Bullets: Chunky and Slow vs. Fast and Light

Posted: March 10, 2019 by gamegetterII in Uncategorized

Some people worship at the altar of the .45 ACP, as it is the biggest pistol bullet. “I would carry a .46 except they don’t make one. The .45 doesn’t just stop the bad guy; it kills his soul…” and the list of trite sayings goes on and on. Other people proudly proclaim their heresy and pack 15-20 rounds of Euro pellets in their plastic fantastic. “The Army switched from the .45 to the 9mm, so it must be great. The only time you have too many bullets is if you are swimming or on fire. I can miss 2/3 of the time and still get as many hits as your 1911…”

Brittany Caton with a Glock 9mm handgun in a Tiffany blue Kydex holster

Instructor Brittany Caton trusts here Glock 19 9mm. With careful load selection, the 9mm is a great defensive caliber.

Let’s just say, I am not a fan boy in either camp. There are great options in both categories and the gun you should carry—bet your life on—is the one you know and trust. The one with which you have mastered the manual of arms and are competent to hit with—frequently and fast. It should also be a gun you can/will carry with you all of the time; and I don’t mean in your glove box. That little caveat puts more pocket .38 specials and .380 ACP’s into action than any other part of choosing a carry gun.

Basic Truths

The .45 ACP (.451) is bigger and provides a larger entry hole than a 9mm (.355). However, upon expansion, modern jacketed hollow points from tier-one bullet makers don’t show a huge difference. The 230-grain .45 penetrates based on bullet weight more than velocity. The lack of velocity often restricts the amount of expansion and some JHP bullets barely expand while others open phenomenally. A thorough study that I was once privy to compared over 20 choices. There were many in the non-expansion category, a slightly larger group in the .55- to.70-inch range and two just breaking .80 inch—Federal 230-grain HST and Federal Tactical bonded +P. One overachiever hit a full one-inch of expansion (Winchester 230-grain Ranger T series). All three named bullets averaged roughly 14.5 inches of penetration.”

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  1. […] Bullets: Chunky and Slow vs. Fast and Light From Starvin’ Larry […]


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