.45 ACP Vs. 9mm Which Is Better? | Difference & Comparison

Amongst all the handgun fans, the debate of big, slow, fast, and small has been going on for years. Here we will talk about .45 ACP vs. 9mm since it seems that this debate needs some attention. 

The 9mm cartridge has now become one of the most popular handguns today. Almost every handgun has been made keeping in mind the Parabellum/Luger cartridge popularity due to its high power, small size, and stable accuracy. These features make it an excellent choice for side-arms and pistol-caliber carbines. 

Talking about the .45 ACP, it has been around as long as the 9mm, providing military units a powerful cartridge with strong stopping power and fantastic reliability. Because of its reliable components, .45ACP has now become a popular carbine. Many of the shooters even prefer it over 9mm because of its high-quality specs and sheer size. 

Both the handguns have a gigantic following on account of their prominence and accomplishment in the field. All types of rifle and gun adjustments have compromises made to oblige a particular sort of weapon or application. The principle advantage of .45 ACP over 9mm is application-based: .45 ACP discharges heavier bullets at simply under supersonic velocities, making it ideal for concealment. You get more active energy out of an effect than you can with 9mm. 

There are comparable 9mm burdens for silencer use, yet they aren’t as weighty, so there’s less energy to move. 

Thinking about current enhancements in ballistics and shot plans, there are entirely suitable .22 LR self-preservation adjusts nowadays, not to mention .380, and so on. The reality is consistent that shot situations matter more than shot size, sensibly speaking. Shooting whatever you see is more straightforward than shooting under pressure. Trusting you never need it; however, if you do, you’ll be happier on the off chance that you land that original hit.

 So, both being popular in their respective areas, .45 ACP and 9mm have their specialties and reasons. And to understand this better, let’s compare every aspect and component of these guns. 

Comparison Chart 

Let us begin by understanding that the most significant misstep that the vast majority make is taking a high contrast position on the .45 ACP and 9mm. You’ll hear many individuals say that the .45 is better because it shoots a more accurate shot or that the 9mm is better as a direct result of its ability. Both are valid thoughts and truly justifiable motivations to lean towards one over the other. 

Regardless of whether you think size > limit or more shots is better,  you need to concede that having more incredible bullets and having more bullets on tap are both commendable contemplations while picking one weapon over the other.

Truly, neither one of the weapons enjoys an absolute upper hand over the other one, and your inclinations will play a great deal in figuring out which handgun is for you. 

So let us dive straight into the pit of comparison between 9mm and .45 ACP to understand their differences better:

  .45 ACP 9mm
Bullet diameter       


0..452″ (11.5 mm)



0.355″ (9.01 mm)



Neck diameter       


0.473″ (12.0 mm) 0.380″ (9.65 mm)



Base diameter


0.476″ (12.1 mm) 0.391″ (9.93 mm)


Case type   


Rimless, straight Rimless, tapered
Rim diameter 


0.480″ (12.2 mm) 0.392″ (9.96 mm)



Place of origin


United States German Empire
Case length


0.898″ (22.8 mm) 0.754″ (19.15 mm)


John Browning Georg Luger
Overall length 



1.275″ (32.4 mm) 1.169″ (29.69 mm)



Maximum pressure


21,000 psi (140 MPa) 235.00 MPa (34,084 psi)
Designed 1904 1901
Used by      


United States and others Militaries, police, and self defense.
Penetration 11.3-27” 8 – 40″ (13′)
Expansion 0..45-0.79” 0.36-0.72″
Variants .45 ACP +P, ..45 Auto Rim, .45 Super 9 mm NATO, 9×19mm Parabellum +P, 9×19mm 7N21 +P+, 9×19mm 7N31 +P+
Case capacity


25 gr H2O (1.625 cm³) 0.862 cm³ (13 gr H2O)
Cartridge Pistol / Revolver / Carbine / SMG / Derringer Pistol / Revolver / Carbine / SMG / Derringer; Cartridge
Magazine Capacity (as shipped from factory)


6-14 6 to 20
Recoil Heavy. Pushes the hands backwards and does not have much muzzle flip. Less recoil.


How exactly are .45ACP and 9mm different physically? Well, obviously, the .45 ACP is wider by almost around 27%, but it produces much lower pressure of about 40%, to be exact. Whereas we can see that .45’s case capacity is almost 50% greater, 9mm produces around 60% higher pressure. 

