USP/C. I usually carry this pistol 24/7, when I don't I have my S/W .357. While the H&K in .40 is totally reliable and very accurate I shoot my Smith revolvers and my Colt 45 better. Whats best??? I say to heck with capacity shoot what you will hit with consistantly EVERY time. Choose something that you will carry. A walther PPK in your pocket is better than a match 45 in the car. :D

juliet charley
January 22, 2005, 09:21 AM
Actually the .40 is ballistically identical to the .357 Magnum.
I'm curious. How so? How about some facts and figures to support your assertion?

Angelsboy
January 22, 2005, 10:07 AM
Shot placement first, caliber second.
45acp is the best choice. :cool:

U.F.O.
January 22, 2005, 10:12 AM
They all work well. Bad question.

U.F.O.

Denied
January 22, 2005, 11:23 AM
The obvious answer to your question is the one you shoot best. Shot placement is the only consideration.
Too many folks spent their time contending that bigger is better (maybe a personal thing). I have seen more shooting than most and can say from personal experience that a hit with a 38 special has greater stopping power than a miss with a 44 mag.
old cop

Ozzieman
January 22, 2005, 11:30 AM
" a hit with a 38 special has greater stopping power than a miss with a 44 mag.
old cop"

Or a miss with a 5 inch cannon. This is the question that seems to be asked here more and more and as its been put here before "What you shot best"
You hear so often here how the 9 is too weak, the 38 wont stop some one on drugs yet there are a lot of people each year killed with 22's.
No I dont think that 22 are a good defence round, but if you cant hit with a 45ACP and you can with a good 22, then I would suggest that you carry a 22.

tipoc
January 22, 2005, 01:26 PM
Just about everyone here, in my opinion, has answered a provacative question with the best answer there is...The best round for self defense is the one that you can shoot well with, in a gun you can handle well, that is reliable and accurate enough and that you have with you when it is needed.

tipoc

omegapd
January 22, 2005, 01:26 PM
like somebody else mentioned, the .357 Mag is my top choice. Since thats not in the list of options, I'd carry a .40. More power than the 9mm and more capacity (normally) than a .45

The Body Bagger
January 22, 2005, 02:37 PM
another one for the .357magnum

Or a miss with a 5 inch cannon
oh I don't know, I think the fragmentation might get them..... :D

PaleGreenHorse
January 22, 2005, 04:02 PM
I carry a glock 29, 10mm. 135gr. jhp DT's for summer/indoor, 165gr. golden saber DT's for winter.

Para Bellum
January 22, 2005, 05:08 PM
if you check test-websites (like my own: http://www.raoulwagner.com/9mm.htm and other ones with better means) you will soon find out that they all have pretty much the same effect. Speed, weight, diameter - all pretty much the same. Therfore they all make similar cavity etc. No handgun is a one-shot-stopper. So in my opinion the following makes the difference:

capacity to rapidly place multiple shots at multiple bad guys - therefore 9x19mm

e.g. two attackers, 5 shots each. 5 shots should stop if you don't have extremely bad luck. (ouch, not possible with a .45 Colt 1911, is it? 5 + 5 equals.... uhhh... :D )

the 9x19mm enables you to do that. low recoil allows you to shoot more often faster, and a bigger magazine capacity puts emphasis on "more often" (18 times with a glock before you change magazines).

That is why I believe that the 9x19mm beats all other handgun calibers. Thats, of course, only if you don't believe that one shot of a .45 to the chest surely saves you... ;)

by the way, did the missionaries of the 1911 .45 ever count how many bullets there are in that gun? Even if my Glock 9x19mm only where half as powerfull, I'd still have mor firepower with more than twice as many bullets :D

hmchardy
January 22, 2005, 05:34 PM
First rule in a gunfight is to bring a gun, any gun.

4thHorseman
January 22, 2005, 05:48 PM
Nothing but outstanding advice from everyone here.
Let us know what you decide on. ")

Para Bellum
January 22, 2005, 06:00 PM
...why change ammunition from summer to winter?

denfoote
January 23, 2005, 02:53 AM
The answer is none of the above!!!

What is best, is the directed energy weapon.
Contact DARPA for more info. ;)

Second to that is the electromagnetic mass driver.
That, I can help ya out with.
Look HERE (http://www.ssi.org/mass-driver-kit.html)

Here is a whole article on it! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_driver)

Here is an article on the (gasp) "electromagnetic gun"!!! (http://www.oz.net/~coilgun/theory/electroguns.htm)

I hope this satisfactorily answers your question!! :D

cje1980
January 23, 2005, 03:52 AM
It is amazing how often these caliber debates are brought up. The 3 perform almost identically in statistical shootings. I, however, am a fan of the 9mm for many of the reasons brought up earlier in this thread. Cheap ammo, soft recoil, and capacity. The bottom line is that semi-auto handgun cartridges are not guaranteed fight stoppers. If you want guaranteed stopping you need a rifle or shotgun. Magnum rounds used in revolvers are kind of half way between semi-auto handgun cartridges and the lowered powered rifle cartridges. You are a bit safer with .357 mag, but even still, there are know guarantees. I have just seen way too many biased ballistic tests and anectodal evidence and shootings to truly say that either 9mm, .40, or .45 is a significantly better stopper than one of the others. 9mm, .40, .45, and the 10mm as someone else mentioned are all effective rounds. The 10mm being significantly more powerful than the other 3 as it is a borderline hunting round. It's just really funny when a LE agency changes to .40 and .45 because the 9mm didn't stop bank robbers that had body armor. Neither the .40 or .45 would have done a hair better.

