The Old Argument

From Comments in yesterday’s post about the CMP 1911s, Longtime Friend & Reader Vonz saith:

Certainly, I love the 45 ACP quite a bit and have one (not a 1911 though, which are good but I think there are better options, at least for me).
What is with the hate on 9mm though? It is a great round as well (I have one of them too). It has different advantages and disadvantages, but that is why it makes sense to own both or at least to have as options for different people.
Why does, “I like this” have to morph into “everything else sucks”? It is not an attitude that makes any sense to me.

As with computers (Apple vs. Windows), cars (Ford vs. GM), guns (Colt vs. S&W), cameras (Pentax vs. Canon), etc. etc. etc., I think it’s all an ego thing.

The “bullet wars” probably started when some prehistoric hunters were arguing about the optimal size stone to use in their slings, and the stupid argument has persisted to this day because we guys are always searching for the “magic bullet” [sic] in all our endeavors.

As much as I make fun of the 9mm Europellet, it’s really all about the bullet itself: the typical 9mm FMJ projectile is (I believe) only slightly better than marginal as a self-defense option (and I actually have some personal experience to support that thesis); but put some more-recent technology (jacketed hollowpoints etc.) into the 9mm Para casing, and it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.

I would have absolutely no problem carrying a Browning Hi-Power instead of the 1911, for example, as long as the 9mm bullets themselves were of the Hydra-Shok / SXT / Gold Dot / XTP / etc. genus. In fact, given that with the onset of age-related arthritis, my beloved Springfield 1911 is starting to really beat my wrist up, I can actually see a time in the near future when I might make that swap.

So nobody should take me too seriously when I slag off choices that people make. A lot of the time I’m just stirring the pot for fun, but underneath there lies a sound reason for it: if I question someone’s choice or action, they are forced to defend their position which means they have to think about the topic — and their rationale might even make me reevaluate my position, if it’s sounder than mine.

Good luck with that, though. Most of my opinions have been formed over many years of thought, contemplation and study, not to mention personal- or third-party experience. But it’s a stupid man who doesn’t listen to a sound, reasoned argument, and I’m not that stupid.

Just don’t try to convince me that Communism is a preferable system to free-market capitalism; scorn will follow in gargantuan quantities.

13 comments

  1. I think that most authorities would agree with you about modern ammo essentially equalizing defensive calibers. But why the love affair with the 1911. In my training experiences, almost all the unplanned malfunctions I have seen have been with 1911s. Glocks, S&Ws, Berettas, SiGs basically don’t. I even saw one guy that ran a whole class with a Taurus without a malf. 1911 have the most wonderful trigger, of course, but does this matter all that much? I ran one class with a revolver rather than my usual Glock just because I carry one when camping in griz country. It is a stock trigger that is truly awful in DA compared to any SA. Yet it made no difference in the actual shooting. Performance was exactly the same until it came to reloading.

    1. A good trigger is critical for accurate shot release. A lot depends on what you consider acceptable accuracy. Personally, my goal is to shoot 10 rounds into a group no larger than 3 inches at 25 yards.

  2. Something that is not frequently discussed in 9mm vs .45 acp is the maximum pressure ratings by SAAMI for the two cartridges. The maximum pressure standard for them are 35,000 & 38,000 psi (std. pressure & +P) for the 9mm and 21,000 & 23,000 for the .45 acp. A 16,000 psi difference.
    That pressure difference means a significant increase in performance which is part of the reason that the 9mm with good bullets is roughly equivalent to the .45.
    Worthy of note is that the .357 magnum, long considered to be the gold standard of handgun stopping power is rated at 35,000 psi, one thousand and three thousand psi less than the “wimpy” 9mm (no +P for the .357)
    A final note. Discriminating shooters own Browning Hi Power pistols. John Moses’ final design, crowning his long history of excellence.