Overall lengths of both the handguns are similar, which is why many handguns and carbine chambers both have firearm lengths and sizes.

But how does all this translate into ballistic performance downrange? Can 9mm hit harder than .45? Or can .45 run faster than 9mm? Let’s take a look at the spread of cartridges from each penetration to find out. 


A 9mm averages between 8″ and 15.9″ penetration. Whereas .45 averages about 11.3″ -14.3″ penetration. 

A most alluring aspect regarding picking a 9mm for home safety is having more adjusts available to you. But unfortunately, this advantage might be counterbalanced in certain states because of magazine limitations. 

While marginally unfeasible, the .45 ACP additionally has the coolness factor on its side. Numerous handgun fans accept that greater is better and love all that the .45 ACP brings to the table. It’s a firearm that is assumed as a significant part of American history during the twentieth century. 

Now we can’t collect data for every load that 9mm and .45 come with. That would need a small book on its own. The Winchester FMJ has an entrance of 24.5,” and the Double Tap JFN+P trail safeguard has an infiltration of 40″. The Remington FMJ has a 27″ entrance. The cartridge extends to a normal of 0.75″ inches, yet the Remington FMJ grows to 0.45″. 

One of the essential inspirations driving why military staff and various LEOs changed to 9mm handguns was an immediate aftereffect of the more significant bullet invasion. 

Not at all like in a home protection circumstance, the capacity to shoot through a divider, car, or different articles in a battle situation can be the contrast between life and death. 

Magazine Capacity 

Due to the smaller size of the round, 9mm guns typically have a higher magazine capacity than a .45ACP. 

Thanks to all the modern handgun mags and the pistol-caliber mag, capacity does not play an important role in choosing 9mm over .45 ACP. While most 9mm handguns can hold up to 2 to 3 rounds, it would be more authentic to buy a longer magazine with a mold to fit a finger that produces from underneath the grip. 

The difference is nearly inconsequential if you’re getting to buy any 9mm or .45 rifle/carbine. 


A 9mm has less recoil than a .45. 

Another argument in .45 ACP vs. 9mm tends to come down to the recoil of the handguns. The .45 provides about double as much felt recoil. However, here we are talking about felt recoil, which includes raw force and energy. Many shooters have expressed that a .45 recoil, although stronger, gives a push; 9 mm provides the option of a “snap.” 

Maybe this might not sound very useful or important; this aspect can cause a major difference in your ability to shoot and, mostly, enjoy the handgun that you’ve invested in. It pays to test out both cartridges in both a steel-frame and polymer-frame handgun before ultimately making your decision. 


A 9mm fires bullets between the mean velocity of 990 and 1350 feet per second, while a .45 fires bullets with an average velocity between 835 and 1150 feet per second.

Averaging out 9mm’s heaps, we get a speed of around 1,230 FPS. If we normal out the pace of .45’s normal burdens, we get a speed of around 1,060 FPS. In general, 9mm will in general run around 16% quicker. 9mm’s average muzzle energy registers at 400 lb-ft. The standard energy of .45 ACP comes in at 465 lb-ft. 

Generally, .45 hits 16% harder, establishing an almost ideal tradeoff of speed and power between the cartridges. In any case, note that if you move back from average business ammunition and put resources into some reasonably planned cartridges for one or the other load, you’ll observe these two cartridges can undoubtedly out-shoot each other with regards to speed and energy.

.45 Can Still Outrun 9mm 

We looked at normal variations for the two types; however, that doesn’t mean these two rounds can exchange places. Take the 90-grain Performance Plus Platinum, accessible for .45 ACP, and you’ll hunt a muzzle speed of around 2,036 FPS.

9mm Can Hit Harder than .45 

What’s more, if you put resources into the 9mm’s 185-grain Seismic big shots, you can accomplish muzzle energy of more than 900 lb-ft with a handgun-length barrel. Chamber it in an AR9, and you’ll hammer some genuine energy downrange. 


There’s little rivalry here. The 9mm cartridge is essentially less expensive and all the more promptly accessible. Current costs for 9mm territory are around the $0.50-per-round mark while .45 ACP begins at around $0.70 to $0.75 per round. 

With boxes of 9mm Luger adjusts being 30% to 40% less expensive than .45 ACP ammunition, expanded reach time won’t break your financial plan. Also, all things considered, investing more energy in the reach makes you a superior marksman. 

