Why a .45 - Page 2

Why a .45

This is a discussion on Why a .45 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have and carry all of the major 3... 9mm, .40 and .45. They all have a role and I wouldn’t feel under or over ...

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Thread: Why a .45

  1. #16
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    I have and carry all of the major 3... 9mm, .40 and .45. They all have a role and I wouldn’t feel under or over armed with any of them.
    I do prefer the .45 though, but I will admit its probably more of a psychological thing more than anything else. Its been proven cartridge for how long now? An empty casing of 9mm will get lost in a .45 casing. You always have an ashtray if you are carrying .45 HP's.
    I do shoot .45 better than the rest though.
    "Just blame Sixto"


  2. #17
    New Member Array Rican Havoc's Avatar
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    I like the .45ACP. It is big, has a lot of mass, and delivers a lot of force downrange. I believe the OP was correct in that the .45 was designed to stop people. IIRC, the Military wanted great anti-personnel performance, it's just that they tested this effectiveness on animals. Remember, the .45 gained legendary status back when standard ball ammunition was all that was used. Up until recently, 45s were typically either large, or held very few rounds, but times are changing. I use the .45 when participating in gun games, b/c it is more effective at knocking down steel plates. The 9mm is perfectly capable of this, but I have seen more than a few hits that didn't knock down the steel. With that being said, I choose to carry a 9mm.

    I agree with the fella who sees little difference in performance among modern defensive caliber/ammo combinations. The 9mm got a bad rap in the 80s when the "best" ammo was Winchester Silvertip. That ammo didn't perform very well. It continues to get a bad rap b/c the Military uses the FMJ rounds. Most modern bullet designs are extremely effective in transferring energy and expanding. Have you seen what the 124 gr 9mm+P Gold Dot ammo can do, or the Winchester SXTs? For that reason, I carry a 9mm stocked with the Gold Dots, and I feel very well protected.

    Over the years I've had a lot of guys try to tell me that the 9mm was useless, underpowered, and only for small children or women. So far, I have yet to find one of these guys that was willing to go downrange and take (just) one round center of mass. I guess they're not 100% sold on their concept that the 9mm with modern loadings is ineffective!
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  3. #18
    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    As Sixto already mentioned, I also have carried 9mm, .40 and .45 and felt comfortable that any of them would have performed well. I can shoot all of them very well. I must give the edge in accuracy to my G19. But I can still shoot effectively with my G23, Kahr P40 and G30.

    I can tell that this is going to turn into a caliber war. If it is not shut down I predict 15 pages.
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  4. #19
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NY27 View Post
    I can tell that this is going to turn into a caliber war. If it is not shut down I predict 15 pages.
    All of this is good, practical discussion. Merely involving caliber distinctions doesn't necessitate "war," nor do such discussions need to be shut down merely because they've occurred before. In simple point of fact, the original poster's question was "why a .45." There are many opinions and rational reasons, both pro and con.
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  5. #20
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    "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
    -- Patrick Henry

    I love my Para CCO in .45. I bought it to do a melt down and polish it up then sell it to make a few bucks...I fell in love with the LDA trigger and how comfortable it is to carry now it is always with me.


    As much as I love the .45 caliber, my Sig p228 pushes a 100gr. Corbon PowR'Ball ammo just over 1500fps. That's a bunch of 9mm's on tap if I need them and I never feel "under gunned" when carrying it.

    I am the camp of, shoot often, shoot what you carry, control what you shoot.

  6. #21
    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbes View Post
    huh? .40 is more powerful than a .45?
    Yup. Especially a .45 out of a 3" barrel.

    Typical 230 grain hollowpoint .45 out of a 3" barrel:

    Velocity = 750 fps. (And I'm being generous...I've seen 700 fps!)
    Energy = 287 ft. lbs.

    Typical 155 grain hollowpoint .40 out of my Glock 23:

    Velocity = 1175 fps.
    Energy = 455 ft. lbs.

    I don't mean to start a caliber war, but one of the main reasons we choose a handgun for defense is the effectiveness of the caliber. Otherwise, we would all be carrying Kel-Tec .380s. I like .40 because I have 78% of the frontal area of a .45, with much more energy to aid in reliable expansion of the hollowpoint, and I have 14 rounds vs. 7 or 8.

    And energy DOES matter. It's not all about bullet diameter. Otherwise, there should be no difference in stopping power between a .380 (.355 caliber) and a .357 magnum. And we all know better.

    Add in the fact that practice ammo is cheaper with the .40, and hundreds of cases where the .40 has shown to be a very effective stopper in police shootings, and it's really a no-brainer for me.

    Not saying that there's anything wrong with a .45. I have an old Colt 1911 and a Ruger P97, and I love shooting them. I never carry the 1911, it's enjoying a well-deserved retirement in the gun safe. When I do carry the Ruger, it's with +P ammo to make up for the velocity lost in the 4" barrel.

