Which round is the best? 9mm, .40 or .45ACP?

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 6.25.34 PMGo check out the folks over at AmmoForSale, yes – they do sell all types of ammo for handguns, rifles, and shotguns, but it is the fun, historical videos they have made to go with several calibers that got my attention. They may have finally answered that age old question:  Which handgun caliber is the perfect caliber?  We have had this argument on this blog before, and I get into the discussion with my friends all of the time.  It is great to have such a definitive answer!  (You are going to have to watch them all to figure it out.)

Is it the 9mm?

Is it the .40 Caliber?

Or is it my all time favorite, the .45ACP?

Even though I love my XD45 and my Nighthawk Talon 1911, my personal opinion is what ever caliber the gun is YOU take to the range, the one YOU practice with, the one YOU carry and the one that YOU are comfortable with using to defend yourself or your family is the VERY best. Watch these videos and let me know what you think!

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5 thoughts on “Which round is the best? 9mm, .40 or .45ACP?

  1. I have used each for concealed carry. Until recently carrying a .45 involved a larger gun than the others, but with the advent of the XDs .45 carrying a .45 is no longer a problem. What is not realized is that any handgun weighing less than 2 pounds firing any of the popular defense calibers is going to recoil, some more than others. The XDs has built in technology in its design that changes the recoil impulse to spread it out a bit so that its less of a smack in you hand and more a firm push straight back and up a little. Given that, I shoot my XDs as well as I shoot my Glock 30s. When I do my job of sight alignment and firm hold I can shoot the center out of the target with both. At the end of the day, I could carry any of the three confidently knowing that if I hit the target I can end the threat.

  2. Yes, carry what you practice with, as long as it is 9mm x 19 or better with modern defensive hollow point (MDHP) ammo. Having said that, the new .380 +P ammo with modern hollow-points looks good on paper. Too bad that the bad guys are not made of paper, ballistics gel, and plywood.

    I feel that a lot of the myth that surrounds handgun ballistics is rooted in the 170 years of experience that proceeds what we have today. Blackpowder handguns started with round balls at very low velocities and then advanced to blackpowder cartridges with elongated soft lead round nosed bullets, still at fairly low velocities and still called “ball” ammo .Even modern smokeless powder did not change the ballistics to any great extent. The efforts of Keith and other powder and bullet designers and advances in handgun designs and materials not withstanding, up until nearly the 1980s about the only way to get a better performing handgun cartridge was to get a bigger handgun cartridge.

    The military’s use of “humane” full metal jacket (FMJ) ammo, also called “ball” ammo, which drove the switch from .38 caliber to .45 caliber handguns in the late 1800s and early 1900s, is likely what perpetuates the “bigger is better and necessary” mantra we are shackled with today. Ball ammo, because it is unlikely to expand in its target, tends to pass through humans without causing significant damage unless it hits something substantial. It was thought then and even now that bigger ammo was required for more “knock down” power. That may actually be true but is irrelevant for civilian use, except in New Jersey, because we can use better defensive ammo today.

    To wrap this up, MDHP ammo is designed to penetrate auto glass, sheet metal, leather, heavy flannel, or sheet rock, expand the proper amount at the proper time, and have enough energy left over to make the bad guys wish they were in some other line of work. Now, I’m aware of limitations of ballistics gel as an analog to the human body but it does lend a good measure of repeatability that provides a means for comparision. In the limited amount of examination available from videos, there is very little noticable difference between 9mm and .45 (my preference, see the opening sentence above) with maybe a slight edge to the .40 cal. So until someone can come up with some real world data to crunch the numbers on, I’d call it measurably even, plus or minus the luck of the draw, so to speak.

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