Survival Debate: 9mm or .45

Survival Debate 9mm versus .45

We’re starting a new series on to discuss the most common and popular debates among survivalists. I figured what better way to start than with the grand daddy of them all: 9MM or .45.

Everybody has an opinion on this one, and if you don’t you probably need one, for conversational purposes if nothing else.

Beretta 92FS

Beretta 92FS - 9mm



  • 40-50% Cheaper
  • Lower Recoil
  • Higher Capacity Magazine
  • Currently U.S. Military sidearm (Beretta)
  • Higher Velocity – 1100-1300 FPS


  • Less Knockdown Power
Colt 1911

Colt 1911 - .45



  • More Knockdown Power
  • Ex-Military Sidearm (Colt 1911)


  • Twice as Expensive
  • Smaller Capacity Magazine
  • More Recoil
9mm 40 45 bullets

9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP

Middle Ground

Every great debate has a middle ground. For this one it would be the .40 S&W Caliber. It has more power than the 9MM, but can still hold more rounds per magazine than the .45. The price is also in the middle. The .40 round is widely adopted by Police and Law Enforcement all over the world.

However, this compromise doesn’t seem to sway avid fans very much. Most polls, while certainly not scientific, usually show a huge divide between 9MM and .45 with the .40 being a distant third.

Where do you stand?

Personally I am a 9MM fan, but I might be heavily swayed by the fact that it is far cheaper and I don’t have a lot of money. If cost wasn’t an object I might lean towards .45

Leave a comment and tell us which you prefer and why.

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photo by: aalbinger

{ 681 comments… read them below or add one }

guest April 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Dustin, that was a great way to put it when you said, "IMHO a 9mm OR .45 is really just a backup to a shotgun, which is a backup to a rifle."

The handgun is a weapon of high utility, but vastly inferior to a shoulder held weapon in almost any situation other than nose to nose contact like a gunfight in a broom closet.


Matthew June 17, 2010 at 9:01 am

IMHO it all comes down to what the actual scenario is. Personally I think that I will never bug out but rather try to bug in and start a community, but because every scenario is going to call for a different plan of action. I think what Dustin said is correct, that SOLO = last resort, but as survivalists and more importantly as preppers we need to be ready to grab whatever problem we may encounter by the horns and conquer it. Prepping is not just stocking up on supplies, but it is also being mentally and physically stable to do whatever it may take to survive. If survival calls for being a lone-wolf, than I will be a lone-wolf.

Having that said, from what I have been reading, (I might eat my words) most of you are not minimalist. Most of you like some of the pleasures of civilization and would like to keep a few of those pleasures if the SHTF. Therefore the smartest plan of action would be to bug out with a group. Take for example your supplies. A group of people can carry a lot more supplies than a single person. You can break up shelter, food, water, guns, and ammo, and everyone would carry a little. This technique is and has been used by the U.S. Army for 235 years, and it is a proven system. Also, I live on a farm, and even simple tasks that must be done on a daily basis are hard to do by yourself when you are not fatigued, must less when you are tired, hungry, and trying to survive. A single person may be faster than a group, but he is just not as efficient in conserving energy when every calorie counts! Having that said If I were going solo, I would be a minimalist and like The Book of Eli and other media (i.e. Fallout 3) would be a nomad and would not try to live in one place by myself for the rest of my life. (Just my $ .02)

You can obviously see what system I side with, but remember one thing. If any of you have ever seen the movie Defiance with Daniel Craig (I HIGHLY recommend it), you will understand that a 3-5 man group will quickly turn into 1,000 people if you are not careful!


aj52 June 17, 2010 at 3:20 pm

To Feeling Paranoid. I have given this a lot of thought and I have come to a tough to make decision. Many people live in the here and now without regard to the future. Instant gratification is the norm now.. My approach has become the same as when I try a piece of equipment or learn a new skill. If it's not useful it will be discarded. I was not put on this earth to carry their dead weight. Why would I struggle to support someone who won't contribute to their own well being any more than I would try to start a fire with wet matches? My attitude does not include children the elderly or sick/injured people. After all how we treat them is what makes us human.I know this sounds harsh but that's what I feel is realistic for me.If my resources are depleted/wasted on slackers how can I provide for others and myself who are trying. Survival may include surviving guilt as well!


Slashman September 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Nose to nose contact the knife will beat the gun every time


HugeMetz June 11, 2011 at 9:10 am

I’ll take my chances with a S&W 642 and 5 shots of Buffalo Bore lswchp nose to nose with a knife wielding foe.


HugeMetz June 11, 2011 at 9:52 am

Sorry… that was way off topic. Just my first instinct when I read that comment. I like both 45 and 9. My father keeps a swee 45 Long Colt in the bedstand. He’s very good with it despite single action. I keep a G19 in mine. Right next to the S&W 642 and 36-2. But Im eyeballing a XD 45acp compact right now. There’s no right answer so I’ll collect em all. Ps- Norinco SKS and Winchester 1892 stay in the closet, real close by. :o )


Suburban Survivalist April 8, 2010 at 8:57 am

9mm; more rounds in the magazine, less weight per the same number of rounds (think BoB), vastly cheaper to practice with. I can afford a .45, but prefer 9mm. Plus my wife can handle it but not a .45. In the end, "stopping power" is over emphasized – as mentioned above, getting show with a 9mm or whatever is going to ruin your day. Make it HP and even better.


Combat Control July 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm

The only thing we need to consider in regard to the magazine capacity of the 9mm vs. .45 is that some weapons now have high capacity .45's…so that no longer matters…for instance the glock 21 carries 13+ 1 rds of .45 (I believe thats the highest capacity made)..if anyone needs 13 tries to take out a bad guy…then they need to practice WAY more at the range. lol Ya know?


Guest September 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm

FNP 45 carries 15+1, SAR K2 14+1, Para Ordnace P14-45 14+1. So there are plenty of hi-cap .45's to be had and really, the availability of .45 ammo is a moot point. 1911 variants are the most popular pistols in the US.


Guest November 2, 2012 at 7:33 pm

But the 9mm is a NATO round, the 45 isn't, and might just be easier to get your hands on during a zombie apocalypse.


ZOMCON1 May 21, 2013 at 10:36 am

The .45 is a multiuse round. It is a battle proven, time tested round, and should be considered for your B.O.B. gear. It is also an excellent choice for home defense for penetration concerns.


Steve January 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Don't know you, your color or politcs……….HD weapon/ammo has to be all about stopping power. What the fuck is it all bout otherwise. "Hit 'em with a pitch fork and knock 'em out with the aluminium bat ????? Might work but plug 'em with a 45 and make decisions from there on…..cuz he ain't gettin up


Wyatt June 6, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Old post but, in world war 2 soldiers were leaving behind there mi carbines .30 and bringing the colt .45s because it stopped them faster. They are only allowed to use full metal jackets. And a 230 grain projectile at 850 fps generates 352 foot pounds of energy. We however May use hollow points. And a 9mm 135 grain hornady critical duty +p traveling at 1150 fps generates 396 flbs of energy. So there both going to stop an assailant unless there on PCP and you have horrible shot placement. If the .45 stops them fast enough then what does that tell you about modern hollow points ? I would however not feel comfortable with 9mm full metal jackets in my gun. But get those same modern hollow points like federal HST or something in .45 and that’s a real man stopper, pretty much over kill. Travon Martin was shot by a kel tec pf-9 once. And that’s not even a full size 9mm


Lucas_SurvCache April 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I'm glad to see this sparked a debate. Though I knew it would.

Everyone makes a valid point.

I agree that if you can use a rifle/shotgun then all the better but that's not always the case, and since this is a hypothetical anyway, I'll stick with just debating the two calibers.

I also definitely agree that getting shot by any caliber will change things in a hurry.


Guest April 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Handguns don't really knock anything down. They just don't. I wish we would stop using that term.


james June 8, 2010 at 6:29 am

-1 the 45 was used in nam to stop them lil fools from running a 9 would go through and the 45 would stop them dead in there tracks the 45 is a body stopper it catches more flesh and actually can and will knock someone or something down i should know ive been shot with one the thing threw me to the ground…………..i will never take my ex shooting again


ASK July 17, 2010 at 9:37 am

You, sir, are an idiot. Not only do you apparently not practice adequate gun safety that resulted in you being shot, you also have no grasp of elementary physics. If you drop after being shot, it's due to debilitating physical trauma or a psychological response, not due to any impact delivered by the bullet. If a handgun had the power to knock someone down, it would also knock down the firer (particularly if, as in this case, it was a lighter individual… unless your ex is a big fatty).


Effit January 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I don’t think you know what your talking about there, boss… If you want to talk about “knockdown” power, your talking about sheer torque. With a .45 hydra shok putting about 550 ft-lbf into whatever object it hits, I’m pretty sure its putting someone on the ground. On the flip side of things, I’ve seen a man get put on his back by a 9 mm fmj that puts out roughly 1/3 of that force. For a little clarity, if a punch in the chest can knock someone down, why would you think a .45 or 9 mm round wouldn’t?


Jimmy February 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Actually, the recoil felt by the shooter is slightly greater than the impact felt by the target because of wind resistance slowing the velocity of the bullet while en route to the target. Remember, Newton’s third law states: “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary par…”


Randall March 15, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Moron its not the energy from the bullet that drops people, its the damage to the central nervous system.

Vyper March 2, 2012 at 11:25 pm

The explanation to some extent, is due to the frontal mass area (M subfa) of the projectile, The design charicteristic of the projectile, Angle of attack of the projectile, Velocity-pitch-yaw, Distance, Etc, Etc. Not to mention the mental status of the individual being shot.


Vyper March 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

You are correct. The kick (recoil) one experiences upon discharging a weapon is, roughly, what an individual would experience when struck by the projectile from the fired weapon. For example: Upon discharge, The individual firing a particular weapon would percieve aproximatley(sic) 12Ft/lbs of “kick” (recoil) energy. The individual struck by the projectile would feel roughly, 12Ft/lbs of energy. There are many variables to this equation. This is of course, extremly oversimplified explanation.


gun seller June 18, 2010 at 2:07 am

I find this debate a non starter. Firearms are tools. What's the job? .45s are more devastating on impact in the intended range. 9s are faster but smaller. 40s are a good choice as it has speed and a good punch. I agree with the earlier gentleman when he mentioned a hand gun being a backup to a shotgun and that being a back up to a rifle. I am old fashioned as I was trained with a 1911. I find depending on the situation I think I'm likely to encounter I either carry a .40 or a .45. I'd use a 9 if it was in reach and I needed a hand gun……any gun you have with you is better than the one left behind!


xoutcryx September 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Knock down power merely refers the the energy that the projectile has. It has nothing to do with ether or not it will actually knock anything down.


2R4U September 28, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I really do not think you have the knowledge to be making this statement ""Handguns don't really knock anything down. They just don't. I wish we would stop using that term.""

Ya see the .45cal round was created just for that purpose… Ya see back in 1899-1902 the Philippine-American war was fought… The US was having a problem with the locals uprising, getting high on pain killing drugs and just walking through a hail of at that time .38sp rounds from officers to kill them with machette's…

The .45cal ball round was developed to not only stop a drugged up person in their tracks, but to blow a fist sized hole through them… Now if that is not knock down power, then what is…?


Glen October 7, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Clearly you have never seen anyone hit with a .45 ACP. It will most assuredly knock you down. It is the most proven fight stopper of all handgun calibers.


Jim Smith October 20, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Well if you shoot some one with a 45 it will knock them down, however on a real note if you cant decide carry both just be ready to ditch the 45 for the 9mm because eventhough more law enforcment have transitioned to the 40 it is still more common round (9mm) for military and law enforcment, and if you need a 40 well im sure when the smoke clears your bound to run across a dead police officer and his useless peice and your ready to roll as a scavenger, on the same note shot guns are the best choice as well as a high capacity 5.56 or 7.62 very common.


matt October 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

hand guns do knock stuff down if you have the proper equipment and know how to use it.


Minarchist_1776 November 20, 2010 at 9:23 pm

This depends on a lot of factors. For most "civilian" needs revolvers are still a reasonable choice. For instance, if you were to get Ruger's .357/9mm convertible Blackhawk you'd have a weapon that could use the three most commonly available rounds out there. Granted it's a single action, but it can still put rounds accurately down range, and it's whoever gets the first *hit* in that is likely to win the fight.

My choice for a "survival" situation is a .44 magnum revolver. It can deal with people, potentially handle large dangerous game, and possibly snag deer out to 100 yards. While it isn't something I'd want for a serious firefight, if I *knew* I was going to be getting into a firefight I'd have my battle rifle clone.

If you're dealing with an urban environment, I'd go for the .45 ACP. In the words of a former mercenary I knew: "I've shot people with 9mm, that's why I carry a .45" .


Ben228 April 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

My three tour of Vietnam dad always said if he knew he was going to get in a gun fight he would be somewhere else! As someone else posted on a different thread ” A pistol is for that where did [insert least favorite predator here] come from” moment. That is the most likely role of the sidearm for me.


568Rick November 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I like all (3) but I like the 40 the best


mr.smashy April 8, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I chose .40 S&W as my primary caliber because of it's wide adoption by LE agencies all over the US. Also, during the ammo shortage in '09, .40 S&W was always still available. Sometimes the prices were inflated, but it was still available, while 9mm and .45 ACP was not available for any amount of money. I have only a limited requirement for factory ammunition, as I reload, but the experience was interesting.

I also have some pistols in 9mm, because it is very easy to shoot and ammunition is very cheap. After shooting .40 for so long, 9mm is an accurate round and recoil is extremely manageable.

With modern, bonded hollow point ammunition, all three calibers will perform equally, and provide equal "stopping power" (ability to stop an attack, not kill or maim or damage tissue). With ball ammo, you are going to want the heaviest, largest projectile, with the best shot placement possible. 9mm 124 gr ball versus .45 230 gr. ball is not a hard decision, especially if you are using a good quality .45 pistol and train and are proficient.

I think a large part of this would be "training and proficiency". If you cannot handle a .45 or .40 caliber pistol, shoot 9mm and be the best you can be with your weapon system.


caine30 June 5, 2010 at 5:58 am

actually here in Maine it was one of the ones that had a big shortage as well as 9mm and .45 acp but being a good prepper i had a few hundred rounds on hand anyways and i had an in at the military supply store so when they got a shipment in I got a phone call lol its good to know the owner some times.


Lucas_SurvCache April 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

mr. smashy makes a good point.

You caliber of choice really doesn't matter very much if you can't hit what you are aiming at.

He makes a good point about .40 being available too. Everytime I go to walmart I look for cheap federal 9mm and they never have it, but they always have a huge pile of .40. To bad I don't have a .40 pistol.


Suburban Survivalist April 9, 2010 at 1:58 am

Since 9mm is relatively cheap most can afford to shoot more of it, thereby increasing their proficiency and perhaps hitting their target more.

A note of caution on cheap 9mm ammo; last year at a gun show I picked up 1,440 rds of eastern block 9mm ammo in a sealed tin – cheap! Got about 50 rds through my CZ-75B at the local indoor range when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turns out it was steel core rather than lead core and therefore could not be used at the indoor range. I understand many indoor ranges have that prohibition since the steel penetrates further through the barriers. Fine for outdoors shooting thought. On a side note, the ammo has shot just about flawlessly after ~500 rds – a great deal. Just an FYI.


Parabellum June 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Another alternative to the window punch would be for someone to add a "Bust a Cap" end to their Mag-Lite (and they make them for other lights as well). They are specifically made for breaking windows and probably wouldn't even be noticed by people unless they knew exactly what they were and in that case they'd probably have one too!


nightrunner April 9, 2010 at 2:04 am

bigger hole means the victim bleeds out faster.

In a service-sized pistol, I prefer .45 if its concealed carry, thats another thing but I still take .45 in MOST cases.

some JHP .45acp expands to approx. .70 caliber, thats a BIG hole. I prefer a fairly large .45 like the XD-45. no compare the capacity any 9mm on the market. the highest capacity one is the XDM-9 at 19 rounds versus the XD-45 of 13 rounds. 6 rounds while is a decent difference isnt huge especially when you consider the damaging effects of each respectable round. and if you compare it to say the G17, it only holds 17 rounds, the beretta 92 holds only 15.


mr_smashy April 9, 2010 at 3:49 am

I wasn't kidding when I said all modern bonded jacketed hollow point bullets have the same amount of "stopping power". Consider this photo:… All calibers and several bullet weights of each caliber all meet the FBI recommended minimum 12" of penetration and leave similar permanent wound trails. I you purchase quality hollow point ammunition in any caliber and you get it to connect you will get the same results

>also remember a 9mm is a .45 set to stun, and real men do not believe in stun.

I hear this from old duffers and guys that wear cammies at the range, but when I offer to try and stun them, they don't take me up on the offer. Why is this?

9mm may be cheaper to shoot using factory or import surplus, but if your serious about sustainable firearms independence, you should be at least a beginner reloader. In that case it can actually be cheaper to reload .45 ACP ammunition.


Glock2291 June 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Although your photo does show similar penetration, if you look at the width of damage from the highest to lowest points of visible damage, the .45 is almost double that of either 9 mm round.

IMHO, the .40 provides the best compromise in price and damage done to target


Nick November 7, 2010 at 12:18 am

In operation Desert Storm I must have "stunned" three enemy soldiers pretty good with my Ruger P89, they are still taking dirt naps!


guest April 9, 2010 at 5:25 am

Nightrunner, You said, "…G17, it only holds 17 rounds, the beretta 92 holds only 15."


World War 2 was fought with the 1911 as a sidearm for the most part. It held 7-8 rounds of ball .45 and was devastatingly effective. What are we expecting to happen that we need to have so much ammunition in the palms of our hands?

My handgun choice for nearly the last 20 years is the SIG 220 .45, and I have never felt under armed or short of ammo with a single stack mag in the gun, and a spare on my belt. I've been shooting handguns for 42 years now and have gotten very confident with that particular package.

A shooter is not always better off with more ammo, he IS always better off with more practice and confidence in his chosen weapon.

Mr. Smashy, you are dead on about being able to handload ammunition. I keep a couple of 5 gallon buckets of .45 brass around; should be a lifetime's worth for me. The .45 is pretty easy on brass, is powder efficient, but gulps a lot of lead, so that has to be considered.

I'm new to the site here, and this is my first participation with you all. Keep up the good work. I'll be around.


nightrunner April 9, 2010 at 2:05 am

when you compare double stack to double stack guns, the 9mm versions really dont hold that many more rounds, in the new-gen HK guns (P30 and HK45) the 9mm version holds 15 and the 45 version holds 12, not a whole lot of difference. in 1911s the 9mm versions usually hold 9 rounds, while the standard .45 holds 8 rounds, even less difference there. glock is 17 rounds in 9mm to 13 rounds of .45 still not much considering.

besides what would you rather have, the american caliber of .45 acp or the european standard of 9x19mm?

also remember a 9mm is a .45 set to stun, and real men do not believe in stun.


Michael June 20, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Go with the group, think of them as self tending protein… Just kidding.

This is something I've thought a lot about as I'm not really a group or people person, but if there was some sort of really big collapse I can't see being completely solo as working out very well.


funny February 1, 2011 at 8:46 pm

ask any man who is in a gun fight if he would trade his current gun for something smaller and i think you will come out with a similar answer.

the best gun for a gun fight is the biggest gun you can safely and accurately fire. a 9mm just cannot match the stopping power of a .45, and a .45 just not as a concealable or mobile.

if i had to choose i would go with the .45, in a gun fight whoever walks away is the winner and i think having a large knockdown round like the .45 stacks the odds in my favor.


Jimmy February 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm

You can get more rounds on target with a 9mm than you can with a .45 ACP in less time. With handgun rounds, you need to hit the right spots in the chest, the spine, or head to stop your target cold. A 9mm round will incapacitate your target with one round if you hit these areas, just like a .45. The difference is, with the 9mm you can also dump your entire clip while staying on target. That’s much harder to do with the .45.

The 9mm round weights half as much, and offers twice the capacity. There’s a much wider variety of available loads and rounds, including +p, +p+, as well as fmj steel core armor piercing rounds if you need to shoot through several doors for some reason.

9mm, a shotgun, and a rifle.


FTW November 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

yet another american stereo type…………*sigh*

your measurement of a "man" is troublesome.


Capt Bart December 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I prefer the .45 ACP because one saved my life in combat & yes it was 1 shot stop. I'm a physicist and the physics can't be changed – apples to apples a 45 puts more energy into a target than a 38 (9 mm). A 9mm to the heart is fatal – but it can take 14 seconds for that result – a LONG time in a gun fight. The 45 is designed to knock down the target preventing a dead man from killing you. All this being said, I carry a 45 when I can (when dress permits). Houston summers it is usually a Kel-Tec P11 in my pocket (9mm) due to weather and concealability issues. Bottom line truth – any hit, with any caliber is better than a miss with a S&W 500. Also, bottom line truth – in a real live gun fight, the biggest gun you can put your hands on and use effectively is too "expletive deleted" small! Take what you have at hand and shoot until the threat is removed or neutralized.


Sharpie February 28, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Go downrange and let me “stun” you with my Glock… Why not? Won’t hurt much…….

Stop compensating for SMS dude.

It all boils down to personal preference, and what you can shoot well, if you can only handle a .22, thats the best for you


conor April 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm

If you own a gun you should be able to shoot bad guy in the head 10 feet away,


mr_smashy April 10, 2010 at 1:14 am

If it was that easy, we wouldn't have shootouts. If it was that easy the standard traffic stop would not claim 5% of Officer fatalities. The bad guy is never going to stand still like a silhouette target 10' from the end of the stall in an indoor range. I've seen people who have a hard time doing that. And a headshot is not a guaranteed stop.

Things that should be considered:

*360 degree mindset (the "bad guy" is almost always never going to be a frontal attack)
*Weapon retention (keeping my firearm from being turned on me)
*Correct application of force (Mozambique , NSR, contact shooting)
*Point shooting vs. aimed shots (do you have time to make a well aimed shot before the gap is closed?)

This could go on and on, but gun fighting within 10 feet is a different animal than 25-10 yards. CQB with a pistol requires disciplined training, the right kind of training, and the ability to make snap decisions with a lot of liability riding on each bullet.


guest November 10, 2011 at 7:28 pm

the problem is that they twist and turn as they run towards you or away with your money and i was shaking so badly that i dropped the extra mag in the mud; but i was finally able to stop the robber after firing 5 shots with only one hit. got my money back too.


CaptBart March 23, 2012 at 8:01 am

Congratulations on surviving the event. Not all do so.


Guest April 10, 2010 at 6:04 am

Personally I prefer a .45 1911 with an eight round magazine. In the end it's personal choice and envirorement. Some times you need to put lots of rounds down range some times you want one shot one kill. It allways helps to have a backup gun.


zschell April 26, 2010 at 3:32 am

I prefer 9 mm. For a SHTF type situation, I have a Kel Tec sub 2000, a nifty little carbine that accepts glock magazines (including the 33 rd ones) and is accurate out to about 60-70 yards. With multiple magazines I can carry ammo for small game hunting and personal defense. Paired with a Glock 19 as a side arm (again, same mag), I think 9 mm is a great caliber in terms of versatility, weight per round, and cost.


Lucas_SurvCache April 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm


I really like the setup you are running, because you not only have the same ammo in both guns, but they both use the same magazine. That is a Great example of multi-pupose gear.

I also tend to agree with you about 9mm in general. I think it's my favorite.

Thanks for commenting


FTW November 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm

This "seems" like a great setup but in reality the kel tec is NOT a military grade weapon. not only that but the web is on fire about how picky the sub 2000 is with ammo. it fails repeatedly with cheaper ammo. this may or may not be able to be fixed but relying on ANY keltec in a fire fight is sure to be a death sentence- you get what you pay for. i know someone that fired at an attacker that pulled a knife on him and the weapon detonated because he had +P ammo in it.

so lesson being: you cant use the cheap stuff because it will fail and you cant use the high performance stuff because it could injure or kill you, end result: if you cant afford a REAL weapon, your better off clubbing someone over the head with your UNLOADED keltec (all keltecs are safe in this mode) that does have a good weapon. just make sure your not trying to grab an AR, youll only be in the same boat all over again!


tanstaafl72555 November 27, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I have a keltec subby and have never had a ftf, running the cheapest ammo possible thru it….. I take that back. I had some cheap Korean 33 round mags that failed to feed. Other than that, the weapon functioned flawlessly.

I don't understand the snooty attitudes toward Kel Tec. I see it from the guys who think they are all that with their Kimber safe queens.

The Sub 2000 and a glock 17 or 19 is a great combo.

I personally carry a sig 229 .40 caliber, but my wife loves those little carbines and can shoot your eyes out at 50 yards or so.


Chance January 31, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I would say that it is using two different peices of gear to do the same thing. If I am carrying a long gun it will most certainly be in a rifle caliber.


KyAlive December 16, 2010 at 6:45 am

I'm not a big fan of the 9mm round, but I definitely like how versatile your setup is. A lot of people will get interchangeable ammo and say they've saved as much space in their kits as they could. They never consider how much room their non-interchangeable mags take up.
If anyone finds a similar setup in .45, let me know.


Starydog December 29, 2010 at 9:13 am

I recently aquired a sub2000 that uses the S&W model 59 series mags, as I have a 5906 handgun as well. That said, my perferred poison of choice is always 45ACP in a 1911 platform and it rides with me daily in my "get to work and back bag". I am active in IDPA and train with it regularly. I agree with standardizing the load out capability of the two gun, same bullet/ magazine concept. As a side note, the Sub 2000 folds up and fits inside the saddlebag on my Heritage Soft Tail Classic, and I believeit is not considered a concealed hand gun either.


Bazzil May 3, 2010 at 2:13 am

I agree equalizer.
My all around survival round?
Give me my .22 rimfire.
Ammo is super abundant almost anywhere you go.
You can easily pack 500 rounds in one small box.
It's effective out to 50-75+ yards,
It can kill a deer, small game, even a person if need be .
it's quiet


Lucas_SurvCache May 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm


I am with your on the .22 for all of the cases you mentioned. For me a Ruger 10/22 really is one of the best survival guns.

However, I still think I will stick with a more powerful handgun for protection.


two mules January 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm


Got a friend that killed an average brown bear that had backed him into the river with a Ruger 10-22…

Glad to read a post with common sense. Yeah we all consider the gunfight aspect of the pistol… but in a REAL SHTF situation EATING is the primary. Hard to fight if you are exhausted and hungry.

Ruger Mark II my survival gun in the pack in my Super Cub in Alaska for 20 years. The Mauser .458 Win Mag is on the wing struts… The target pistol feeds me the Rifle is for piece of mind. Combat… Well don't slow to a walk at under 80 meters with me shooting the .22 or you will get tagged enough to allow me to fight my way back to the real weapon. Recent close range tests I performed on surplus US soft kevlar, free hanging at point blank to 25 meters and point blank laying on dry sand, the .22 from the pistol penetrated deeper than the 9mm or the .45 ball ammo…

That said my Lower 48 near the border piece is a .45 after seeing a lot of critters shot it is impossible to kill it TOO Dead.

Something to think about…


Jack Vermicelli May 5, 2010 at 5:47 pm

You said that 9mm is 40-50% cheaper than .45, which is 40-50% more expensive than 9mm. I'm pretty sure that that price relationship is pretty impossible.

Let's say (for convenience) that a .45 round costs 100 bottle caps or shells or goats or what have you. At 40-50% of that, a 9mm round should cost 40-50 units. And then at 40-50% more, a .45 round (which we already said cost 100) should then cost 56-75, right?


Lucas_SurvCache May 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm


Good catch, the math doesn't really work out on that one.

Here's how I was thinking about it when I wrote it:

The Cheapest 9mm I can get is 9.50 a box. The cheapest .45 I can get is about 20.00 a box.

So the 9mm really is 50% cheaper. I should have put that the .45 is 2x as much.

Thanks for keeping me honest.


Lucas_SurvCache May 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm


Good catch, the math doesn't really work out on that one.

Here's how I was thinking about it when I wrote it:

The Cheapest 9mm I can get is 9.50 a box. The cheapest .45 I can get is about 20.00 a box.

So the 9mm really is 50% cheaper. I should have put that the .45 is 2x as much.

Thanks for keeping me honest.


zschell May 6, 2010 at 12:25 am

I agree with the comments made about .22 ammo. I also agree that at a per shot stopping power that .45 or .357 is generally better than 9mm or.22. But let's remember that this is a SURVIVAL debate. Not only is it essential to protect yourself and loved ones, but hunting and weight limitations have to be taken into consideration. Back to what Dustin said in the begining, a 12 gauge shotgun as a primary weapon could provide close quarters stopping power probably better than any large caliber handgun bullet.


VanKirk May 12, 2010 at 11:57 am

I didn't read through all the comments but am just going to state this (or reiterate if someone else already has). Any handgun is capable or killing and/or stopping the BG. When it comes down to "oh noes what caliber does it best" kind of arguments I think everyone needs to remember that A nine mil to the brain of the BG or the heart or any vital organ will kill (or stop) a BG as well as a .45.

Pick a caliber (a 9mil really is all thats needed unless it's not "macho" enough for you) and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Practice at 5 yards and then at 10, 15, 20, 25. Then run tactical courses, work on Point and shoot methods. run and gun a bit….other than having some great fun your getting good with whatever handgun you decided on.

Just my two cents



caine30 May 26, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I tend to agree with you that is why my friends and i have set up a course that is made for this debate. We have set up a primary weapons course we run through which is well my personal is a SKS converted to take AK mags but many others prefer the AR-15 and one of us uses an AK-47 but getting back to the topic we practice jams and teams running the course is good fun and you have to know your abilities i carry a star 9mm or my interarms 9mm one is double stack the other only takes FMJ. you need to practice weapon reloads and switching in the middle of a fight of course it is all just in case TSHTF. PRACTICE makes perfect i ran the course with my wife and i used my mosin to start out with just to see what would happen and she used my colt .22 and we both carried a 9mm. we did just as well as the ones using the AR-15s and carring the .45 acps it all comes down to what you can handle when you need to.


Lucas_SurvCache May 28, 2010 at 5:07 am

I have been actively looking for some large piece of land, public use, friend, or otherwise, that I could use to set up some Run & Gun courses like you mentioned, but I've had no luck so far. So for now I'm sticking to the range.

There's just too many people east of the Mississippi.


caine30 July 1, 2010 at 1:11 am

not really i am east of the mississippi lol but i am way north of the area you guys are. I have only five acers myself but my buddy has 65 acers at his disposial and that is where we have our range and course. he likes to practice running it he is trying to beat my score which is 95% at the moment lol.


CaptBart April 7, 2011 at 7:51 am

Question about the .500. I read some time back that the S&W .500 has problems with rounds being 'shaved' as they enter the forcing cone resulting in lead spraying forward from the fired cylinder. Have you fired ant .500 or heard anything about that? I can't believe Smith and Wesson would leave something like that in play but many of the old reliable companies are not quite what they used to be.


Scott May 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm

10mm is the best "compromise." .40 cal is the feminized version of the 10mm.


Lucas_SurvCache May 25, 2010 at 7:42 am


The only problem I see with that is ammo availability.

Around here I can easily go buy all of the .40 I want at walmart or other superstores but 10mm has to be gotten at gunshops etc.

To me it's not really a viable option.


caine30 June 12, 2010 at 3:09 am

here in my area its not that hard to come by but it is more expensive than my 9mm but keep one major point in mind if you learn on a .22 first then try the 9mm then the 10mm/.40 S&W then the .45 ACP you will learn all your strengths and weaknesses before having to try them in a survival situation. rule of thumb here is if you can hit your mark then by all means go ahead but if you can not because of recoil or control back it down a bit make it more comfortable for you to shoot.


Joel July 5, 2010 at 10:37 pm

its basically the same round. Theres not even a whole .5 mm shaved off the .40 cal from a 10mm. so that doesn't make much sense to me. The comment *a feminized version* is just goofy. theres hardly any diff. On top of anything, a 10mm isn't the most prominant round to find…and as we're talking about a SURVIVAL round, i'd talk against the 10mm. its fun to shoot in general tho.

As far as the actual topic goes, a .40 cal Hollow point works for me. I have a 9mm, .40, and .45 plus a couple others not mentioned in this topic. A .40 cal hollow point will deff get the job done. The Springfield XDm .40 holds 16 +1 rounds which is plenty. and its not to heavy. that'd be my personal choice.

As far as the topic rounds…i'd prolly go with a 9mm hollowpoint. have no prob with puttin two shots in something or someone.
In a survival situation, i would go for power, but also capacity. we're not talkin concealed carry, for that i use a compact. we're talkin about surviving. its diff in my mind.

Anyway…great topic. thanks for posting it.

just my two cents.


Michael December 28, 2010 at 8:12 pm

"Feminized" version? Are you trying to say that something that has been "feminized" is inferior? It is 2010. We should be well beyond equating womanly traits withbeing inferior.


Jason January 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm

The 10mm has the possibility to almost duplicate a .357 mag in energy, however all ammunition that I've seen in stores and online have the same energy as a .40 because the factory ammunition is not loaded to the maximum level that the case can support. The 10mm has potential and I like it, but you cannot reap the benefits of it unless you load your own rounds.


nyloc April 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm

feminized!!!! if 10mil is so great how come they are so few and far between, ill take my xd or usp 40cal anyday with plentifull ammo everywhere in a shtf scenerio


ZOMCON1 May 16, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Feminized? The .40 cal is just fine for personal defense, alas it is not the 10mm. However, when did you decide that a .40 round is "feminized." If someone were to point a .40 caliber weapon in your direction and was hellbent and ready to shoot you, you wouldn't say, "Ha, that is feminized, I will not die or be wounded, take your best shot!"


Jerry May 21, 2010 at 3:11 am

As a former Infantry soldier. I have shot both and I have owned both. I prefer the .45. If you train with it you get good with it if you don't you shoot like crap., but I like single stack, it's a little more secure in my hand. and for defence. If you have to shoot more than the rounds needed to take care on the BGs and have to reload too much then you're in trouble. you have to know where your bullets go. the better the shot you are the less rounds you use.1 round 7 or 15 rounds, just shooting and emtying a magazine and not hitting your target doesn't put the BGs away. If you don't like the 45, fine don't use it then. I'll use , 45. anything to win. the 9mm will kill but the 45 was put into survice to take on the Moro pirates , who were on drugs and just kept commig after being shot, but the 45 put them down with the first shot.. Thats why the U.S. military kept them for so long. And some of the Special Ops guys have gon back to it.. I know a lot of my budies have come back ffrom the sand box complainig about the 9mm.


Glock2291 June 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Not that anyone would question him, but also being in the service, I have done my homework on what weapons I use and the military is currently debating switching back to a .45 for this exact reason. Now instead of Moro pirates being hyped up on drugs, it's suicide attackers who are trained and determined to take out as many soldiers as possible before they finally go down themselves.


ZOMCON1 May 16, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I like plain 'ol .45 230 grain ball. Besides the ball will shatter bones and the bone splinters make one problem many.


Nytestriker May 26, 2010 at 11:55 am

I have all three and like to shoot them all. From a purely cost perspective the 9mm gets my vote. I actually prefer to shoot the .45, though they are all fun. If I were in a pinch I would pull out .40 with hollow points and an in between magazine capacity to the 9mm and .45. With three, twelve round magazines I feel pretty well armed. Hopefully I will never have to put it to the test…


Lucas_SurvCache May 28, 2010 at 5:08 am

As far as purely shooting for fun I agree the .45 is a lot more fun. ( and .357) but they are just too expensive for me to enjoy shooting too much these days. When you cringe everytime you go through a box it just kind of takes the fun out of it.


caine30 May 29, 2010 at 6:53 pm

i know what you mean lucas my friends and i get lucky and know a gun dealer that loads all our ammo again with us showing us what to measure and how to get it right. so shooting does not cost so much for us but it used to be ok go to the store spend about fifty bucks and have fun all day. we used to tell our wives or girl friends we will be back when the ammo runs out or it is dark which ever comes first well now its will be back in about three hours it sucks.


prnckap December 26, 2013 at 11:49 am

I have all three calibers as well and like each for its particular attributes. My thoughts on the original question: There is no right answer. It is a personal choice. In general, I believe that one should choose the largest caliber for which they are comfortable shooting. The rationale is that–although JHP closes the gap in stopping power–one has to use what is available. In a protracted survival event, ammo will grow increasing scarce. One may have limited choices. The good defense ammo will no doubt be the first to go.The target ammo will be the last to go. If I have to use crappy target ammo, I'd rather use it in a .45 than in a 9mm. Another thought occurred to me as I wrote. There are caliber conversion kits. Perhaps the ultimate answer is one frame with the option to convert to multiple calibers.


Otto May 28, 2010 at 6:11 am

I'm curious, of the people who say that a shotgun is a better close-quarter weapon than a handgun, how many of those people have actually tried to clear a house with one? Next time you're the only one home, try properly slicing the pie in a small hallway with a shotgun, then try the same with a pistol. Then tell me which one you think works better.

To the users who said training and familiarization with your weapon system means everything, bravo. That and actually having that system on you are key. Having 20+ years of practice with a rifle doesn't do you any good if the rifle is in a building on the other side of town and you have practically zero chance of getting to it.

I'm a big fan of the .40, although the round is more snappy than the .45 or 9mm. I carry a Glock 22 in .40 for duty, and I am seriously considering buying a Kel Tec SUB-2000 in .40 that will accept the Glock mags. I carry a 9mm Kahr CW9 when I am off duty during the warmer months, because its simply easier to conceal and raises less eyebrows. During the colder months, I always carry my Glock 22 because I shoot it far more often and I am far more comfortable with it.

If you're looking at a SHTF situation, having something that shoots .40 would be good, because the people who are carrying it would tend to stand out so you don't have to look too hard for it.


buck September 26, 2010 at 12:10 am

I like a shotgun beside my bed but obviously don't stroll around the house or in public carrying the pump. I like my Kahr CW9 because of the slim frame. It's limited with 7 round mag ( I said 8 in the other post) but it feels right for me. And as a firearms instructor told me it is all about what feels best to you.


pcw May 29, 2010 at 7:19 pm

New to forum. I'm no expert, but of the two, I prefer 9mm for survival. 1-Easier for the women and adolescents to shoot, 2-Greater availabilty of ammunition 3-Can shoot 9mm, 38Sp and 357 in Ruger Blackhawk with the 9mm cylinder, 4-For reloading (if you have primers) it needs less lead to cast bullets and less powder per cartridge.