    And if I REALLY wanted to start a war, I'd mention that I often do better on the range with my $275 Ruger P97 than my friends with their $1000 "tactical" 1911's. But hey, I wouldn't want to rile anyone!

    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

  7. #22
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metro 40 View Post
    Typical 230 grain hollowpoint .45 out of a 3" barrel:

    Velocity = 750 fps. (And I'm being generous...I've seen 700 fps!)
    Energy = 287 ft. lbs.

    Typical 155 grain hollowpoint .40 out of my Glock 23:

    Velocity = 1175 fps.
    Energy = 455 ft. lbs.
    Lighter, faster bullets are generally going to have more energy than heavier ones because energy is dependent on velocity squared. (E=0.5mv^2), so comparing a heavyweight .45 slug to a lightweight .40 is very much an apples and oranges comparison.

    Fortunately, the weight range of the .40 and the .45 overlap a bit, so let's look at approximately the same bullet weight:

    180 grain hydra-shock .40 S&W:
    Velocity = 1000 fps
    Energy = 400 ft. lbs.

    185 grain DPX .45 ACP +P:
    Velocity = 1075 fps
    Energy = 475 ft. lbs

    So a .45 can throw a heavier bullet at a higher velocity which translates to more muzzle energy. How exactly is the .40 S&W more powerful?

  8. #23
    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    All of this is good, practical discussion. Merely involving caliber distinctions doesn't necessitate "war," nor do such discussions need to be shut down merely because they've occurred before. In simple point of fact, the original poster's question was "why a .45." There are many opinions and rational reasons, both pro and con.
    Caliber war is just a term. I know that the members on this forum know how to have a civil discussion.
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  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackeagle View Post
    Lighter, faster bullets are generally going to have more energy than heavier ones because energy is dependent on velocity squared. (E=0.5mv^2), so comparing a heavyweight .45 slug to a lightweight .40 is very much an apples and oranges comparison.

    Fortunately, the weight range of the .40 and the .45 overlap a bit, so let's look at approximately the same bullet weight:

    180 grain hydra-shock .40 S&W:
    Velocity = 1000 fps
    Energy = 400 ft. lbs.

    185 grain DPX .45 ACP +P:
    Velocity = 1075 fps
    Energy = 475 ft. lbs

    So a .45 can throw a heavier bullet at a higher velocity which translates to more muzzle energy. How exactly is the .40 S&W more powerful?
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  10. #25
    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackeagle View Post
    Lighter, faster bullets are generally going to have more energy than heavier ones because energy is dependent on velocity squared. (E=0.5mv^2), so comparing a heavyweight .45 slug to a lightweight .40 is very much an apples and oranges comparison.

    Fortunately, the weight range of the .40 and the .45 overlap a bit, so let's look at approximately the same bullet weight:

    180 grain hydra-shock .40 S&W:
    Velocity = 1000 fps
    Energy = 400 ft. lbs.

    185 grain DPX .45 ACP +P:
    Velocity = 1075 fps
    Energy = 475 ft. lbs

    So a .45 can throw a heavier bullet at a higher velocity which translates to more muzzle energy. How exactly is the .40 S&W more powerful?
    Maybe I should have said a .40 generally is more powerful, with most commercial loadings. That 1075 fps is out of a 5" barrel, no doubt. I was comparing my Glock 23 to a 3" 1911. When you shorten the barrel on a pistol, the .45 loses a big percentage of it's power, and thus effectiveness.

    Besides, when you lighten a .45 to 185 grains, you lose sectional density, and this affects penetration. To really compare apples and apples, you have to compare bullets of similar density. The 185 grain bullet is the lightest common load in the .45. The 180 grain is the heaviest common load in the .40.

    A 230 grain .45 bullet has a sectional density of .162. A 180 grain .40 bullet has a sectional density of .161. That would be a good comparison, and we see that we can drive a 230 .45 to about 1010 fps and 510 ft. lbs in a +p load out of a 5" barrel. (Double Tap ammo) That load is smoking! With a 180 grain .40, we can get 1155 fps and 529 ft. lbs. Also smoking!

    I think you made my main point when you said that the bullet weights overlap somewhat. My point is, so does the performance and effectiveness. And everything else being about equal, 14 rounds beats 8 or 9 rounds any day of the week.
    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

  11. #26
    Senior Member Array DirtDawg's Avatar
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    Why a .45?