    1. Jimbo;
      Lots of manufacturers produce 1911 pistols in 9mm. I use one, a Springfield Armory Range Officer Compact in 9mm. (Aluminum Officers frame & 4″ Commander style barrel) Conceals very well, shoots to point of aim, and just plain flat out works. Over 1500 rds downrange & NO failures or malfunctions with factory ammo. (doesn’t like reloaded ammo with ‘Glocked” brass) Great 1911 trigger too.

    2. I’m hearing a lot of good about Ruger 9mm 1911’s.
      However, the buzz around the campfire is that for the best mix of bang for the buck, custom features out of the box, ready for action- go with a Dan Wesson 1911. Usually about $1500, but you don’t have to wait for a gunsmith to get it right first.

      But if you want a metal 9mm that’s not a 1911 or not a whole lot of money, there’s a whole lot of CZ 75 variants out there. Even Col. Jeff “By God 1911” Cooper was fond of the platform.

  3. The personality and strength of the shooter bears on the matter. My mother hated all big noisy handguns and claimed they hurt her hands and wrists. But she loved her nice little gold plated Italian .22lr automatic, a Beretta I think, which she carried in her purse.

    Mom and me and my two brothers used to plink at squirrels and gophers with it. She was a pretty good shot.

    It was never fired in anger. After mom was in her final years the Canadian government arseholes made us give it up because the barrel was too short so it was too easy to conceal and was intended mostly to ‘kill or maim people’. Exactly.

  4. Col. Jeff Cooper (nicely mentioned above) can take the credit/blame for a lot of the 9mm/.45acp war. He never failed to mention a real-world failure of the Euro-BB in stopping a really bad guy.
    As to the CZ-75, it is an improvement over the Hi-Power that spawned it, and the plastic versions from Tanfoglio/EAA work well, and are comfortable…..
    and also available in .45acp.

  5. 5 9mm and 1 45. Most of the 9’s are some flavor of berretta or tuarus look alike. the 45 is an H&K thing that seems to work ok. 1911 beaver tail raises a lump in the web of my hand so I don’t shoot them any more. Had a Browning Hi power 9mm and got rid of it due to round count. Several 38/357 with 22’s rounding out the count. Some of about anything. Last count of hand guns totaled 14 I think.

    Can shoot them all well enough, but do need to work on one to be the best with. Probably the latest Berretta in 9mm. Good enough for the military which is good enough for me.

  6. I’ll be 66 in June and I’m definitely becoming a casualty of the caliber wars. As I’ve said a number of times I was a very passionate believer in the .45acp cartridge fired from a 1911 style pistol. Unfortunately my body is breaking down due to the influence of Mrs Ritis little boy Arthur and too many years of doing stuff that I probably shouldn’t have done. I still work as a reserve deputy sheriff and have to shoot qualification rounds every year. Internet commandos will say that if I was a REAL MAN I would work through the pain of a .45 1911 and shoot the bad guys as St John Moses Browning intended. Well that’s not going to happen. I believe in practice and when the practice become so painful that you can’t deal with it, its time to look at something that doesn’t beat you up. I’m carrying a Springfield XD9 these days as a duty pistol. I know that it doesn’t have the testosterone level of a .45 but I can shoot a good score with it and I’m convinced that when I’ve got it loaded with Hornady Critical Duty I can do some good.

    1. Sidenote- it is amazing what one can find for $300-350 (or under) at gunshows, gun stores, and the like. First, you need a good bit of knowledge and mechanical skill- you need to know what is a good value for the money, be able to test for mechanical soundness, know what some of the common problems are for that model, and be willing to replace a this or that if needed, and know when it’s not worth the trouble.
      Plus, you’re not going to get pristine at this range- but sound mechanical shooters, which is fine.
      And like fishing or hunting, one does need to spend a fair bit of time where the “game” is.
      So far, this ongoing quest has netted me a Colt 1903 & 1908, a Baby Browning for $110 (needed re-bluing), a S&W 6946 (ex NYPD), a High-Standard Duramatic, a Beretta 92D Centurion, a Miroku .38 snub (made by the people who make Browning), a S&W “Lemon Squeezer” in .38 S&W, a S&W Model 64 snub, and a few others.

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