Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

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Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by HurricaneDad » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:56 pm

Ok, here's the deal. I've never handled a handgun, but am finally in the same zipcode of buying something once Illinois figures out what the rules for CCW are.

I'm kind of sitting between .45 and 9mm for a first one and would like some pros and cons of each load, if you please?

Thanks!
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by showpare » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:05 pm

I shoot 45 ACP because that is what I bought. My brother is a 9mm fan, because that is what he bought. If you know someone(s) with both, you should try them. Buy a box of ammo for each and try them out. I don't own and 9mm, but I do own 3 guns that shoot 45. I wish 25 years ago, I bought a 9. I'd have about twice as much ammo stored due to cost. Now there is no ammo, so it don't matter.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by alptraum » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:06 pm

HurricaneDad wrote:Ok, here's the deal. I've never handled a handgun, but am finally in the same zipcode of buying something once Illinois figures out what the rules for CCW are.

I'm kind of sitting between .45 and 9mm for a first one and would like some pros and cons of each load, if you please?

Thanks!
Do some searching on here and you will find quite a bit of discussion related to this. Many, including myself, will suggest 9mm. With modern hollow points it's an effective round. Less recoil then .45 so you can get shots on target more quickly. Cheaper training/practice ammo. Higher capacity.

The .45 is basically the opposite of all that, other then being effective which it is. More recoil, more expensive ammo, lower capacity.

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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Readphnx » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:06 pm

A search will bring up tons of info on this. This might be the most debated topic in all of firearms. This one almost breaks down into more of a religious debate rather than a real conversation over the pro's and con's of each load.

Here is the simple break down.

9mm is smaller, which means smaller holes. Most modern defensive ammo opens up nice and big so it still does a lot of damage. 9mm being smaller is also a plus because you can hold a lot more rounds. A glock 17 will hold 17+1 and the smaller easier to conceal glock 19 will hold 15+1.

45acp is big and slow.With modern defensive ammo you can put a hell of a hole in someone. The bigger size is a problem when it comes to weapon capacity. in 1911's you're only looking at 8 rounds. Even in a glock you're looking at 12+1.

At the end of the day you just need to spend some time behind the trigger and get a feel for what you like. I'm a .45 guy but I would be more than happy to carry a glock 19.
Last edited by Readphnx on Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by MaconCJ7 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:08 pm

I shoot and carry .45. I love it. If I were you, I'd buy 9mm. Larger capacity with a given size, less recoil, cheaper ammunition, close enough terminal performance with quality loads.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Caenus » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:14 pm

9mm and 45 ACP are all I own. I carry the .45 more for the same reason I drive a 4wd truck...ok, maybe not. I will say caliber wars between 9mm and .45 are just exercises in academia. Bullet design is important. If I were to only own one caliber it would be 9mm because of ammo cost. So...9mm.

I practice more with my 9mm because I bought a shitload of 9mm when it was $90 for 500 rounds. I stay proficient with my .45 but practice is practice.

So...once again...9mm.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Sins » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:16 pm

9mm for all the reasons listed already unless your baller rich. Then get both :)

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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by HurricaneDad » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:19 pm

Damn, I had forgotten why I loved this forum so much. (Had a nervous breakdown a few years back, much better now). Thanks for jumping all over my question with great and useful responses! And, I think, the deciding factor will be ammo cost.

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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:25 pm

Best "9mm vs. .45" thread ever so far. Great responses. I want to re-post this vid that RegularGuy showed me:



TL;DR: Pistols are very bad at stopping threats compared to a rifle. Very bad. 6 of 7 people shot with pistols survive. The pistol has lower energy and no "secondary wound channel" or "high-energy fragmentation" or whatever you want to call it that a good rifle round does. Pistols poke small holes in targets, that's it.

Statistically, there is no real difference in lethality across compiled data between 9mm and .45 caliber wounds.

Modern targets, based on real gunshot data, have shifted to an "A-zone" that's like a 2-liter soda bottle over the chest starting just below the Adam's apple, because that's where hits are most likely to be lethal.

Some of the prevailing thoughts on pistol combat advocate a round that allows you to put lots of holes in that A-zone quickly, and if it's cheaper, then you can train for less at learning to hit that A-zone lots of times, quickly.

