.45 ACP – Greatest Caliber Ever!

When I first started carrying a pistol with me regularly, I was a bit of a newbie. I was afraid of the recoil, and I figured the smaller the caliber pistol I carried, the more appropriate for a girl like me. And then I spoke with our local Sheriff in Frederick County, Virginia. Bob Williamson informed me that for effective self-defense, one shouldn’t carry anything smaller than a 9mm. The Mauser HSc I carried at the time was kind of inadequate.

After that conversation, I got a Glock G23. I still have it. It’s a great pistol – .40 caliber, light, fun to shoot, and fit my hand perfectly. I know lots of people don’t like Glocks for various reasons, but they’re light, reliable and have little recoil. At that time, I didn’t think I was strong enough to carry a .45, but my friends kept talking about an M1911.

A few years back, I finally bought one, and I have never looked back. I love this pistol. The recoil doesn’t bother me. It’s reliable and classy, and if need be, it can put a large hole in an assailant, and frankly, that’s what I need.

This is what I told the folks at AmmoForSale.com when they wrote me a few months ago and asked for my input on which caliber I thought was the best. They planned to ask the same question of several bloggers and put up a comprehensive article comparing the 9mm, .40 S&W, and the .45 ACP. And that’s exactly what they did. Yours truly is quoted as well about why I prefer the .45 ACP.

“It makes a bigger hole. It has more stopping power. I don’t care if it exits the barrel slower. Most encounters take place at closer ranges anyway, and a few fractions of a second will not make a difference. However, having a huge chunk of my assailant removed by a .45 will make it more difficult for him to keep coming after me and will make it less necessary for me to hit my target several times,” Nicki, an Army veteran and writer at The Liberty Zone said.

It’s an interesting article, so you should go read the rest. And if you need ammo, you know which seller I recommend!

15 responses

  1. If I were a better shot with my 1911, I’d carry it; however, my favorite carry piece is a Makarov–a CZ-82. The problem isn’t the recoil. The problem is that I’ve got very small hands, and the size of the frame on even a 9mm Luger double-stack is problematic for me. .45 is right out.

    All things being equal, though…yeah, I’d go with the .45.

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  2. Nicki, you are one classy chick! Nothing sexier than a smart, conservative gal with a .45 strapped on! Especially a 1911. The more I study firearms the more I admire the works of John Browning. His masterpiece was adopted by the Army over 100 years ago, and although we switched to the 9mm for NATO commonality, many of our warriors who have the choice still use the 1911, in .45 ACP. There is no gun easier to shoot accurately at speed, thanks to superb ergonomics and and an excellent trigger.
    Remember too that we are still using MA Deuce, another Browning invention making tangos into good tangos after 100 years in service! Browning’s other machine guns included the Colt “Potato Digger”, the 1917 and 1919 .30 caliber guns, and the BAR, all of which helped us win WW1, WW2 and Korea. Many nations still use the High Power 9mm pistol. In the civilian world we are still using Browning’s Winchester lever actions, and the A5 shotgun is again being produced! Talk about a successful career!
    The .45 ACP is the defensive round all others should be judged by. It approximates the weight and velocity of the former heavyweight champion, the .45 Long Colt in the Colt Single Action Army. Interestingly during our first war with Islamic terrorists in the Moro insurrection in 1899 the Army had transitioned to a 9mm revolver (.38 Long Colt), and found it insufficient to reliably stop the charging Moros. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.38_Long_Colt
    The army pulled the old .45’s from storage and all was well again.
    Funny how history repeats itself.
    Alex

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    1. Alex, you should see the holster my buddy Dennis made for me! It’s gorgeous!

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  3. Both my hand gun and carbine are .45 … slow but deadly ..

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  4. A few years back, I bought a Beretta .45. I LOVE it and it’s my weapon of choice when I think it prudent to go somewhere armed. The only problem I had with the 1911 was that it was single action and I needed to carry it cocked with the safety on all the time. That isn’t an issue with the Beretta, which is double-action. Unfortunately, it came with only 2 magazines and I’ve scoured gun shows looking for a few others without success. Since Beretta doesn’t make that weapon any longer, it’s really hard to find magazines for it. I qualified “expert” with the 1911 when I was in the Army and I carried one for awhile when I was a cop. (The only gun I’ve ever owned that I regret selling.) When I was a cop, I was chief of detectives and wore slacks, shirt and tie and a sport coat and the .45, being flat, was easy to conceal under my jacket. Unfortunately, the hammer spur kept ripping the lining of my jackets and, for awhile, I didn’t own a single sport coat that the lining on the right side hadn’t been shredded! Again, not a problem with the Beretta.

