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Posted: 6/4/2002 3:25:58 AM EST
I carry a Glock 17 as my personal defense handgun.  I catch lots of flack from my dad who is 25 years vet of the MS Dept. of Wildlife and my uncle and his son who are both MS state troopers.  They all carry S and W 45 autos.  They say the 9mm don't have the stopping power one needs in a desperate situation.  What do you guys think about this?
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 3:30:36 AM EST
I guess it depends on your state of mind. If you can keep your cool and place a number of shots correctly, you will probably be cool. But if you're a chicken shit like myself, hands a shaken' while crapping your pands, I would much prefer something larger in case I just wing 'em. So, for me it's the 45 or the 12-gauge.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 3:42:03 AM EST
Anyone that uses the argument "Stopping Power" is just ill informed and repeating what they hear with no thought into it. There are plenty of people not walking around anymore because of a 9mm hole in them. I have personally seen the aftermath of 1 shot stops from a 9mm. The more important thing here is are you confident in your weapon? Can you shoot it well? Under stress? I have a Glock 17 and a Kimber .45. If it was a tossup between the two I chose the Glock. 9mm may be smaller diameter "approx 8 thousandths of an inch" but it sure as hell is moving ALOT faster. Everytime the velocity of a projectile doubles its kennetic energy QUADRUPLES! Velocity kills, END OF ARGUMENT.

Make sure your carry ammunition is of a hollow point or frangible design. And change it out atleast once a year if not twice.

P.S. Just because they are cops doesnt mean they know SHIT!
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 3:46:03 AM EST
Here are some of the energy numbers from Federal's website for various offerings.

P9HS1 Hydra-Shok 124 grain JHP 9mm Luger (9x19mm Parabellum) 345 fpe Muzzle.

PD45HS3 Hydra-Shok 165 grain JHP 45 Auto 410 fpe Muzzle.

These are the hottest loads in either offering from Federal and don't show much of a difference.

If you shoot the 9MM better stick with it.

Link Posted: 6/4/2002 3:47:48 AM EST
Well placed shots are more important than caliber.  Granted, if you end up against someone who'se hopped up on PCP or some other substance it may be likely that you may have problems stopping that person with 9mm rounds, but that would likely be the case for other pistol calibers shy of the .50AE as well.

If you're comfortable and accurate with your Glock 17 then tell your family to keep quiet.  Personally, I'd go for a larger caliber, but that's personal preference.  .40S&W is the smallest caliber I feel comfortable with when it comes to self defense.

Remember the Alamo, and God Bless Texas...
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 4:20:19 AM EST

P9HS1 Hydra-Shok 124 grain JHP 9mm Luger (9x19mm Parabellum) 345 fpe Muzzle.

PD45HS3 Hydra-Shok 165 grain JHP 45 Auto 410 fpe Muzzle.

Cor-Bon has couple of 9mm +P loads that do 450-460 ft-lbs.  I like them a lot.  Of course, you could shoot +P .45 ACP as well, and get 500-550 ft-lbs.

To sum it up, no, I don't feel poorly armed with a good 9mm. I prefer .45 Colt or .357 Mag, but I do carry a 9mm now and then.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 5:43:12 AM EST

While I prefer the .45, I'm pretty sure that if you ever have to use your 9mm in a defensive situation the guy on the "business end" of the barrel isn't going to be thinking about the stopping power of various calibers.  And I'm very sure that he won't care about the difference if you have to shoot.


I'm not trying to flame you, but you should check your math.

9mm may be smaller diameter "approx 8 thousandths of an inch"...

9mm ~ .355"
.45 ~ .452"

There's a bit more than 8 thousandths difference between the two.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 5:49:26 AM EST
Think I'll just run out and get myself a .25 now that I know that caliber means so little.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 6:01:25 AM EST

Think I'll just run out and get myself a .25 now that I know that caliber means so little.

