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Old June 18, 2013, 06:05 PM   #1
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First pistol purchase, can't decide between .40 or .45

I've been researching this quite extensively but I finally hit the point when I look at something and tend to lock up because I have evened out the pro's and cons.

I'm pretty sure I've settled on and FNx 40 or 45. I love the feel and the looks. I've shot one for rent at a local range.

I bought a Hornady single stage press a few months ago and have been collecting supplies to reload my own ammo and so have have everything I need to wip up over 1000 .40 sw if I want once I have something to test loads in.

I have .40 Lee dies but the .45's I ordered are still on back order. Plus I only have a couple handfuls of casings I scooped up from the range and no .45 bullets. I'd have to set aside all the .40 supplies and start over gathering .45, though I know that's not a big deal, I'd get it all sooner or later.

It will be for home defense/target/range shooting. Both guns look great. The .40 would be lighter, the .45 a little more oomph, the .40 a little cheaper on ammo, but when you reload enough it all comes down quite a bit, etc...

I can't decide.
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Old June 18, 2013, 06:36 PM   #2
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Maybe get both??
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Old June 18, 2013, 06:38 PM   #3
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Heh, maybe someday...
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Old June 18, 2013, 06:40 PM   #4
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I think your choice of the FNX is excellent. I just purchased a silver FNX-45 and dont see how there is any other gun as impressive. As far as 45 vs 40, thats a toss up, I think. If you ask that question on its own, it will end up being a 3 or four page debate that will eventually get closed by the moderators. I went 45. If I had your reloading equipment, I would probably go 40
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Old June 18, 2013, 06:44 PM   #5
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When supplies of handloading components get tight, there are .45 cases for either small or large primers.
I don't really like .40, preferring either the larger bullet mass of .45, or the high capacity of 9mm.
If you have smallish hands, go for what I presume is the smaller frame, and perhaps shorter trigger reach of the .40, but if you are going to do that, get a 9.
The .40 was intended as a compromise between the two, to placate some people in both camps, but I'm a camp of one.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:01 PM   #6
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Doesn't help that the 45 has an extra cartridge in the magazine. I also want to someday look back at my first gun and NOT wish I had gotten something else. I'd love to get the Tactical but for that money I could get 2 of either the 40's or normal 45's.

Err, I hate it when I overthink stuff.

And I don't have small hands, I'm just your average joe. I'd like my wife to ba able to handle it as well but since she's too wimpy to even pull the slide back I'll have to someday get a smaller gun she can handle. This baby is just for me.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:13 PM   #7
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I would recommend getting the 45...

Personal experience:
I have firearms in 9mm. .357/.38Spl, 45 Colt, 45ACP, 380ACP, 22LR, etc.

The ones I enjoy shooting the most are the 45's.
Both the 45 Colt and the 45ACP.
(Also just picked up a Ruger SR45 to help me shoot my 45ACP ammo.)

PLUS, I know that if there is a home defense situation, either would serve well and are proven historical stoppers.

I've shot the 40 S&W (a friend's pistol) and while it's effective, I still feel that the recoil is a bit more 'snappy' than it needs to be. I can get much faster follow-up shots with my 45ACP.

Perhaps try both as rentals first (if available) and then pick the one you like best.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:21 PM   #8
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Re: First pistol purchase, can't decide between .40 or .45

Get the .45. The FNX .40,while a great gun, did not impress me... Definitely not near the way that the .45 did.

The only way you will regret your first gun purchase is if you get the .40 first and then realize what you are missing out on when you get the .45...
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:22 PM   #9
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IMHO....the .45ACP is an easier cartridge to reload. Many times, bulk bullets in .45 caliber are cheaper than .40 cal.

and a .45 is, well...... it's a .45!
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:23 PM   #10
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Anything beginning with a '4' is good. I prefer the. 45 over the. 40, personally, the 1911 is just built for me, I guess.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:28 PM   #11
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First pistol purchase, can't decide between .40 or .45

I can't decide.
Heck, flip a coin if you have to. Either way, you'll have a very effective caliber. Since this is your first handgun, you have no worries about common ammo with other pistols.

Good luck!
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:33 PM   #12
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I am thinking you want the 45 because you already are set to go in 40 but cant decide. Get the 45acp.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:33 PM   #13
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These are great inputs. I've been pouring over YouTube videos trying to imagine myself with one or the other and I keep going back to the 45. In either size I wanted the two-tone silver but in 40 that would've been harder to get. Problem is now in 45 I start thinking I want the harder to get FDE color....grr. lol

Yeah honestly I keep falling back to the 45 over and over. RickB you had a great point, I feel I'll be much happier picking a side instead of trying to ride the middle. Someday I'm sure I'll end up with a 40 compact or something so I know the reloading stuff I have will come in handy. Plus a guy I work with said he would probably trade me some 45 materials for my 40's if I go with the 45.

