9mm vs 45 ACP(2024) - Know The Difference

What Is The Difference Between 45 Acp vs 9mm? Which Caliber Is Good Over Other?

When comparing ammo, one of the most trending topics is "9mm vs 45 ACP."

As both calibers are popular with their specifications still it's always an interesting topic “ what is the difference between 9mm ammo & 45 Acp ammo?

9mm vs 45 ACP

Hey, I am Lisa, The content editor at Bulk Cheap Ammo.

In our caliber comparision series, we have already completed the debate between 9mm vs 10mm to learn can 1mm change that much?

Today, we will compare these popular handgun calibers: the 9mm and the 45 ACP.

It's going to be a fun one because both calibers are great to have.

Let's look in-depth at the 45 ACP vs. 9mm handgun cartridges and help you understand which one is better for your needs.

9mm Ammo Vs 45 ACP

Give a quick look on the difference between both calibers.

Specifications 9mm Ammo 45 ACP
Bullet Weight 108gr to 147gr 68gr to 300gr
Bullet Diameter 9.01 mm (0.355 in) .452 in (11.5 mm)
Case Length 19.15 mm (0.754 in) .898 in (22.8 mm)
Max Overall Length 29.69 mm (1.169 in) 1.275 in (32.4 mm)
Case Capacity 0.862 cm3 26.7 gr H2O
Max Pressure 235.00 MPa 19,900 psi
Magazine Capacity 12 to 15 rounds* max out at 8 rounds per magazine*
Muzzle Energy 304 lb/ft 369 lb/ft
Used by NATO and others; Militaries, police, and self defense. United States and others

9mm Ammo

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45 ACP Ammo

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9mm Vs 45 ACP - What Is The Difference?

9mm Vs 45 ACP - What Is The Difference?

9mm and .45 ACP are two of the most popular handgun calibers in the world.

9mm is a smaller, lighter cartridge that provides a higher magazine capacity and less recoil. 45 ACP is more extensive, heavier, and delivers more stopping power.

Both have been used in military and law enforcement applications and have proven effective.

The choice between the two often comes down to personal preference and the intended use of the firearm.

This is not it. Let's compare the development, applications, accuracy, stopping power, recoil, magazine capacity, price & availability.

History & Development: 9mm Vs 45 ACP

9mm Ammo Development

9mm ammo, also known as 9mm Parabellum or 9mm Luger, or simply 9mm, is a rimless, tapered firearms cartridge. Austrian firearm designer Georg Luger initially designed the caliber in 1901. It has been produced since 1902.

This new caliber improved on the previous handgun ammunition, which was large and heavy. Still today, the compact cartridge has less recoil and allows for easy handling. It’s lightweight and accurate, and because of its small size, handguns chambered in 9mm hold significantly more cartridges than those in higher calibers.

45 ACP Ammo Development

John Browning developed the .45 ACP (Colt Automatic Pistol) or 45 Auto in 1904. It was intended for use in the M1911 pistol used by the US military.

.45 ACP is an effective combat pistol cartridge. It has been used for guns such as the M1911, M3 Grease Gun, USP45, and many more. The .45 is known for being the bullet used in the M1911 and for being the US military's choice for their pistols for almost 75 years.

9mm Vs 45 ACP- Specifications

9mm Ammo Specifications

  • Bullet diameter : 9.01mm (0.355 in)
  • Neck dimension: 9.65mm
  • Base diameter : 9.93 mm
  • Rim diameter : 9.96mm
  • Rim thickness : 0.90 mm
  • Case length : 19.15 mm (0.754 in)
  • Overall length: 29.69 mm (1.169 in)
  • Maximum pressure (CUP): 235.00 MPa (34,084 psi)

45 ACP Ammo Specifications

  • Bullet diameter : 11.5 mm (.452 in)
  • Neck diameter : 12.0mm
  • Base diameter : 12.1 mm
  • Rim diameter : 12.2 mm
  • Rim thickness : .049 in (1.2 mm)
  • Case length: .898 in (22.8 mm)
  • Overall length : 1.275 in (32.4 mm)
  • Maximum pressure (CUP) : 19,900 psi (137 MPa)

9mm Vs 45 ACP: Recoil

When we compare the 2 calibers, recoil is one of the first things people love to consider.

The 9mm Luger has approximately half the felt recoil of the 45 ACP. 9mm handguns will have less recoil, which is helpful to improve accuracy, and easier to handle, allowing for better shooting fundamentals and shot placement.

9mm vs 45 ACP Recoil

The recoil of the .45 ACP is nearly double that of the 9mm when fired from a similar pistol. When launched from such guns, 9mm will have an advantage in recoil over 45 automatic rifles.

9mm Vs 45 ACP: Velocity

9mm vs 45 ACP Velocity

The velocity of 9mm rounds typically ranges from 990 to 1350 feet per second (fps).45 ACP rounds have a velocity of about 835 and 1150 feet per second.

The 9mm cartridge fires a lighter bullet at a higher velocity and has less bullet drop over distance, making it the best choice for long-range shooting.

While the 45 ACP won't be the best choice for long-range combat, its lower muzzle velocity makes it an ideal candidate for suppressive fire.