All told, I really prefer 357 mag (revolvers and lever actions) for survival.


Lucas_SurvCache June 2, 2010 at 7:11 am


Welcome to Survival Cache, I hope you get a lot out of the site.

You have a well reasoned argument. If it works for you then that is all that really matters.

(and agreed, I do love a .357 revolver)


Capt Bart December 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm

pcw, I'm new as well. I have a blackhawk chambered for 45Colt with a .45ACP cylinder. I also have the lever gun for .45 Colt. It is a nice combination. I like the .357 (I have an S&W model 13) as I prefer revolvers for rough country work and your mix sounds good. I like the pistol caliber rifles well enough but in the smaller calibers like 38 and 9 they can have stopping power issues against larger animals like wild pigs. That said for close in work, especially in cities, they are all you need out to 50 to 100 yards and you're not going out past that in a city.


guest June 2, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Solution…the Springfield XD. 13+1 .45ACP and weighs less fully loaded than a steel framed 1911 does unloaded! I've owned XD's for the last 5 years without any problem due to the gun or mags. It eats everyhing, very reliable under any condition, and is affordable. New its about $500.


guest June 2, 2010 at 10:52 pm

I forgot to add that i too like the 9mm but it simply does not have the mass to get to the goods, thats somthing that BG tests does not show. I'll join soon and post a responce that i made on another forum.


Brian June 12, 2010 at 8:52 am

Pre-historic man domesticated dogs before they domesticated cows. Clearly, they recognized the benefits dogs can provide, and if a better comparison to survival situations today can be found than ancient man’s everyday life, I don’t know what it is.

Hunting, scavenging, protection from predators, and the psychological impact of a loyal companion are all worth sharing food with a dog. By the way, they will drink out of puddles if necessary so unless you’re in an arid region, it presents little of a problem.


caine30 June 12, 2010 at 3:18 am

wow that 9mm must be bottom of the line cause the rounds I get are all 18-20 bucks a box of 50 but i guess that is the differnce between the backwoods of Maine and other places good point though if it is going to break you finalcially to practice then it is not worth it to own one think of it as having one thing on hand that works but working slowly to get to what you want that is why i am saving all my pennys for a S&W 500 i got to shoot one and it was awesome but not practical i just want bragging rights with my group


Lucas_SurvCache June 12, 2010 at 4:11 am

It's Federal 115gr Ball from Walmart $9.47 Plus tax. I buy it every time they have any in stock.

Now if only the .22 bricks would go back down…..


Lucas_SurvCache June 8, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Very well said.

I think people under estimate how well a gun feels/how it sits in your hand. That will affect your accuracy a LOT.


deleted3145801 June 10, 2010 at 11:37 am


Of course it would certainly help if you trained the dog some before hand.


Sawbone August 9, 2010 at 2:12 am

When ever I consider the pros and cons of the 45 and 9mm, I remember that the 9mm and 38 special are pretty close in performance. Now the 38 special was once the standard sidearm calibor for the US military untill we started fighting a dirty little war in the Philipeans troups kept having to shoot enemy combatants five or six times untill they would stop. After this the military adopted the 45 which performed so well that the military used the 45 untill just before Operation Desert Shield/ Operation Desert Storm in 91. I am personally not a fan of the 9mm because of its tendency to over penetrate. It would be a real shame if I killed a real bad guy defending my home and then found out later that one of my bullets went through the bad guy, a few walls and stopped in some inocent person. Because the 45 is larger and moves slower this is less likely to happen. So being that I live in an apartment, Ill stick with my 45.
Plus, I know that there are a lot of bad guys sitting in prison today who survived being shot by police using 9mm multiple times. On the other hand, there are not many crooks out there who have survived being shot by law enforcment officers using 45s.


timfarnham44 November 5, 2010 at 10:09 am

Glad someone finally mentioned the 38 and revolver rather than a semi-auto. My favorite is 357 revolver; can't jam as far as I know, relatively small/light; ammo is reasonable (can use 357 and/or 38). I have standarized on it for home/self defence; car, three places in my home. Just a thought.


Warpath2198 December 24, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Completely wrong. The .38 Special has less than half the energy of the 9mm. Also on ballistic tests, .45 has show to have a greater penetration in walls by using x-rays than .40 or 9mm.


Riley February 2, 2012 at 9:42 am

That may be true in the occasion if you miss with a .45 but if a round weighing about 200 grains moving at 800 fps when that slug makes contact with soft tissue all of that conetic energy will disperce into the soft tissue and the 9mm being 130 grains moving at 1900 fps will be more likely to hit penetrate your intended target and over penatrate.


ruger-ftw June 9, 2013 at 12:26 am

130 grains @ 1900 fps for 9mm? This is way off- standard 9mm Nato is around 1190 fps for a 124 FMJ. 9mm is better if you dont reload or cat afford to shoot .45. You SHOULD be shooting regularly anyways. 45 is better .01% of the time when there is a life or death situation and you need to stop an aggresor. 9MM is better 99.99% of the time at the range and EDC.

Damon Swart December 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm

If you’re going to try and sound like you know what you’re talking about, at least know how to spell….lol. Caliber is not the answer, shot placement is the key to defending against any attacker who’s intending on taking your life or the life of your family.


cz223 December 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm

If the premise of the article is "which caliber is better for all around use", which I believe it is, I would pick the 45 over the 9mm There are just too many things in this world that a 9mm can't handle. While the 45 is no magic bullet, it is certainly better than a 9mm for most things.That said, I believe there is one, maybe two, elements that should be considered, which the author has omitted. What the author has left out in the pro/con list is is size/weight of the two cartridges. In a SHTF scenario, you may well have to carry all your ammo in pack on your back. In this case, the weight and volume of the cartridge have to be considered. While I do not like the 9mm, simple math tells us that you can carry nearly twice as many 9mm rounds over the 45, for the same amount of weight. 9mm is also smaller and takes up less space. My solution to this problem is option 3,the 40 S&W.
More specifically, Make mine a G23. Here is why. My fully loaded G23 weighs exactly one pound less than my Gov't 45 1911. The Glock holds 5 more rounds of similarly powered ammo than the 1911. If you carry 165 gr ammo vs 230 gr ammo you are looking at roughly a 30% weight reduction. That means that you can carry 30% more ammo for the same weight. I know these are not exact figures but I didn't want to breeak out the scale at 11 o'clock.


Seth wahle June 11, 2011 at 10:00 pm

For survival I will not carry either for at least a full year after it hits the fan because I will be using subsonic 22lr just as I do now nothing can beat it’s weight speed or kill power because the idea of a gun is to place the entire force of the projectile inside the target. That’s how you kill something with a fire arm and 22 does not penetrate. I have responded to a call were a baby was shot in the leg by a 22 and because it didn’t penetrate the projectile traveled up the leg and corkscrewed in the chest cavity. Exactly what I want In a survival situation not to mention that 22subsonic is the only round that can be truly scilenced and I prefer to not give away my position to others when I am hunting or raiding the rest of your camps to jack all your fun survival toys although I will have to switch eventually because it is pretty much impossible to hand load 22 rounds so eventually I’m going to run out and have to take up a 45 because I dont like my projectiles energy being waisted on exit wounds and I can hand load hollow point in 45 pretty easy


Daniel December 21, 2011 at 12:23 am

I with you. Gun I want to use is the h&k 416 22lr


JaJones March 18, 2012 at 5:55 am

Good to know. Will make note: in SHTF scenario, shoot zombie apocalyptic baby in leg using ss 22lr.


joe1986 March 31, 2012 at 7:53 am

Lmao! Note written down


Nate June 11, 2010 at 9:24 am

Former army ranger. Over in the sandbox I shot a guy twice in the chest with our 9mm beretta's…did not stop him. Required a headshot to finish.

Adrenaline will initially get someone through a lot of trauma/pain. This cannot be overlooked. As important as range training is, you can never simulate a person's will to live. If you're using a 9mm under stress, I'd suggest shooting for failure…two to the chest, one to the head if needed.

Springfield XD in .40 with 4in barrel is my personal choice.


Lucas_SurvCache April 30, 2010 at 6:27 pm


You couldn't have said it better. Everyone has their choice of gun and caliber but if you don't practice it really doesn't matter. I'd be more scared of someone who is a surgeon with a .22 than a nobody with a .45


mr.keltec December 14, 2012 at 8:31 am

Body armor will stop a .45 round just as easily as a 9mm. As far a pistol rounds go, bigger is not better when it comes to body armor. In response to Nate, educate me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the military use NATO type rounds? From my understanding military ammo isn't even in the same ball park as self defense rounds and hollow points. My point being that even with an adrenaline rush, a double tap to bad guy's chest with good hollow points is going to leave two golf ball size holes through this guy and the enternal damage should be enouugh to at the very least neutralize the threat.


Nate June 11, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Former army ranger. Over in the sandbox I shot a guy twice in the chest with our 9mm beretta's…did not stop him. Required a headshot to finish.

Adrenaline will initially get someone through a lot of trauma/pain. This cannot be overlooked. As important as range training is, you can never simulate a person's will to live. If you're using a 9mm under stress, I'd suggest shooting for failure…two to the chest, one to the head if needed.

Springfield XD in .40 with 4in barrel is my personal choice.


Nate June 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Also, in a shtf situation, you're going to have to think about dealing with an aggressor(s) wearing body armor. Kevlar even without plates will stop 9mm rounds cold, with little physical trauma.

In my opinion, you just flat out need the firepower of a larger caliber in a handgun, even with all it's cons. It has nothing to do with being "Macho", it's the simple truth that a larger caliber handgun incapacitates a human faster. Those people shoot back, ya know, I don't care how well you can group. Need a caliber that will at-least hit with enough force to ruin their sight-picture.


caine30 June 12, 2010 at 3:31 am

that is all true Nate but for the time being and the economey the way it is you need to have something even if it is for hunting game its better to have the smaller caliber and still be able to fill your stomach than it is to have nothing cause you could not affored it some food for thought.


Lucas_SurvCache June 12, 2010 at 4:13 am

I always always always say – Anything worth shooting once is worth shooting twice. Plain and simple.


zschell June 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

I agree with the light. I have a Maverick 88 myself. With a fold over stock, shell holder on stock light/laser combo, and two point sling I have spent less than $350 on mine over the years(ammo not included). The folding stock makes it more maneuverable for home defense, and is still comfortable enough to take to the range and shoot clays. The light and laser make snap shooting more accurate in the dark. Plus, unlike most home defense shotguns, the 88 comes in 7+1 capacity standard. Great gun!


Swagger June 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I was no Army Ranger or portrayed one. But I was an 11b. Yes after two pumps to the chest it is possible that the target could still be kicking… We where trained two in the chest and one in the head… I thought a ranger would lean more to a 1911, considering there accuracy. I chose a springfield xdm as my day to day carry. But if a shtf type senario ever hit I have a 1911 due to its accuracy and availability of parts and swap etc…


Lucas_SurvCache June 14, 2010 at 6:16 am

Parts availability is a good point no one else has really mentioned and I have to agree that 1911 parts are easily the most widely available.


Nate June 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm

@ Swagger: That is an excellent point (about availability of parts). Probably a lot more .45 ammo out there to find than .40 as well.

I do love the 1911 but I can match the accuracy with my XD (ok, not quite, but the group is close enough). I choose the XD because in a speed drill I can group much faster with it.

@ Caine30: That's a good point, too (although I'd never hunt with a handgun). Every team should have at least one .22 with tons of ammo.

@ Lucas:

"I always always always say – Anything worth shooting once is worth shooting twice. Plain and simple."

Yes sir.


caine30 June 12, 2010 at 10:00 am


i found a good style for you to look at it has the saw and the heavy blade and its a gerber lol. here it is have a look at it:…

I am as you may have figured out a big fan of the Gerber gear.


aj52 June 14, 2010 at 5:22 am

Re: Zip ties.

The multi size zip ties you can buy cheap in the plastic cylinder at the hardware store are junk for long term use. Consider the type used in the HVAC trade They are made of a better grade of plastic and much tougher. Some have a mechanism for releasing the tie for reuse. Same thing goes for duct tape and I guess anything in life. If it's junk in everyday life imagine it's worthlessness in a survival situation. You get what you pay for!


Lucas_SurvCache June 30, 2010 at 3:55 am


you make several good points for a survival gun. I'm not planning on heading out with ONLY a 9mm or .45, but I was just opening the discussion to see what people thought.

A .22 is one of the best all around survival rounds available in my opinion.

A pump action shotgun seems like only a fraction more weight for a lot more capability than a single shot for me though. But of course what ever suits you is what you should take.


mwarren June 30, 2010 at 5:14 am

Lucas, After I posted I did have seconds thoughts about saying "poor choices." .45 or 9mm are not "poor choices" (I have both). As you accurately pointed out at the beginning of the discussion, they each have intrinsic pros/cons. And if I was "bugging in" for an extended period, I would use either one as a backup for my M1 Garand and AK-47.

I was torn between the single-shot and pump for a long-term on-foot survival bug-out. I went with the 12 gauge single shot because it is very lightweight, very reliable when dirty, easily loaded in the dark, and simple to operate under stress. All said, if I had to make it on one gun, a 12 gauge pump would be my hands down pick. It is a very affordable all around tool.


anon June 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Good post. This brings up a major point of conflict when it comes to survival: where to locate your survival retreat?

Yes, relocating 300mi from any metro would be safer — but are you willing to rearrange your entire life, contacts, friends, family, education, profession, etc for a future that is unknown?

I'm not prepared to do that. What do the rest of you think?


Dustin June 17, 2010 at 6:27 am

Fact: Mountain Men died usually in their late 30's – the reason is that they exhausted their material forms. You have to do EVERYTHING yourself, and it's very tiring. Food acquisition, preparation, preservation/storage, shelter repair/maintenance, equipment repair/production/crafting, clothing repair/production, cordage, etc., etc., etc.

We're not even talking about security or care in the event of illness/injury.

IMHO, SOLO = last resort. The will to live is simply not as strong as the innate need to protect and care for loved ones.

I am a strong believer in resilient communities/tribes. Humans are pack animals, and if we resort to primitive circumstances, our survival will rely on the small collective, living as aboriginal man did.


tremujin October 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Thats quite a round.


Billy October 24, 2010 at 10:07 am

LOL… that’s what I was thinking. Makes me jealous that I don’t have a purse to concealed carry in!


Montezuma1775 June 17, 2010 at 8:04 am

I have been familiar with the Rule of Three (3 hours without shelter — 3 days without water — 3 weeks without food), but I was recently reminded about two more components to the Rule. 3 Seconds without Faith (It only takes a moment to give up) and 3 months without Companionship.

I honestly can't imagine a long term survival situation that involved being a One Man Gang. Whether it is security (when do you sleep if you are the only one keeping a look out), to performing regular tasks and chores (how many times is it going to be helpful to have an extra hand or two)… to emergency/first aid — what if you've been wounded (it's very helpful to have a steady hand work on areas of your body that you can't quite reach).


darrin June 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm

these seem to be good from what I hear


Daniel October 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm

+1 and then some


Blindgibbon June 21, 2010 at 4:04 am

Personally I feel that nothing beats a good .22 preferably a high standard or S&W revolver. Why a .22? low recoil, yes they are deadly (humans, animals, etc.) the ammo is SMALL, a brick contains 500 rounds, and its the size of brick. but I know that some people what a handgun with more power then a good ole .22 so I say why choose just one caliber? get the MEDUSA model 47 its capable of firing 25 different cailbers from a .38, 9 mm, all the way to .357 mag, hell I have even shot .30 carbine rounds in mine.…


Lucas_SurvCache June 22, 2010 at 3:55 am


.22's are a great all around survival round. Before the 2008 elections you could buy a 550 brick of Federal for $13.00 at walmart.

That Medusa is very cool by the way.

Thanks for commenting.


tremujin November 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Jack of all trades and the master of none.


Blindgibbon June 21, 2010 at 12:29 am

I should add if you can find a medusa.

I think that link is broken maybe this will work.


Lucas_SurvCache June 22, 2010 at 4:03 am

I did a little looking around and it seems they haven't been produced for quite some time and are pretty hard to find.

That's really a shame because it would be the perfect survival gun. Apparently they even used to sell cylinder conversion kits for Smith and Ruger for ~$200 wow that would be awesome!


Rourke June 24, 2010 at 2:31 am

Excellant discussion.

I have to repeat some things that have already been said – here or elsewhere.

1. 9mm versus .45 – pick that which you are most comfortable with
2. 9mm provides and obvious advantage in capacity – if you are carrying and anticipate your environment will provide mutiple targets – the 9mm would be my choice. If the situation is public carry and the possibility of walking in on a "robber" in a conveinance store – I would trade the capacity of a 9mm for the stopping power of a 45 ACP
3. Accuracy is more important than the bullet size. If you miss your target – it doesn't matter what caliber you use
4. This debate will neve end – and I hope it doesn't.

Thanks – Rourke


Lucas_SurvCache June 25, 2010 at 7:44 am


Good wrap up.

This debate has been raging since both calibers were invented I imagine and definitely since the beginning of the internet, haha. It's always divisive on message boards.


Blindgibbon June 26, 2010 at 5:22 am

I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that Americans carried the Colt 1911 in .45 acp and the Germans carried the Walther P38 in 9mm parabellum.

fun fact: GI's nicknamed the walter p38 the "can opener" Why? because the military designation given to the disposable can opener in ever pack of C-rations was…you gussed it, P-38


Device442 June 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Just wanted to chime in on this one…

The energy of this cartridge is capable of imparting remote wounding effects known as hydrostatic shock in human-sized living targets. The existence of this phenomenon was debated in the 1980s and early 1990s. However, recent publication of human autopsy results has demonstrated brain hemorrhaging from fatal hits to the chest with 9mm bullets.

45 APC
The wounding potential of bullets is often characterized in terms of a bullet's expanded diameter, penetration depth, and energy. Bullet energy for .45 ACP loads varies from roughly 350 to 500 ft·lbf (470 to 680 J). It has been shown that bullets transferring over 500 ft·lbf (680 J) of energy in 12 inches of penetration can produce remote wounding effects sometimes called hydrostatic shock

Taken from wikipedia

Both rounds will do the same thing if you suck less @ shooting, hit what you need to hit the first time..

The main point would be what weapon system do you like, all weapons have a different feel to a different user, I prefer my Ruger SR9 over the G17, the grip feels better so I'm more apt to carry it. And along those lines I can shoot my G17 all day over my G21 due to the recoil, the G17 9mm is easier to handle on the wrist, my G21 .45 is a beast.. However the 1911 has enough weight to make the 45 manageable.. Then again you get into firepower loadouts, my SR9 will carry 17+1 stock, the 1911 I have is a single stack 7+1… you tell me, I would like the extra rounds on hand IMO.

Also you have to think about parts and supply's if your getting into this. the 9mm is a newer round but readily available in mass.

The 45 is a older round has been around for years, so also in good supply..

the .40 S+W is pretty new and anybody who has been shooting knows, the weapon system maybe great but if you can't find ammo its a really cool paper weight. Last election the "scare" when though the public and ammo was cleaned out.. for everything and if you could find it you paid for it…

So it goes down to personal preference, if you like the weapon you have you will get the ammo it dictates. However both will do the same type of dmg listed above.

I would suggest starting the thread about AK-47 vs the AR-15… that might get a few comments.

and also, remember just cause its from or in the military doesn't mean its good, just that it's made by the lowest bidder.


Lucas_SurvCache June 27, 2010 at 5:58 am


Wow, lot of good info there.

-SR9 – Great Gun!

-As for the AR/AK debate….well I've been saving that one because it's going to be a big one. But it's definitely coming.

Thanks for commenting


Device442 July 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Found this from a FBI report on Handguns.

The often referred to "knock-down power" implies the ability of a bullet to move its target. This is nothing more then momentum of the bullet. It is the transfer of momentum that will cause a target to move in the response to the blow received. "Isaac Newton proved this to be the case mathematically in the 17th Century, and Benjamin Robins verified it experimentally through the invention and use of the ballistic pendulum to determine the muzzle velocity by measurement of the pendulum motion."

Goddard amply proves the fallacy of "Knock-down power" by calculating the heights (and resultant velocity) from which a one pound weight and a ten pound weight must be dropped to equal the momentum of 9mm and .45 ACP projectiles at muzzle velocities, respectively. The Results are revealing. In order to equal the impact of a 9mm bullet at its muzzle velocity, a one pound weight must be dropped from a height of 5.96 feet, achieving a velocity of 19.6 fps. To equal the impact of a .45 ACP bullet, the one pound weight needs a velocity of 27.1 fps and must be dropped from a height of 11.4 feet. A ten pound weight equals the impact of a 9mm bullet when dropped from a height of 0.72 inches ( velocity attained is 1.96 fps), and equals the impact of a .45 when dropped from 1.37 inches (achieving a velocity of 2.71 fps).

A bullet simply cannot knock a man down, if it had the energy to do so, then equal energy would be applied against the shooter and he too would be knocked down. This is simple physics, and has been known for hundreds of years. The amount of energy deposited in the body by a bullet is approximately equivalent to the being hit with a baseball. Tissue damage is the only physical link to incapacitation within the desired time frame i.e., instantaneously.

This should settle issues of "knock-down power" at this point is personal preference and ammo loadouts.


mike July 8, 2010 at 8:58 am

for 100 years (more than ANY other weapon) the organization MOST conserned about and spent the most money on this subject (the military) chose the 45acp.


Prepared1 July 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I prefer the 9mm simply for cost and recoil. I also believe that in a ptshtf scenario, 9mm may be more easily found than .45. Just remember that any handgun is you last line of defense. They are called sidearms for a reason, because they are not a primary weapon.


Mikey O July 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Some have commented that LE has been trending towards the .40 S&W. If you'll ask an officer that carries a .40 S&W what caliber their department used to have was, most will say 9mm. This shows that LE has increased the size of the round. Also, most SWAT and Special Forces units carry .45's regardless of what is the norm in their department/military branch.


Rourke July 11, 2010 at 2:04 am

The debate will go on forever……and ever……..

Whether I have a 9mm or a 45ACP – as long it is a pistol that I feel comfortable with – have practiced wih and I know is reliable – I will take either one.

I currently have a S&W M&P9 – and love it. BUT – I still plan to purchase a Taurus PT1911 45ACP. Why? Because I love the 1911 as well.

Take care -


I0I July 11, 2010 at 9:10 pm

i have handguns in all 3 cals a beretta m9 police trade in, a Springfield armory 1911, and a gock 22. personally i shoot the 1911 beater. the recoil is not as bad as its cracked up to be and i reload so its very affordable. so the 45 is my personal choice. the 9mm is very controllable and im sure can git the job done. ive shot 45 for so long 9mm feels like a 22 to me. glock 22 in 40 is not really worth it other than ammo being available. and im likely going to git rid of it soon. revolvers are good choices because less can go wrong with them. it comes down to this. with a 9mm you have to be accurate to be effective 45 you have to be accurate because in most cases you only have 8 to 10 rounds to git the job done.

that being said there are a lot of newer hand guns that take double stack mags in 45 normally 15 rounds in a mag so ill stick to 45.


don July 12, 2010 at 6:45 pm

357 sig the the 40 cal are the best in my opinion


Rigante July 12, 2010 at 10:39 pm

There are alot of factors to take into consideration, in my case my round of choice is the .45 Long Colt—the simpler the better—that round fits into my Revoler, my rifle, and the Taurus Judge .45–4/10 pistol. .45 long colts pack ALOT of power, especially when reloaded the way i like them. Another factor to think about is the intimidation factor, when you pull a smaller pistol out, there may be a doubt as to whether you have a BB gun or a water pitsol, pulling a 45 leaves no room for doubt and can often stop a situation without ever being fired. Really it boils down to a personal preference but bigger is better IMO. Getting a flesh wound with a 9mm would suck, but getting a "flesh wound" from a 45 would make limbs disappear. Really love the website, new to this kind of thing , look forward to bouncing ideas with u guys. Take care and stay prepared—–Rigante


Train82 July 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I shoot and own both a 9mm and a .45acp I'm good with both my 9mm is a taurus pt99 and the pt1911. both have never let me down. but i have to agree with dustin that if i'm down to using my pistol something in the plan has gone horribly wrong. But if thats the case practice makes perfect.


shadow July 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm

a nine is nice but damn i love my 45 !!! ive never had the pleasure of looking down the wrong end of a 45 but im thinking …… freight train tunnel !!!!


shadow July 21, 2010 at 3:19 am

a nine is nice but damn i love my 45 !!! ive never had the displeasure of looking down the wrong end of a 45 but a train tunnel comes to mind !!!!! blam !blam ! blam !


KarlRove July 23, 2010 at 4:39 am

I like the 9mm because it also works in my 9mm carbine (which increases the effectiveness about 15%). Plus I use a .357 mag leg gun and have a .357 mag lever action. 2 pistols, 2 rifles and only 2 loads. Both can be shot by my wife in the rifle and the 9mm handgun (I use a Kel-Tec 911 which is very inexpensive and never jams). While this might not be part of the discussion I think it needs to be noted; todays 9mm ammo is far more effective than it was even 5 years ago. One shot stops should be the norm within handgun (21ft. or less) range. I can hit an 8 in plate out to 25 meters with both pistols, but the fact is that for anything farther than 21ft I am going to be using the rifle if I get a choice.


OutLander777 July 24, 2010 at 5:28 pm

If I had to have one, it would be the 9mm. Since its a 9mm it would also be a Glock 17. Great gun. Can stock repair parts and fix it your self. The 9mm would be better for all of the women folk i have to contend with. Also some of the younger ones could learn on it. Also in the TEOTWAWKI world could pick up more rounds from thugs, cops, ex-military, many more people carry the 9mm then any other round. Side NOTE to PCW. thanks for that info on the 357 Ruger Blackhawk. I never thought of that.


ASlicer5 July 25, 2010 at 7:34 pm

There is NOTHING wrong with 9mm as most would argue. Simple reason for being pro 9mm. Being in law enforcement I have seen, first hand, on many occasions, the destruction 9mm can do to the human body. It gets the job done. No argument.


K.Pinkerton July 29, 2010 at 5:12 am

I'm a big enthusiast for the .45 APC I love the weight and power and the brute damage it does. I'm such an enthusiast I have a Para Ordinance 14-45 hi cap pistol and a BAZ45 (AR45) rifle with 30 round .45 cal magazines. they're Great!


Robert July 31, 2010 at 9:55 pm

45 ACP …no contest. I have both and while the 9mm offers more shots, shot placement is everything. the 9 takes 3 or 4 shots to equal the 45 for stopping capacity. Plus, try to kill a bear using a 9mm :-)


JTT November 30, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Umm, Robert, would you dare try to kill a bear with a 45???
sure it's a bigger bullet but still…i bet you can't kill a bear with one 45 bullet :-)

I would rather thave a shotgun with slugs against a bear.


Rondogg May 10, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Thank you. If each bullet were to hit the same exact spot, which one is going to be more devastating? Shot placement allows guys who own a 9mm or are terrible shots with a .45 the justification for there argument. Look at a bullet wound from each and then tell me how shot placement in the exact same spot matters one bit. Shot placement in the eact same spot form a .45 is superior and guys who use the shot placement defense are trying to drift from the obvious reality IMO. Again, the question is, which bullet will cause more damage or kill some one easier? It's not about shot placement, more bullets and and other deversionary tactic. Which bullet is the most powerful and likely to cause the most damage? Guys stop the BS and see the reality here.


RudeBoy August 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Why does it have to be one or the other? :) People tend to think about this debate in very black and white terms. Phillips or flat-head? Which is better? Guns are tools. Different tools for different jobs.
My concealed carry weapons are not my open carry wepons. Its a lot easier to carry a .38 snubby under my jacket than my glock 21. So for concealed carry a .38 or .357 or a 9mm is logistically a better round. WSHTF I have my Kriss carbine glock 21 combo. Same caliber same mags= more ammo I can carry. I think a good rule of thumb is to carry as much gun as you can and still effectively shoot it. Bottom line: Its your life. Your choice.


Tom August 2, 2010 at 11:11 pm

I am now looking at the .357 mag round for the following reason. It only takes one ammo to fit both the sidearm and rifle. It also has great knockdown power as a defensive weapon and for hunting


Dustin June 17, 2010 at 6:08 am

Few families are able/willing to relocate to a remote retreat, waiting for an undetermined amount of time, for any one of a variety of scenarios.

Many think they will either have time to GOOD or have optimistic perceptions of bugging in. The fact of the matter is nobody knows what will happen. We have history to guide us, but there is no crystal ball. It may be another Pompeii, Katrina, 9/11, or global financial collapse, 2012, etc.

I think most people are grossly under or un-prepared anyway. Those that are prepared, may or may not have well-rounded preps or action/contingency plans to handle a multitude (or compounded) scenarios anyway. Even in JWR's "Patriots," the group ended up bugging out of their stronghold! Most preps have the same mindset of people under seige – frankly, an aggressor/gang can simply put a torch to your house and wait for you to come out.

I live in Hurricane Alley and we have hurricane/flood preparations as well as readiness to handle time off-grid when we have ice storms, etc. It is a "spouse supported, but not endorsed" effort, so I have basic supplies, decent training, etc., but not carte blanch to go out and get solar panels, generators, etc. or detach from the grid directly and homestead in suburbia. Doesn't make sense to do that, really.

You have to do what you can. The best preps you can make are between your ears, as resiliency and the ability to improvise, adapt and overcome trumps most gear preps or materiel hoarding.

That's my $.02


guest August 6, 2010 at 5:13 am

carried both 1911 and m9 at various times. prefer .45! worked in e.r. 15 years, saw many GSW. lots of fatalities from .22's, true, both ends. lots of people walked in with .357, .38, 9mm holes. never saw one walk in with any hit anywhere from .41 or better.


RudeBoy_UrbSurv August 7, 2010 at 1:38 am

Bottom line: Cant win a gun fight without a gun. Anything is better than nothing. Just keep that in mind when it comes to application. I prefer .45 over 9mm and have a setup that reflects that but ther is something to be said for 9mm as its the most common police/military round in the world.


James August 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Isn't the "daddy of all survival debates" AR-15 or AK-47?


Scott August 14, 2010 at 12:46 am

Now that I have 3 45's and have lugged each of them at various times through the woods to grandma's house, I would have to say a 9mm looks attractive. I never really put much thought or planning into the bug out theory or SHTF, because if I had I wouldn't have 3 45's and a ton of ammo that weighs as much as a car. Both a 9mm and a 45ACP will do what they were intended to do in the right hands. Remember, most people will run at the site of any gun pointed at them unless they want to die. When I stub my toe in the middle of the night it hurts and I am thinking the same would be true whether I am shot with a 9mm or a 45.


Guest August 26, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Get all three that way you have a weapon for what ever rounds you can find in a survivale situation.


1TexasPatriot August 30, 2010 at 3:26 am

I think when it's all said and done, you have to go with what you're comfortable with. My personal preference is 9mm, it just is. Namely because I see a handgun as a way to create space between myself and an offender until I get to a shotgun.

A tactical shooting instructor told us once "Let's face it folks….getting shot !@#$%^& hurts" meaning ideally you want a center mass double tap, but hitting a shoulder, knee, neck, hand, ankle anything to get some distance.

We could debate the ins and outs of every round made, to me, a handgun is simply a way of me teaching an offender healthy boundaries.


tremujin October 4, 2010 at 10:56 pm

"We could debate the ins and outs of every round made, to me, a handgun is simply a way of me teaching an offender healthy boundaries. "

Well said.


Rob September 1, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Personally, I have no use for a 9mm… as most old timers would agree, a 9mm is just a .45 on stun. For concealed carry, I like the .40 S&W. Open carry I prefer the .45.


hth September 5, 2010 at 2:21 am

I carry a glock 19 (with a aftermarket silencer) with two 15 round cartridges on me, i used to have a 45 but gave it up since it cost so damn much.

If after I go through my Savage, my Henry, my Benelli, and Im finally at my Glock, I won't worry to much about the calibre as much as i will of putting as many holes in them as I can, as fast as I can, with as much accuracy as I can manage.
With a 9mm I can put a JHP in a moving target at thirty yards far better than I could with the 45, enough that I feel it mroe than compensates for the lesser stopping power.


Frosty September 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Own both the big and the little, and both will kill you; what it takes is hitting the target – 2 in the chest cavity will make for a short confrontation. A lot depends on the ammo used; Cor-Bon Personal Defense(example) loads will get a round through heavy clothing before expansion begins(more crucial with the 9 than the 45). Also, weapons like Para's double column 1911's or the XD/XDm all but eliminate the round count disparity. That said, I like them both. BTW, while my wife is small in stature, she handles the 1911 just fine because she's not afraid of it.


Jim September 10, 2010 at 11:39 pm

I'll take the 45 any day in real world if you have to use 17 rounds you might need to go back to the range and pratice…. you are not fighting a whole army of thugs


aj52 June 18, 2010 at 8:25 pm

sounds like we are in pretty much the same boat. My wife is starting to get the message though. I am considering more and more about how to shelter in place regardless of the situation. You're right about preparing for multiple situations as I think a lot of people have forgotten what can happen to the best laid plans of mice and men.


CountryDoula September 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm

I’m an average sized female and I prefer the 9mm, my dad prefers a .45. But he says that even a .22 in the hands of a good shot will be just as effective. To quote, “Nobody likes holes!” I think that you should choose what your comfortable with and then get really good with that choice. It doesn’t do you any good to buy a big gun and then never practice with it. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect! Simply shooting at a huge paper target isn’t good either. I would recommend taking a tactical handgun course that teaches you how to move behind cover, shoot while moving, shooting while drawing your handgun, transition to a rifle, etc. You should also practice at least once a week. You don’t have to burn ammo like there’s no tomorrow, but you should get a few rounds in for a set of techniques to keep you fresh. This skill is too precious and fragile to learn and then hide in the closet.

Best Wishes!


MiamiSurvival September 20, 2010 at 2:56 am

I once asked a well respected firearms expert what was the best best type of gun to have a 9mm or a .45. what he told me is what i have passed on to others, the best one is the one you are comfortable shooting and can hit the target with. Because the calibur doesn't mean a thing if you can't hit what you're aiming at.

From my military experince any handgun regardless of calibur is considered a defencive or back-up weapon where as a long gun (rifle/shotgun) is considered an aggressive weapon.

I currently own two 9mm's but I'm planning on buying a Gen 4 Glock 22 (.40) as soon as I can afford it as well as a remmington 870 shotgun and an M-4 version of the AR-15. hopefully I will have what I need when it comes to that time. but 9mm or .45 for me I say 9mm mostly for control reasons.


checoukan September 20, 2010 at 9:18 pm

there are a lot of very true points that have been made. I truly beleive that a gun, regardless of caliber, is only as good as the hands holding it. I personally have a springfield xd 9. the xd line of pistols fit my hand the best and for me, have the best natural pointability. However all else aside, long term SHTF situation, bug in or out, if i had to resort to a handgun for defense, I would want my one of my wheelguns. Many will argue that newer autos are just as reliable, that may be true, but a revolver in a well trained hand can be reloaded efficiently and if i need more than the six or eight rounds in it then im prolly screwed anyway.

interesting debate no doubt.
this is my first post and im really interested in the topics discussed on this site.

Great work guys.


tremujin September 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm

the main disadvantages of a 9mm is stopping power. well your not gonna be firing on armor clad targets even if you are the .45 is gonna do no better. if your worried about first shot not taking someone down well thats with all guns and you got 16 – 20 more rounds to send at em with the 9 where you have 7 – 16 with the .45. the .40 to me is just kinda showy and not really practical its ballistics are good but its got quite a snap and most have a large muzzle flash which means significant amount of wasted powder not to mention loud.

both .45 and 9mm will do well as a defensive round it comes down a lot to the operator. ill take a 9mm all day over a .45 lighter gun an ammo, quieter, more rounds, better accuracy, cheaper rounds and just as common if not more. .40 is the redheaded stepchild go ahead an buy one it will defend ya too but i'm not.


stu September 26, 2010 at 7:33 am

it seems to me that you need at least one of each so you have the ability to 'collect' ammunition that you find 'laying around' but it also occurs to me that 9mm will be the most readily available of the two.


Pepe September 27, 2010 at 1:19 am

As previously stated a double tap to the chest is not always going to stop an attacker. A friend hit a home intruder twice in the chest fought with him for over 20 minutes, gouged his eyes out, and finally the intruder barricaded himself in a bathroom and died.

We used the .45 but practiced punch, punch, tap. Two to the chest one to the head.

I have a .40 but have problems finding rounds. Have to reload. With the .40 I would do a punch, punch, tap, tap, tap.

I also like the .22 lr as the round is fine for small and close and easy to handle by even small kids. Bird shot round works for close rodents. With the CCI Stinger it would kick a large hole in anyone’s chest. It makes a hole the size of your head in the mud. It is a bad round.


Kenny October 2, 2010 at 4:39 am

.357 Sig. Nuff said!!! I have a Glock 32 that is a .357 Sig. I have a .40 barrel for it as well as a .22 conversion. 3 in 1 gun! The .357 Sig has more "knock down" than the .45 with the speed of a 9mm. It is the best round IMO next to the 10mm. Having the 3 options with one weapon like mine is a huge plus!


ssimm1958 October 4, 2010 at 11:05 am

Im an ex-marine, 1977-1986. When dealing with human threats 45 acp all the way. I want to fire and forget, I aim center mass and use 230 grain jacketed hollow points. If i hit my target then its dealt with and I can proceed to the next threat. As far as the mag capacity, I use a FNP-45 made by FN. I a full size 45 acp 15 in the mag 1 in the pipe, with 2 spare mags. My backup pistol identical FNP-45 w/2ex mags. Have seen 9m and 38's fail to many times to bring down targets especially if influenced by drugs.


Dave August 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm

No disrespect, thanks for serving and god bless, but how were you shooting hollow points in combat ?


