By Tom Adessa
I love my .45ACP’s, for work, for target shooting and once even for deer hunting at close range. There is something comforting about that big slug going downrange knowing it will do its job in self-defense or otherwise. To me, the feel of a full-size handgun chambered in .45 ACP is incomparable and when I align on the target they come up fluidly to my natural point of aim. But, lately I have been having second thoughts on a EDC firearm.
A compact .45ACP in a IWB holster is like an old warm sweater, but when you get into anything with double stack capability, you pick up bulk and the possibility of printing. My Glock 30 weighs in at 24 ounces with an empty mag. A Springfield XDS in 9mm comes in at 21 ounces; which is not a big difference. Both of these shoot very well and are close on the price. Grip size is a factor for some people and a single stack better suited for female shooters. But, after spending time at the range with three different compact 9mm’s and testing 9mm loads in gelatin, the 9mm is not far behind the .45ACP.
I can hear the howls from the .45 lovers from here and this is not a .45 vs 9mm debate. But, with the advances in high performance 9mm ammo, this caliber has its merits. Overall the 9mm handguns (not all) tend to be slimmer and more compact. Sight options are comparable and control is certainly not an issue for most people. I have yet to shoot any 9mm that is very manageable to shoot. Ammo for a 9mm is considerable cheaper than for a .45 and we all know about practice makes perfect!
The 9mm has been used worldwide in police forces and as a wartime weapon with good success. Some police agencies in the US are currently reverting back to the 9mm for duty guns due to several factors; high performance ammo being one. Is the 9mm a proven flat out man stopper? No! Furthermore most handgun calibers are not proven man stoppers and usually require multiple hits on an adversary. Most people in law enforcement know that you use your sidearm to fight to get to your rifle. A fellow officer I know carries a Sig 226 and absolutely stands by the capacity of his 9mm for suppressive firepower to fight until the troops arrive. Quality hits are the name of the game and as always you will shoot best with what you are comfortable with.
Below is a picture of ballistic gelatin, with three bullets tests using name brand hollow point ammo; 9mm on the bottom, then .40SW and then .45ACP demonstrating how they all penetrated from ten feet away. There isn’t all that much difference in overall penetration and obviously expansion was different according the caliber. But, this test exemplifies that the 9mm has the capability to stand with other heavier calibers.
The 9mm is not for everyone especially for the big bore fans, which I still am one especially for hunting; but that is another story. I used to feel that compared to the .45ACP the 9mm will always be a bridesmaid and never a bride. But, now I am thinking is it time for a Nine?
Tom Adessa resides in Central New York, he is a LEO, an avid lover of the outdoors and passionate about handgun shooting.