AGAIN AND AGAIN - 9mm vs. .45 DEBATE - June 8, 2015 "SOS"
Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 56
Like Tree44Likes

Thread: AGAIN AND AGAIN - 9mm vs. .45 DEBATE - June 8, 2015 "SOS"

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Member #
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    13217 times

    AGAIN AND AGAIN - 9mm vs. .45 DEBATE - June 8, 2015 "SOS"

    SOURCE: 4 important factors in the 9mm pistol debate

    Law Enforcement Firearms
    with Richard Fairburn
    4 important factors in the 9mm pistol debate

    The finished shape of the bullet probably has more to do with the overall effect – bullets with sharp edges can slice blood vessels rather than tear them, causing a more rapid bleed out
    The latest fad in law enforcement is to change from a larger sidearm caliber to the 9mm. I’ve always believed drilling bigger holes does a better job of stopping dangerous adversaries, but I’ve spent more years packing a 9mm pistol than any other caliber, and never felt under-gunned.

    The answer on whether or not an officer – or legally armed citizen, for that matter – should select 9mm over another cartridge is, “it depends.” It depends on what gives the operator the highest level of confidence in winning the fight.

    That having been said, let’s examine some of the factors which weigh into the decision to go with one cartridge over another.

    1. Modern bullet technology has made the 9mm as effective as bigger calibers.

    The “high-tech 9mm bullets” argument only holds water if you pretend the improved bullet technologies haven’t been applied to all other pistol calibers. Indeed, modern 9mm projectiles – like bonded designs or the all-copper Barnes TAC-Xp hollow points – do deliver much more reliable expansion and penetration characteristics than older designs.

    But .40 and .45 caliber TAC-XPs give proportionately better expansion/penetration than older designs in those calibers.

    A “new” 9mm design might equal the performance of an older .45 design, but falls just as far behind when you compare apples to apples. Police bullets commonly need to defeat automobile glass and this is a simple matter of mass; the bigger bullets will always do more damage to the target after being shredded by the glass.

    Let’s compare the three most common police sidearm cartridges in the most common sidearm. I’ll use the velocity values from Black Hills Ammunition’s line of Barnes Tac-XP bullets in the chart because I have the correlating gelatin expansion/penetration data. Is the bigger hole worth the added recoil?

    The volume of the permanent cavity calculated from expanded diameter and depth of penetration. Check out the chart below, and click on it if you would like to see a larger version.

    Name:  Fairburn-Chart-060815-1000w.jpg
Views: 2481
Size:  77.5 KB

    I will always carry the largest drill I can, so my choice for open/duty carry is either a .45 for social work or a full-power 10mm in the boondocks. When I need a small pistol for concealment, a 9mm with high-tech ammo will do.

    2. Less recoil makes the 9mm easier to shoot, especially for “small statured” officers.

    Shooting – including the recoil factor – is primarily a mental exercise, not physical. I recently saw a small-statured female go through basic police training with a Glock 22. Her hand was almost completely around the right side of the pistol for her finger to reach the trigger. She wasn’t top-gun in her class – and needed remedial training to pass – but pass she did. Like other aspects of a program skewed in favor of big guys, she mentally decided to succeed – and did.

    Would the lower recoil of a 9mm make the difference between passing and failing with some trainees? Maybe. A smaller grip frame would help marginal performers more than lighter recoil. I’ve seen some damn small shooters handle a .45 caliber single-stack pistol like a champ.

    If we ever see a modern striker-fired pistol with a single-stack magazine, small officers will have the most tractable sidearm possible, allowing any caliber to fit their hand. Are you listening Glock? For those who can handle a .45 effectively, why not carry the most power available.

    3. The 9mm pistols have a higher capacity, so pack more rounds for the fight.

    Again, assuming you’re using Glock pistols, a fully loaded Model 17 (9mm) equals 18 rounds. You have 16 rounds with the model 22 (.40 S&W) in the same size package.

    If you can’t solve a street shooting problem with 16 rounds of .40, I seriously doubt two additional rounds of 9mm will make much difference – reload!

    4. 9mm ammunition costs less, allowing us to shoot more.

    Precious metals sell by the pound. The less metal you use to make a cartridge, the less it will cost.

    I consider lead, zinc, copper, and tin to historically be the most precious metals (the base metals needed to manufacture weapons ranging from bronze-age swords to modern firearms ammunition). History teaches us that those people with the most lead/zinc/copper/tin tend to take all the gold and silver they desire.