Dan October 6, 2010 at 11:32 am

Guns are a tool.
Tools are specialized for particular problems they are applied too. You can use a sledge to drive nails, but you are more likely to make holes in your wall. A small hammer can't break up rocks. Neither will saw a board.
Define your problem as best you can and then select the proper tool.

1911 rugged, accurate war tested combat small arm. But they issued Garands to the front line troops.
9mm variety of sizes, capacity, easily concealed, but even when issued to troops in battle they preferred the .45. I still don't want to get shot with one.
A Shot gun is a general purpose long arm. Common, easy to reload for, home defense, critter management, bird hunter, ammo flexibility. You point one in a BGs direction and they understand the threat.
A .22 is a varmit gun and a backup. It will keep their head down but unless it's a good shot will probably not stop the BG. I still don't want to be shot with one.
A rifle is for removing the possibility of a confrontation before they get on your property.


brknsoldier October 7, 2010 at 1:41 am

the 40 has more energy and higher cap than the 45. it shoots faster, harder, flater, and is used by most local, state and federal agencies.


whitc October 10, 2010 at 3:49 am

i have have had the situation to shoot real flesh with the 40 cal ( hydrashock ) it was not pretty, i will stick with the 40 cal


SouthernShodan October 10, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Regarding your question about 147gr Winchester jhp…I have read some reports from people who spend ALOT more time than me shooting that claim you should not shoot JHP's out of a 9mm weighing 125+ due to the increased tendency to jam. From my own personal experience, I have shot 9mm Hydro-ShoK in both 124gr and 147gr flavors. The 124gr fed reliably out of my Taurus PT99, while the 147's had jamming problems. Just my experience.


Michael White October 11, 2010 at 9:56 pm

i am a 45 man. out here in the sicks its better to have something that can stop what ever is coming at you. also you can hunt small game and sometimes larger game. depending on your situation. it may have a few draw backs but i think the benefits outweighs them


don October 13, 2010 at 2:37 pm

.357 sig is my choice


Tonto October 21, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Am I the only one thinking about the .44? I have the older type rifle lever action and also a pistol. I like the fact that I can interchange the rounds i just have to stockpile double the ammo. I still have the stopping power and the range in my rifle degrades just sightly using the pistol rounds.

just my 2 bits


tremujin October 24, 2010 at 10:19 am

OHH yea I got 2 new sidearms. If SHTF I will be taking these with as well not as practical as a 9mm and .45 but still. The first one is a c96 in the 7.63 caliber and the other is the cz82 in the 9×18. And yes I am very confident in their knock down power just not their ammo availability lol.


tremujin October 28, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Honestly if SHTF im pretty sure the drug market would dry up quick. Aside from the stuff you can make at home like meth, booze, and pot. meth, booze, and prescriptions would prolly be the most common for a short time until the supermarkets and pharms dried up. it is extremely simple to make beer/booze but i think after the easy access to sugars dry up so would most brewers. And pot lol well in my area it might be around longer than both those since theres so many growers.

personally i am not worried at all about drug influenced ppl in my line of work i deal with a lot of them and im pretty sure that most of them would die off or become too weak before the drugs would even run out not a ounce of self reliance among many of the hard drug users.


OfficerOtto October 30, 2010 at 1:40 am

I would actually stay away from the .357 sig. A couple of my friends, also in LE, use .357 sig and well it is a great round it is getting very hard to come by and very expensive to shoot. Also, the LE agencies that do use them are switching either to .40 or .45 for cost, stopping power, proven performance, etc.


cbond October 31, 2010 at 5:04 pm

i have carried a handgun for personal protection for about 15-16 years . i like both 9mm and 45acp and own a kimber custom and a glock 17 9mm i find myself carrying the glock the most because it is lighter an carries on my body better.but what it comes to reguardless of what caliber you carry,it about practice and shot placement and as far as i am concerned there is no magic bullet in any caliber


Grumsy November 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm

9mm has KD power. A .22 has KD power. I personally like 9mm the best out of them all mainly because it is the first pistol I got as a kid. Like most of you know the first thing you start with tends to be your favorite.

I have been shooting .45 for years and I do love the round though. Great all the way around. In a survival situation though I am going to go with 9mm all the way, and here are my reasons for doing so:

My wife is more comfortable shooting a 9mm. She has an M9 and feels good shooting it. I let her shoot my 1911 and she does good with it but I can tell she is and always will be apprehensive.

Training is easier with the 9mm. In our zombie escape plan there are going to be a few of us that meet up. Granted all of the people have a basic understanding of firearms, but for those that are just not as familiar with guns 9mm is more forgiving.

I have an mp5.

But in the end, I will take every gun and bullet I own. In a survival situation guns and ammo will be worth more than anything. What you would not be able to barter for you will have the ability to procure.


Bud November 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm

I know people that have a gun in every room. That's a little over the top for me, but it does reduce the time to arm yourself. The price of this collection is considerable and I feel that training, good firearms and practice is money better spent. The 9mm well placed with multiple hits is effective. I used the 1911 45 in the Coast Guard and had no doubts about the round. I carry the .40sw and find that it does fit the middle for speed of firing and price. If you can only get one round off it better count. I vote for .40 on up.


Nick November 7, 2010 at 12:42 am

As a combat vet, I have two comments to make.First of all either caliber will do the job,the bad guys heart is pumping just as fast as he will bleed out really fast! second, in a survival situation you will be scavenging your supply's that includes ammo,so why just carry one caliber! my kit has a 9mm in a cross draw and a 45 in a drop leg rig and both are back ups for my M4!


don November 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Talk about your .45 testosterone poisioning… Military/police/other agencies use larger calibers because WE pay for it. That will change. This economy/these politics/changing laws/gun banners/possible FEMA camps/a president that is TRYING to bankrupt us…Its no wander why there is a run on ammo (and ARs). The 9mm is used all over the world. Parts are universal. Recoils is light. Point control is faster. Trigger reset is faster(Glock). Weight is always a factor. A bonded hollowpoint will do as much/more damage than a .45 ball round at half the cost($20-26 for 50 9mm extrema)… bullets have come a long way since WWII/Veitnam.
Mae West once said, "its not the size of your gun…its if you can hit anything with it". My wife said, "women love a big gun…but they are afraid to touch it"…lol I got rid of my Kimbers!


Johnny_Connor November 13, 2010 at 3:22 am

I actually mentioned something about this is the Survival Carbine AR platform discussion thats also going on. I own both .45 and 9mm. I have carried both on and off duty. First Handguns do knock stuff down. If you doubt this volunteer to take a 9mm round and see how you feel after. When I reach for my pistol in the U.S.A. its a para ordnance P 14-45. It has a two round extension so with one in the pipe I have 17 rds of .45 before Im going for that next mag. Here in Durka durka-stan Its a 9mm. However as I stated in the AR forum if its the end of it all survival situation you better have a 9mm on hand and with you. The reason that 9mm rounds are so hard to come by at times is because its one of the most popular rounds in the world. People buy that stuff up like crazy. So it will be easier to come by in the long run. Having high capacity is always a plus in any caliber. Its not always about hitting a target. Sometimes its about shooting so you can move or your partner can move. If you dont have the extra rounds to do this… could be stuck in place, they could be moving on you, or others could be coming! I guess it goes back to how deep you will look into the SHTF . Then when you are all the way there and dont think it could possibly get any worse. Then log onto sites like this one and there is always good people such as yourselves that can put it into another perspective for you. "Fight the good Fight"


Nick Reagin November 16, 2010 at 4:21 am

When you say practice makes perfect, you lie. Practice makes PERMANENT. You can practice the wrong thing and do it perfectly but you will still fail. I own a Bersa Thunder .380. 7 round mag made to take 8. Sanded down the follower to allow the mag holding 8 to be fulling inserted into the mag well. Not even a SHTF situation but just one that a pistol is best, practicing shot placement is your best bet for survival. But you have to know the steps that are needed to be completed before you can pull the trigger.


Nick Reagin November 16, 2010 at 1:22 am

1-Situational awareness. Knowing if you may or will need to draw. 2-Drawing. A tucked shirt can slow you down, tight belt will too for those with in pants concealed holsters. 3-Aiming. Most shots with a pistol will be at short range. i.e.-Mugging. Snap shooting will work fine for getting a hit, buying time, or wounding if you have an adversion to killing. Now you are ready to pull the trigger. This should be practiced as well. Just wrapping your finger around the trigger and yanking will cause you to miss and possibly cause great colladeral damage.


Nick Reagin November 16, 2010 at 4:23 am

Even at point blank range. Start at a challanging range where you have to use a two handed grip looking down the sights to get a hit on a small target. I have a spin target that is 5'' in diameter. After about 200 rounds I can now hit it easily at about 12-13 yards. Becoming proficient at this will greatly help you hit a target 6'' in diameter (average heart and face area) in the 1-5 yard range. I'm not a crack shot, but I'm not holding a lead hose either. I also run a drill using a two handed grip rapidly firing a whole mag while trying to hold a tight of a group as possible. Getting experienced and proficient at this will greatly increase your slow fire accuracy. Pulling off rapid shots like that is too fast for you to think it through so your body learns reflexes that will take over. And what this comes down to is proper shot placement quickly. It does not matter the caliber you use, but how you use it.


Nick Reagin November 16, 2010 at 4:23 am

Pair somebody with 3 rounds in Walther P-22 who knows how to use it and then somebody with a competition double stack 1911 that is a movie buff or just plain novice to shooting, the P-22 will win. The best gun won't do dick if you can't use it. 6 years U.S. Army with a deployment to Afghanistan, been shooting and hunting since I was 12. Everything I have said, I am no expert. I don't claim to be. This is just what I have learned. And I learned it fast when I had a chance to shoot a decent buck opening day of season and I yanked the trigger and seen bark fly from a tree 3 feet to the right of the deer. Find what works, and practice it to permanance.


Ken in Miami November 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I own and occasionally carry a .45 but keep a .357 in my bug out kit. I can shoot .38sp or .357mag out of the same weapon and being a revolver am less inclined to spray and pray.


usnyhockeyguy November 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm

To quote Christian Slater in Kuffs " I want a big gun that holds a lot of bullets". Having been a small arms marksmanship instructor for many years now, I have to put my support behind the 9mm. There are two reasons for this, having personally seen combat and many videos of police shootings even the most trained marksman seem to have trouble hitting a barn door thats 5 feet away when they are under duress. That being said I think the more bullets the better. The second reason is handguns are really best used for the shock factor. It doesn't matter what the caliber the gun is when it is pointed in someones face. I think the 92 is a great looking gun and is pretty intimidating.


Bruce November 24, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I have both a 9mm and 40 cal. I love my 40 hands down. They both serve a specific use, in hand guns I don't think there is a all in one hand gun its just what your comfortable with.


Minarchist_1776 November 25, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Another consideration: just how far into the septic tank will things go and how long will they stay there? I would note that the .38 special, .357 magnum, .44 special, .44 magnum and .45 Colt (aka .45 Long Colt) all either started out as black powder rounds or were derived from black powder rounds and given longer cases so they wouldn't chamber in the earlier weapons. Therefore if one had to one could reload those cartridges with black powder and use them in revolvers without too many problems. Performance would suffer somewhat but they would still reliably put lead down range. The same can not be said for semi-automatic pistols. They'll jam too often and too badly if you attempt to substitute black powder in their ammunition for the smokeless powders that they are designed to use. Whether or not that's going to be a serious consideration down the road is debateable, but nevertheless it might be a good idea to have a revolver chambered in one of the cartridges I mentioned that you keep in reserve. There may very well come a time when the ability to keep any lead going down range may trump the arguments as to which round is "better" given modern smokeless powders and advances in bullet design.


1200FPS November 26, 2010 at 12:11 am

I'm keeping my 9. Anybody who tries to make the (stupid) argument that a 9mm is not dangerous enough or potent enough is just trying to justify spending too much on the wrong gun.

I like having more rounds in the clip, and (most importantly) it's an extremely common round no matter what country you're in. During the Great Lead Shortage of 2009 my .45 buddies were crying about scarce ammo, but I could always find 9's and if I was patient I could even find them at a good price.

Besides, if you got to the point where you actually had to hunt with your handgun, slug size would be irrelevant. A bunny or a deer will respond just as well with either round, but you might find you wish you had more bullets to fling at something that can move that fast.


Mike November 27, 2010 at 9:10 am

I love my 9mm, but for survival the .45 is better. It's more powerful, reliable, simple,interchangable, and feels better in the hand. Most survival meetings avoid the subject of which is the best firearm because no one will ever agree on anything. If in a group concentrate on keeping the variety of ammo down to about 3 or 4 types. You have tons of ammo and your gun breaks and no one else uses this type of ammo. What a waste.


Pete November 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Might as well throw in my 2 cents… The 9mm and the .40 are high pressure rounds that travel faster than the .45 ACP. The .45 wasn't designed as a high pressure load, it typically travels under 1000 fps. If you look at the reloading data in the Sierra manual you will see that the although the .45 may make you feel better because it's bigger and heavier there isn't a significant difference in muzzle energy between the 9mm and the .45. The 9mm makes up for its lighter weight in velocity. You only find a real noticeable difference with the .40. The .40 throws a heavy bullet at a high velocity and creates kinetic energy similar to a .357 magnum.

For me personally in a teotwawki situation I want high cap mags so I can hold lots of rounds, the army thought so too when they went to the 9mm. As sexy as a $1,000 1911 is, a $450 Glock 17 is lighter, extremely dependable, and can hold lot's of ammo. If I felt that the 9mm wasn't up to the task I'd skip the .45 and step up to a .40.

Only hits count, increase your odds by having more rounds.


Eagle1 November 27, 2010 at 11:35 pm

If you have to pull out your handgun, as any vet who has seen combat can tell you, you are mostly screwed. 9mm, 45, 40, 357, does not matter, they are inside your perimeter and you are in deep stuff.


mr_smashy November 29, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Can I get a citation for your definition of "stopping power"? Because your definition (force applied over time) is called "impulse".

All this energy transfer talk has been destroyed by hard science. Humans are bags of meat with vital organs and dumping energy at the wrong spot will wound them, but may not cause a stop. Bullets are designed to cause large amounts of damage while penetrating deep enough to reach vital organs so a shot can actual cause a stop, not just wound. The most successful round, the 125 gr 357 JHP has a wound channel the shape of a football and penetrates around 14"; all rounds try to meet this standard because it causes a wound profile large enough to damage vital organs and penetrates deep enough to reach them, even through arms or an oblique angle. Not because any energy is transfered, because tissue is destroyed.


Chefbear58 December 1, 2010 at 8:50 pm

New here guys, just starting to find these kinds of sites.
PERSONALLY, I like my Rock Island Armories M1911. I read some of the posts and saw that several folks were "put off" of the .45 because of the cost of the firearm. I bought my Rock at a gun show for $400 brand new it came with 2 mags, holster, cleaning kit and case. The great thing about it in my opinion is because it is a "clone" I can "scrap" parts from most other M1911's (Springfield, Colt, Para-Ordinance, ect.), because of this I have been able to find great prices on spare parts (firing pin, barrel ect.) and am able to get the best "bang for my buck" (pardon the pun). I have to say that the original reason for buying this particular firearm, is because when my father was an instructor at the US Army Armor School at Fort Knox it was his issued side arm. I also looked at the reliability of the M1911, which from what I have seen is very high compared to many other models. Also I personally prefer the feel of a .45 compared to the 9mm, to me the 9mm feels a little like a toy (not a "macho" thing).
That being said, the most important thing when considering a side arm is what is comfortable for you. It doesn't matter if it's a .45, 9mm, .40 or even a 500S&W (which is my next pistol to obtain), if it doesn't feel right in your hands, if you can't control the recoil or operate the firearm effectively then it isn't gonna do you much good in a situation where your life or the life of a loved one relies on using it.
Another EXTREMELY IMPORTANT point that I haven't noticed anyone mention (sorry if you have and I didn't catch it) is that shooting is a perishable skill, meaning if you don't practice you will not retain what you have learned. This is why the military and police departments encourage and require continued firearms training. Also, learning how to properly maintain your chosen firearm can mean the difference between life and death. If your depending on a firearm, weather its in a survival, home defense or personal protection situation a neglected firearm can be about as effective as a rock or club!

I also feel the need to say that the argument of "my wife/girl can't handle a .45" is SOMETIMES stated without testing. I know my mother and my girlfriend actually prefer shooting my Rock to my mothers Taurus 9mm (PT92 clone), and my girl is usually a better shot than I am.

My last point (I promise) is to consider a holster that is comfortable and easy for you to operate, being able to draw quickly and easily bring the firearm into firing position before the other person (assuming they have a firearm) can also determine who lives and who dies in a situation where lethal force is required.


Capt Bart December 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Your point about recoil is well made. If you can't do the second shot you may just be dead. One shot stops do happen but one should never play you bet your life on it happening this time.
Second, the holster is very important but the "draw quickly" is not so important. People do walk into draw and fire situations without warning but it should be extremely rare. If you're paying attention to your environment you probably already have your hand on your weapon when the action starts. No concealed holster is a fast draw and the more concealed the slower the draw. Control of the firearm during draw and presentation is most important, within large margin speed is secondary. Remember, you may get shot but unless it is TEOTWAWKI getting shot doesn't necessarily mean getting killed.


Joe December 2, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Keep in mind, military reports of 9mm being under-powered have more to do with the type of ammo issued. The US Military issues ammo most of us use for target practice. If you have access to quality self-defense ammo(Winchester Ranger 127 grain +P+) you'll find it performs nearly exactly like a .45acp Federal Hydra shock in ballistic gel and people. Just remember, the 9mm vs .45 debate is NOT a caliber issue, it is an ammo selection issue. No one needs convincing that a .357 is a real "Man-stopper," but they DO on occasion need reminded that a .357 Magnum IS a 9mm!! If you like a .357 Magnum, then you DO believe in the 9mm as a "man-stopper," again, it is an ammo-selection issue…NOT a caliber issue.


Old Scout December 4, 2010 at 2:49 am

Not to sound trifle but to set this up a story needs to be stated. When the army went away from the .45LC it went to the .38Spc. And when we were in the Philippines we found out the flaw in this decision as the .38 would not put down the enemy. So the 1911 was created, but in the meantime troops were allowed to carry the .45LC but when they found out that the .45ACP was not going to be ready in time the army had a double-action revolver made, by Remington if i remember right. Anyway, it was essentially the .45ACP but with a flat base so as to fit into the revolver. Then the Colt1911 came along and the rest was history, as they say. Except, the powers to be, at the bequest of the rest of the NATO nations was pressured into changing to a NATO cal. weapon, and the 9mm was adopted. And as Nate pointed out the 9mm will not put down an advisory like the .45 will.
FBI research, after their fatal shoot out in which their 9mm's failed them, showed that the 9mm was not a valid caliber in a gunfight. And the 10mm was born. That is my first choice personally and is what I feel, the true middle ground between the 9mm and the 45. Except that no one else went with the caliber and it died the death of a rag doll.
But I have an alternative plan for you. Buy a .40 S&W, which is just as cheep to shoot, pretty much, as the 9mm and then purchase a revolver for a secondary weapon calibered in a 10mm/40S&W and you have yourself covered. I personally own all three of these and am more than satisfied.
The true best choice though is the gun that you can shoot most accurately with the most control. And the mind set to pull the trigger if the need arises.


Pete January 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm

The 10mm does not fall in between a 9mm and a .45 acp. The 10mm is much stronger than a .45 acp and so is a .40 s&w. Mass x speed = energy. The .45 acp has a slightly greater diameter than the .40 s&w but the .40 travels faster and creates more muzzle energy. The .40 is the short version of the 10mm which is even more powerful.


Cypher April 29, 2011 at 8:06 pm

A minor correction to your story about the 10mm auto and the .40 S&W…

The 10mm came first. The FBI liked the idea of it specifically for greater penetration potential versus what an average civilian would likely need. After testing, they started tweaking the powder load to accommodate agents with smaller builds/less upper body strength. As I understand it, they eventually tuned down the cartridge so much that the same amount of powder could be fit into a shorter action gun as seen with the later developed .40 S&W.

In addition to other sources, I got my info here:
and here:…
Most of the readers here that seem to hold such strong opinions should read that second article whether they’re interested in .40 cal, 10mm, or none of the above…


Chefbear58 December 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Good point Old Scout… A firearm, no matter what caliber, how effective it is or how much you spend on it won't do you any good if when the time comes (heaven forbid) you need to use it and can't!

As seen in survival situations throughout history, the mindset of the individual generally determines if they will survive or not. If we are TRULY committed to getting through the worst of times we have to, potentially, become something we would never consider in "normal" life.


Tal December 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Personally I carry a 9MM, for work and personal carry. I feel that calibre choice, shouldn’t be a list of pro’s & cons but your personal defence/survival should hinge on the skills you possess, to defend/survive. The 9MM works for my family because we have several pistols, but one calibre. Lots of one kind of ammo means it’s getting rotated out on a regular basis as some of us use more than others do. Price is a factor too. $20 for 50 quality defence rounds, means I can carry more. Also while I’m comfortable shooting larger calibres, my wife isn’t.

I think the neglected issues are 3 fold. Training, practice and carry.

Training. Whatever the calibre, some decent instruction works wonders. Both for defence and for safety. Do it. You’re more likely to stop your target if you know how/where to hit it.

Practice. Expanding on the training. Pick it up. Shoot it. Repeat. Do what you’ve been shown so that you’re comfortable doing what you’ve been shown.

Carry. The most overlooked part of the calibre equation. You actually have to carry the pistol with you as often as possible. If you need it, it’s no good locked up in the safe at home.

We can argue calibres until the cows come home. We all have our preference on what is, and isn’t, going to work. We can all support our collective theories with mountains of data, scientific and anecdotal, but the bottom line is that if you don’t know how to shoot it, and you don’t carry it with you, you are at a distinct disadvantage when rounds are exchanged.


Old Scout December 10, 2010 at 2:02 am

After reading about a new gun, though it is prob. only new to me I have a new twist to put on this subject. The gun is the Puma .454 Casull Lever-Action rifle. Now, if you matched this with the Ruger .454 Super Red Hawk double action revolver you would have a combo that would shout the same ammo in either gun; either .454 Casull or .45 Colt. If you needed, or wanted more firepower than this I would opt for the before mentioned Springfield X D .45ACP. This would allow you to maintain a vast amount of re-loadable bullets that would work in three different weapons as you could use lighter "Cowboy Action" rounds for practice. The use regular .45 colts for everyday shooting and reserve your .454's for either hunting or for when Sh–t hits the proverbial fan.
There is nothing more demoralizing then the boom of a big gun and a large chunk of lead being hurled down range at you. Scouts Out


Starydog December 29, 2010 at 9:31 am

My old trusty, rattley old Colt 45 1911 rides with me daily with a Springfield Micro Compact 1911 45ACP as back up. Once upon a time early in life, as wise old man told me, "there is no replacement for displacement".


micway71 December 31, 2010 at 11:59 am

Either one would be golden if you did not have any weapon!!!! This debate could go on forever. I own both calibers and have stockpiled rounds for both. Really, I have always been a 45 acp man and own two, but for some odd reason I have stockpiled more 40 caliber rounds as I own two of those as well. I have plenty 9mms too. While all three calibers are not going to "knock" someone down, I certainly do not want to be shot by any of them.

Shot placement is the key here. Head shots will almost guarantee the subject dropping immediately, but one must take into account things happen and it could deflect or graze depending on angle the shot was taken. Two to the chest and one upstairs!!!!! But a better rule is to shoot until the threat no longer exists.

I love pistols and they are great to back up shotguns and assault rifles!!!! I am not dogmatic on any caliber. It is better to have and not need than to need and not have.


KirkEAllen December 31, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I have two .40 S&W becuase the price was right but having used both 9mm in the service and 45 for plinking I would say if money was no object the 45 gets my vote. My UZI Compact Desert Eagle is a SWEET carry gun and accurate as hell. My glock model 22 is OK and gets the job done but I like my DE a lot more.

Ammo is not an issue for any of these if you relaod your own as everthing to do so is redibly available. I can load about 100 rounds an hour without working to hard. Thank God for a Dillon press!

Money being an object I would always choose the largest caliber I can afford and handle. Most anyone can handle a .40 with practice yet some smaller framed woman have had challenges with the .45 adn NO this is not a bash on a womans abilities. Just pointing out personal experience.


geturfaxright January 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Both the 9mm and .40 are loaded to (35,000 psi SAAMI spec). The .45 acp is loaded to (21,000 psi SAAMI spec. A 115 grain 9mm bullet traveling at 1250 fps makes 399 ft. lbs. of energy. A 200 grain .45 acp traveling at 950 fps makes 400 ft. lbs. of energy. That is straight from the Sierra reloading manual. The 9mm and the .45 create a very comparable "punch" although most 9mm pistols hold twice as many rounds. The bigger better caliber "so to speak" in an informed comparison is the .40 s&w, it outperforms the 9mm and the .45 acp considerably. A 135 grain .40 traveling at 1350 fps makes 546 ft. lbs. of energy, similar to a .357 magnum.


Adam January 2, 2011 at 8:56 am

Personally I'm a rifleman myself but I prefer the 1911 over all handguns for the nitty gritty, however, a point brouhgt up here a few times is hollow points will ruin anyone's day regardless of caliber. But, a .45 anywhere in the body or on the apendages is like a cannon wound lol, but shot placement even wiht the 9mm will ultimately make more difference than the round. If I hit your spine,hips,heart,liver,kidneys,head, or lungs even with a .22 you aren't going to shake it off and Rambo your way out of the firefight. Just like getting kneecapped with birdshot. Just my view.


Gary January 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm

The debate over 9mm and .45 will continue forever, but still great conversation.
Hell I'll even try a slingshot if it will stop em!


nicole January 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm

The most common ammunition that would be found on the street on dead bodies or if u had to loot stores would be 9mm. The best ammunition is the ammunition u can get an abundance of.


Laurie January 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm

G19 as a secondary to my M6A2 14.7" primary. I can carry a lot of speer gold dot 124 +P and I feel quite secure.


Ed Hammond January 19, 2011 at 9:08 am

frist of all in a true sirvival situation the numbur one rule shuld be k.i.s.s the number 2 rule should be conflect avodance,if #2 is not posable then hopfuly you will have a sutable rifle or shotgun avalable and thus make the sidearm a bakup onily option. that side the mid-lage frame revler is the best chocse for the most of us as we are not ex military or law-enforsment the auto pistol would be harder to clean and needs to be taken down to properly do so,something many of us would not have the patiance or the toles to do the autopistole in a hot situation woud make you waste ammo whare the rev would make you make the shot count and is moore idiot prove than the auto.we should also remeber the lesson from histoy of how you can always use a lesser wepon to take a better wepon,[ex the french resestance fighter,s of ww2 and the liberator pistol] glad to see pcw agrees with me on the ruger blackhawk with op 9mm cly a truly versitale chocie.EPH


mo2112 February 5, 2011 at 7:47 am

9mm and .45 are both great, each with their pros, cons, and ideal uses. That being said, it is still beyond me why people still thumb their nose at the .40.. Ballistically, it’s very similar to the .45, with a bigger projectile than the 9mm. I like all 3 of them, but the .40 stands out just a hair over the others in my opinion, when I look at velocity, capacity, mag cap, and the hole it leaves on the target. .. this topic is ALWAYS a fun debate!!


Wetsuit February 8, 2011 at 6:10 am

Having been in the military from 1980 until 2000, I went thru both the .45 and the 9mm. While 9mm is readily available, law enforcement, military, etc., the 45 is still the best knock down/kill ammo! Since you use your pistol to fight your way to your shotgun to fight to your rifle then either will perform! However if you can’t get to your main battle weapon and HAVE to use a pistol, then my vote is for the 45! Carry extra magazines or just don’t miss! The knock down/kill factor trumps throwing lead at some bad guy!!! Carry the 9 as your back up and you have the best of both worlds! In a SHTF situation most of your SWAT and specops guys carry 45′s so ammo may not be an issue! So long as your better and faster than they are!!!


CaptBart February 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

It is work and hard work at that. I am better with my weak hand than most people with their strong hand but I shoot more weak hand than strong. Yes I practice both but I practice what I am least proficient with most – it gets annoying but I think it is important. If you notice, a large number of gunshot wounds are on the strong side. Can't prove it but I think we tend to focus on the thing that might hurt us so although I intend to shoot center of mass I have a tendency to pull to the side that has the weapon. The BG does the same so the odds are good my strong hand is likely to be damaged. I'd better be able to reach a weapon and continue the fight with my weak hand. Second place prize is a casket.


CaptBart February 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Excellent post. I absolutely agree about the Rugers. An interesting point about the Blackhawk is that it makes an excellent field gun. Since the transfer bar must be up before the hammer hits the firing pin (done automatically when the trigger is pulled) the Ruger can be carried safely with a round under the hammer. Most revolvers should have an empty chamber under the hammer to prevent a discharge should the gun be dropped. Additionally, pulling the trigger without cocking the gun does nothing so hanging the trigger during holstering or by a stray branch can not discharge the weapon. If you watch a video of a Cowboy Action Meet you'll see a two handed style of shooting the Single Action that results in as rapid a rate of aimed fire as with a DA or even a semi-auto. Cocking with the weak hand and firing with the strong hand is extremely efficient and can easily be done in the time it takes to acquire the target between shots.


tomahawk February 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Good debate here. Looks like most people gravitate to the cal. they are familar with. thats good we all should carry or use what fits us the best.
My house is divided, my wife likes her Glock 19,and so do I . But i prefer my M&P.45.
I reload for both keep plenty of brass for both
Just keep shooting,


Dave August 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm

My M&P 45 is my night stand gun, I know glocks is a pretty good gun its not as good as an M&P, and its Built In The USA ! But I love my Baretta 93fs


deweycapt February 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Ide rather have a well placed 9mm than a miss placed 45 that being said and owning multiples of both (REMEMBER) Beware of the man with only one gun as he probably knows how to use it!!!! Bullet weigh does not over ride accurace..


Bernardo February 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I own (and love) BOTH the 9mm Beretta 92FS and a beautiful, vintage, 1963 Colt 45 lightweight Commander. The 45 is my "Carry" gun since it's easier to conceal and I just like the way it feels in my hand. I've thought about this question a lot and always end up picking the 9mm as my "if I could only take one pistol" choice. The, almost tripple) ammunition capacity of the 9 wins flat out in any fire fight against the 1911 and, unless I have to defend against a grizzly attack, I'll take small and fast over big and slow any day. I'd have to aim for the grizzly's eye or ear hole :-)


T.Rapier February 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I dont have a ton of money so I had to make a choice . I went with the 9mm , for the sole reason of ammo availability . Yes its not the most powerful , but felt like if it came down to ammo foraging later on , my chances of finding it would be better .


MattN47 February 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm

I'm new to this site, but I'd like to mention a few points that didn't get pointed out. First, the 9mm vs. .45 debate has been going on FOR DECADES. This says to me that there is no one answer. It depends on your situation. Second, have you stocked up on your chosen caliber? Isn't it quite possible that you won't be able to find ammo (for examople like 2009 -2010)? Thirdly, I like both the 9mm and the .45, and either with HOLLOW POINTS would serve you well. However, the cheap Full Metal Jacket 9mm round has a mixed history of stopping BG's (the .45 FMJ's are better). In my opinion, you should have a 9mm pistol (owing to the cost and better availability of ammo – military and some Police agencies use it) AND a .45 (or .40) because of the good stopping power of the cheaper, Full Metal Jacket rounds. How's that for "advice" – buy BOTH!!


beasley1 February 14, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I love both calibers along with the .40 s&w but i'd have to go with the 9mm. First off, the price difference for rounds is rediculous. A box of 50 rds for 9mm is around 13-15$ as opposed to around 22$ for the .45. I can handle the recoil of a .45 well but it is nothing compared to a 9mm. You could fire 9mm rds fast with little recoil. As far as stopping power goes, a 9mm does the job more than adequately. Getting shot with a 9mm is no little thing, don't fool yourself.

The only median here would be the .40 which is what I prefer the most because it has the best traits of the 9mm and the .45


Alan February 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm

I have had friends and family not familiar to weapons in general fire my 9mm XD and my .45 XD and they really couldn't say one was more difficult to shoot due to the "power" so I will respectfully disagree with the theory 9mm is easier for kids/women to shoot; now maybe due to handgrip size or something like that where they can't get their sized hands around them which ends up making it difficult to hold/shoot, I'll buy it.


pigfood February 19, 2011 at 9:48 am

I know I'm gonna catch flak for the second part on this, but …. my SHTF weapon is my great granpappys Colt 1911 government, and with her upgraded recoil spring(18#) she kicks like a 9mm. My daily is a walther pp in .32 acp loaded with hollow points when its warm, and ball for colder conditions. and i have yet to find a task she can't handle, she's accurate, compact, ammo's cheap, light on the recoil, and just a joy to handle.


mpo2112 February 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm

.45 can bounce off a windshield as well..


Johnny February 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Most important.. Be armed. That being said, it’s a matter of preference. I say nothing smaller than 9mm nothing larger than .45. Of course my preference is 1911 .45 with a glock 23 for backup witha bar-sto 9mm conversion barell (options) primary is a/r 15 in 5.56. And up close, knife.


dirtycisco February 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I have seen what a 45 40 9 223 birdshot 380 have done to a car after I picked up a practice car for pd 45 and 40 went straight throu big hole 9 birdshot 380 did not 223 looked like a bb shot ps it was a 94 nissan maxima pps my friend got shot at very close range in his 96 chev pickup with a 9mm did not go throu the door


David B February 26, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Both. 9mm because its an internationally recognized standard, and exceedingly ubiquitous. .45 ACP because you have it. When the .45 runs out, go to the 9mm so you can use the ammo dropped by your less well-equipped enemies. The right answer is BOTH.


Go4 It December 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Catch up to the times of Computers to tell us what would work better if and when we need a tool. A .40 S&W Will bring more kinect Energy to a target if needed. Also less reliability to over penatration.


Gutter1 February 27, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I use an SW40E with a 2 round mag extension. I think each person should use whatever gun they are the most accurate with.


KvG March 1, 2011 at 11:09 am

i carry a HK 45 and 5 mags, i have a 1911 as backup and if things turn south really fast – i have with me either a sig 556 or ak47, keep a FN five/seven at house for wife (60% less recoil then a 9m.) I to have seen people take multiple hits with a 9mm and keep coming. I still practice double tap to the chest and 1 in the head (these days with the availability of body armor.) I practice left and right hand shooting. I do not draw my weapon to deter or wound.


dhoffa March 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm

It all depends on your version of the SHTF and how you shoot a gun and what you expect to do with it. I am more of an 'aim and squeeze' — compared to a 'pray and spray' type. Think one shot, one kill. I look at energy and the size of the hole. Hence I would take the .45 over the 9mm. But I would take the 10mm over the 45. Look up doubletap ammo for ballistics. The 10mm gives you the high capacity, the power, hole size, and the speed at lower recoil then a 1911. Glock 20= 15 rounds. You can deer and hog hunt effectively with a 10mm. Buy a .22 caliber conversion for small game or hunt small game with your AR-15. My .02


GEORGE March 4, 2011 at 8:06 pm



guest March 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

come on guys… all comes down to placement of that FIRST shot….train for the fight and you'll fight like you've trained……shot placement, shot placement, shot placement !!!!!!!


AnotherOne March 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm

In my country only the cops and the criminals have guns.
There is a very restrictive law for possession of a weapon.
What puts me in a difficult situation.
In my case what was your suggestion?
any type of weapon would be illegal, but in case of a scenario of survival …
If you were in my place what would you do?


Guest June 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm



don in dallas June 14, 2011 at 6:31 am

Where do you live? Chicago?


CaptBart September 10, 2011 at 4:04 pm

If firearms are not possible, take a look in your history books. What were the weapons of the 1700s? Crossbows and long bows are lethal. Even slingshots can be used effectively ( ask Goliath of David and …. ). Become a history buff interested in your countries history (very patriotic of you). Maces, spears, clubs can be lethal. The Brits have see a run on baseball bats after the riots started. If your government does not consider black powder replicas as firearms then investing in the blackpowder weapons of your countries past might be productive.


Guest April 3, 2011 at 7:34 am

The debate goes on and on… Looking at this from a surviving point-of-view, I will use what I have practiced and became proficient with and aim where the caliber choice makes the most sense. I have both the 9mm and the 45ACP. I do well with either and within close-quarter distances, I will use the 9 to the head and the 45 to the body mass. Hopefully I never have to be in this type of situation, but if I do I am going for the kill. My life is worth more to me than their's is!


Guest April 3, 2011 at 8:04 am

The best caliber is the one you have when the need arises. Both the 9mm and the 45ACP are excellent rounds depending on the circumstances. Whichever caliber you choose will only matter if you can hit what your aiming at! Practice, practice, practice! If you can't hit what you're aiming at, it doesn't matter if you have 200 rounds of ammo to do it with! I'd feel confident with my .22 rifle because I know I can put the bullet between the eyes at 100 paces if I had to!


Blacksmith61 April 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I have a .45ACP Sprinfield Armory Micro Compact GI Parkerized finish and have access to a M&P 9mm, I’ll rech for/carry the .45 every time!! The people I know in the military would like to go back to the 1911 as it STOPS the bad guys!! Now if you don’t like/can’t handle the .45, take the biggest gun you are comfortable with and practise shooting/carrying it!!! Big guns near missing a perfect ideal hit will hurt/slowdown better than near miss with a little round! You may not have a second shot. As they say “How do you get to Carnigie Hall? ” Answere ” Practice, practice, practice! “


Ben228 April 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I live in CA and load my personal carry .40 with the Hydroshoks that the CHP and SFPD carry for the same reason. (165 or 155 gr.)


drsolari111 April 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I tend toward the 9mm in a handgun for a reason that may seem obvious – my wife has the exact same model and caliber and we can use each other's mags. I also limit my number of calibers I stock – 9mm, 12ga, 5.56×45, 7.62×39 and 7.62×51. All of these are current military and/or NATO calibers. I debated on the 7.62×39 but I could not part with my AK but all other oddball/sporting firearms I either sold or traded to standardize my stock. I would prefer to carry a 45 and I had a nice Springfield Arms but I determined that the ability to interchange parts, mags and ammunition was of more value and I honestly don’t miss my 45 too much.