PsychoSword
January 23, 2005, 03:57 AM
Darn, I hate it went 9mm vs. .45 threads from 1998 are brought back from the dead. :p

Rob96
January 23, 2005, 05:20 AM
For me, it is more how the gun feels in my hand and how well I handle it. Numero uno, is the 1911. Nothing feels or handles like a nice Colt. It works out great for the cooler to cold months. Once it gets a little warm outside I switch over to a Glock 19. I like both 9mm and 45acp.

David DiFabio
January 23, 2005, 02:27 PM
The 9mm through .45acp perform nearly identically when using good quality premium jhp ammunition. http://www.ammolab.myhomepage.com/page/page/1632847.htm
However not all firearms are created equally and there can be significant differences in ergonomics, accuracy, and reliability and the .40 S&W in particular is not as accurate as the 9mm and .45acp firearms from the same manufacturers.

big daddy 9mm
May 18, 2005, 06:02 AM
I dont see where you get your numbers nanuk. remington shows some numbers and different brands have diff speeds and strengh, but 357 mag is alot faster and is about 200 foot pounds stronger than the 40 cal. 40 cal kicks a$$, the 357 mag kicks much a$$ with penitration. :) :)

big daddy 9mm
May 18, 2005, 06:04 AM
al you 9mm ccwers, do you worry about over penitration. I know you can get weaker 9mm bullets but still. I love the 9mm but would carry probably 45 cal for ccw. what is your take on the concern of 9mm and penitration? thanx :) :)

xXStarScreamXx
May 18, 2005, 09:07 AM
40 S&W

12 in the clip and 1 in the hole, should be able to make some body turn cold.

(again assuming they were trying to take my life or that of my family.)

CastleBravo
May 18, 2005, 01:14 PM
I dont see where you get your numbers nanuk. remington shows some numbers and different brands have diff speeds and strengh, but 357 mag is alot faster and is about 200 foot pounds stronger than the 40 cal. 40 cal kicks a$$, the 357 mag kicks much a$$ with penitration.

Nice job bringing back a topic started in 1998 back from the grave. :p

jtkwon
May 18, 2005, 01:24 PM
Hit them with your car. It weighs a lot more than any of those bullets, and you can steer it right into the bad guy.

You can also blow the horn as you run him over, and see the look on his face just before the grill catches him and slams him down on the pavement.

chris in va
May 18, 2005, 02:25 PM
Holy resurrected thread Batman. :eek:

cje1980
May 18, 2005, 03:59 PM
al you 9mm ccwers, do you worry about over penitration. I know you can get weaker 9mm bullets but still. I love the 9mm but would carry probably 45 cal for ccw. what is your take on the concern of 9mm and penitration?

When using HPs, 9mm doesn't penetrate any more than a .40 and .45, actually less in most cases. The FBI quit using the 9mm because of an apparent lack of penetration. If using FMJ yeah the 9mm will overpenetrate, then again so will a .40 or .45. They are all pretty much the same. Use what you shoot well.

BioDemon
May 20, 2005, 04:48 AM
For me 40 S&W. 135gr HP Cor-Bon at 1300fps with a one shot stop statistic of 97-98%. Old kings are 357 mag federal 125gr HP at 96% and the 45acp 180 gr. +P also at 96-97%. Realy all equal in my book. A 9mm Cor-Bon 115gr hp +P at 91% isn't quite as good unless It's what You can handle the best. The 45 acp is my second faverite but dousn't have the capacity of the 40. I agree cje1980, The 9mm just isn't up to par in my book eather.

jtkwon
May 20, 2005, 08:23 AM
The one that goes through the target's medulla is the best one.

Boss Spearman
May 20, 2005, 08:33 AM
I find the.40 to be the hardest kicking round of the bunch and the hardest for me to control. So I go with .45 or .38 special +p's.

cje1980
May 21, 2005, 06:44 PM
The best round is the one that you can hit your target with enough times to get him or it down. 9mm, or .40, or .45 are very similar and none are dramatically more effective than the others. The best bullet is the one that hits its target and has enough penetration to get to where it needs to go. 9mm in some loads, .40, and .45 all do this. As posted earlier, none of these rounds produce enough of a temporary cavity to cause enough tissue damage to instanstly drop someone. Most of it depends on the psychological status of the perp or animal being shot.

Wraith
May 21, 2005, 08:02 PM
I think most people dont carry a .50 not because of "dont use a cannon to kill a mosquito" but the fact that it carrys like a cannon! :(

Speaking of old things... this forum seems to have a tendency of raising the dead.

