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Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Sniper03, Jun 25, 2017.
Some fellers get pretty fired-up over this topic, don't they...
personally, as long as there is more than one caliber, this debate will be hotly contested long after most of us are gone from this world!
Nice weather we're having.
So the Gelatin block said to the shooter; "Who ya gonna believe, ME, or some anecdotal stories about a guy who killed 13 outright and sent another 32 to the hospital?"
REAL world usage of the 5.7x28 from a pistol barrel in just a single shooting, pretty much gave us a "lifetime" of data on the effectiveness of THAT cartridge. If the demonstrated lethality of the 5.7x28 doesn't "show up well" in artificial testing, then it's the TESTING modality that needs modification to help bring its results more into line with what really happens.
The fact is, a great many shootings have people being shot multiple times with 9mm, .40, and .45 ACP, while continuing to function. It's not hard at all to find ample shooting data where people have been hit over half a dozen times without showing any ill-effect until that ONE did the trick. Based on THAT fact lone, the entire concept of what makes any low-power handgun round "effective" needs a serious reconsider.
Whereas the point many gloss over, or just don't know, is the
actual handiness of the FN Five seveN as a sidearm. It's
1.6 lbs fully loaded, draws easily, and is fast back on target
for follow up shots. It's kind of hard to argue the caliber, in
this case, and completely ignore the ergonomics of a gun which
handles so well and is a full pound lighter than it's competition.
Keep in mind only hits count. It isnt horse shoes or hand grenades. I always believed in shoot what you can handle. If all you can handle is a 22lr than it is better than a 44 magnum. I gave up my 21 oz 45ACP because it was getting too hard to handle. I still have my 34 oz 45ACP but I mostly carry a 38 spl or a 9x19.
You know, at the end of the day, I can, and at various times, have made an "argument" for different calibers. The fact is they will ALL kill and depending on bullet style and power loading, do so with impressive external showing!
I grew up at the end of the "revolver era" (maybe one day to be known as the "First Revolver Era"), and in those days there was no "caliber debate." Everyone knew the .357 Magnum was bad to the bone and stood head and shoulders above the .38 Special, and even the .45 ACP - which in those days was not very much seen in common usage as today. In those days, a Colt Trooper, or Python for the snooty (myself included), or S&W M-19, or a nearly forgotten choice, the Ruger Blackhawk in .357 Magnum with 9mm cylinder (in those days few even cared about such a conversion because the 9mm hadn't risen to the cult-like status it enjoys today). "Everyone" also KNEW that the .44 Magnum was the literal "Hammer of Thor" blessed with mythical power...I embellish, but in reality the .44 Magnum was, and still is a POWERFUL weapon that creates tremendous tissue and bone destruction! That was about as diverse as the calibers got in those days...
But today we have the 9mm and it's here to stay. From a pure "power" standpoint, nobody who understands the progression of numbers can claim it's "more powerful" than the other "common usage" pistol rounds, because it is not. However, with that said, it is absolutely "powerful enough" to kill and (dare I say it) "stop" a human given proper hit placement. The 9mm will always enjoy a competitive edge in capacity...it's REAL strong point. After all, even small 9mm handguns can carry 10 or more. Also, using modern expanding bullets, gel performance of the 9mm is photographically identical to that of the .40 S&W and .45 ACP, albeit marginally smaller temporary cavities and slightly less penetration when expansion occurs as designed. In non-expanding profiles, the 9mm is the "quintessential" military caliber precisely because it has high penetration, will punch clean through a human - or two, and holds lots of bullets....
