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Considering getting a pistol. Have decided on a semi-auto, but cannot decide on which would be better for personal protection. 40 S&W or 45ACP. Would love your real world feedback on which caliber has the best characteristics when relationship to stopping power, recoil, availability, etc. Would love your opinions to help me make up my mind.....I have shot a friends 40 but haven't shot a 45 yet. I am not sure what kind of rounds he had in the 40 but he said they were pretty stout. The recoil was noticable but not too bad. This may also be used by my wife and daughter if the need would ever arise.
 

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One will not notice a wits bit of difference between them in stopping power with proper hits, minimal difference it the bullet is not placed properly. I've seen and used them both in work as well as seen the autopsy reports of many others from which I base my opinion. Availability is pretty much the same, both are very popular cartridges today, the 40 with police and civilians and the 45 more with civilians. I carry a Springfield XD 45 ACP for my duty weapon and an XD 40 S&W off duty. The reason for the change in weapons is the grip on the 45 is longer which makes it a little tougher to conceal. Recoil between the two can be comparable though I feel the 40 has a little sharper recoil than the 45. My wife does not like shooting either of them though for different reasons.
The biggest difference will be in the grip size. The 45 ACP is a fatter and longer cartridge so the grip will be longer and often thicker. The 40 S&W is often built on the same frame size as the 9mm Parabellum which is noticeably smaller. These size differences can cause a marked difference in how one perceives recoil depending on how the gun fits the hand. Different gun brands will also have similar differences in recoil perception which makes it impossible to say with a certainty that one gun will recoil less/more than another. One needs to actually shoot a particular model to get an idea of how they will like it. With repeated use one will either find out they made a good choice or quite possibly determine it has flaws they do not like.
 

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I would sugest spending several hours at a pistol range that rents pistols over a month or two period and see what fits you best. You will also pick up a lot of good info the the people shooting the the bays next to you. In the end it matter where you hit the target more than the size of the round so put a lot of importance on being able to hitting your target. The 45 is a larger round and has more stopping power but if you can't hit the target with it then it won't matter. You may also want to consider a 9mm if your wife and daughter will shooting the pistol. 9mm has less stopping power but easier to control and a few well placed rounds will stop the threat.

So best advice find a pistol that fits you well and shoot it often enough so you can hit what you aim at. Also have your wife and daughter shoot the pistol so they know what to expect if they have to use it.
 

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9mm with a hallow point round will stop almost anything and wife or daughter will handle it easy. At the same going the the range and shooting target rounds will get use to the pistol easily and not break the bank. Sounds like it's your first auto pistol so start with 9mm and work your way up, you will be a better shooter for it.
 

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Also, save some money on that first purchase. Once you get to shoot a .45, you will be looking into buying one. Happens all the time, all good.

Happy shooting, Jack :wink:
 

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go with .45ACP and dont look back. Big, heavy, "slow" bullet has proved its effectiveness MANY times over. Dont know how true it is, but heard that our military wants to bring it back, because 9mm cant handle. If the pistol is for home defence and not carry, then go with a big/full size frame and barrel. The mass will absorb some recoil ,which isn't that bad, if you can shoot .40, you can shoot .45. And there are TONS of ammo options. If you get a 1911, you can buy conversion kits for other calibers and use the same frame :wink: (1911 fan my self)

edit: There are kits for other models as well, Glock, Beretta, ect. (I just really like 1911's)
 

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45ACP or 40S&W for personal defense? Each may have certain theoretical advantages that make interesting campfire talking points but I would feel equally well armed with either.
 

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I like the .40S&W better than the .45 ACP. It's easier to handle.
 

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My suggestion would be to first off go to the range with your wife and daugter and shoot 9mm, .40, and .45. Forget .38 and lower, and don't dare go into the .50 AE, lol. Obviously.

I personally think a proper 9mm hollowpoint would do the job...but PERSONALLY, I would stay with the .40 or .45. Either one will do the job. If you hit someone in the chest area with either, they're going down. Personally my suggestion would be shoot some different .40s and .45s and find one that you like. Go with the 9mm with if you really have to...but my personal preference would be a .40.

PS: One last note... most gunfights occurr from very short distance, and only take one or two rounds. However...if you REALLY wanted piece of mind you might want the .40 because most .40 autos will take more rounds than the .45. 1911s normally stack 7 in the mag, one in the pipe, i believe. So if you think you might need a barrage of bullets, maybe a 9 or a 40 would be better.

Whichever you choose, make sure you all take it out and practice. If you haven't, sign the three of you up for shooting lessons. (Assuming you're an inexperienced shooter)
 

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As you can see, you will get many conflicting answers. As a suggestion, I would spend some time talking to different people about the pros and cons and try and shoot them.
When I was shopping for an automatic pistol I knew nothing about any of them. I read up on them and asked a lot of people about them. I found out quickly that there is not a "best" one. I narrowed it down to 3 or 4 and handled them and made my choice on that.
With all this said, I purchased a XD 45 ACP compact in the dark earth color and love it to death.
To me guns are an expendable item. If I like it, I keep it for a while and if I don't, it goes down the road as quick as I got it.
 

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Re: re: Give me your feedback

WDBradley said:
9mm with a hallow point round will stop almost anything and wife or daughter will handle it easy. At the same going the the range and shooting target rounds will get use to the pistol easily and not break the bank. Sounds like it's your first auto pistol so start with 9mm and work your way up, you will be a better shooter for it.
+1 I agree completely. If it is your first pistol, and to avoid turning the wife and daughter against shooting because the pistol is too "hot"...I would definitely opt for a 9mm. You can always upgrade once the family settles in and gets comfortable with the new weapon.
 

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I agree on the choice of the 9mm. Get a pistol you ALL can use effectively, get everyond shooting, then get another later for yourself if you feel the need.

9mm's have a lot of critics, but it's very effective and easy to shoot well. There are a lot of pistols available for it, and many commercial loads th choose from. It's also a lot less expensive to shoot than larger calibers, leading to more practice.

I'd go with the 9mm.

FWIW, my wife shoots an old S&W .38 Special revolver - a Model 15 Combat Masterpiece, and she loves it.

mark
 
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