I'm not sure who you were directing this towards, but my point was that hitting the target is job number 1.  Some people don't shoot a .45 as well as they do a 9mm.  Hitting a vital area with a 9mm is far better than missing the target altogether with a .45, isn't it?
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 6:05:24 AM EST
Most cops Can't shoot and therefore say that they need a bigger bullet... to hit what they couldn't for a .903" difference of an inch... and with 50-100 FtLbsE Difference, I really don't think it would help to go to something bigger... You could go to a .40s&w but some guns can't take the enormous pressure of the cartridge (a glock I was shooting blew up with Fedral Hydra-shocks). The .357sig is the same way. 9mm will give you more round capacity and you may be able to take "cover shots" and run if there is more than one of them.
Of course one well-placed bullet in the throat, chest, or head will stop anybody!
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 6:06:27 AM EST

They all carry S and W 45 autos

Like they should be talking!  

I don't know, you see alot of experts saying that stopping power is it, and alot saying that it is crap.  I feel comfortable with the 9mm as well as the .45.  I don't have a problem carrying either, but generally prefer the nine because I can pack more rounds of board.  Choose what you like and what you can shoot.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 6:35:56 AM EST
Chuck, ever hear about Stacy Lim, the LAPD officer who was shot smack dab in the heart and managed to run down one of her attackers and kill him with her 9mm?  She survived emergency surgery and is back on duty.  NEVER, NEVER, NEVER count on one round to do the job, no matter how well-placed.  If you only get one off and the bad guy quits, great.  Don't count on it happening.  BTW, the .40 S&W and standard-pressure 9mm both operate at the same chamber pressure.

9mm will do the job just fine.  Ammo selection within a given caliber is more important than the caliber itself.  Rem 700, sounds like your dad, uncle and cousin have fallen for the myth of the big bullet.  As an LE firearms instructor, I hear that one all the time.   Unfortunately, the .45 ACP is not the death ray too many cops think it is.  It does okay on people, but just like 9mm or .40 it depends on the load.  The .45 does not generally do well against car glass or sheet steel, again this differs depending on the load.  There is a lot of bullshit and hype floating around the LE world masquerading as truth.  Not a slam on your relatives by any means, it's just a fact.  I used to believe a number of these myths myself.

I generally carry a 1911 loaded with Winchester SXT's, but I also feel perfectly well armed with a Beretta 92 or Glock 35.  My favorite 9mm loads are the Federal 9BPLE 115-grain +P+ and the Winchester 127-grain +P+ SXT.  I would feel just as well armed with a Beretta or Glock stoked with those as I would with my 1911.  In fact, if I knew I would be facing multiple adversaries I would probably take the Beretta (if I couldn't carry a .308!).  Like TheFNG, I've seen or had direct info about a number of one-shot stops with the 9mm, also some .45 failures with premium hollowpoint ammo.  The bottom line is, handguns are weak and underpowered, and nobody should take them to a gunfight with any degree of enthusiasm.  

If you want more info about the relative effectiveness of various calibers and loads, David DiFabio has put together a mass of info at great personal expense.  You can view it at www.ammolab.com.  Doc over at the Tactical Forum also has lots of good info  http:/

If you pick a good 9mm load and practice, your Glock 17 is every bit as good a defensive handgun as any .45.  I've carried both the Smith .45 and the Glock 9mm on duty, and my preference would hands-down be the Glock 17 with the Winchester 127-grain load for a duty gun.  
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 7:27:41 AM EST
Seriously, it aint about stopping power or any of that crap. You can carry a Fully automatic Ma-Deuce and it wont matter. Its all about making the first shot. CAn you hit the Sonuvabitch or not? It doesnt matter whether its from a .22 or a .50 BMG (well maybe it does a little) but honestly, i feel its just making the hit. Cause then you win, it may not kill him/her but it'll at least stop him.

Wearing Kevlar? Can't help you much there short of a weakspot.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 7:44:20 AM EST


Hitting a vital area with a 9mm is far better than missing the target altogether with a .45, isn't it?

