.45 acp expansion

.45 acp expansion

This is a discussion on .45 acp expansion within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Based on expansion, it seems the .45 acp would have a bigger diameter than 9mm and .40. Now, I know there are other factors, but ...

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Thread: .45 acp expansion

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    Member Array Chevy50's Avatar
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    .45 acp expansion

    Based on expansion, it seems the .45 acp would have a bigger diameter than 9mm and .40. Now, I know there are other factors, but just speaking of expansion, the .45 acp would be bigger. Im trying to find out if theres a edge in carrying a glock 36 over a glock 43. Im trying to see if the difference between the 9mm and .45 acp matters. I know some say theres a difference but not much. I know some talk about the frontal area of the 9mm being 60% less than the .45. So basically, if everything else was equal (I know its not) then the .45 would have the edge since its a bigger bullet? Or is it not big enough to make a difference? Im just trying to understand the justification for carrying a glock 36 over a glock 43 and why some people carry a glock 36 over the 43.

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    VIP Member Array Havok's Avatar
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    The reason people would usually pick the 43 over the 36 is because the gun is smaller, and lighter.
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    Comparing apples to apples - like, heavy-for-caliber HST in both calibers - yes, the .45 will generally expand more. It also has more momentum, which has benefits. But it's paid for with higher recoil, so neither is a clear winner, which is why people might choose either.

    If it were me, I'd probably prefer a 36 over a 43 because I like the larger grip.
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    My take on it is this. You want to practice a lot on less money get the 43. You like the slimmer gun get the 43. I like 45acp more at this point but I also own 9mm and would not feel less protected with the 9mm. I do think bullet to bullet the 45 has a little more damage potential but, is it enough to make a huge difference? As You tuber Paul Harrel likes to say "You be the judge".
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    Quote Originally Posted by forester58 View Post
    My take on it is this. You want to practice a lot on less money get the 43. You like the slimmer gun get the 43. I like 45acp more at this point but I also own 9mm and would not feel less protected with the 9mm. I do think bullet to bullet the 45 has a little more damage potential but, is it enough to make a huge difference? As You tuber Paul Harrel likes to say "You be the judge".
    What he said....^^^^
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    Regardless of the platform, I've found that I tend to shoot the 9mm better than the 45. This is my primary reason for choosing 9mm as an EDC. First round is relatively identical, followup shots are where I see the advantage in the 9mm.

    If I were choosing a handgun for hunting or bullseye competition, my criteria changes.
    For hunting I like a large heavy slug. The 44 magnum filled that role for many years until I was introduced to the 45 Colt in a Ruger Blackhawk.
    For bullseye competition I have not found anything that beats a 148gr wadcutter from a long barreled S&W in 38 special.
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    Big ol heavy 45 less likely to deflect off bones. More likely to keep on pushing through to intended target. I would carry the 36 over the 43 any day that ends in y.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlggray View Post
    Big ol heavy 45 less likely to deflect off bones. More likely to keep on pushing through to intended target. I would carry the 36 over the 43 any day that ends in y.
    I think that's a significant benefit, one that gel testing doesn't show at all.
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    Expansion is only one factor in the ballistic performance equation. I have spent years researching ballistic performance tests. Yes a properly expanded 45 ACP will tear up more tissue than a properly expanded 9mm. But expansion does not trump penetration. No some will say that 45 has more energy and is going to penetrate more. However, a bullet that expands to greater diameter is a bipullet that is going to be slowed down more upon impact and accordingly not penetrate as deeply. A FMJ bullet will not expand and it will penetrate farther than a JHP in any given caliber.

    To incapacitate a person a bullet has to penetrate deeply enough to reach vital organs, blood vessels, or central nerve systems. Forget about gel tests. They do nothing more than allow comparisons of different rounds. They do not simulate what happens when a bullet hits the human body. But forensic pathologists have clearly stated based upon autopsies that lethality is more dependent upon penetration and accuracy than on expansion. If you read the 400 page book GUNSHOT WOUNDS by Dr. Joseph Di Maio, you will learn that he who has done 9,000 autopsies on gunshot victims says that it is usually impossible to tell whether FMJ or JHP was used in a killing until you find the bullet. He goes on to say that penetration and accuracy are the more critical factors of being able to incapacitate a person. He does not discount expansion, but he rates it as third.

