Why So Much Of The 45 ACP Bashing Is Stupid

I follow a lot of firearm and firearm-related websites, as part of my job here at Bearing Arms. I’ll admit that I don’t read every post on every website. There’s just too many of them. However, I do occasionally comes across something that I just have to address.

For example, there’s this one over at The Loadout Room, which is a site I generally enjoy. It argues that .45 ACP is an outdated round.

I really love to stir things up in the shooting community (especially the internet portion of it) so I’m just going to say it, “.45 ACP is outdated.” That’s not to say it isn’t effective, or that it isn’t reliable; just that it’s outdated. The .45 ACP round was developed by John Browning in 1905 and was later adopted by the United States military because it was deemed more effective that the .38 Long Colt that was currently used by many service pistols. For many years it was deemed a superior pistol round to the majority of alternatives available. Because the military is an institution that has historically been slow to make drastic changes, the .45 ACP cartridge was kept in service for a long time before 9mm was adopted as the standard.

The .45 ACP cartridge is large and takes up considerably more space in a magazine than a 9mm round does. The largest of handguns are mostly limited to 13 rounds per magazine (15 in some FN models). When it comes to the 9mm, there are pistols capable of capacities upwards of 17 rounds. The relevance here is that the less ammunition you have in your gun, the more magazines you have to carry and the more often you have to reload; when you’re reloading, you’re not engaged in the fight. It has been long understood by any military worth its salt that volume of fire trumps accuracy every time when it comes to direct engagements. Rounds down range, keep the threat’s head/s down and prevents them from shooting at you; this allows you to maneuver (close with and destroy) or employ accurate fire and eliminate the threat. Having more bullets makes the whole process a whole lot easier.

Let me start by saying that I’m not a .45 guy. My preference has been for 9mm pretty much since I first got interested in firearms, and nothing has changed that.

However, I also feel the need to defend .45 ACP from time to time, such as right now.

Let’s start with the whole nonsense in the first paragraph about when the round was developed. While the information is accurate, it’s also irrelevant in many ways. Yes, John Browning developed it in 1905, but Georg Luger developed the 9x19mm Parabellum–what most people simply call 9mm–in 1902. In other words, the round being advocated for in the post is actually older than .45 ACP.

Second, while I agree that round capacity is better for the 9mm handgun, that doesn’t work for everyone. Round capacity is a big chunk of why I prefer 9mm, but there are people in this nation who are relegated to low capacity magazines due to legal reasons. I’ll be honest, if I could only carry 10 rounds at a time, I’d carry 10 of the biggest rounds I could safely manage.

And that kind of leads me to why posts like this annoy the hell out of me.

Through the years, I’ve been involved in more than enough caliber wars to understand how pointless they all are. If you want to make the case for one being superior to the other, someone else can make the case that you’re a complete and total idiot. The truth is that both have successfully defended not just this country, but many private citizens throughout the years. Both are battle-tested and street-tested. They both do the damn job.

I can’t help but roll my eyes every time I read a post about how this round or that round is “outdated” or pointless, mostly because there’s rarely any evidence that the round is actually bad. It usually boils down to “this is what I carry, so I need to tell you it’s superior.”

Seriously, folks, it’s not that big of a deal.