The .45 ACP stands atop it's own century+ of field use, and has certainly earned a place at the head of the American table. Considering how effective the original .45 Colt and later .45 Schofield cartridges performed during the latter half of the 19th century, it only made sense for the military to insist the new automatic pistol be chambered for the ballistic equivalent. The .45 ACP is basically the military .45 Colt/Schofield load in an autopistol compatible case. The ACP chamber pressure is less about structural limits than about duplicating the .45 Colt load in a much smaller volume. Since day one, the ACP case has been of solid web construction, and such cases are basically equivalent when it comes to maximum chamber pressures. When only "hardball" ammo is available or allowed, it's hard to argue against the big, bulbous .45 ACP slug. In terms of kinetic energy it's a bit more powerful than the 9mm in military spec trim, however, with a standard pressure loading of less than 20K psi, it is very easy to bump up the power level into the mid-450 lb-ft of kinetic energy, with just a few thousand psi pressure increase. Loaded to just 25K psi average working pressure the "ACP" becomes an entirely different animal - the .45 SUPER which is one POWERFUL round fully on par with the .357 Magnum and the 10mm! Any 1911 can easily be set up to handle "Super" ammo and when that is factored in...well, for many, brute power may outweigh capacity. A 1911 stoked with 9 rounds of .45 Super making 600 lb-ft of kinetic energy will deliver substantial tissue/bone destruction to any human, plus be highly effective on the trail against big cats, hogs, etc. Consider for a moment that if one increases the allowed chamber pressure of the .45 ACP to 40K psi, NOW one has the .460 Rowland! I happen to have one I built by adding a .45 Long slide to a G-20, 6.61" threaded barrel with FULLY supported chamber, LWD muzzle brake, 24# recoil spring with SS guide rod, and it is indeed an incredible example of the melding of modern design and technology! The pistol weighs just 34 ounces with empty magazine. Thanks to the highly effective muzzle brake, felt recoil is surprisingly low...no more than a standard 10mm, though I would characterize it more as a "push" sensation as the big slide pulses back. The "secret" to the gun's lightness is of course its polymer frame. Even shooting full-power loads, the frame is under less strain than less powerful rounds. Yes, I have digressed, but it was to make a point...when comparing these calibers, their potential is also important to consider. Whereas the .45 ACP in standard loading is "barely idling" in terms of power, the 9mm is already close to topped out. Around 500 lb-ft of KE is a HOT 9mm load, and easily "bested" by a relatively small bump in ACP pressure. In fact, I often wonder why the manufacturers haven't introduced .45 Super "spec'd" pistols (no big challenge) as a marketing tool.
So then we come to the currently "disfavored" .40 S&W. Frankly, I was a long time warming up to this one...and I think many others were as well. By the time we began to recognize it's strengths, the fickle nature of government agencies advanced a movement back to the 9mm, leaving the .40 S&W looking foolish and poinless. However, it is NOT in any way a "foolish" caliber, and is in fact more inline with what many notable designers saw as ideal. It may appear as if the .40 S&W is just a "compromise" 10mm, in fact it's really not. By shortening the case, the .40 S&W can be shoehorned into a 9mm size pistol...mainly in terms of grip size and trigger reach. If "bigger is better" the .40 S&W is certainly bigger than the 9mm with the same pressure limit. This means it can and will ALWAYS be more powerful than the 9mm. Whereas the 9mm tops out around 500 lb-ft of KE, garden variety .40 S&W 165 grain FMJ ammo generates 450-484 lb-ft of KE without even advancing the throttle on the powder dispenser! The .40 S&W can be pushed above 550 lb-ft of KE, and even above 600 with light bullets, yet it's still coming with that larger frontal area and greater bullet mass. The .40 fits into a 9mm size gun, but gives up a few rounds in the doing. The .40 S&W can basically deliver near magnum performance from a 9mm size pistol.
Speaking of the .40 S&W, another caliber totally worthy of wide-spread adoption is the .45 GAP. The GAP is Glock's way of shoehorning the ".45 ACP" into a 9mm size pistol! By shortening the case and loading it to a slightly higher pressure spec, the GAP round delivers terminal ballistics IDENTICAL to the ACP - IDENTICAL. Even then, the caliber is capable of being loaded to even greater power for those who desire it. I never cease to be amazed at how so many who are .45 ACP acolytes (mainly 1911 acolytes), will viciously slander the GAP round, Glock, and anyone who dares support it, when in fact, it offers true "big-bore" performance in a much broader variety of platforms if it were to ever receive proper attention. I guess the GAP round is representative of what WOULD have been the fate of the .40 S&W had it been introduced to the consumer market without first having lined up police adoption. Certainly the ACP can be loaded a bit hotter by those so inclined, but for all practical purposes, the GAP is a perfect, modernized replacement for the generic ACP.