Rory April 5, 2011 at 6:11 am

I have seen a number of comments that to me hit the nail on the head. Practice, practice, practice on the firearm that fits you the best and make sure that the shots count. A well placed 9MM is better than a ill-placed 45 round and vice-versa. One thing I would like to mention is we can all say a 45 is better or a 9MM is better, we may not always have what we want in hand at the time we need it so it comes back to your skills. Also, for some of us we also have to take into account our firearm may have to be used by a spouse or youth and that plays into our choice as well.


bob April 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm

i like my 9 and my 44 which believe me is better than a 45. my 9 can do just as much as a 45 and the 44 , well, id hate to get shot with it . leaves a big nasty hole and turns flesh int a bloody mess.
happy hunting


Ben228 April 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I going to opt for the middle ground: .40 cal. I carry a XD .40 with a 4" barrel, loaded with the same rounds as the local PD carry (165 gr. +P hollowpoints). I carry 4 extra mags, again like the local PD.

I choose the .40 because it hits harder then the 9mm and is not the recoil monster that most .45s that I've shot are. Additionally the load out that I carry would be much to heavy in .45 to carry comfortably for 40 hrs a week yet alone 24/7. I never really concidered the 9mm as a carry option, sorry 9m fans, personal preferance.

As stated in the article talking gun calibers is like talking religon or politics! It all boils down to personal likes and prejudices. To each thier own and "Gods speed and Peace be with you!"


P.S. If it works for you that is the best survial caliber for you! B


Guest April 16, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I would think that the 45 has greater stopping power. However it depends on the shooter being able to handle the recoil. I would suggest that the recommeded caliber would be the one that the shooter is most comfortable with through practice with the gun.
I have lived in areas where a 44 mag would be prefered because some of the bears and other animals which you could meet in the forest while hiking. My wife and I can both handle a 44 mag if needed but would prefer not to shoot a whole box at one time.


Northwoodslayer April 20, 2011 at 11:38 am

I know I'm going to draw fire on this one but first, I would carry the .45 In todays 1911 platform, they are accurate as hell, provide more than enough stopping power, and good factory ammo is available. I have been reading all of the hoopla on penitration adn there is no question the heavier slug wins! .45 baby. Personally, I would be toting my .454 Casull. One round, deals done and I have gobs of ammo for it. I can still reach out and touch them at 75 yds!


Villa11786 April 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

I've been trained on .45s for a while now. I think the best thing to go for is what you're comfortable with. As far as control and recoil, that just goes with your own personal skill level. I've fired a 9mm as well as my XD .45 in the same sitting and what it comes down to is your technique. I'm all for the economy of the 9mm but after my experience with a .45, i personally wouldn't want anything less. Also, the XD series from Springfield offers pistols with a full size capacity of 13+1 and a compact capacity of 10+1. So you really get the best of both worlds with that type of weapon.

I prefer .45 but i wouldn't mind saving a few bucks at the range with a 9mm. Go with your gut and what you can handle.


T.Rapier April 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm

A buddy of mine owns a ” Broom-handle ” Mauser pistol with a stock . We went out to the sticks to shoot and he shocked me when he set off a burst of full auto ! if I had the money , and it wasn’t for the odd caliber , I might want one . Apparently , there are enough unregulated originals floating around that retain full auto . Sent back by G.I.s during the war .


Reener53 April 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Maybe this is silly but…. Just carry both. If scavanging for ammo I'd like the option of either if I found it. Considering we are talking about a worst case scenario, traditional price arguements would no longer be an issue. Additionally, though I would not consider myself a crack shot, IMHO proficency with a handgun is proficency with a handgun! Do a majority of your practice with the cheap ammo, AKA .22, shoot some of the good stuff to make sure the recoil is managable and learn how to reload cuz you are eventually going to run out!


David April 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm

19.5 yrs of military service in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army and Eight combat tours in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia after all that personal experience I will not touch a 9mm with a ten foot pole all in is is a large bore surgical siringe that does even reliable terminate a target after a cranialoccular shot for civilian reference look at representitive Giffords who was shot at point blank range in the brain with a 9mm and while I am glad she survived her survival clearly shows what I am talking about. In semi autos your best bet is the compromise of the .40 SW it has the capacity of the 9mm, the ballistics of the .357 and the point of impact delivery of the .45 APC at 25 yrds. a smaller, narrower available frame and a more manageable recoil than the .45 and while the .45 is excellent I like having it all. more bullets more trauma more control more frame types and sizes.


David April 24, 2011 at 8:39 pm

19.5 yrs of military service in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army and Eight combat tours in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia after all that personal experience I will not touch a 9mm with a ten foot pole all it is is a large bore surgical syringe, that does not even reliably terminate a target after a cranialoccular shot for civilian reference look at representitive Giffords who was shot at point blank range in the brain with a 9mm and while I am glad she survived her survival clearly shows what I am talking about. In semi autos your best bet is the compromise of the .40 SW it has the capacity of the 9mm, the ballistics of the .357 and the point of impact delivery of the .45 APC at 25 yrds. a smaller, narrower available frame and a more manageable recoil than the .45 and while the .45 is excellent I like having it all. more bullets more trauma more control more frame types and sizes.


JohnB007 April 27, 2011 at 4:43 am

I'm a believer in the .45. I've seen so many police departments transition everyone over to the 9mm only to switch back to the .45 a few years later. The proof is in the pudding and the .45 has the knockdown power that people need in a survival or home defense situation.

That being said, a handgun is really only a tool to get you to the real weapon, a rifle or shotgun!


Rob April 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

It all comes down to shot placement if you ask me. Roll with whatever you are most comfortable with. A well placed shot will pretty much get it done everytime.


Nick April 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Personally i wouldnt want to get hit with either round, and i dont think many other people would either. Outside the home i carry a 9mm because it holds more ammo that i could carry on my body. If you have to use your handgun, a 9mm will do the job, especially hp. No robber who wants your wallet or car is going to keep coming after you if you fire some rounds at him, and if you hit him all the better. All you want to do is get away. In my home though i use a .45 because it is my house and i wont retreat, and if i shoot you i want to you to know you robbed the wrong house.


Ty_M May 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I prefer the 40 for two reasons 1 it has more power than a 9mm so my wife can handle it. 2Like others have said it was still found on shelves when nothing else was. I carry a Berreta px4 storm with me and also keep a Ruger lcr (38 spc) in my bag. As far as not having 16-18 rds ready to go, if I can't hit what i'm aiming at in at least 3-5 rds and stopping it, I don't care what you are shooting your going to need a bigger gun. Also the Beretta has a rotating barrel so it brings the recoil on a 40 to make it feel like a 9.


TINDERWOLF May 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Handguns really are not my first choice if SHTF, better for urban environments but…however that is what this article is about. I have a 9mm and a 45, I have never been shot by either calibers or seen someone shot by these calibers. Like most of you I have shot both of them at targets other than paper…to me the end result of both is pretty significant. Yes the 45 leaves a bigger hole, and maybe it just seems cooler to have a 45 but to me in the event that I would have to choose out of these two calibers….I would choose the 9mm with JHP bullets. If you are shooting JHP 9mm then there will definitly be higher damage to the target even if you don't "knock" it down and the overall expense, availability, magazine capacity and ability to carry more ammo makes the 9mm over the better choice to me. (I'd still probably throw my 45 in my BOB with a few mags just for the hell of it)


rickey May 6, 2011 at 8:22 pm

if you practice with your fire arm then 9mm should be sufficent


Hooah May 11, 2011 at 7:25 pm

My carry is a Glock 29 SF in 10mm with Glock 20 magazines…I have conversion barrels to go from 10mm to .40 SW and from 10mm to .357 Sig….which I keep in my EDC and go with me every single time I leave the house period!! I can shoot three different calibers in one gun with the same magazines…just switch the barrel.

My back up is a Taurus PT 740 in .40 SW

Shot placement is key….

I love my Glock 21 and Glock 30…I have 30 round magazines from TDI…what was that about less capacity?

I keep my Glock 21 in a metal lock box under my driver's seat and it stays there. So if I have to run out of the house and jump in the car…I will always have something.

I keep my Glock 30 in my safe deposit box

Then again…who are you buying your bullets from… Buffalo Bore, Cor Bon, Extreme Shock?


How about 45 Super…

Who says you can't own both…

Bottomline…I pick the .45 ACP

Great for zombie attacks :0)



wildfire7777 May 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Me and my wife both train side by side…we are a team…we both pefer the .45…yes it is true you are only as good as you can shoot..and being hit with any round is not good..if that is the case a 22 will do just as good…you can kill just as easy with one of those as any other round…if you know where to hit…I still like my 44 mag Ruger Blackhawk with the 9 1/2 barrel…that at a hundred yard will drop you.and as good as a rifle…too many decissions as to what is the best weapon…it is what you can handle the best and what you have and know when the time comes to be able to use it second guessing a situation..


GreenieBeenie May 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm

9mm. Cheaper to train with, and training is everything. The caliber does not matter if rounds are not finding the target. Shooting a handgun is tricky. Add stress and only having seconds to react and it will all come down to training. Magazine capacity is a huge factor. In a gunfight (and I have been in a few) most rounds are not going to hit the desired target. Having those extra rounds to "keep their head down" while you move to a position where you can put rounds center mass is a distinct advantage. Recoil management is much easier with 9mm. I can hit the "10 ring" on 3 targets in the time most can get the sights of a 45 back on target after round one. And as for knockdown power, they are both pistol calibers. As it was stated above, they do not really have "knockdown power". You should only use your pistol to fight your way back to your rifle. That being said getting shot will slow down, if not stop, almost any attacker no matter the caliber. 9mm is the way to go. I prefer 147 grain Hornady T.A.P. In a Glock.


Travis June 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I see a lot of talk about wound track and stopping power etc… i used to carry an HK USP 9mm which was an awesome gun performed flawlessly, but i have also reconsidered which caliber i choose, I currently carry a .45. Not only for stopping power or increased wound track but for its ability to penetrate through things, wall, doors etc… if your in a survival situation your not always face to face or line-of-sight, barriers are a real factor and personal if i have to shoot through a wall to stop a threat rather than wait till he pokes his head out from behind a wall to shoot at me with his 9mm, sorry he will loose. Lets remember what the .45 caliber was invented for, replacing the ineffective .38 long colt round against the Moro in the Phillipine-American war, and since the 9mm and .38 bullet is the same size but the 9mm uses a shorter cartridge IE: less powder.

But hey that's my two pennies.

Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.~ – JFK


mike deamicis June 6, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I like my .45 home defense rounds for just that. I don't need 17 rounds to get my point across. I believe in the double tap regardless of caliber and 10 rounds gets me 5 kills and 2 more mags in my hip pocket. If if gets any hotter than that I have 40 rounders for my mini 14 but honestly, if it gets that bad I doubt it will help much. I do think it it worth mentioning that any firearm should have rails and that any tactical handgun should have a light & laser combo for home defense.


Ghost June 11, 2011 at 8:13 pm

9MM. I have trained with the Glock 17 and its the sidearm that I still use. But it is not my main weapon. That would be my AR, shotgun or rem.308 depending on the situation.
Things to remember-

1. A handgun should not be our main gun.
2. Use what is comfortable to you. If your hitting dirt with a 45 that should be a sign that its not working for you.
3. A handgun is meant to give you cover to get to your rifle. They are not meant to sniping someone out at 50 yard, wrong weapon.


don in dallas June 14, 2011 at 7:08 am

This is a survival site…with that tilt in my thinking, I believe a 9mm to come out on top. Bullet, reloader and gun weight being factors, a .45 would be good for the urban/I'm staying put/I can reload person. Accuracy, weight, trigger pull, recoil, point control, target aquisition/reaquisition, parts availibility, round availibilty, price(now & later), use by whole family, "less" noise are all factors involved in my decision. P.S. If you don't know how to clean/take apart/fix/upgrade your weapons you are asking for trouble when shtf…take a little time on youtube to become framiliar with it all.


Kevinthenurse June 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I look at it in terms of reality….. the 3 most common rounds on the planet are the .22, 9mm, and .308 (aka the military 7.62). Sure I'd rather shoot an intruder with a .50 cal but In terms of finding a replacement round I'd go with a 9mm. I have even gone as far as to have both pistols and rifles in all 3 of those calibers. If the day ever comes that I'm out of ammo and I have to purchase or barter for more, I'm 95% sure I will be able to find my size shells. My only "non-typical" handgun is a Taurus Judge 45/410 for close quarter and home protection. As far as shotguns go, I prefer the Kel-Tec KSG 12ga.


John Hawg Ham Hunter June 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm

It is a joy to read all the commentary on such a simple debate as this. All the input is valid for the individuals submitting it. We all have different needs, abilities, budgets, priorities, preferences, otherwise we would just be clones. I hope to submit my own thoughts on the 9mm vs. 45ACP debate as soon as Joel is ready to post it. Several mentioned the 40 S&W which is ok, too, but I recently cashed out of everything 40cal because I could not afford to maintain all three. I found 40 ammo hard to find and costly. I'll keep the 9s for sailing more lead downrange and the 45 for punching donut holes.


coolinout June 24, 2011 at 9:05 am

I have both, and reload both, but a handgun is only used to fight your way to your long gun anyway, so either will do with good self defense ammo.


Samurai June 25, 2011 at 10:31 am

i choose 9mm…with a good ammo you can stop attackers even in 5 yrds. .45 ACP is also good but 9mm is fit for me. All you have to do is to load a good ammo like +P+.


Syra June 25, 2011 at 10:37 am

I witness a guy shot 8 times in a chest by .45 ACP…..its still alive and survive the shots. Another Guy shot by .22 LR using Walther pistol just ones in a chest and Die instantly. So regardless of the Caliber of the Gun, its good to have a good ammo for your Pistol.


Syra June 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

I'm a 9mm lover but a .40S&W fan i believe that knocking power and penetration is found only in one ammo….. .40S&W.


Samurai June 26, 2011 at 8:03 am

9mm with a good ammo (+P+ JHP) stops your opponent in just one shot.!! Believe me Guys….. I already take down one of them. With my P228, i have no doubt of shooting robbers with my Corbon and Hydrashock +P load. I have PT945 .45ACP and my favorite FNP 40S&W which is my carry pistol but sometimes i carry P228 and it was proven that 9mm is a good self defense service pistol. Knocking power? Oh Boy!!!! its not the large caliber but the Gun and Shooter with a right ammo.


Samurai June 26, 2011 at 8:21 am

no question of the large ammo of .45 but in my personal experience, i carry P228 Sigsauer 9mm i shoot intruder dead in just one shot. I load Corbon +P. I have PT945 and my favorite FNP 40S&W as my carry and first time i carry P228 9mm and i conclude that knockdown power is not in a large caliber but a right ammo to shoot.


EKS-Sr June 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm

First off, let me premise my comment with this. "I love my .45 XD, and I loved my Army Issued M1911A1. I was active duty as a Tank Commander in the early 90's the Army switched over to 9mm, and there was a lot of sad faces and some heated debates.
That being said-I'm not in the Army anymore. <sigh>
If the SHTF, I would have a limited amount of ammo from that point on. .45 is awesome, but the fact is there are far more 9mm out there than .45, and I can barter to get more, with whatever I have. This is really the same reason we all agree on .22LR and .223 as it is plentiful and you can get it anywhere. .45 ACP really doesnt fit that scenerio (I wish it did).


EKS-Sr June 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Secondly, depending on the threat, the Military and law enforcement is supplied with 9mm from the respective goverment agencies. It will be plentiful amoung the worlds militaries (Canadia- for instance, uses standardized 9mm along with .223) it could become a form of currancy.
Ultimatly, after TEOTWAWKI we will be scrounging for whatever we can find. Based on current availabiltiy from the Military, as well as the ease of stocking our personal cache (9mm is WAAAAAY cheaper) I'd prefer to be caught with a something I know I can find ammo for, rather than invest in something I can barely afford ammo for now. Just my $.02


bob davidson June 30, 2011 at 12:01 pm

500 s&w is just to big for average folk to carry and conceal at all times. IMO 9mm and 40 cal. is about the biggest round one can comfortably carry. Fortunately ammo has drastically improved. Penetration and "knockdown" power for the 9mm is comparable to what bigger rounds such as the 45 cal. are known for. I especially like the +p and +p+ rounds. They just give the smaller 9mm that extra punch.


StillCreepnCpl October 13, 2011 at 2:01 am

I own both the 9mm and .45 and honestly, if you want some sheer velocity and punch, ill pull the .44 mag card. I carry this daily. It is not uncomfortable, and It is a sheer animal. the only draw back is capacity, having two speed speed loaders is always handy. Great post Bob.


ThomasC. April 18, 2012 at 8:43 am

I carry a Sig Sauer 1911 Carry Scorpion. It is in the Commander size pistol and it is veryh comfortalbel to carry. Holster selection is critical as well.


Bo McDaniels July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm

The most effective caliber is the one immediately at hand. As Col. Cooper said; I carry a pistol to help me survive long enough to get back to the rifle I should have never left behind in the first place.


Bo McDaniels July 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm

The most effective caliber is the one immediately at hand. To paraphrase Col. Cooper; I carry a pistol to help me survive long enough to get back to the rifle I should have never left behind in the first place! Practice with as many calibers and weapons as you can because you never know what situation you may find yourself in. Watch your front sight and be safe!


Doc July 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm

All great info.
What ever you choose train and pratice is the best edge and learn mainteance.


Dave July 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I stick with the 9MM. OK, it is nice to have stopping power but I tend to think of my guns as I think of my fighting skills. I am a small guy so I have to rely on speed and agility. That is what I want out of my pistol, speed and agility. It takes me less strength to hold up the 9 as opposed the .45. Not saying that I am weak and cannot hold up a .45 pistol, but I can probably hold up the 9 alot longer if needed. Last but not least is the stopping power arguement. I know it goes without saying but it really depends on where you put the round. A shot to the head doesn't warrant any kind of stopping power. I used to feel people chose a higher caliber to make up for poor shooting ability. However, I am convinced that if you know how to shoot a gun, you are good with either. A well placed shot will override stopping power in my book.


Guest July 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Accuracy over velocity every time


Keith Blackman July 22, 2011 at 6:44 am

I have never had a need to shoot anything 16 times, but I have been out and about and my 9mm did not take down one of the three wild dogs that had me cornered! Once I got "back to town" I upgraded to a .45 and have not looked back since. 9mm vs .45 against a drug addict = .45 every time


wardog August 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Keith, your comment reminded me of an occassion I was using a Citori O/U 12 Ga, 3" #2's & 4's alternately for geese I was sneaking up on cutting through a patch of thatch and woods to get me in range. Clearing the thatch just at the base of the woods up jumped four (georgeous) shepherd looking wild dogs. The one closest and barring teeth mean temperedly appeared to be the leader while the others were standing close by him for his immediate support. This was no drill and these dogs were going to protect their turf whether I ran or stayed. I fired at the leader (approximately 12 yards in front of me, point blank) with one shot & the second went to the next one standing closet to him, and me. In that confusion I had time to reload & had to fire another shot into the leader as even as hard as he was hit he was not down and out as one would expect with that firepower. The fourth round went into the third one acting like it wasn't sure what to do at this point – attack or run. The last decided to leave the scene during my next reload & I still had to do a finishing shot on #3 to put it down. While this has nothing to do with .45 vs 9mm it does support your comment that 'bring a big enough gun' to do the job because anything less just may not be enough. Another short story: I've also experienced hitting a buck, subsequently exploding it's heart and it still covered a distance of 75 to 100 yards on a dead run (no pun intended).


ArmyRanger July 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I carry a .40 for everyday ccw however I also have a 9mm in my bob along with a .22 rifle and an AR. In a SHTF situation when supplies get low, if you don't reload, you will have to scrounge or barter for ammo. You will be able to find 9mm and .22 ammo easier than any other not counting 12ga. I have always been taught that the only use for a handgun is to fight your way to your long gun.


ArmyRanger July 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm

The best gun is the one you have. If all you can afford is a 9mm or if that is what you choose for ammo capacity or whatever, great. There is a saying that says to fear the man with one gun because he will know that piece in and out and will be able to hit his target. Whatever you choose to carry, practice with it as much as you can afford to in every concievable position and situation. Don't just go to the range during a nice sunny day, go in the rain, go at night, shoot while kneeling, laying down, seated in an automobile, shoot while holding a flashlight, shoot one handed, shoot with your weak hand, get creative because in the real world you are not going to be able to get into a nice weaver stance while standing and facing your target. Think of different situations that you might come into in real life and then practice that.


Guest August 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Im sorry but the price of my life is more valuable than saving a few bucks on the smaller caliber ammo… Thats why i carry a .45… And for those who complain about the low capicity need to learn to shoot and execute mag changes…


billz August 9, 2011 at 9:44 pm

In a SHTF situation? Survival? I'll run away and hide with a stainless Ruger 22 pistol with a 5 1/2 slab barrel, target sights, and a thousand rounds in my backpack. If needed, I can empty a magazine into a 3 inch circle in a couple of seconds because with the cost of 22's I get to practice all the time.


James August 14, 2011 at 2:26 am

My XD in 45acp holds 13+1, where as my XD in 9mm holds 16+1 there is only a three round differance. In states with mag capacity limits they can usually only hold 10 rounds regardless
of caliber. The only thing that really matters is which caliber can you effectively engage your target, nothing else really matters


Anthony August 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm

As far as home protection goes the 9m has less surface area which reduces the amount of friction when traveling through your target so the potential of penetration is higher which in turn increases the potential for collateral damage from unaccounted for penetration. I don't want to protect my family from a bad guy just for me to wound them through the wall… just sayin


rflood August 24, 2011 at 9:27 am

I'm looking to add a Smith&Wesson M&P9 to my gear bag. I have a Taurus .45 and a S&W .22 right now but I am trying to be able to get into something where both my wife and I can use and be good with and the .45 just isn't working for her. She's had some instructor training with it and the 9MM and is able to be more consistent with the 9MM.


Mike August 24, 2011 at 8:48 pm

A pistol is used to fight your way to your rifle or shotgun.


Lead the way! August 29, 2011 at 10:54 am

I like the 380, the gun fits my small hands best , low recoil, and if I'm mad enough to shoot someone then I will want them alive while I finish them with a baseball bat, after I've blown out a knee joint or something like that there going to wish I had just used a 44 on them…. my 3 rules for field gear are it's light weight, it's expendable ( low cost ) , and if I'm lucky it actually works when I need it. I have shot the heck out of 1911's in the mil. but it does'nt pass the 3 rules test


Ben Brown August 31, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Check out Handgun Stopping Power by Marshall and Sanow. They make a good case that 9mm is slightly MORE effective than .45. I'm considering trading my 1911 for a Hi-Power.


Mike S September 2, 2011 at 7:49 am

Carry and shoot what you can hit with. I choose the 40SW because for me I can quickly and accurately and hit what I aim for. In the summer it is a Glock 27 and when possible a Sig P226 Tac Ops.

There is always a 380 in my back pocket….not for fun.


Tony March 12, 2014 at 6:29 pm

The 9mm and .45 are both good calibers if placed in the right place. The whole thing about “stopping power” is driving me crazy. A 9 to the brain, heart, lung, or any other major organ is going to stop and kill someone just like a 45. The bullet size isn’t nearly as important as placement. If you like a big heavy .45, that’s cool, but most anyone will have better control with the 9mm. This means a faster and more accurate follows up shots. A 45 will slam into a body harder than a 9, but if it’s not center mass or the head then you better be prepared to shoot again.


Lee September 7, 2011 at 6:08 am

This is such a personal choice no one can give you a definite answer. I prefer 9mm, it will do the job, and generally speaking the firearms offered for the 9mm have a higher capacity. Also the .45 generally has a larger grip than the 9mm and being that I have small hands I find the 9mm more comfortable to grip (yes, my hands are that small, 1911's are uncomfortable for me to shoot) and I can shoot them more accurately. The fact I can place rounds more accurately means the 9mm is a more effective weapon for me. If you're a larger person and can comfortably handle the .45 then by all means go with it. The most important thing is round selection, everyone worries make/mode/caliber. Now I'm not trying to say a .25 with HP is better than a .45 FMJ, no not at all. But if you're in the major calibers for defensive pistols you should really invest in good ammo. Some FMJ are good to have and certainly better than nothing, but do what you can to get your hands on decent quality hollow points. Don't make "dum dums" thinking they're just as good, they're not. Especially when it comes to handguns you don't have much to work with for "stopping power"(a false idea) so to get the maximum out of the round-no matter what it may be-use good quality ammo, or stock/carry three times the norm.


Dynamik1 September 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

The situation I'm concerned most about isn't TEOTWAWKI or post-SHTF, but something akin to the Mumbai terrorist attacks that were coordinated & concentrated. An example, my 10,000 member church would be a great terrorist target. If a concentrated assault took place I would want more than 7+1rds in a .45 – perhaps 17+1 in a Glock G17 with a spare mag. Covering fire in these instances is important to escape+evasion and I want a high rnd cap to accomplish this.

In a parking lot or restaurant confrontation a .45 might stop the assailant "harder" but Im pretty confident with my 9mm in stopping the advancer. Back to training and proficiency.


Ready September 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I go 45, overkill wont kill me.
but if you cant decide. try a .357, can shoot low power .38's or plenty knockdown of a .357 mag. Conn is that it will be in either a revolver or a lever action rifle. ( very handy rifle!).


VMX September 24, 2011 at 3:47 am

My POV is the more shots I have to fire the better.


KvG September 25, 2011 at 11:16 pm

I carry a .45 daily – I have used 9mm in the past and have a fn fnp9 for backup. I will also use the 10mm. I went to the .45 and 10mm (learning curb was to much for FBI agents) because I need a round that hits hard -even if someone is wearing body armor –

ammo: you should look for a round that will penetrate 12-15 inches with maximum expansion.

I use winchester boded PDX1 – Hornady Critical Defense – Hornady TAP – Federal hst (if you can get this round – it is the best available) –

I practice double taps (left, right and 2 handed)- chest then head – holster and repeat – at distances of 5, 10, 15, and 25 feet (alternate handguns and practice reloading)

Remember that 90% of shootings occur within 15 feet.


Dj Big Dog September 27, 2011 at 8:17 am

The debate should end, all modern firearms are adequate to take a life in a situation where one is needed provided that the shooter is trained or lucky enough to properly use and place shots on vitals in the BG and if they can psychologically handle actually pulling the trigger and know the results.

I will use whatever I have and currently from my economic standpoint I owm a 9mm, started with a 22magnum revolver, and it may go to a .45 but I know I can kill a BG with any weapon I own.

I respect all of you who understand the physics of bullet transfer and weight to impact, but if I put my JHP in your chest in a situation you better believe that I will not be standing there waiting for a response. As well if I had a .45 I would not risk going 1 shot wonder and expect the fight to be over, pull the trigger and as others have stated make sure the threat is no longer a threat bullets are cheap compared to my life.


Al Doland October 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm

For me the answer is both. My son favors the 9, while I'm old school. Together I think that's a good team. If we can't carry everything, then maybe the 9, after you pry that honker out of my cold, dead hands.


iceboundpath October 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I have a CZ-97 BD and i love it. I was told by my cop neighbor to go for .45. Although I will be purchasing a CZ-75 compact or P-07 for a conceal weapon. My .45 is just a bit to heavy to carry in a survival situation. Maybe a compact .45 but ive never used one.


Old-Scout October 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm

If you are right then i owe you a debt of gratitude, and, as i have been looking to buy a .45 Win. Mag. this would be a viable option. But i leave you with this; (S & W) Model 625, is a six round single & double action revolver chambered for the .45 ACP (also known as .45 Auto) cartridge & .45 Colt also known as "Long Colt" or "LC". The 625 in .45 ACP will headspace the cartridge in the chambers without use of moon clips, but since the extractor cannot engage the rimless cartridge, moon clips are needed to facilitate ejection…as food for thought. It came from Wkipedia. Scouts out


StillCreepnCpl October 13, 2011 at 1:35 am

I am a little torn between both. I have a 1911 .45 and a Rugar P95 9mm. If i am going for brute strength and intimidation, i will use my .45. If i am looking at shooting more rounds quicker than i will no doubtedly use the P95. I have a custom trigger that i made for my rugar with only a 2.5 lbs pull. the .45 has a heavier pull so i know i can shoot my 9mm faster. Plus i really don't care about capacity regulations i have 3 30rd mags for my rugar. I am not sure if it is a design flaw in my specific model of my 1911 but i have problems chambering and shooting hallow points in it. I have no problems with any round out of my Rugar at all. i have shot well over 1000 rounds out of it and never had a problem. clean or dirty. I always clean them after i shoot. I could not decide what i would carry if it came down to choosing, but it would also depend on the situation. They are both outstanding weapons, even when i carry its usually about what mood I am in.


Joshua October 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm

People that debate this are people that have never been shot at or had to use deadly force to protect themselves or others. When I am being shot at I do not think hmmm. Is it a 9mm or a .45? I am being shot at! It dose not matter what it is. Anything from a .22 and up can kill you in one hit. Bullets are dense small objects traveling at high rates or speed. They go through people like a hot knife through butter. You either take cover and fight or take cover and run.

With that said the most effective firearm for anyone is the one that they are best and most comfortable using. If you are best at using a high power rifle you will adapt your situation to use this weapon best. The only way to truly benefit from all weapons types is to train with all weapons types.


jim October 19, 2011 at 8:39 am

I'm in the middle for the very reason of being in the middle.
A bit more of a punch than a 9mm without much a recoil difference not much more pricey.
As a backup, a 357 revolver. A .38 shot in a 357 has the recoil of a 22, plus if I need the put down power, I have it in a 357.


Steven1381 October 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm

When it comes down to it, I prefer the 9mm, it's not because it is a better caliber, it is because it is lighter, three of my guns take 9mm rounds, 2 – Px4 Storms and a Cx4 Storm that takes the magazines from the Px4. I pretty much think that in a survival situation getting hit by anything is going to make someone stop in there tracks. I also like the availability and cost of the 9mm round, I also have a .22 caliber pistol and a .357 S&W that I got used to using about 10 years ago. Basically use what is comfertable to you, if you shoot 17 rounds out of a 9mm and don't hit anything all those extra rounds did you no good. at the same time, what good is stopping power if you can't hit your target. If I hit them with the .22 and they miss me with everything, chances are pretty good i'm going to win that fight.


Anon October 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Everyone knows the .357sig is the best. Come on guys.


mike October 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Get a Glock and be able 2 use 3 diffrent rounds. With a simple barrel change i can go from 357 sig to 40 s&w. Do mag & barrel to use 9mm. 1 gun 3 rounds, i dont care what you say bout glock, it is the universal survival handgun. Now, get into; parts, popularity, availibity, accesories, reliability…. like it or not, it is the f-150 of the handgun world, peroid.


droptrd November 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm

.40 guy here. But to enter the debate Id go 9mm. Learn how to shoot and how to hit your target and it doesnt matter if its 9mm or .45. Location location location.

I was with my cousin when he took down a buck with a 10/22 from about 50 yards away. One shot! It was amazing.

On a side note – 10/22's rule ;)


TED November 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm

The rule with any cal round is you must hit more meat than air,Just ask the police how many people are killed with a .22 each year?


Guest November 10, 2011 at 7:44 pm

a couple of weeks ago i walked out behind the barn with my weapon strapped on when a coyote jumped up just off to one side and headed for the brush which was about 10 ft away. i did a fast draw and loaded a bullet in the chamber and the coyote was home free. it was like i never thought something like that could of happened to me. oh well, just wanted to share.


mjs12730663 November 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I own a .45 SA Colt revolver and an M1911A1 Colt .45 ACP. I know for a fact that a .45 ACP hitting center mass, will provide all the knockdown power you need. Believe me, I've seen it in action. The .45 ACP was designed to replace the Army .38 revolver because that weapon did not provide the knockdown power against Moro Tribesmen in the Phillipines.


Gray Ghost November 12, 2011 at 12:42 am

I shoot both 9MM and 45 ACP I prefer the 45, it is what I qualified with and carried in the military. It is important to remember that the 45 was not dropped by our military because of reliability issues but simply to conform to other nato countries weapon of choice. The choice between 9MM and 45 AP is really a question of what you are most comfortable with and most proficiant with. I choose to go with the big bore 45 ACP using JHP ammo, though there are sceniarios where I would want the high capicity 9MM. Whatever your choice be sure to have pleanty of ammo and practice often.


Chris November 21, 2011 at 4:49 am

You are 100% on the money. a .45 will apply all the force inside the body whist a 9mm will not. A bit like taking a punch in the head without moving = KO. Saying that, a proficient 9mm user is much better than a .45 user who cannot handle the .45 recoil. Personally, the 9mm is for me. I have realised that as I have got older, I cannot take the .45 recoil as easy as when I was younger. I wonder how many old timers can take the .45 recoil.


Guest November 27, 2011 at 11:09 am

As a police officer I have seen several gunshot victims and talked with even more people who have been shot and I can say that I personally will carry a .45 ACP over a 9mm any day. There such a difference between the two rounds that I will take lower magazine capacity and a more devastating round, over more rounds with less impact. Ive seen people take 6 center mass shots in 9mm and live and I've seen people take 2 .45 ACP center mass shots and well….. not.

As for women handling a .45 my 1911 has less of a kick than the Sig I carry on duty, so to me its more about the gun itself then the round. Plus my full steel 1911 can me used as a very effective bludgeoning weapons over these POS polymer guns.


Bogan November 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm

For knock down power I prefer the tried and true .45. For accuracy I prefer the speed of the 9mm round. One thing to keep in mind: the military as a whole uses the Beretta 92F 9mm. If the SHTF the military as a friend or foe will be involved making 9mm ammo more available in the field. Just a thought!


icerazor_h_plus December 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Just a simple addition to the debate. I am a .45 ACP fan (when considering these 3 choices of 9mm, .40S&W, and .45ACP) and I carry a Springfield XD 4" chambered in .45.

Something that I do know, from the thousands of rounds that I have fired from various handguns, is that the .45 has a hidden benefit not typically discussed.

The 'heavy recoil' effect allows the action of the weapon to cycle reliably when the weapon is extraordinarily dirty, snagged with cloth, damaged or otherwise in poor operating condition. In experiments that I conducted (Using a S&W 9mm, Beretta .40, a Colt 1911, and my XD) The .45 guns both continued to operate without malfunction under conditions that jammed both the Short-n-weak and the 9mm. When Slicked with glue, oils, and other materials we tried, the additional 'oomph' or as 9mm nuts like to say 'excessive recoil' is enough to drive the mechanism rearward with authority even when the weapon is gummed up severely.

I will also add that during the heat of competitive shooting I have gotten my thumb in the way of the rear-moving slide on the Beretta and on the S&W. On the 9mm the painful (cut to the bone) hand grip lesson also resulted in a Type 2 MALF.


MartinHayes2009 December 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm

For me I would have to say none of the above. Autoloaders have a nasty little habit of jamming at the worst possible times for me at-least. So i would have to say .357 S&W Magnum, .41 Remington Magnum and .44 Remington Magnum would be my top three with .38 Special and .44 Special and the .41 Magnum SWC loads for bulk practice ammo.


Dave December 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm

The .45 has survived as a military round for over a hundred years for a good reason. The object is to "stop" an attacker from killing you. There is nothing wrong with a .38 calibre revolver, or 9mm pistol, they serve well, but in my opinion the larger.45 rules. Less penetration = all the energy expended in the target, less chance of collateral damage to friendlies in line of fire, proven stopping power, the choice of those in harms way.


MethanP December 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

The answer seems obvious to me. BHP vs AHP. Before Hollow Point and After Hollow Point.
BHP, no doubt about it. The 45 was the only way to go. And the M-1911 was the king of the
auto's. Now, with hollow points a 9mil is at least acceptable. And there are many fine pistols
out there. H&K, Beretta, Sig to name a few of the best. I'm also patial to the 40S&W.
One thing you might want to consider. Use what your state and local police use. Especially
as to calibre and even brand and type.


Garrett21 December 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I have a SIG 9mm, S&W m&p .40 compact, and my duty weapon is the S&W m&p.45. I never leave home without my gun it doesn't matter where I am going (church, grocery store, out to eat, etc…).

Of all these guns I carry the .45 most when off duty. First because if I have to shoot somebody they'll take my duty weapon and not my own gun that I bought with my own money! Second I feel most confident that if I shoot someone in the center of the chest their going to stop. Now there are pros and cons to the .45. Concealing the .45 can be difficult at times. However you can get an inside the waist band holster to conceal the gun and it works very well.

The agency I work for has carried a variety of different firearms through the years. They switched from 9mm to .45 about 5 years ago because they were having problems with the smaller faster 9mm round penetrating through suspects who were charging officers and not stopping them. With the .45 we have had a number of shootings but very few have had the problems of stopping suspects like the problems that occurred with the 9mm.

Now I've seen many posts saying that they don't like the .45 because it's too difficult to shoot. Hey if you love you're 9mm and you feel confident you can hit where you're aiming by all means carry it. Me personally I don't carry my 9mm unless I'm going to the range to shoot it. I do however like the .40 that I have a lot. It's smaller than my 9mm so it's much easier to conceal and I believe it is a much more reliable gun than my 9mm. I've heard people say that they don't like the .40 because the recoil is stronger than that of the 9mm. I would have to disagree at least with my gun. The recoil is not bad at all and if you're looking for a smaller gun that you can conceal better and that is easy to operate I would suggest looking into buying the S&W m&p compact .40.

The main point however is what do you feel the most confident and what are you most proficient at shooting. I am confident in my abilities with all of my firearms and I am certain that if I were in a situation where I had to shoot someone I could hit them exactly where I was aiming with each and every gun I own. This comes from thousands of hours I've spent at the range training for different situations that I may encounter.

With all this being said you need to have a plan in your head prior to encountering a situation where you may have to use deadly force, of what you are willing and what you are capable to do if someone is hurting you or someone you love. I set in my mind a long time before becoming a law enforcement officer that if someone was trying to kill me or someone I care about, that person was going to be the one that didn't walk away. Remember "those who fail to PLAN, plan to Fail."


