Author Topic: Ammo Choice: The .45 For Self-Defense  (Read 116 times)

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Offline Graybeard

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Ammo Choice: The .45 For Self-Defense
« on: November 06, 2019, 02:13:09 AM »
https://gundigest.com/gear-ammo/ammunition/ammo-choice-45-self-defense

By Patrick Sweeney -January 15, 2018

Quote
The problem with the .45 ACP for self-defense isnít the cartridge, but the pistols that chamber it. Itís a big cartridge and requires a big pistol. Even the most compact .45s are still kind of big, and the smallest are harder to shoot as a result.

Because, they don't make a .46:

*Any modern bullet in .45 ACP will easily pass the FBI test.

*It is a very efficient cartridge that delivers a bullet capable of eye-popping expansion.

*You probably donít need +P, but some want it, so there it is.

*The .45 Colt smacks the FBI tests with authority, and delivers plenty of expansion.

*As with other big bores, with ACP and Colt 45s, bullet weight isn't as important.

The obvious topic for discussion here is the .45 ACP. But, let us not forget the .45 Colt, which has been seeing some resurgence. First, the .45 ACP.

When the FBI was trying to find something better after the Miami shootout, there were those counseling the .45. However, there was a lot of resistance to jumping up to it and it alone. A lot of agents simply wouldnít be able to handle a .45 ACP, especially since the two choices were the 1911 and the S&W 645. Both big guns, they would have been too big for the smaller agents, and the recoil would have been too much for even those who werenít small.

The FBI had just settled a case where the training program, as it existed at that time (the early 1980s), flunked female candidates, candidates who would have passed the FBI qual course had they been given the qual course and not the academy course. The FBI was sensitive about disparate impact.


You want expansion? Then you want all-copper bullets, and here is the champion: Silverback 230 .45 ACP. Look at those petals.

So, they selected the 10mm, and wrangled and fought and changed plans. They could have avoided all that, and the subsequent 25 years of wandering in the wilderness with .40s, if they had simply opted for the .45 (the 10mm had to be in a .45-sized pistol anyway), figured out how to build guns for female and small-handed agents, and taught them how to shoot.

All the R&D and bullet technology that improved the 9mm and .40 translated perfectly to the .45, and as a result, it is even better now than it was back in the 1980s.

The problem with the .45 ACP isnít the cartridge, but the pistols it is in. It is a big cartridge and requires a big pistol. Even the most compact .45s are still kind of big, and the smallest are harder to shoot as a result.

So here, your choices are easy in ammo and hard in pistol.


The .45 has a hollow point so big you can see the results in this .45 Colt bullet. Thatís a plug of cloth from the heavy cloth barrier test, in the open petals of the PDX1 bullet. It cut the cloth out, still expanded, and tracked so straight the cloth stayed in place.

Any modern bullet in .45 ACP will easily pass the FBI test. The .45 is also amenable to the adoption of the new hollowpoint all-copper bullets. There, you can get impressive, even eye-popping expansion out of bullets Ė with petals expanding to over three-quarters of an inch.

Where the old wound tracks of FMJ, also known as hardball, were simply .45 diameter tunnels, the new bullets expand and create impressive wound tracks.


The .45 is also a very efficient cartridge. The bullet is mostly inside the case, and the case capacity is well suited for the bullet. (That was a point considered in the first decade of the 20th century, when the .45 ACP was developed.) It doesnít take a lot of powder to get its bullet up to speed, and as it does its work through mass and frontal area, even if they didnít expand much, theyíd still be great. That they do is a grand bonus.

GUARD DOG

Even more so than the .40, the Guard Dog in .45 is a great choice. If you are limited to FMJ, this delivers 165 grains of soft-recoiling .45 bullet, and the expanding full metal jacket is a bonus.

.45 ACP+P?

Do you need the extra boost of P? Maybe. If you can handle it, if it doesnít cause a decrease in your shooting and you want the extra performance, then go for it. You probably donít need it, but some want it, so there it is.


The .45 Colt can be amazingly accurate. Twenty-five yards, offhand, with full power PDX1 ammo.

