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Old November 19, 2013, 03:54 AM   #1
bricz75
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9mm vs. .45 with a twist

It seems a single shot by a .45 fmj has more stopping power than a 9mm fmj. Does two shots by the 9mm fmj equal one shot by .45 fmj? Or is two shots by 9mm better? Or is two 9mm shots less good than one .45 shot?

Assume all other things being equal like shot placement.
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Old November 19, 2013, 07:39 AM   #2
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Here's my long answer and opinion....

A few years ago I shot at a charity LE shooting match, they used IDPA style targets and scoring. I shot the S&W 9mm 1911 Pro Series pistol that I carried on duty and did well, coming on 6th out of about 50 shooters. The next year I went back with the same gun expecting to do better, except it turned out that the course of fire was almost all steel targets instead of cardboard. We were scored on time and hits and you were penalized for knockdown targets that were left standing. On a couple of stages they used big popper style knockdown targets and, much to the dismay of those of us shooting 9mms, the lighter calibers just didn't get the job done as well as the heavier ones. Where it would take 3-5 rounds to knock a target down with a 9mm the guys shooting .45s were dropping them in 1-2 shots. The guys shooting .40s didn't do much better than the 9mm shooters. I was slowed dramatically by the extra shots it took to get through the stages with knockdown targets and ended up placing 23rd, midpack. All of the top 15 or so shooters were shooting .45s with 230gr ammo.

Now this was not a test and there is nothing scientific about the results, no controls to account for individual shooting ability, etc., it's just my observations. I can tell you that it really bothered me that I wasn't able to do the job on the knockdown targets with my 9mm duty gun when other shooters of similar skill were taking them down with 1 or 2 shots using their .45s. I had about a 6 hour drive back from the event and thought about it the whole way and by the time I got home I decided to switch to a .45 for as much of my carry needs as possible, both on and off duty. I know that may sound silly to some of you but I had lost confidence in the 9mms ability to do the job. I ditched the S&W 9mm 1911 for a Springfield Loaded .45 and a while later bought the FNP45 Tactical that I've been carrying for the last couple of years.

SO, my answer to the OPs question is that, 1-2 shots from a .45 is equal to 3-5 from a 9mm. Again, nothing scientific to back it up, just my observations of the difference in impact energy between the two calibers. The heavier .45 hit harder and knocked targets down easier than the 9mm.
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Old November 19, 2013, 07:46 AM   #3
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There is no such thing as "stopping power" as it cannot be measured or reproduced scientifically. All handguns are relatively poor "stoppers" regardless of caliber or bullet used. Shot placement and sufficient penetration are paramount, all else is secondary.
Barring a hit to the CNS, only bleedout can stop an aggressive and determined BG.
Unless a particular caliber/bullet can ensure incapacitation via bleedout *within a few seconds of impact*, it won't alter the outcome of the encounter.
IMHO, there's little practical difference between any of the major calibers when using quality ammo (YMMV).
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Old November 19, 2013, 08:05 AM   #4
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WC145 was that at Sig, if so I was probably out there with you. We carried 357 sigs and there were two shootings with that caliber in which I wasn't impressed. I came to the opinion that caliber didn't matter as much as shot placement and the mentality of the aggressor. Lately there has been a switch to 45 acp and I know the State Police have had very good results. My opinion has been swayed once again. I'm still comfortable carrying a 380 off duty and my HD gun is a 38 spl. but there is something to be said for larger calibers.

When gaming it there is no doubt that 9mm are easier and faster on cardboard.
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Old November 19, 2013, 08:46 AM   #5
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It was near Boston, the match was put on by an outfit called Synergy 911. It was great fun but they only held it two years.

9mm is definitely the way to go for speed, that S&W 1911 was smokin' fast and accurate too, great IDPA gun.

I know that shot placement makes more difference than anything else, especially with modern bullets, but there was no denying that on that day the .45s were hitting with much more authority than the lighter calibers. An obvious enough difference to convince me.
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Old November 19, 2013, 08:55 AM   #6
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Common sense tells us a .451" hole will let more blood out than a .355" hole. Two .355" holes equal .710" and should let out even more.