9mm Luger (Parabellum) bullets travel 1.3 times the speed of a 737 airplane at cruising speed.45 Auto ACP bullets travel 1.1 times that same speed.

45 Acp vs 9mm - Applications

9mm vs 45 ACP Applications
  • Hunting - When we compare 9mm & 45 ACP for hunting, both are ok. 9mm at a distance doesn't have enough stopping power to ensure you kill the big game with one shot. The .45 ACP is better at short ranges - bigger and slower.
  • Self & home defense - The .45 ACP would be the best home defense and self-defense option. It is a larger projectile with more stopping power and deeper penetration.
  • On the other hand, with a 9mm bullet, you are talking about 50% less recoil, which is helpful to improve accuracy for smaller hands and people with less arm and wrist strength.
  • Recreation - Regarding recreational shooting, both calibers have very similar characteristics. The .45 ACP has a large fan club for target and casual shooting.
  • The 9mm cartridge is one of the world's most popular handgun options. For a more extended range, choose a lighter bullet and flatter trajectory and choose 9mm.

45 ACP vs 9mm: Stopping Power & Range

9mm Vs 45 ACP - Stopping Power & Range

Stopping power is a term used to describe the ability of a bullet to incapacitate a target. It is influenced by factors such as bullet design, velocity, and caliber.

While we compare both .45 ACP and 9mm, the .45 ACP is generally considered to have a higher stopping power as compared to 9mm.

Due to its larger size and slower velocity it creates a larger wound channel and transfers more energy to the target.

However, the 9mm has a higher magazine capacity and a faster rate of fire, which some consider to be important factors in self-defense scenarios.

It’s a fair statement that the 45 ACP has more stopping power than a 9mm. .45 is still just a bigger, heavier bullet and that cannot be contested.

In terms of range, both calibers can be effective for self-defense out to 25 yards or less.

Beyond that distance, the 9mm may have an advantage due to its flatter trajectory and lighter recoil, but accuracy and shot placement become even more important as range increases.

9mm Vs 45 ACP- Size & Weight

9mm Vs 45 ACP - Size & Weight

Bullet size plays a significant role in shooting performance. The heavier the bullet, the more stopping power it contains. A larger cartridge means more gunpowder.

When we compare the 9mm and 45 Acp in size or weight, the 9mm is smaller and more compact and has less power.

On the other hand, the .45 ACP is comparably larger, heavier, and more expansive. Therefore, it can hold more gunpowder and stopping power.

9mm Vs 45 ACP - Magazine Capacity

9mm Vs 45 ACP - Magazine Capacity

Regarding magazine comparison, 9mm magazines have a higher capacity than 45 ACP.

Pistols chambered in 9MM tend to have a high round capacity for the magazine. Most 9mm handguns come with magazines that range from 12 to 15 rounds. Some guns have exceeded that, and the options will vary from gun to gun.

Most of the .45 ACP guns are from 1911. As a rule, their maximum supply is eight rounds in a magazine or up to 15 with extended magazines.

Since the 45 ACP is larger, the pistol usually carries fewer rounds in the magazine. For example, the 1911 pistol usually holds 7-8 rounds in a standard magazine but has the option of taking ten rounds in an extended magazine.

9mm Vs 45 ACP - Weapon Choice

9mm Vs 45 ACP - Weapon Choice

When choosing handguns for 9mm & 45 ACP, there are too many options available in every gun store.

A 9mm handgun is typically more lightweight and compact than a 45 ACP. Its lower recoil, affordability, and ability to carry more ammo make it popular among shooters. The 9mm fires a smaller projectile faster than the 45 calibers for better target penetration.

On the other hand, 45 ACP have more recoil, hold less ammunition, and are generally more expensive. The 45 ACP power separates it from the 9mm. While the larger projectile is slower, it does more impact and injury to its target.

Price & Availability Comparison

9mm Vs 45 ACP Price & Availability Comparison

If we compare 9mm vs. 45 ACP according to its price & availability, there is little difference.

As per the availability, both calibers are readily available to buy at every ammo store in the USA. Every seller lists these two handgun calibers at the top of the list.

For the price comparison, 9mm ammo is cheaper because of its popularity than the 45 ACP ammo.

9mm ammo approximate Per Round Cost: 0.17 To $2.10

45 ACP approximate per round cost: $ 0.38 To $4.00

Prices will always favor 9mm. So, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the 9mm is a better choice.

Final Words

The 9mm vs 45 ACP debate concludes that both calibers are popular based on their performance.

The 9mm caliber is smaller and has a larger bullet capacity. It has less recoil, making it easier to handle, especially for beginners. It is also faster and can penetrate more profoundly due to lighter bullets.

Don't forget to check our top pick of 9mm calibers for self defence & target shooting need.

On the other hand, 45 ACP caliber comes with more significant recoil & and incredible stopping power. It has a lower bullet capacity and is usually slower due to the larger and heavier bullets.
So, both calibers have their pros & cons.
Choose the one that suits your budget & requirements.

Lisa Earnest

Lisa Earnest

Apr, 27, 2024

Lisa Earnest has been a part of the Bulk Cheap Ammo team since 2018 and serves as the editor of Bulk Cheap Ammo content.

With a flair for language and an unwavering dedication to shooting sports, Lisa's diverse expertise combines to create an unforgettable experience for our audience.

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