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WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
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Best Self Defense Caliber: 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP

Those bad guys had semi automatic rifles. I believe one had a Ruger Mini 14. Handguns against rifles....who do you think was out-gunned?

I've heard of a cop that shot a bad guy center mast more than one time with a .357 Magnum only to have the guy get a few .22 rounds into the cop before he died. Firearms (even long guns) are not magic wands.

Only disruption to the centeral nervous system i.e. brain or spine, will result in instant incapacitation. Besides, you never know how that magic bullet will perform or fail to perform.

What's a 1938 round?

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Location: WI/MT
Joined: 02/01/2006
Posts: 67
Best Self Defense Caliber: 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP

The other rifle was a sks and both bad guys were shot in the chest first. This is not just a single example. The 9mm has a long history of not doing well. Look at US statistics and you can even go back to WW2 and read about German disatisfaction with the round. A very long trend.
Out gunned well this happens often. Police FBI and others do not carry rifles as their primary weapon,,,,yet. As a friend of mine who has 30yrs experience in special operations said, "Any rifle is better than any pistol."
As far as your 357 example this is surely in the minority. I know of an example of a 6.5 bullet dropping an elaphant. I even shot a small white tail deer with a 375HnH through both lungs and it ran allmost 4 miles. There are certainly those magic shots or lack there of. I will never hunt elaphant with a 6.5 or chase bad guys with a 22 oh wait scratch that last part.
I believe most people are sensible enough to know their is no magic wand. The idea to have "what works the best" should allways be talked about. I will allways continue to practice, shoot the newest newfangled bullet and try to learn more.
1938 was a year but I was wrong it was 1935 when it rolled out of the factory.

WesternHunter's picture
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Best Self Defense Caliber: 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP

RRIES,
You make some good points and yes finding what works is something that is always good to discuss. Yes there are those isolated strange situations where a full power magnum failed to do the trick only to have a small pea shooter get the job done. Think The flaw with this on going debate has always been the same American mentality that "bigger is always better". Being a patriot and a firm believer in the old American way, I also see things for what they are too. I can often seen that the "bigger is always better" theory does not always hold up to reality. (not to say though that the theory is always wrong)

However I have no practical experience shooting at any human being. From the ballistic numbers as well as statistics I've seen I just can't see where the .45ACP offers any stellar or huge advantage over a 9mm parabellum. Look at a ballistic table and do a calculation on each bullets sectional density, taking into account each velocity and energy down range. There's no huge difference. In the real world application I do have first hand experience seeing that a 124gr 9mm FMJ bullet has much better advantage and penetration potential on steel helmets, frying pans, two-by four's, car bodies, windshields, etc. A 230gr .45ACP will only put a very huge dent into a steel helmet at 15 yards.

The so-called US statistics and German dissatisfaction with the 9mm that you refere to all has to do with traditional ball ammo (FMJ). Everything I've read about the so-called one shot stops shows only 63% for both 9mm FMJ and .45ACP FMJ rounds. So with Ball ammo they are equal. Ball ammo in a pistol caliber is not the best stopper.

However the fact that numerous countries, their militaries, and their police forces have kept the 9mm in continuous use for 104 years tells me that the parabellum must have something going for it. In fact from what I can tell, it's been predominantly the USA who's mostly been the advocate of the .45ACP in it's auto pistols in the past, really everyone else has been using 9mm or 7.65mm. In fact the 9mm and the Browning P35 Hi-Power pistol has seen more use on the battlefield than any other pistol/caliber combo ever. If the round was lacking, don't you think most armies would have shunned it by now?

Not ripping the .45, I like the caliber. Really though, it boils down to what you are comfortable with, and what you shoot best. With the high performance personal protection bullet designs today, you can't go wrong with either caliber.

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Location: WI/MT
Joined: 02/01/2006
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One more day closer to elk season

Being a patriot myself and spending 18 years backing that up and having been a guide growing up in MT. I have never been a fan of bigger is better. I would allways cringe when someone would show up with a new fangled magnum. Leaving there old reliable 30-06 or 270 at home.
The 9mm has the trophy as far as being the most reliable in side arms.Ball ammo is used due to reliability and some rules the US and others agreed to follow. It is a point I bring up where the 9mm needs to expand to reach .41 where the 45 does not ,so a expanding bullet in a 45 is a little extra. The German article was a dirrect comparison of the 9mm and a captured 45 in trench fighting, again one persons opinion.
If we go way back in time you can see that black powder bullets started out small then went way wide then the people wanted something inbetween and started asking for somthing around 41 Now today the pendilum swings again we have been as small as .32 which was the standard then up to 10mm and now we are back to 40 which I think is about as a happy medium as you can get.
Browning Hi power in 9mm no one should argue against this combination as far as being one of the most reliable, accurate battle proven time tested combinations. As far as war goes the pistol has never been very effective and it often comes up that there is no need for one. I used to see those groups of people that could have any pistol they wanted and they would grab the 22 45 or 357. But again there attitude was any rifle is better than any pistol.
As far as statistics there is one calibre that breaks out of that 50-60% It was not even in a semi auto. Also if you look at qualification scores for any group police FBI or Army. You will see a large trend, that scores are allways higher with a revolver. As far as statistics the 357magnum beats them all and not by a little.(Could be cause they shot more)
But I am in full agreement it is just a pistol and there are about a hundred more important things than calibre. This is why there are snubby 38's in a tool box in the tractor and in the truck.