I'm way oversimplifying I know. But if I was limited to FMJ for whatever reason, I'd trust the 45 more. I'm not limited to FMJs though and I carry 9mm+P hollowpoints.
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Old November 19, 2013, 10:25 AM   #7
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The first shot (hit) delivers all the shock the body will feel. Additional shots may help break bone or sever major arteries.

I've seen deer absorb four or five hits and continue to run until bled out. Also saw a hog take nine hits from a .357 Magnum that failed to penetrate the fat layer.

A friend of mine told me of seeing a grizzly take eight .32 ACPs without apparent effect. One round from a .45-70 took him down.

So a .45 ACP is better that two 9mm, but then one 9mm can be better than two 9mms!

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Old November 19, 2013, 10:26 AM   #8
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I'll go with Bennyboy on this one

By nature of wound cavity the two 9mm holes ought to be superior to the on .45
All things being equal(which they almost never are) of course.
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Old November 19, 2013, 10:32 AM   #9
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.44 caliber LSWC beats both.
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Old November 19, 2013, 10:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bricz75
It seems a single shot by a .45 fmj has more stopping power than a 9mm fmj. Does two shots by the 9mm fmj equal one shot by .45 fmj? Or is two shots by 9mm better? Or is two 9mm shots less good than one .45 shot?

Assume all other things being equal like shot placement.
When it comes to actual real-life terminal effects on the human body, there is almost no discernible difference between 9mm, .40, and .45.

People spend WAY too much time parsing out differences between those rounds. But the answer is that there's no such thing as "stopping power" or "knockdown power"; defensive handgun rounds are pretty much all pea-shooters compared to a shotgun or rifle, so you need to make good hits to make sure to stop the threat.

Picking one of those rounds because you think it gives you a clear advantage over the other isn't just misguided, it could even put you at a disadvantage by giving you a false sense of confidence in your carry gun. See, I know that regardless of which of those calibers I carry, I still need to make good hits to ensure my target is stopped. So I focus on practicing to make those hits as accurately and quickly as possible.
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Old November 19, 2013, 11:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
It seems a single shot by a .45 fmj has more stopping power than a 9mm fmj. Does two shots by the 9mm fmj equal one shot by .45 fmj? Or is two shots by 9mm better? Or is two 9mm shots less good than one .45 shot?
Define "stopping power".

"Stopping power" is more of a marketing term, not a quantity that can be set down as a number, put into equations, etc.
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Old November 19, 2013, 12:41 PM   #12
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If you look at the energy of both the .45ACP and the 9mm Luger, you will find they are virtually identical.

People have a huge tendency to over inflate the .45's "stopping power", especially compared to the 9mm, with FMJ bullets. And although the energy of both rounds is basically the same, the reputation of the .45 didn't just appear out of thin air and marketing hype. There is a basis for the legend.

Other than a brain or CNS hit that shuts things down, the only thing that stops a determined attacker is loss of blood pressure to the brain. When it comes to letting the juice out, two holes are better than one (entry AND exit), and bigger holes are better than smaller ones.
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Old November 19, 2013, 01:44 PM   #13
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9mm vs. .45 with a twist

This is an issue I have wrestled with for almost 50 years. In my younger days I went for quantity instead of quality. My weapon of choice was the Browning Hi-Power with 13 +1 rounds of 115 grain Winchester silver tip.

I wanted a through and through hit that would collapse the lungs and leave any attacker incapacitated and unable to breath. I also realized that multiple rounds would be necessary to stop any attacker and the 9 mm has a shorter recovery time for follow up shots.

Well, life does not always follow what we think will happen. The odds of getting that perfect shot in center mass is not really all that good and more likely what will happen is a shoulder shot and maybe only one of those. That's not going to stop someone that is shooting at you as well. Shooting at stationary targets at the range is one thing, real life is another. Moving targets are not that easy to hit, so if you want to hit a moving target your first shot might just be the only one that you actually get.

So for the last 10 years, 45 ACP has been my caliber of choice and carry. If I have my choice I would rather see a 230 grain bullet hit instead of a 115 grain one.