Will December 5, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Basically it boils down to this:
1.) If your strapped for cash and/or this is your first gun then go with a 9mm, you can practice more and that's what really counts.
2.) Get the 45 for any other situation, if you get a 1911 (the only handgun you want in a survival situation) then you don't have much more mag capacity from dropping to 9mm.
3.) If you don't fall into the first two categories or somehow have a smart comment about this post, then buy whichever you prefer and proceed to place muzzle in mouth…


Mongoose December 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

Great article for the "debate". Personally, I really like the heavier loads in 9mm (147gr). Lower recoil and able to recover quickly for a follow up shot if needed. I also love the .45's but the 9mm is personal preference. Either of these two calibers are great, but whatever you decide to get, practice, practice, practice…shot placement is key. Penetration and expansion are good to consider when shopping, but placement is key to any self defense situation.

I chose the 9mm also for this reason: when the SHTF and if I ever need to replenish ammo, the most common ammo available is the 9mm. But, for this scenario, one must also consider either a long gun or shotgun as a primary weapon (self protection/hunting).

Good article and good conversations. Stay safe everyone.

~ Mongoose


SAH December 10, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Great discussion. In a SHTF situation I'll be glad to have any firearm. For proper preparation, having both a 9MM and a .45 ACP is a good idea.(why choose?) If you need to acquire ammo of unknown sources, you'll be glad to have the caliber option. Additionally, keeping the pistol in working order is also a consideration. This is a good reason to stick with proven, popular choices. For me, this means Glock for my 9MM, 1911 for my .45 ACP, AR15 for my rifle, 12 gauge for my Mossberg 500 series, and a half dozen .22 rimfires. If a part breaks I'm more likely to find service parts (if my spares run out) than someone with a less common model. And if I'm in need of ammo, since my firearms cycle the most popular ammunition used for now 100 years (happy birthday 1911), I'm more likely to find ammunition if I run out.
~Pray as if it all depends on God and work as if it all depends on you.


HRB3 December 11, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I'm thinking of keeping things simple. A Hi Point 40 cal rifle and any 40 cal pistol. Best of both worlds? I think the 9mm or 40 cal or 45 cal would suffice. My Hi Point 40 cal rifle is light, accurate and easy to maintain with a decent amount of energy coming from the 40 cal round due to the extended amount of pressure from the longer barrel. I'm no expert but I'm just trying to put common sense into to the equation.


BajaRaptor December 11, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I chose G31's & G33's in 357sig because of their balistics and versatility. To shoot .40s&w, its a 30 sec barrel change, and dropping down to 9mm only barrel + mag. I have the barrels and mags for practice & back-up, 357 sig is hot & definately my preferance. I chose Glocks because of popularity (the F150 of guns) & thereby accessories. All of mine are Trijicon & Lasermax equipped. All that to back-up a Mossberg 930 that backs up the Colt AR.


cavtrooperA3_7 December 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm

45ACP maximum force equals maximum knockdown power. I've seen video where a 45 penetrated an engine block; couldn't do that with a 9mm. Any zombies coming my way driving a '73 pinto won't get me. Just saying


CLB December 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

In all honesty; For a SHTF or TEOTHAWKI I prefer a 9mm. The .45 is more powerful. However; If you load HP bullets (like you should) this point pretty much becomes moot. The 9mm is pretty close to the .45 when loaded with good ammo. Next point. 15 in the handle of a Berretta instead of 8 in the Colt. Twice as many shots before a reload. Third point; and a big point. 9mm ammo weghs about half as much as .45 so I can carry twice as much for the same weight. In a TEOTWAWKI scenario I don't want to be short on ammo and hoping to scrounge because everyone else will be scrounging too. I'd prefer to have my ammo and have alot of it.


Manny December 30, 2011 at 7:18 am

I have never own a gun .
but i'm thinking to go on the market for one .
my problem is not knonwing what to get can please help…


Berettaman January 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I got em both! No need for argument there :0


Raymoon January 6, 2012 at 8:53 am

Rifles trump shot guns and shot guns trump pistols. 45's have more thump but 9mm's hold more rounds. However, when faced with a life threatening scenario of any typ, the BEST gun… is the one you have with you! ~Clint Smith (Thunder Ranch)

In the end, any gun is better than no gun and the attacker isnt going to wait for you to run home and get it. Attackers dont play fair and neither should we. Identify the assailant, assess the situation and then react to the threat (shoot or flee… Not both).


JNapier January 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I personally prefer the 45. I understand that ammo is more expensive, but it is worth it in the end. If it is the weapon that people are looking at price for I support Hi-Point. They are an American company and very reasonably priced. Plus while not the most beautiful weapon, they are very reliable.


mmp January 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Lots of talk about stopping power. Given the cost benefit, weight and magazine capacity of the 9mm vs the .45…I would think that hollow points with a 9mm would make up for any difference in stopping power compared to using standard rounds in a .45. Any thoughts on this out there?


fishlander January 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

i own a 9 manly due to the price of the ammo
and the ability to teach my wife and youngin to shoot.
the reality is,,,,if you know how to use it, any gun is better than no gun!!!!!! practice, train, practice, train.
if you do not know how to use it then you simply got yourself in a bad situation
with most likely not a good outcome……


asian_of_ak January 11, 2012 at 11:11 am

I would choose the 9mm. I say this with the realization that without proper bullet design and measured charge the 9mm has way too much speed and cause this bullet to pass right through a target without imparting much energy. On the flip side the 45 was designed to be a man stopper with regular ball ammo back in its inception. This is an excellent self defense round, but the weight and kick of these pistols (IMHO) don't lend it for me to carry in survival/Nomadic lifestyle.

I stand with the 9mm because, for me at least, the autos are easier to shoot and it is common enough that it can be liberated from police stations, security guard armories, and (heaven forbid) any NATO nation that might be called in as a policing force. I am a big fan of revolvers and have one that has a convertible cylinder that allows me to shoot 9mm. For what the 9mm will be used for is mostly just a show of force or to help dispatch animals that I am hunting. Whether it is foolish to think so, I will take my chances as a hunter with a hunter's mindset than going out and engaging threats.


asian_of_ak January 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I would choose the 9mm. I say this with the realization that without proper bullet design and measured charge the 9mm has way too much speed and cause this bullet to pass right through a target without imparting much energy. On the flip side the 45 was designed to be a man stopper with regular ball ammo back in its inception. This is an excellent self defense round, but the weight and kick of these pistols (IMHO) don't lend it for me to carry in survival/Nomadic lifestyle.


jlw January 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm

9mm hands down. pound for pound more ammo for the same weight. 9mm has almost no recoil which equates to faster target reaquisition, and it will be easier for a companion, say a child or wife to handle. Cheaper to train with, and power only matters to a point. A 9mm is just as effective as a 40 or 45 when you hit the head, heart, knees, etc. accuracy counts more than sheer power. It's like saying a 50BMG is more effective than any 30 cal (30-06, 308, 30-30) at 100 meters…. doesn't matter what you have if you miss.


Jack January 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I have carried and used both in the military. I now have a Browning Hi Power and looking to get a Glock 19. Cost and availability converted me to 9mm. Traveling in some of the cess pits of the world I could always find stashes of 9mm, sometimes even magazines, rarely if ever could I find 45ACP. America is about the only place where .45 is popular and available widely. Does not mean it is not good. I loved my issue 1911 and when I was an "Advisor" carried as many as 24 7 round mags on me at all times. The few occassional defending myself situations that arose, I always came out a winner but rarely had any spare ammo left. When I started carrying a 9mm I could carry nearly twice as much ammo. Spoiler, I also own and use an old AK, Bigger round, More knockdown, Go Figure
SEmper FI


CockSure January 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I've never seem a thread with so many quality posts as this one. Congratulations.
Now, hear me out. In my view, I am attracted to 9mm and .44 for pricing and being able to use the same magazine in your rifle. I am attracted to a .45 because I deliver one shot the the center of mass, and then I can move on to the next target. For personal long-term safety as a civilian, if my target only ends up in hospital, he/she can get back to me later, while I do not have that kind of a worry with a .45.


michael January 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm

my first gun was a 9mm. and i had a few reason for picking it. my mags hold 17rds. came with 2 factory mags and i bought a 32round mag as well ( for a lookie what i got ;) ) i feel alot of down talk about 9mm not being powerful enough is a bunch of bull.. first off, talking about army issues, they only use ball ammo. i would be stupid the day i loaded my 9mm or any other pistol for self defense without a JHP or SP. and about jhp not expanding. over the years i feel guns in general have taken a huge leap in success. ie. my taurus is not a peice of junk, my wasr 10/63 isnt a peice of junk and i have high faith in them. i laugh when i hear " youll need all 17rds to stop someone with a 9mm" well i wont be the first to say at an inturder or other need of self defense ill be 7tapping and not double or triple haha =} i dont have anything wrong with a 45. as i plan on picking a mpa mac 10 clone in that Cal. 400$ on budsguns sign me up!!! its a fun gun like my wasr and if i ever needed it in that shif or ZOMBIE day.. well its there. i always say guns are tools and you cant have just one screw driver or hammer in your tool box. i respect all cal. because i would never want to see even a .25acp inside my body. and for those still not convinced? ill just keep my 9mm handy for the day that will likely never come, and i hope it doesn't but in case. ill be a little more likely to survive.. just my .02


Rob January 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Although at this moment, the military is using the 9mm as its sidearm, they are currently seeking vendors for a .45 caliber with less recoil and high capacity magazines. Looks like they are going back to the tried and true.


Ro Gal January 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Was a .45 advocate for years, but secretly liked the 9mm higher capacity (yes Para Ord was the .45 exception but costly). So I went with .40 cal and never looked back….until I bought a compact Kel-tec compact 9mm. Very nice gun that I keep in my BOB along with a small amount of ammo.


antares January 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm

The best caliber is the largest one with which you personally can reliably hit an assailant's critical areas. For some it's only .380, for others, 10mm gets the nod. For most of us it's 9mm, .40SW or .45acp.
Today's premium bullet performance equalizes to a degree, the differences between 9mm and .45acp. Having said that, I trust .45acp more than 9mm because all the improvements made to get the premium hollowpoint 9mm more effective have been applied to the .45acp.
This applies more to hollowpoint premium ammo that is used primarily for self defense. If the choice falls on using only ball(roundnose) ammo, .45acp is has been shown to be better.
The fact that the US military uses 9mm is mainly a case of 'lowest bidder' and smaller logtistical footprint.


JarheadJoe February 2, 2012 at 1:23 am

My feeling has always been the Colt 45 over a 9 mm since getting hit anywhere with a .45 round, even the tip of a finger, is instant shock inducing. I only fan fired the .45 once or twice at Kaneohe and was quite impressed with the size of the round.
While on the range I scored a high Expert with an M-16 that couldn’t miss, but they wouldn’t let me keep it
Please correct me if I’m wrong but I’m of the belief that a .45 is the best combat and personal weapon of choice at close range.
As regards shotguns mentioned here just saw off the barrel and lose the plug but I’d prefer that shot to a .45….


Steve W February 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

At work, we carry 9mm. Our SWAT team has converted to the 357 sig round. Personally, I prefer the 45 ACP, and if I could, I would carry that. A coworker once shot a guy with our issued Sig P226. The guy died on scene, but one thing that really stuck out to me was the fact that one of the rounds that struck the guy in the chest actually pancaked on a rib and never penetrated. It was found under one of his nipples. The other rounds that were fired were what killed him. Another time, I saw a guy who was shot in the head by a 9mm. The round burrowed a path around his skull and exited out the back of his head. Is it the round, or did these guys have unusually think bones – I don't know. What I do know is that everyone I have ever seen who was hit with a 45 ACP received a devastating wound, even if it was not lethal.

I have faith in my 9mm, and my skills for years of practice in all sorts of scenarios. However, I want to be able to eliminate the threat with as few shots as possible, as quickly as possible. Therefore, if I had a choice, I would go with a 45.


bob leeper February 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm

my 44 is first, 12 is second, 9mmm is last resort my humble aopinion


Steve February 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I think they are both great rounds


JarheadJoe February 13, 2012 at 1:15 am

MEU(SOC) pistolMain article: MEU(SOC) pistol
Marine Expeditionary Units formerly issued M1911s to Force Recon units.[18] Hand-selected Colt M1911A1 frames were gutted, deburred, and prepared for additional use by the USMC Precision Weapon Section (PWS) at Marine Corps Base Quantico.[18] They were then assembled with after-market grip safeties, ambidextrous thumb safeties, triggers, improved high-visibility sights, accurized barrels, grips, and improved Wilson magazines.[19] These hand-made pistols were tuned to specifications and preferences of end users.[20]

In the late 1980s, the Marines laid out a series of specifications and improvements to make Browning’s design ready for 21st century combat, many of which have been included in MEU(SOC) pistol designs, but design and supply time was limited.[20] Discovering that the Los Angeles Police Department was pleased with their special Kimber M1911 pistols, a single source request was issued to Kimber for just such a pistol despite the imminent release of their TLE/RLII models.[21] Kimber shortly began producing a limited number of what would be later termed the Interim Close Quarters Battle pistol (ICQB). Maintaining the simple recoil assembly, 5-inch barrel (though using a stainless steel match grade barrel), and internal extractor, the ICQB is not much different from Browning’s original design.[21]

The final units as issued to MCSOCOM Det-1 are the Kimber ICQBs with Surefire IMPL (Integrated Military Pistol Light), Dawson Precision Rails, Tritium Novak LoMount sights, Gemtech TRL Tactical Retention Lanyards, modified Safariland 6004 holsters, and Wilson Combat ’47D’ 8 round magazines. They have reportedly been used with over 15,000 rounds apiece.[21]

Hi mates I’m a newbie and lean heavily with the .45 but only by what I’ve heard as I don’t own any weapons despite having participated in two MEU’s out of Pearl. I have fan-fired the .45 and don’t recall any recoil issues being a lean 6′, 175lbs. I did recall correctly that the Corps kept with the .45 as noted by the above Wikipedia so that weapon is my choice as it effects instant shock upon a hit to any part of the body. Feel free to correct me on the shock part. Anyone near Philly we have a pistol/shotgun range at the Gladwyne VFW right on the Schuylkill and I’m a life member.
Colt 45 any day though I note the higher cost but Lucas original post didn’t ask “cheapest survival pistol”.


Jeff February 14, 2012 at 10:18 am

These posts are as humerous as the debate found in the golf club community. As a firearm instructor, the best advice I have received and pass on to my students is that any gun and any caliber in properly trained and thoruoughly practiced shooters hands will do. With the average handgun fight taking less than 5 secs, one must be able to place two shots in the chest placed inside a handprint (5-6 inch radius) and under 2 secs from concealment. Failing to do that, matters little about the other 10 rounds you might have in your mag. If you have need to use that many rounds than you are either not a proficient shooter or you are seriously outgunned and needed to escape asap. Does not mean that I don't carry extra mags on me just in case but I also don't have poncho villa's gun strap on me at all times either.

My money is on the grandma with a .22 able to place two trained shots to the ocular cavity in under 2 secs over the prideful .45 carrier not able to get a shot off in 4 sec or worse missing. The choice of what gun and caliber to use is simple. Use the largest caliber you can handle and place properly in under 2 sec. I have seen woman struggle to shoot a 9mm XD because hand size did not reach trigger yet they use my 1911 .45 and due to trigger location and proper technique no problem executing proper shots in time crunch.

There is no substitute for training under pressure and time limits. Enter a local IDPA or Pin match if for nothing less to see your body respond to modest amount of pressure in shooting. The matches also are great at assuring proper safety techniques as well.

Shoot well and safe everyone. Get thorough training, practice, practice, practice, possibly reload to help costs, use factory for defensive ammo, and I did mention practice.

BTW there is no better feel than a forged blade golf club than a cavity back, just saying. lol


JarheadJoe February 15, 2012 at 1:12 am

No contest mates if you’re tagged anywhere with a 45 you’re down and out. Best secondary or primary is the sawed-off 12 gauge semi auto. Can’t beat that combo. Courtesy USMC


mr keltec February 19, 2012 at 6:53 am

spot on CaptBart.


Protect :) February 20, 2012 at 12:50 am

None of the gun matter if you can’t shoot, the 9mm is a great all purpose weapon, and I like the 40 S&W because it’s not too much but if you want to put someone on their butt, the 45 is it. The 22′s accurate and a great weapon to carry if your a beginner or a woman looking for protection but not too overbearing, every weapon is different, but I’d choose a S&W MP 40 V-Tac, beautiful weapon


zbx February 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I would prefer a shotgun.But in a survival situation,considering I am on foot,I would need my load to be as light as possible and reliable(keep it simple)so I would choose a 357 revolver,preferably the 7shot version


Joseph Munier February 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm

What is second only to water when backpacking? Weight. A 45acp = 21g. A 9mm = 12g. A 22lr = 3g. You can carry 4x the 22 vs 9mm and 7x the 22 vs 45acp. You can feed yourself with 22lr. Shoot a rabbit with a 45 and there is nothing left to eat. You can feed both your carbine and your pistol with 22lr. Its the most widely used round on the planet so your chance of replenishing your ammo is great. Stopping power? Its the round the CIA uses for "extraction". Oh ya, according to the FBI what is the number one round for murder in the good old USA? You guessed it 22lr.

Dr. Keys


yogidabear2003 February 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

I own a para ordinance 14-45 that is the best of both worlds, .45 acp with 14-1 capacity in a double stack mag…and for those that have been in an emergency situation hi capacity is good but without the pure brute stopping power it is useless if you have to pump an entire mag at something to stop it. If you need to use a pistol it is so disappointing to fire at someone inside a car just to watch your rounds glance of the windshield.


Kevin February 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Well I Like Both.. But I think I have to say I’ve heard story’s of cops shooting A bad Guy once with A 9mm and Dropping him.. But I personally know A marine in Afganistan who shot a Taliban guy 9 times center mass and He kept on fighting until his Budy got him in the Head with an A4 5.56 round.. My security guard freind shot a dude in the Chest 2 times and it did not stop anyway Yes the Marine was using FMJ. So maybe with Good self defense ammo like Speer Gold dot + p JHP the 9 is ok. I still like the Dam Round no matter what I hear about it Good or Bad.


Kevin February 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

9 no 45.. No 9… No 45 ahhhhhh no 9…no 45!! No 9!!


James March 7, 2012 at 12:47 am

I have been shooting for a long time and i chose the 9mm due to the price of the rounds and the recoil, I have owned 9mm. 40., and .45, Recently though i watched a police training video that was a true story about a cop that pulled over a viet nam vet. The cop shot the guy twice in the stomach area with a 9mm pistol how ever the vet was able to reload and shoot the officer over 20 times with a .30 carbine rifle. My thoughts are if the cop would have had a bigger caliber pistol then the vet would have never had a chance to reload and kill the officer, now with that said the officer did need some range time because he only hit the perp 2 times out of reloading his gun twice.


Azrael March 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I reload and shoot 45 but do most of my shooting with a 22lr practice practice practice!I am fond of my glock21's 13rnd cap. and even bigger fan of my FN TACTICAL 15RND CAP.It has trijicon amber dot that don't need batteries and the trij night-sights it comes with.Very accurate and dependable,am sure I could take a deer out with it if needed.I know not the best choice would probably use my scoped tc 44 reloads for that. This debate is really apples and oranges but fun. I hope to be able to find a good cold beer once in a while when the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE hit's have a nice day ;) ROFL


Doc March 14, 2012 at 9:56 am

In a SHTF scenario or even a TEOTWAWKI scenario, I'd rather have a 9mm. I just purchased a Sig 9mm p226 actually. If you come across someone and god forbid it comes down to it and it becomes a life or death scenario, chances are he's going to be carrying 9mm or 5.56 rounds. Restocks and caches of 9mm rounds are going to be more common than .45 rounds. I made the purchase due to that factor alone. I still want a .45 and intend on buying one, but being in the military I am trained with a 9mm and that played a big factor in my purchase as well.


mac March 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm

this no-actual-knockdown power of firearms is confusing people. anything stronger than 50 foot-punds (a strong slap) can knock a person down. 50fp is roughly .22 long rifle. combat pistol cartridges give 400+fp. but that does not guaranty a knock-down. the reason is bullet behavior when hitting a soft medium (humans.)

a bullet kills you. that's the end of it. it might hav eknocked you down in the process but why argue about that? the myth buster experiment is not convicing, and neither is that FBI report.


Bracket Buster March 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Here is what it comes down to, drill a hole in a frozen watermelon through the top and bottom. Attach an apparatus that runs from the bottom through the top with a way to attach a rope. Swing that SOB from a tree branch at about waist level at the bottom of the swing. Assume someone is charging you, unload a .22, 9mm, and .45 on three different watermelons. Most people unload when threatened, which did you do the most damage with? It’s the wizard not the wand.


ariel March 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Not sure when this post was written, but polls and data (i.e. fired brass counts at ranges, reloading sales, etc.) I've been seeing 2009 to present do NOT represent .40 S&W as a "distant third." If you roll back the clock to 2000, yes that was an accurate statement. No longer. It varies a bit by source, region, etc., but 9/40/45 are solidly the Big 3 currently. Generally 9mm is the most popular with .40/45 being fairly similar – in civilian circles. Also, you do know that some U.S. Military elite units use .45 ACP, correct?


mike March 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm



TripodXL March 22, 2012 at 11:12 pm

cptB…it comes down to mindset. Those that seem unfazed by the proximity of the Reaper are just as scared as anyone else. They have simply channeled it into producing an appropriate re-sponse to the issue at hand. If you are in a "sure enough" fire fight situation, you have two choices, either crumble under the pressure or respond with your best performance. In the military there were a lot of "isms" about shooting. The only thing worse than a slow hit is a slow miss; a hit with a small bullet is better than a miss with a big bullet; and my favorite is "smooth is fast and fast is good"; and of course the well loved "the loudest sound I ever heard was 'click'". If you are worried about your life at the time you need to perform the best and it affects your performance then it is counterproductive. That's one reason practice should be often and as realistic as you can make it. Ability and attitude. If you come to the realization that if you don't perform well or you turn and run that you'll die, then if you develop the attitude that all the pressure is off because all you can do in re-sponse is better than dieing, then you should be as okay as you can be. It is a simple thing, but not necessarily an easy thing. It takes a lot of introspection and philosophical, existential soul searching to get to that point, but it is possible. If someone is trying to kill you, what's the worst thing they can do to you? Doh!!!! Might as well relax and be smooth, because smooth is fast, and fast is good (smooth also contributes to accuracy). Remember, they can't eat you, and even if they did you'd be dead anyway. Relax and enjoy the firefight. Be well, enjoy.


CaptBart March 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

From experience I will confirm that the LOUDEST noise in the world is a CLICK when it should be a bang. It happened in RVN – fortunately my 1911 went bang when it had to, so I lived. The second loudest sound in the world is a 7.62X39 going by your head close enough to feel the heat! All the platitudes are good but until you've been in a two way lead exchange you do not know how you'll react. You seem to do a lot more thinking during the event than I did. I just reacted and did my best to keep my men and I alive. Fortunately I had this one NCO who KNEW what he was doing and kept us all alive.

I don't disagree with your position, it is just that fear or the lack of it is often not a factor during a firefight in my experience. Before and after, absolutely. During the event, my experience has been I've been too busy doing what I've trained to do. With that as a given, first round head shots are tough because of the adrenalin levels. Unless you practice shooting often, even daily, so that the gross motor skills can do the job without your help, you probably won't get that first shot take down that is so beloved of so many in Hollywood and the mall ninjas. Most humans are not put together to be ice cold in those situations.

"Relax and enjoy the firefight" – I assume you're joking. Anyone who says they enjoy getting shot at is either an idiot or lying. It sounds macho but it's just stupid; stay away from that person because they'll get you killed.

Just the not so humble opinion of someone who's been in one or more firefights.


Andrew March 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Anyone here ever heard of this new thing that just came out called shot placement? 9mm is just fine.


Sal April 1, 2012 at 3:56 am

No it isn't. It has the recoil of a rifle and VERY hard to handle. You also have to consider that if you are wounded and your wife or child has to take over the shooting the 500 is way to big. Even the .44 and .45 are to big. A simple to shoot S & W model 27 in .357 magnum or .38 special would be better for them and the .357 is a STOPPER.


ThomasC. April 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

My wife shoots my .45 acp and my .357 magnum quite well. Not that she likes it much but she has not trouble shoot either pistol


Guest April 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I say .45. Ammo capacity isn't as strong an argument as before the USP was made. It holds only three rounds fewer than the M9, and more recoil is good. More recoil=more stopping power, at least in this case.


Chief Dave April 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm

One thing I have learned and taught as a military and LE Firearms and street survival instructor is: In a deadly force confrontation it doesn't matter whether you carry a .38 Special or a 44 Magnum. Shot placement is what matters. With a modern firearm and any ammunition designed for personal defense,i.e. 14" penetration, a "T" Zone hit will stop the assailant. The "T" Zone is the line following the spine with the top of the "T" from the left eye socket to the right eye socket. With that said, PRACTICE with you carry weapon is VITAL to you surviving an armed encounter!!


max April 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I would go with a 9mm. Nothing against a .45 but i only have a 9mm glock 17. I could shot more people with it and carry more ammo with my ar15. It is used by our Military and if SHTF there would maybe be dead troops laying around and guess what, they have 9mm ammo likely on them. Now if a guy was on pcp my 9mm would take like 17 rounds but all i need is a face shot. A .45 is good against those threats and does have more stopping power, but 9mm i could take more ammo and mag's on my body.


SurvingJerry April 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm

No offense to anyone, but I see all these references to someone on PCP, but really, who does PCP anymore? Well, ok, I did a little research. Seems like it has made a bit of a comeback in a new form called "wet." Still, while it seems that people may perform super-human feats while under the influence, the urban legend of violence seems to be directly largely towards police while trying to make an arrest, or run of the mill turf wars among rival dealers. It just seems to me that the odds of having to defend yourself from someone "high on PCP" (in the classic sense) is about the same as having to defend yourself from a classic, movie-style zombie.


Guest April 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

.22 .38 9mm .45 really your brain or heart doesn't know the difference it's more about shot placement than bullet size when carrying a personal firearm since none of us will be calling for arty or air support. I've also seen mentioned on here that the double tap is taught due to the lack of power in a 9mm that is also not true. A hammer pair is taught in both rifle and pistol shooting and the reason being is the majority of the human body is water. Same concept when you throw two rocks into a pond simultaneously vs 1 rock. Which creates the bigger disturbance/splash.


KansasScout April 6, 2012 at 10:58 am

The main reason I use a .45ACP chambered pistol is the M1911 is what I know. I own one of the Rock Island Armory M1911. Of the M1911s on the market this one is less costly than a Beretta or even the Taurus equivilant. Now I agree in a survival situation with PCW it is actually the best for a person to use a rifle and pistol in the same caliber, but many people own some sort of rifle in a known rifle cartridge and a pistol or revolver in a known pistol cartridge. I my case I have two rifles and one pistol. My suggestion is to find the pistol and cartridge mating you're comfortable with on many factors that when boiled down amount to ease of use and availability of ammunition.


P99ACCURATE April 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

+i do find it funny, when ppl say the a hand gun doesn't stop anyone….. REALLY!!!! check you local paper, handguns have been stopping people in there track ever since they were invented…. I like them both and for different reasons, but I am more of a 9mm guy!!!! maybe even a .357!!!!


William Davis April 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm

I am a .45 man, although I also like the .40. I carry a 9mm at work, but that is my employer's decision. The .45 is a bit more expensive, and has less magazine capacity, but I believe gun control is hitting your target, with the first and every shot. So capacity doesn't matter. I also love the dependability of the weapon. The 1911 has been around for over a hundred years. It was invented by Browning, bought by Colt, and imitated by everyone. That is just me. My wife prefers a .380, so…


Dehedroth April 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm

This whole debate is a never ending one. I'm new here so pardon the first post. Both are equally good in their own regards. It's almost like comparing apples and oranges. Yes I said almost. In the end a 9mm and .45 will still put down a BG and will still be helpful in a SHTF situation because they were designed to do one job… KILL. What it really comes down to is what one feels best for you shooting. Personally, I prefer the 9mm just because I can control it better than the others. Not saying that I'm a bad shot with others but when I'm shooting I can get my sight picture back quicker than with the .45, not much but it's quicker.

Basically, in the end people who like 9mm will always vote for 9mm and people who like .45 will always go with .45 and that's ok. When it comes down to it, those who are more comfortable with their weapons, no matter the size, will come out on top in the end.


n8gvfd April 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Personally, I have an Smith & Wesson M&P .40, it feels great in my hand, and .40 ammo seems a good in between, I have used .40 S&W ammo since I can remember, and it has plenty of knock-down power, however, I am most accurate with my .45 1911 style Kimber Custom Pro II, but I am always improving with the M&P, and it is my primary carry weapon. I would have to say, .40 has greater availability then .45 in my area, but 9mm will always be cheaper then either the .40 or .45, still, I trust my .40 more then my 9mm Berreta, and will continue to swear my by M&P till I can get to my AR, or Mosberg 500.


Talmage April 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm

I am firmly in the 45 ACP camp on this issue. The average gun encounter is 21 feet or less per police statistics. At that range the stopping power of the 45 is critical. Heavier, fewer rounds in the gun etc. arguments ignore the fact if you hit your target with the first round the rest doesn't matter. If you cannot hit a human sized target at 21 feet then don't carry a gun, it is useless to you.


Joker April 30, 2012 at 10:21 am

The issue isn’t which is better it is which do you prefer if you have money and prefer a 45. to a 9mm then by all all means buy it but if you can’t afford to shoot it then don’t and get a 9mm either way it should be up to the consumer about what they feel more comfortable shooting. My buddy prefers a 9mm whereas I prefer a 45 it depends what you want to use it for. If your only using if as a range gun then 9mm for ammo price if you want to put down an attacker it doesn’t matter if you use a 9mm or a 45. with a well placed head shot both will do the job.


Joker April 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

Everybody here already knows a 45. has more knockdown power but I know alot of people that prefer a 9mm for accuracy when shooting competitions. 45. is by far the better of the 2 in my opinion but as I stated before its all on who prefers what.


KansasScout May 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm

CaptBart, remember the lesson from Louis L'Amour's western novels, If the other guy still has a gun in his or her hand and moving he or she is still dangerous so you keep shooting until the aren't a danger anymore. When they've lost enough energy through blood loss and trauma to drop their gun you can stop shooting.

The trouble with the 9mmP, the .38sp, the .380, the 9mm Makarov, etc. they lack sufficient transfer of energy on a single impact to bring about immediate end to hostilities. Like you and some of the others I prefer a pistol or revolver that uses ammo that has a caliber that begins with a 4 such as .40S&W, .41, .44sp, .44-40 (a Winchester Center Fire Rifle round with revolvers chambered for it), .45Colt, or .45ACP. By the way the ballistics and bullet energies of the .45ACP match those of the Remington 1858 .44 Army and the Colt 1860 .44 Army and the .45Schofield/ .45Army loads used by the U.S. Army prior to the Spanish America War and Filippino Insurrection. The .45 Colt actually has more power transfer at impact than the .45 ACP. So your use of the Ruger Blackhawk that uses either .45Colt or .45ACP works for you.


joe May 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Neither, I'll take a 357 magnum with 125 grain hollow points thankyou very much. A 45 is a fine weapon but 9mm's are for punk kids with only one gun they rarely shoot and they think it's way more capable than it really is.


J May 6, 2012 at 8:33 am

The size of the round means nothing. Marksmanship is everything. If i put 5 9mm holes into a five inch circle on your chest in 2-3 seconds, you think maybe that will “knock” you down?


Lynne May 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Being old, small and fragile, I'd have to opt for the 9mm – I want a survival weapon I am able to survive without breaking anything.


Guest May 21, 2012 at 9:10 am

In a SHTF situation I will be sporting a Glock 22 with a 27 backup (both are 40's) my wife will have her trusted 1911 on her hip. Youngest daughter will have a Glock 19 & 26 (both 9mm's) and last but not least my oldest daughter is partial to the Mossburg 590 Special Purpose 12 GA. alternatining 00 Buck with slugs. Everyone has the ammo for their weapon in their back pack. With this diversion of weapons we should be able to find ammo for at least one of the weapons in a bug out situation. I might add with this kind of firepower to quote Mr. "T"…"I pitty the fool that tries to mess with us".


Guest May 21, 2012 at 9:31 am

In my previous post I stated that in a bug out SHTF situation Glocks and the Springfield 1911 will be going with us. The one thing I have noticed here is that very few take into concideration care and up keep of the weapon. Both the 1911 and the Glocks are not happy spotless clean. They tend to fire better after a few rounds have gone down range. The other thing I look at is reliability. I have had my Glock break a pin during annual Requal and it stayed in operation until I completed relay 6 of 6. At that point I broke the weapon down and found the broke pin. The range officer was sporting a Sig and said if that same pin had broke in his Sig he would have been out of the gun fight. As for the 1911 it is combat proven in all conditions and continued to serve its owner. Drop a high grade hollow point in either of these firearms and you have an excellent weapons platform.


Joe Hoefling June 3, 2012 at 8:17 am

I did not read all of the posts, so perhaps this has been said. I have been researching this topic for quite sometime. I still look up comments just to see if anything new pops up. What the "experts" have concluded is that caliber is not as important as accuracy and shot placement. Hit a vital organ and a .22 will do the job. Miss a vital organ and even a .45 is ineffective. Round velocity can make a difference as can mass. Velocity seems to be more important as it creates the "wave of desruction" caused by the projectile. So, that being said and all things considered, you should carry what you practice with and you should practice often! A center mass shot or pair of shots in the "red zone" where the major organs and structures reside should do the trick regardless of caliber.

Joe Paramedic and concealed carry advocate


joe June 7, 2012 at 1:08 am

As a paramedic i have seen the first hand effects of both rounds as well as many others….. i have read "knockdown power" in many posts. while iam aware that this has some relevance, i believe the most important factor is the location of the shot. EXP: man A. shoots "Bob" with a .45 in the arm and misses the major arteries and veins. man B shoots "Bob" with a 9mm center mass and hits one or more major organs/arteries. the result is obvious. so in my humble opinion it isnt the size of the weapon, its how you use it….


marcopolo June 10, 2012 at 6:34 am

as long as you hit a vital organ or major blood vessel, there is a slim chance a doctor can save them, a .45
has a better chance hitting those things


Mnhunter3982 June 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I prefer the .45 ACP. I am a bigger man so recoil is no problem. If I plan on firing at anything, turkey or thug, I shoot to kill. I respect the 9mm for its capacity, but power means more all around.


Michael June 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I like the 9mm price but in a smaller frame weapon it has a lot of recoil, in a standard 4inch barrel the 9mm shoots great. Also calibers have seasons if the (shtf) i would rather have a 45 in a close quater combat. They are both great rounds and now the 45 has different options on handguns with more rounds, Xdm 45 holds 13+1, taurus pt845 holds 12+1, FnH holds 15 rds,glock 21 gen 4 holds 13+1, so you do the math, people who have been in the trench know they dont want to shoot at the enemy (threat) more than they have to. Other than that shoot what you can welll and practice. If shot placement is the winner then you need to make sure you can shoot accurately with your firearm, no matter what the caliber is. In the state of GA we have had more officers killed in the line of duty with a .22 more than any other round. So caliber plays a part but dont get hung up in it.


Joe010106 June 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm

If you can't hit the broad side of a barn from the inside then it dosent really matter, I have family and freinds in the NY. metro area and it's an act of congress just to get a weapon let alone practice.
I live in Texas, trained with a .45 in the military converted to the 9mm still shoot both. I carry the Xdm .40. It's easy to shoot, inexpensive, has stoping power, and looks threatening. I agree a shotgun is better and rifel the best but when you need you need.


SIGP226 June 22, 2012 at 11:20 am

For small Frame (9mm) sized autos i would highly recommend the .357 Sig. Its no magnum but i does a fantastic job as far as damage and penetration. The Secret Service all use it. Another cool feature is that from my Sig p226 i can fire .22LR, .40, .357Sig, and 9mm with simple barrel and/or slide changes. I started with a Sig P226 ST in .40. now i carry it in .357 Sig, compete in .40 and practice in 9mm or .22. I find that the various calibers can actually make you a better shooter (kinda like being proficient with multiple handguns makes you better). I find that at ranges past 80 yrds (shooting a 12×8 target) the .357 is the best performer but the .40 does a good job too.
For a full size frame auto (.45) check out the 10mm. That particular round is devastating.
If you like the 9mm size bullet (on a .45 frame) you might look into the Winchester 9×23. Its a hot little round too.
never could get into these debates much. too many pros/cons to each. Too many left up to application and shooter skill.
9mm would have better penetration and is easier for most folks to shoot. the .45 gets stuck in barriers easier but is more effective on targets.
To each his own!


terrdzendich June 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Any caliber will destroy the target with a well placed shot. You have a higher likelihood of executing a well placed shot with a lower recoil round. Especially on follow up shots. Also, for survival, the more widely available round is preferable. As a result, the 9mm is by far the best survival handgun round. It is easier to stock more because it is less expensive and it will be easier to find if you were forced to scavenge for ammo.


Dan June 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Personally, I prefer the 9mm. I can "handle" the recoil on a .45 just fine, but I'm more accurate and precise with a nine. What's more, I can fire off six shots with a 9mm more than twice as fast as I can with a .45 (and still have any measure of accuracy). Now, some people can shoot just as well or better with a .45, but for accuracy's sake give me a heavy gun with light recoil.

We can apply another test if you like. In a total-breakdown-of-society situation, cash isn't exactly going to have much value unless people agree that it does. What IS going to become the basis of trade is tangible goods. But even a barter system has a baseline. So, what's lightweight, universally used and likely to be carried in large quantities in this sort of situation? Bullets. Bullets will likely become the basis of trade for quite some time. So, what would you rather have as a trading unit? A round that's more widely popular and that you're likely to have more to spare, or a round that's less common and that you might not have in tradable quantities due to weight and volume? I think for that reason alone I'd rather stock up on nines than .45s, even if it weren't my personal preference.


guest June 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Don't take the word of any armchair cowboy here whose information comes from personal bias (e.g. love of the traditional 45), internet forums, and playing Call of Duty. Unless they are experts in ballistics testing they are not in a position to say "this caliber is better", or "this caliber is weak". __Always go with expert testimony and expert ballistic testing. Also, observe what law enforcement, especially federal agencies, use. I believe the current standard is .40 S&W and they would not be carrying it if it was "short and weak" like many would lead you to believe.