    Why not?
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    Because when you find something-you stop looking-Mooch

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metro 40 View Post
    Maybe I should have said a .40 generally is more powerful, with most commercial loadings. That 1075 fps is out of a 5" barrel, no doubt. I was comparing my Glock 23 to a 3" 1911. When you shorten the barrel on a pistol, the .45 loses a big percentage of it's power, and thus effectiveness.
    Why are you comparing a 4-inch barrel .40 with a 3 inch barrel .45?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metro 40 View Post
    A 230 grain .45 bullet has a sectional density of .162. A 180 grain .40 bullet has a sectional density of .161. That would be a good comparison, and we see that we can drive a 230 .45 to about 1010 fps and 510 ft. lbs in a +p load out of a 5" barrel. (Double Tap ammo) That load is smoking! With a 180 grain .40, we can get 1155 fps and 529 ft. lbs. Also smoking!
    If you're comparing bullets of different weights and you want an apples to apples comparison, momentum is a better measure than energy. The 230 grain .45 in your example has 4.59 newton seconds of momentum behind it, while the 180 grain .40 has only 4.11 newton seconds. Still not seeing how a .40 is more powerful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metro 40 View Post
    And everything else being about equal, 14 rounds beats 8 or 9 rounds any day of the week.
    Why do people who argue for the .40 or 9mm seem to think that the 1911 is the only .45 pistol out there? My EDC is a Glock 21, which carries 13+1 rounds of .45 ACP, as do quite a few other high-cap .45s.

  13. #28
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    We don't need no stinkin Caliber war!!!!!, Just a Calm discussion
    will do!! LOL
    quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  14. #29
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    Questionable ammo choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Metro 40 View Post
    Typical 230 grain hollowpoint .45 out of a 3" barrel:
    Velocity = 750 fps. (And I'm being generous...I've seen 700 fps!)
    Energy = 287 ft. lbs.

    And energy DOES matter.
    If you really want to use a 3 inch barrel .45 and believe that energy does matter, you would probably not pick the 230 grain ammo giving the ballistics you cite above.

    If you go to Stephen Camp's website he published an interesting article comparing .45 ACP velocities from different barrel lengths using the same ammo, Corbon 160 grain DPX (copper hollowpoint bullets) Here is a link:

    Stephen Camp article on .45 velocity vs. barrel length

    Camp used three different 1911 guns, with barrel lengths of 5.0, 4.25 and 3.0 inches. His measured muzzle velocity data was:

    5.00 inch barrel - 1217 fps - 100%
    4.25 inch barrel - 1178 fps - 97%
    3.00 inch barrel - 1082 fps - 89%

    So the 3 inch barrel gave 11% lower velocity than the 5 inch barrel, using this ammo.

    The muzzle energy of the 3 inch barrel was 412 ft-lbs. The bullet expansion was very good, as shown below:



    So if you use a 3 inch .45 and believe energy is important, you should probably use a lighter weight bullet like the Corbon 160 grain DPX.

  15. #30
    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackeagle View Post
    Why are you comparing a 4-inch barrel .40 with a 3 inch barrel .45?
    Cause Timmy Jimmy started this thread, advocating his 3" 1911, and asked for disagreement. My carry is a Glock 23, so that's what I used for comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackeagle View Post
    If you're comparing bullets of different weights and you want an apples to apples comparison, momentum is a better measure than energy. The 230 grain .45 in your example has 4.59 newton seconds of momentum behind it, while the 180 grain .40 has only 4.11 newton seconds. Still not seeing how a .40 is more powerful.
    Momentum gets a bullet to a certain penetration depth. Since both the .45 and .40 demonstrate adequate penetration on human targets, momentum is moot to me. No handgun round has enough momentum to knock someone down, so it doesn't matter.

    What does matter is energy delivered to the body, which is what destroys tissue and stops bad guys. The best handgun cartridge of all time for stopping bad guys, the .357 magnum, has less momentum than the standard .45 load.

    I'll say it again...in MOST commercial loadings, the .40 is more powerful than your standard .45. You can buy hot .45 ammo (+p) and beat the .40 a little, but you can also buy hot .40's that have just as much power as the .45. Most commercial .40 ammo beats 400 ft. lbs. of energy in most handguns, regardless of barrel length. Most .45 rounds do not.


    Quote Originally Posted by Blackeagle View Post
    Why do people who argue for the .40 or 9mm seem to think that the 1911 is the only .45 pistol out there? My EDC is a Glock 21, which carries 13+1 rounds of .45 ACP, as do quite a few other high-cap .45s.
    Anyone that can carry a high-cap .45 and uses +P ammo is well armed, indeed. I find that large of a pistol a bit much to conceal, but I know some people can pull it off. If I was going to carry a pistol that big, I'd go ahead and get a Glock 20 10mm. There's NO arguing which is more powerful between the 10mm (180 grains, 1350 fps, 728 ft. lbs!) and even the hottest .45 +P. If you're gonna spend $30 a box for 20 rounds of .45+p DPX, you might as well go ahead and buy a REAL pistol!



    And I know the 10mm is better than the .45, cause Jeff Cooper said so!

    Last edited by JD; July 8th, 2007 at 07:45 PM. Reason: Fixed quotes
    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

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