Some people will make the argument that they prefer the 9mm for all these reasons. No one that isn't a moron will then take that logic to the extreme and suggest a 30-round .22LR pistol for self defense. It's an ongoing topic.

Conclusion: 10MM, bitches.
Last edited by Vicarious_Lee on Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Readphnx » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:26 pm

There is also the option of reloading your own .45acp :crazy: . See what I said about a religious debate? I'm so hooked on .45 that I started reloading so I can afford to shoot it.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:27 pm

In a perfect world, 10mm or GTFO. Meanwhile: 9mm.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by HurricaneDad » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:30 pm

vi! No, EMACS!

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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Kutter_0311 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:43 am

I used to love .45, back when I was single and relatively wealthy(meaning I had a job, and nothing to throw a paycheck at besides guns).

As I learned more about guns, and finally bought really nice ones, funds started drying up, and kids started popping out...

I currently carry .40, and wish it was 9mm...
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by We'reWolf » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:59 am

9mm smaller bullets, less stopping power, more bullets, typically could be more accurate
45acp bigger bullet, more stopping power, less bullets, typically less accurate
both generalizations.
exceptions can be made if you get certain kinds of ammos but typically 45 will have more stopping power and 9mm will hold more bullets.
if some one has other evidence or life experiences feel free to current me, I only have a 45acp.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Ten Eight » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:53 am

Pick whatever you can afford to shoot the most and can get the most rounds on target the quickest with.


9mm is cheaper to shoot, generally. Get to know the local places that sell ammo and watch the stock levels to see if 9mm is always more prevalent, or .45. Around here in South Florida aka retirement central it's hard to find .45 sometimes because of all the old geezers that carry 1911s buy out entire Walmart shipments of the stuff consistently.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by jbinbi » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:28 am

HurricaneDad wrote:vi! No, EMACS!

:rofl:
Been too long since I heard that

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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:05 pm

We'reWolf wrote:typically 45 will have more stopping power and 9mm will hold more bullets.
Citation required. Modern defensive ammo has closed the gap, stopping power is (depending on who says it) either a myth from the 70s or a function of how big of a hole the bullet makes.
9, 40, 45 and even .357 Sig are basically moot at this point, save for personal preference issues.

9 is the cheapest and you get the most bullets in a mg with it.
.45 is next cheapest (usually) but gets the least in a mag, and doublestack versions are fatter than my prom date.
.40 is more expensive than either, and provides no real world advantage unless it's popular in your area (i.e. your LEOs carry it so it's on the shelves) and though it does get more in a mag than a .45, it's available in fewer guns.
.357 Sig is for people who need to compensate for soemthign and will NEVER shoot in the dark.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by alptraum » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:39 pm

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:
9 is the cheapest and you get the most bullets in a mg with it.
.45 is next cheapest (usually) but gets the least in a mag, and doublestack versions are fatter than my prom date.
.40 is more expensive than either, and provides no real world advantage unless it's popular in your area (i.e. your LEOs carry it so it's on the shelves) and though it does get more in a mag than a .45, it's available in fewer guns.
.357 Sig is for people who need to compensate for soemthign and will NEVER shoot in the dark.
Where are you shopping? I purchase 9mm, .40, and .45. I purchase both by the case through mail order and pick up box's at various local retailers. The .45 is nearly always the most expensive. The .40 is usually just a little more then the 9mm. So based on buying a bunch of all of those my experience in ascending price is 9mm<.40<.45.

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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by MaconCJ7 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:41 pm

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:
We'reWolf wrote:typically 45 will have more stopping power and 9mm will hold more bullets.
Citation required. Modern defensive ammo has closed the gap, stopping power is (depending on who says it) either a myth from the 70s or a function of how big of a hole the bullet makes.
9, 40, 45 and even .357 Sig are basically moot at this point, save for personal preference issues.

9 is the cheapest and you get the most bullets in a mg with it.
.45 is next cheapest (usually) but gets the least in a mag, and doublestack versions are fatter than my prom date.
.40 is more expensive than either, and provides no real world advantage unless it's popular in your area (i.e. your LEOs carry it so it's on the shelves) and though it does get more in a mag than a .45, it's available in fewer guns.
.357 Sig is for people who need to compensate for soemthign and will NEVER shoot in the dark.
Bold red are the important items.