.45 COLT

The .45 Colt dates back to 1873 and the Colt Single Action Army. It has an MAP of only 14,000 PSI, but thatís plenty. Given a .45 bullet of full weight, the .45 Colt smacks the FBI tests with authority, and delivers plenty of expansion. And since the pressure is so low, you can get a lifetime of shooting out of one revolver, as it simply isnít worked that hard by the recoil or pressure. You just have to be willing to put up with a full-sized revolver, is all.

Back when Detroit PD allowed personal sidearms in calibers officers could shoot a passing score with, we saw bunches of S&Ws in .45 Colt on the street. Back before the FBI tests, a flat-nosed 255-grain lead bullet was well thought-of, and it should still be so today.

FUTURE

If something works in 9mm, it works better in .40, right? Then it obviously should work better still in .45 ACP, because we have it all Ė mass, frontal area, and we arenít giving up velocity. I speak of the Honey Badger, which does not expand, stops in gel like bonded bullets, and ignores barriers. This just may be what all bullets are in the future.



Eighteen inches of penetration from a non-expanding bullet, and a wound track that looks like that? Where do I get some? Image courtesy Black Hills.

SELECTION

As with the other big-bore choices, you do not have to obsess about weight. 185s work as well as 230s, and if your handgun (or your hands) prefer the 185s over the 230, then go for it. Donít get hung up on bullet weight, go with accurate and easy to shoot.

Editor's Notes: This article is an excerpt from Choosing Handgun Ammo: The Facts That Matter Most for Self-Defense by Patrick Sweeney.



Bill aka the Graybeard
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Online Lloyd Smale

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Re: Ammo Choice: The .45 For Self-Defense
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2019, 12:26:14 AM »
xtp or a gold dot and keep shooting till they quit twitching.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Ammo Choice: The .45 For Self-Defense
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2019, 03:57:37 AM »
All of my .45s are loaded with 230 Gold Dot JHPs. I am however thinking of going to either 185 or 200 GDs instead. I don't carry any of them but do have them as part of my home protection plan.


Bill aka the Graybeard
President, Graybeard Outdoor Enterprises
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I am not a lawyer and do not give legal advice.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life anyone who believes in Him will have everlasting life!

Online Lloyd Smale

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Re: Ammo Choice: The .45 For Self-Defense
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 12:30:15 AM »
I like the 200 for a balance of penetration and expansion.
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Offline powderman

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Re: Ammo Choice: The .45 For Self-Defense
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 11:40:34 AM »
Not with the OP maybe but a good friend brought several  new guns out a couple months ago. A REAL Colt 1873, new of course, and a Marlin lever in 45 LC. And YES  we all shot them. The guy he bought the Colt from said, you aren't going to shoot it are you?? Josh said, I buy guns to shoot not just look at. The Colt trigger guard actually cut me on recoil. I had to change my grip. My Ruger shoots better, at least for me.
The Marlin lever 45  LC?? I'm in LOVE. Boy was it sweet, action really slick. CHARLIE.  ;D
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Offline Argent 88

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Re: Ammo Choice: The .45 For Self-Defense
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2019, 06:53:53 AM »
I'll stick with my P38, and my CZ75. Ive had to use the P38 before and I saw what it did. That intruder lost
his leg as a result. It did plenty of damage, but it was with that new  Hornady load. It blew his leg to pieces.
I'm sure a 45 would have taken the leg completely off where it hit. You hit those bones in the knee, they
shatter.

Offline Dee

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Re: Ammo Choice: The .45 For Self-Defense
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2019, 04:31:07 PM »
40S&W 180 grain hp or flat point, pistol and carbine, Winchester, Federal,  or Remington. Doesn't matter as long as it's not brand X.
Don't do the high tech latest, greatest high dollar bullets.
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Offline JeffG

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Re: Ammo Choice: The .45 For Self-Defense
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2019, 05:27:57 PM »
I understand and appreciate the advances in self defense ammo for the 45. For me, I am a traditionalist and a follower of my military training and Col. Cooper. Nothing has been as reliable as 230gr RN. So that's what I use.
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