No question that bullet placement is number one.  Guess I'll have to admit to having a Walther PP in .32 that I use when carrying light.  However, my primary carry gun is a P220.

Still believe that if I could get the same accuracy with a .45 as the 9mm that I would be better off with the .45.  Just my opinion.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 7:45:33 AM EST

Seriously, it aint about stopping power or any of that crap. You can carry a Fully automatic Ma-Deuce and it wont matter. Its all about making the first shot. CAn you hit the Sonuvabitch or not? It doesnt matter whether its from a .22 or a .50 BMG (well maybe it does a little) but honestly, i feel its just making the hit. Cause then you win, it may not kill him/her but it'll at least stop him.

Wearing Kevlar? Can't help you much there short of a weakspot.

I agree, feel confident about the weapon you are shooting, and don't pull the trigger just once, if you are put in the situation.  I (almost) feel sorry for the poor SOB that ever tries to get into my house.  Glock32 with Gold Dot .357 Sig.  It hurts my hand at the range after 100 rounds, WTF do you think it feels like on the other side?  

Also, CZ75 in .40 SW Silvertip (just in case).  A great shooter as well:  comfortable and accurate.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 7:49:47 AM EST
All handgun calibers are a compromise. It's difficult to conceal a high power rifle, and consider, too, that the .223 Remington is basically a varmit cartridge and not the best choice in rifle  cartridges for stopping humans trying to kill you. That's why there's a .308 and .30-.06!

A 9mm will serve as a defensive round but as you can imagine, it is as underpowered for the job as is a .45. Question is, can you move up in power and not give up control or accuracy. Glocks are pretty comfortable to shoot, finding you can shoot a .40cal as well as a 9mm means you should use the more powerful cartridge.

Concealment is the other issue. A large frame .45 weighs more and is harder to conceal than a compact nine. Are you a large person? What kind of clothing do you wear? Jackets, vests, three piece suits?

Link Posted: 6/4/2002 8:02:59 AM EST
Doesn't the US Military currently use the 9mm?
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 8:03:17 AM EST
You are very well armed with your Glock 17 and I would prefer it over anything that Smith & Wesson builds in a semiauto. Their revolvers are great but their semiautos leave much to be desired in the way of reliability.

If you can find some Federal +P+ 115 JHP 9BPLE which is sold only to Law enforcement, it will turn your Glock into a fire breathing dragon. I also believe that Corbon still makes a +P+ for civilians if you can't find the Federal load. This is all that we issue at the PD, for our Cops that choose to carry a Glock 9mm and many of them still choose the 9mm. Additionally you will not find a more durable, rust proof or reliable handgun than a Glock. I'm a Glock LEO Armorer and they give us very few problems.

Link Posted: 6/4/2002 8:39:50 AM EST
I own both a G-17 and a G-21.  Given the choice I ALWAYS carry the 45 ACP over the 9mm.  Does that mean that I really need the bigger gun, probably not!  Do I like having it, you can bank on it!

Now, for a self defense situation you may not require the same power as your father or brother.  In their lines of work it is possible that they could run into someone with body armor where the greater impact energy of the 45 ACP could help them win a shootout.  Hopefully this whole discussion is academic and you or your brother & father will never need to use any of the guns?

Just the same, its 45 ACP for me.  I own the 9mm but trust my life with the 45!
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 9:34:21 AM EST

Doesn't the US Military currently use the 9mm?

Yes they do.  Early reports from the Afghan were bad for both the weapon and the round.  (Poor reports on the M4 penetration and stopping power also.  The 5.56 was not originally designed for such a short barrel.)
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 10:39:06 AM EST

Most cops Can't shoot and therefore say that they need a bigger bullet...