SEG45
May 21, 2005, 09:20 PM
I choose a pistol I can handle well and that if the hollow point fails to expand I still want the biggest hole possible, so for me that means a .45 ACP.

Leon Phelps
May 22, 2005, 12:46 PM
Para Bellum,

The reason calibers larger than .45 ACP are not used by serious self-defense people is primarily because there are no tactical weapons available in that caliber. In fact, there are numerous reasons why such a choice is not logical. However, the venerable 1911A1 was conceived and built as a battle weapon. The venerable .45 ACP was also conceived and designed as a battle round. It is a perfect tactical marriage.

If you enroll in a few tactical shooting courses, you'll immediately recognize the tactical superority of the 1911A1 & .45 ACP!


Stay safe,

Leon Phelps

Leon Phelps
May 22, 2005, 12:49 PM
Juliet Charley,

The FBI ammot test demonstrated the .40 S&W to be superior to the .357 Magnum. In fact, the .357 Magnum has got to be the most overrated caliber in the history of handguns!


Good luck,

Leon Phelps

Leon Phelps
May 22, 2005, 01:01 PM
David DiFabio,


The 9mm through .45acp perform nearly identically when using good quality premium jhp ammunition. http://www.ammolab.myhomepage.com/page/page/1632847.htm


You're not telling the entire story here. The heavier bullet of the .45 ACP beats hands down anything out of the 9MM as was proved by the FBI ammo tests. Moreover, Big Mo (momentum) is decidedly in the corner of the .45 ACP.

Now, I have been at this game a considerable time and was instructed by some of the absolute best in the business. Not once have I ever heard of anyone comparing accuracy of calibers, most assuredly for tactical reasons. The most important factor of any self-defense weapon is reliability. After having a reliable weapon, one must choose a suitable caliber: There is a reason why the 9MM in any flavor is disappearing in law enforcment! In fact, I know of plethora agencies who no longer issue it or are phasing it out! So at minumum, I would go with the .40 S&W with the .45 ACP preferred!

These debates are amusing, but too often they become vehicles for those attempting to defend decisions they have made. Don't get me wrong, the 9MM is an acceptable round, it is just factually inferior to the other two.


Stay safe,

Leon Phelps

xXStarScreamXx
May 22, 2005, 01:02 PM
45 is a good caliber and shown very very nicely in the SiG P220, but i'd still take quantity and similar performance my 40 holds 4 more than my 45 will.

Leon Phelps
May 22, 2005, 01:08 PM
cje1980,

It is amazing how often these caliber debates are brought up. The 3 perform almost identically in statistical shootings.

Where in God's name did you get this? M'man, I wish I had a nickel for every incident I know of where the 9MM performed like a 9MM instead of a real defensive caliber! Why in God's name do you think so many cops are dumping the 9MM? Hell, I went from a 9MM (only because it was required but not any longer) to a .40 S&W, and to a much preferred H&K USP in .45 ACP. Now that was a logical progression! And from what I understand, the .45 ACP is fast becomming the law enforcement industry standard.

If your life is worth a 9mm, by all means use one. But as for me, I use at minimum a .40 S&W, and prefer a .45 ACP!


Good luck,

Leon Phelps

Leon Phelps
May 22, 2005, 01:11 PM
xXStarScreamXx,

You have got an excellent point: The .40 S&W does provide the tactical advantage of more rounds while still possessing suitable power. There is an advantage of not diverting attention away from a looming threat, even if it is for a split second that one's mind indicates it is time to reload!


Stay safe,

Leon Phelps

Leon Phelps
May 22, 2005, 01:19 PM
hmcharley:

First rule in a gunfight is to bring a gun, any gun.

The first rule of gunfighting is to not get in one, because that is the only sure way of not dying. If the first rule is not possible, then the second rule dominates, and that is surviving. If suriviving means running away, then that is the correct response. Rmember, m'man, if you wind up supine on a pathologist's fiberglass examination table, you will have lost regardless of what happens to your adversary!

Gunfighting is damn serious business where losing is not an option! It is one thing to amuse one's self by debating caliber efficacy; the refrigeration unit of the morgue is another issue entirely. If you have not witnessed an autopsy, let me suggest your doing so. While watching techs and physicians carve up bodies, think carefully of how a stupid split second decision can reduce you to nothing more than another piece of evidence!



Good luck,

Leon Phelps

Leon Phelps
May 22, 2005, 01:23 PM
BioDeamon,

For me 40 S&W. 135gr HP Cor-Bon at 1300fps with a one shot stop statistic of 97-98%. Old kings are 357 mag federal 125gr HP at 96% and the 45acp 180 gr. +P also at 96-97%. Realy all equal in my book. A 9mm Cor-Bon 115gr hp +P at 91% isn't quite as good unless It's what You can handle the best. The 45 acp is my second faverite but dousn't have the capacity of the 40. I agree cje1980, The 9mm just isn't up to par in my book eather.

You need more books in your library. Might I suggest the FBI's ammo test? Check out this Website, m'man for authentic knowledge (http://www.tacticalforums.com) about this subject.


