9mm gun

Why People Argue About 9mm vs. .45 ACP

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People argue about the 9mm vs. .45 ACP because both calibers have a long history and have been used for different purposes, from self-defense to target shooting and competitions. Additionally, there are debates over which caliber is more cost-effective or available regarding ammunition variety. Ultimately, both are popular choices with their advantages and disadvantages.

Compare the 9mm to the .45 ACP yourself at our Las Vegas shooting range. Book your experience today. 

Quick history of the 9mm and .45 ACP

The 9mm and .45 ACP are two of the most popular handgun calibers in the world. 

The 9mm was developed by German arms manufacturer Georg Luger in 1902 to improve earlier pistol cartridges, such as the 7.65x21mm Parabellum. It has since become a common choice for law enforcement and military use worldwide due to its low recoil, controllability, and relatively inexpensive cost per round. 

The .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) is a caliber of ammunition designed by John Browning in 1905 for use with his M1911 semi-automatic pistol design. It is considered one of the most powerful handgun rounds available today due to its combination of stopping power and relative accuracy when fired at shorter distances. Its popularity has endured over time due to its wide range of uses, from self-defense to large-scale competitions such as IPSC shooting matches.

9mm vs. .45 ACP

The 9mm and .45 ACP are popular choices in the handgun world. The 9mm is typically considered less powerful than the .45 ACP, but it is also lighter and easier to control when shooting rapidly. Its smaller size makes it a good choice for concealed carry pistols, as well as subcompact handguns. 

The .45 ACP is usually seen as having greater stopping power over the 9mm due to its larger diameter and heavier bullet. Therefore, it has traditionally been used by law enforcement departments, which require a high degree of accuracy from their officers at close range, such as during shootouts or hostage situations. However, the .45 ACP tends to have more recoil than the 9mm and is, therefore, less suitable for rapid-fire applications.

Which one is for self-defense?

The 9mm and .45 ACP both make excellent self-defense rounds, though deciding which one to use ultimately depends on personal preference. The 9mm is usually seen as having less recoil than the .45 ACP, making it easier to control in rapid-fire scenarios. Additionally, its smaller size makes it a good choice for concealed-carry pistols. 

However, the .45 ACP has a higher degree of accuracy at close range and greater stopping power compared to other handgun calibers. Its larger diameter also increases the odds of hitting vital organs in a target, further increasing its stopping power potential. 

Ultimately, either caliber can serve well when it comes to self-defense. However, those looking for maximum stopping power may prefer the .45 ACP over the 9mm.

Why does the caliber matter?

The caliber of a handgun is important because it affects how much power and accuracy the gun has when fired. For example, the 9mm vs. .45 ACP size comparison will show that the .45 ACP is the larger round. 

A larger caliber round typically has more stopping power, though this comes at the cost of increased recoil, which can affect accuracy. Conversely, smaller calibers tend to have less recoil and are usually more accurate than their larger counterparts, but they also lack the same degree of stopping power. 

Choosing the right caliber will depend on what type of shooting you plan on doing (i.e., target shooting vs. self-defense), as well as size and weight.

The 9mm vs. .45 ACP: complete guide

.45 ACP gun

The 9mm and .45 ACP are two of the most popular handgun calibers in the world. Both have been around for over a century, serving countless shooters, militaries, and law enforcement officers with distinction. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the differences between these two calibers: 

  • Stopping power: The .45 ACP generally has greater stopping power. This makes it an ideal choice for those who require strong stopping power from their firearm. 
  • 9mm vs. .45 ACP recoil: The 9mm typically has less felt recoil due to its smaller size, making it more controllable when shooting rapidly or doing multiple shots simultaneously. 
  • Accuracy: The accuracy of both calibers is excellent at close range, though some argue that the .45 ACP is slightly more accurate due to its heavier weight. 
  • Cost and availability: 9mm ammunition tends to be cheaper than .45 ACP ammunition and is available in many different varieties (e.g., hollow point, full metal jacket).
  • 9mm vs. .45 ACP ballistics: The .45 ACP has a muzzle velocity of around 850 fps and is capable of producing over 400 foot-pounds of energy. The 9mm usually has a muzzle velocity of around 1,200fps and can produce upwards of 500 foot-pounds.

9mm vs. .45 ACP: summary

Pros of 9mm: 

  • Usually has less felt recoil, making it easier to control in rapid-fire scenarios 
  • Cheaper and more widely available than .45 ACP ammunition
  • Can be used for a variety of purposes, from self-defense to target shooting and competitions

Cons of 9mm: 

  • Has less stopping power compared to the .45 ACP due to its smaller diameter
  • Grandpa might laugh at you and mumble about two world wars

Pros of .45 ACP: 

  • Typically has higher stopping power than the 9mm due to its larger diameter and higher velocity
  • More accurate at close range than the 9mm due to its heavier weight

Cons of .45 ACP:

  • More expensive and can be harder to find than 9mm ammunition
  • Has more felt recoil than the 9mm, making it difficult to control in rapid-fire situations

The best for your needs

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Overall, both 9mm and .45 ACP offer excellent performance. However, deciding which is best depends on your needs and preferences. A great way to find out which one you like best is by visiting our Las Vegas shooting range and trying out both rounds with one of our shooting experiences.  

Book your Las Vegas shooting experience at The Range 702 today.


9mm vs. .45 ACP (2023).


Georg Luger.Rattenbury, R. (2023). John Moses Browning.

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