I'll relate the experiences that my department has had since transitioning to semi-auto pistols in 1990. We use the S&W 3rd Gen. series in .45 ACP (M4506 and M4516) our ammo of choice is Federal Hydra shok 230Grn. Since 1990 we have had 8 officer involved shootings. 5 were one shot kills. 1 was a 2 shot kill and 1 was a 1 shot stop. Not to bad for a random sampling of guys who can't shoot. During the transition period we hired an officer from a local department who was already certified on semi-auto pistols. He was permitted to carry his S&W M5906 until he was issued the 4506. In his 3rd month with our Dept. he was involved in a shooting. He fired 9 rounds from a distance of 8 feet at a guy seated in the drivers seat of a car. He scored 4 hits in the torso and arm. No kill. He was carrying his 5906 with Federal Hyrda Shok 147 Grn. 9mm. I leave it at this without comment.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 10:44:00 AM EST
I few weeks back there was a article in the paper about a guy who took shook off 5 rounds of 9mm the 6th put him down, but if you are in a shooting do you really want to be shooting at a guy have him get back up twice and come back at you? I say pick the big bullet you don't hear about people getting shot by .45's or 357's and getting back up very often.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 11:11:15 AM EST
G17 is great..It's what I carry, with Fed+p+...   I can hit my target consistantly with it...   I hit less consistant with the 45 & I like having enough firepower(amount of ammo)to take a pizza break during a firefight..  (I carry two spare 17 rounders)...
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 1:09:59 PM EST

.....I like having enough firepower(amount of ammo)to take a pizza break during a firefight..  (I carry two spare 17 rounders)...

I'm believing you can enjoy the 'family size' and still have a mag left !
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 5:55:08 PM EST
You can get the Federal 9BPLE +P+ from Eric the Ammoman  www.ammoman.com for about 25 bucks a box delivered.  The Winchester 127 +P+ is a little harder to find.  For a self-defense gun I'd feel fine with the Federal.

If the bad guy is wearing a vest, the difference in 'impact energy' between the 9mm and .45 is insignificant.  If the round doesn't penetrate the vest, it's not going to stop the fight.  The +P+ 9mm rounds actually have more energy than most .45 loads.  What the .45 has more of is momentum.  The .45 load will impact the guy wearing the vest with the same amount of momentum that is imparted to your hand when the gun recoils.  Unless it's letting blood out and air in, it's not gonna do squat.  Some of the 230-grain +P loads have more energy, but they are much harder to shoot than +P+ 9mm loads.

As far as people getting shot with a .45 and not getting back up, one of my brother officers shot a guy who was bringing a pistol to bear on him in a dope raid multiple times with .45 Hydra-shoks.  Guy fell back down on the bed, then got back up and swung the gun at the officer again.  Another burst of .45 finally put him down.  If the officer had swung to cover another threat thinking this guy was down, he'd have gotten shot.  ANYTHING can fail you in a gunfight- there is no magic caliber or bullet.  If you like your Glock and shoot it well, get some good carry ammo and then practice your ass off.  You will be as well-armed with it as with anything else you could carry.

As far as the U.S. military using the 9mm, yes they do.  And they use NATO spec ball (beyond +P+ pressures) which over-penetrates and makes pencil-sized holes in people.  Don't judge the 9's performance with good hollowpoints by its performance in military use.  The performance of loads like the Winchester 127-grain +P+ and Federal 9BPLE is far superior to ball.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 6:36:00 PM EST
For what its worth, I'll give you some real life information.A very good friend is a US Customs agent as is his wife in LA. They have been issued Glock 17's. It only took 3 years for Glock to come up with weapons that function with no failures. Most trouble was traced to bad mags. And there were a few internal problems & 1 blow up.Lots of failure to fire with light primer strikes. But they all eventually got fixed and now have no trouble. He still qualifies at a 147 out of 150 with it."It shoots great after working on it for three years". But then consider the 9MM round itself. Ask any FBI AGENT about the 9MM after the Miami shootout and you'll hear the sad truth about this round. It cost the lives of several agents. That's why the FBI went to the 40S&W.they still have Hi-cap mags & lots more knock down power than a 9. My Customs Agent friend would LOVE to have a 45 Sig but it's not allowed.But my neighbor ,an FBI Agent , carries 2 Glocks in the 40 S&W. He likes them. But they replaced them with about 10K rounds thru them. Also ALL Glocks have to go thru the armoires   at Quantico Va. before they are issued .If you purchase your own backup weapon, it to must go thru the armoires so they can go thru it, replacing all the junk factory parts with their "good" parts. And then they do the trigger job. Even he wishes for a 45. to quote him " A 9MM is nothing more than a 45 set on stun. the bigger the hole, the harder they squirt".
Link Posted: 6/5/2002 10:08:40 AM EST