I know between shooting the rented FNX 40 and my stepson's Springfield XD 45 the recoil on the 45 was definitely no bigger.

allaroundhunter is right too. I seriously doubt I'd get a 45 and wish I'd gotten the 40, but very well might the other way around.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:34 PM   #14
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There is no replacement for displacement and I wouldn't let the thought of one more in the stick affect the choice. Get the 45. It will leave a bigger mark.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:36 PM   #15
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RedHawk45 that makes a lot of sense, heh. Probably pegged it right on the nose.
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Old June 18, 2013, 08:41 PM   #16
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I'm not much of a bottom feeder guy, but I can't imagine getting a 45 and then saying "I wish I would have gotten a 40". OTOH, I sure can imagine getting a 40 and then saying "I wish I would gotten a 45".

Sgt Lumpy
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:16 PM   #17
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I second the .45. , being easiest to reload.
I don't shoot too much .40 it's either 9. Or .45.
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Old June 18, 2013, 09:18 PM   #18
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If you are set on reloading, then it doesn't matter that much. The .40 S&W is a more powerful in terms of kinetic energy, but some will argue that the .45 is bigger and heavier. If you are buying factory ammo, .40 S&W is much easier to find and cheaper too.
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Old June 19, 2013, 02:32 AM   #19
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Here, let me help you decide...

A .40 might expand, but a .45 never shrinks.

I carry a .45 because at my age you only have enough strength left to pull the trigger once.

I carry a .45 because I can't conceal a Smith .500.

Any more questions?
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Old June 19, 2013, 02:42 AM   #20
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When using good, modern hollow points, the three main self-defense calibers - 9mm, .40, and .45 - are all basically the same when it comes to terminal effectiveness on the human body. So you should choose based on things like recoil, capacity, ease of reloading, etc.
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Old June 19, 2013, 07:33 AM   #21
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The .40 and .45 are two of my favorites, and both are awesome choices.

However, most people will shoot a .45 better than they will a .40. If you want to shoot a bigger bullet and less recoil at the same time, choose a .45. If you still want a big bullet but want something faster (flatter trajectory), get a .40.

Both are very effective and neither one is a bad choice. The .45 can also shoot .45 Super which is simply awesome (same size, basically a higher pressure .45 ACP). But since you have what it takes to reload, the .40 is no wimp. Out of my 4" G23, with the right powder it's no issue to shoot a 180gr at 1150-1200 fps, 165's around 1250 fps, 155's over 1350.

On the other hand, my G21 can get a 230gr JHP to 1000 fps and even a 250gr hardcast to nearly 1000 fps with the right handload. I guess my point is, I don't really have one. Both are great choices, but I would say the .45 is going to be a little easier to shoot, it's recoil impulse is a little softer than that of a .40. I can't choose between them, I guess that's why I have both (and then some).
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Old June 19, 2013, 07:34 AM   #22
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Let's see - you have dies and supplies for 1,000 rounds of .40 S&W. Sounds like you made your decision. What do the cops carry? Of course, if you study the internet, you will find that the .40 is useless. The new 9s are just as powerful, and of course the .45 ACP has far more power. On the internet. But those silly professionals who stake their life on it still carry .40s, often (gasp) Glocks. Stay with your choice. If you are a serious shooter, and it sounds like you are, you'll have a .45 sometime, and a 9, and a carry gun, and a mouse gun, and a couple revolvers, and...
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Old June 19, 2013, 07:56 AM   #23
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The best caliber advice I ever got was: "carry whatever YOU can shoot the best". We can break down balistics all day long, but all in all, get what you shoot the best. If you think about a practical, real world defensive situation, your target is at cross the room distance. At that close of a range, will it really matter a .40 vs .45? Either round will do the job quickly and effectivly. There's pros and cons to either round, so just get the one that you shoot the best and are the most comfortable with.
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Old June 19, 2013, 08:02 AM   #24
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Personally, I prefer a .45, although I admittedly: (1) have very, very little personal experience with the .40; and (2) think that the .40 is within the "window of acceptable performance." Then again, I'm not set up to reload 1000 rounds of .40. If I were, I might go with .40, just to avoid having to buy new supplies, dies, etc. I have to agree with redhawk45. If you're already set up for reloading .40 and having this much trouble deciding, it probably means that you really want the .45.
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Old June 19, 2013, 05:52 PM   #25
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I agree with Spats.

IME, the 40 has an oddly harsh recoil considering it's performance. Between those two, I much prefer the 45.
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The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
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