9mm - .40 - .45

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  • Phoebe Ann

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    Jun 1, 2009
    Houston ish
    I went and looked at guns today. What fun that was. I was lucky enough to find someone behind the counter who was very knowledgable and able to communicate that knowledge to me. I was very proud to be the only woman amongst about 10 men at the counter. I learned some good stuff today.

    I saw a Sig 9mm that I liked but the gun was just too big in size to conceal on me. I asked him if there were 9mm smaller in size. (By the time I left, he suggested I maybe take a look at a Baretta PX4 Storm Sub Compact.)

    He began to tell me about the guns, the weight of the bullets (I'm sure y'all don't call them bullets) and velocity. The whole velocity thing was so interesting. He said the velocity of a 9mm is fast thus able to cut through your target (victim) quickly. He said it was not uncommon to hear a story about a "target" being shot several times and still not down. He explained how a .45 has a slower velocity therefore picking up energy as it travels and making a more fatal impact. So I asked then why would someone use a 9mm vs. a .45 if the goal is personal protection and the 9mm might not do the job? My sole intent is personal protection and if I'm a good shot, I don't want my target still standing when I hit with a 9mm. I don't want any second guessing if it's between me and someone who is threatening my life.

    Am I going in the right direction here or am I missing something?



    Active Member
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    Mar 28, 2008
    You are definately taking a good first step by learning all you can. Firearms are very personal and it all depends on what you are comfortable with,, does it fit your hand, can you handle the recoil, how are you carrying it or will it be in the house. There are many variables in the choice.

    Do you have a range where you can rent various firearms to try them out?

    Perhaps a family member or friends that can take you out to the range?

    However, one important point is your mindset, if something bad happens, you will have to react quickly, without hesitation, knowing you may have to shoot a person. You have to be mentally prepared to do that.

    Also, you do need to practice, you cannot just buy a firearm, load it and forget it. Plan some range time.

    Hope this helps?


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    Apr 1, 2009
    Take a look at this website for a woman’s perspective on guns. It's got lots of good info and some really good advice.

    The 9 vs. 40 vs. 45 discussion is a pretty common on almost every firearm site. A few Google searches will probably get you more info than you ever wanted on the topic. I'm still very new to shooting (have really only been shooting since January) and I only own a .22lr pistol. However, I have rented/borrowed guns in all three calibers. Personally, I like the 9mm the best. Compared to my 22, the 9mm has the least amount of recoil and it was the caliber I felt I could control the best in a rapid fire situation (next to my .22). In the 9mm, I rented the Beretta 92FS and the Beretta PX4 Storm. Both guns are probably larger than you are looking to carry. Since it's a polymer gun, the recoil in the full sized PX4 was more than the all metal 92FS. However, the recoil in those guns was much less than the 40's or 45's I've shot. I really didn't like the 40 at all. In the 40, I shot an H&K compact and a Springfield XD. For me, both guns felt completely out of control when I shot them. Also, unless I happened to hit the BG with the first shot, there's no way I was going to get off a set of rapid shots that would be anywhere close to each other. Which leaves the 45. I have a friend with a Kimber sub-compact and even though it's the largest caliber of the three, I'm really learning to like the gun. It's got more kick than the 9, but after shooting about 100 rounds through my friend’s gun, I feel like I'm getting better control over the recoil. I also feel like it has less kick than the 40's. I'm sure I would get there eventually with a 40 as well, but I was so turned off by my first experience with it, I would be hard pressed to try it again.

    I'm sure you'll see other people say it, but the best thing you could do would be to go to a range that rents guns and try out a bunch of them. It may cost you a couple hundred dollars, but it will save you the expense of buying a gun you hate and then having to buy another. The other thing to remember is that caliber comes in second to accuracy. So to answer your Q, why would you choose a 9 over a 45? The 40/45 doesn’t do you any good if you can’t hit the broad side of a barn with it. I’ll take a BG who was hit by a couple of 9mm rounds over the one who was missed by a full magazine of 40’s or 45’s.


    TGT Addict
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    May 11, 2009
    Leander(NW Austin)

    Well Phoebe,
    In my experience, shot placement is much more important than caliber. You need to find a gun that fits your hands right and shoots right where you aim it. You need to take into consideration the amount of pull required for the trigger and/or slide if you go semi-auto. IME most women are better shooters than their male counterparts(Hate to say it gentlemen) but "ladies" guns(small frames, ultra-lites,etc.) tend to be so lightweight that they have unpleasant recoil. Also many women lack the handstrength to chamber the first round in some semi-autos. I would recommend shooting several guns, both semi-autos and revolvers. You may find that you like a heavier gun like full size revolvers which are much larger but have better accuracy(due to sight distance) and much less recoil. They are intimidating but kick less. If you're looking for concealability, I personally recommend a S&W 99 or Wather P99, plenty of capacity and nice slim grips. No matter which you choose, they will all get it done if you put even one bullet in the right spot.....and if you're lucky you will eventually own several of them like me.