    Perhaps some will argue with me based upon their personal experience. I understand that we are what we have experienced. So here is my experience. I shot it out with NVA using a M1911 with ball ammo. It was not a miracle round. The military replaced the 38 caliber with because the 38 was very ineffective and the 45 had more energy and was more effective. In 1985 the military went to 9mm because it found that the improvement in accuracy over the 45 was considerable. Back then expansion was not a factor as only ball ammo was used. So penetration and accuracy were the evaluating factors. There was no contest. Accuracy with the 9mm was much higher than with the 45 when in the hands of soldiers whose primary weapon was a pistol.

    The FBI went from 38 to 9 to 4o and now back to nine because with modern ammo the 9 provided good penetration, good expansion, and most important better accuracy than the 40. I testify from experience that accuracy is critical to surviving a gunfight. Now I know that there are some among us who are more accurate with their 45 than I am with my 9. Good fir them, but I know that I can put a bullet in a human target between the bottom of his breastbone and the bridge if his nose with a 9mm but not with a 45. So my choice is made, and it was made based upon common sense flowing fro my capability.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1942bull View Post
    Expansion is only one factor in the ballistic performance equation. I have spent years researching ballistic performance tests. Yes a properly expanded 45 ACP will tear up more tissue than a properly expanded 9mm. But expansion does not trump penetration. No some will say that 45 has more energy and is going to penetrate more. However, a bullet that expands to greater diameter is a bipullet that is going to be slowed down more upon impact and accordingly not penetrate as deeply. A FMJ bullet will not expand and it will penetrate farther than a JHP in any given caliber.

    To incapacitate a person a bullet has to penetrate deeply enough to reach vital organs, blood vessels, or central nerve systems. Forget about gel tests. They do nothing more than allow comparisons of different rounds. They do not simulate what happens when a bullet hits the human body. But forensic pathologists have clearly stated based upon autopsies that lethality is more dependent upon penetration and accuracy than on expansion. If you read the 400 page book GUNSHOT WOUNDS by Dr. Joseph Di Maio, you will learn that he who has done 9,000 autopsies on gunshot victims says that it is usually impossible to tell whether FMJ or JHP was used in a killing until you find the bullet. He goes on to say that penetration and accuracy are the more critical factors of being able to incapacitate a person. He does not discount expansion, but he rates it as third.

    Perhaps some will argue with me based upon their personal experience. I understand that we are what we have experienced. So here is my experience. I shot it out with NVA using a M1911 with ball ammo. It was not a miracle round. The military replaced the 38 caliber with because the 38 was very ineffective and the 45 had more energy and was more effective. In 1985 the military went to 9mm because it found that the improvement in accuracy over the 45 was considerable. Back then expansion was not a factor as only ball ammo was used. So penetration and accuracy were the evaluating factors. There was no contest. Accuracy with the 9mm was much higher than with the 45 when in the hands of soldiers whose primary weapon was a pistol.

