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9MM VS. 45 ACP 
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By Dan S. Defense

A Guide to Self-Defense Ammunition and Closer Look at the 9mm Vs. 45 ACP Age Old Struggle


I often get asked by people which ammo is best for their self-defense handgun. In most cases they have already decided that the 9mm ammo is the best in the world. Others swear that the 45 ACP ammo is the very best.

Some people think the 9mm ammo is "new" and high tech, while the 45 ACP is archaic (which is rubbish—read up on their history). Some think the 45 ACP is used by some pretty cool/smart/knowledgeable/tactical people (true) and that that is good enough for them (foolish).

But some folks really want to know, which is truly the best self-defense ammo- Which is the best 9mm ammo, which is the best 45 ACP ammo and if they could only choose one, which would it be, the 45 ACP or the 9mm? If you really want to know which 9mm ammo is the best or, which 45 ACP ammo is the best, or which is the best when comparing the 9mm ammo to the 45 ACP ammo, read on and we'll explore the topic further.

The first thing to realize is that unfortunately there are no magic bullets. The whole notion of the 9mm or the 45 ACP as powerful self-defense ammunition is, in my mind, silly because in handguns, both are severely under powered. Always remember that a handgun is a defensive weapon and a poor one at that.

We, people who are serious about self-defense, only carry handguns because we can't carry rifles. No ammo can change that fact.Therefore, in my mind, there's no perfect bullet but there are certainly some that are better than others. With that said, we can start thinking about questions that will lead us to the answer.

In this article, we'll look to answer three questions:

1. Which is the best self-defense ammo-the 9mm or the 45 ACP?

2. Which is the best self-defense ammo for the 9mm?

3. Which is the best self-defense ammo for the 45 ACP?

In the past, I thought that the 45 ACP ammo offered the best bullet for self-defense. It was designed as a man stopper, and it has a great, proven history in this department. The conflict in the Philippines is worth looking at from the point of view of handgun ammunition. The 45 ACP ammo, in all its shapes and forms, is formidable, even in a handgun. And for the record, my primary self-defense handgun is usually loaded with 45 ACP ammo.

But, as stories go, one day, when I went to the range, I observed a couple in a shooting booth. The husband labored to convince his wife to shoot his 45 ACP handgun. I moved over and peeked at the open box of 45 ACP ammunition. It was a full power +P load. The wife adamantly refused to shoot that handgun again. It hurt her hand and it was too loud.

That was that for the 45 ACP. He labored some more, and they agreed on a compromise. She'll stay away from the 45ACP but she was willing to try the other gun that rested on the small counters -a Sig Sauer 226 in 9mm with beautiful wood grips. To make a long story short, she liked the Sig Sauer and shot the 9mm ammo really well (for a beginner).


This was an eye opener. The 45 ACP ammo, despite all its merits was not the right solution for the lady in the tale. Her husband thought his 45 ACP ammo was the best. His wife disagreed and really liked the 9mm ammo. To her the 9mm ammo was the best. Clearly the fact that he used a +P 45 ACP ammo contributed to the problem, but still, to her the 9mm is the best ammo. And if she opts to carry, one day that 9mm handgun might save her life!

Therefore the first question is answered by the simple phrase—best for whom? The goal of a self-defense handgun, in 9mm or 45 ACP is to save your life by eliminating the threat that's trying to kill or severely harm you. If you can't hit your target, or even worst, refuse to carry a self-defense handgun that you deem "too powerful to shoot", you'll end up dead, or severely harmed. You need self-defense ammo that will allow you to train and hit your target.

If you hit with 45 ACP ammo -great! If you hit with 9mm ammo—great! Anything smaller is in my mind too risky (e.g. the popular .380 ACP), but with a good 9mm or good 45 ACP, you ought to do well in a fight.


The answer to the second question will depend on usage. Where will your 9mm ammo be used? At home? In a crowed city street? In the woods while hiking? Anywhere and everywhere? If you know where your 9mm ammo will be used, and this can be as simple as having separate magazines loaded with different types of ammunition, you will be able to have the optimal 9mm ammo for a given threat.
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