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Q:
Alright, I'm going to let an expert wax eloquent; WAM, just wondering, what makes the 9mm a favorite for you? I have been examining ballistics pretty carefully, and have heard many reports that it is either ineffective or spectacular. Would you care to elaborate? Anyone else with first- or second-hand is welcome; please just don't pop in to tell me either the 9mm or .45 suck :P

Question by fng. Uploaded on October 21, 2011

Answers (18)

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I like the 9mm because ammo is plentiful and cheap, the mags are usually a higher capacity, and for everyone that says its a weak round I say really let me shot you with it and see how weak it is. I went through the police accademy with a Glock 17 9mm and a big part of the reason was the cost of the ammo. I now have a department .40 Glock, but still shot the 9 because its so much cheaper.

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from fng wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I'm thinking about buying a personal sidearm if this application for CF officer's program goes through; either a fairly standard, reliable 9mm auto (maybe a sig, or something like.), or if I can get a chance to look atone before paying so much, a Nighthawk Custom 9mm GRP (a 1911 style pistol with a 17 shot double stack mag, and a few upgrades. In my opinion, 3gs is acceptable for a weapon that may just be the differance.) WAM and a few others had argued for the 9mm, as I liked the idea of a .45, but the big deal is with the Canadian forces, .45 is all but impossible to find (though the 1911 is an accepted sidearm), and I don't feel like handloading ammo for a sidearm; if I have a protracted battle, where am I going to find ammo on the hop?

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

a 9mm is just fine for cc and will get the job done. i just prefer a .40 to .45 for cc.

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from 007 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Hey guys, don't look for WAM's answer right away, he's going to be away for a week or so.

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from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I don't have much bad to say about either the 9mm or the .45, but I personally found a happy medium with the .40. As far as law enforcement or self defense use the majority of the bad I've heard about the 9mm has been problems with over penetration. Too many rounds passing through targets and continuing on to possibly hit unintended targets. I'm not an officer, so this is just what I have read as to why many departments have moved away from using the 9mm. As for target shooting the 9mm is a good way to go due to cost and availability of ammo as jm pointed out.

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sorry, but the personal sidearm is not for "protracted battles."

See, the thing is this: The pistol is a defensive weapon. If you have time, get a better stopper. You are almost always starting at a disadvantage, even with good situational awareness, because you dont know what the presumed "bad guy's" intentions are, and he does.

It comes down to this: A 9mm, or a 38 special, or a whatever will work fine...most of the time. Add a bigger slug, like a 40 s & w. It will work fine too, but has a little more wiggle room. 45 acp...that big flying ashtray will maybe give you just a little more room for error. 357 mag...more. 30-30 rifle...now that guys gonna win, unless you turn him off fast.

I agree to a certain extent with the cheaper means more practice tact. But you can maintain (note this) a lot of proficiency using nothing more than a snap cap and a holster once youve gotten where you need to be. I would even go so far as to say that 15 minutes in the basement practicing presentation and dry-fire is worth more than a whole weeks worth of live fire perforating paper on you back heel at 7 yds, which is how most either have to shoot, or just do.

Final bit of advice. If your budget is really that high, borrow a pistol, buy some ammo, and go take in some training at Gunsite, or Thunder Ranch, or Shootrite. If youre really in it for the right reasons this will do more for you than any wundergun you could ever find.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

All in all jamesti probably summed up the whole deal. I personally prefer .45 ACP, .40 is a great cartridge as well, the 9 is much better than when I was a kid due to the superior bullets of today. Certainly the latter is much cheaper to shoot and a lot can be said for a pistol with 18 or 19 cartridges in it. Back in the day I thought my old Hi Power was buldging with 13 but now that is commonplace. All in all my preference is still the .45 since the stopping power is historically superior to other routinely encountered pistol rounds, 7 or 8 shoots is likely more than necessary, recoil is mild even for plus P, ammo is easy to find locally, the cartridge is simple to reload, etc. Of course I could say about the same thing for the 9 mil. Pay your money, take your choice, and enjoy shooting, you won't go wrong.

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

The 9mm's strongest point is the high-capacity magazine advantage. This is of critical importance to law enforcement, as demonstrated in the 1986 FBI massacre in Miami. Extended gunfights require multiple reloads.

For the private citizen, six or seven rounds are more than enough. Check "The Armed Citizen" report in the American Rifleman." You will find that whatever weapon saved the day, the armed citizen has never had to reload.

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from ableskeever wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

If you are really accurate, go with more power. If you're not, I suggest the 9mm for a little less recoil hampering your follow-up shot.

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from fng wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

my problem isn't the recoil, isn't the accuracy (I'm a decent shot so far), but maintaining adequate stopping power while still being able to find ammo. Personally, a pistol is just to get you to a rifle, but in the case of a really good fight I wouldn't want to be down to a knife because my rifle was destroyed and no one had .45. Other than that, I'm pretty damn sure I'd be .45 all the way.

