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45 ACP. Is it the weight or the diameter?

1986 Views 26 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  Uncle_Lawrence
I have tried unsuccessfully to research this and frankly, I give up. Perhaps I should stop thinking about this. I’m really fond of the .45 acp. I generally carry one for self defense in various configurations. My wife says I accessorize.

There are of course different weights of projectiles from 185 to 230 grains. In that respect which is best for stopping a threat? The lighter grains feel like they recoil less, but is it the heavier bullet that does the trick or the diameter that causes the larger permanent wound channel?

I absolutely believe that accuracy is the best way to stop an attack and that caliber is probably not relevant. So is bullet weight relevant?
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Bullet weight is always relevant because it's a factor of bullet performance. The slower .45acp often suffers from poor expansion even from some well known ammo manufacturers. The 185 grain was chosen to greatly increase the chance of proper expansion, especially out of shorter carry guns.

I would highly recommend watching the multitudes of videos out there on YT and compare the results. Personally I don't put much stock in the bare block gel tests. They show a best case scenario. It's extremely common to have bullets perform beautifully in bare gel and far less so when going through a heavy cloth barrier first. I prefer videos which show both bare and cloth barrier results.

I'm a huge fan of the .45acp and have carried it a lot over the years. If you can find a 230 grain bullet that expands reliably through a cloth barrier and gets good penetration through the length barrel you carry then that's a great choice. Those can be tricky to find for guns in 3" range though. Hence the 185 grain bullets becoming popular. There's also the option of designs like the Underwood Xtreme Defender or ARX that don't expand at all but still provide very good penetration and wound cavities. Lately I've been doing a lot of research on these as I'm considering them for my 3" 9mm and 3" 1911. I haven't made any decisions yet but they look very impressive so far.
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