Wishing you well,

Leon Phelps

ducktapehero
May 22, 2005, 02:36 PM
The FBI ammo test demonstrated the .40 S&W to be superior to the .357 Magnum. Well since the FBI said so it must be true. :rolleyes:

Leon Phelps
May 22, 2005, 03:25 PM
ducktapehero,

No, the FBI ammo test was a fraud. The 9MM is really the way to go. Never mind the fact that law enforcement is/has moved away from it. I mean, what the hell does professional law enforcement know, right?

As for me, well, consider me one of the stupid morons who adheres to the FBI ammo tests.


Yours truly,

Leon Phelps

ducktapehero
May 22, 2005, 04:20 PM
I didn't mean anything personal but I am leary of any "FBI" tests. I just remember after the 86 shootout they determined what they needed was a gun that was balistically similar to a 45, in a large frame handgun, like a 45 but wasn't a 45. Granted the 10MM "lite" eventually evolved into the 40(which I am a fan of) but to me just shows backwards thinking.

I'm sure there is good info in these tests but I think too much is made on which caliber is "best". Most gun fights last maybe 4 rounds or so? An expert with a 38 wheelgun would best a novice with the latest whizbang gun every time. Personally, I think that tactics and markmanship trump "one shot stop percentages" everytime. Like I said, I didn't mean anything personal about it so if I offended you I sincerely apologize.

Leon Phelps
May 22, 2005, 04:31 PM
ducktapehero,

The handgun ammo test was spurred on by desire to prevent other tragedies. The results were obtained using protocol guided by scientific methodology. As much as testing for "best" ammo, it also dispelled myths about handgun lethality. The validity of this test has been demonstrated in actual use of deadly force incidents. This Website (http://www.tacticalforums.com) should provide greater detail.


My best,

Leon Phelps

shield20
May 22, 2005, 06:46 PM
The choice of which caliber we carry (along with which ammo type) is one of the few aspects WE CAN completely control out of many variables in a gunfight - to minimize ANY advantage one caliber has over another is silly. Combine the benefits of course with..shootablity - but not to take advantage when one is available? Not me...make mine wider, heavier, & deeper.

ducktapehero
May 22, 2005, 07:12 PM
to minimize ANY advantage one caliber has over another is silly True but who to believe? 1 group has "statistical" evidence that the 45acp is the best while another group has similar evidence that say's the 40 or the 357. That's why I say that you should pick up whichever decent caliber you shoot best. If you can hit with a 38 you will do infinitely better than if you miss with a 357. If you shoot a 40 and a 357 the same then pick which gun you like better, don't fret over which one is the "better stopper". Just my 2 cents.

Duxman
May 23, 2005, 12:19 PM
The question of the day - should be amended by adding an additional query -
Better - for whom?

What works for one individual - a 9mm for example, because he/she can hit targets dead on with it, might be less effective for someone who is used to carrying and practicing with a .45.

So in the end, it comes down to training and what you are comfortable with. Personally I am a .40 fan. This is ammo my new carry weapon sports, and I am accurate with it.

It is a compromise cartidge that has a high velocity and good stopping power. Best of both worlds as far as I am concerned. Plus I can carry more rounds than a .45.

Leon Phelps
May 23, 2005, 06:26 PM
ducktapehero

True but who to believe? 1 group has "statistical" evidence that the 45acp is the best while another group has similar evidence that say's the 40 or the 357.

This sentence is a logical fallacy. This is a science, therefore based upon a given research model, knowledge is possible. I think that if you go to Websites dedicated to the SCIENCE of this topic, you'll see what I men. Also, try to get a copy of the FBI ammo test, scientific research into this topic.


Good luck,

Leon Phelps

cje1980
May 24, 2005, 04:06 AM
Where in God's name did you get this? M'man, I wish I had a nickel for every incident I know of where the 9MM performed like a 9MM instead of a real defensive caliber!

The same place you probably do. I get my information from FBI tests. Which show me which 9mm, .40, and .45 loads meet their for self-defense criteria. My defense ammo for 9mm is now 147gr. Rem. GS which consistently penetrates 13" and expands to .66 which is what about half of the .45 loads expand to consistently. I should have clarified, I should have said, when using good loads they are similar. I will have to admit, that I think that the .45 and .40 are slightly superior but I don't believe that it is a dramatic or significant difference. As it is, they are semi-auto handgun rounds and are not guaranteed to stop a fight regardless of which caliber you choose. I don't believe in one shot stop percentages and I agree with you that we should stick to scientific tests and go by what legitimate FBI and LE tests recommend. I believe 115gr. 9mm rounds are a poor choice for SD purposes even if M&S say it has a 91% one shot stop ratio. It only penetrates 8-10" so I wouldn't risk it. With that said, the SDPD conducted a study on the performance of the 147gr. 9mm subsonic round. Out of all the shooting recorded it consistently penetrated to 13" in actual human tissue, not ballistic gelatin. It expanded everytime and had an average of .540 with the expansion never being less than .46. These are real shootings and I feel that this is good performance. I feel that you should shoot whatever you feel comfortable with and use a SD load that is suitable according to FBI testing. My SD loads have shown to be suitable for SD purposes. There are definitely more bad 9mm rounds for SD than .40 or .45 but when using the best the difference is very small. They all penetrate between 13-16" and reliably expand.

cje1980
May 24, 2005, 04:09 AM
I also tend to stay away from using particular incidents as viable sources for research. Of course there are many times where a 9mm has failed to do its job, there has also been many instances where a .45 has failed to do its job, even head shots. There is no magic bullet and you can't control who you are fighting against. Caliber selection is a small fraction of surviving a gunfight.