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from ableskeever wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

fng
In that case, you should look to carry the exact same side-arm that everyone else ( or at least most ) carry so that magazines can be interchangeable.

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from fng wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

That, actually, doesn't bother me; if I go through the magazines of .223 or .308 I'm using in a rifle, and the 5 or 6 magazines I've got loaded, then it doesn't matter what guns I have. I'm just talking about having something that I can use, that I am utterly confident in. If I get a reg service pistol like that, fair enough.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Well, I am at the motel the night before our elk hunt so I thought I'd drop in since you asked! If you limited me to 6 (or even 7 rounds) I would take a more powerful .45 ACP or .357 wheelgun. But given the nature of a combat handgun, I would opt for the high capacity 9mm. Face it, the .45 ACP has only a slight advantage when restricted to FMJ ammo due to it's sheer weight. The Hague Convention prohibits the use of expanding or hollow point ammo anyway. A 13 shot Hi-Power is a minimum capacity for me in a combat pistol.

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from fng wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Agreed on that; you had said it was a favorite, for what reason? Just enjoyed it, some special characteristic, or that the arms you were issued saved some bacon a few times? Good luck with the Wapiti tomorrow; I'm out after some smaller, bouncier critters tomorrow myself.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

i like the 9mm for practice and cheap ammo, but if i was going to shoot someone and defending myself, i would want the power of a .45 ACP. 9mm is flyin real fast, gonna go right through whoever you hit. .45 ACP is big and heavy, bullet will stay inside the individual and knock him down when he gets hits with a .45.

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from pbshooter1217 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I went with a Colt Defender in .45ACP over the 9mm one. In my concealed class, the instructor said if you have to shoot someone it has to be within 7 yards, and if you can't hit them in the first 7 or 8 shots, you're probably done for anyways.

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from fng wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

At pbshooter, I agree; the one thing about military firearms is a definite need for the ability to engage multiple targets, effectively. If I could get .45 ammo, standard, I wouldn't even need this thread; it would be .45 if I could get used to the recoil. My problem is, what am I looking for in 9mm? what are the things peculiar to the cartridge? What should I look for in specific combat handguns, what accessories, etc.

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from LeVan Goodey wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

The 9mm vs 45 discussion has gone one probably since John Browning invented the 45. There are many situations to consider when argueing 45 vs 9mm. Personally I have a 9mm and shoot 147 grain bullets.
When I was working security we were taught to shoot two rounds center mass and one in the forehead. If one can do this consistantly from 5 to 50 yards,the ranges at which we qualified, I doubt that it would matter which round was used.
There may be some advantage in being able to shoot what the military uses, but then you have to deal with hardball ammunition.
What I look for in any firearm is how it feels when I pick it up and whether or not it is convienient to carry.
A .22 in your pocket is much more effective than the 45 in a drawer at home.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

All in all jamesti probably summed up the whole deal. I personally prefer .45 ACP, .40 is a great cartridge as well, the 9 is much better than when I was a kid due to the superior bullets of today. Certainly the latter is much cheaper to shoot and a lot can be said for a pistol with 18 or 19 cartridges in it. Back in the day I thought my old Hi Power was buldging with 13 but now that is commonplace. All in all my preference is still the .45 since the stopping power is historically superior to other routinely encountered pistol rounds, 7 or 8 shoots is likely more than necessary, recoil is mild even for plus P, ammo is easy to find locally, the cartridge is simple to reload, etc. Of course I could say about the same thing for the 9 mil. Pay your money, take your choice, and enjoy shooting, you won't go wrong.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

a 9mm is just fine for cc and will get the job done. i just prefer a .40 to .45 for cc.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I don't have much bad to say about either the 9mm or the .45, but I personally found a happy medium with the .40. As far as law enforcement or self defense use the majority of the bad I've heard about the 9mm has been problems with over penetration. Too many rounds passing through targets and continuing on to possibly hit unintended targets. I'm not an officer, so this is just what I have read as to why many departments have moved away from using the 9mm. As for target shooting the 9mm is a good way to go due to cost and availability of ammo as jm pointed out.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

The 9mm's strongest point is the high-capacity magazine advantage. This is of critical importance to law enforcement, as demonstrated in the 1986 FBI massacre in Miami. Extended gunfights require multiple reloads.

For the private citizen, six or seven rounds are more than enough. Check "The Armed Citizen" report in the American Rifleman." You will find that whatever weapon saved the day, the armed citizen has never had to reload.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I like the 9mm because ammo is plentiful and cheap, the mags are usually a higher capacity, and for everyone that says its a weak round I say really let me shot you with it and see how weak it is. I went through the police accademy with a Glock 17 9mm and a big part of the reason was the cost of the ammo. I now have a department .40 Glock, but still shot the 9 because its so much cheaper.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Oryx wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sorry, but the personal sidearm is not for "protracted battles."

See, the thing is this: The pistol is a defensive weapon. If you have time, get a better stopper. You are almost always starting at a disadvantage, even with good situational awareness, because you dont know what the presumed "bad guy's" intentions are, and he does.