Don't take this wrong, but your post is exactly the kind of unsupported anecdotal junk that spreads bad information on the web.  I am a Glock armorer for my department, and there are no 'junk' factory parts that need to be replaced for the guns to function.  And I seriously doubt that the FBI does a 'trigger job' on every glock that gets issued to field agents.  First, there's nothing wrong with the trigger as it comes from the factory.  Second, can you say 'liability' and 'void the warranty'?  As far as the guns being replaced after 10,000 rounds, most police issue guns are replaced well before that.  My department wore out many Sig P220's in .45 well before the 10,000 round mark.  Most cops shoot far less than 1,000 rounds each year.  Also, most FBI agents are NOT gun people.  They are accountants and lawyers who unfortunately are allowed to carry guns.

As far as the Miami debacle, that was caused more by bad (read horrible) tactics than the failure of one 9mm Silvertip.  Please read the above posts about handguns being underpowered and the potential for ANY caliber/load to fail on the street.  The bad guys in the Miami shooting were highly motivated and aggressive.  Even if that round had penetrated to the heart, it likely would not have stopped the fight for 20-30 seconds.  It also would not have erased all the mistakes the agents made prior to that point that got them killed.  The FBI blamed the Silvertip for what was essentially a training/tactics failure on the part of their agency.  Far easier to blame equipment than take responsibility for blunders made by your folks.

As far as your buddy wishing for a .45, it sounds like he has fallen into the same mindset as Rem700's relatives.  As an LE firearms instructor, I can tell you that this is a common phenomenon among cops.  The caliber they aren't authorized to carry is naturally the 'answer' to the 'stopping power' question, and all would be right with the world if only they were allowed to carry it.  THE .45 IS NOT A DEATH RAY.  With modern hollowpoints, the 9mm can actually outperform many .45 loads.  People have taken mulitple hits from 9mm, .40, and .45 and still kept fighting.  With the best loads in each caliber, there's not a whole lot of difference among those rounds. 'The bigger the hole, the larger they squirt' is true.  The Winchester 127-grain +P+ expands to an average of .65 caliber and penetrates an average of 14.6 inches in gelatin.  The Winchester 230-grain .45 Ranger expands to an average of .67 caliber and penetrates an average of 14.5 inches.  The 9mm is much easier to shoot and holds twice as many rounds, on average.  You do the math.

Incidentally, you would do well to remove the term 'knock-down power' from your vocabulary when talking about small arms ammunition.  It simply doesn't exist.

If you have solid information that the FBI does indeed routinely replace factory parts in their glocks prior to issuing them, I would be very interested in hearing it.  We have so far had zero problems with our 21's and 19's, and my personal .40's run with no problems.
Link Posted: 6/5/2002 11:04:29 AM EST
This is a tough subject, with a lot of varied opinions and variables (akin to religious arguements).  You must be able to hit your target with your firearm.  It must be reliable and comfortable to you.  You must actually CARRY your firearm for it to be effective.  Caliber is not the only factor - it is a consideration.