Leon Phelps
May 24, 2005, 07:19 AM
cje1980,

The load you mentioned was tested and assiged a value of .8, which was high for the 9MM; it is one of the better loads for caliber. In contrast, many of the .45 ACP loads scored 1, the absolute highest score, while most others routinely scored over .8.

Were I to use the 9MM for defense, I would most assuredly go with the 147 grain projectile. When these tests were nascent, it demonstrated itself to be clearly the best of the 9MM lot. As good as it is, it is no.45 ACP, which is why so many agencies are abandoning it.

cje1980, if you fell comfortable with the 9MM, by all means carry one. Remember, above all this is a personal issue. One has to carry what one feels to be best. BTW, www.tacticalforums.com recently posted test results of lots of rounds, and the 9MM was able to hold its own, provided the right bullet was selected.

BTW, it is comforting to see that you have taken time to access the FBI tests. You're a smart man!


Regards,

Leon Phelps

cje1980
May 25, 2005, 05:03 AM
Yes, I very much agree with you Leon. I used to use Rem.GS 124gr+p, which also did pretty well in the FBI tests but it was expensive and it is higher pressure and I didn't really feel comfortable carrying a round that has different shooting characteristics than my practice ammo. The 147gr. loads all shoot great through my guns in 9mm and my carry ammo groups the same as my practice which is always good. Now I feel much more comfortable. I think penetration is the key. Too many people focus on expansion. If a round expands to twice its diameter but stops several inches short of the vitals it didn't do its jobs. The first priority is selecting a bullet that will offer sufficient penetration and expansion is of secondary importance. Of course more importantly is shot placement and tactics. A really good load is the 127gr.+p+ Ranger but it is near impossible to get. I think we are on the same page. Civilians should choose a caliber that they can shoot comfortably, but offers sufficient penetration and consistent expansion. LEO are another story, it really depends on what types of threats they face and regional factors. Their decisions are really based on practicality in a tactical situation. I think the .40 is a fine round for LE. We should use scientific testing, not theories for selecting a SD load.

BioDemon
May 25, 2005, 06:31 AM
Leon Phelps, Were at http://www.tacticalforums.com/
can I find The info on street stopping statistics? I'm
always looking to learn. I just didn't find it.

Leon Phelps
May 25, 2005, 07:15 AM
BioDemon,

The guys who post there, many with advanced scientific degrees including MD, are kinda finicky. They tolerate little BS. I would start by signing up and then doing a search. Once perusing the loads of material you'll find, start asking specific questions.

BTW, it is one of the best forums I have found for unbiased, scientific knowledge. www.firearmstactical ain't bad either.


Take care,

Leon Phelps

Leon Phelps
May 25, 2005, 07:17 AM
cje1980,

Your last post was extremely well-written and carefully thought out. Good job!


Take care,

Leon Phelps

CarbineCaleb
May 26, 2005, 12:18 PM
First of all, I assume you mean for self-defense purposes...

Loaded with proper ammunition, all 3 of these are about the same, in terms of penetration and wound characteristics. That's why these are the top 3 rounds for anti-personnel use - they represent almost equal points on the tradeoff scale of power versus controllability.

The anecdotal differences between these three are greatly exaggerated. If you read discussions by Marvin Fackler (probably the foremost expert on these matters), or an excellent online article by FBI special agent Urey Patrick:
http://www.firearmstactical.com/hwfe.htm
... you will see that whether you shoot someone with a 9mm, or even a .44magnum handgun, there is no guarantee they will be incapacitated, unless that is, you get them with a brain or upper spine shot. Both the 9mm and the .44 magnum can completely penetrate an average person, and you're either putting a half inch hole through them (with 9mm mushroomed), or a three-quarter inch hole (with .44magnum mushroomed) - there is no huge difference there.

Real civilian gunfights normally take place at a distance of less than 15 feet (95% of FBI gunfights for example did, if I recall correctly). You're face to face with your attacker on the street or across a room - so long distance power and long distance precision are irrelevant (although both are often cited in these types of forums).

On the other hand, the data shows that even at a range of less than 15 feet, complete misses by one or both parties were the norm in FBI gunfights. That's the distinction between practical accuracy and clamped, bench accuracy. In a defense situation, someone is face to face with you, holding a weapon and trying to kill you - you have at best a few seconds to take them out first.

From the above, we can see that from a practical perspective, you need sufficient power to do what damage can be done by a handgun hit - all of 9mm, 40S&W, 45ACP have that. Beyond that, what is extremely important is placement (as some others here have also noted) - you need to be able to shoot quickly, calmly, and repeatedly with reasonable accuracy. For those reasons, you want the minimum noise, muzzle flash, recoil, and muzzle flip. Choose a gun, chambering and round that allow you to minimize these disruptive factors - another viable choice is .38Special with +P ammunition.

