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Marine Operators Have Settled the 9mm vs .45 Debate

dod-logoThe Department of Defense has recently been taking a hard look at the sidearms and sidearm calibers that are issued to today’s military personnel on the front lines.  In July it was reported that the top candidates in the final running for the new $17 million dollar Modular Handgun System (MHS) contract to replace the current Beretta M9 included Glock’s G17, the Sig Sauer P320, Smith & Wesson’s M&P, and the new Beretta APX among others.  Although it was just announced by Smith & Wesson last week that they are out of the running.

marine-with-sidearm

(Marine Corps Image)

However, one thing has been settled according to the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC). After two decades where MARSOC operators were allowed to carry a custom-built Colt 1911 chambered in .45ACP, in early 2015 the door was cracked open allowing for them to choose Glock 19’s (chambered in 9mm) instead of their larger counterpart.  Well that door has now been opened and shut, and it has been shut for good on John M. Browning’s classic 1911 design.  This recent policy and operational change means the U.S. Marine Corps’ own special arm of SOCOM (U.S. Special Operations Command) have also come to terms with the age old debate of 9mm vs. .45ACP.  According to the Marine Corps Times:

For Marine special operators, the never-ending debate over whether the 9mm or .45-caliber round is the more powerful bullet has been settled.
 
Previously, the classic .45-caliber Colt 1911 was one of three pistols that Raiders were allowed to carry, but now the 9mm Glock 19 is the only pistol that Marine special operators can take into battle, said Maj. Nick Mannweiler, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

“We put our money behind the 9mm round fired by an extremely well-trained marksman carrying a Glock 19,” Mannweiler told Marine Corps Times.

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-2-54-41-amWondering if these Marine special operators are not only allowed but required to carry exclusively the 15-round Glock 19, why not the slightly larger and higher capacity Glock 17?  Apparently it has something to do with occasions where the sidearm might be carried concealed:

Since last year, MARSOC has purchased and fielded 1,654 Glock 19s because Raiders needed a reliable secondary weapon “that could be used for both a concealed carry profile and a low-visibility profile,” and having one approved pistol for all special operators saves money, he said.

I can buy that. But what I am struggling to understand is some of the ludicrous logic coming from various sides of the issue.  Also quoting from the Marine Corps Times:

The arguments boil down to this: The .45-caliber round is the bigger bullet, so it has the “knock down power” to neutralize any adversary with one shot; while pistols that fire 9mm rounds are generally more accurate and can carry more bullets. Where a bullet hits the human body is also a major factor on whether it inflicts a mortal wound.

Even though the .45-caliber cartridge has more propellant, the 9mm round usually has more penetrating power because the smaller round faces less air resistance on its nose as it files [sic] through the air, said Neil Clapperton, a firearms and forensic expert with the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory.

I am at a loss for words as I read the above two paragraphs…like literally at a loss for words…

Okay, I’ve managed to catch my breath and collect my thoughts after feeling like my head was going to explode!

cartridgecomparisonFirst of all, since when has it been decided that the .45-caliber round has SO MUCH more “knock down power” than the 9mm that it only requires one shot to incapacitate a threat?  This story of a Chicago-suburb police officer should answer that one for you.

Secondly, are 9mm rounds substantially more accurate than their larger caliber brethren?  I’d like to see the science on that one, but I think when we’re talking about pistol caliber handguns, it’s pretty hard to measure any substantial accuracy differences when we’re rarely shooting at distances greater than 15-25 yards, if that.  I don’t know about you, but my .45’s seem to be plenty accurate, certainly as accurate as any of my 9mm pistols.

Third, the statement is made that a 9mm “can carry more bullets.”  True.  But we generally would refer to them as “cartridges” or “rounds” as a bullet is just the projectile portion that is encased in a cartridge and loaded into the firearm.

Fourth, it is mentioned that “where a bullet hits the human body is also a major factor on whether it inflicts a mortal wound.”  Okay, I have to give them props on this part of the statement because this is absolutely 100% correct.

aimed_research_sub-microsecond_photography_of_federal_power-shok_100grn_-243Finally, and this was the part I couldn’t wait to get to and dissect, it is argued that “the 9mm round has more penetrating power because the round faces less air resistance on its nose as it flies through the air.”  What kind of insane reasoning is this?  How does air resistance have ANYTHING to do with the terminal ballistics as they relate to penetration?  Yes, I will agree that air resistance is constantly at work against a bullet thereby slowing it down as it travels toward it’s intended target. But are we to suggest that the difference in air resistance between a 9mm and a .45ACP is so great, and that a .45ACP is slowed down so much, that this has enough of an impact on its velocity as to affect its penetration making it less effective than a 9mm especially when it carries nearly double the mass with the bullet?  [Pardon the run-on sentence–I’m trying to stay calm as I type this!]