It comes down to this: A 9mm, or a 38 special, or a whatever will work fine...most of the time. Add a bigger slug, like a 40 s & w. It will work fine too, but has a little more wiggle room. 45 acp...that big flying ashtray will maybe give you just a little more room for error. 357 mag...more. 30-30 rifle...now that guys gonna win, unless you turn him off fast.

I agree to a certain extent with the cheaper means more practice tact. But you can maintain (note this) a lot of proficiency using nothing more than a snap cap and a holster once youve gotten where you need to be. I would even go so far as to say that 15 minutes in the basement practicing presentation and dry-fire is worth more than a whole weeks worth of live fire perforating paper on you back heel at 7 yds, which is how most either have to shoot, or just do.

Final bit of advice. If your budget is really that high, borrow a pistol, buy some ammo, and go take in some training at Gunsite, or Thunder Ranch, or Shootrite. If youre really in it for the right reasons this will do more for you than any wundergun you could ever find.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ableskeever wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

If you are really accurate, go with more power. If you're not, I suggest the 9mm for a little less recoil hampering your follow-up shot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

i like the 9mm for practice and cheap ammo, but if i was going to shoot someone and defending myself, i would want the power of a .45 ACP. 9mm is flyin real fast, gonna go right through whoever you hit. .45 ACP is big and heavy, bullet will stay inside the individual and knock him down when he gets hits with a .45.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pbshooter1217 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I went with a Colt Defender in .45ACP over the 9mm one. In my concealed class, the instructor said if you have to shoot someone it has to be within 7 yards, and if you can't hit them in the first 7 or 8 shots, you're probably done for anyways.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fng wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I'm thinking about buying a personal sidearm if this application for CF officer's program goes through; either a fairly standard, reliable 9mm auto (maybe a sig, or something like.), or if I can get a chance to look atone before paying so much, a Nighthawk Custom 9mm GRP (a 1911 style pistol with a 17 shot double stack mag, and a few upgrades. In my opinion, 3gs is acceptable for a weapon that may just be the differance.) WAM and a few others had argued for the 9mm, as I liked the idea of a .45, but the big deal is with the Canadian forces, .45 is all but impossible to find (though the 1911 is an accepted sidearm), and I don't feel like handloading ammo for a sidearm; if I have a protracted battle, where am I going to find ammo on the hop?

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from 007 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Hey guys, don't look for WAM's answer right away, he's going to be away for a week or so.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fng wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

my problem isn't the recoil, isn't the accuracy (I'm a decent shot so far), but maintaining adequate stopping power while still being able to find ammo. Personally, a pistol is just to get you to a rifle, but in the case of a really good fight I wouldn't want to be down to a knife because my rifle was destroyed and no one had .45. Other than that, I'm pretty damn sure I'd be .45 all the way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ableskeever wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

fng
In that case, you should look to carry the exact same side-arm that everyone else ( or at least most ) carry so that magazines can be interchangeable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fng wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

That, actually, doesn't bother me; if I go through the magazines of .223 or .308 I'm using in a rifle, and the 5 or 6 magazines I've got loaded, then it doesn't matter what guns I have. I'm just talking about having something that I can use, that I am utterly confident in. If I get a reg service pistol like that, fair enough.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Well, I am at the motel the night before our elk hunt so I thought I'd drop in since you asked! If you limited me to 6 (or even 7 rounds) I would take a more powerful .45 ACP or .357 wheelgun. But given the nature of a combat handgun, I would opt for the high capacity 9mm. Face it, the .45 ACP has only a slight advantage when restricted to FMJ ammo due to it's sheer weight. The Hague Convention prohibits the use of expanding or hollow point ammo anyway. A 13 shot Hi-Power is a minimum capacity for me in a combat pistol.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fng wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Agreed on that; you had said it was a favorite, for what reason? Just enjoyed it, some special characteristic, or that the arms you were issued saved some bacon a few times? Good luck with the Wapiti tomorrow; I'm out after some smaller, bouncier critters tomorrow myself.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fng wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

At pbshooter, I agree; the one thing about military firearms is a definite need for the ability to engage multiple targets, effectively. If I could get .45 ammo, standard, I wouldn't even need this thread; it would be .45 if I could get used to the recoil. My problem is, what am I looking for in 9mm? what are the things peculiar to the cartridge? What should I look for in specific combat handguns, what accessories, etc.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from LeVan Goodey wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

The 9mm vs 45 discussion has gone one probably since John Browning invented the 45. There are many situations to consider when argueing 45 vs 9mm. Personally I have a 9mm and shoot 147 grain bullets.
When I was working security we were taught to shoot two rounds center mass and one in the forehead. If one can do this consistantly from 5 to 50 yards,the ranges at which we qualified, I doubt that it would matter which round was used.
There may be some advantage in being able to shoot what the military uses, but then you have to deal with hardball ammunition.
What I look for in any firearm is how it feels when I pick it up and whether or not it is convienient to carry.
A .22 in your pocket is much more effective than the 45 in a drawer at home.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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