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9mm vs 40S&W vs 45ACP

Specifications (Ball park ranges - not load specific)

Below are ranges commonly found for each caliber. The majority of the information comes from the Wikipedia articles on the individual cartridges.


9mm

40S&W

45ACP

Bullet Diameter (in)

0.356

0.4005

0.452

Case Diameter @ Base (in)

0.391

0.424

0.476

Typical Cartridge Length (in)

≤1.169

≤1.135

≤1.260

Typical Bullet Weight (gn)

115 - 147

135 - 200

165 - 230

Typical Velocity @ Muzzle (fps)

1000 - 1430

985 - 1190

830 - 1060

Typical Energy @ Muzzle (ft-lbf)

419 - 704

400 - 490

352 - 518

Typical Momentum @ Muzzle (g*m/s)

2776 - 3496

3132 - 4160

3424 - 4290

Typical Balistic Gel Penetration JHP (in)

8 - 16

10 - 13

11 - 14

Typical Balistic Gel Penetration FMJ (in)

25

25

27

Typical JHP Expansion (in)

0.55 - 0.72

0.56 - 0.76

0.70 - 0.79

Advantages / Disadvantages


Advantages

Disadvantages

9mm

  • Smaller case diameter allows increased magazine capacity
  • Higher velocity results in flatter trajectories
  • Light recoil
  • Smaller bullet diameter and lower weight can result in a smaller wound tract
  • Trajectory is more affected by barriers
  • Recoil is Snappy

40S&W

  • Middle ground between 9mm and 40S&W
  • Moderate recoil
  • Middle ground between 9mm and 40S&W
  • Recoil is snappy

45ACP

  • Larger diameter and heavier weight can create larger wound tracts
  • Heavier bullet weight results in more momentum
  • Momentum maintains trajectory through barriers
  • Recoil is gradual
  • Larger case diameter results in a decreased magazine capacity
  • Bullet drops over a shorter ranges
  • Heavy recoil

General Discusion

The three most common self defense handgun calibers each have their pros and cons.

-- InBox485 - 09 Mar 2010

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Topic revision: r4 - 15 Mar 2010 - SeanNewton
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