.45 ACP vs 9mm: 14 Experts Give Their Answers

Discussion in 'Caliber Zone' started by tallbump, May 6, 2015.

  1. tallbump

    tallbump Supporting Member


    Our round table of military, law enforcement and other industry experts answers the age-old debate between .45 ACP and 9mm ammo

    Of the many debatable topics of conversation in the firearms world, one that pops up a lot more often than others, relates to caliber. To be more specific, we’re talking about the age-old debate between 9x19mm Parabellum and .45 ACP.

    Yes, it’s a classic argument that pits small caliber (9mm) versus large (.45 ACP) and extra capacity versus brute stopping power. While there are many varied opinions on this topic, we turned to a trusted panel of industry experts to weigh-in with their opinions on the matter.

    The Round Table consists of military, law enforcement, trainers, competitors, gunsmiths and industry insiders. We will always select a multifaceted panel in order to present many different points of view.

    It’s only natural that everyone won’t share the same opinion, but that’s the great thing about The Round Table. When all of these beliefs are taken as a whole, we can learn something new, spur further debate and perhaps be surprised by what we come away with.

    The Round Table Has Spoken! Are you surprised that it ended up being a landslide from those who decided in favor of 9mm? We certainly were. It looks like 9mm has really surpassed .45 ACP as the preferred round – well, at least with our Round Table panelists that is. Not long ago, it was said that 9mm didn’t have enough penetrating power and the .45 ACP was the way to go. So what happened? The unanimous decision of our panelists prompted us to take a closer look at 9mm and why it is now held in such high regard. Read on to find out more.
  2. SWAGA

    SWAGA No longer broke... Lifetime Supporter

    Well, if you select a panel of pro-niners then the outcome is rigged before you even start.

  3. papataylor

    papataylor Member

    Why must we calibre war?
  4. planosteve

    planosteve Lifetime Supporter

    Because we can.
  5. Think1st

    Think1st Supporting Member

    Because the blind must be made to see.
  6. Think1st

    Think1st Supporting Member

    Alright, I just read the article. That was hardly even close to a real analysis. There are some instructors and a propellant scientist who largely like the capacity and controllability of the 9mm. A couple of them also said that recent technological advances have put the round on par with the .45.

    That still doesn't change the fact that if you put the same level of R&D into the .45 that you will see the advantage negated.
  7. rippinryno

    rippinryno Well-Known Member

    How so? the advantage of more rounds gets negated? are they going to shrink the .45 into a smaller round so it'll fit just as many? The new technology with some of these 9mm's makes them just as deadly as a .45

    45's are for the guys who are making up for a lack elsewhere, it's the old adage "bigger is better". i never fell for the hype.

    If you want the best round, get a 40sw, why was that left out?
  8. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    I believe he's talking about individual round performance..... And 9mms are for girly handed, limp wrists that can't hold onto something bigger.........
    I've had both, like both, but there's something really satisfying about shooting .45s.....
  9. rippinryno

    rippinryno Well-Known Member

    i love slinging 45 slugs, but i prefer shooting my 9mm even more. the big old 45 slugs are clunky compared to what i can do with my 9mm
  10. Think1st

    Think1st Supporting Member

    R&D goes into the bullet design, so if the same R&D devoted to the 9mm was devoted to the .45, then the .45 would create even more catastrophic wounds.

    Round count isn't always the best thing. As a matter of fact, if .45 fans are trying to make up for something, then I would say that they are trying to make up for a handgun's lower muzzle velocities with a little bit of mass and diameter.

    If I wanted to be a smartass, I could say that 9mm shooters are trying to make up for something, too--poor marksmanship. Otherwise they wouldn't need all of those extra rounds. But I won't be a smartass and say that because some people are just more comfortable with it, and that is their right.

    That still doesn't change the fact that a .45 hardball round will wound better than a 9mm hardball round, and a .45 "super-killa-mofo" round will wound better than a 9mm "super-killa-mofo" round. The .45 will also go through more barrier material. Even one of the experts in the article, who prefers the 9mm said as much.

    Round for round, the .45 delivers more lethality--period. If you practice with it, the splits between shots are not so much longer that it will be at a disadvantage.
  11. ArmyScout

    ArmyScout Supporting Member

    Because it has been proven by "experts" to be no better than 9mm. TIC
    However, this is somewhat true. If you check ballistics reviews and reports, the .40 really isn't much better than the 9mm, just more expensive. :D
  12. Ok let's settle this once and for all. Who wants to volunteer to get shot by both and tell us which hurts more?
  13. rippinryno

    rippinryno Well-Known Member

    the 45acp has been around since early 1900, there's plenty of R&D been done on that round wouldn't you think?

    The 40sw is my favorite, it's got a 180 grain bullet with the velocity of a 9mm.
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
  14. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    The 45 HAS received the same amount of R&D. The thing is, it is all focussed to optimizing to the FBI protocol, just like every other popular handgun caliber. Which explains why the performance of each is beginning to look identical in balistic gel.

    Minimum 12". Max 18-21". Pen barriers XYZ. We're TRYING HARD to make them all perform the same.

    Peace favor your sword (mobile)
  15. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    And there's been more developments in ballistics research on the last several years than in the previous 100..... And since military and LEO personnel used the 9mm, I'm guessing more was done with it.....
  16. rippinryno

    rippinryno Well-Known Member

    the last several years they've put as much into the 40's, 45's as they have the 9mm. the argument that the nine has more ballistic testing i don't buy. While it used to be the favorite, most leo's and military on carrying 40's and 45's now. which have been tested just as much.
  17. Martinus

    Martinus Member

    This again... there is no "debate", the question was resolved as far back as 1911.
    What looks/sounds "right" on paper, and what seems to validate anything in "gel" tests, is all well and good for getting a rough idea of how a given round "should" perform.
    Then there's reality on "the street" or on "the battlefield" as to what consistently actually works, and what clearly doesnt, most of the time.
    And what has most-often worked best has been .45
    What has sort of worked, sometimes, has been 9mm.

    Personally, if Im staking my life and the lives of my loved-ones on a defensive/combat round, it's going to be the one most likely to get the job done, in as few rounds fired, and as quickly as possible. And that's the .45- hands-down.

    For plinking stationary, paper targets at a range, or plinking cans in the backyard, I might consider 9mm for that. NOTHING more.
  18. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Only for those who don't actually know the history.

    Your 1911 is chambered in .45ACP because of highly effective anti-British propaganda by the Germans and French.

    straight-up truth

    Peace favor your sword,
  19. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    Ok..... So then if that's all true, and the 9mm is ballistically superior, why are they carrying the .45 now?....
  20. rippinryno

    rippinryno Well-Known Member

    because of the "bigger is better" mentality. Personally the 40sw is hands down my number 1 carry. Most of the LEO's in my area carry 40's, you've got some that prefer 45, and some that like 9mm's but most are carrying 40's.