I don’t think so.  

I’ll tell you what DOES have an impact on penetration–it is the frontal area of the bullet and its relative friction and resistance as it impacts a body and attempts to travel through.  A .45ACP will encounter greater resistance than a 9mm, but it also carries more weight albeit at a slower velocity.  Most of the ballistic testing I have seen comparing the penetration of various bullets and calibers would suggest that generally a .45ACP and 9mm are both quite comparable as far as penetration is concerned.

riscllogo_smallI have got to wonder about this Neil Clapperton that is quoted above.  Supposedly he is a firearms and forensic expert with the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory.  With a title like that you would think he would know a thing or two about firearms and ballistics.  I checked him out, and he’s legit as far as that title is concerned and where he works.  But I have some serious doubts about his understanding of external and terminal ballistics.  

If you have need to revisit the basics of projectile ballistics, here is a decent place to start.

The point here is this: it is fine that the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command has made the determination to only issue and carry Glock 19’s.  They are fine weapons and are certainly capable as a sidearm.  And it is acceptable to me that at least some of that determination was made based on the need to accommodate smaller hands and smaller bodies especially when carried concealed.  Not everyone can adequately conceal a full-sized Colt 1911.  Not everyone is as capable or as comfortable at shooting a .45ACP as they are a 9mm.  Plus this decision saves the military a substantial amount of money as Glocks are cheap and the 9mm ammo is also very cheap and, perhaps more importantly, readily available.  That alone could be a convincing argument to switch platforms.  But to suggest that the change was made due to the reasons quoted above–particularly because the 9mm supposedly has greater penetration due to less air resistance–is complete hogwash!  Somebody needs to vet their sources of information and also use a little common sense.

seal_of_the_federal_bureau_of_investigation-svgOn a side note, this is the recent trend…move away from larger calibers to smaller ones.  The FBI just did the same thing.  In the last 30 years, the FBI has moved from .38/.357 caliber revolvers to 9mm semi-automatics to 10mm (after the 1986 Miami shootout), then to .40S&W (once they realized how difficult it was for some agents to handle) and now they have announced they are moving back to the 9mm in the form of the new “Gen5” Glock 17M.  Their explanation (other than increasing ammo capacity): bullet technology has come a long way since 1986, and their testing shows that the terminal ballistics of the modern 9mm is virtually the same as the .40S&W or the older .45ACP round.  In case you didn’t get the memo, the FBI’s ballistic testing labs are the best in the world, and they’ve been doing it for a long time. 

So it should not come as a surprise that while the DoD’s call for submissions for the new military Modular Handgun System XM17 contract doesn’t specify a particular caliber or size they will most likely settle on a new 9mm sidearm. And I suspect it could very well be the Sig P320 as it is the epitome of “modular.”  The Glock 17/19 could be a possibility as well though as there are plenty of them already in the inventory, and the P320 also seemed destined for the FBI (which had similar requirements), but they suddenly settled on the Glock at the last minute.

Anyway, stay tuned…we shall wait and see.

Is the debate on 9mm vs. .45 (or .40) settled then? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Also…do you love this debate on the various handgun calibers? Head on over to the Concealed Carry Podcast for great audio content. Episode 10 is the perfect primer since we cover a lot of these same argument-triggering points!

 

 

65 Responses to Marine Operators Have Settled the 9mm vs .45 Debate

  1. James G Magnoni October 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    The argument about effectiveness, capacity, reliability, stopping power, etc has been going on as long as I remember, ad nauseum.

    Why don’t these experts just admit that they prefer Glocks and let it go at that?

    Please don’t send me any hate mail. I don’t have the time to read it…

    • Ritchey October 5, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

      I own one of each 9mil Ruger,Capacity 17 rounds,CZ 45 10 rounds.For stopping power at close range ,I prefer the 45.It is harder to conceal because of its size and weight.The Ruger 9 mil is easier to carry concealed,And a whole lot lighter.Both are comfortable to shoot,to me.A 45 is not for everyone.If you carry concealed the weapon of chose is what you are comfortable with.Handling and performance,depends on the owner.The Military has been changing weapons since day one.I suppose it usually comes down who can supply what the military wants and how much they cost.I personally have handled the Glock 17 and the 19 and don’t care for them.I prefer the Ruger or the CZ.

      • Hugh Jorgan October 6, 2016 at 7:05 pm #

        You prefer the .45 for stopping power? So, have you experienced shooting someone at close range with each caliber to determine the stopping power of each round? I guarantee with proper shot placement, either round will do.

