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).
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
1. Which is the best self-defense ammo-the 9mm or the 45
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
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
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
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© Rational Self Defense, 2010