Another 45/40 can of worms

This is a discussion on Another 45/40 can of worms within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Opinions solicited. I currently carry 165 gr. 40S&W. I am looking to get a short barreled .45. I have heard that the big bullets may ...

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Thread: Another 45/40 can of worms

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Another 45/40 can of worms

    Opinions solicited.

    I currently carry 165 gr. 40S&W. I am looking to get a short barreled .45. I have heard that the big bullets may not expand reliably, so smaller weights are recommended. I'm guessing 185 gr. is what I want.

    So... other than the hole that the bullet comes out of, how much difference, really, is there between 165 gr. 40S&W and 185 gr. .45?

    Won't the increased velocity of the 40S&W offset the added weight of the .45 lite?

    Should I just stay with my 40, or will I truly get an "upgrade" with a short .45? Which is better, especially since I will take a round count loss from 14 to 11 if I switch??
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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    Oh my! Careful we don't have another cal war debate !!

    ''Upgrade''?? Well - take the individual velocities and do the math re bullet weights and see how your foot lbs come out. I have no fps figures immediately to hand. IIRC the .40 will have the higher ft lbs figure.

    To be honest tho I really don't think this matters a whole lot - much better to consider the usefullness of the platform and how well you get on with it. Whatever gives you more control for better placement and carry convenience is my vote.
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    Distinguished Member Array dimmak's Avatar
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    + one on what Chris said....
    You will find that if you sell the .40 there are some naysayers that knock it, but there is a reason that so many agencies use that caliber....
    Just dont shoot yourself in the leg when lecturing students about the importance of safety with the "fotee" ;o).....
    OTOH, you could get yourself a .357 sig BBL for it and really have a blast... That is one of the best rounds for both work and play IMO...
    Just my .02...
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    Most ammo designed for defense should perform adequately for said purpose. The #'s look nice on paper, but I don't think you will see much noticable diffrence in real life.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    Para,
    I prefer my .45's, not for ballistic reasons, but simply because I shoot my P245 more accurately than any of the .40's I own. I believe that the current loadings offered in .40 are more than satisfactory for handgun performance, as are the current loadings in .45ACP. If you find a compact .45 that "feels right", see if you can find one for rent somewhere to shoot. Then compare your accuracy with the two. That is what it came down to for me. Either caliber should serve you well.
    Gonzo
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    Distinguished Member Array 4my son's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Rocky and Gonzo,

    After shot placement, the type of round is secondary. Pretty much all of your current flavors should produce pretty equal results.

    IMO, it boils down to what you "feel" is right for you, and what gun/ammo combo works best to get the bullet where you want it to go.

    One test you may want to try out is a wetpack test for penitration vs expansion to see which one gives you the warm and fuzzies.

    For me, it's Gold Dots in 45. But that's just me.
    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
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    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    Ok, It would take a ballistician a full size thesis to really compare any two callibers. But here's my layman's .02 anyway.

    Using similar platforms and similar, top of the line personal defense loads the difference in muzzle energy produced is almost negligable. For instance out of a 4" test barrel the speer gold dot ammo for 9mm 124gr +P, .40 165gr and .45 200gr +P are 410, 484 and 518 foot pounds respectively.

    Now these loads all produce similar muzzle energy, but they do so by using different ratios of mass and velocity. This is where the debate lies. If all three loads expanded and penetrated uniformly without exit the difference in terminal effect would be likely also be negligable. The problem is that they don't expand and penetrate uniformly with HP's. That problem is magnified by the fact that rounds of the exact same load fired into the exact same target also don't expand and penetrate uniformly due to the point being clogged, deflection of bone, etc. A bullet with a larger mass component and larger surface area will perform better if expansion does not occur. A bullet with a higher velocity component will create more hydrostatic shock. But these arguments are really more acedemic since we really don't know exactly how any given bullet will perform terminally (in my opinion anyway). If we were confined to using only FMJ I would definately choose a .45, but we're not so I personally would be comfortable carrying any of the aforementioned calibers as a CC piece. The deciding factors for me would be concealability and shootability.

    sorry for the longwinded post

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    Member Array floridaguy911's Avatar
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    very interesting Blue. I enjoyed the longwinded post.
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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dimmak
    but there is a reason that so many agencies use that caliber....
    Just wondering but what might that reason be other than the power that be above bought it ?

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    Senior Member Array WJP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry
    Oh my! Careful we don't have another cal war debate !!
    I would say buy a 9mm so you have twice the mag capacity and quicker follow up shots.
    -Bill

    "Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."

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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Just get a 10mm.:) J/K

    Think of the basic bullet weights in 45acp: 185, 200, 230. I see those as Officer, Commander, Government. Basically 3, 4, 5" barrels, +/- .5".

    In my Glock 30, 3.78" (which I am buying back) I carried 230gr. I might switch to the 200gr and see the difference if any.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    Ex Member Array BlueBayou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueyedevil
    If we were confined to using only FMJ I would definately choose a .45,
    If you believe the best statistics that have been gathered on the topic, 40 S&W FMJ is more effective (71% OSS) than 45 FMJ and 9mm FMJ (both about 61% OSS.)

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    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueBayou
    If you believe the best statistics that have been gathered on the topic, 40 S&W FMJ is more effective (71% OSS) than 45 FMJ and 9mm FMJ (both about 61% OSS.)

    I don't believe that those statistics speak to the capabilities of the caliber. If you look at what agencies and people use the .40 and compare it to the availability of the 9 & .45 it's obvious that there is a wide disparity of sample groups. With a non-expanding projectile, it seems obvious that the a projectile carrying the same energy will be more efficient if it starts with a larger bearing surface. I think this is the major reason that the military is going back to the .45.

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    Member Array TBob's Avatar
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    I've been on both sides of this debate, using a .357 (fast for max hydrostatic shock argument) for several decades before switching to a .45ACP (slow but big hole). I largely agree with Blue. Modern ammo has evened the playing field a bit.

    Where I grew up, the Mafia's hit weapon of choice was a .22 hollow point. It was almost impossible to trace and always fatal at the base of the skull. Bullet placement is (almost) everything. ;)

    That said, I would never carry a 9mm by choice. Our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan with the 9mm has been very poor, mostly with FMJ ammo but not exclusively (please don't ask). The SOF community has generally stuck with the .45ACP, and their current Close Quarters Battle Pistol requirement specifies the larger caliber once again. The US Army is currently studying this issue (probably forever), but is expected to procure a .45ACP to replace the aging and relatively ineffective 9mm M9. The Marines have expressed interest in the SOF .45ACP CQB buy.

    Don't know why civilian law enforcement carries .40S&W to a large extent, although some have moved to .45ACP. Most SWAT folks that I know use a .45ACP of some sort or another, although a few use .40S&W. AFAIK, the military never seriously considered .40S&W for a self-protection weapon. Personally, I shoot M1911-style .45ACP pistols better than any .40 that I've tried, so I stick with what works for me. Like the others, I'd encourage you to try a variety of pistols and see what works best for you. As far as I can tell, no ballistic statistic was ever endangered by a poor weapons choice.
    "To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them"
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  16. #15
    Member Array Leadslinger's Avatar
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    I think folks worry too much about the "perfect" bullet in self-defense weapons. Let me put it to you like this........ I carry a .45 acp , if all I have to load in it is 230 gr FMJ ammo . I ain't gonna lose sleep over it. A double tap Center Mass is gonna ruin the BG's plans, thats for sure.

    But hey thats (JMHO)

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