    The bottom line? Shot placement trumps all – a 9mm bullet hitting center-mass is more effective than a .45 on the edge. The 9mm represents the smallest cartridge suitable for a duty pistol – it is adequate. The .40 S&W drills a significantly bigger hole, at the expense of more wear and tear on the pistols and complaints about “snappy” recoil.

    The venerable .45 causes the biggest wounds and many find it more comfortable to shoot than a smaller .40 caliber pistol. The .357 Sig and .45 GAP cartridges represent a very small percentage of police pistols and their small numbers result in greatly increased ammo costs.

    Finally, because pictures are worth a thousand words (and that is about what my word count is for this article), check out the bullet/gelatin images from Black Hills Ammunition (loaded with Barnes all-copper projectiles) in the Related Articles box above and to the left. Those links are titled, 9mm Luger 115 grain Tac-XP +P, .40 S&W 140 grain Tac-XP, and .45 ACP 185 grain Tac-XP +P. Inspect those, consider the above, and make the choice that's right for you.



    About the author

    Dick Fairburn has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience in both Illinois and Wyoming, working patrol, investigations and administrative assignments. Dick has also served as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst and as the Section Chief of a major academy's Firearms Training Unit and Critical Incident training program. He has a B.S. in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University and was the Valedictorian of his recruit class at the Illinois State Police Academy. He has published more than 100 feature articles and two books: Police Rifles and Building a Better Gunfighter.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Member #
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    13217 times
    PREVIOUS (OLDER, Aug 11, 2014) STORY on 9mm vs .45

    SOURCE: How the FBI reignited the pistol caliber war

    Tactical Analysis

    with Mike Wood
    How the FBI reignited the pistol caliber war

    Both the “9mm” and “.45” factions have quickly resumed their age-old talking points, seemingly oblivious to the progress of the last three decades

    Aug 11, 2014

    On July 25, 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a pre-solicitation notice for a family of pistols chambered in 9mm – and in so doing, fanned the embers of “the great debate” over pistol calibers.

    Although it had finally (and thankfully) showed signs of petering out, in a flash, the “9mm versus .45” phoenix – which sold so much ink for the gun press over the years – has risen once again from the ashes. Sigh.

    Some of you may wonder why the FBI solicitation caused such a commotion, and the answer is best summarized in one word: Miami.

    We need to dedicate our extremely limited resources (time, money) to the things that matter the most,
    and equipment selection is at the very bottom of that list. (AP Image)

    Critical History

    In April of 1986, two FBI Agents were killed and five were wounded (three of them grievously) in a protracted gun battle with two hardcore felons in an unincorporated area of Miami-Dade County (Fla.).

    In the aftermath of this horrific shooting, the FBI determined that the principal adversary had been struck with an FBI 9mm JHP bullet that penetrated his right arm, exited, and then bored into the chest cavity, damaging the lung and coming to rest just short of the heart.

    Although this “non-survivable wound” caused significant damage and blood loss that eventually took its toll, the felon remained active and mobile long enough to kill the two agents and wound at least one more.

    The FBI was unsatisfied with the performance of the bullet, largely – and probably, unfairly – blaming its lack of penetration for the deaths of the agents.

    By the end of the decade, the FBI was leading a migration away from the 9mm toward larger calibers such as the 10mm and its progeny, the .40 S&W. A series of wound ballistics panels hosted by the FBI and the eventual development of the “FBI Protocol” for law enforcement ammunition testing both clearly indicated the FBI’s dissatisfaction with the 9mm ammunition available at the time, so the recent pre-solicitation notice for 9mm pistols seemed like a radical reversal and came as a shock to those familiar with the FBI’s historical aversion.

    Two Flawed Arguments

    There have been a variety of reactions to the announcement, and it’s perhaps inevitable that two longstanding rival camps have leapt to the fore in the newly energized debate.

    While not completely accurate, it’s handy to define these as the “9mm” and “.45” factions. Each group has quickly resumed their age-old talking points, oblivious to the progress of the last three decades.

    Consider power. It’s an article of religion among the “.45 crowd” – loosely named, which also includes fans of other “major caliber” cartridges, such as the .40 S&W – that the 9mm cartridge lacks the mass and energy necessary to provide adequate terminal performance. This group conveniently ignores the incredible progress that has been made in ammunition technology since Miami – largely prompted by the FBI Protocol – and fails to recognize that today’s 9mm ammunition is vastly superior (capable of doing everything that can be reasonably expected from handgun ammunition, regardless of caliber).

