.45 ACP vs. 9mm

.45 ACP
9mm

A 9mm is generally cheaper, has less recoil and higher velocity than a .45 ACP. The .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge holds bullets that have a diameter of .452 inches (11.5mm) so it is slightly larger than the 9mm (.355 inch bullets). Both cartridges have a long history and were first designed over 100 years ago.

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.45 ACP

User Rating (110):

9mm

User Rating (122):
Designer John Browning Georg Luger
Maximum pressure 21,000 psi (140 MPa) 235.00 MPa (34,084 psi)
Velocity 700 - 1150 FPS 950-1400 FPS
Type Pistol / Revolver / Carbine / SMG / Derringer Pistol / Revolver / Carbine / SMG / Derringer; Cartridge
Penetration 11.3-27” 8 - 40" (13')
Cost More expensive than .40 S&W and 9mm Cheaper than .40 S&W & .45 ACP
Designed 1904 1901
Used by United States and others NATO and others; Militaries, police, and self defense.
Expansion 0.45-0.79” 0.36-0.72"
Variants .45 ACP +P, .45 Super 9 mm NATO, 9×19mm Parabellum +P, 9×19mm 7N21 +P+, 9×19mm 7N31 +P+
Primer type primarily large pistol (but also small pistol in some brass) Berdan or Boxer small pistol
Case capacity 25 gr H2O (1.625 cm³) 0.862 cm³ (13 gr H2O)
Magazine Capacity (as shipped from factory) 6-14 6 to 20
Felt Recoil Heavier and pushes one's hands backwards instead of up. Does not have much muzzle flip. Less recoil.
Wars World War I–present World War I–present
Muzzle Energy 369 lb/ft (230gr at 850FPS) 304 lb/ft (124gr at 1050FPS)

Contents: .45 ACP vs 9mm

A close-up of .45 ACP which shows what the primer cap looks like after the round has been fired and ejected from the chamber. The depression in the center is where the firing pin struck the primer cap.
A close-up of .45 ACP which shows what the primer cap looks like after the round has been fired and ejected from the chamber. The depression in the center is where the firing pin struck the primer cap.

edit Specifications

The 9mm has a bullet diameter of 9.01mm (0.355 in), a neck diameter of 9.65mm, a base diameter of 9.93 mm, a rim diameter of 9.96mm and a rim thickness of 0.90 mm.

The .45 has a bullet diameter of 11.5 mm (.452 in), a neck diameter of 12.0mm, a base diameter of 12.1 mm, and a rim diameter of 12.2 mm.

A line-up of pistol and rifle cartridges. From left to right: 9 mm Luger Parabellum, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 5.7x28mm, 5.56x45mm NATO, .300 Winchester Magnum, and a 2.75-inch and 3-inch 12 gauge.
A line-up of pistol and rifle cartridges. From left to right: 9 mm Luger Parabellum, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 5.7x28mm, 5.56x45mm NATO, .300 Winchester Magnum, and a 2.75-inch and 3-inch 12 gauge.

edit Penetration

A 9mm averages between 8” and 15.9” penetration. However, the Winchester FMJ has a penetration of 24.5” and the Doubletap JFN+P trail defense has a penetration of 40”. The cartridge expands to approximately 0.35 to 0.72”.

A .45 averages about 11.3”-14.3” penetration. However, the Remington FMJ has 27” penetration. The cartridge expands to an average of 0.75” inches, but the Remington FMJ expands to 0.45”.

edit Magazine capacity

Due to the smaller size of the round, 9mm guns typically have a higher magazine capacity than a .45, although the specifics vary depending on the type of gun. For example, the Glock 17 holds a standard 17 rounds of 9mm, while the Glock 21 holds a standard 13 rounds of .45.

edit Recoil

A 9mm has less recoil than a .45.

edit Velocity

A 9mm fires bullets with a velocity of between 990 and 1350 feet per second.

A .45 fires bullets with an average velocity between 835 and 1150 feet per second.

edit Cost

A 9mm gun costs between 40% and 50% less than a .45.

edit Production History

The 9mm cartridge was designed by Georg Luger in 1901. It has been produced since 1902.

The .45 was developed by John Browning in 1904. It has been used by the United States and other militaries since World War I.

edit Evolution and Usage

The 9mm cartridge was developed from Luger’s 7.65x21mm Parabellum. The bottleneck of that cartridge was removed, leaving a tapered, rimless cartridge. It was adopted by the German Navy in 1904 and the German Army in 1906. It became more popular after World War I and has since become the most common caliber for U.S. law enforcement agencies and for military and law enforcement agencies around the world. It is also popular for self-defense.

The .45 was developed by the U.S Cavalry in the late 1890s and early 20th century in a bid to create a bullet that was more effective against determined opponents. It was intended to be a “real man-stopper.” It was adopted by the United States Army in 1911.

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