Although all 3 of your choices are about the same, personally, I shoot a 9mm with 147gr subsonic loads. My reasoning is that capacity is 10 rounds (unlike the 45ACP), and it gives equivalent target damage for the smallest bang.

cje1980
May 26, 2005, 02:26 PM
Although all 3 of your choices are about the same, personally, I shoot a 9mm with 147gr subsonic loads. My reasoning is that capacity is 10 rounds (unlike the 45ACP), and it gives equivalent target damage for the smallest bang.

A 9mm gun with only a 10rd. capacity. If that was the case I would use a .45. The capacity is one of the reasons I choose 9mm, I have about twice as many shots per mag compared to if I was using a 1911. If I were stuck with 10rd. magazines I would much rather go with .40 or .45. The only reason the 9mm was even considered back in the 80's by LE and the FBI was it's capacity. Back in 1986 when the whole Miami FBI incidenet happened the 9mm was really the only practical choice. People often debate what would have happened if they were using a different caliber. What different caliber? Their choices were either a wheelgun in .357 mag or .38spl., .45 with its 8 round capacity or a 9mm with 15-17 rd. capacity. I'm not aware of any double stack .45's that were around in 86 and usually higher capacity .45s have a really large grip which many people can't handle. But again, the only advantage a 9mm has is higher capacity. Having 2 more rounds in a 10rd. magazine would not make me feel more comfortable. Now days even .45s are offering good capacity.

shield20
May 26, 2005, 02:43 PM
Yep - High-cap magazine ban? Back to the .45 (8+1)...No high-cap mag ban? maybe back to the .40.

You canNOT guarantee the 9 will give "equivalent target damage" - expansion and penetration HAS to work perfectly for it to come pretty close. IF you can not handle the larger calibers OR need an ultra small piece OK, but otherwise??? Go .45., then .40.

cje1980
May 26, 2005, 03:16 PM
You canNOT guarantee the 9 will give "equivalent target damage" - expansion and penetration HAS to work perfectly for it to come pretty close. IF you can not handle the larger calibers OR need an ultra small piece OK, but otherwise??? Go .45., then .40.

If using the best 9mm loads, then there is similar results. Me and Leon settled that earlier on this thread. I also have a .40 but find myself using the 9mm mainly due to ammo cost. I feel very comfortable with my 9mm guns because I shoot them a lot and drawing them rapidly and putting several well placed shots in a matter of a couple seconds feels very comfortable. The penetration is always there when using good 9mm loads and the 9mm expands very consistently, they pretty much always expand as proven by a SDPD field study. Not one of the 9mm bullets pulled from actual dead BG's expanded to less than .46, the average expanded diameter was .540, average not biggest, and the average penetration of all of the shootings in actual human tissue using 9mm was 13" and the average penetration of ballistic gelatin was also 13". Says a lot for how much science has improved. They managed to prove two things in the field study, results are nearly identical between ballistic testing and actual human shootings, and the 9mm is an effective stopper when using the right loads. Just stay away from 115 grain loads and pick loads that the FBI recommends and you will be fine in any of the mentioned calibers. What would be really bad is that if someone tries another caliber that are not comfortable with just because it offers marginally better performance. Another thing worth noting is that all of the calibers under discussion are capable of failing to do their job. Neither of them are a guarantee so pick a gun you are comfortable with and shoot well.

cje1980
May 26, 2005, 03:21 PM
I also feel that one has to be more careful choosing 9mm SD loads than with a .40 or .45. If you are using one of the best 9mm loads then you have a pretty effective weapon. If you are using cheap ammo then you would be much better off with a .40 or .45. I agree in most loads the .40 and .45 are more effective but I also don't like it when people bash the 9mm. It is currently the oldest military handgun round, and it is also still in use by the vast majority of the world's militaries. If it was completely ineffective I don't think it would have survived this long, let alone be adopted by every major military in the world as a pistol cartridge.

shield20
May 26, 2005, 03:34 PM
Thanks for the follow-up CJ. Just thought of something - understanding the 9mm can get really close to the bigger calibers as a stopper, how do you think it suffers from shorter barrels? I was thinking my "in a ultra compact pistol" statement - now I am wondering how the short length will effect the ballistics? I mean I know less velocties and all that, but any testing on how a smaller piece does in testing? Comparing say a Defender-size .45 with a 3" bbld 9mm make any difference?

CarbineCaleb
May 26, 2005, 08:01 PM
People can believe whatever they like, but 9mm, .40S&W, & 45ACP, with suitable ammunition are all roughly on par for penetration. Yes, a .45 shoots heavier ammo, with more momentum, but it also has to push a wider bullet through the target, offsetting the other factors. So the only "big" difference is wound diameter. There, we have:
- 9mm: .36" expanding to roughly 0.50"
- .45ACP: .45" expanding to roughly 0.75"

If you want to believe that a 0.45" hole is a lot more deadly than a 0.36" hole, or a 0.75" hole is a lot more deadly than a 0.50" hole, go ahead, but I cannot agree.

