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Old February 19, 2013, 01:08 PM   #1
TunnelRat
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45 ACP and Barrel Length

Hi all,
So I imagine a number of you are like me and watch some of the great YouTube videos out there. Recently tnoutdoors9 posted a video where he tested the 230 gr Speer Gold Dot out of the Springfield Armory XDs. The link is below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lV8wwCzsso

Now there are some points to be made. He didn't use the Short Barrel version of that ammo that Speer makes, he notes he will try that later. This was more to compare expansion of the same ammo with the 5" 1911 he has used earlier to this 3.3" barrel. Also the round doesn't "fail" to expand, but doesn't expand as much (.64" as opposed to .72"). It also didn't penetrate as far (11.5" as opposed to 12.5") and was below the standard of 12".

I bring this up because I am considering an XDm 3.8 compact in 45 ACP. Now that's another .5" in barrel length over the XDs, but still far short of say a 5" 1911. Should I have any concerns about a 45 ACP in this barrel length and do you folks out there that carry this gun, or the comparable Glock 30, have any concerns along these lines?

Thanks,
-TR
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Old February 19, 2013, 01:54 PM   #2
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Any concerns?

The intended recipient in the dreaded situation I think you are speaking of will not be able to discern the difference in whatever type bullet/ammo you choose.
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Old February 19, 2013, 02:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
The intended recipient in the dreaded situation I think you are speaking of will not be able to discern the difference in whatever type bullet/ammo you choose.
If the round fails to expand or penetrate in a manner that turns a disabling shot into one that is not, I assure you he will indeed be able to discern.
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Old February 19, 2013, 02:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
any concerns along these lines?
Nope. I often carry a 3.5" barrel Colt Officer's and sleep like a baby at night. (Not a real baby waking, fussing, and wanting fed... but the proverbial baby, like a rock.)

I have 5" 1911s and carry them also. I do like being able to sit easily with a belt holstered gun; and the shorter barrel helps quite a bit with comfort in this regard.

When I am truly serious, I go to a rifle. CC is compromise. As long as it is reliable, and you can hit the broad side of a barn with it consistently, why not a 3.8" barrel? Even with ball ammo a roughly 1/2" hole punch is, in my opinion, pretty effective.
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Last edited by AZAK; February 19, 2013 at 02:34 PM.
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Old February 19, 2013, 03:07 PM   #5
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TR,
I hate when people post replies that don't answer the question I'm asking, but I'm about to break my own rule. If I were you, I would get the Short Barrel Gold Dots and call it a day. Why worry about how the normal GDs perform when there is a better choice out there?

In response to the actual question though, I believe a 4" barrel is what most manufacturers have in mind when designing the velocity envelope the bullet will expand in. I don't think .2" under that in the XDm 3.8 is going to make a significant difference. So I would be comfortable with either the Short Barrel or regular Gold Dots in the XDm 3.8. But that's me.

If you can't source the SB version, but can find the normal version, I will trade you. I have two boxes of Short Barrel I bought for my HK45, and would prefer the normal version to prevent early expansion and reduced penetration. PM me if interested.
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Old February 19, 2013, 03:10 PM   #6
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Yup alot of folks like the bullseye stuff and shot placement but i don't think so...not from what I have seen. I have seen a few bad guys shot in the chest with a 9mm 2x 3x and walk away. Human bone is pretty hard stuff. Paper targets and jello test mean nothing.
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Old February 19, 2013, 03:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Yup alot of folks like the bullseye stuff and shot placement but i don't think so...not from what I have seen. I have seen a few bad guys shot in the chest with a 9mm 2x 3x and walk away. Human bone is pretty hard stuff. Paper targets and jello test mean nothing.
What?

If not shot placement, what do you suggest as a better idea?
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Old February 19, 2013, 03:26 PM   #8
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At the same rate, if it expands more it will penetrate less. The short barreled version does use a different bullet than the standard 230gr gold dot (compared to the 9mm short barreled which uses the same bullet as the regular 124gr 9mm load). The 45acp doesn't lost much velocity in a 4 inch barrel compared to a 5 inch, I wouldn't worry about it myself.

I honestly think the best defensive ammo for 45acp is the Federal HST. It is in stock at Kyle gun shop right now. http://www.kylesgunshop.com/store.ph...733&pd=2829359
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Old February 19, 2013, 04:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
If you can't source the SB version, but can find the normal version, I will trade you. I have two boxes of Short Barrel I bought for my HK45, and would prefer the normal version to prevent early expansion and reduced penetration. PM me if interested.
Brother I can't find anything near me, it's a proverbial ghost town, but I will keep that in mind thanks!