WesternHunter's picture
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Best Self Defense Caliber: 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP

Can't argue with that Thumbs up

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Location: Misouri
Joined: 11/30/2005
Posts: 365
Best Self Defense Caliber: 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP

If you all are refering to the FBI 1986 Miami Shootout the 2 bad guys were armed with a Mini14, 12 gauge, 3, 357 mags. The 8 FBI agaents were packing 357mags with 38 sp. PtP, 9mm and 12 gauges. I have the detail forensic study in front of me with witness statments as well as FBI agent statements. Pretty intersting stuff. Long story short bad guy driver got shot first in head and put down for a few min. Bad guy two takes multiple (fatal) center mass hits with 9mm 38sp and a blast of 00 buck to the feet and manages to kill serveral agents while being shot up INCLUDING a mag change.

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Location: Utah
Joined: 03/02/2005
Posts: 383
Re: Best Self Defense Caliber: 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP
147 Grain wrote:

Bullet construction and weight (i.e. choice of ammo) are more important than caliber! Either the 9mm, 40 S&W, or 45 ACP will be fine for self defense - given the right bullet.

Choose the weapon that fits you best and as far as caliber is concerned, they generally perform the same as far as wound ballistics are kept by PD's and emergency room doctors.

If you shoot a lot of ammo at the range or are small in stature, the 9mm has an advantage. Otherwise, it's a toss-up, as far as self defense is concerned.

Often, it's best for a beginner to startout and become proficient with a 9mm and only move up after a lot of range time. Many 40 caliber owners have intermediate handgun skills (but not all). Only recommend the 45 ACP for shooters who've master basic handgun skills and range proficiency.

147-gr. bullets in 9mm, 180-gr. in 40 S&W. and 230-gr. in 45 ACP are more apt to outperform lighter bullets in their respective calibers. Suggest you consider Ranger T's, Golden Saber's, or Gold Dot's for choice of self defense ammo.

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Location: CA Central Coast
Joined: 12/01/2005
Posts: 151
Best Self Defense Caliber: 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP
RRIES wrote:
Back in the 1980's the FBI had some very unfortunate events with the 9mm.. Sure we can make excusses/reasons why it did not work, but it is much nicer to be holding something that doesnot have such a long list.

Amen.

I've been making an informal study of large handgun calibers for about a year now. I don't EVEN pretend to be an expert, or even have the same direct experience as many on this forum. But...there is a virtual mountain of evidence favoring the .40, .45, or .44 over the 9mm.

One of the other gun forums has a thread going right now. It was initiated by a county coroner in Atlanta. His anectodal evidence is rather unfavorable for the 9mm; he claims he sees relatively few single-shot kills with it (and the .38). His personal caliber of choice is a .40 or .45 Colt, for a variety of reasons that I won't go into here. I'd add the .44 for sheer power, provided of course that you can handle it.

There are tons of other stories out there, ranging from pure noise to seemingly well-documented, that a 9mm just isn't as reliable a stopper than some of the bigger stuff.

My personal tastes are influenced by living in California. This has (at least) two implications:

1. I probably stand a better chance of getting elected governor than I do getting a CCW permit in my home county. So, the compactness of a smaller automatic is nearly meaningless to me.

2. I can't buy a handgun that will host more than 10 rounds, so the option of high-capacity magazines is also meaningless to me.

My protection handgun? A SRH Alaskan in .454 Casull. Even with the short barrel, I can expect to get 1200 fps with a 360gr bullet. Considering that if I ever have to use it for defense, I'll be about 10 feet away from my target, I'm not too concerned about the need for a follow-up shot. But if I do need one, I'll get a second shot off pretty fast. Yeah, if I have to use this for home protection, I'll probably incur some hearing loss. But it's better than the alternative.

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Location: CA Central Coast
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Posts: 151
Best Self Defense Caliber: 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP
RRIES wrote:
Police FBI and others do not carry rifles as their primary weapon,,,,yet. As a friend of mine who has 30yrs experience in special operations said, "Any rifle is better than any pistol."

It depends on how you define "better." Sure, (almost) any rifle is going to outperform (almost) any pistol in terms of velocity and accuracy (assuming you have ample chance to aim the rifle). But it's just too big a package to be optimal for law enforcement, where so much of the really dangerous stuff goes on in very close quarters. Plus, cops are already carrying a ton of junk...I don't think they'd want the extra weight of a rifle over a handgun.

I expect to see "regular" cops (non-SWAT, etc.) carrying compact sidearms for a long time. They've had ample opportunity to change over, and haven't done it yet.

WesternHunter's picture
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Best Self Defense Caliber: 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP

When you compare 9mm with .44 mag or .45 Colt (not ACP), it's pretty obvious what the best performers are. It's just not practical to compare 9mm to these large and very effective cartridges. Besides despite what you see in the movies, the .44 mag was never intended for police use. It was intended for protection against large dangerous game - Wild Boars, Grizzlies, Polar Bears, African Lions etc.

People can go on and on here, but I've never seen any concreate evidence that proves the .45 ACP has any special advantage over the 9mm parabellum. Like I've said, the 9mm has seen more use on the battlefield than any other pistol cartridge, ever. If it wasn't effective then I'm sure it would not have been in continuous use by armies and police around the world for 104 years now would it?

Besides this whole debate has always largely been sprung up by American civilians who've never shot at anything more than a paper target. People who read too many issues of Guns&Ammo and allow themselves to be brainwashed by all the hype. You never hear any former British troopers, German Wehrmact, Canadian troops, former concentration camp survivors and so on, ever complain about how ineffective the 9mm was or is. A couple of my buddies who are currently serving in Iraq (one on a second tour) also laugh when civilians degrade the 9mm. That tells me something. Yes

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