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We're going there.....

We're going there... 9mm or .45?  



So yeah...I just pulled that pin and rolled that grenade into the forum.

Let the debate begin.

"Man is still the first weapon of war" - Field Marshal Montgomery

I guess I'll make an honest, serious answer now.

I think it depends, in the classic .mil tactics debate. What do you shoot best? If you run compact or sub-compact pistols, what can you comfortably shoot enough to practice with?

Given the track record on pistol damage per gun shot, you could make the case that both are equally effective or not effective. Performance across modern JHPs seems to be just about even with all major calibers, so it really comes down to preference, pocket book, or (in my case) existing infrastructre. Having been the guy who brought a .40 to a class where everyone else ran 9mm, I was slower at first. I had to reload more often, and they had all been shooting pistols far more often and longer than I had. However, by the end of day 2, my speed had caught up. I think its less about the round, and more about the shooter's own ability. Pick one, and learn it.

7 Answers

Sure, why not?

My answer:  Either will do.

I have both and feel well armed with either.  I much prefer reloading 45 to 9mm, but for store bought ammo the 9 is easier to find now, especially in defense loadings.

Does it fit your hand and your style of carrying?  Plenty of guns in both calibers for that.

Can you hit what you're shooting at with it?  One-handed?  Off-handed?  In bad light?  In a lightning storm?  If you can't hit what you're shooting at the caliber becomes meaningless.

Can you find the accessories (holsters, etc) that you want?

.45acp, 9mm, .38spc, .357mag, .40s&w, 10mm.  They're all good.

Find one you can afford, that you can afford to practice with, and that fits your hand and carry style.  The rest is unimportant.

Chance favors the prepared mind.


The only time a .45 is better than a 9mm is if you live in a capacity-limited state.  If you can only hold 10 rounds, then you might as well get just a smidge more out of them.  Of course, at that point I'd look into carrying an 8-shot .357, and for the same reason.

"Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement"

Don't look now, but that sounds like an argument for .40 S&W...larger hole than 9mm but more capacity than .45ACP.

Sarcasm aside, in your competition experience, have you observed any obvious energy advantages against spinner targets with larger, slower rounds, or is it more technique than anything?


You have a valid point on if you life in a capacity limited state. P&S just covered this with their Snubbies episode recently. They actually advised that if you live in a ban state that a 44mag/44spl is now a valid contender.

@Diceman624 Energy advantage goes to lighter, faster projectiles, but spinners & other reactive targets actually favor the heavier bullets. InRangeTV did a short video about the 50GI used on a spinner and it was very interesting. I'm not sure what it is from a physics perspective, but heavy bullets transfer a lot of momentum. There is definitely something going on there.



"Find one you can afford, that you can afford to practice with, and that fits your hand and carry style.  The rest is unimportant."  I think you just won this conversation with this statement.   Bravo sir!

Agreed. Consider the question answered, lol.


Well I've learned a lot reading here so far.

I've never considered a limit on ammo capacity before, living here in MO.

I've always been a 9mm guy and for a multitude of reasons. Primarily, its cost and capacity. Secondarily, recoil and availability of ammo types.

Then there's the fact that I've never had to draw on someone, let a lone shoot them. All the ballistics gel in the world don't add up to forming an opinion of terminal performance on a live opponent intent on doing you harm. But one thing that I have experienced in training is that I require a smaller frame firearm that a double stack .45 just can't offer me. I can't make critical shots with a beefy pistol very well.

Good is good enough for me and for everyone rockin' something else, carry on. I wouldn't tell you what color of underwear to don either.

"I can't make critical shots with a beefy pistol very well." -That's truly the best reason to avoid something. Shot placement is the most important factor by such a wide margin that it should never be compromised.


In the words of a number of the Army Warrant Officers I've worked with:

We're not really going to do that, are we?

Internet reputations may be one thing, but cold hard data is another.

LOL, apparently not. Seems like nobody is a taker on this one.


I don't mind doing the debate, but is there really a debate anymore?  Perhaps if we were talking only FMJ this might be worth doing, but with modern handgun technology in JHP there is no reason to get .45 anymore.   With 2 pistols of the same size you have lighter weight & greater capacity in 9mm.  In gel penetration test (like this one  ) they have shown that you get similar penetration & expansion with 9mm vs. .45.

The only time I see myself using .45 hardball anymore is in a 1911, a weapon system that is designed for it.  Short of that it provides no real advantages.  Its heavier, bigger, more expensive, and you get less capacity vs. a 9mm.

9 mm for the win here.


For me, 9mm - no question. Cheaper ammo, higher capacity, and I can run the gun a bit faster.

Thank you for coming by The Everyday Marksman. This site and its community are a labor of love. I hope you stick around for a while, and maybe even join us.


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