    Not to be outdone, the “9mm crowd” continues to beat the capacity drum, ignoring the fact that the advent of wide-body magazines for the .45 ACP – and pistols with good ergonomics to house them – and the development of the .40 S&W cartridge have largely negated the 9mm’s historical advantage in this area.

    Each of these groups is mired in 30-year-old arguments.

    They’re missing the fact that the FBI’s new interest in 9mm pistols is not some kind of traitorous act and neither is it an admission that they made an error in leaving the 9mm behind decades ago.

    The truth is that they’ve conducted an honest evaluation of their requirements and the current state of technology, and found that today’s 9mm answers their needs.

    Join the Club

    The FBI is not alone in this respect. Executives at all the major ammunition companies have confirmed that law enforcement orders for 9mm ammunition have spiked in recent years, and the cartridge is making a serious comeback. Many agencies throughout the United States have recently adopted – or readopted – 9mm pistols, dropping the .40 S&W in the process.

    It’s not that the .40 S&W failed to deliver the terminal performance they wanted. It’s just that the new breed of 9mm ammunition can deliver similar performance without the generally snappier recoil and the accelerated wear (on both pistol and shooter), at a more affordable price. The fact that the new pistols can house more of the cartridges in the same sized gun is an added bonus.

    These agencies have also taken an honest look at the demographics of their personnel, and have accepted the fact that law enforcement officers no longer come in just one size–Large. Instead, there are many officers with smaller hands and shorter fingers who find it difficult to reach the controls on larger caliber pistols with their corresponding larger frames.

    Despite all the ergonomic advances in pistol design of the last three decades, there is no way of getting around the fact that a .45 ACP pistol (and particularly a wide-body .45) is just going to be bigger in the hand and a .40 S&W in a smaller frame is going to recoil more.

    A smaller-frame pistol in a milder shooting caliber allows more officers to achieve the control necessary for good shooting, and makes sense for diverse agencies that want to standardize on a single gun and caliber.

    Proper Focus

    The FBI’s renewed interest in the 9mm doesn’t indicate that other cartridges are less capable or that they are poor choices for law enforcement. The truth is, with modern ammunition, any of the calibers currently in use by law enforcement will do the job – yet none of them will turn a handgun into the Hammer of Thor.

    There will be a lot of ink – and hot air – expended in the coming weeks and months as this latest chapter of the ‘Great Caliber Debate’ unfolds, and while it may be entertaining to watch, we need to keep our priorities in focus.

    Issues of caliber and weapon selection pale in comparison to mindset, tactics, and training. We need to dedicate our extremely limited resources (time, money) to the things that matter the most, and equipment selection is at the very bottom of that list.

    As long as it’s reliable, it doesn’t matter what’s in your holster. What matters is what’s in your mind and your heart. Professionals focus on mindset, tactics, and training.

    Professionals let the amateurs bicker about minute differences in equipment.

    Don’t get distracted by all the noise: stay focused on the right things, and stay safe out there.

    About the author

    Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Mike Wood is an NRA Law Enforcement Division-certified Firearms Instructor and the author of Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis, available in paper and electronic formats through ,, Apple ITunes and . Please visit the official website for this book at for more information.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Member #
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    13076 times
    Can't argue much.

    I really liked his point about a single stack polymer, striker fired. Thats why I like my XDS and wish I had known they were going to come out with a 4".
    I think a 4.5" would be great of course I've spent time daydreaming about a 10mm from Springfield as well, especially a single stack since I have a G20 SF.
    Yissnakk likes this.
    I am beginning to think the "Miss Universe Pagent" is rigged. Have you noticed that all of the winners are from Earth ?

    "Oh Bother", said Pooh, as he punched the magazine release.

  4. Remove Advertisements

  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Member #
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    2066 times
    Early last century rounds (9mm and 45acp) have all been eclipsed by late last century round (40S&W, 10mm, and 357sig)
    Roman matrons used to say to their sons: 'Come back with your shield or on it.' Later on, this custom declined. So did Rome..." (but not before it created an Empire that changed the world - Robert Heinlein

  6. #5
    K9s is offline
    Senior Member
    Member #
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    945 times
    "Because the 9mm Only Kills Your Body. The .45, That Kills Your Soul." Colion Noir

  7. #6
    Senior Member
    Member #
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    2086 times
    Caliber debates make me tired.
    I would not trade my 1911 for any other thing I can think of.
    AOCM.RET likes this.
    Kim Rhode: "The fact that the government would even consider repealing or taking away the Second Amendment is basically the very reason for which it was written. So for me, that is an issue in itself." US Olympic Trap Shooter