      • Tim October 18, 2016 at 8:22 am #

        Pistols are primarily used for close combat. The original design and purpose of the 1911 45, was perfect for it’s “knock down” power. Officers carried them in case their security was breached, and when the enemy was upon them, the “kock down” power was vital in saving their life.
        45 muzzle velocity is 500 feet per second and the 9mil is 1500 fps. The 45 is the preferred for close combat, Common sense will tell you that if you are being overrun! Ret. 1SGT

  2. Dan October 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    My feeling is that the gun for you will be as individual as you are. Is it comfortable for you to carry and shoot and are you accurate and reasonably quick in getting it from concealment to shooting? A .50 Desert Eagle is no good if you cannot carry it and get it out and shoot it accurately and fairly quickly, no matter what the knock-down power if you were able to hit anything with it. On the other hand, a .22 that you can carry easily and put into operation quickly and shoot accurately is probably not a good defense gun/round because to do enough damage requires brain-shot accuracy with each shot. Any gun between 9 mil and .45 caliber is fine if you can conceal it, and employ it quickly and with reasonable accuracy.

    • Mike October 5, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

      I could not agree more!

  3. Beentheredonethat October 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    Maybe Obama’s army should be issued paint ball guns so there is a non-lethal component too…….

    • Champion2211 October 6, 2016 at 8:44 am #

      Obama wants us dead. That is those of us that has and carries guns. For me I have a 9mm that is concealable as well as my AR15 223 and like some of the others on here I would rather us my 15. Now that has some stopping power and even at 600 yards

      • Mike December 28, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

        Spend the little extra money and get the 5.56 chambered AR so you can safely shoot the higher pressure and accurate 5.56 ammunition and leave the .223 in the store.

        5.56 NATO in .223 Rem could result in failures.
        .223 Rem in 5.56 NATO is OK.

        It is all in the “throat” (Leade) and where the bullet contacts the rifling.

    • Ken October 6, 2016 at 11:25 am #

      I think the pain element is still to much with paint balls for Obama’s new policy I think dart guns with the rubber suction cups would be more his speed.

  4. Jim Brinkley October 5, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    After hours of research, I ordered a Glock .357 sig.
    It seems to me to be better than the 9mm or the 45 acp
    for every day carry.

    • Riley Bowman October 5, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

      As long as YOU are comfortable with the choice, then I’m happy for you! The .357sig does have very impressive ballistics. However, it does suffer from the same issue as the .40s&w, and that is that it’s snappier in its recoil impulse. Not to suggest that a skilled shooter (and/or soldier or Marine) couldn’t shoot it, but almost anybody is going to be faster with a 9mm in their hands.

      But good luck with and please enjoy the new Glock!

      • Robert J. Urban October 5, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

        Riley, love your artical. A little back ground, for almost 17 years that I carried a badge I carried a S&W 6″ 357 on a K frame as my service carry. I shot Master for a while. This was not a good CC gun so I traded it for a S&W 39-2 9mm. This was not a good CC carry eather so for a while I did not carry CC. But with the way things are going today I decided it was time, so I just bought S&W M&P 9 Shield. I have not fired it yet but have dry fired it some to get back in tune.
        What do you Think of the S&W Shield?
        Bob

        • Simon October 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

          Do give the Walther PPS serious consideration. Mine is easily concealable, accurate and has never failed to function.

        • Chuck October 5, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

          Whatever happened to the body armor piercing 5.7 round- 20 in the mag, one in the pipe n if that ain’t enough, 30 round mag works great for me!!!! SS and Homeland couldn’t be to aly wrong!!!

  5. Mark Linebarger October 5, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    I have been hand loading my rifle and pistol ammo since 1975. The above referenced “expert” needs to stick with whatever he may really be an expert at.
    His analysis is paramount to someone telling me the 7mm Rem Mag will outperform the 8mm Rem Mag…. for all the same reasons.

    • Riley Bowman October 5, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

      Long time reloader right here as well which is why I couldn’t believe when I read what I did in that other article…clearly someone that doesn’t understand how these things work!! And they call themselves a “forensics expert.”

      • RB Designer October 7, 2016 at 1:26 am #

        I carry a Glock 19 with 15+1 and am quite crafty with it. I like it and am very comfortable pulling the trigger in as high stress of a situation as training allows.

        After reading your article, I had to 1.) laugh at the “forensic expert” and 2.) Sit back and take a deep breath and pray that if I am ever involved in a use of force criminal trial, pray like mad that this Marine is NOT called as an “Expert Witness” because I do not think there is enough toilet paper in a courthouse to clean up the mess this guy is going to make from his testimony. It is really scary to think that a jury would put any weight behind what he says knowing that the rest of my life will be determined by the crap spewed forth from him. I’m no expert by the way but, I know that said “air resistance on the nose of the bullet” is NOT the predominate factor in any ballistics array.