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    Nov 21, 2008
    Phoebe Ann, you have touched on of the most controversial, ongoing, and polarizing debates in all of firearm history. Just google 9mm vs 45, and you will get LOTS of debates.

    A lot of opinion is subjective and based on stories. Example, bad guy A was shot <X> number of times with <Y caliber>, but continued to do bad things. They eventually were stoped by being shot many, many times.

    This story is always followed by another story of a different bad guy who got shot with <caliber z>, once and dropped dead before he hit the floor because his torso evaporated from the gunshot wound that knicked his shoulder.

    This may sound silly, and I am exagerating a little bit, but not by a lot. I've heard people say things like, "it doesn't matter where I hit him with this." This is wrong.

    There are some people that think that velocity is the key, making a hollowpoint expand more efficiently ect, ect and others think that a heavier bullet is better because it penetrates better ect, ect.

    On top of that, you will find people who believe in the "Ultimate Caliber." They think that their one particular caliber is the best and all others are just wannabe's. Usually about 45 acp, 40S&W, 10mm, 357 sig, or 357magnum. The reality is that all calibers have their pro's and con's.

    The truth is that ALL handguns are basically underpowered when compared to rifles. The one shot stop is a myth. Multiple shots are likely required to stop a determined attacker, no matter what the caliber.


    I would say that a big hole is better than a small hole, but looking at that ballistic gel, you couldn't tell which was which just by looking at it.

    It is my humble opinion that there is nothing wrong with a 9mm. The difference in power of most calibers, mathmatically, is very small. A good quality hollowpoint is a must for ANY caliber.

    If you have a hard time shooting a .45acp, including followup shots, then it would be a worse choice than a 9mm. If you won't practise much with your 45 acp because the ammo is 50% to 80% more expensive than a 9mm, then I think it would be a mistake.

    I'm sure some of the wiser heads will give you better explanations, but it the idea that "a .45 has a slower velocity therefore picking up energy as it travels and making a more fatal impact" just doesn't make sense.

    I hope this helps.


    Active Member
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    Feb 14, 2009
    What a fantastic name for a ladies website. I've noticed one thing about the ladies-- if it's a gun, and it's loaded, and she is mad enough to point it at you,,--------your dead.

    Phoebe Ann

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    Jun 1, 2009
    Houston ish
    Ranger60 - Yes, there are several ranges I can go to. I have gone to one to shoot handguns once. There are two others within close proximity. I have many guy friends who shoot and could ask them to accompany me but, for now, I'm gathering information.

    GTRich94 - Someone suggested corneredcat and I love that site! I've already spread the word on it to family. Thank you.

    TexMex247 - speaking of lady shooters, I heard women were used in WWII for sharp shooting as they were exceptional shots. I guess we're more calm or we obviously have less testesterone under pressure.

    Texas42 - Just what did you say? :) I think you told me to buy a rifle and conceal it. You gave different scenarious and lots of different info, great info! Would someone please tell me what to buy??? LOL.

    res1b3uq - hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...

    And does anyone know who Phoebe Ann was??? A box of ammo to the first one to answer.



    TGT Addict
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    Feb 17, 2009
    corneredcat is a great site. As for caliber vs caliber, the best advice I've heard and can pass on is shoot the biggest caliber you can shoot comfortably and accurately
    Whatever you decide on, please train often


    New Member
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    Apr 17, 2008
    Grand Prairie, Texas USA!
    As stated above shoot as many different guns as you can until you find the one that fits you..

    Dont be taken in by 'gun snobs' that say the 45 or 9mm or whatever is the only way to go... Whatever gun you feel comfortable shooting and you can shoot accurately is the right gun for you..


    Active Member
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    Mar 21, 2009
    Corpus Christi
    .............Annie Oakley................

    You have gotten some great asdvise so far, and you are doing the right thig to research and learn first.

    I second the vote for the largest caliber you can shoot accurately and comfortably. It's no fun to have a gun you don't like shooting. It's dangerous also because you won't practice enough.

    I carry a variety of guns depending on occasion and clothing. Everything from an LCP to a compact .45ACP I like them all and shoot them well. Any gun I have ever owned that for some reason I could not shoot well got sold.

    Try some of your friends' guns and see what feels best. Also consider how you are going to carry and consider weight and size. Many weapons look like they would make great CCW and the simple truth is that they don't. On the other hand, many weapons that are easy to conceal aren't very comfortable to shoot. You have to find the perfect balance for "you". My wife doesn't carry, but of the weapons I have or have had, she enjoys the size and feel of a Bersa .380, she didn't care for the LCP (too snappy) She hasn't tried any of my larger Semi Autos yet, but I bet she could handle my Taurus PT145 just fine as well.

    Every person's choice will be different, so don't let sombody's personal choice of weapons turn you away from a weapon that could serve you well. Good luck!
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