LEO .45 ACP Question?

This is a discussion on LEO .45 ACP Question? within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Why did Law Enforcement Agencies move away from .45 caliber guns? I read somewhere that one of the reasons was the slow moving .45 round ...

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Thread: LEO .45 ACP Question?

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    Senior Member Array puncho's Avatar
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    LEO .45 ACP Question?

    Why did Law Enforcement Agencies move away from .45 caliber guns? I read somewhere that one of the reasons was the slow moving .45 round lost it's effectiveness to stop a threat after penetrating the windshield of a car. Any truth to this?

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    I don't think they really ever "moved away" from it. .45 ACP has never been a standard caliber for the majority of agencies throughout the years. Back in wheelgun days, the vast majority of agencies carried .38 or .357 magnum. Then, a large scale transition was made to high-capacity 9mm pistols to equal the firepower of the bad guys. Within the last 10 years or so, there has been a large scale move to .40 S&W, which is by far the most issued LE caliber today. .45 is still in use with a few agencies, and many officers that can choose their sidearm pick .45 ACP.

    I would think that barrier penetration would be good with modern bullet technology with .45, but I have heard that Texas DPS went to .357 Sig and prefer it to their old .45s because of better barrier penetration through automobile barriers, which are a factor in most of their shootings. I've seen 9mm ball ammo outpenetrate .45 ball ammo on the same barrier material (steel), but this isn't directly related to duty JHP ammo. I know that testing in the military showed that NATO 9mm ammo will penetrate a helmet at a much greater distance than .45 ball ammo will.
    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

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    Actually, the 45ACP performs much better penetrating automobiles than most calibers. It has to do with mass, not velocity. In fact, after being present for a few shootings involving vehicles, I switched to 45ACP for my work gun.

    Anyway, the truth why 45ACP is not more popular is this; Capacity, ergonomics, economics and myth.

    Capacity is obvious. There simple are not a lot of 45ACP pistols out there that can compete with the 9's and 40's in this category.

    Ergonomics, pretty much all 45ACP duty type pistols are big guns. Remember that police departments have to choose a pistol that a wide range of people can operate.

    Economics, it is a lot cheaper to send a thousand officers to the range once a month shooting 9mm than its is 45.

    Myth. The old 45ACP kicks like a mule, the recoil will knock you off your feet, they are inaccurate, they are hard to control... the list can go on and on.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Member Array 55spartan's Avatar
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    .45 all the way for me, hit the guy with a flying ashtray is my motto

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    Member Array gmark340's Avatar
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    The reasons stated above , plus another reason, for those departments that did have 1911s, was maintenance. Glocks tend to have drop-in replacement parts and don't require any tuning. 1911s can require fitting of different parts due to lack of standardization. As the model got more popular after WWII, different manufacturers started making their own variations on the theme, leading to different spec guns and parts. The owner of a 1911 typically has to be a little more "gun aware" to properly and reliably use and maintain his 1911 than, say, the owner of a Glock. That, coupled with the fact that many new officers have no prior firearms experience, is a reason why we don't see that many departments that use the 1911. However, note that many SWAT units and special ops units still use it. They have the resources and the training to do so. That being said, I had to get special permission in my all-Glock department to carry a 1911 on duty, and I did because I have worked with 1911s so long and appreciate a really good trigger. At the same time, I have a G19 for qualifying in the rain.

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    Member Array Blue Jacket's Avatar
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    I don't really know. I always thought departments picked their duty weapon on the 'best deal' from the gun maker. The 9mm and .45 were carried, then all of a sudden S&W designed the M&P40. Now the M&P40 is the duty sidearm. They hand it out, we carry it.
    May we never forget those in uniform who protect us night and day in lands far away. And those in all wars who paid the supreme sacrifice in defense of our country. May God Bless our Troops and First Responders.

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I'll bet it has a lot to do with economics.

    + 1 Sixto.
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

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    Member Array LM2024's Avatar
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    They did? We're required to carry either a Glock 21 (.45 acp) or Glock 22 (.40). Most carry the 21.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmark340 View Post
    ...I carry a 1911 on duty.... At the same time, I have a G19 for qualifying in the rain.
    That statement speaks very strongly to something, does it not?

    I guess we'd better hope it's not raining the day you have to use your duty weapon...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Senior Member Array rolyat63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    That statement speaks very strongly to something, does it not?

    I guess we'd better hope it's not raining the day you have to use your duty weapon...
    You beat me to it, I thought the same thing when I read that. Seems for alla concerned I'd want qualify in all conditons with the weapon I would use in those conditions.
    rolyat63
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    Member Array tennvol's Avatar
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    Magazine capacity, budget constraints, and the fact smaller/female officers were having a hard time qualifying due to recoil. Advances in bullet design have started bridging the gap between .45 and 9mm.

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    Why did Law Enforcement Agencies move away from .45 caliber guns?
    In my neck of the woods everyone is carrying the .45. Most of the agencys have migrated back to the .45.
    I carry a Sig220, Colt Combat Commander or a G21.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmark340 View Post
    At the same time, I have a G19 for qualifying in the rain.
    You are joking...right?
    "Skin that smokewagon!".

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    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Myth. The old 45ACP kicks like a mule, the recoil will knock you off your feet, they are inaccurate, they are hard to control... the list can go on and on.
    Don't forget, though...it will blow a man's arm clean off his body. And, if you hit him anywhere...even in his pinky toe...it will kill him instantly.
    Gonzo
    PS - At least it does not cause a tear in the fabric of the universe, like the 10mm.
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    Member Array gmark340's Avatar
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    I have heard that Glock has 70% of the US police market. And reading my post above, I had to smile, too, upon re-reading it. I have qualified with my 1911 in all kinds of weather and conditions. I also took a course that involved throwing it around in the sand, scooping it up and continuing shooting. I usually qualify with both guns annually. My point, not well made, apparently, in referring to the Glock was simply that it is a lot easier to clean and maintain and that, in the eyes of some departments, is a factor in their favor.

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