        Great article by the way. Love reading your stuff. Thanks

  6. Victor Landry October 5, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

    I recently bought a Sig P227 Tacops. I have small hands for a guy but I have no problems with accuracy. I had a Sig P320 and the recoil is not that much greater. The P227 Tacops holds 14 rounds in the mag and 1 in the chamber so 15 rounds is similar to the Glock. I like the P227 better.

    • Riley Bowman October 5, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

      That’s good, it is always good for people to find what works best for them. Many do not discover the gun that’s right for them as easily as you have (if they ever do)!

      Enjoy! Those are nice guns!

  7. Daniel October 5, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    I see no problem with any branch of the U.S. military using the 9mm, but they need to go back and annul the Hague Commission signing. As mentioned in the article, the terminal ballistics of the modern 9mm is virtually the same as the .40S&W or the older .45ACP round – but that is with modern 9mm JHP ammo. I have read how the 124gr 9mm ammo used by NATO does not do its intended job. I have also read that the 124gr NATO round is a +P. However, if the bullet lacks a JHP configuration, then it’s not doing as well as it could.

    I carry a 9mm on me at all times, and I feel it is adequate enough to do what I need from a handgun, but I have them loaded with 147gr JHP ammo. I know the argument for +P with lighter bullets, but I settled on these because they meet my two most important criteria for defensive ammo – penetration and accuracy. I also read a recent article about a fishing guide who shot and killed a grizzly bear with a 147gr, 9mm from a S&W 3913. Yes, I know it was a +P round, but then, there aren’t any grizzly bears in my neck of the woods.

    • Riley Bowman October 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

      Daniel, the US has generally abided by the Hague (and Geneva) Conventions and their respective protocols. But the US never officially ratified these protocols, and is not officially bound by them.

      Also SOCOM has been using hollowpoint ammunition for years, but primarily against unsanctioned terrorist personnel.

      Officially last year it was announced that DoD intends to move to hollowpoint ammunition with this new MHS gun (whichever one ends up winning the contract). Just one article about that here: http://bearingarms.com/bob-o/2015/07/08/u-s-military-makes-monumental-shift-hollowpoint-pistol-ammunition/

      So, yes, they are looking at it with the assumption that modern 9mm JHP bullets perform very similarly to .40s&w and .45acp, and thus will move toward 9mm loadings for sidearms.

  8. Ben October 5, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    Let me suggest that politics might be at play. Surprising, I know, given the current state of affairs in DC. Sad. True.

    • Riley Bowman October 5, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

      Ben, enlightened folk like you (and myself) understand that politics is ALWAYS at play on some level!! Thanks for reading and commenting!!

    • Dick Kennard October 11, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

      I hadn’t even gotten halfway through the article before coming to the same conclusion. If the Government is involved in any way, money will change hands. The .45 is a less desirable round because of Air Resistance? Gimme a break!

      Anyone using the term “bullets” to discuss weapon capacity knows little about firearms and has no business writing policy.on them. Robert MacNemerra knew nothing about firearms but his decision that the AR-15’s chrome lined bore and chamber was a needless waste of money brought a whole lot of grief to a whole lot of people.

  9. Steve S. October 5, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

    My understanding in past test 9mms don’t do well in front car windshield stops. Ricochet off.

    • Riley Bowman October 5, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

      The latest in 9mm bullet tech performs much better than in the past on windshields. No matter what caliber you are carrying, just remember that one of the keys to shooting through auto glass (whether from within or outside the vehicle) is to shoot as much as possible through the same hole. If the first bullet ricochets off the windshield, the succeeding rounds will make it through. Also ALL handgun calibers are susceptible to ricochet especially when compared to rifle rounds. But the modern bullets are getting better all the time!

  10. Robert Riddle October 5, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

    How about a discussion of American made vs foreign made weapons for our military?
    Is S&W so inferior that our domestic brand was eliminated?
    Seems to me that American businesses take it in the chin enough already without this insult.

    • Riley Bowman October 5, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

      Fair point!

      Although it should be noted that Glock is manufacturing in the US now, Sig Sauer is as well. I also do not understand why the M&P was disqualified, but it could be that other manufacturer’s guns have already been eliminated as well. S&W was required to announce it due to SEC requirements as they are one of the only publicly-owner companies. Any other manufacturers that have been notified that they are not going to be selected may be waiting for the DoD to make the official announcement.

