9 mm. - 40 or 45?

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VoteQuimby
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9 mm. - 40 or 45?

Postby VoteQuimby » Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:54 pm

Does anyone know why, it seems, most police agencies use 9mm? I have heard of a lot using 40 cal instead. But, with the exception of some Southern US small town Sheriffs, not many use .45? I know 9 mm. means more ammo carried by the cop but you give up stopping power. Just wondering what the firearms instructors and police think.
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Postby Gard » Wed Jun 06, 2007 2:51 pm

Both the modern 9mm and the .40 are effective law enforcement firearms. The 9 has come a long ways in stopping power and has been around a long time. The .40 has been improved in the 10-15 years it's been around.

The .40 calibre was born of the 10mm, which had awesome stopping power. Some of the complaints about the 10mm, mostly the hard recoil and the fact that it was hard to deliver accurate shots at a higher rate of fire, led to the development of the .40 cal.

Both the .40 and the 9mm have similer penetration depths and diameter of "mushrooming" but the .40 has the edge in stopping power.

The 9mm is easier to stuff with more rounds.

The 9mm was originally developed for military application, hence the "parabellum" designation, which means "for war" in latin. That or "CO is gay"....I can never remember which.

The .40 calibre was designed for law enforcement and is mostly used by LE.

The US Coast Guard equips it's members with the .40, making it the only branch of the US Armed Forces to do so.

The 9mm is cheaper to train on...and practice makes perfect.
Both are effective.

Hope this helps.
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Postby VoteQuimby » Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:12 pm

Thanks, what's the story on the .45? I haven't heard of any Cdn LE using that, I've heard of some US LE using it however. Just wondering why it isn't as popular as the 9mm. Cost? Mag capacity? Accuracy? Size of grip?
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Postby Bald Man » Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:28 pm

That pretty much sums it up.

The .40 cal was developed from the 10mm. Originally, when the FBI switched to the 10mm S&W pistol in the late 80's to 1990ish or so, the full power 10mm loads recoil was found to be quite stout. The higher pressures were also very abusive on the 10mm frames..some even cracked.

The FBI then designed a 10mm lite round which was a lower pressure subsonic round. At this time S&W and Winchester designed the new .40 S&W based on the 10mm FBI Lite round. The .40 S&W equals the 10mm lite round in performance.

Another advantage of the .40 S&W round is, they were designed to be fired in a 9mm size pistol instead of a full size .45 or 10mm pistol which is too big for many hands.

Despite S&W along with Winchester designing the .40 S&W round, Glock was the first company to produce a pistol in this new round in 1990.

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Postby KL » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:06 pm

There might be a couple of Canadian tactical teams using the .45 but that's about it. Unlike our American friends, the bigger is better theory hasn't caught on up here. I think the average Canadian police officer would not like shooting the .45 given the kick.

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Postby Lemkie » Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:54 pm

Not to mention .45 is alot more expensive than 9mm., or .40 cal. for that matter.

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Postby Bitterman » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:31 pm

I shoot .45acp.... a lot.
It's by far my favorite handgun cal.
I shoot it to compensate for my small penis.
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Postby Burick » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:35 pm

Bitterman wrote:I shoot .45acp.... a lot.
It's by far my favorite handgun cal.
I shoot it to compensate for my small penis.

:rolllaugh:

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Postby Dave Brown » Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:42 pm

Everyone else has pretty much summed it up.

The .40S&W was born from the 10mm FBI lite, and the whole story began on a street in Dade County Florida in 1986 when the FBI lost two agents and had another five wounded in one of their most violent gunfights in their history. In an effort to improve 'stopping power' the FBI went to the new 10mm Auto, but it proved to be too fierce for most of their agents to control. S&W seized on the idea of the 10mm FBI lite load, and developed the .40S&W.

The concept of 'stopping power' is pretty vague and is complicated by a million other factors, not the least of which the body is not homogenous, and the presence of adrenalin and other drugs can do some insane things to the body. In police use today, there is not much that seperates the performance of the 9mm Luger and the .40S&W, using modern bullet designs. Either one will perform as good (or as bad) as the other. The biggest single factor is still, and always will be, shot placement, followed by an understanding that a handgun is limited anyway and it may take more than 1 shot to safely and effectively stop an immediate threat to life.