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    1. Yep, I nave to do that with mine as well. The safety is on, so it’s fine, but yeah… you always have to be aware…

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      1. Of course you should NEVER carry a weapon and NOT “be aware” of how it’s configured and what you need to do to use it for the purpose it’s intended for. However, I’m entering my dotage and I’ve been practicing with the Beretta by drawing and firing in a panic situation and trying to remember to cock the weapon fully (assuming it’s at half-cock) and snap off the safety before it can be used may be a bit too much to expect. Also, my Beretta .45 is much “tighter” than any 1911 I’ve yet found. You can shake it as hard as you like and it doesn’t make a sound…just as an example. No 1911 I’ve ever fired would do that. Still, I used to give the standard answer when I was a cop and someone asked me why I carried a .45 when others were happy with a .38 special or a .357–“I carry a .45 because no one makes a .46!” My theory was that, as a cop, if I ever had to shoot someone, it would be because I was scared half to death and I wouldn’t want them to get up and keep coming. With a .45, that’s not an issue. Hit ’em in the HAND and you’ll knock ’em off their feet!

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  5. BTW, my CARBINE is a Ruger in .44 magnum with a 10x scope. My son last year, had the scope mounted and had refinished the stock. It’s gorgeous and I’ve been offered $1000 for it.

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  6. I don’t remember where I read it, but someone of note commented on this issue in a gun magazine some 30-40 years ago (re: 45 ACP) as to why they like it.
    The answer? IT MAKES BIG HOLES!

    Indeed!
    Glad you like and appreciate your 1911!

    gfa

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    1. Quite true. When I was in Korea, the perimeter guard shack was just a few steps from my quarters. One night, a large, black E5 was on guard duty. He was sitting on his bunk and the only others in the building were one KATUSA private and the Sgt of the Guard…an E-6. The E5 suddenly stood up, and fired a round into the floor. The E-6 called him by name and asked what was going on. The E-5 shot him twice in the chest and put the gun in his own mouth and pulled the trigger. By the time I got there, it was over and the entire back of the E-5’s head was simply gone and about 5″ of the E-6’s spine was gone as well. It makes big holes going in and HUGE holes coming out!

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    2. BTW, the E-5 and the E-6 were both armed with 1911’s. Turns out, the E-5’s German wife living back in Seattle had sent him a Dear John letter that same afternoon. This was in 1962…long before e-mails and such.

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  7. Interesting site. It is rare to see graphic descriptions of firearms damage. After a combat tour in ‘Nam and retired from LE after near 40 years as a State Trooper (Det-LT), I have seen so much. I am also partial to my .45s, especially my Colt Defender 1911 7+1 with 3 in bbl @ 22 ozs & 0.98″ thick. It is very accurate to 25 yards (far more than I’d need for self defense). In 40 years of LE, I have never needed a 3rd round from my sidearm. The State paid for my education; 1st degree in Justice & Advanced in Criminology. Tough ballistic classes, but learned much from class + eyeball experience. Carry ammo needs to be carefully chosen. Speer Gold Dot recently learned their 200gr GDHP, worked on paper, but not in reality so they changed it to 200gr +P and it is now an “effective” favorite in the LE community in good company with Win Ranger T-Series, Corbon & Hornady (the new Hornady “Critical DUTY” flunked the FBI Standard by over-penetrating, from a 3 inch bbl, w an avg “27 inches”). How can our Best ammo makers make such ‘Blunders’? This totally violates the 4th rule of gun safety.
    Complicated stuff… velocity, mass & energy need the exact proportions.
    Too much velocity causes the HP to expand too early and denies effective penetration. Folks who carry, really need to do their homework.
    IMO, the dangerous argument is always “Follow-Up-Shots / Muzzle-Flip”.
    A half decent hit with a .45acp allows much time for a “Follow-Up-Shot”, if needed. The Capacity of 9mms is not much benefit if all 15 may well be needed to ‘stop’ some Crackhead.

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    1. I had two tours in Vietnam. Fortunately, in my admittedly short LEO career, I never did more than pull my weapon out twice and only fired it once…at a 6′ western diamondback…which wound up in 3 pieces. (That was a Smith .44 Mag. and it put a blister on the heel of my right hand!) I only carried the .44 because my 1911 only had a single magazine and one night I was sitting at some woman’s kitchen table taking an obscene phone call report (turned out it was her neighbor from across the street) when I heard a loud “BRRRRRRRRTTT”, looked down and found 8 rounds of ball .45 ammo lying on the floor along with a piece of spring. The spot-weld on the base of the magazine had broken and allowed the spring and all the ammo in the magazine to shoot out onto the floor behind me. So, while it was in the gunsmith’s being fixed, I carried that Smith (4″ barrel). However, fully loaded, it weighed about 50 ounces and nearly pulled my pants down, so I swapped back as soon as possible.

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  8. I much prefer the SIG P220 (and its little brothers the P220 Carry and P220 Compact) over any 1911. I have had terrible luck with 1911 pistols except for the Colt XSE and Colt World War I Repro. I have had many SIG pistols (mostly P220’s of various flavors) and all were accurate and exceptionally reliable.

    The trigger takes some getting used to, but that is what FPF Training in Culpeper is for.

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  9. I guess I’m the odd the one in a way. i find the recoil of the 1911 more “polite” than either the 9mm, or .40. It feels more like a push than snap and there’s a lot less barrel whip…and I really like the holes the rnd makes.

    I’ve got to admit though that my normal carry piece was a simple .38 detective. I always figured that if I needed more firepower I’d already made the mistake of worrying about my weapon being concealed going into the situation I was in.

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