      But I agree, I would LOVE to see more true American companies represented!! I am not sure why Ruger did not enter a weapon into the competition (like the new American pistol), but it could be that they looked at the RFP and made a determination that for some reason their pistols didn’t fit the bill, or perhaps they decided it wasn’t worth it. Keep in mind, competing for government contracts is expensive, time-consuming, and maintaining an awarded contract can be a royal pain in the you-know-what! Ruger already dominates the American handgun market, and they are very profitable, so it may not have been worth it to them.

      • Frank K October 6, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

        I believe politics carries the most weight.The military sidearm is the least political concern as far as what other weapons are available for them.The beretta was a good example.Far from the best weapon compared to sig & glock,it got us a deal to put missles in Italy .
        Frank K

  11. SAWBLADE SILVER October 5, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    Both really do not muster up for the Marines. I would go with the 38 Super + P. Now you have something to rely on. Very accurate and deadly, The bullet travels at 1450 FPS. Of course providing as to the type of ammo. I like my Colt GOV. Model. Never had a jam up firing many different kinds of ammo. But I do like Cor- Bon, and Glaser POW’RBALL BY COR-BON.

  12. Richard Hennigh October 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    Many years ago in auto racing, there was a saying regarding power. “there is no substitute for Cubic Inches”. It appears now we have had to “Dumb Down” our .45cal. hand guns to suit little feminine hands who shoots the Bad Guys with far less recoil and stopping power. There are many fine little “Girls Guns” in 380 cal. Small grip,,Low recoil,,, easy conceability … One size does Not fit all. If that were true, we would only have one size Shoe, Clothing Etc. I am sure the debate will go on till the last “Cockroach” dies .

    • Riley Bowman October 5, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

      Richard, I guess I have “little feminine” hands as I prefer to carry my 9mm for self-defense and on duty.

      But I think the bigger point to be made is that it would not be wise to make a decision on a pistol or caliber simply because it is bigger, and therefore more “manly.” It should be made based on the merits and actual performance of the different calibers and/or pistols. The latest testing shows that modern 9mm performs pretty much as well as the other common semi-auto options, and since it carries more rounds and is easier to shoot (and I don’t care who you are, but it is easier/faster to shoot compared to the larger calibers), it is fairly sound logic to select the 9mm. Not to mention costs savings in ammo which is a big deal both in the government and civilian perspective. Government can spend less of my tax dollars (maybe….), and I can buy twice the ammo and get twice the practice.

      • MasterORTech October 5, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

        Having had lots of time with all 3 (9mm, 40 s&w and 45acp) yes the 9 is easier to fire and carries more ammo but in my experience you need that extra ammo to stop the threat. Having fired 45 ACP and 9mm at human targets the 9 took 3 sometimes 4 hits c.o.m. to stop the threat. With the 45 2 at most. I’m an athletic guy so handling the recoil is not too bad. Yes I can only get 2 shots off accurately in the same time as 4 with a 9 but again 2 usually does it. F=MA is F=MA. The 9 has more A but the M of the 45 has more than enough to overtake the 9 even the newer ones.
        For the spray and pray that they teach nowadays the high cap 9mm is good. But for those of us that like to aim and make good hits I’ll take the 45 as a primary with a compact 9 as a backup. There ya go compromise just carry both.

  13. The Celt October 5, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

    What I saw in Korea during the Korean War was that the .45 ACP was the most deadly
    handgun on the UN Side. The 45’s power and bullet size vs. the 9 mm Luger round was
    very obvious. The 45 hit harder and put your target down more quickly than the 9 mm.
    The saying The Quick And The Dead was true. Hit your enemy Quickly and He’s Dead.
    The 45 1911 did just that.
    I carried a Colt 1911 while serving in Korea. I still carry a Ruger P-97 in 45 ACP caliber.
    My next handgun will be either a Ruger SR 1911 or a Kimber 1911 clone.
    The 45 ACP is my choice of a Heavy Hitter.

  14. Richard Hennigh October 5, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    Just happened to recall the powerful 10 auto cartridge. Was the 357 mag. too powerful??? We souped up the 38 special to produce it .The 10 Auto was dumb ed down to create the 40sw. I carry a 10auto. I love it. there again I drive a 502 Gasser for pleasure. To each his own….

    • Riley Bowman October 5, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

      The 10mm is AWESOME!

  15. George October 5, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

    Para Ordnance 12-45, officer size 1911 .45acp with 12 or 14 rd mags.
    25 yard 1.5×2″ off hand 5 rnd groups on the nose.
    George

  16. Stevie October 5, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

    I’ve carried about every size round in my 71+ years of which 36 was an LEO. IMHO, everyone of us is different in all ways from head to toe and mostly including the brain and fitting a handgun is different for all. I know some are going to maybe chuckle but when I want a deep concealed handgun, I go with my PF9 Keltec. It has never failed me and conceals extremely well. When the weather is colder and requires a jacket or coat, I carry my Glock 30s, extra mag for either. I know a LEO that works in Mendocino County CA. that’s a monster, 6’7″ about 260 and has hands as big as a base ball mitt, when he carries concealed, he goes with a Glock 43 which looks like a toy in his very large hands. Handgun caliber and size is to each is own. Just carry what YOU feel most comfortable with and shoot the best with as shot placement is most important.