Those who put down the .40 S&W are old farts, and misguided sons of old farts, who can't let go of the fact that it is no longer a popular caliber and on the extinction list.


guest June 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm

When I said "it" in my previous post I meant 10mm. Old farts, and sons of old farts, who can't accept that 10mm is relegated to the NOT IN STOCK list of their local gun shops. .40 S&W is the new standard whether they like it or not.


carbine74 June 25, 2012 at 4:14 pm

This 9 MM or 45 has been going on so long I think we could recite all the arguments from memory.Shotgun is the way to go if possible but there are drawbacks as well. I perfer the Kimber ultra ll for the weight and still have 8 rds available.With an extra mag shoud be plenty. Practice is the key for either round.Ruger 10/22 with 25 rd mag for small game or cover fire. I still duck for cover when I hear the crack of a 22.


!73rd LRRP June 25, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Moros were not necessarily on drugs, just tough determined warriors. One supposedly took a dozen Krag rounds before he went down after taking down one of two of your guys. A really determined man will only go down with a nervous system hit from a pistol. We had someone put quite a few rounds from a silenced greasgun into a couple of guys near War Zone D and they made it back to their village and complained about the shooting. They were legitimate woodcutters in a free-fire zone. Guys will try to make a living, can not complain about their entrepenourial (sic) spirit) The US took care of the hospitilization.


Jason June 26, 2012 at 12:01 am

I just prefer capacity over caliber and that's why I choose the 9mm JHP. I own a Beretta M9 and Glock 19, both with 15-rd magazines and I always carry 2 extra on my belt. I train with it all the time. i.e. grouping, reflexive fire, etc. I've always been the guy who hoped for the best and prepared for the worst. What if I owned a 1911 .45 ACP and yeah it's drilled in my head that I'm a bad sumbitch because I'm carrying one and I found out I wasn't the bad sumbitch with it I thought I was because I hit my targets on the range. What if I mowed through my 8 rounds from adrinaline and I'm still receiving fire and my assailant is packing a Glock 19 with a 33-rd magazine taking cover and popping shots at me. What now? Use my care package and hope I get a sentry gun? lol


Devil Dog June 27, 2012 at 11:31 am

The true story. Come to your own conclusions……

Semper Fi


guest July 9, 2012 at 10:26 am
Mnhunter3982 July 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm

As in my previous post on page 1, I still like the .45 acp. But after reading some of the newer comments, I agree with more people. To me, the .45 is still top dog, but now I will rank my ideas.

1. .45- super strong
2. .40- strong, high capacity
3. 9mm- highest capacity, lower power than the rest
4. .357 Sig- if it was more common it would have been tied with the 9mm
5. .380- low power, close range only, low capacity
6. all revolvers- high power, low capacity, slow reloads, high recoil
Some of you may ask "well what about the Judge?" I say low capacity, unaccurate, slow reloads, and bulky.

Sorry if i offend anyone, I am not trying to persuade you, I want to inform the people here who don't know what to think. thanks for reading


guest July 8, 2012 at 4:48 am

Use of the term knock power = article isn't worth a damn.


Mark July 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

.45 ACP because a handgun is a close quarters weapon (think 10') and I don't want to shoot something/someone 8 or 10 times to keep them from closing that space. While the 9mm is the handgun carried by the army it is NOT a popular weapon. The most requested handgun is the 1911A1


frankenstein July 13, 2012 at 9:29 pm

FBI statistics report that in 99% of all non military shoot outs 3 or less shots are taken. The FBI has been in more shootouts then me so i belive it. If i only had 3 shots to stop someone, id prefer them to be's
thats all im saying you know what im saying?


Romac July 16, 2012 at 5:53 am

I am a 30 yr. Retired military and former police officer. What firearm you select would depend on what you intend to use it for. The 9mm, 40, and 45 cal. are great defensive weapons, but lousy hunting guns (unless you’re already an accomplished shooter). I personally would spend the money on a good target quality 22 cal. They’re lighter, the autos have high capacity magazines, you can carry more ammo., and even a novice can shoot one accurately. While it doesn’t have to knock down power of the heavy hitters, it’s been one of the favored weapon of professional hit men for decades (I’m not sure if that’s a very good testimonial, but it does speak for itself). You can also buy “rat shot” ammo. (mini shot gun shells). Again, not the knock down power of an 9mm, 40, or 45, but a few well placed round will discourage all but the most crazed attacker. I’ve owned more pistols than I can remember… for me personally, for survival, for ease of carrying, and better range… I’ll take a good target 22 over the hogs every time


don July 16, 2012 at 7:54 am

why are the current U.S boys in afghanistan scrabbling to get their hands on 45's as backups rather than the beretta.i know some people say the beretta is not as reliable as some other alternative pistols,but it cant be solely for this reason.


Eastcountycop July 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

My First Post On This Site….. I am 32, a veteran of OIF ('03), and former police officer… I have been involved in, and investigated numerous shootings…. here is my $ .02…
I cut my teeth on (and still LOVE 1911's)… if only ball ammo is available, this may be the best "putter-downer", but has limited carrying capacity & 100 rounds of .45 is a LOT of weight.
1) You may be limited to what YOU YOURSELF can carry
2) You may have to shoot WHATEVER TYPE of that caliber is available
3) You may have to take rounds off of a "downed" subject (horribly it may be a soldier, police officer, or civilian), or a vacant store, or home (God forbid)
4) A handgun is only to fight back to your long gun, or as a last resort when the long gun fails.
For these reasons, I would chose a .40. Most LEO's carry .40's, hence it's COMMON: USUALLY, only about 10% of ground troops actually have a sidearm… (all have .556 rifles)…. Shot capacity close to 9's & larger diameter. SHOT PLACEMENT.
My final back-up is a Ruger 10/22 Breakdown & small ruger .22LR revolver.
Just one or two pockets of ammo, that's still 250-600 rounds.


Eastcountycop July 25, 2012 at 11:47 am

As a follow-up…. My Father is a retired Houston Police Officer who was involved in numerous shootings, as well as investigating hundreds… I have heard of people taking multiple hits with .45's and still keep fighting, and live. I have ALSO heard of people being instantly stopped by 9mm rounds. People are individuals and have unique reactions to being shot. PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY'RE HIT WITH. I even talked to an old school deputy that EMPTIED HIS .12 GA SHOTGUN AND HIS .45 INTO A BG AND STILL HAD TO FIGHT THE GUY. People die from two things; 1) cessation of the nervous system functions & 2) loss of blood. The difference is 9mm & .45 is almost not worth discussing. Look at both compared to the human body. Horrible choices to stop a person…. I'd prefer to be the worlds best shot…. but since none of us are, I'll take the option of poking as many holes as I can in the shortest amount of time.


SurvingJerry July 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Respectfully, might not a semi-auto .22lr satisfy that holes/time equation best due to lowest recoil and rapid target re-acquisition (because a miss means no hole)?
I am guessing you probably mean a shotgun, but then which load? You get more pellets with bird shot than buck shot, but much less "devastation."


CPT. ALLEN July 30, 2012 at 11:52 am

i am an airborne ranger infantry officer ( O-3 ). when i joined the US ARMY as a private back in 1981. M1911 was it. First chance to use it in combat condition was Grenada – love the stopping power but the 7 rd mag was a big hindrance when sidearm was all you had to defend yourself. Then the M9 arrived – used it in OEF, a taliban took 4 rounds in chest ( center mass as i was trained ) AND DID NOT GO DOWN. I have GLOCK 22 with 15 rd mag. I am sticking with this baby even though US ARMY supply chain does not support me. I am in a ranger unit we are allowed to carry our own sidearm. Reg INF unit does not allow this option. Love my GLOCK!


JMaulz August 3, 2012 at 8:46 am

As an overall round I choose the .40. Plenty of energy behind it. Cheaper than a .45 and in my particular area is very very abundant. Wouldn't be hard to get extra rounds if I need. Police, security, and majority of the surrounding area uses the .40. Seems the wise choice in my mind.


Renee August 7, 2012 at 8:48 am

I'm a female and I have a pair of Springfield XD 45's (among others). I reload so cost is really not much of a consideration. Put a trigger kit in them to get the trigger pull down to 2.5 lbs and a little under 1/4 inch. I practice often and can shot with either hand indivually or together. Bottom line it comes down to accuracy and I guarantee ONE hit with the 45 your pretty much done. I think the 9mm is a bit overated thanks to Hollywood and James Bond… I've shot it, feels wimpy after getting used to the 45s.


Michael August 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

A 9mm with the correct ammo is just as effective as a 45. A +p+ hydroshock expands to .70 of an inch and penatrates up to 14"…. a similar .45 round expands to .70 of an inch and penetrates up to 12". The 9mm round is flying at 1250fps while the .45 is flying at 800fps. In a SHTF situation the key is to get as many hits on target as possible to eliminate the threat. While it is possible to buy a .45 that holds 15 rounds, a high capacity 9mm is easier and cheaper to acquire. It also has way less recoil and you can practice more often because the ammunition is cheaper compared to .45 practice ammo. I would use a .45 in a heart beat, but it make more sense to me to carry a 9mm. I even load it with glazier safety rounds in my house so I don't kill my neighbors when someone breaks the door down, a .45 would still penetrate the wall. I carry the hydroshocks when I am out and about. It should be also noted that you can get a very small 9mm for concealed carry. I have a ruger LC9 that I put in my front pocket, and a taurus 24/7 OSS that I carry open around town all the time.


Jannie August 16, 2012 at 7:14 am

Hi all, I’m new to this site and to this forum. Being a South African citizen, a police member infact I would like to add my two cents worth to this debate that will rage on untill the sun turns blue. 9mm VS. .45 ACP, decisions decisions hey? The nine mil offers more capacity and a lighter load versus the .45 which offers more ‘stopping power’. In my experience in a country that has a significant amount of firearms crimes, the one thing that I have learned, and can base this on many scenes and cases worked is that it doesnt matter what you shoot a perpetrator with, unless you put your bullet where it is needed there is a very good chance he will be in a good enough condition to return the favour. Shot placement is key to any engagement, and where the nine mil beats the .45 is that its recoil is much milder, even with 147 grain bullets, than the lightest .45 load. Also, in pistol type firearms the .45 is wasted (in my opinion) because the barrel lengths are too short to get the full potential out of a .45 calibre cartridge. Another thing mentioned many times in this forum, and one thing I agree with especially for a shtf situation, is that the nine mil is a much smaller cartridge than a .45 and as such many more a cartridge can be carried than its heavier counterpart. So i believe (also in my opinion), that proper practice with a 9 mil, and proper preperations that take it’s capabilities into account wont leave you holding your d@&$ in your hands when the shtf.


Dave August 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I have a 45 M&P a 40 M&P and a Baretta 92fs, and I can shoot well with all of them, with the right round it really doesn't matter which one you use if you a good shot your are going to STOP the threat !…I have seen post about the 40 having a snappy recoil I do not agree at least not with my M&P 40 subcompact, if you haven't shot one try it WOW…BUT if you want to put rounds on target the Baretta is the best ive found.


Dave August 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

God bless our Military…but they are required to only shoot ball ammo…may be the difference in the knock down power of the 9mm and the 45…it is know that the both rounds in FMJ will pretty much go clean through a threat and the 9mm being smaller it has less effect…bump up to hollow points and the effect between the rounds is almost the same….


Dave August 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm

OK ENOUGH SAID ABOUT GLOCKS !!! Before you buy a Glock please shoot an S&W M&P no matter the caliber…or concelment needs…Made in THE USA and fells and shoots better that the Glock.


John August 17, 2012 at 12:32 am

From combat experience, the 1911 .45's cartridge "one shot-one kill" is vastly superior. We might be speaking German had it not been for its killing power.


Aaron September 1, 2012 at 7:27 am
Gotta love youtube. No knock down, no leg blown off, just a through and through with ball. Same thing that would happen with a 9mm with ball. With modern ammo you'll have expansion and more internal damage, but one is no more lethal than the other. There's no proof that one is more lethal than the other, anywhere. If you want to go by emergency room cases here in America, head shots and vital shots are almost always fatal, even with a .22. Beyond that it's luck and how quickly you get to the hospital. My fiance' (nurse) was telling me off a guy who took 3 .45s to the back and kept running before he got hit in the leg. The junk in his backpack stopped all the .45s, and it certainly didn't knock him down. Humans are heavy, bullets are light, even going XXX fps.


Kimber1911 September 4, 2012 at 7:42 am

I have all three, 9mm, 40 S&W, and .45 ACP. The 9mm and 40 hold double the ammo per magazine over my .45cal Kimber 1911, which holds 7 to 8 rounds per magazine. However, i feel pretty confident that each of those 7-8 rounds will absolutely devastate my target. Having more rounds in your gun means nothing if they do not hit anything. However, all 3 rounds are deadly if they are well placed within the vital organs of your target. All that being said, the largest caliber each of use can shoot ACCURATELY, is our best choice every time. Since I happen to shoot well with all 3, I choose the .45, as it is the largest caliber i shoot accurately with. And since I know that it is highly unlikely for me to have more than 7 or 8 attackers at the same time without the opportunity to switch my clips, I feel that 7-8 rounds is more than enough.
By the way, the Ed Brown Super 8 magazine which holds 8, of course with the 9th in the pipe gives you 9 rounds in the standard 1911 pistol. If someone cannot take down multiple targets with 9 rounds of any calibler, I think they would be better off carrying a "rape whistle" than a gun. So they can alert someone else who can actually shoot.


FFF99 September 11, 2012 at 6:38 am

I prefer 9mm for SHTF situation. more fire power , more load capacity, lighter and cheaper to purchase. 45 is okay but for survival situation its 9mm for me. Its shot placement that is important.


guest September 14, 2012 at 10:32 am

Im personally more of a 9mm person…

1. Ammo availability after a SHTF situation.. If you have no ammo.. you have a hammer..
2. 9mm tends to be more accurate at range.. If you dont land the shot.. It doesnt count.
3. High Velocity lead is high Velocity lead… If you get hit, your probably screwed no matter size of round.
4. People argue stopping power.. Just squeeze the trigger again and be done with it…
5. easier to carry more ammo (its lighter) vs 45


oldsnpr September 24, 2012 at 8:02 am

I own .45's but I will be purchasing 9mm for survival. I like the permanent wound channel of .45, and have even taken whitetail deer with it, but IMO the extra weight and bulk of the ammunition is the deciding factor. I won't be using it for hunting, and (for people) the ballistic difference is not that great.


Mrloveusa September 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Loved all the comments,but when you look at 80%of murders(by guns) in the us.Why are they from 9mm? Very rarely by a 45? I know those guys don't go to the range and practice,so the 9mm must be doing something right.


T14 October 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm

My 1st post here, so in my humble opinion: E=MC2 Einstein has it correct. It all comes downs to ballistics and the basic premises that your using a round (9mm, 40 SW,45 ACP, 5.56 etc) to send energy down range. Quite simply you can tweak any of them to preform better or worse than another. Put your hits on the target (energy) and that's what matters most.


AMMOsalesman October 19, 2012 at 7:06 am

Here's the thing. No bullet will stop a human doped up on drugs UNLESS it hits the spine. That is from countless studies. Now, it is certainly valid to say that without medical attention any gun shot wound would become fatal…the biggest thing "preppers" miss is a well engineered bullet makes all the difference in the world.

The old mentality of ".45 is the best and most powerful" only stems from people comparing direct 115 grain 9mm and 230 grain .45. Also 30 years ago, things like "bonded rounds" and "jacketed" were not prevalent. Yes hands down I would rather have a .45 rather than a 115gr 9mm ball round. 9mm 115gr is highly ineffectually and 99% guaranteed to pass through the target. When a bullet passed through a person it cauterizes areas with its extreme heat, preventing MASS bleeding right away. However, it will 100% stop someone if you hit the spine. If you are shooting a person you want the bullets to impact and stay in the body, not pass through. .45s travel slower and given that they are nearly a half inch in circumference are much more likely to get stuck on a bone or a spinal column.


AMMOsalesman October 19, 2012 at 7:07 am

In Iraq it was not uncommon for people to survice multiple 9mm shots and continue moving, why? we were given the garbage 115 gr.
………..Now all that deprecation to say, I swear by 9mm in a higher grain.

The top 3 9mm grains are 115gr, 124, and 147.

The MOST popular 9mm is 115 gr which most people find at walmart or anywhere as it is the absolute cheapest. Without getting into a huge dissertation on ballistics from gel testings, my conceal carry is a 147gr JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) bonded round. That is nearly double the damage than a 185 gr .45 produces in a gel block. It also allows me to carry 17 rounds and still be more powerful than 230 gr .45 ball. Unfortunately, my bullet retail is rather pricey.


AMMOsalesman October 19, 2012 at 7:07 am

If you insist on 9mm and can't find 147gr 124+p is a pretty good alternative as well. Ballistically it is up there and far surpasses the cheapest .45. Infact, any hollow point is better than ball period.

Now how about a .45 230 grain JHP? or bonded round? Yes, that is great but only marginally…would you rather have 8 rounds or 17? Most importantly you are looking at nearly 1.50 a round for that type of .45. If you want to reload it the components are kindof pricey as well. I will go with more in my firearm anyday.

At the end of the day, direct ammo comparison: cheapest 9mm to cheapest 45? 45 wins everytime. A well engineered round? 9mm is the most cost effective and best all round blend. Practice with 115gr, maintain higher grains for carry. People say, train how you shoot? Well just know a 124gr kicks more and so does a 147gr bullet, if you can afford shooting high end rounds or heavier grain ball rounds by all means go ahead.


AMMOsalesman October 19, 2012 at 7:08 am

Oh and .40 S&W? Over advertised and quickly being phased out by police departments I can assure you most departments who had .40 are moving back to 9mm or .45. There is a reason in the community its call .40 short and weak. It takes the worst aspects of both the .45 and 9mm ballistically and combines them. If you are so hell bent on that size bullet, get a new barrel shoot .357SIG it is far superior ballistically…so you know from the neck down a .357SIG is a 9mm.


Guest October 22, 2012 at 7:23 am

When it comes to pistols you get what you pay for in this market.So between a 9mm and .45 auto.I would take the .45 in a Nigthawk Custom Predator pistol with the Hornandy Critical Defense round 185 grain FTX bullet. And if I had to pick a 9mm it would be the Glock 34,a good priced pistol,with the Hornandy Critical Defense round 115 grain FTX bullet.Corbon makes the power ball round for the 9mm and .45 acp which is a good bullet.Federal Hydra-Shok rounds for 9mm and .45 acp are really good.So I would go with the .45 pistol.In a revolver I would choose the Smith And Wesson 686 plus.This 7 round SS L-frame revolver with SB monogrip in .357 magnum in either the 4 or 6 inch barrel is very accurate.I would pick the 125 grain round in the Hornandy Critical Defense FTX bullet.


Jon Nightrider October 22, 2012 at 7:29 am

I just made the comments under guest with the Nighthawk Custom Predator .45 auto pistol.My number one pick and the Glock34 9mm pistol.Also the S&W 686 plus .357 magnum revolver.I just wanted to put my mame to my comments if I could.


T14 October 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Bottom line….. you can make either preform the same or better as the other. It is not the size of the physical hole, but the amount of energy you can engage the threat/target with. That is why a 5.56 rifle round is more devastating than a handgun round; although it is a smaller bullet than both the 9mm and the 45 ACP it has a lot more energy. E=MC2!


Dbl.'G' Firearms October 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Clint Smith said it best " a handgun is only useful as a tool to fight your way to a larger weapon"
That having been said…I prefer the 9mm…I think it is an under-rated round. If you use the best ammo, such as Winchester Bonded Ranger, it can be a formidable caliber. Look what Jared Loughner did in Tuscon with his 9mm and that was just Winchester "white-box" fmj practice ammo.
The other salient points are: the 9mm is still selling for bargain prices, which (should) make for more practice, the recoil is more manageable for those who are smaller/weaker or just less experienced, and the deep penetration of the 9mm is more effective in cold climates where heavy or layered clothing is prevalent.


Richard October 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm

There's a reason that the marines went back to the .45 after using the 9mm – actual experience.


CombatAppGrp November 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Since this is a SurvivalCache Forum and there are a few potential needs/uses:

1.) SHTF: Ammo will be desired by all, so I prefer to have a gun in each of the major popular calibers, 9mm, .40 S&W, 45 ACP, because you never know what may be available or in short supply. The handgun is just an intermediary to buy you time to use a Riffle or Shotgun, Obviously Accuracy and Shot Placement with any caliber/handgun or Long gun takes precedence over anything. But since this is SHTF you might consider a higher capacity firearm no matter the platform since yo may have multiple threats to engage.

2. Home Defense/Personal Defense: This still falls into the Accuracy and Shot Placement providing desired results. So choose what ever caliber or firearm you shoot best with as your weapon, but remember a Long gun produces better results. But considering you asked about the caliber here is my .02 The M9 Beretta offers 15+1 rds of 9mm vs. FNH USA FNX 45 offers 15+1 rds of 45 ACP ammo. Both are great and have the same Magazine Capacity so find out which one feels best in your hands and if yo are able to test them both out side by side and see which one you shoot better because it's more about accuracy and shot placement, because you can't neutralize what you cannot hit.

I have 9mm, .40 S&W, and 45 ACP will carry what ever fits my situation or needs.


freedog November 8, 2012 at 10:55 am

Numerous studies of thousands of real life shootings have measured the one shot stopping power of the .45 to be 62.89% and the 9mm to be 62.27%. No difference, whatsoever.


Guest29 November 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I love large ammo, but I have to say I greatly prefer 9mm for the following reasons.
1. 9mm hollow point ammo will devastate the triangle of life anywhere it hits.
2. 9mm is very inexpensive, and the hollow point does not fly significantly different below 45-50 yards, way beyond home defense or personal defense range. Practice cheap, get good, and then use the good stuff when it counts.
3. 9mm is much more a tactical round. Low recoil, not incredibly loud, fast and accurate. Your primary difference is area of shooting. Chest wounds with standard 9mm ammo may not neutralize on the first shot, however that is greatly outweighed by the long term benefits and magazine capacity.

For the record, everything I own otherwise is 7.62 caliber


loop-de-loop November 14, 2012 at 11:30 am

Handguns. Rounds. Cannot. Knock. Down. Human. Beings.

This is not some subjective fact. This is physical reality. Shooting someone with a bullet rips through intestines, muscles, bones, and flesh, causing pain and shock. This causes them to fall down. This is the source of every soldier's tale about the vaunted "stopping power" of their wonder round of choice.

Some people consider certain rounds better at doing this than others, and they are certainly correct. But a tiny projectile cannot evenly displace a sack of fluids and meat that it is simultaneously traveling through. I have seen fifty caliber rounds impact the human body, and rest assured, the individual was not flying through the air.


navysurvivor November 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I am a big fan of 9mm, I have four 9mm pistols, and a rifle. My latest purchase is a Ruger Blackhawk convertible–9mm, 357 magnum, and 38 special, just swap out the cylinder. If ammo becomes hard to find, you have the choice of three different bullets. it also has a 6.5 inch barrel and is a decent gut to hunt with.


John November 23, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Okay I have a 9mm pistol actually two both Beretta's a 92FS and a PX4, and a CX4 Carbine same ammo I'm sticking with the 9mm got a lot invested in it.


joe November 30, 2012 at 7:29 am

I have a colt ,45 acp that is 90 years old, I carry it just about everywhere I go, I "don't leave home without it". (With a CCW license)
I have fired so many thousands of rounds that I can just point it and have a 8" grouping at 45 yrds.
Aiming it, I have a 4" grouping
BTW, I have owned it for 40 years.


guest December 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Getting my CCW soon( I love my1911.45acp).

Been looking hard at this topic lately
Here' s an FBI small arms study PDF.: "Handgun wounding factors and effectiveness."

I encourage you to at least read the conclusions (page16):
" temporary wound cavity had little effect as tissue stretch accomodates projectile velocities below 2000f/s(<I.E. rifle rounds) without significant injury.
kinetic energy does not wound; (knockdown power is a myth)

"The critical element is penetration; the bullet must pass through large blood bearing organs and be of sufficient diameter to cause significant bleeding."

Sounds like a recipe for my pet .45acp.
"even if the heart is destroyed the brain contains enough oxygenated blood to maintain voluntary function for10-15 seconds"( i.e. return fire)…
The FBI said it. Don't kid yourselves about "one shot stops": Handgunners are severly undergunned with anything less than a HV rifle round. or a direct shot to the cns or ( brain).

( .22?. 9mm?45?) Shot placement is critical.Seems a clean double tap to the skull with a 40grn round nose .22lr'S beats a .45 to the torso that doesn't open the Aorta or heart.
To STOP THE ATTACK.(The only reason we shoot.)
happy reading


Nimda007 December 3, 2012 at 9:02 am

Never posted before…just starting out in all this stuff. I will admit that I did not read every post for this subject but every post I did read overlooked or blatantly avoided the main point. This is survival. In the long run, many moons down the road when ammo gets scarce, I am betting that I would have a much easier time finding 9mm than finding .45 almost anywhere I go. Am I wrong about 9mm being so prominent an ammo? If I survive a teotwawki event, it would be nice to be able to find ammo.


SOL December 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm

RIA 1911 .45 ACP GI…..1911A1 $430 love it better then my Taurus pt709 9mm. But wouldnt leave home with out either


thomas December 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I have never shot a person with any gun, but i just shot 4 40lb pumpkins at 20 yds and my 9mm with hollow point left a bigger entry and exit than my 45 w 230gr reminginton 17 cap. vs 9 cap.
i think the 45 is a waste of money. who agrees.

I'm talking big ass entry and exit vs the 45cal which i'm going to sell now


Guest December 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Right on Jerry. In the ideal situation when you shoot the BG he falls to the floor. In real life when drugs are highly likely to be involved, Not so much. When things hit the fan and you are likely to shoot 1/2 as good as you shoot on your worst day at the range. In my oppinion I prefer the 45 only because if your shot doesnt hit the mark exactly where you want, you need a bullet that will do the most trama to the BG. Also if he is shooting as wel,l you need to stop him from thowing more lead at you or anyone else.
As far as the comments of lighter and more comfortable to carry. My thoughts are I dont conceal to be comfortable, I conceal to save my family or my life.


john Grey December 10, 2012 at 10:21 am

This discussion is superfluous. Almost ANY handgun ammo will stop an attacker depending upon shot placement. Today there are bullet designs that will superseded the ball ammo of the 1940's..
There are also LEO recorded events of shotgun slugs not "stopping" an individual with center of mass shots.


thomas December 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm

9MM FMJ HOLLOW PT. VS STD 45. i did my test on 40 lb pumpkins at 25 yards then sold my .45 the next day.


@W8PIE December 23, 2012 at 10:57 am

45 you can cast your own lead and slow it down a little and still maintain it's performance. 9mm you have to run jacketed and than you have three elements that may be is short supply. Primers, powder and jacketed bullets that are very hard to manufacture. Reloading 45 lead is as simple as finding powder and primers and a lead source.


gdg December 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm

If I can't knock them down with a 9mm carbine and a 30 round mag I've got major problems.


john p January 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm

First off, please excuse my spelling and punctuation. But in regards to Dustin – excellent use of words. I’m with you almost 100% of the way. Now 9mm vs. .45. I would fall in the middle ground with .40 s&w. with a 180 gr bullet; it has the capabilities of both rounds. Penetration and knock down power. Cost more than 9mm but cheaper than 45. Like said in article. But that’s the key factor. Cost, you want a round that can perform in every situation. (That a handgun would apply in) but not break the bank, just to get some quality training in.


john p January 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm

. (quality training – without it you might as well have a bb gun) here are some things to think about. SHTF- every round counts right? 9mm is a summer firearm. Works grate during the summer, because clothes are thin. During the winter (much thicker clothes & jackets) it might not be able to do what you want it to in one shot. (remember every round is worth its weight in gold if SHTF) regardless of how good you are, one shot may not be enough with 9mm. now think of this, yes 45 has plenty of take down power.


john p January 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm

(For an auto) but most people would be in an urban type environment. (This would be most likely the environment you would use a handgun in, because it easier to maneuver with. short of a rifle set up specifically for tactical use. which not everyone will have.) Ok let’s say you missed or the round went all the way through the target. Would you be able to live with yourself, if the round you fired killed an innocent person, or child in the next room or hidden some place behind your line of sight. (Remember this person or child could very well be YOUR child or spouse) that’s my take on this article.


Major RAI USMC ret. January 4, 2013 at 1:47 am

All good arguments but the reason I no longer carry my .45 is because, although I shot expert with it, my score drastically rose with the 9mm due to recoil differences. What is most important is accuracy, and with me not getting any younger, the recoil effect is only going to magnify itself as I age.
With the 9mm I only drop 8 to 12 points, meaning I hit the bullseye 40 out of 50 times and am in the 9 ring the other 10. With the .45 I was dropping almost 50 points, meaning that on average I was shooting a less tight pattern with an occasional shot in the 7 and 8 rings. During quick draw drills the difference was even more pronounced. Last thing I want to do is put a round down range and not have the best possible control resulting in unnecessary collateral damage. So for me, it's the 9mm. Hope this keeps someone from causing unnecessary damage and a life of regret due to pride making their decisions instead of reason. I pray you never have to discharge your weapon, there is no glory in puting another person down. Lastly, please practice both the physical and mental aspects of discharging your weapon. Situational awareness cannot be overstated, nor can familiarity with your weapon. Even when you are not in danger, think where threats could come from and how you would deal with them so that when they do occur you won't freeze, but act with purpose of forethought.
Major RAI USMC ret.


vic January 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm

i dont want to be shot with either a bullet tearing through your body will kill anyone i have a coltr combat comander 45 1911 and a ruger p95 9mm love them both if a bunch of zombies came through my door i dont care what one i grab either will the job.


buckaroo January 20, 2013 at 12:09 am

If we r talking about a real survival situation here, then the answer is that both 9mm and 45acp will be just as good or as bad as the other. If we r just using fmj then the .45 will make a bigger hole but I if its hollow points then they both open up to.70. they should both do the same amount of damage, and i see comments stating ive seen to many ppl get up after this or that or it didnt go through the car door and so on. Ppl have been shoot by shoot by ak47s have had limbs chopped have been stabe and shoot multiple times by a every size and shape of bullet and blade and have gotten back up to keep fighting. Ppl have died by tripping over their own two feet, does that mean tripping someone is an effective way to stop a big? No it means that some times ur lucky and sometimes ur not. Now let be real ppl, how much ammo do u have????? Is it enough to last a life time? How about the life time of ur kids or grand kids? And we talking like we will be picking bullets of the ground as if there falling off trees. And will u be able to keep practicing at the range when tshtf? So it will come down to… should i use my limited supply to practece or do i save it for when i need it? Because u can be the best shot in the world but it dont mean much when u dont have bullets. now we can't even say that practicing is going to be much of a factor. Sure we can become bullseye shots now but how good will u be after not firing ur weapon for who knows how long, weeks months years maybe? By all means keep getting guns and ammo that's what I'm doing but understand that the firearm will eventually fail u, it might brake or get lost or stolen and if not any of those then u will run out of bullets. we should also find thing that can be re-used or can be made of fixed by ourselves. So in addition to my xd .40, cz p-01 9mm, Taurus pt 111, taurus pt145, ar-15, 17hmr and 12 gauge shot gun I also have bows and arrows knifes, axes, tomahawks, and yes even a sword. I can practice train and repair almost all of these as much as I want to, and they and the skills to use them can be passed to my children and then to theirs. That's real survival
Let's hope it never come down to any of this and that we all live happy peaceful lives, but if not then protect the ones that u love and give hell to everyone else.


democrategunowner February 2, 2013 at 12:15 am

its called a bullet and thats cause yor dealer was running cheap shells on you


Andy February 25, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I have both and like both,also want to add a revolver in both calibers,they are 2 inch snubbies from a major revolver maker,the 9mm is already on the market,the .45acp version will be released this year,2013,reload both calibers,and do it at about the same cost for both.Don't care much for a.40 caliber too much muzzle flip than either the 9mm or.45 acp.If you practice with whatever you prefer use it,it will be the best to hit with.Keep your powder dry.


mr.keltec February 27, 2013 at 5:54 am

Battle rifles would be greatly needed if the enemy hides behind an automobile or barrior of some type. In the a city type enviroment, range might not be a factor, but in a SHTF situation I would imagine open/clear shots might not be plentiful. A 308 or 30.06 in a FMJ will penetrate through one car door and out the other w/out much problem. I believe this is why the military issued the Browning Bar. Even if a hit is not aquired, the battle rifle type rounds going through whatever cover that has been taken will at very least keep the enemy's face in the dirt.


jack59 March 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I agree with alot of comments here how ever keep in mind law enforcement will tell you (as they have me) there are more fatality's from a 22 than 9,40 or 45. because it goes in and bangs around tearing up everything. So large is not ALWAYS the answer. with that said Im confident my glock 22 40 cal will stop anyone with one chest or head. but use hi-point c9 or a jenny 380 for back up. if shtf ill take hi-point carbine 45 along as well.


azorski March 13, 2013 at 2:01 am

Hey guys, I am just a father and a new homeowner researching for a home-defense option, with no firing experience(not yet because still researching what to get)…

Putting everyone's opinion into serious consideration, I would like to put my question out there hopefully it will be kindly answered.. If ever I have to use my gun whether it is 9mm or .45 inside my home, should I put into consideration which one will be louder and cause "more" significant hearing probs to myself and my 15 month old daughter? To me, I will be putting atleast 2 rounds, maybe 3, to an intruder so I guess in that regard 9mm or .45 will put the intruder in a bad spot. But I really don't want to make myself nor my daughter injured in the ears in the process, or my daughter traumatized with loud sounds….

I understand all the difference with the "stopping power" and ammo capacity and bullet expansions, I just wanted to know if there is a considerable difference with the loudness of the bang when fired inside a room or house with no hearing protection as I would think more of a realistic scenario.



Cap Mike March 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm

supply (supply lines) are a crucial part of any engagement…. so in a SHTF situation, where will you get your replacement ammo from? if it is from those attacking you, what are they carrying? Given some of the recent articles about US Gov purchasing 40 cal hollow point and who they would be using them against (hollow points are not "legal" rounds for US military to use in battle), you might want to carry a 40. VC could use our rounds (small arms and mortar) in their equipment, but we could not use theirs in ours


David Murphy April 3, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I carry a S&W .40. Guaranteed for life and everyone has ammo for it. All police departments and military. I also carry a 308 same reason. Plus it can reach out and touch someone at 1000 yards. Shotguns are only good for shooting birds or clearing a room. Buckshot is only good to 35 yards and slugs to 50 yards.

The long and the short of it is handguns are truly at their best when they are used to fight your way to a rifle.


Insom April 7, 2013 at 1:36 am

Well as a reloader and someone just getting into Cast moulding my bullets for my cartridges. When it comes to affordability how do you look at it? If you getting lead for free and moulding the bullets to press in to cartridges then how could you not? With the ammo crunch on atm both are hard to come by weather you can afford them or not.
When you cast them you have to consider a few factors. The first one being is it sub or super sonic? High velocity bullets in pure lead doesn't function very well at 1000+ velocities. So casting 9mm without a FMJ to shoot over 1000+ FPS would be almost useless. At least compared to the ballistics of a jacketed bullet. Where .45 ACP is always sub sonic and wether you cast or jacket. You should have pretty much the same results with ballistics.
Yet I still stick to the opinion it's a sidearm and not a primary. I would rather put my faith in a rifle or SMG with these debated cartridges. To take full advantage of them. I digress if I had to pick I Would side with a .45 ACP. Stopping power is more tactically useful them over penetration.


Insom April 7, 2013 at 1:56 am

What I mean by tactically useful is say I'm squared off with criminal and we are both wearing ESAPI lvl IIIa soft vests. I have a .45 ACP and he has a 9mm. WIth in the span of just the first shot. If we contact each other with these two cartridges. I can withstand the 9mm as long as it's not a vital hit. Where just because of the massive stopping power of the .45 ACP he will not be able to withstand the impact no matter where I locate the hit on him.
After the first hard contact as long as I land a hit to knock him off balance I can follow through even if I take an impact. (Would like to think I will never get hit…. but reality) Over penetration was the reason our military ditched the 38spl for the .45 ACP. With over penetration on none vital area's. You can still stand on your feet with an impact. In less you can hit vitals with a 9mm everytime and your not facing armored or even soft armor suspects. Then I guess 9mm is an Okay way to go.
When it comes to reliability that R word means more then just being able to pull the trigger and have it discharge a cartridge. Plus to the revolver/lever action guy. I love the past too, but I like the idea of a safety on a firearm for extended carrying. I'm not comfortable with a firearm that I can't engage a safety when it is facing my body. Single action in half cock is a safety, but still not to hard to hurt yourself with compared to a semi-auto with a safety catch. Which is why I side with an XD over a glock. I can at least have a safety with the survival rating.


Rondogg May 10, 2013 at 11:17 pm

The question is between the 9mm and the .45 acp, which bullet is more effective if the bullet hits the same spot. The question was not meant to drift all over the place and start fantasizing about all the types of bullets in the universe. Just stick to the comparison between these two calibers and stop talking about hunting rifles, shotguns and othe rpistol calibers. Most of you seem to have ADD.


Joad_Bowie June 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm

You forgot weight
9mm rounds per pound ~ 38
45ACP rounds per pound ~21
Give or take


Erik June 17, 2013 at 10:18 pm

The gun I carry and shoot most regularly & accurately is a Sig P225/P6 9mm retired German police pistol. I shoot IDPA with this and can almost keep up with the guys who have higher capacity glocks and XDs. To me it's not about more knock down power, it's about reliability of the gun in my hands. I've shot .45s plenty of times, but no where near as accurate as my carry gun (for me), it's my go to gun for anything. I would put my life on the line and kill the guy in front of me with three rounds to his chest comfortably any day. If you can do that with a .45, so be it. It's all a matter of preference, to beat the next guy, you have to know yourself better than he knows himself.