What does make a huge difference is what the bullet path traverses on it's way through the body.
- Brain or Spine: instant incapicatation
- Heart: Certain death, but about 1 minute of consciousness to continue the fight, plenty of time to empty a gun
- Lungs: Possible death, but minutes of consciousness to continue the fight, emptying and reloading gun several times
- Elsewhere: Person can continue fighting and will also likely live with prompt emergency medical attention


Yes, I read about the 1986 FBI shootout but I was unimpressed. One guy was shot 6 times, but he was knocked out of the fight early on, just kept getting shot while slumped in car. The second guy was shot 12 times, but 5 hits were to feet! Several others to arms and legs He also was more than killed.

Most officers were shooting snubnose revolvers with .38+P ammo, circa 1986. That is down at the bottom of the range of the performance spectrum for combat weapons. Furthermore, one would have to postulate that a .45 round hitting the same locations would have caused a different outcome. I doubt it.

No matter what kind of handgun you shoot someone with, they *will* be able to shoot you back unless you solidly hit the brain or upper spine. If you think otherwise, then tell me some physiological basis for them being unable to shoot you?

People are just machines, and if you want that machine to be completely unable to function, it has to be "off". The only way to do that is either a complete loss of consciousness or breaking the signal path from brain to muscles.

The best way to *try* to ensure the most rapid incapacitation is sufficient bullet penetration, coupled with location, location, location.

orionengnr
May 26, 2005, 08:19 PM
and stimulate the economy. Buy several of each!

cje1980
May 27, 2005, 12:22 AM
Very good point Carbine, I would think the expansion would be more like .60-.65 for 9mm and .70-.75 for .45. .50 would be a very poorly performing 9mm HP. People are simply failing to realize that handguns are not guaranteed to kill people. Every BG will react differently to being shot and we have no control over it. It is my humble opinion that if you shot a guy that was all strung out on narcotics with a 9mm several times and he didn't go down you are SOL with any other handgun. You would need a 12 guage shotgun or another long gun to bring some psychopath like this down. Even rifles have failed to bring people down. I think we should just stick to the most scientific testing we can and draw the best conclusion from that. We should take particular incidents where a certain pistol caliber failed to stop someone as a reminder that handguns are poor tools for incapacitation. You can tell me as many instances where a 9mm failed to stop someone and I could find the exact same amount of other similar instances involving another pistol caliber. The bottom line is all handgun calibers will fail to stop someone from time to time.

cje1980
May 27, 2005, 12:26 AM
Thanks for the follow-up CJ. Just thought of something - understanding the 9mm can get really close to the bigger calibers as a stopper, how do you think it suffers from shorter barrels? I was thinking my "in a ultra compact pistol" statement - now I am wondering how the short length will effect the ballistics? I mean I know less velocties and all that, but any testing on how a smaller piece does in testing? Comparing say a Defender-size .45 with a 3" bbld 9mm make any difference?

Shield, I'm no expert on the subject but I feel and have heard that the 9mm doesn't suffer as much out of shorter barrels. Most 9mm ballistics are rated with a 4-4.5" barrel in mind. The .45 ballistics are rated with a 5" barrel in mind. I have heard that the .45 really suffers and is borderline ineffective with barrels less than 4". You are getting velocities at less than 800fps and sometimes right around 700fps. I'm sure many will disagree with what I have just typed but that is what I've heard and how I feel.

Geopagus
May 29, 2005, 10:44 AM
Shot placement is key. Any of the 3 calibres will do the job. :rolleyes:

"Ignorance Is Bliss"

Redondo
May 29, 2005, 05:16 PM
Since you left out the best(10mm), .45acp, by gawd!!! :)

big daddy 9mm
June 1, 2005, 09:39 AM
so you are daying that we should use hollow points no matter what caliber we use for self defense? you answered my question... thankyou friend. By the way castlebravo, I did not even pay attention that that one thread was back in the 98. i will start paying attention to that. no point in rehashing something. :o

cje1980
June 1, 2005, 03:23 PM
There is some calibers that should not be used with HP. Like .25ACP .32ACP or cheap inferior .380HPs. There are some good .380 loads that have given good performance but you have to be extremely careful with your choices. You want to make sure that you have adequate penetration. Out of the 9mm, .40, and .45 they all perform very well with good premium HPs.

Para Bellum
June 5, 2005, 07:35 AM
- 9mm: .36" expanding to roughly 0.50"
my EFMJ did .70" (see http://www.raoulwagner.com/9mm.htm )
Stay safe and sound.

MattXYZ
July 20, 2007, 08:30 PM
.357SIG rules all! 1450 FPS 125gr. GA. Arms Gold Dot outta my SIG 226. I gotta .40 Barrel too. A semi auto with real close .357 mag ballistics and holds 13 rounds! Their aint no .45 I'v shot at logs and water jugs that hit like the 357SIG! I kinda consider the .40 and .357SIG as almost the same gun. As far as the DE .50, got one, with a .357 barrel, too. Hardly ever shoot the .50AE, its so unnerving. That darn gun is huge- afraid an armed BG would light you up with his before you could wield and take aim with that thing. Unsafe too! This moron I let shoot it, dropped it cocked, didnt even land on the hammer, and went off! Very volatile.

denfoote
July 21, 2007, 04:29 AM
and stimulate the economy. Buy several of each!