In law enforcement handgun selection, everything is a compromise. The .40S&W is slightly more powerful and may have a greater impact (keeping in mind what I said above) and has slightly more recoil. The 9mm Luger gives up very little impact, and is slightly easier to train and practice with. The .45 Auto requires either a more limited supply with single-stack magazines, or a much larger frame and grip size. Some agencies in the U.S. have chosen the latter; most have chosen one of the two former options.

In Canada, we are split right down the middle. About 45% of all agencies issue 9mm Luger and 55% issue the .40S&W. I would not recommend one over the other, but as a shooter, I recognize the value of something that is easier to train on and more fun to shoot, thus hopefully encouraging more practice. (Once CBSA comes online with their pistols, that number will skew slightly more to the 9mm Luger.) If you look at raw numbers of sidearms, the 9mm Luger is chambered slightly more often, but I think number of agencies is a more fair representation of the state of police firearms in Canada.

For civilian use, the .45 Auto is still my favourite cartridge. It is accurate, and it may be more powerful but it has a much heavier bullet moving at a slower velocity, which means the recoil is spread over a greater period of milliseconds. It may be large but very few people do not like shooting it. Many shooters much prefer the feel of it to the 9mm Luger. (The .40S&W is a very high pressure cartridge - there is no "+P" loading because it is a max pressure cartridge to begin with - and is not all that much fun to shoot unless one is in practical pistol compettition and needs the extra power.)

One can get used to anything of course, but I would steer someone to the 9mm Luger for target shooting before the .40S&W, and I would steer someone to the .45 Auto before either of the two if they wanted to get something more powerful than a .22.

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Postby Bitterman » Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:43 pm

A bit off topic, but....
I once shot a LEO pistol match where one of the competitors, who was shooting a 9mm complained to the RSO running the match about another shooter's .45.
'Seems he thought the .45 shooter had an unfair advantage seeing as the .45 made larger holes in the target which could cause the shooter to score higher.
Idea being that a .45 bullet would cut a scoring ring if it hit close enough, but the 9mm wouldn't even if it hit in the exact same spot...

The RSO did not entertain the protest.
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Postby VoteQuimby » Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:45 pm

Thanks for the detailed responses. What in the general consensus amoung police in Canada... do they feel the 9 or 40 is enough stopping power or would they prefer a 45? And is there that much difference now between the three. I have always heard the 45 is the heaviest hitter. My father had a 1911 (WWII), I enjoyed shooting that. The two notches on the trigger guard made it pretty interesting.
My feelings are; I would like to have the first shot that hits the bad guy either spin him around or take him off his feet.
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Postby Bald Man » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:27 pm

Don't forget, with older big handgun rounds from wars of the past, were more effective than smaller rounds because stopping was achieved from heavier larger solid bullet designes. This is why the .45 ACP was favoured over the 38 spl, 9mm etc. The Brits used the .455 Eley revolver for the same reason.

Hollow point pistol rounds really didn't make their way until the 1980's.

Now that we have modern JHP designs, larger doesn't always mean better. Modern bullet designs are much more effective than the old solid big heavy bullets achieving greater stopping power.

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Postby INTERCEPTOR » Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:11 am

My feelings are; I would like to have the first shot that hits the bad guy either spin him around or take him off his feet.


That effect only happens in the movies. Actual bullets pass through so quick that not enough energy is transferred to the target's mass to do that. Defensive shooting relies on tissue damage causing blood loss and damage to the central nervous system. One shot stops are very rare unless a huge nerve bundle is hit like the spinal column or the brain. Even a heart shot can leave an adrenaline charged bad guy enough time to do some damage to you.

Dave already explained the importance of shot placement. So shoot until the threat is over. All modern controlled expansion bullets designed for law enforcement use level the playing field amongst the calibers mentioned. Just choose a caliber you shoot well, can afford ammo for, and can practice with.

I shoot 9mm out of a P226. Easily controlled recoil and for me it makes holes in the paper bad guys. Also, did I mention that my Tactical buds keep me up to my ass in free 9mm? 8)
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Postby Rye » Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:23 am

9mm, 40 cal, 45 cal... why not just go this way as Vinnie Jones did in Snatch... **language content**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTi6GGywBAM
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Postby Gard » Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:55 am

INTERCEPTOR wrote:I shoot 9mm out of a P226. Easily controlled recoil and for me it makes holes in the paper bad guys. Also, did I mention that my Tactical buds keep me up to my ass in free 9mm? 8)


That's great but my experience has been (from seeing others get jammed up for the same thing) that this kind of information is better kept to yourself.

But, maybe they're giving you their own personal 9mm ammo....who knows?
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