  17. Michael Angelo October 5, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    Opinions all ! A good hit from either will wreck an adversary’s day . I am a colt Gvt. 45 guy and .357 mag lover . To me the rest don’t count. The two calibers no one wants to get tagged by .

  18. John October 5, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    Since doing some research on the new ammo for the .380 acp, I’ve decided that 17-22″ of penetration from Lehigh & Ruger Personal Defense rounds, I carry the Browning Black Label .380. Of course, not being in the military, or law enforcement, my goal is no collateral damage! I can shoot consistently accurately. Fun to shoot a couple of hundred rounds at the range, without soreness. I have most of the makers revolver & simi-auto, in most of the major calibers. I like them all! But I’m my opinion, they are tools! Let the Craftsman pick his tools! It’s hard for Civilians to understand the firepower of the Military & Police, and what they can choose to bring to bear on their target, but we are responsible for each bullet fired, as Civilians! At 70, I choose to go small & straight! Do your thing, your responsible for your actions!

  19. Robert J. Urban October 5, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

    Riley, love your artical. For almost 17 years that I carred a badge I carried a S&W 357 on a K frame. When I left LE I traided for a S&W 39-2 9mm. This was not a good CC carry for me so I stoped carring for a while. With the way things are going today I decided it was time to carry again. I still did like the 39-2 for CC. I just bought a S&W M&P 9 Shield. What do you think of the Shield or do you know anything about it?

    Bob

  20. GM Henderson October 5, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

    Really let’s cut to the chase. Let the operators in theater chose what they want. We all, sitting safe and pretty, can discuss this and that but we are NOT in their shoes. If an operator like a .45 go for it. If another prefers a 9mm let him use it. Sick and tried of people not in the field deciding what is best for those in the field.

  21. Grinder October 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    I think it maybe a case of, it’s better to wound the enemy, than to kill him.
    If you wound one man, you take three men out of battle, one injured & two to care for him. If you kill one, you take one out of battle.
    I know I prefer .45ACP.

  22. Ralston Dew October 5, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

    I have owned all of the above calibers plus.In S&W, Glock, Sig.CZ,Remington,Beretta.I have taken bob cats,coyote’s Jack rabbit’s Badger with all. Using the right bullet is where it counts. We have came a long ways with jackets, core’s and construction of bullets in the last 50 + years. If it works for our troops no matter where it is made that’s the one we want. Remember we started this country with every make and model of firearm known to man.Give our men our warrior’s the best.Let them choose the caliber they know better than anyone.

  23. Patrick Malone October 5, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

    Marine Force Recon Vietnam Vet. Now that you know where I am coming from. In winter I concealed carry a 1911. But in summer I have just discovered the Sig Sauer P938, a 9mm 7+1 with extended magazine. I am aware of the ballistics of both rounds, and am a handloader. I can load my rounds as hot as I want, and often do. In my limited experience, shot placement is is the ultimate factor with any round. Practice, practice, practice. AND….carry what YOU are comfortable and accurate with.

    Semper Fi, and welcome home brothers

  24. Core October 5, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

    Glocks are cheap and reliable. But honestly, if you cannnot conceal a 1911 you can’t conceal a G19.. That’s a bs statement, I know this because I carry concealed and my 1911 conceals just as well as a single stack 9mm compact. The double stack G19 is thicker. I’ve got a good deal of ballistic and aeronautical knowledge under my belt, and I agree in flight friction coefficient is not something that plays a significant enough role in comparative analysis of 9mm and 45 Auto at practical ranges. They are both capable of inflicting mortal wounds far beyond practical range. I have never personally tested 9mm long range, but I have seen 45 Auto results. I’m not going to begin to discuss the variables between the two calibers and cartridge designs but statistics released from DOJ shows that larger cartridges are more effective at stopping Humans per round on target. This doesn’t factor shot placement. So logically the 45 is more effective at stopping Humans, than the 9mm, data from lethal census. The pool of cartridges in the study are grouped which makes the data integrity less reliable but each group of larger calibers exhibit significant percentage better lethality. I would love to get my hands on the data and map it by cartridge. Many of the debate points industry experts and defense folks make are moot. In the end public opinion and perception has a great deal to do with defense decisions. Glocks are cheap, reliable, and have built a big following. While 9mm is not as good at killing men as the 45 Auto, it is smaller, lighter, cheaper, easier to handle, and allows more opportunities to miss the target.. I like how the author notes that the accuracy analogy is nonsense, that’s true. In combat the one thing that does count is having more capacity, whether you miss or have more threats to neutralize, more capacity is a good thing no matter how you look at it.

