This is a discussion on best caliber for short barrel auto within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; .40 S&W was engineered to work well with fairly short barrels in the first place, and was developed after chronographs had been items of widespread ...
.40 S&W was engineered to work well with fairly short barrels in the first place, and was developed after chronographs had been items of widespread public consumption, so the ammo manufacturers had learned to be more honest about velocity. All defensive cartridges have lower velocity if fired from a shorter barrel, but at least .40 was engineered to perform from 3.5" to 4" duty-length barrels in the first place. When considering a .40 load, I try to find data fired from the 3.9" barrels of SIG P229 pistols, as that is my current duty pistol. I also find the P229 quite adequately compact for concealed carry, especially the more rounded-off SAS version. Sweet little pistols!
I remember chrono data from some sources indicating that .45 ACP is a BIG loser of velocity when barrels get short, more so than 9mm or .40 S&W. When I used 1911s for duty and carry, that is one factor that largely kept me away from the cute little bobcats, and even Commanders. ("Bobcat" is a term for cut-down 1911s that precedes the Officer's ACP.) Reliability was the other factor. I like my 1911s to have 5" barrels. Come to think of it, a 5" 1911 balances better, for me, also. That being said, the New Agents just keep calling my name...
Last edited by Rexster; May 23rd, 2010 at 10:06 AM.
I like the 9mm Ranger t series 147's they have worked well with my sigma and now I will be trying them through my new Kahr CW9. I like the 9mm in the heavier load out of a sub compact...closer to the .40...without the annoying flip. Just my opinion. between the 9MM, .40 and .45 there is not enough of a penetration difference to be of concern to me. 11-13 inches of penetration in most peoples chest/head with 147 grains is going to do the trick. just my opinion.
I own an XD9SC (3" barrel) and a 4" XD45C. I've also shot a few times the XD40SC. All have reliably fed +P ammo. I don't think you can go wrong with either of the SCs or the 45C. Personally, I prefer the 9 as it was my first EDC and the cost of ammo isn't too bad. I also trust it as an EDC, having put >2K rounds through in the last 8 months.
I like the 45 as well feel prepared to carry it but I have only but ~1K round through it in the 4 months I have owned it.
In the XD9SC, I carry the Speer 124grn +P SB or the 147grn. I trust either of them to work reliably if needed. After running 200+ of each through, I'll fire a couple of magazines a month to keep in practice with the actual SD ammo. I like the SB ammo due to less muzzle flash in the dark.
On the 45, again I use Speer either 230 or 185grn with the same scenario.
I don't think you can go wrong with most SD ammo today. The comments & links above are all well thought out.
What caliber is also a personal preference, Since I have a 9 & a 45, I don't feel the need (yet) for the 40. For a 3" barrel, I do think I would lean to either the 40 or 9.
I like the Springfield line due to the grip & trigger safety features.
.45 ACP JHP is your best buddy in an automatic handgun (forget GAP because there's no need to make the .45 ACP shorter...as it doesn't help you fit more in the handgrip). As far as expansion reliability, that depends on the manufacturer of the ammunition more than anything else.
The only detriment to the .45 ACP is that most sub-compacts chambered in this round are double stacked making them quite thick which makes them difficult to carry concealed. When you go to single stack that limits you to just 6/7 rounds in a subcompact.
If you single stack .40 S&W you can't really fit any more (maybe +1), but you can double stack (staggered) .40 S&W and it's not THAT much thicker than a single stack of .45 and holds 10 rounds. It's bigger in diameter and has more powder than the 9mm so this makes it a good compromise if you necessitate the additional rounds.
"In a world of compromise, some don't." -HK