Quote:
I honestly think the best defensive ammo for 45acp is the Federal HST. It is in stock at Kyle gun shop right now. http://www.kylesgunshop.com/store.ph...733&pd=2829359
Yea I remember seeing tests of the Federal HST before too. That stuff is really impressive.

Thanks guys! You're probably right in that it isn't anything to really worry about, but I was curious what others thought.
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Old February 19, 2013, 08:39 PM   #10
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Shot placement is King, penetration is Queen........all the rest of it is virtually meaningless in a real world situation.

I think the super duper, rhino stopping, high dollar hyped up handgun bullet is just that.
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Old February 19, 2013, 08:55 PM   #11
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If not shot placement, what do you suggest as a better idea?
One word... Phaser.
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Old February 19, 2013, 09:22 PM   #12
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A .64" projectile penetrating 11.5" sound lethal to me.
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Old February 19, 2013, 09:33 PM   #13
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[QUOTE] Also the round doesn't "fail" to expand, but doesn't expand as much (.64" as opposed to .72"). It also didn't penetrate as far (11.5" as opposed to 12.5") and was below the standard of 12"./QUOTE]

[QUOTE]A .64" projectile penetrating 11.5" sound lethal to me./QUOTE]

What he said. He won't feel the difference, even between similarly expanding and penetrating projectiles of similar weight.
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Old February 20, 2013, 03:52 PM   #14
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I really feel there are three ways to stop a threat.

Pain, fear or a CNS hit. Most criminals seem to respond to fear and run off, judging by various SD accounts.

After that it's the pain of being shot (and resulting fear), but if the perp is hopped up on drugs a CNS hit is ultimately what stops them immediately. If you (God forbid) have to shoot someone, the pain of getting shot should suffice to stop the attack. 2" less penetration in gel really doesn't mean much for the pain factor. IMO.
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Old February 20, 2013, 09:48 PM   #15
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Not at all brother. I have a Glock 30sf and I do not have that concern whatsoever.

I think you'll be set if you get that XD in .45 with the 3.8 barrel.

You'll just have to post pics.
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Old February 21, 2013, 12:16 AM   #16
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A half inch short of the magic 12 inch penetration standard? I wouldn't lose sleep over that. Very unlikely to make a difference and the next five shots might all go 12 inches or more.

Expand to "only" .64 inches? If that was a 9mm, you'd be bragging about that. It's an acceptable defensive load, IMO, though perhaps not the best from a short barrel. I almost said "best available" but there's not a lot available right now.
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Old February 21, 2013, 01:56 AM   #17
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I carry 185gr Corbon DPX plus P in my Defender, Officers and Commander

Works in all 3
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Old February 21, 2013, 04:55 PM   #18
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As smaller compact/subcompact .45's have become popular for LE off-duty & plainclothes usage, some of the major American ammunition companies have been apparently working to make their hollowpoint loads offer improved "performance" (including expansion) when fired from these shorter barreled .45's.

This has benefited the private firearms owner, as well, although there are a few of the newer hollowpoint loads have been restricted (by company policies) to LE/Gov sales, granted.

In earlier times not even a 5" barrel would "guarantee" expansion when used for older style JHP ammunition. The +P versions seemed to have offered some better potential, but this came with increased recoil & weapon wear ... and then we saw that when some bullet designs were pushed to higher velocities above their original velocity window, fragmentation and minimal penetration might result. Bullet designs were revised.

You might find this info interesting & informative ...
http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=19887

Regarding some discussion on the G30's barrel length ...
http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=121874

Personally, I own .45's with barrel lengths including 3.25", 3.5", 3.75", 4.25", 4.5" & 5". While I've used older style JHP ammo in them (when that was all that was available for either issue or personally-purchased OTC ammo), I've also used many of the newer style hollowpoint loads, including Rem GS HPJ, Win SXT/T-Series (standard & +P versions) and Speer GDHP.

Nowadays I prefer to use Win T-Series, Rem GS HPJ (non-bonded) or Speer's GDHP, not necessarily in any special order ... and I use the same ammo in ALL of my .45's. (I do prefer to limit the +P loads to the heavier and/or larger .45's, though, but that's me.)

While I certainly prefer to use the best quality defensive ammo I can find (issued or purchased), I try not to lose focus of some arguably more important issues ... meaning I prefer to focus my attention on the skillset, tactics & mindset aspects of firearms usage.
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