Just my view on it.
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Old November 19, 2013, 02:01 PM   #14
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If you get a chance, talk to someone who's actually seen gunshot wounds. You'll learn that many of the assumptions in this thread are fanciful or inaccurate.
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Old November 19, 2013, 03:00 PM   #15
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The MacPherson Wound Trauma Incapacitation Factor

Great article on what it takes from a scientific standpoint for a handgun bullet to stop a person: http://shootingthebull.net/blog/the-...tation-factor/
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Old November 19, 2013, 03:30 PM   #16
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ADD THIS TO YOUR THOUGHTS : All things are NEVER equal !
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Old November 19, 2013, 03:55 PM   #17
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The next time a popper or steel plate attacks me I'll use a 45, until then I'll stick to my 9mm.
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Old November 19, 2013, 04:06 PM   #18
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I know this does't actually answer the question, but for the sake of way over-analyzing and dispelling some mathematical errors:
The area of a hole from .452 inch bullet would be pi*.226^2= .16037864 square inches
The area of a hole from two .356 inch bullets would be 2*(pi*.178^2)= .19897552 square inches

So two holes from a 9mm have a bigger area by .03859688 square inches. In case anyone was wondering.
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Old November 19, 2013, 04:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
It seems a single shot by a .45 fmj has more stopping power than a 9mm fmj.
In over 100 years of debate no one has ever proven this. No clear winner has ever been clearly established. That is enough evidence to convince me it is clearly a tie. Given similar bullet construction and shot placement there is no evidence either is better regardless of how many shots are fired.
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Old November 19, 2013, 06:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew DG
I know this does't actually answer the question, but for the sake of way over-analyzing and dispelling some mathematical errors:
The area of a hole from .452 inch bullet would be pi*.226^2= .16037864 square inches
The area of a hole from two .356 inch bullets would be 2*(pi*.178^2)= .19897552 square inches

So two holes from a 9mm have a bigger area by .03859688 square inches. In case anyone was wondering.
You beat me to it, so I'm going to be even more ridiculous and point out that you're talking about holes, not circles, so really you have to get some penetration data and factor in the depth to derive total wound surface area (let's not even get into hollowpoints and expansion).
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Old November 19, 2013, 06:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
The area of a hole from .452 inch bullet would be pi*.226^2= .16037864 square inches
The area of a hole from two .356 inch bullets would be 2*(pi*.178^2)= .19897552 square inches
All that math goes out the window when we consider a target as complex as the human body. Just some of the other factors to consider would be shot placement, clothing, angle, trajectory, bullet composition, and bullet size. Then work out the equation while Torgo's running at me with a gram of cocaine in his system, a piece of rebar in his hand, and murder in his eyes. Yeah.

So, unless someone has something novel to contribute, this is yet another "9mm vs. .45" thread.
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Old November 19, 2013, 10:37 PM   #22
bricz75
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"The first shot (hit) delivers all the shock the body will feel. Additional shots may help break bone or sever major arteries.

I've seen deer absorb four or five hits and continue to run until bled out. Also saw a hog take nine hits from a .357 Magnum that failed to penetrate the fat layer."


Breaking bone and severing arteries on subsequent shots won't deliver shock?

The .357 that didn't penetrate the hog probably fired a 110gr or 125gr bullet.


"In over 100 years of debate no one has ever proven this. No clear winner has ever been clearly established. That is enough evidence to convince me it is clearly a tie. Given similar bullet construction and shot placement there is no evidence either is better regardless of how many shots are fired."



Haven't a lot of people in the military claimed a difference between 1 9mm fmj vs. 1 .45 fmj?

This site isn't letting me quote and change the color of text.
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Old November 20, 2013, 02:05 AM   #23
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Generally most people will tell you the bigger the bullet the better and it is hard to disagree for the most part bigger bullets make bigger holes but as stated above there are so many variables you cant say one over the other for any certain situation.pick the one you shoot the best and be reliable honestly reliablity and accuracy beat everything else..i feel comfortable with either my 9 or my 1911 because both are reliable and i can shoot both well i dont involve caliber in my decision between these because as already said balistics with modern ammo are almost identical in 9 and .45
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Old November 20, 2013, 06:55 AM   #24
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caliber debate

357 Sig and 10mm want to play too.

Wonder how they would do on the steel targets?
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Old November 20, 2013, 08:40 AM   #25
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.44 caliber LSWC beats both.
I heard two shots with a .22 equals a .44!



Oh, boy will I get grief for that remark!
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