Interestingly, MOST so-called defensive ammo today is seriously UNDER-loaded for each given caliber. This is because the ammo makers are relying on fancy bullet technology to deliver the goods....basically they are loading to the gelatin test.
But after all this, the bottom line is that they are all excellent choices that really need no justification, nor defense. I own several different pistols in all of the above calibers, and many more besides, and depending on how I feel on any given day, I might choose to carry one of my G19, or my SA-XD9, or my CZ-75B .40, or one of my 1911's...my Colt Defender, or my G30, or even my S&W M43C!
What makes a low powered handgun round "effective" is the ability of the shooter to hit a "stop zone" on the attacker. A well placed .22 round is 100 times more effective than a poorly placed round of any other caliber.
There is really no argument here, just differences of opinion, personal choice and swagger. But the reality is that this is no pissing match. Anyone who can shoot accurately surely has the advantage and that advantage slips away as the size of the cartridge and the ability to handle the firearm diminish that capability.
Shoot what you can accurately and what you will practice with.
Any other "opinions" are as useless as a spent round.
I did not like the placement of the safety. Other than that I think the FiveSeven is a interesting pistol and proof of concept. It would possibly be better if other manufacturers would choose to make competing designs and ammo for it to move the designs and availability forward, increase competition, offer some variety and drive the pistols into the more available and affordable zone.
anyone care to discuss the 45ACP vs,. the 9mm?
or maybe the Glock vs. the 1911 pistols?
or if anyone is up to it, how about the Remington 870 vs. the Mossberg 500?
i was bored and couldn't help myself. ot stirrer:
people get too hung up caliber, when they should be concentrating on accurate shot placement and being able to control the pistol they are shooting.
now i happen to like large bore magnum pistols, but i don't always carry them. but for myself because i practice with them on very regular basis, i think it does give me an advantage as some of the smaller calibers i might carry, seem awfully small in comparison as regards to recoil. and not bragging, i hit what i aim at too. large calibers, or small calibers.
practice, practice, and more practice, is the best advice i can give anyone. there is no other way to get more proficient with your pistols.
But there are newer players on the field. The 10mm and
5.7 have both proven themselves to be effective rounds,
despite ballistic gel data. Are they unworthy of consideration,
merely due to the fact that they aren't 9mm & 45ACP?
The concept of the P90 and Five seveN is light and easily controlled
PCC weapons for Tech and Artillery soldiers. If you've handled and
shot them, you'd probably agree they are a step forward for the
average REMF, or possibly Airborne units.
If anyone else would jump on the 5.7 it could be a go. But if FN is going to be the sole proprietor for all things 5.7 and go nowhere with broadening the designs available or getting other ammo manufacturers onboard, it will be a forgotten cartridge in another decade.
The 10mm has held on due to "cult" status and support from the handgun hunting niche. It helps that there are multiple manufacturers making platforms for the round and also multiple ammo manufacturers as well.
"Long and thin goes to far in, Short and FAT is where it's AT"
seems to me we should just ask the Chicago coroner
Here is one case where the 9mm was not so hot.
9mm will kill.
45 will kill body and soul
.357 magnum will kill body, soul, and toss the souls carcass into outer darkness
Would other handgun calibres have made any difference.
who really knows for a fact? SD pistol ammo has come a long ways since the Miami Shootout.
and looking at some of the current gel testing done with the most popular SD calibers, there doesn't seem to be huge difference, or a huge advantage of one over the other.
but also, i will counter with accurate shot placement is much more important IMO than caliber, or capacity.
and then also factor in recoil. hardly makes good sense to use a higher recoiling 10mm pistol, if the recoil of it is a problem which could have devastating effect on managing that recoil and the ability to hit accurately with it. in such cases a 9mm or 38 Spl. with appropriate SD ammo would be the wiser choice. it all depends upon individual human dynamics and what they can shoot and handle accurately. even the lowly 22 rim-fire is a better choice for those recoil sensitive, than some fire-belching large bore magnum, as long as they can hit accurately with the 22 rim-fire.
then also factor in some of the newer cartridges coming on the market in the last few years, like the 5.7x28, or the 327 Federal, or even the 22 TCM. which are showing some interesting and even impressive ballistics for self defense ammo. i think for what they are showing so far, they sure deserve to be looked at and considered as options for SD pistols.