  25. Nate October 5, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    I have several calibers, personally I like my Sig 239 40cal as my sidearm ! Great little weapon !!!

    • Bruce October 5, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

      Nate, Do I know you?

  26. Butch October 5, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    Think the title of this article is misleading. Should be “Marine Commanders Have…..” Each of the operators has his own preference.

    • Jacob Paulsen October 5, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

      Good point

  27. Doug October 5, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

    I think everyone should think back to why the 1911 was made. Knock down power.

  28. John Saunders October 5, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

    So many guns so little time! Okay 9s are cool, hold a lot of rounds, small recoil, cheap to shoot and buy. I guess I might be a little old school, 1911 45, M1 Grand in 3006, or M1A in a 308, these are older, but they have not made better guns or calibers…I still have a glock and some 9s, but only because If I do have to use it I dont want to lose my 1911, and yes I have a AR15, but still like the A1 more. So the moral of the story, use what you like, justify it any way you can, and enjoy the shooting sports, its fun, but if your life is on the line, well just give me a 45 in a 1911 Please.

  29. George Hages, MSgt, RET October 6, 2016 at 1:07 am #

    Well Obama wants his pay raise and his retirement increased. The money has to come from somewhere. Scratch expensive 45s. Give SOCOM GLocks which shoot 9mm (Glocks are great guns and I don’t have a problem with the 9mm, great cartridge especially with all the advancements over the last 30 years) as I was saying problem solved. There’s enough money saved that Obuma can skim the money from the DOD and get his pay raise, retirement increase and anything else his little heart desires. Just bless his little Prsident heart. He sure has screwed us military retires over the last several years!

    • George Hages, MSgt, RET October 6, 2016 at 11:32 am #

      What’s wrong with my comment

      • Jacob Paulsen October 6, 2016 at 11:42 am #

        Nothing wrong with your comment George

  30. Rich Hultén October 6, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    The 9mm is a typical government “one-size-fits-all” solution. With the continuation of the “pussification” of America we see so many in posotions of power making decisions that follow the continuation of that thinkinhg. Has anyone thought of learning how to control the .45 instead of wimping out after the first shot? The fifteen round magazine contributes to the “spray and pray” thinking while the 1911 makes one concentrate on placing the shot.

  31. Gregory A Gower October 6, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    I have not near the experience of some of the veterans in the service. I carry a para-ordinance warthog in 45 when it’s cold.I shoot the gun enought to know I can hit what I’m aiming at.(stress free situation) I also have a sig, p38 and carry that when it’s warm out.hightly concealable in a alien gear holster. and have shot that enough also to hit well with it. I have handgun hunted for over 25 yrs and enjoy it immensly, and also do a lot of reloading.IF a guy wants to carry a 45 or 9 or anything else and are comfortable and proficient with either, then why not? also carry a lcp ruger 380 in a desantis pocket holster, covers the trigger guard real nice. thanks for your time, greg

  32. Robert Torbett October 6, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

    I have found that I prefer the 9mm as an EDC concealed carry. I carry a S&W 9SDVE which I find can hold a good tight group. I have used the 1911 govt. .45 in Nam and owned one for several years. Like John Saunders, I also used a M1D scoped. I also have one that many people will call garbage. It’s a High Point .40S&W. I got it cheap and after using it and putting a few hundred rounds without any malfunction and also being very accurate. I find the heavy slide helps with the .40 recoil and keeps the barrel from jumping. I carry 9mm JHP for EDC and also use JHP in the .40 High Point. With all the discussion about hitting power of the big rounds, That is not the case with the new loads. Take a look at the FBI stats on their testing of various pistol ammunition as well as other reputable studies. The results may surprise many as it did myself. I just had to get my 2 cents in.

  33. Larry Muhr October 7, 2016 at 12:40 am #

    I have my personal preferences and it is the .45 ACP, next is the 40 S&W, down the line a couple of notches is the 9mm. I will address the people shooting the weapons in the military. There is a wide range of participants and many of them have never fired a gun of any kind. I believe the 45 ACP would scare many and they would rarely shoot to their capability. Therefore, the 9mm is probably the correct choice. For those not in the military, go for what you want. One writer mentioned the old adage about wounding one and it takes two more to remove him from the field of battle. True enough, but the dead enemy will not lie there or sit-up and shoot or pull the pin on a grenade on you as the wounded enemy might. Yes, I’m another old Viet Nam Vet.