Exactly!!!

Beside me at this very moment: Glock 36 (.45acp)

Under pillow bump in the night gun: Glock 23 (.40 S&W)

In the other computer desk drawer and serving mouse gun: Glock 26 (9mm Parabellum)

CajunBass
July 21, 2007, 05:25 AM
And now, from the graveyard of forgotten hits! :D

k8do
July 21, 2007, 07:46 AM
Awww common guys, you all know only a 454 Casull will do the job - makes Dirty Harry look like a prepubescent geek...

Actually, the bottom line is get the smallest and lightest gun possible... You will carry it an entire lifetime and never have to pull it for real so there is no point in lugging around 3 pounds of metal the rest of your life... You will get struck by lighting before you need to actually shoot another human...

But, if you turn out to be the rare person where lightning should strike, you never, never, never pull the gun to display it or frighten the BG away... Once the gun is displayed one of two things happen...


First might be is the BG will realize you are not the easy victim he thought you were and beat it out of there... This is a good outcome - but you really, really cannot count on it...


The real problem is that the second thing might happen: and the second thing is that is he is souped up on drugs, he sees the gun, gets a massive adrenalin surge, goes into a berserk rage, and now he is ten feet tall and bullet proof <oh, the bullets will get to him eventually but not before he crushes your skull and drives a knife into your heart>... This is a bad outcome they tell me - actually having been a EMR doc, I know this is a bad outcome...

So, where's the beef, Clara might ask... Well, the massive adrenalin surge in him takes a good 5 seconds to really get rolling... So, if you cannot talk your way out of the situation and you know he intends to harm you, that is when you smoothly draw your weapon <any caliber - and smoothly because you put in at least one hour of repetitive draw and fire on a 3 yard target, weekly> and triple tap him center of mass - no hesitation, no waiting to see if the gun will deter him, all one motion like you practice - you are not a LEO and you do not do a verbal command and an escalation of force ladder with this maniac... As soon as the 3rd shot fires (maximum of 2.5 seconds from the start of the draw) you run your ass out of there as fast as your feet will go - no stopping to admire your Ace of Spades group on his chest...
The sheer, instantaneous, surprise of your massive assault and the shock of the bullet strikes will stop him in his tracks for a number of seconds... By the time the adrenalin surge finally kicks in and he decides he is going to rip your lungs out, you are half way down the block... It is unlikely he can catch you before the bleeding slows him way down - like face down on the concrete... This is a really good outcome and one you can count on as opposed to trying to frighten him off...

denny

orionengnr
July 21, 2007, 09:13 AM
This tread was started in 1998, resurrected and beaten like a dead horse in 2005, and now it's been drug from the grave once again. :eek:

Sheesh, there must not be any recent 9mm/40/45 discussions to participate in... :rolleyes:

and is it just me, or did Leon Phelps get in all 68 of his posts in this one thread?

Let it Bleed
July 21, 2007, 09:54 AM
This thread is like a spastic colon - you never know when it may strike, but you sure know what you're gonna get! :p :barf:

IMTHDUKE
July 21, 2007, 10:49 AM
PS: Why do all the big bore enthusiasts not go for an Eagle in .50 caliber? why stop halfway at a .45?

Because they would need a wheel barrow to tote it?

hoytinak
July 21, 2007, 10:59 AM
Let's keep the debate going....LOL My vote is which ever one you are more comfortable with and can shoot the best.

redblair
July 21, 2007, 10:37 PM
This thing is like my ex-mother-in-law and keeps showing up without invitation! Anyhow here's my 2.

Whichever one you have in your hand and can put rounds on center mass. The rest is gravy.:)

B

RPSmith
July 22, 2007, 04:38 PM
This thread is as classic as it gets! I'm informed, entertained, and laughing my a** off! Keep it up - this is what forums are for!

evan1293
February 27, 2008, 01:43 AM
bump :D


(Im sorry, its late and Im bored and I think sturring up the "hornet's nest" can be kind of interesting.)

I do have a serious question though, if someone can help me out. Im looking for data on penetration of these three calibers. I don't need, "well, I think this one does such and such, or this ones my favorite because..." I'd really like to find some hard data on penetration in inches of the above calibers. Both in FMJ and with a typical HP bullet.

Thanks!

JohnKSa
February 27, 2008, 02:05 AM
http://demigodllc.com/~zak/firearms/fbi-pistol.php

FMJ is harder to find data for, but you won't be far off if you just figure on about 2 feet of penetration for typical round nose FMJ in all three calibers.

I believe this makes you the zombie-master, this thread was originally started on the first week or so of this subforum's existence.

I'm going to let it rest in peace. If you need more information than is in the link I provided, you can start a new thread.