Why it is that big bore pistol cartridges seem so unpopular outside the US?
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    Question Why it is that big bore pistol cartridges seem so unpopular outside the US?

    This is something that has been on my mind lately.

    I've tried successfully to find anything resembling a tangible answer via Google search, only to find ignorant, unironically foolish comments about foreigners, the likes of which one typically sees among Americans with ancestors who have been here for hundreds of years and thus any knowledge or regard for their heritage is utterly absent. So here I am seeking answers amongst those whom I respect enough to ask such a question without concern of receiving useless, unenlightening responses, and on a forum where I might actually be able to get some perspective from those living abroad.

    Granted that many countries outside of the United States don't permit citizens to own/carry firearms, but among those that do, it seems as though anything over .35/9mm caliber is extremely unpopular, which puzzles me, particularly when there are many countries among them in which citizens cannot legally own/carry cartridges which are used by the military, thus rendering the 9mm Luger cartridge off-limits. You'd think that in such cases cartridges like .40 S&W and .45 ACP would be popular among civilians, but instead they merely seek alternatives like .38 Super loaded to 9mm specs or 9x21 IMI which was apparently invented for the sole purpose of providing a legal alternative to 9x19 Luger.
    So my question is, why aren't cartridges like .40 S&W and .45 ACP popular abroad? It isn't because they're American cartridges, considering the popularity of the American-made .32 ACP and .380 ACP cartridges. I don't buy that their recoil is that off-putting either. So what is it?
    777Driver likes this.
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    I can only answer that 45ACP is a military cartridge. That effectively bans it in so many countries.
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    Probably here handgun hunting became a sport. Handguns elsewhere is viewed as a backup or last ditch defensive use. Also .32 and .380 have metric designations .32=7.65 and .380=9mm kurtz. so they don't look like US cartridges.

    Maloy

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    Many countries ban civilians from owning firearms in military calibers. I think this is why the 9x21 was developed, and why the 38 Super is so popular south of the border.
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    History and inertia. European handguns have historically been 9mm and lower since their inception. With an essential civilian ban on 9x19 ownership, the common alternatives (.32 and .380 or their metric equivalents) became popular. It was American revolvers that first make popular larger diameter bullets, a style of handgun that never caught on in Europe.

    Reading the history of the two cartridges:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9%C3%9719mm_Parabellum

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.45_ACP

    You see that they were introduced at almost the same time. The Europeans seemed to choose the 9mm because it was relatively local (German). The Americans found the .38 wasn't enough during the American-Philippine War (1899-1902) and went with a larger caliber weapon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash60601 View Post
    I can only answer that 45ACP is a military cartridge. That effectively bans it in so many countries.
    Huh? What Military still uses .45 ACP? I mean, I know that the US Army has it on reserve for SpecOps, but as far as I know it hasn't been deployed in any official capacity since the 90s.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought only ammunition used by NATO forces at large were banned, ergo a cartridge like .45 ACP which (AFAIK) is used exclusively by the US Military as a reserve special forces cartridge would be unrestricted for civilian use.

    Quote Originally Posted by maloy View Post
    Probably here handgun hunting became a sport. Handguns elsewhere is viewed as a backup or last ditch defensive use. Also .32 and .380 have metric designations .32=7.65 and .380=9mm kurtz. so they don't look like US cartridges.

    Maloy
    I wasn't aware that .40 S&W or .45 ACP were used for handgun hunting, but then again, I'm not into hunting at all. I've heard of .45 Long Colt and big bore magnum revolver cartridges being used for Deer hunting, but never semiautomatic pistol cartridges. The most I've ever seen is 10mm Auto being used for wilderness defense.

    Pretty much all US Cartridges have metric designations in Europe though.

    .40 S&W = 10x22mm S&W or 10mm Short
    .45 ACP = 11.43×23mm or sometimes just 11mm

    Besides, somehow I doubt that Europeans at large are completely unaware that 7.65mm Browning and 9x17mm Browning Short are American cartridges with metric designations, much less that they're so xenophobic that they would avoid using any cartridges which weren't invented by Europeans.

    However, that does raise another question that I've always wondered about, why do they rename American cartridges with metric designations in Europe when European cartridges retain their original metric designations here in the US?
    I could see it being rooted in xenophobia a century ago and that such changes would be retained to this day for the sake of familiarity, but when more modern cartridges like .40 S&W are renamed, it just seems unnecessary and confusing. A force of habit, I presume.
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    In my state of Ohio, 10mm and .45 ACP are legal hunting rounds because both are considered "straight wall case" Tapered and bottle neck ammo is verboten for deer hunting, but okay for varmint hunting. 9mm is just tapered enough to not be allow and bullet diameter is just out of the limit.

    Maloy

    Quote Originally Posted by Tuco_Ramírez View Post
    Huh? What Military still uses .45 ACP? I mean, I know that the US Army has it on reserve for SpecOps, but as far as I know it hasn't been deployed in any official capacity since the 90s.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought only ammunition used by NATO forces at large were banned, ergo a cartridge like .45 ACP which (AFAIK) is used exclusively by the US Military as a reserve special forces cartridge would be unrestricted for civilian use.



    I wasn't aware that .40 S&W or .45 ACP were used for handgun hunting, but then again, I'm not into hunting at all. I've heard of .45 Long Colt and big bore magnum revolver cartridges being used for Deer hunting, but never semiautomatic pistol cartridges. The most I've ever seen is 10mm Auto being used for wilderness defense.

    Pretty much all US Cartridges have metric designations in Europe though.

    .40 S&W = 10x22mm S&W or 10mm Short
    .45 ACP = 11.43×23mm or sometimes just 11mm

    Besides, somehow I doubt that Europeans at large are completely unaware that 7.65mm Browning and 9x17mm Browning Short are American cartridges with metric designations, much less that they're so xenophobic that they would avoid using any cartridges which weren't invented by Europeans.

    However, that does raise another question that I've always wondered about, why do they rename American cartridges with metric designations in Europe when European cartridges retain their original metric designations here in the US?
    I could see it being rooted in xenophobia a century ago and that such changes would be retained to this day for the sake of familiarity, but when more modern cartridges like .40 S&W are renamed, it just seems unnecessary and confusing. A force of habit, I presume.

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    Because Europeans don't know beans about guns.
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    It's not that they are unpopular, it's got more to do with that large bores are illegal for civilians to own them in most of the world.

    Belize limits to .32 and under.

    Mexico's limit is .38.

    Most of Europe eliminates "military cartridges" from civilian ownership- which includes most of the most popular large bores.
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    Why....American Heritage...they don't have it.

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