  34. Ima Winner October 7, 2016 at 1:27 am #

    I definitely know how to settle this little petty argument. For those that think their their 45 is best, I’ll shoot my 9mm and for those that think their 9mm is best, I’ll shoot my 45.
    We will stand at 7 to 20 yards (your choice) and shoot each other in the chest. No vest…..and since it was my idea….I Shoot First!
    Hmmmm……since there probably won’t be any takers how about we all shake hands and realize we’re all “bound brothers” with the same interest. We enjoy our 2nd amendment and want it protected and were prepared to give our life to defend our country. And if I’m responsible enough to use a firearm to fight for my government, I’m responsible enough to own a firearm to protect myself and loved ones. May everyone who reads this have a Blessed Day! Thank you.

  35. Jera Scott October 7, 2016 at 8:59 am #

    Talk to someone that has been shot with a 9mm FMJ round and ask them what it feels like and contrast that to someone that has been shot with a 45 ACP FMJ round. You might be able to talk to the first guy.

  36. Robert Torbett October 7, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

    Larry Muhr, A little anecdote. I had a neighbor when I lived outside Fort Worth. He was a deputy sheriff. Another deputy acquired a .45 and was having trouble being able to qualify with it. My neighbor saw that the guy was afraid of the thing and couldn’t get back on target after the 1st shot due to the recoil and his flinching with every shot. Well my neighbor finally bought the pistol from him and turned around and qualified with it in front of the other deputy. We had a good chuckle out of that one. By the way. The sheriff convinced the county to issue all the deputies glock 9mm’s to standardize the weapons and ammunition within the department. Before he did this there was almost as many different firearms within the department as deputies. And the department is no small one. His logic was that if there ever were a scene where they got into a firefight and one deputy ran out of ammo any of the others could provide him with one of their spare mags.

  37. Evan Sigmund October 8, 2016 at 5:09 am #

    I like both, so it is a matter of how balanced and comfortable is it when in use ? and I guess $$.. I sort of like the Canik TP9v2, with Browning BXP xpoint 147 gr load.

  38. R.W. October 9, 2016 at 4:44 am #

    Sadly, most government decisions like this are primarily based on cost effectiveness, not cartridge performance or effectiveness; that’s the main reason I quit using military or LE decisions as a factor in my own carry decisions. The old adage “If it’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough for me.” is just nonsense today. There are far too many different considerations and circumstances between self-defense necessities and military/LE necessities to list in a comment section; but they’re important distinctions.

    I carry a number of different calibers depending on what I’m wearing that day and where I intend to go; but I no longer even own a 9mm. I like to study real world crime stats and self-defense incidents; and study hundreds of shootings every year. What I find more often than not is, in cases of 9mm shootings, unless it’s a head-shot or perfectly placed shot to the sternum, victims rarely drop where they’re shot and are often found blocks away from where the original shooting took place… police actually have to trace blood droppings back to their origin to find the initial crime scene. Even after suffering multiple 9mm gunshot wounds, victims are capable of fleeing considerable distances. Now it’s true that most of those victims’ wounds ultimately proved fatal; but it’s also true that they were far from incapacitated and either did or could have returned fire if they were also armed.

    That’s not the kind of performance I’m looking for. In stark contrast, the vast majority of incidents involving .40 S&W and .45 ACP resulted in gunshot victims being DRT; they dropped and expired right where they were initially shot, even with imperfect shot placement. Now I’m not a scientist, and comparisons of expanded 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP projectiles shows what appears to be little or insignificant difference in diameter; so I can’t explain the results… perhaps bullet weight plays a role too. In any event, I used that data when shopping for a lighter and more easily concealed EDC than my .357 magnum revolver and hi-cap .45 ACP. I settled on a 9-round single-stack .40 S&W that has almost identical dimensions to the same pistol in 9mm. I personally don’t find much difference in recoil between a compact 9mm and compact .40 S&W; but I recognize and am sympathetic to other shooters who do.

    And here is where we get to one of the most important distinctions between military/LE and self-defense use; it’s also where I have some practical experience, having twice been the victim of home invasions, as well as having to defend myself in public in 4 other separate incidents. Soldiers and police officers are far more likely to engage multiple targets in extended shootouts with adversaries, and therefore have a much greater need for a high capacity pistol than I will in a self-defense scenario. Most self-defense shootings take place inside 20 feet and are over in seconds; if I’m out in public and shooting beyond that distance, it’ll probably be tough to sell as self-defense to a judge and/or jury anyway. With those factors in mind, I’d prefer one of the calibers most likely to immediately incapacitate and prevent return fire. If I’m in my own home in a self-defense scenario, at any distance, I’m armed with a 12 gauge, and the whole pistol capacity and power debate is moot.

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