Paul July 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm

9mm U can rapid fire and stay on target much easier than a 40 or 45. little to no kick back. I can stay on target as fast as I can pull the trigger with a 9mm. U may get one round off with a 40 or 45 accurately but a 9mm U will have 3 or 4 off accurately.You can have knock the down power I'll take the 3 or 4 rounds

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Nantucketeer July 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm

So this site is called survival cache and the topic was 9mm vs .45…. Wouldn't 9mm be obvious? If the world stops, municipalities fail, crime is rampant, what's a bigger concern….? Availability of future ammo or stopping ability? Don't know about you, but most rounds in an adrenaline firefight miss, making a limited capacity magazine a draw back. But the biggest reason is…with no hospitals or medical attention readily available, does the tissue damage difference between a 9mm and a .45 really matter? Are there that many Rambo's out there who can "gun powder" their rifle wounds away and continue to fight on? The 9mm has given way to the .40 for LEO's, but the .45 is still a niche a caliber for many reasons discussed, while the 9mm is still a popular standard issue as well as a common back up pistol caliber. If the world stops, what's the chance you'll find 9mm ammo on an assailant vs. a .45 acp round? Hell, as far as calibers are concerned, I'm more into making sure I have enough .22 rounds and a sound .22LR firearm available…. I've never been shot, but I'm pretty sure knowing I need to dig out 40 grains of .22 is gonna make me alter my perception as much as most other bullets hitting me…


wardog August 15, 2013 at 3:26 pm

My experience has shown many assaults are conducted by a preditor getting in close to your grill by acting innocent or ploy to overpower without transmitting intent. Frequently a person will be struck upside the head to get attention (think GZ). Anticipation for that would be comforting to have a 30SF which is quick to clear and striker fired, no safety to click. Close to medium distance (house) I'm still with a .45 w/light but in a 5" 1911. Medium out I would prefer to switch to the 9 as in a 19 or 34 to allow supression to retreat or advance just in case you need to keep someones head down while you move the family or yourself from where your at. Of course your not going to 'spray and pray' but when your feeling a need to go you don't want to be changing mags, or at least as often. Thats my 2c on the 9 vs .45 but IF there's a SHTF & you gotta GOOD I would still break down my LMT w/2 or more mags to pack along in the event distance or numbers became a factor along the way. Very interesting topic and I appreciate reading everyones viewpoint and perspective.


loosfur September 7, 2013 at 10:12 pm

9's will work for self/home defense close quarter's, about as equally well as a 40 would, as would the 45..the action of just being shot at would make most intruders/assailants retreat and being shot in a non fatal location would still stop your above average person.. however a person who is jacked up on drugs or just plain f'in crazy may not fall/retreat from a non-fatal hit.

with that being said, i will eliminate the 40, as the 9 and 45 were in question.
now back to those non-fatal hits: the 45 will cause more impact trauma than the 9 would cause, so i would want the 45
fatal hits are fatal hits… which of course is ideal if you are forced into lethal defense, and that being said, fatal hits being fatal, i would then again take the 45, as the second shot is really about the complete new target, and not about dealing with recoil to line up your second shot on the first target.

the issue of clip size is not an issue to me. 2-6 rounds more with the 9 is not the biggest problem i have. the larger issue is that i need more rounds than 10 in my first clip to solve the problem that i need to pull the gun in the first place.


shawn williams September 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm

For knock down performance, 124 HP will definitely work. 9mm is accurate at larger distances than .45 What is a defense distance when it comes to house verse a battle field. A ball round in combat penetrated the enemy and some were still on there feet. a 45 definitely knocks down the enemy. But how much close quarters are you willing to sacrifice to ensure a hit. I like the 9mm for that fact that you can put more distance and have a better accurate shot on target than 45. with higher rounds in magazines, my defense choice is 9mm with hydra-shocks.. he will be done!


shawn williams September 12, 2013 at 10:46 pm

This is garbage. a 127 9mm HP round at 1200 FPS impacted pig target with .70 spread… the 45acp 800 fps had same impact damage. HP rounds folks not ball or (FMJ). Combat reports of not knocking down enemy. Well the military issued ball rounds and shitty training time verses rifle training, no wonder. A 9mm HP round is the defensive way to go. 45 is not accurate like the 9mm at greater distances. yes close range, 45 has greater affliction. Get closer if you want to try, 9mm Hydra shock round will do you in!


olipop23 September 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm

A Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm is my sidearm of choice, i figure that with a 9mm i can suppress with more rounds (if needed) and if i pull off a headshot it doesn't matter what caliber i use.


Matt September 26, 2013 at 4:37 am

Are dangerous animals besides people under consideration for cartridge choice here? Is 9mm or 45 suitable for a maternally outraged semi-domestic pig charging your way suitable? Not sure.


13th Legion October 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Reading many, but not all of the comments, it would appear that most have approached the 9mm vs 45 ACP debate from a Self-Defense perspective. In the Self-Defense argument two questions should be given more weight than I have seen.

1. Most experts will advise to use the largest caliber you can handle. Even (Depends)
2. If you have other family in your house, you have to consider over-penetration. From experience a 9mm's higher velocity will go through interior walls. +.45

This is however a "Survival" website and debate. I think we could all agree that in a Survival scenario the following should be considered:

1. Ammo must be common and readily replaceable. This precludes calibers such as 10mm, 38 SIG and so on. Even .38 and .357 are not as popular as they once were. As well if you are depending on the +P Ammo for your argument, you may not be able to find and replenish. 9mm us more popular than .45 ACP, but not by an overly wide margin. +9mm

2. Your sidearm will need to be reliable for hunting and protection against large animals. Hollow point of either caliber will not penetrate a large boar or bear sufficiently. Therefore calculations need to be made for ball ammo. Most wilderness experts I have read prefer .44 Special or Mag and .45 LC or .45ACP. Back to number 1, .44 is not plentiful enough in an extended survival scenario. +.45

3. What does the Group or family carry? Think redundancy. If you are part of a survival community, or your petite wife or teen can only handle a 9mm shouldn't you use the same? If anyone hurriedly needs ammo shouldn't they only have to reach for one caliber? As well consider similar pistols, so clips are plentiful and interchangeable. Even (Depends on circumstance)

4. Are you back-packing/bugging out, or are you defending a home or bunker? If you are doing the later, I would submit that everyone should have a pistol in both calibers (if not a third in .40) available. If this an TEOTWAWKI situation, have at least one of your favorite style pistol in each caliber. Therefore if you need to find ammo, you run a better chance of having something to use it in. Even

Note on Handgun selection: I have several .45 caliber striker fired handguns, but I do have two FN FNS in .45 and 9mm, and three M&P in .45, 9mm and .40. I also have DA/SA or SA pistols, however in a survival situation, they are not the go-to arsenal as they are not easy for less experienced users and let's face it 1911s are finicky.

5. Practice, practice, practice. If the .45 ammo is too expensive to practice, that should be a consideration. An alternative would be to have a similar gun in .22 to practice with. Although it will not mimic the recoil. +9mm (Cost)

Ultimately it is about analyzing your survival circumstance and understanding the limitations of the handgun and ammo you are carrying. The "use a handgun to get to my shotgun to get to my rifle" is one of those many catchy but misinformed statements. If you are inside your home with family, you do not pull your AR15 if you have other options.


Stéphane October 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Forget them all get a 357 magnum


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Vice October 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Jesus tap dancing Christ. I love the caveman mentality that surfaces during 9 vs 40 vs 45 arguments. Throwing around terms like "stopping" or "knock down" power. You want "knock down" power get a 500 S&W Magnum or a Barrett .50 BMG rifle. In the real world stopping power = hitting a vital area (vital organ, spine, brain) aka shot placement. And the "one shot from a 45 is worth two 9mm"… News flash, a critical hit with either will be devastating. Shoot an attacker with one of each and then ask him if he noticed a difference between the two. Always train to shoot until the threat stops, it may take just one shot or it can take a few.


18thCorpsVET November 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm

This is a debate that has gotten better over the years and is hotter than ever now due to the new types of ammo that has surfaced in recent years. It's all physics really. If one can develop a round to transfer most of the projectile's energy into the subject it matters little which round one uses. This is a delicate formula as if there is too much force generated by said powder load the bullet will just do the ole through and through (even the venerable .357 isn't spared from this formula. See… . Similarly if there is not enough force the projectile will not have enough energy to do sufficient damage.

The advent of advanced hollow point ammo has been revolutionary for this discussion and I for one believe now that a 9mm 147gr critical duty round will reliably transfer all its energy and thus have the desired effect upon a target. This is why my carry guns eat a diet of 9mm and if anyone messes with me they will too. Best regards.


Justin November 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I use all three, but prefer the .45 in 1911. No matter what you use, you want to use what you will not have second thoughts about. I train using all three, but prefer .45 for daily carry. If Im out in the woods with a shotgun/rifle, the .45 is my backup. No matter what you use, if you have to pull it on another person in a self defense situation and you are close to the attacker, unload the whole mag on them. Dont be concerned so much about hitting the button on their shirt as to hit center mass. 8 rds of .45 or 19 rds of 9mm will result in a lot of blood loss either way.


katrohr November 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I am writing a story about a man who shoots his wife standing in front of her point blank. He shoots her in the chest. He wants it to look like she committed suicide. He is shooting a Colt .45.
1. How big a hole will a shot to the chest make?
2. What will the hole look like? i.e., clean, messy?
3. What damage does the bullet make?
4. Can he use hollow point bullets for more impact?
5. Will the bullet go completely through the victim?
6. Can he get gun residue on her hand so it looks like she had the gun?
7. Will he have any residue on his shirt?


Sam December 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I am new to handguns. I now do work that is in places that I am glad I have concealed permit. I have several fraternity brothers, one ex Secret Service, another, Sheriffs department. Even they do not agree. So we will all never agree about the perfect sidearm and cal. So, after doing my own research for a year, I chose a Smithfield XDM .45 ACP. My handgun is for protection on the job and at home. I have been shooting with some of my enthusiasts and those with my same level of experience are no better shooting their 9 than I am with my 45. So, since, recoil is not relevant to me, I am completely satisfied. Cost is an issue of course, but its like paying any other insurance; it sucks but is necessary for a safety. Oh, the my 45 does create more havac at the outside shooting camp than the 9, also louder. I have an extended mag, so it is 12 + 1.
Fellows, its like picking a fishing lure; there are more opinions than a holes. It IS an unanswerable question.
God Speed, Sam


groffeaston December 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Hello everyone,

I have a couple of thoughts on the matter.

First, like some people I prefer the .45 ACP, because of the larger diameter bullet creates a larger wound channel.

Second, I also like the 9 mm because it is a little easier to handle over the .45 ACP for smaller handed people like women, teens.and some men.

Third, I also like the 10 mm and the .40 S&W because they are in between the 9 mm and .45 ACP.

Fourth, I feel like others do that it is practice, practice and more practice with the firearm you already have no matter the caliber/cartridge to become more proficient with it that makes it the best caliber/cartridge!

I also like the .38spcl and .357 mag, among others. I guess I am like the old timers of the west have the same caliber/cartridge for handgun and rifle! That would make the revolver and lever-action rifle part of my arsenal. In that case the calibers/cartridges I would choose from are: .38spcl/.357mag, .44-40, ..44mag, and .45LC and there are some others that are possible, but they are either black powder, obsolete or not many made.

I also feel a shotgun makes a good defensive weapon, especially loaded with 2- 00 buck rounds and then followed up with a slug! If that doesn't stop them, then a Double tap to the forehead with any caliber/cartridge handgun will finish the job! lmao


will January 7, 2014 at 8:49 am

During the last ammo shortage the 9mm was the hardest of the two to get and that makes me prefer a .45. I prefer it even though the 9mm has less recoil,more bullets, cost less and in some situations actually has better stopping power. Yes the penetration can give it more stopping power in some situations.


Bryan January 19, 2014 at 10:12 pm

No. It will probably kill them (or otherwise incapacitate them) and they will then fall. But it will not "knock them down". If it had the energy to knock them down, then firing it would knock you down.


Guest January 25, 2014 at 7:16 pm

What y'all are missing isn't some magical "knockdown power", but velocity and WOUND CHANNELS. A .45 round is larger than a 9mm round, and when it tears through a human body it creates a larger wound channel than a 9mm round does, which lowers the Bad Guy's blood pressure quicker, leading to his losing consciousness or death. A larger round, like the .45's, also does more internal damage and will completely sever a main artery with a well-placed shot. In the hands of the truly talented, a 9mm can be every bit as deadly, but those who are truly talented with firearms are few and far between.

A true close combat situation requires the use of a powerful shotgun, 12 gauge, and preferably sawed. The handgun should be your back-up in case you're not able to get the job done, so to speak, with the 12 gauge. A properly sawed-off shotgun can also be used in all but the most restrictive of close-space environments.

It doesn't matter what gun you are using – if you're not able to hit your target center-mass or directly above the bridge of the nose, you probably have no right shooting it to begin with. In the SHTF scenario, a wounding shot can quite possibly lead to YOUR death, but a shot directly to the heart or brain/brainstem is what will keep you and your family alive. Very, very few people have ever survived a shot to the heart or brain, and even far fewer have survived having half of their heads taken off by a shotgun!


BVB January 26, 2014 at 6:29 am

Also new to the forum, but would like to point out that Otto above, whom i assume to be a police officer has a very good point to those people talking up the shotgun for close quarters. If you have ever had any training, or any experience clearing a building that is thought to contain a threat then you know how much of a giant pain in the ass it is. If you have had training then you have most certainly heard the term "slice the pie." This refers to the manner in which you induct yourself into a room, so that while entering and clearing it you pose the smallest target possible. Meaning than from each door you clear a slice of what is visible to you and slowly move further in seeing and clearing more of the room. Once the basic area of the room has been cleared, smaller areas must then also be cleared using the same technique, areas such as closets and small in room bathrooms are particularly difficult to maneuver an 18" barrel around in, particularly when you have to open the door before clearing. Also, when advancing through doors or around blind corners an assailant can deflect the long protruding barrel that precedes you into the room by at least a foot and a half. A handgun offers more maneuverability, lighter weight, faster target change and acquisition with the proper training, and when entering a room you and the weapon enter the room as a single cohesive unit. Most of the armed encounters incurred happen inside of ten feet, and more often than not even closer than that. A shotgun would be almost useless once the assailant was inside five feet of you. Also the handgun can still be effective in one hand, when opening doors, turning on lights etc, you do not have to compromise your position as much as you do with any long gun.

As for choosing between calibers, i would have to choose the 9mm first and .40 cal second, then the forty five, then any revolver, and to whomever suggested that the 10mm cartridge would be better, if you could find ammunition for it you would be correct, however this is a bugout situation and 10mm ammunition is extremely difficult to find without special order. The reason i choose the 9mm is that yes it holds more ammuniton, and to those saying seven shots is enough, for one target yes, but what if there are multiple targets in close proximity, reloading at an inopportune time could cost you your life. As for stopping power, any and i mean any bullet all the way from .17hmr to .500 S&W is more than enough to stop/deter the average person, and as for the "one shot one kill" people out there, in a defense situation you will fire until there ceases to be a threat. that means at least two shots to me, regardless of caliber. But no matter what you choose whether you want the biggest loudest weapon out there or are content with your 9mm or smaller remember this. One well placed shot with a .22 is better than eight misses with a .45 or larger caliber. Its good to see so many well informed people in this conversation, i will definitely be reading more, thanks for reading if you made it this far


Joseph Friday January 29, 2014 at 8:53 pm

The 9mm has come a long way since designed and implemented! So has the .45 as it seems to have come full circle in that some military applications prefer it over the (mm and where do you get to see more practical use or results than in a shooting war! In addition, I have used both of these while in the military and can tell you first hand each has a niche and purpose suitable for its size, power and control-ability. Since we are talking sidearm or hand gun issues I will not go into areas where either were used in carbine or PDW style firearms. The .45 has harsher recoil issues versus the 9mm in most variations involving projectile weights! The .45 ACP is a big chunk of lead to get to rattling around inside a human beings body. The 9mm is prone to pneumothorax penetration(s) than the .45, especially at short range. Again, different schools of thought regarding preferences for high velocity or slower moving big chunks of lead. They both kill, sometimes efficiently and I have seen it take more rounds to achieve the desired results of "knockdown" from 9mms than the .45ACP. There is something to say for the slow moving larger diameter projectiles being more efficient to render the intended victim out of the gene pool than the lighter and faster projectiles. Of course someone will always erect the gold standard of knockdown – the .357, 125 grain as one of the lighter and faster projectiles with the best one shot knockdowns in modern history. However, the real issue is more so proficiency in shot placement than anything else! One could use a .22 LR at close quarters to effect a lethal head shot and achieve a one shot knockdown that someone else with less proficiency might have to achieve multiple torso shots with either a 9mm or .45ACP to achieve a knockdown. So, in all fairness to both calibers, it would best be determined by the shooters ability to place the projectile in a proper area while under extreme stress and do it consistently in order to maximize the efficiency of any caliber used. Now, all that being said, I will take the .45ACP over the 9mm any day because I am an old school military, old fart that was trained in and used that caliber more than any other and feel comfortable and maintain proficiency with my 1911 platforms like double stack para ords with 10 to 14 round mags! Had I been trained and used the 9mm I would probably say different.


Justin February 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm

9mm is obviously the best. cheaper, more rounds, more accuracy. A study was shown that a 9mm did the same amount of damage to flesh as a .40 did. Plus you would be able to put two or three rounds in faster and in a tighter group with a 9mm.


Roger February 4, 2014 at 11:47 am

I personally prefer .357 mag. revolvers, but if I had to choice between 9mm and .45 cal., then the .45 wins. I agree that in a combat situation that a handgun is a backup to a rifle. The military SF all seem to prefer the .45 because one hit usually means one kill, and I think they would know since they're far more likely to be engaged in CQB than the average combat soldier (support troops not considered). As far as magazine capacity, there are 25 round drum mags available for the .45! Of course, no matter the capacity of the magazine, missed rounds don't count!


scott March 14, 2014 at 5:58 am

If someone told me that I was going to get shot at today and live, and that I could choose to get shot by a 9mm or 45. What do you think I would pick?


SKWIRL April 16, 2014 at 1:48 am

thanks for posting this article, i'm pursuing a law enforcement degree and plan on going DEA or US Marshals, so thank you, anyway, with all that being said, i have looked heavily into all three rounds, 9mm = more rounds faster fallow up, the legal scenario is you can shoot until the threat has dropped, on that note you generally don't want a talking target, that tends to not go so well in court, 45 acp = more knock down, has anyone considered 9mm +P, terminal velocity is about halfway between that of the .40 and .45, also i have heard that .40 is a bit snappy or jerky at the muzzle, i shot the xd 40 compact and noticed i, not as bad as i thought, my shots were off target but my grouping was fairly decent i think considering it was my first time with anything above a 9mm. anyway, i started with a 9mm, though my next two buys are a glock or xd in .40 and a kimber crimson carry in .45. so i guess 9 for now cheaper to practice with, more options for the buck, although the xd/xdm makes a 9mm barrel for their 40(just giving another options


Jack2065 April 18, 2014 at 11:30 am

I'm a military veteran and prefer the 9mm. Why? A few reasons. 1. In a SHTF scenario where ammo becomes scarce, 9mm is actually more common, and therefore more available to scrounge. 2. With less recoil, I can fire at multiple targets better with less wrist strain and more accuracy. 3. As mentioned, more rounds per mag. 4. If there are multiple assailants you are firing at, killing one takes out one, while wounding one may take out two or three… the wounded one and one or two of his friends to drag him to safety and provide first aid.

However, the best survival scenario is a handgun that has interchangeable barrels. One handgun with a 9mm, .380, .40, and .45 barrel makes a majority of any scrounged ammo valuable to you.


scott April 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I was at a gun shop when I was a newbie and the man working there was a tough looking s.o.b. A young man started asking about 40 vs 9. The man said "personally I like bigger bullets for a bad guy. Made sense to me.


guest May 30, 2014 at 8:23 pm

First off, there is NO SUCH THING AS "KNOCK DOWN POWER"- too many factors in ballistic and bullet configuration in comparison to the target. While larger slower bullets can create larger wound cavities( duuh!) it has been shown that smaller, higher velocity bullets can be equally if not more destructive. Shot placement will ALWAYS be more important ,followed by wound capabilities.

I have retired from L.E. NEVER seen anyone "knocked down" by a handgun round- I have seen people STOPPED by a round to the head or center mass and DIED becuase of traumatic shock, severe tissue damage, instant sessation of bodily functions- this coming from anything the size of .22 cal to 60 cal shotgun rifle slug, with rifle and pistol rounds in between.


skinny4life July 16, 2014 at 6:53 am

"Knock down power" is a misnomer. Think of it as the ft/lbs of energy the bullet transfers to an object in the way. As it passes skin/flesh it is transfering energy, but not enough to "knock you down". If a bullet only hits flesh you will not "knock someone down" unless you hit a vital, and that's the same for all bullets with ONE very important exception…..hydrostatic shock.

Hydrostatic shock is the shockwave a very fast moving object creates when transfering energy. Look up the velocity that each caliber has to be moving to create this effect and you will realize that all pistols suck. This is why rifles are so deadly. it's around 2700fps for smaller calibers and 1700 fps for large calibers (.44+).

Hyrdostatic shock is the "knockdown power" of energy. It sends a very violent shockwave through the body that can rupture organs 2 feet away.

So what is knockdown power with regards to pistols? Very simple. It's when the bullet hits a bone. When it hits bone it will transfer most of it's energy because bone is much tougher to penetrate than flesh. If it shatters the bone, you still may not knock them down if the bullet keeps moving, but if the bullet lodges itself in the bone, you will knock them down. I once saw a surgeon explaining a procedure of bullet removal from a breastbone and mentioned that the event actually looked like the movies where someone was pushed backwards. fyi, it was a .45acp and it didn't even break the breastbone.

9mm vs 45 is funny since depending on the load, produce the same amount of ft/lbs of energy. ballistics 101. carry whichever one you shoot better. You will need to hit a vital.

Bring a rifle. The pistol is a backup.


Johnnynomates July 31, 2014 at 5:29 pm

It WILL always depend on circumstance. If I were being sprayed at, which I have, I want a pistol to be of low recoil and as accurate as I am to eliminate threat. In close combat, I want something quick and easy to fire to disable that threat as quickly and efficiently as possible so I can move on. I need no jams or misfires, even through multiple fires. My advise is, basically to take at least two small arms weapons of different purposes but have your main WoC as a shoulder-held weapon, in the shoulder and your personal drills with all weapons down shit. But that's just me.


obee508 November 30, 2010 at 4:32 pm

you would never cut a tree down with one of these, thats insane, even a small tree is too much. they're not for felling. they're for bucking up timber on the ground, branches, and self defense. if you drop a tree on yourself with one of these…well a guy named darwin will be waiting to have a talk about physics with you just inside the pearly gates. learn to use an axe. also the difference between short and long term survival tactics.


CaptBart December 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Hi-point has a .45 ACP carbine (also 9 and 10 mm) that takes their pistol mags.…
for info … looks like about $350 for the carbine. There may be others out there.


Capt Bart December 3, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Sorry but I disagree. Unless you are planning an organized militia type survival unit, there really isn't a great deal of need for battle carbines/assault rifle type weapons in a city. Relatively short ranges are the norm. Full up battle rifles are probably not needed and the 5.57 rifle isn't anymore effective than the pistol calibers. I'm not a fan of the "spray and pray" school of home defense nor do I anticipate needing "the infantry squad in the attack" field manual. I'm not saying don't have it if you can afford it but in my experience a basic battery of 9mm/.38 spl, 22 rifle and shotgun (.410 or 20 Ga is enough) leaves someone who is familiar with their weapons in good stead in an urban environment. If you're out in the country where bear (black or grizzly) is the top predator then I'd want to move up in caliber – .357 and at least 30-30 in a rifle just for self protection but I still don't expect to be commanding another unit in combat – even if TSHTF. I could be wrong and am so prepared but I don't expect it. Even with an M14 or AK, if facing an organized unit, we lose. If facing a mob, the shot gun or lever gun or pistol caliber ranch rifle will do the trick.
Just my not so humble opinion.


Chris Walker January 19, 2011 at 10:49 pm

What the hell are you talking about? It was meant as price in a retail store. How about taking this stuff for face value and not try to discredit other peoples opinions. In the apocalyptic scenario, ammunition is going to be priceless so lets keep this about preperation and training.


Guest September 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm

You are making 2 different mathematical arguments. Saying that item A costs 40-50% less than item B, you are marking down item A by 40-50% of its value. (100 – 40 = 60 or 100 – 50 = 50). Saying that item B costs 40 to 50% more than item A, you are starting with the lower value and marking it up by less. 60 x 1.4 or 60 x 1.5 does not equal 100. So your argument is mathematically invalid.


ryan October 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm



CaptBart February 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

I notice that a great many people argue the price of the 9mm results in more shooting. I'm not trying to start an argument but I wonder just how valid that really is. Would I go to the range more if I shot a cheaper ammo? Nope, I go every chance I get. Often I shoot .22, it just doesn't get much cheaper than that, but I do shoot the full range in my battery. I'm not arguing that 9 is cheaper than .45 or .50AE or whatever. I just wonder how often price is the excuse for not going more often. I can not think of a time when the lack of ammo has kept me away from the range. Weather, work, family commitments or any number of things limit range time. I've seen folks at the range who think 'spray and pray' is good. They'll shoot 15 or 18 rounds out of their Glock, get two on paper (none center of mass) and think it is a good thing. Does the price of ammo really keep any of us from shooting? I reload my expensive stuff. My 50-90 BP rounds and .375 H&H Mag rounds are near $3 each. They get shot – not as often as the .22 but the .22 is a lot of plinking fun. I wonder about those that buy a gun and a box of ammo and never or rarely shoot it. Do they really feel comfortable that they are prepared to defend themselves?


Danny February 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

less time recovering from recoil, more rounds carried for same weight, more rounds between reloads, more rounds on target (with skill and practice of course) = enough fire power to "put down" or "stopping power" any target…. love the .45 love the 9 both have their use. To me 9 better suited to a bug out situation. As stated before 9 mil easier for the wife to use etc


Regulator5 March 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Having seen the effects of the 9mm round in a combat zone, I'll stick with the 45. I carry the 45 and a 40 and if I have to downgrade to a 9mil, I will secure one from the scene. IMHO, the 9mil is only good to slow someone and shot placement is the only thing that will "stop" a thug with it. I'd personally aim for the hips to immobolize the target but if that's all you want, a 22 is superior, as it is cheaper, can carry more rounds and will take out a hip also (using same pros of the 9mil). If wanting to really look at a handgun for accuracy, look into the calibers the competition shooters use. I can't think of 1 off the top of my head that uses a 9, but Ken Tapp, one of the top shooters in the world uses(d) a 45 and most use a 38 super. Remember, 22LR is the 'standard" issue for MOSSAD.


bigcache123 January 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Can somebody please give me a good handgun 9mm for under450


Danny February 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm

What are we expecting to happen that we need to have so much ammunition in the palms of our hands?

Not expecting so much as preparing just in case… one never knows

youll always wish you had just one more mag no matter what your carrying! from below… agreed!


CaptBart February 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I have a Ruger Vaquero in .45 (there really is no such thing as a .45 Long Colt – there is the .45 ACP and the .45 Colt -my apologies, I'm a bit of a history buff and that is one of those nits that gets under the skin every once in a while) with a bird's head grip that is perhaps the finest shooting pistol I've ever fired. I also have a Black Hawk with both the .45 Colt and the .45 ACP cylinders. Added to my Winchester clone in .45 Colt and I have what I consider good rough country guns.
Apparently your comment about the intimidation factor is born out in field data. BG's are less likely (statistically speaking) to get 'frisky' when looking at a cylinder full of big bad .45 slugs (or .357 Mag for that matter) than a nice trim 9mm tube. The Phoenix PD data when I was there seemed to indicate the revolvers had more intimidation effect than the autos.


CaptBart February 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I suspect you mean .40 Caliber. A .40 Caliber is .4 inches in diameter. A 40mm is about 1.6 inches in diameter and comes in things like grenade launchers, rockets and air defense cannons. I really like those but find them hard to carry concealed :-) . Common enough mistake – I also like the Sig semi-autos. I don't own a .40 but I've shot some and I do like them.


CaptBart February 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm

My army recruiter told me the thing about being shot was that it felt so good when it stopped hurting! Any gun is better than no gun, of course, and a gun that you won't or can't fire well will get you killed. My petite wife simply can not effectively handle my 1911. Her hands are too small. She is outstanding with a Sig 9mm. I prefer the .45 single stacks because I have a surer grip than on a double stack. If you are afraid to shoot it, you've already lost the battle. On the other hand, if you really need it, a freaking 8 in howitzer isn't quite big enough. From the other side, I got crosswise with an internal guard in Viet Nam and wound up looking into the bore of a 12 Ga pump. I swear to you, it was BIGGER than that howitzer. Make sure you can use what you have and the odds are already on your side.


CaptBart February 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

True enough to a point. We tend to paint the BGs as either targets that will stand there and get shot or as an organized unit that maintains cohesion under fire. I guarantee the first is false and I'm almost as certain the last is as well. Once the 'victim' initiates hostile, lethal action the BGs will be looking for cover. It takes a tremendous amount of training to charge into a gun. Most groups of BGs, even gangs, lack that training. The final point is that most of these arguments assume only one mag. The ONLY time I have only one mag (the one in the gun) is when I'm relaxing in my own home. In every other case I have multiple mags/reloads and usually multiple firearms. If the BGs duck I have time to reload. If they don't duck, I don't have time to empty the 15 rd clip I have in my 9mm anyway.


tomahawk February 9, 2011 at 11:57 am

Just wondering… Some of you say .40 S&w was widley available during the ammo shortage.
In my part of the country, all ammo was really hard to find, but when it did start to come back around the 9mm was plentlyful, then came the .45, and the .40 was months behind the rest.
Wondering if this was or is regional??????


Al Copp April 28, 2012 at 9:29 am

Hi Lucas,
Put me to mind of playing golf we spend a lot of time computing the actual distance to the flag so we can pick the proper club, but as I have said many times doesn't matter which club you use if you don't hit the shot. Anyway, don't use Colt as a comparison to cost for a 1911 there are many 1911 versions available that are super performing and high quality at 1/2 the price of the Colt. I prefer 45 as a defense weapon the 1911 fits my hand perfectly, like shaking hands with an old friend, and if you hit someone in the finger it will knock them down. I own multiples of 40 and 45 cal. I only own 2 9mm one being a Springfield XDM-9 the other a Ruger Blackhawk convertible 357/9mm. If you are into penetration you might look at the new Rock Island TCM22 it is basically a .223 short fired from a 1911 framed weapon. This caliber was designed by Fred Craig.


Yellalab February 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm

At long range no. At closer range and shot placement I disagree with you. Also in some moving firefights the compactness of a handgun has an advantage over a long gun


pablo April 8, 2011 at 1:13 am

ok we can do a test and you can put a plated vest on and take a full clip from my .45 and not grab your chest after you win 1000$ good luck you moron


bodybagger June 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I'd take the 9mm. If it's my gun and my ammo I'd have talon rounds anyway, and if I have to survive by taking a cops ammo or a down soldier friend or foe,they're going to be packing 9mm ammo so you might as well have a weapon that will chamber the ammo available. I'd hate to have a 45 when the people you're facing off on are most likely soldiers who only carry 9mm.


Bill June 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Wow, really? Ever heard of a .44 Magnum?


bob davidson June 28, 2011 at 6:10 am

if bad guy is still standing after being struck w/ a 45, look to see what's holding him up.


M16a2223 September 27, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I love these debates and hate them at the same time. I have heard alot about the stopping power of a .45 all my life. Maybe it is true, but I have no way to know one way or another. However , what I do know is this: animals, no matter what they are shot with, if they are not shot in the spine or the head, almost always run a distance before they fall. It may be 20 yards, it may be 100 yards. This come from the experience of hunting and shooting maybe 60 or 70 deer and hogs. I have shot two hogs in my life with pistols. One with a 9mm, one with a .40 S&W. Both dropped in their tracks. What this tells me is it doesn't really do any good to debate to death the issue of 9mm vs .45. I like both rounds, and while I will admit a somewhat nostalgic affinity towards the .45, if I were in a survival situation and had my Ruger mk II , I would feel fine because I can stack alot of rounds in a small spot real quick with it. In short, just be good with what you have and you will be fine.


StillCreepnCpl October 13, 2011 at 1:53 am

Hey guest, yes they do… A .45 will definitally take you right off your feet. My 9mm will deffinitaly give a nice punch in the chest. My .44 magnum, will throw you back about 3 or 4 feet. this i know for a fact, so next time you stumble onto a forum and want to put your 2 cents in, better make sure your not putting it in with a bunch of combat Vets who will make u feel as small as your two pennies worth of information. go pick up a gun and go to a range and find out what the term really means. Once you have the proper knowledge of the conversation, then you can have a comment worth reading.


Joshua November 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Thank you for saying that. I do not know why people seem to think that hand guns have this Knock Down Power? I guess they just have no real experience.


kev December 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

I find .45 is easier to reload, a lot less problems, less snags and availibility of good quality supplies are very plentiful. when it comes to 9mm however i start running into problems with pregressive reloaders. I can pump out hundreds of .45 ammo in a fraction of the time it takes to do 9 mm. Most of reloading friends say the same thing. something to consider.


Will December 19, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I know this is an old post, but saw this and had to reply. I am an unusually large person (6'9) and I have my concealed carry permit, as do many others. What seperates me from others is that my choice for EDC is a S&W 500 with a four inch barrel, carried in a shoulder holster. I dont carry this just for the hell of it, I guide Grizzly hunts for a living, and have personally brought down a big brownie with one shot from this gun. Now if you think a pistol that will stop a charging bear in its tracks wont "knock" down a person bent on doing me harm, you are mistaken. Just my .02 cents


Jaxxsun January 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I get a laugh, out of the Great "which Gun to get debate" :) )

How many rounds do you think you need??? What 10,000. I think not :) )
If you are worried that much about cost, learn to reload. Or just get a 22 and deal with it.
Who do you think that you are going to encounter, zombies maybe :) )

I have given it a lot of thought, and have vast experience with all hand guns.
I love the 45, because it works vary well. And besides, any one on the wrong end of the barrel knows that they are in deep trouble.

A nine mill does not instill the magnitude of fear of a 45 or a 40 cal in a toe to toe confrontation.

But if I had to pic only one gun it would have to be a stainless 357.
Because you can use two instead of one kind of amo. Easyer to shoot and become familiar with.
There are less moving parts to maintain or fail, nothing to jam or small parts to loose
Who cares that it only carry's 5/7 shots. How many are you going to really need when it counts?

You have to think of a hand gun as protection, not to hunt wild game for dinner.
For that is another matter all together!

And for the clowns that hate guns, why are you here??


Mike February 18, 2012 at 6:47 am

Put it this way: If I had only ONE SHOT to stop somebody from doing something really bad, and if my only choices were 9mm or .45acp…. I'll take the shot with the .45.


Dewd July 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Guest, a question that will not go away is; how do we tell someone (anyone) they are wrong without throwing up barriers that bring further communication to a standstill. However, let me say that those who believe that one of Sir Isaac's law of motion requires that the kick of a gun must equal the bullet impact force is just plain ignorant of the facts. I might go on and say, they are also dummer'n mud, but I won't. Hi, by the way.


Guest from Montana August 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

John Lennon,Ronald Reagan,Bobby Kennedy and so on were all knocked down by a handgun Mr. Superman.


rob e November 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Clearly, you've never seen anyone hit with a handgun. I once decked a guy with a .38; smacked him on the crown of his nose and he dropped like a rock. Now, if you're talking about rounds, or how bulletshit, that might be a different story. I really wish people would get that straight!


kiljoy616 December 22, 2012 at 10:42 am

Well said, sound more like people think a 45 is magic.


democraticgunowner February 2, 2013 at 12:24 am

wouldnt a 9 mm be beter in a sence for survival say you have a bear charging you well if a 9 mm penatrates more then that meens that you have a deeper shot and if you have a deeper shot then that meens you have more muscle and tissue and bones and possibly even vitals geting knocked around and yes im a democrat no i dont support gun controll and im making the change to republican next year in hopes of avoiding gun controll laws pls answer my question i am truly curius to what the answer wil be


Guest February 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

If u get hit by either u will get knocked down


ZOMCON1 May 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm

You are right Guest. If guns had "knock down" power, then you would be knocked down just as equally. If you don't belive me, physics said so.


theo July 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Tell that one to Trayvon Martin !


Damien November 2, 2013 at 10:50 am

Careful, a 44 magnum will KNOCK just about anything on its ass. Even more so a 454, over penetration may be a problem though haha.


john wayne February 15, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Clearly you haven't heard of the thompson contender g2. Also the .600 nitro revolver definitely would have "knock down" power and is still classed as a pistol. The g2 has something like forty different barrels and chambers many different rounds including the 30-30 and the 444 marlin. I'm pretty sure if anything human like was struck by these rounds it would more than likely knock you back.


Chuck May 30, 2014 at 10:06 am

Never shot a plastic bottle of water? I knocked down a clay torso with the first model of a Rolls Royce ballistic vest once too. Sorry, they just do, depending on the target etc.


Yellalab February 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I agree wholeheartedly. I try to keep duplicity of ammo and guns. Such as the Ruger Blackhawk, the Ruger Blackhawk in .22 and .22manum and in long guns


KansasScout May 2, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I'm looking to get myself a .45colt chambered Ruger Vaquero Blued Single Action Revolver and a Marlin or Winchester in the same caliber. I prefer fixed sights to adjustable on my handguns since I'm not a target pistol shooter. I would love to find a used in good condition Marlin Camp Carbine in .45ACP to go with my RIA M1911.


bamaman February 18, 2011 at 3:31 pm

their decisions have had some question marks.