With that said, I have used a 9mm and .45 in self-defense.  I don't own a 9mm handgun any longer.  I had a viscious dog attack me on my property while I was carrying a 9mm.  I emptied an entire magazine into the animal (11 hits, 7 head shots) at point blank range.  It was still alive and looking at me as I ran away (out of ammo).  While the unpredictable nature of head shots and poor ammo selection were factors, I still think the story is significant.  The 9mm did a miserably small amount of damage to a living mammal.  I was carrying a 9mm Taurus (knockoff of Beretta 92) with 115-gr Gold-Dot hollowpoints for those wondering.  

Is a .45 the ultimate?  No.  It's typical penetration is often considered ideal.  A penetration of 8-10" is as thick as an adult human's main body, reduces risk of overpenetration (danger to bystanders) and delivers all of the ballistic energy in your target (if round stops within target) - I consider 8-10" ideal.  Check the penetration of the rounds you would actually carry.

9mm became common because one could carry ~15 rounds.  Now, civilians can only buy new mags of 10-rds.  Pick what's right for you.  If you can reliably hit a target (under stress) with a .45, you will deliver more energy to it than with a 9mm.  +P analogies are only so relevant - most people don't carry/practice with +P (If you haven't used ~250 rounds of your defense ammo in your defense gun, can you really count on it?).  

I haven't seen the 9mm vs. 45 discussion for a while - thanks for bringing it back up.  Be sure to ask about AK's vs. AR-15's next! :)

    Black Fox  
Link Posted: 6/5/2002 11:26:53 AM EST
M-79 40mm it's the only way to be sure. Remember to de-activate the minimum range fuse arming system, you never know when you'll need to fire at one in close...........

Handguns are designed to be easy to hold, fire, and carry. They are not designed to explode med-large game animals on contact. They are a compromise of size, handling, and "efficiency".

A fatal hit with a .45 would probably be a fatal hit with a .40 or a 9mm, and vice versa.

Most of the time stops come from hangun rounds it's pain compliance. Handgun rounds don't do a good job disabling people, instantly. Handgun rounds probably kill more people by "bleeding out", than by damaging major parts of the body.

The problem is if you get a very determined, or drugged "attacker" the probably won't stop them, just like the Miami shoot out. Any handgun shooting will probably leave the shootie able to attack for several seconds after being shot.

That is where tactics come in. Cover, concealment, light and sound discipline. Having an escape route etc. Not to mention being ready to use a handgun apropriately and effectively. Double taps, failure drill etc.

The bigger the caliber the more pain it is likely to cause the gun shot recipient to feel. Of course most people can fire smaller calibers in a controlled manner faster, than the larger calibers.
Link Posted: 6/5/2002 11:52:24 AM EST
A 9mm  Glock is about as good as it gets.  If you can't defend yourself with that do you really think a 45acp or .40 will get you out of a situation that the 9mm won't?  For a carry pistol you'll be just fine.

One interesting thing I've seen often is most people will get "too much" gun for carry use.  By that I meen too big, too heavy, and more often than not it will be left behind.

I started with a Para-ordnance P14 with a steel frame.  That sucker was so heavy I felt like my pants were always about to fall down from the weight of 15 rounds of .45ACP in a large heavy gun.  Currently I carry a Kel-Tec 9mm with 11 rounds.  Remember a carry gun will see lots of abuse just by carrying it and will look used.  Personaly I think "plastic" pistols are the best choice for carry.  I would certainly put Glock at the top of the list.  I found a 99% Kel-Tec for $150 out the door at a local dealer and have been very satisfied with it for a carry gun.  Every time I pull the trigger it fires.  With good defensive ammo I've never felt "out gunned."   Get the Glock.  You won't be disappointed.
Link Posted: 6/5/2002 12:18:10 PM EST
IMHO the Glock 17 is a fine pistol for your use.  In Glock 9mms I would probably prefer the smaller model G19.  Carry what you shoot well and have confidence in.  For me it is a 1911 in 45ACP.  Watch-Six
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