    The FBI went from 38 to 9 to 4o and now back to nine because with modern ammo the 9 provided good penetration, good expansion, and most important better accuracy than the 40. I testify from experience that accuracy is critical to surviving a gunfight. Now I know that there are some among us who are more accurate with their 45 than I am with my 9. Good fir them, but I know that I can put a bullet in a human target between the bottom of his breastbone and the bridge if his nose with a 9mm but not with a 45. So my choice is made, and it was made based upon common sense flowing fro my capability.
    Very well written. I spent almost 10 years on the Officer Involved Shooting Team in a very large P.D. and at that time we were shooting 147 gr. Black Talon and later 147 gr. Ranger. In the many many shooting scenes I went to the 9mm never failed to stop the aggression! With the improvement in bullet construction the 9mm has only become better at doing its job. With that said I still love the 1911 but I will also carry a 9mm at times. When I started L.E. we could carry any pistol as long as it was .38 or larger and I carried 1911, Hi-Power, S&W 29, 57, 27, 19/66 etc. Just prior to going back to semi-autos in the late 1980's we shot what we carried and the S&W 29 was a bear to shoot 50 round PPC.....As I age I no longer shoot as hot a round as I did in my youth because accuracy and penetration is more important than power.....As hands age it is even more important.....sooooo for me it is faith in your weapon, your ability to use it in a intense situation, and the accuracy and penetration....so either the 9mm or 45 acp are my choice....my opinion works for me and will only muddy the waters regarding 9mm vs. .45 acp so have fun and find the round and the weapon you can carry at all times and use with a faith that it will neutralize the threat!
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    There are two points to consider here, and are all together different conversations.

    First, we have size of the platform for delivery. If size of the carry piece matters over power and potential then the 9mm would be the choice.

    If size of platform delivering the goods is not an issue for your program compliance, than the 45 is always going to be a better choice for a few technical reasons that can be defined outside of opinion or personal preference; in other words , beyond a reasonable argument.

    One of those technical reasons is very obvious: size. One does not need to dither over ammo choices or types because they are all starting out ready to make a half inch hole without expansion. Remember, there is a reason they try to make small bullets act like big bullets!

    And second, but not the final reason is that unless you are comparing the 45 Auto to a true magnum caliber of almost identical dimensions, well, then you have something to ponder.

    But leaving program compliance out of the discussion, there is really no comparison round for round.
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    Apples to apples, the .45 will always make a bigger hole...this is a simple fact, and really not subject to debate. If all you’re looking for is a bigger hole...discussion over.

    That being said:

    This will come at a cost of (usually) the .45 being in a larger platform (a G36 is more comparable in size to a G19, or maybe the new 48...a LOT bigger than a 43)., and/or with less capacity than the smaller-bored version.

    There is also the question of control of the larger caliber, particularly in smaller pistols. Hits count, and multiple hits are better than singular hits, all else being equal...so the ability to rapidly place hits should be a serious consideration. For some, this isn’t an issue...they can run a compact .45 as fast and as accurately as they could a similar 9mm; for others, it’s more difficult/takes considerably more practice & training to get to that level. That’s something everyone needs to find out and decide for themselves.
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    Why are there laws of physics when posts every day on gun forums say the laws of physics don't apply?

    Force (f) = mass (m) x acceleration (a) where: the acceleration formula is the change in velocity (v) over a period of time (t).

    Momentum (p) = mass (m) x velocity (v).

    Physics tells us that when you want to destroy something, bigger is better and faster is better. Therefore bigger and faster is best. Unfortunately the BATFE classifies any round over .50 to be a destructive device, so that puts an upper limit on mass for our handgun purposes.

    The commonly available S&W 500 magnum handgun with a 350 grain (mass) bullet and muzzle (velocity) of 1975 ft./sec. producing 3032 ft./lbs. of muzzle energy (force) is about as good as it gets within the BATFE rules. After that, it is rationalization and compromise on what you are willing to carry.

    Don't tell me a .22 LR is as good as a 500 magnum. You can tell me that a .22 LR will kill someone at close range and you feel it is enough for your self-defense.

    Don't tell me a 9mm with 400 ft./lbs. of muzzle energy is as good as a .357 magnum or a 10mm with 800 ft./lbs. of muzzle energy. You can tell me that you believe the 9mm is adequate for your situation.

    Don't tell me a 9mm with 400 ft./lbs. of muzzle energy is as good as my .44 magnum that still has 600 ft./lbs. of energy at 100 yards. You can tell me you feel the 9mm is adequate for shooting an attacker at close range.

    Carry the biggest handgun with the biggest caliber you can control with the most capacity you will carry all day every day. What works for you in your circumstances may not work for me in my circumstances.
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