9mm vs 45 acp ammo

9mm vs 45 ACP ammo: Which One is Better?

The 9mm vs 45 ACP ammo is an old-age debate among the military, law enforcement, and hunters. You will not miss this debate among gun forums. Both handguns have a huge following and popularity. This can be attributed to their success in the field.

Which is the better handgun between the 9mm and 45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol)? You need a flexible stance when deciding between these two handguns. The biggest mistake most people do is taking a black-and-white stance

The 45 ACP shoots bigger bullet calibers while the 9mm has a higher capacity. So, what makes a better handgun ammo?

Comparing 9mm vs. 45 ACP

Different shooters will be right in picking one handgun over the other and with valid reasons. What matters most to you when choosing a handgun? Having bigger bullets and having more capacity are great considerations. These two cartridges have a debate that is over 100 years. While each cartridge comes with its pros and cons, there is no definitive way to decide on the best.

For most people, the .45 ACP ammo is the better cartridge since it shoots bigger and heavier bullets. However, when deciding on a suitable one, it is important to disregard the hype and look at the facts. An unfired ACP 45 is only 0.095 inches bigger than the 9mm. You need to analyze and decide on the better cartridge based on different factors.

To start our comparison, let’s have a look at the two handguns under different factors


If penetration is your main consideration, then consider the 45 ACP.  The A 45 averages a penetration of 11.3 inches to 14.3 inches. The 9mm on the other hand averages 8 to 15.9 inches. However, this varies greatly depending on the specific handgun used. For example, the Remington FMJ on the 45 delivers up to 27 inches of penetration. When using a 9mm on the Winchester FJM, shooters can achieve penetration of up to 24.5 inches.

Penetration is a crucial consideration when hunting big game. It can ensure an immediate kill for such big bucks without wasting a shooting opportunity. Make sure you understand your target game and choose the right caliber.

Magazine capacity

Next, we can consider the magazine capacity. Under magazine capacity, the 9mm is the obvious winner due to the small size of the rounds. Most 9mm handguns have a higher rounds capacity than the ACP 45. However, specifics can vary depending on the exact type of gun. If you have small guns with small load capacities, then choosing a 9mm cartridge makes sense.

For example, the Glock 17 holds up to 17 rounds of the 9mm which is pretty good. However, the Glock 21 can only hold 13-standard ACP 45. While both guns perform well, the ideal caliber choice comes down to the main purpose. A higher load capacity might be needed when hunting feral hogs that require semi-automatic shooting, especially when in a group. The choice of the suitable caliber comes down to what best works for you.


While handguns are not known for huge recoils, you need to consider this when deciding between a 9mm and ACP 45. The 9mm ammo has less recoil than the ACP 45 because of the small round size. Shooters can enjoy faster and more rounds of shooting without having to deal with recoils. The small bullet size leads to small recoil making it a safer choice for first-timer users.

The recoil on the ACP 45 is much higher due to the bigger bullet size. The .45 ACP holds bullets that are 11.5mm bigger making the recoil higher. If you need to have more shots taken consecutively, then the ACP 45 is not the best option. You’re likely to suffer from recoil as opposed to using the 9mm.


Velocity is another crucial consideration to make when deciding between these two. The 9mm has a higher velocity of between 900 to 1350 feet per second. The ACP 45 velocity is relatively small ranging between 835 to 1150 feet per second. You need to understand your shooting range and see if velocity is a major factor to consider.

The bottom line

There is no better choice between the ACP 45 and 9mm cartridges. These are just two different cartridges with pros and cons. Both cartridges can serve you well in different situations. You just have to pick what best works in your situation and learn to use it.

The 9mm cartridge was designed in 1901 and developed in 1902. The ACP 45 was developed in 1904 and was widely used in World War 1. As you can see, both cartridges have been in use for over 100 years, and rightfully so. Decide on the features that best work for your shooting situation and pick one cartridge that best serves you.

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