  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Member #
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Southern, WV
    5037 times
    I don't carry a .45 because I feel under gunned with a 9mm or anything else. I carry a .45 because I watched a video on YouTube (I don't remember who posted it; coulda been Guns and Ammo) where 2 shooters shot a steel target (no, I don't remember distance), 1 with a 9mm and the other with a .45. The 9mm hit and made the target sing beautifully, but the .45 hit and knocked it over. That demonstration of power won me over to a .45. Like I said, I don't feel under gunned with anything else, and still carry a .380 or 9mm quite frequently. But my go to EDC is a .45.
    "How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints." - C.S. Lewis
    "If Ewoks can carry guns responsibly, then so can I!" - Me
    Montani Semper Liberi!

  9. #8
    Supporting Member

    Member #
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    The Bat Cave
    7646 times
    I EDC everything from my 9mm to my 10mm and all points in between during the chillier months (October - April) but for shorts weather, I feel adequately armed with my TCP (6+1 and a spare mag in a pocket). It chucks a 95 gr JHP at a bit over 1000 fps delivering just under 200 ft/lbs of energy. While this has a hard time comparing with the 700+ft/lbs of energy that my Glock 29 can dish out, I am perfectly capable of hitting an 8" gong at 15 yards with every shot and can hit it several times per mag at 25 yards (with the TCP).

    Of course, I can pretty much do the same with my 9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP, .357 Magnum, and 10MM as well, but cannot carry any of them as comfortably in shorts and a t-shirt.
    ...especially since I bought several pairs of shorts that turned out to be a little loose in the waist....currently...
    "To anger Conservatives, lie to them. To anger liberal, tell them the truth."
    -Fine! I said it! You happy, Troll!
    ...Snopes provides no evidence to the contrary

  10. #9
    Super Moderator

    Member #
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    20447 times
    Nice articles with some good points made. I was a little disappointed with the seemingly cheap deflection of some of the modern day ammo facts. For example, to borrow the old Virginia Slims tagline, the 9mm has come a long way baby! While it's performance may have been a little anemic with the introduction if the original "Wonder nines", it has put on a good bit of heft since. Sorta like the old "Charles Atlas" advertisement on the back page of our comic books of youth - promising a muscular outcome if you used their product so you wouldn't get sand kicked in your face at the beach whilst sunning with your favorite female companion.

    Yes, the modern 45 cartridges have evolved alongside the 9mms; but as my dad is fond of saying when asked if he has any interest in heavy duty ammo like the 454 Cassul "I don't know of anything around here that needs that much killing"! In other words, if you can't get the job done with a modern day 9, which expands to what the 45 used to, then maybe you are in the wrong place.

    I think the bigger challenge ammo makers have faced in recent years has been how to keep the round effective in the shorter barreled ever more compact handguns so popular today. And they have pretty much risen to the challenge. There is actually SD ammo designed for the slower velocities of these shorter barreled guns which expand as reliably as specs call for. While there may be less energy expended into the target they still get the job done.

    And, this, IMHO, of course.
    Last edited by daytonaredeye; 06-09-2015 at 08:26 AM.
    NRA Lifetime Benefactor Member

    The Declaration of Independence states that the sole purpose of government is to secure the inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. And, if it fails, the people are justified in getting rid of government, not the rights. - Judge Jeanine Pirro

    The first lesson in economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson in politics is to forget the first lesson in economics. - Thomas Sowell

  11. #10
    Senior Member
    Member #
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Manchester, TN
    6854 times
    Colion Noir.... I love that man's logic. Why is it that the .38spcl, and .44spcl people don't go nuts, but the 9mm /.45 people loose their minds?
    Yissnakk likes this.
    1. Muzzle Controll: Always point in a safe direction
    2. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    3. Keep it unloaded until ready to use.
    4. Know your target and what is beyond.

    There is nothing so rewarding as to make people realize that they are worthwhile in this world.


Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast

Home | Forum | Active Topics | What's New | Subscribed Threads | My Threads | My Posts

Sponsored Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Similar Threads

  1. TA JUNE 2015 Rifle Shootout AND Great Outdoors Month!!!
    By mingaa in forum The Firing Line
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: 06-29-2015, 08:22 PM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-03-2015, 10:37 AM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-16-2015, 06:13 PM

Search tags for this page

45 acp 185 grain tac-xp p gelatin images


9mm debate

Click on a term to search for related topics.