best caliber for short barrel auto - Page 3

best caliber for short barrel auto

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 ...

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Thread: best caliber for short barrel auto

  1. #31
    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    .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.
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  2. #32
    Senior Member Array Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronny View Post
    The .45, it comes pre-expanded.

    Hahaha, yeah man, good answer. My EDC is a compact AMT .45


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  3. #33
    Member Array sandman1212's Avatar
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    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.

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  5. #34
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    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.

  6. #35
    Member Array sentioch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krusty 40 View Post
    I am considering on getting a sub-compact auto for conceal carry and would like to know which caliber hp is most effective ballisticly and expands most reliably out of a short barrel 3"-3.5" 9mm, .40, or .45
    Pack a ton of powder behind a relatively small caliber round and it's extremely deadly...for example .357 magnum, has better stopping power than any of the semi-auto calibers. But you can't really get a lot of powder to expand in a short barrel, and it would make the grip too wide when stacked inside it....so instead, you trade the high velocity for caliber size.

    .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

  7. #36
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    If you want muzzle flash, load 300-mp powder in a short barrel 357 magnum. People at the indoor range ask what type of flame thrower you brought.
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  8. #37
    Senior Member Array Poppy42's Avatar
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    Best way to answer, and end, the caliber question/war. Go down to your local morgue and ask a bunch of dead guys that have been shot with 9, 40,45 which one got them deader quicker! If you can hit what you need to in a sd situation a 22 will do the job ! Anything else is just an opinion. What ever works for you use it. Hell through rocks if you want to. Just make sure you hit what your chucking at and you'll be just fine.
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  9. #38
    VIP Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krusty 40 View Post
    Well thanks for all your advice guys I guess my real question was which caliber is least affected by a short barrel but that will quickly lead to a caliber argument that I really don't care to start, but I am a fan of the .40 so I guess I'll start there I'm also looking at m&p 40c for my weapon of choice so any prefered ammo for that let me know, once again thanks for the advice.
    If you are accurate with it and comfortable carrying it. . . . . Carry On!!

    I carry the S&W M&P .40sw Service model. Love it! I also carry a S&W M&P Shield in 9mm. I like Federal HST +P and Hornady Critical Duty or Critical Defense. Both are accurate and have excellent ballistic data from real use.

    Nothing wrong with .40sw. Fact is, it performs as well or better than many other calibers out of the shorter barrels. There are tons of ammo choices today with much better bullet designs and superior powders than yesterdays ammo. There is even ammo made specifically for short barrel handguns at or below 3" length.

    As said in other posts, use the heavier bullet grains and grab it in +P formula. As long as you can put your shots where it counts you will be as good with .40sw as with any other.


    See this thread I started the other night. While I am discussing short snubby barrels of revolvers, there is a ton if good input in this thread.
    Faster velocities with copper projectiles vs. Old School lead and copper
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  10. #39
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  11. #40
    Member Array SDGlock23's Avatar
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    Personally I think the .40 does the best in a ballistic sense in shorter barrels compared to the 9mm and .45. I've chronographed factory .40 ammo from a 3" Kahr CM40 that averaged faster than the same ammo from a Glock 27 and nearly as fast as the 4" Glock 23. From short barrel .45's (3.3") I've seen factory 230gr fall into the upper 600 fps range to very low 700's ...ouch!
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  12. #41
    VIP Member Array flintlock62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krusty 40 View Post
    I am considering on getting a sub-compact auto for conceal carry and would like to know which caliber hp is most effective ballisticly and expands most reliably out of a short barrel 3"-3.5" 9mm, .40, or .45
    Actually, there is no best caliber. The most important part the the ammunition selected. Bullet types and brands work differently and will not perform the same in all length barrels. Some ammo works great in short barrels, other do not.
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  13. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krusty 40 View Post
    Well thanks for all your advice guys I guess my real question was which caliber is least affected by a short barrel but that will quickly lead to a caliber argument that I really don't care to start, but I am a fan of the .40 so I guess I'll start there I'm also looking at m&p 40c for my weapon of choice so any prefered ammo for that let me know, once again thanks for the advice.
    Can't go wrong with a .40 M&Pc!
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  14. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tally XD View Post
    As said in other posts, use the heavier bullet grains and grab it in +P formula. As long as you can put your shots where it counts you will be as good with .40sw as with any other...
    No reputable manufacturer makes a .40 S&W +P.
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  15. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilowatt3 View Post
    No reputable manufacturer makes a .40 S&W +P.
    Buffalo Bore isn't reputable? But, you are correct, no factory such as Federal or Winchester make it.
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  16. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilowatt3 View Post
    No reputable manufacturer makes a .40 S&W +P.
    And there is no SAAMI spec for .40 +P. SAAMI only lists +P specs for 9mm, .38 Special, .38 Automatic, .45 ACP and .45 Colt pistol calibers.
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