Double stack .45 is a user preference. I have Gorilla hands and my XD fits comfortably. I can still hold smaller guns without issue, but double stack .45 was made for guys like me.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by majorhavoc » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:50 pm

OP: try just both and pick what feels right. This choice you're wrestling with is AK vs. AR. Peanut butter vs. chocolate. Tastes great vs. less filling.

Understand that 9mm is generally cheaper, but that everything is relative and that all ammunition is expensive at the moment.

Understand that .45 generally has more stopping power, but again, everything is relative and modern SD loadings allow either caliber to get the job done.

Understand that 9mm generally means more rounds per magazine, but that - you guessed it - everything is relative and if you run out of bang in either caliber you're likely in a no-win situation.

And understand that .45 will generally have more felt recoil, but (you know where this is going) everything is relative and it depends at least as much on frame size, platform weight and above all else, training.

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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Shado67 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:57 pm

Readphnx wrote:
45acp is big and slow.With modern defensive ammo you can put a hell of a hole in someone. The bigger size is a problem when it comes to weapon capacity. in 1911's you're only looking at 8 rounds. Even in a glock you're looking at 12+1.

.
Glock 21 is 13+1 in .45acp

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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:58 pm

alptraum wrote:
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:
9 is the cheapest and you get the most bullets in a mg with it.
.45 is next cheapest (usually) but gets the least in a mag, and doublestack versions are fatter than my prom date.
.40 is more expensive than either, and provides no real world advantage unless it's popular in your area (i.e. your LEOs carry it so it's on the shelves) and though it does get more in a mag than a .45, it's available in fewer guns.
.357 Sig is for people who need to compensate for soemthign and will NEVER shoot in the dark.
Where are you shopping? I purchase 9mm, .40, and .45. I purchase both by the case through mail order and pick up box's at various local retailers. The .45 is nearly always the most expensive. The .40 is usually just a little more then the 9mm. So based on buying a bunch of all of those my experience in ascending price is 9mm<.40<.45.
I'm shopping in FL. Defensive ammo is usually pretty close, comparatively (averages about $.50-$1 per round.) For ball, Walmart has Tula and similarly cheap Federal brass-cased stuff, but nothing in 40. .40 means going online or going to the gun stores, where I always get raped on prices with a smile.

As far as online, I could consistently find 9 and .45 about 5-10 cents cheaper per round than 40. Right now there's no difference, since finding ammo is a crapshoot.

Lastly (having crawled a few other boards) it amazes me how many people seem to still be using FMJ for defensive ammo, since they keep wanting the biggest baddest pistol ammo possible. I will say this: 115gr 9mm ball pretty consistently flies through 24" or more of ballistic gelatin. 230gr .45 ball does about the same, and you're only gaining one-tenth of an inch and losing several rounds per mag. 17 rounds of 9mm means a 5.95" footprint whereas 13 rounds (Standard G17 mag vs G21 mag) gives you a 5.85" footprint. All that was a fun mental exercise, but it tells us two things: Don't Use Ball Ammo Defensively, and Most Pistol Calibers Are The Same.

Once again, if you're in a 10rd or 7 rd only state, it's time to grab a G20 or a Delta Elite and get crazy.
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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by alptraum » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:16 pm

Yeah, I suppose I should have mentioned that defensive ammo is usually pretty close in price. The .45 still tends to be more but not by much. The Gold Dot I use is usually within $50 per 500 for all three of those calibers. Though the 9mm is still always the cheapest and the .40 sits about halfway between the 9mm and .45.

It's the FMJ ammo that usually has big differences. For instance, I can get a case of 1000 .40 FMJ right now for $399 delivered and the same stuff in .45 is $499. I've always seen a price difference in that range between the two. 9mm is out of stock right now but I believe it was about $269 per 1000, maybe $290.

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Re: Looking for pro/con 9mm vs. .45

Post by Dawgboy » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:24 pm

I went through this a few years ago, I have a .45, but wanted bigger ammo capacity and eventually settled on an XD 40 because .40sw is a popular round and easily found in southern California, I can still run a 180 grain slug, and price is negligible compared to 9x19. .45 is definitely more 'spensive than either...

Definitely go find a range that rents, and try some guns out before you buy. That is the best advice anyone can give you.
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