Rondogg May 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Thank you for sticking to the point and answering the question. A .45 is a huge bullet and will kill or damage a bad guy better than a 9mm will. All these guys here who seem to not understand the question are really filling up this space with impertinent comments. Stop it you guys.


bamaman February 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm

if the single shot has that much allure b/c of not breaking why not go for a side by side. you can actually reload really quick by holding the two extra shells inbetween your fingers on your non tigger hand. when you breach the gun the other two willl pop out, stick two in, and using you other arm you can make the gun close on its own with one hand and start shooting. learned it quail hunting.


Rondogg May 10, 2013 at 11:25 pm

The question is between a 9mm and a .45 acp. You appear to have trouble understanding how to address a topic. The topic is 9mm vs. .45 acp.


william February 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm

in my opion the best handheld fire arm is the 9mm pistol i mean it holds more ammo has a faster fireing avarage.


Dan November 10, 2011 at 10:36 am

All the replies to this posts are making good points… Complicated/rare/weird ammo should be avoided in a SHTF situation. I am not a fan of .40 cal. Snappier than 9mm and .45 cal (recoil management, and follow-up shot suck), louder (annoying actually), and draws your attention more towards the gun handling than your target. Sprinkle on top the stress and speed of a real-life situation and you get the picture. Eventually…

But there is another issue about 10mm that nobody mentioned: the stress that round puts on the chamber and barrel make a lot of gun manufacturers to offer less warranties for that specific round. I know a lot of the Glock people here in US and Europe. I'm talking top management. And they all say the same thing: every time somebody buys a 10mm, they start praying. :)

If you go for a competition like "the bigger-the-better" (which is another way of saying "I am gay but I don't know it yet…"), then chose Desert Eagle or Smith& Wesson chambered in 500. And the we'll see who's the feminized one…


PS. Navy Seals used the Ruger "Amphibian" for covert operations for many years. That's a .22 cal. Go call a Navy Seal "feminized" over that issue and see what happens… :)


Zythum_Halen February 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm

I use basically the same setup you do. I have the Kel-Tec 2000 sub-rifle to go with my two 9mm pistols. I also have 2 colt .45s. Because of the greater expense for .45 ACP ammo I have about 1 third the .45 amm that I have for the 9mm pistols.

I go thru cycles of what I am stocking up on. I have a fair amount of ammo locked away and as of late I am redoubling my efforts to stock food, especially with the economy in the shape it is and food prices on the rise.

I enjoy the articles on this sight and have found some very useful advice as well as useful links.

I just read the book "One Second After" …good read


DerekcopUSMC March 4, 2011 at 11:33 pm

are we assuming both are starting from a ready position or holstered? at contact distance, a competent defensive pistol shooter can draw and place a round (or two) in the pump, or cranial vault pretty quick. Said shooter may sustain a defensive injury to the reaction side arm, but you had better make that second count…of course we are assuming competence here.


DerekcopUSMC March 5, 2011 at 1:07 am

I would recommend that you visit the ballistics tables of any major ammunition manufacturer. The defensive loads I carry are Speer Gold Dot JHP, as that is the ammunition issued by my department, so it's free, well tested, and I have seen its success in the field. There are several other good manufacturers, but here are the numbers on my department's loads:
9MM-124 grain +P=410 foot pounds (at the muzzle)
40 cal. 155 grain=496 FP
45 acp 230 grain=404 FP
180 grain=453 FP
I hope that you are struck by the marginal differences in actual "knockdown power" between the Big Three. I f I, like the U.S. military, were restricted to ball ammunition, I would not feel comfortable with a 9mm. With modern defensive loads, any of the three will serve their intended purpose, as long as the user understands the limitations of the handgun.


Bill in Cleveland October 23, 2012 at 10:14 am

Maybe in 1911s the 9mm only has 9 rounds, but the FN/Browning Hi-Power, designed by John Moses Browning, the same guy who designed the 1911 and looked on as an improved model as the 1911 patents had expired when he designed the High Power, holds 13 to 15 rounds depending on the mag you get (Mec-Gar mags hold 15). Now it looks a bit different, right?

I have several FN/Browning 9mm guns and just bought a Hi-Power in .40 S&W. I like it but to me it doesn't have more recoil than the 9mm Hi-Power or my FN HP-DAs (a different gun than the Hi-Power but still all steel). The .40 cal only carries 10 rounds though. One has to be accurate and not get rattled.


CaptBart March 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I just noticed you never got a reply … sorry. I wouldn't say regional so much as a business decision maybe. If your ammo purveyor had big orders for 9 and 45, he might be at the top of the resupply chain for those. If he rarely sold any .40, then he could be well down on the list compared to the big outfits. Guys like the email shops buy ammo by the railroad car load. They get first dibs on what is available. Then it trickles down to the chain shops, guys like Carter Country here in Houston. Then the smaller suppliers. Who are you going to stiff, your million dollar a year customer or the faithful, $5000 a year supplier. Some stuff took a really long time. I know of folks who waited a year for .380 from Cabela's. Part of the resurgence in 9 was when the Fed started letting go of the once fired brass. A lot of that gets loaded into the bulk loads from the various vendors. Military doesn't use .40 so it was no help to the suppliers. I'd guess that your area doesn't/didn't have a large group of .40 users so what was available went to pre-orders placed by law enforcement and big stores. Just a guess but I've seen it happen like that before.


sean March 19, 2011 at 9:51 pm

well mr.nghtrunner i agree wholeheartedly.i carry a tactical xd .45 acp EVERYDAY it was my duty gun(my choice) & was/is my personal carry weapon.lets face it 13 rounds thats alot,heavy sort of,comforting definately.i will say that i just picked up a sub compact xd .40s&w it is in my edc bag/manpurse whatever.


ben dover January 15, 2012 at 8:29 am

glock 9mm mags for moder 17,19,and 26 can hold 33 rounds.


indep1 March 16, 2012 at 10:57 am

I recently picked up a used Glock M21 and it seems to be a great pistol once I got used to the idea of no safety. I think however; if summer ever comes this year and I put away the heavier jackets and coats that let me get away with carying the .45, I'll probably go back to my firestar 9MM.
As long as I use them for what they were designed for, close-up defensive work, I think either is acceptable. At least as long as I doi my part and put the rounds on target.


Ben228 April 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I concur. My duty carry is the XD .40 4", loaded with 165 gr. P++ hollowpoints. I lug it and my 4 (four) spare 10 rnd mag for 8+ hours a day. that is a lot of weight to cart around and bumping up to the XD .45 would just be to much. The recoil on my .40 is much more controlable the the .45's. I have been consitantly been able to get 2 shot on target be for my brother(with similar skill level) gets his .45 back on target from first shot.

In a BO I'd be throwing at least another 100 rounds on board plus long gun ammo. That all adds up way to fast.

I'll stick with option #3 thank you very much. Yes it is a compromise but it is one I am already betting my life on.


Nate July 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

The only thing we need to consider in regard to the magazine capacity of the 9mm vs. .45 is that some weapons now have high capacity .45's…so that no longer matters…for instance the glock 21 carries 13+ 1 rds of .45 (I believe thats the highest capacity made)..if anyone needs 13 tries to take out a bad guy…then they need to practice WAY more at the range. lol Ya know?


Ben228 April 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm

The advantage to the .40 is more punch then 9mm and more control then.45. Like all copromises, it does not score highest across the board but does well in most catagories.

It is my duty carry and that of over 90% of LE in my area. The reasons given for upgrading from 9s were upgraded stopping power(from 9s), more recoil control (then .45) and less officer fatigue (weight of ammo then .45). LE in my area has theirs loaded with 155 gr. or 165 gr. P+ hollowpoints, because test show none of that nasty "Blue on Blue" shooting due to "over pentration". I happen to be an armed security guard and get to chose weapon carried and choose the .40 for the same reasons.

Just MHO


Samurai June 26, 2011 at 8:30 am

yeah thats right my friend tremujin…its not a large caliber but a right ammo to load your weapon. .22 stinger do a good job in actual fight here in the Philippines. I carry P228 sig 9mm and i load Corbon +p+ and Hydra shock. So, for those fan of .45, please….do not underestimate the 9mm if you have no battle experience.


OfficerOtto April 5, 2011 at 11:37 pm

DerekcopUSMC, that is an excellent point. I think I posted somewhere above that a modern hollow point round in .45, .40 and 9mm performed essentially on-par with each other in ballistic tests. They all penetrated well, created a large wound cavity, and had comparable stopping power. The .38 special was “hit or miss” (no pun intended) and they described the performance of the .380 and on down as “dismal at best.”

What you’re shooting, knowing how to shoot it, and being comfortable with it will make the real difference when the defecation hits the oscillation.


CaptBart April 7, 2011 at 8:02 am

Excellent point. Look at videos of a SASS shoot sometime. Those guys can put rounds through a double pretty quickly. There is NO second shot faster than a double. That is why professional guides in Africa carried double rifles. Third shot speed goes to a pump or an auto, but not by much and the moving parts can break. Story goes that Winchester called their first pump the 97 (introduced in 1897) because it had 97 ways to fail. If the moving parts of a double fail, you have a single until you can get it fixed. It's why I like doubles.


CaptBart April 7, 2011 at 8:07 am

And I hope it never ends – only gets bigger as new calibers are added. Never shot one but I think the .40/10 is a natural to add here.
One thing I do note; a lot of the posts say I use a 9 but I have a .40/.45 that I will use post TSHTF. That concerns me a bit. The concept is OK, but if you are going to play "you bet your life" with a .45 I would suggest you had better practice with that as much as you do with your carry 9. Since I carry both, I practice with both. Just my not so humble opinion.


ascalzilli April 23, 2011 at 5:50 am

well i look at it like this 9mm 1 in throat area and 1 in the chin on the double tap and me and the bad guy really wont be talking unless dead guys can talk. If you are a civilian and do not understand tactical shooting in high stress environment then buy a 45 and squeeze until empty. anyone with skills understands were i am at. also practice shooting with both hands and reloading also. cuz if you get wingd it sucks if you need to reload and you did not practice it.


shawn williams September 12, 2013 at 10:57 pm

127 hp 9mm round 1200 fps hittig a pig target with .70 spread had same damage as .45acp 800 fps .70 spread. hp not ball or FMJ. Battle reports of 9mm not knocking down enemy. Well with ball rounds issued, less training time than with rifles… no wonder. Bottom line, a 9mm with HP round is the defensive choice. Yes a 45 afflicts more damage at close range, try to get closer with me, a 9mm Hydra Shock round will do you in fella. Accuracy is better. Practice and knowing your effective distances is key… AND HP rounds!!!


grinder08 January 9, 2014 at 11:53 am

I have a number of concerns about some of these statements. First I have both a 9mm and a 45 ACP and I reload for and really like both. I use 4.0 grains of Titegroup for the 45 and 4.1 for my 9mm. Note: more powder in the 9mm. Now the 45 uses large primers and these provide a little more oomph than the small so the actual energy behind the bullet is more or less the same. If I was reloading 40 s & w it would be 4.6grains. Energy prize goes to the 40. All the energy of a bullet comes from the primer and powder. It has nothing to do with the bullet itself. If you can deliver all the energy the bullet has there is little or no difference between the 9 and the 45. The problem comes with military style bullets. A larger bullet that delivers all its energy is more effective than a smaller bullet with the same energy that overpenetrates, common with FMJ 9mm. Change your 9mm to a good quality expanding bullet and there is little to no difference in effectiveness. I can shoot both guns equally well and don't have an issue with the recoil of either so in a combat situation I would prefer the 9mm with good bullets, mainly because I can carry more rounds.. Based on this the 40 s&w has more energy so it will have more stopping power than either the 9mm or the 45 ACP. However, from what I understand the recoil is more significant with the 40, more energy so no surprise. Don't have a 40 so don't feel qualified to comment beyond that

I know that there are other more technical parts to the equations of bullet ballistics etc. and that there actually small difference between bullets cartridge sizes how well the powder burns, barrel length etc etc. but in general these are relatively small. My central point is if different bullets have the same energy and all that energy is delivered effectively there is very little difference based on the caliber.


David April 24, 2011 at 8:51 pm

There are hundreds of case of people shot in the brain with a 9MM and surviving even more who were shot through the Heart try matching those numbers to the .40 S&W or .45 ACP. In Tikrit I personally watched my commander shoot a haji in the head after two to the chest and watched the F*****r get up it took shooting him with two more head shots to insure he was nuetralized


bob davidson June 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I guess you could use the 45 for a club or a paper weight…….


John February 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

So after you took something down that had ammo dont you think it would also be carrying the proper gun for that ammo? This isnt about what you can loot form the dead. A .45 will punch a bigger hole than a 9mm. That increases the odds of knocking down your foe.


Chris March 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm

As you pointed out there would be a lot of 9mm ammunition lying around. That means that they would also need a FIREARM to use it. If someone with a .45 was in need of ammunition, they could simply grab the firearm that the dead man was using.


bob davidson June 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Problem w/ backup theory is that 99% of the time you dont have your shotgun or rifle w/ you to do any backing up. You can only use what you actually have on you when trouble comes calling.


Anonymous September 29, 2011 at 12:08 pm

The best Handgun is the one in your hand that is the backup to the shotgun and rifle, and is much better than a knife.


LARRY January 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm



bob davidson June 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm

i agree the keltec isnt military grade, but I own one as do several of my friends in both 9mm and 40cal and none of us has had any feed trouble w/ cheap ammo. A few months back i got a deal on some P+ ammo and have been shooting them almost exclusively w/ no problems.


Mike December 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I'm running a Kel Tec Sub 2000 in 9mm. I've fired hundreds of Speer LE +P+ ammo through that gun and it performs flawlessly. I have had a few issues when using Winchester 115 gr. Target ammo, though Winchester Ranger ammo 115 gr. & 147 gr. +P have worked flawlessly.

The KT Sub 2000 may not be mil grade, but I've had that barrel very hot and its done quite well.

Your judgement of the Kel Tec's as not a "real weapon" is unfounded. Every manufacturer has a wide variety of guns that vary in quality.

Remember, this discussion is for survival, not combat.


bob davidson June 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm

why are folks always talking about having to kill a bear. lmao. I may be wrong but I'd bet only of few of you if any have ever had an opportunity to kill a bear, much less had it come down to the survivallist or the bear. Many people think that everyone will automatically head to the wilderness when tshtf, but IMO thats not where most would really want to be. Camping out and practicing survival is fun, but I'd rather be in my home holding down my fort than in the middle of the wilderness debating w/ a bear to which round of ammo he'd rather not be shot with.


Jon June 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Research supports that wounding a bear is the most dangerous thing you can do so shoot a bear with your .45 and send me a telegraph from his large intestine about how it went.


EdfromtheOzarks July 12, 2011 at 4:28 am

It wasn't a .38 special, it was just a .38; .38 Colt i believe


None November 20, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Researching Handgun Wounding Factors And Effectiveness would be a good idea.


Aaron September 1, 2012 at 7:17 am

.45 ball doesn't make a fist sized hole. It's usually just a through and through. Doesn't knock down anything anymore than 9mm. With wonderful youtube it's no longer just word against word. Here's a guy that shot himself in the leg at VERY close range, didn't blow his leg off, didn't knock him off his feet. And the REST fo the story of the Philipine-American war is that they kept charging right through the .45 rounds.


d.marshall March 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm

dumbass, 45acp were disigned for military, " 1911" and the origional 230 gr hardball ammo just punched a hole, it would not expand, try it in a phonebook


Paul August 13, 2011 at 8:58 am



CaptBart September 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm

The key to uncommon rounds is to recognize that you must have/carry all the ammo you'll need. This is the same problem with long guns as well. If you accept that fact and make provisions to have enough ammo or reload or both then there is no reason not to have and use a weapon you like. I think I would still keep something like my Kel Tec P11 in 9 mm or .45ACP just in case something happens and I HAVE to get ammo somewhere other than my supplies.


CaptBart September 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I hope we all have an aversion to killing. I think you are talking about folks who intend to only "wound" the BG. These folks should be discouraged form owning a firearm. Use Pepper spray or other less lethal means but NEVER use a firearm with the deliberate intention of "just wounding". First it doesn't work and second you are very, very likely to loose your weapon and have it used against you or your family. Outside of a war, no one shoots to kill but I do and will shoot to stop. If the BG dies, that is his choice. Guns are lethal weapons and kidding yourself about that will lead to all kinds of psychological problems if you are forced to use it.


indep1 September 23, 2011 at 11:14 pm

For the uninitiated, in a firefight with a handgun you put your front site in the center of mass and pull the trigger until the target goes away. It ain't like TV or the movies. It's been a long time since Vietnam but I still remember that much.


indep1 September 23, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I carried a .45 in Vietnam so I know how well that works. Now I usually carry one of my Star 9mm's, they're easier for concealed carry and I still like the single action. I have a Taurus eight shot .22 mag in my grab bag, just in case.
If I ever get into a survival type situation I hope I'll have my AK or Remington 870 at hand. I'd hate to have to rely solely on any handgun as my only survival weapon for the long haul but as an everyday self defence piece I think the 9mm or .45 are both adequate in the hands of an experienced shooter.


Jack October 6, 2011 at 11:40 am

And I'll do the same. Do you think that receiving 10 rounds of .40 or 9mm would not do the same? This "test" does not prove anyting. And don't call people moron, it's doing no good to the debate.


Kiljoy616 December 22, 2012 at 10:54 am

There is your issue no one stands and shoots, its not the movies, people move a lot and shoot down range so you better not run out of rounds. Now if its at the Movies (you know mental patient) I rather have Hollow 9mm with 18 rounds that your 12 round 45 with adrenaline running thru my body and my heart at 170 bpm.

No magic here up close and personal I see 45 been good, but no one gets up and personal and lets you draw your weapon.


StillCreepnCpl October 13, 2011 at 1:43 am

How big of a deer are you talking? Because i have been shooting for quiet a few years, i am by no means an expert or anything, but i would not try and take down a deer with a .22. Just seems like it would piss it off less take it down. I know it could be good for Rabbits, ground hogs, and other small game like that but a deer idk. Every time my uncle and i go hunting he will take a .243 and ill take my 30-06. he'll hit one and still have to walk up and put another one in to put it down. Unless he gets a head shot. I agree solely that a .22 is a great weapon to have back at the camp or in your locker for plinking or small game but its gonna take more than one shot to bring an animal as big as say a pennsylvania white tail. Thats just my area though. good post Bazzil.


Joshua November 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Look up HAND GUN WOUNDING FATORS AND EFFECTIVENESS on Google click on the first article and learn something Glen.


democraticgunowner February 2, 2013 at 12:29 am

god dam some people are dumb have you ever seen any one get shot with a desert eagle you all say that your 45s and 9 mms are strong not a lot of you know about the 50 cal desert eagle


d.marshall March 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm

only if bone is hit, a close range tag, under 10yds, with a hp 38sp or hell a 22magl will change their mind, remember all you need id to just getaway


Bryan January 19, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Tell that to my buddy that put 9 rounds of .45 ACP into someone and then got stabbed while he tried to reload.

It is not a miracle round. Those are legends. ALL common handgun rounds really just come down to where you hit.

He's moving to 9mm so that he has more capacity. Either you hit something that will stop their ability to physically move, or you don't. Increasing the diameter of the hole by a fraction of an inch may up those odds a tiny bit…but having more hole-makers at your disposal ups it a lot.


None November 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Look up HAND GUN WOUNDING FACTORS AND EFFECTIVENESS on Google. Click the first article that pops up and read it. You might be a Combat Vet and if so I give you the most respect and thankfulness for your valuable time and hardships and what you have sacrificed for this country. But you are no physicist. I have friends that are both nuclear physicists for the government and are serving in wars all over the world. These people would agree that all hand held guns DO NOT have "Knock Down Power". For the sheer fact that they DO NOT knock you down when they are fired. PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE STATED ABOVE BEFORE RESPONDING. It will make the wiser of many.


bob davidson July 23, 2013 at 1:19 am

maybe try taking your on advise


RGR1504 November 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm

must have been in that "special" unit that carries all those calibers. most combat vets don't need to brag about knowing anything "for a fact". Some are quiet professionals that just go about their business. Don't make us all look bad. Some of us believe in science. The idea that the larger hole is that much different is ridiculous. The hole size difference is negligible. Speed also makes up for a lot of mass E=mc^2. So any increase in speed is significantly more important than the increase in mass. All that said, if you have shot someone, keep it to yourself, as many honorable men and women have done before you. Thanks.


Chris November 21, 2011 at 5:40 am

They are called sidearms because they were worn on your side.


Low_Speed January 7, 2012 at 8:34 pm

"A nine mill does not instill the magnitude of fear of a 45 or a 40 cal in a toe to toe confrontation."

Really? Most people if a gun is pointed at them won't even know or care what caliber it is until the police or a doctor tells them about it after they got hit. Most civilians don't know the size of a 9mm barrel and a 45 cal. All they know is that someone pulled a gun on them. In a toe to toe confrontation, a gun is a gun!


asian_of_ak January 11, 2012 at 11:15 am

Lever guns have a robust action and quickly be reloaded with a flick of the wrist with out having to bring your bead off target. For sure, battle carbines are quicker to dump ammo down range with accuracy, but with the amount of springs and such I'd relegate it to sentry or when I know I'm about to engage hostile targets. But shoot whatever is more comfortable.


ben dover January 15, 2012 at 8:25 am

Also important to remember that both rounds, especially 9mm, have carbines that are mighty convinent haveing abilty to carry one round. However, some carbines do not come in 45 cal such as keltec sub 2k. Finnally, the 9mm round has greatly improved over the past decade, ex. +p+ rounds.


ZOMCON1 May 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Does not matter what caliber you use. Practice makes perfect and understanding that many variables will dictate a firefight. Not one will be the same, similar perhaps, but not the same. Psychology and physiology of an individual assailant will have alot to do with the dynamics of that said firefight.


pfluckiger January 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm

I agree with Mr. Smashy. I prefer a .40 for the reason that the whole state of Utah L.E.O.s carry this round. Should be plenty of extras around. I also store 500 rounds each of .38/.357, 9mm, .45 as barter.


Delta February 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Well said. The weapon you can use mots teffectively is the one to select. Ammo today is available to do what you need . The only real variable is the user, how well trained and ability to handle the weapon . Reload, handle the recoil, hit the target in a most effective place. . Having been shot by 7.62 caliber weapon I know that the most important part of shooting is hitting a vital organ first. Without that or a solid bone strike you can and will keep moving.


TripodXL March 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Rule one in gun fighting, other than bring a gun, is to hit what you aim at with what you have. To say that there is no difference in the recoil from .22 to .45 would be disingenuous as it is a law of Newtonian physics. Having said that, there IS a significant difference between 9mm HPs and .45 HPs in stopping power and terminal ballistic performance for that very same reason and to say otherwise would also be disingenuous. I find that as a firearms instructor for 20+ years (military for 38), most people that think a .45 has too much recoil have not been taught to shoot correctly. Now, you may not prefer it, but you can be taught to shoot it VERY well. I used to use my sons to demo the course of fire for the CHL classes that I taught (still teach). My youngest son was 75# and could shoot timed ragged "one holers" at 3 and 7 yards and all 10s (5s actually) at 15 yds. If an 11 y/o boy under 100# can shoot "timed fire" that well, all but the most feeble person could do likewise, if taught properly! If you think that a .45 is heavy recoil you should get some lessons. The other misconception is about the prevalence of .40S&W ammo. In an all out SHTF scenario, LEOs would shoot themselves out of .40S&W rapidly as they don't have the depth of stores of ammo that the military or forward thinking individuals would have (think in minimum terms of 5 digits or more). I would bet good money that the military has more .45 ACP than most would give them credit for (I've seen a lot of it, had to inspect it), as well as 5.56mm and 9mm and except for the vast exception probably not too many .40s. If you want survivors redundancy, then you should have what they have, that's why I have 9mm handguns and 5.56 rifles. The same goes for 7.62×39, 99% of it isn't made in this country. Does anyone think that a gubment that doesn't trust us would keep importing it during SHTF and if it is worldwide it may not be available to import. And, if you don't have the aforementioned 5+ digits of ammo stored up, then all you have is a club. I do have GMPD. Gun multiple personality disorder, as I carry, as the sitch allows, a .32 Tomcat, Kahr P9 or a 1911A1 .45. So I do have an open mind but don't sell yourself short on whether you can shoot a .45 or not. Also if expense is a problem then reload and practice at least once a month, actually weekly but most people don't have the time, the money or opportunity. Be well all, and enjoy.


cwl April 21, 2013 at 3:40 am

9mmf F M J 45 ball at 25 yards


anonymouse February 10, 2012 at 8:02 am

niether caliber, if you are facing an army of potheads then you won't need a gun.

meth addicts, maybe a different story. ;)


Bobo February 18, 2012 at 1:37 am

First, steel core ammo is not allowed at my local OUTdoor range because, as NIN mentioned, it can cause a spark and start a brush fire which can get out of control really quickly (like yesterday with gusts up to 30 mph). Second, CaptBart, many of us apparently do not have your wallet. I can get a 1,000 rounds of 9mm for about $170 and 1,200 rounds of 5.56 for $334. For me, that's a TON of money and I can only afford to go to the range every two or three months. I'm sure plenty of others face the same situation. And, no, shooting practice is not more important than eating.


mr.keltec February 19, 2012 at 7:09 am

The .22 is a great round w/ limitless apps. A well placed shot can/will bring down big game. However, as previously stated during a firefight well placed shots can become few and far in between. For game even if a clean kill is possible, its not humane.

Soft armor is not intended to defeat rifle rounds. The smaller and faster the round the more frequent defeat becomes. Although the .22 can penetrate soft body armor, how much damage can one expect to inflict afterwards. The .22 should be used for what it has been designed for, plinking and small game. Although desperate measures call for desperate actions and the .22 is much higher up the list than nothing.


mr.keltec December 14, 2012 at 7:26 am

Most body armor, unless other wise specified, arent rated to protect against sharp objects such as knives. .22 cal will also penetrate most soft body armor although most of the round's velocity has dropped off. Keep in mind though that even if the body armor is defeated by .22, the damage is likely at a minimum. At best bad guy is going to have enough time to return fire. Speaking of body armor. I'd sure like to have a discussion on body armor. Concealed, tactical, plate, ect. I think it would make a great topic.


Guest February 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I have seen deer shot with a 22 die before they got 50 ft. Is it my caliber of choice? No. But my BOB has a Browning Buckmark and a box of 22 hollow points and I am sure that if I find something to kill to eat I will be dining on meat as long as I have that little Buckmark. One thing you need above everything else is practice.


united4all February 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I am always hearing in the news that someone got shot with a 9mm and walked away. One time a cop's radio in his shirt pocket deflected the bullet, another time it was a badge. Recently an armed citizen shot a robber with his 9mm twice. Once was in the head even. He got up and ran away. They caught him later at the hospital. If you have to use a little 9mm, then carry lots of ammo and use it all. You will probably need it.


John February 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Wow, two to the chest and one to the head and he still got up. Was he looking for Sarah Connor by any chance?


mr.keltec December 14, 2012 at 7:33 am

I'm gonna have to call B.S. on that one David.


Joe March 11, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Agreed. I had a gun pulled on me once. It was probably a junky old .32, but the hole in the end of the barrel looked enormous!


indep1 March 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

I carried a .45 into the tunnels of VN only because I couldn't find a .75 caliber pistol. When your life depends on a one shot kill you get the biggest bullet you can find. Having said that, a 9MM is still better than a rock.


TripodXL March 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Yeah, I know what you mean about the old duffers, as I often hear the "hydrostatic shock" crap from young punks at the range with weird hair and clothes with no respect for experience or the fact that someone MIGHT know a little more than they do. Yes, you can terminate resistance with a 9mm. BTDT. But, if you ask the professional trigger pullers what they need, they will ask for BIGGER, to a man. Most of the operators that have a choice carry .45s…period, unless there is a reason to do otherwise, i.e. suppressed weapons, dangerous environment etc. They have more resistance terminations than any other group of people in the world….period. So I suspect that their experiences should be taken to heart. When you burst into a 10×10 room with a tango turning around with his finger on the trigger of an AK and you're using your sidearm because you can't swing your 4 around, you want him to die as many milliseconds faster as a .45 will do it than a 9mm, because the millisecond he pulls the trigger it no longer makes a difference, even if he dies after the fact. That's the difference between "stun and kill". Now does every event come down to this hairsplitting timing, no but I didn't want to worry about it, one less distraction. Oh, and the cammies that I wear at the range (my range) were earned by me over 38 years from the time I was drafted til I retired….and you paid for them. It's not about tests that government agencies run, agencies that have to have guns that "people of small stature with small hands" can shoot. It's about reality, real life reality. The military is taught to shoot a DT to the chest and one to the head, because of 9mm inadequacies…three shots to MAKE SURE they're dead. When you do an entry into a room with 3-5 Ts imagine if you had to shoot every single tango 3x….really? And FYI, the M9 was brought into the service, IRONICALLY, in the early 80s when we started taking in more "people of small stature with small hands", a sort of "affirmative action" program for shooting. You are dead on about reloading, regardless of caliber. Be well, enjoy.


syderwasp December 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Try Hornady with new FlexLock, nickle jacket, interlock band keeps bullet and core from seperating..Tough bullet core delivers controlled expansion consistency through all FBI test barriers…check out critical duty critical defense.. and for rifles sting em with the new 17 Hornet


George March 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Excellent points – I was wondering if anyone was going to mention carbines. Stock up on a shitload of 9mm and .45 ACP ammo, have handguns and carbines in both calibers, and you're set!!


Guest September 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm

And? The 45 is available in over pressure variants too. Some carbines don't come in 9mm. For example, one of the best carbines, Kriss Super V Vector which only comes in .45


Dewd July 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm

And, my I also say, Guest, (Because I know for sure and certain) a 45 acp will knock a man flat of his ass, and I do mean "KNOCK" him down by bullet impact force.


Guest October 27, 2013 at 1:01 pm

"I don't believe in physics" is your argument?
"Knockdown force" is a misnomer, it is really "Organ Damage Shock" (or a doctor could make that better).

The point is that as you deal greater damage to the body, the reaction of the body to that damage increases; such that various "muscular contractions" may occur that is misconceived as a person being "knocked down".


dave August 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm



Dave August 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

before you buy that Glock 40 please look at the S&W M&P 40 and shoot them both..I bet you pick the S&W


Dave August 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

yea but a six shot salvo, compaired to a 16 round salvo Im on the side of the Auto…love my S&W 38 though


l3l4ck0ut August 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm

want me to stun you, rob?


kurt November 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I agree,I've got both. Shot placement is key. During stress, unless it is a head shot, are you only going to trust 1 round to end the fight, or use 1 round on multiple attackers? Not likely. I also have an AR. The 9 for CQB, the AR for other engagements. I can carry my 9 all day-31 rnds ammo. Try that with a 45–not comfortable. In WROL you'll need more ammo not less. I run Ranger T +P in my Glock 19. If you have to walk to safety, hundreds of rounds of 45 is heavy. Its why the military chose the 556 vs 308. Mission, weight, cost. USAF Vet


pspencer October 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm

I have the 40 S&W version of the Kel-Tec Sub 2000. it is the only way I carry a .40 since the 40 S&W is well known to have unpredictable recoil. it wants to be a 9mm one time and a 45ACP the next, at least it is predictable in a carbine. I carry a .45 daily (1911 Tactical Officer) but when I hit the woods with my Camera I carry my 9mm (CZ75 clone) more because it is polymer framed and resists my sweat on strenuous hikes to remote waterfalls. I still carry my Sub-2000 but hidden with my spare tire with 3x 31rd mags just in case.


Kurt November 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm

The Finns killed a lot of Russians during the winter war with the 9mm ball and not just on automatic. They did a lot of sniping with it. Using what you have well is always the first priority. Leaving home with a long gun draws attention. The Kel carbine can be folded and go in a day pack or ruck. Also my wife can shoot it comfortably. nuff said.


bob davidson November 12, 2012 at 3:19 am

i have a hi point 9mm carbine. its ugly as sin, but very reliable. cheap too! It'd be hard to beat the bang for the buck. comes with lifetime warenty. only thing dissappointing for me is that it has single stack mag even in the 9mm.


CaptBart November 12, 2012 at 6:10 am

is this the Hi-Point, Kel Tec or other carbine. Yes, some of them are not "elegant" looking but they are effect lead launchers.


mr.keltec November 23, 2012 at 6:11 am

That's my point. I own both the keltec and hi point and would recoment both. The keltec is super compact, folds up, light as i believe a carbine can be, uses most popular brand mags; Berretta, Glock, Smith and Wesson, Sig. On the other hand the hi point is more affordable, is heavy and solid enough to be used as a club if need be, and comes with multiple built in picatinny rails. The biggest advantage of both is that for the price of a nice AR platform carbine, you could outfit a platoon of survivalist with these guns.


bob davidson February 27, 2013 at 5:30 am

I dont know if i understand your question captb, unless you are questioning wheather or not i have these "carbines". If this be the case, why? That would be comparable to my questioning your comments on the double barrel that you regularly speak of.


mr.keltec November 23, 2012 at 6:15 am

The keltec p11 model also uses the 59 series mags. Standardizing ammo is a great idea, but to be able to use same ammo and magazines in both sidearm and carbine is the best idea since white bread.


CaptBart February 27, 2013 at 7:54 am

Sorry if I wrote poorly. I was simply curious as to which carbine you thought was good. That would give me another data point to recommend that brand of carbine. I did not intend to come across as critical or prying into something that is truly none of my business.


bob davidson February 28, 2013 at 3:11 am

sorry i misinturrpted your post. I guess we all know what happens when one assumes.
AS to the carbines, the keltec is super cool, light and compact. Most importantly it uses same mags as most of the popular handguns. The sight arent good and I dont believe it would hold up to a beating. Also the price has gone through the ceiling.
The hipoint will eat anything, is accurate out to 100 yards, carries a lifetime warrenty weather you're the 1st or 50th owner and it has maintained its affordability. The only flaw besides ugly w/ this gun is i expect a carbine to have a higher mag capacity.
In the end the hipoint wins out in my opinion. cool is cool, but if my life is at stake, cool doesnt seem that important.


Rondogg May 10, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Please stick to the subject.


Rondogg May 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm

9mm vs. .45 ACP!!!! Not shotguns or anyhting else. Read the topic at the begining of this thread. "A shotgun fires a more effective round"…….. no shit??? What was the question again?
9mm vs. .45. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Rondogg May 10, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Please try to refrain from digressing and stick to the discussion. Focus! What round will KILL some easier. The shot placement theory is bogus in it's nature. Obviously if you miss with a .45 and hit with a 9mm, the 9mm is more effective, but all things being equal, the .45 is going to get it done easier. Will all of you please stop drifting away from the topic and focus on the discusssion or don't comment?


Rondogg May 10, 2013 at 10:58 pm

What if someone shoots better with a .22? Does that settle the argument of which caliber will kill someone easier? Not in my opinion. A .45 acp will kill someone easier if compared to the same scenario. That means, now focus here people, that in a test subject where the shot hits the exact spot which caliber will do the most damage and preferable kill the bad guy? How can anyone think that a 9mm will do the same thing. People keep drifting from the topic so as to not face the fact that a huge bullet like a .45 will do it much more effectively than a tiny 9mm round. Again the shot placement theory suggests that if you miss with a .45 and hit with a 9mm that the 9mm is more effective. No shit!


Rondogg May 10, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Because the question is which bullet will kill better? Stick to the point. You have good points to make, but they do not address this very simple question.


ZOMCON1 May 16, 2013 at 4:06 pm

The Para Ordnance P-14 holds 14 in the mag and 1 in the chamber.


ZOMCON1 May 21, 2013 at 10:29 am

A note on hollow points Nytestriker. There are no guarantees that those hollow points you spent more money on will expand. They rarely do in human flesh. However, consider it a bonus when and when if does expand. My preference remain with FMJ (Full Metal Jacket). I'm not saying hollow points don't have their merits, but FMJ rounds are what I turn to for an ammunition choice.


Guest August 13, 2013 at 4:09 pm

The red area is NOT the wound size. It is the temporary cavity size. Temporary cavitation does not do any damage at handgun velocities. Look at the expanded rounds to see the minor differences. The red is simply dye that was put in the gel to measure the temporary cavity, not a permanent wound representation.


Guest August 13, 2013 at 4:12 pm

The .357 wound channel is not the shape of a football. That's the temporary cavity. Temporary cavity effects are not likely on muscle or veins because they are quite elastic. Look up any gel test on a 125 gr 357.


carl October 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I can't believe I found a post, apparently from an LE, suggesting that a .40 is a good piece to have if the SHTF, on account of being able to scavenge ammo off LE's. I don't disagree at all, but I'm shocked. Having a G-22 and a Sub-2K .40 that runs Glock mags is a great idea, for this very reason, but damn! Talk about a depressingly realistic perspective. Yeah, if it all goes to hell the Cops are going to have their hands full, and for some it will be more than they can handle. However, I for one hope to be no-where near a situation so ugly that there are officers on the ground and there are duty belts ripe for the picking.


pspebcer October 13, 2013 at 10:02 pm

if you are a LEO and carry a 40 S&W you cannot go wrong with the Kel-Tec sub 2000 with the Glock mags. they compliment each other well. With a little work you can pull off 100yd shots with no problem 200 is doable. At 15, 25 or even 50 yrds you can hit a melon with no effort. very helpful when a perp is behind cover and the show is small. Plus you get the added benefit of greater velocity if you need to punch through that cover.


7541west October 28, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Great post and very well thought out! I agree that the debate is an exercise in words to pass the time and any weapon (whatever the caliber) is only as effective as the person who uses it. A head shot with a .22 lr is better than a .44 mag that whistles through the air and imparts its energy into a tree inches or yards past the intended target. Skill and practice make the difference whether it's hunting or combat.


RGR1504 November 30, 2013 at 7:21 pm

democraticgunowner, I think you are a libertarian.


mr. keltec December 22, 2013 at 7:24 am

Is the unpredictable recoil you are talking about due to using various brands of ammo, re-loads, or is this just a problem occurring with 40 cal ammo in general?


PF11 Carrier January 29, 2014 at 10:21 am

Kel Tec PF9 for the Win!

I think Kel-Tec should come out with a newly endorsed gun called the ZimZam .380 : Zam! and your on the floor!


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