So, for all handguns enthusiasts out there, both guns are affordable and reliable according to their needs. Overall, the cost might not be the sole factor to consider while choosing the best firearm for them. Other essential components play a much more critical role in this.

Available Platforms 

If you select the 9mm cartridge, you’ll get a more extensive choice of accessible guns, particularly in case you’re on the lookout for a reduced or subcompact handgun. The actual contrasts between these two cartridges might appear to be minor, yet the .45’s weight and size make it difficult for producers who wish to chamber it in little edges. 

The deep-rooted banter between the benefits of the Glock and 1911 can be settled: Both stages give these two cartridges as accessible chambers. The 9mm 1911 is an agreeable and extremely precise handgun, and the .45 is reliable and handles the additional backlash very well. 

Ultimately, if you love ARs and need a gun-type carbine, 9mm will be your most ideal decision. The .45 AR is a specialty, custom weapon that isn’t accessible, while the 9mm AR is grounded and is viable with generally 55.56/.223 AR-15 sections. 

Production History 

Georg Luger designed the 9mm cartridge in 1901. It was created around the beginning of 1902. This new type enhanced the past handgun ammo, which was enormous and weighty. Still today, the reduced cartridge has less backlash and is considered simple to take care of. It’s lightweight, exact, and due to its little size, handguns loaded in 9mm hold a greater number of cartridges than those in better quality essentially. 

When WWI started, the first submachine weapons were presented, and they were loaded with 9mm ammo – given its capacity to enter through field gear. Magazine took care of completely programmed carbines; a portion of these submachine weapons could shoot 900 rounds every moment. 

John Browning created the .45 in 1904. The United States and different militaries have utilized it since World War I. The .45 ACP cartridge has an exceptionally slight shape, some 0.003″ from case head edge to case mouth, so it tends to be viewed as a straight case for taking care of purposes. The cartridge had changed uniquely within the reception of non-destructive preliminaries and distinctive powder plans during the 1950s. It had been referred to as “Cartridge, Ball, M1911, Cal. .45” for its whole military life. 

Evolution And Usage

 The 9mm cartridge was created from Luger’s 7.65x21mm Parabellum. The bottleneck of that cartridge was eliminated, leaving a tightened, rimless cartridge. The German Navy took it on in 1904 and the German Army in 1906. It became more famous after World War I and has since turned into the most well-known type for U.S. law authorization organizations and military and law implementation offices throughout the planet. It is likewise famous for self-protection. 

The U.S. Rangers created the .45 in the last part of the 1890s and mid-twentieth century in a bid to make a shot that was more still up in the air than adversaries. It was planned to be a “genuine man-plug”. The United States Army took it on in 1911. 


Numerous shooters like to have the .45 ACP for home guards. It has the ideal in and out for a handgun to shoot nearby targets where force will not pose such an issue. 

On the other hand, the 9mm’s halting power and more modest plan make it ideal for open and hidden conveyance. 

Things being what they are, would anybody say that, overall, .45 is superior to 9mm or the other way round? On the off chance that you’re simply offering an overall expression without a gun stage or explicit use as a top priority, the appropriate response is no. 

Ultimately, both calibers are simply great to have. Some people may prefer the heavier feel of a .45 ACP, while others find the light-weight and slim nature of the 9mm easier to use. 

Regardless, the 9mm and the .45 ACP both gear up suddenly to kill any danger. Meaning, both the ammunition do the actual work that they are made for! Apart from this, 9mm and .45 ACP are popular because of their speed and reliability.

 The two cartridges are excessively comparable and can successfully mirror each other concerning power and speed. Regardless of whether you’re not kidding “normal” 9mm to the “normal” ..45, one is just 15% quicker, and one is simply 15% more vivacious. The two rounds’ JHPs grow indistinguishably, and both experience around a foot of drop at 100 yards, plus or minus a couple of inches, when discharged from a handgun. These are immaterial contrasts for the average shooter, particularly in a self-preservation circumstance. 

You can genuinely say one’s superior to the next with regards to explicit necessities. The 9mm can, when loaded in a rifle, shoot farther than .45. Also, .45 can be smothered with subsonic ballistic execution that is visibly better than 9mm at more limited distances. These cases are the main models wherein you can contend one cartridge is “better” than the other.

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