9MM vs .45 Auto and Concealed Carry

The 9MM, The .45 Auto and Concealed Carry:  The FBI Is No Help At All by Brian McCombie

When the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced it was returning to 9MM handguns, those who used 9MM’s for their every-day carry firearm acted like the 9MM versus .45 Auto controversy was settled. After all, the FBI–the country’s most respected federal policing agency–had not only selected the 9MM; it had issued a science-heavy explanation of why the 9MM was the best choice over the .45 Auto and the .40 S&W it had been using for a couple decades.

The FBI also stressed that 9MM self-defense rounds had come a long, long way over the last 30 years, and argued the 9MM was actually the equal of the .45 Auto and .40 S&W when it came to “immediate incapacitation.” The 9MM concealed carry crowd jumped on these statements, and proclaimed: the 9MM was the equal of, if not actually better than, the .45 Auto.

The problem with all that? It’s not actually true–not from an ammunition standpoint.

An examination of the FBI’s own report on selecting the 9MM makes it clear the FBI actually choose the 9MM for non-ammunition reasons, including the lower costs associated with running 9MM’s instead of the FBI’s .40 S&W’s–not some huge advantage the 9MM round would provide law enforcement.

The FBI’s report document for choosing the 9MM—widely shared across the Internet—notes that law enforcement officers, “miss between 70 – 80 percent of the shots fired during a shooting incident.” Even on the range, officers aren’t very good shots and handgun recoil—or the inability to adjust to it—was pegged as a big reason for the lack of accuracy.

So if most of your shots are misses, especially in an actual shoot-out, and if handgun recoil makes your shooters even less accurate? The solution, according to the FBI, is the “….9mm Luger [because it] offers higher magazine capacities, less recoil, lower cost (both in ammunition and wear on the weapons) and higher functional reliability rates (in FBI weapons).”

FBI agents had carried 9MM’s in the past. But during the infamous 1986 Miami Florida shoot out with a pair of heavily armed bank robbers, the 9MM’s used by FBI agents fared so poorly, the 9MM round was cited as partially to blame for two FBI agents dead and a third wounded. The FBI went in search of a more powerful round, eventually selecting the .40 S&W.

But how to get around the fact that the .45 Auto uses a larger, heavier bullet that (generally speaking) delivers a larger foot-pounds-of-energy wallop than its 9MM cousin?

The FBI did that by insisting there is no such thing as stopping power. Got that? Stopping power does not exist! According to the FBI document, “Handgun stopping power is simply a myth.”

Ah, the magic of making your own definitions to fit your own argument. The FBI defines “stopping power” as one-shot and an assailant is down and done. In the FBI’s terminology, real stopping power would be “immediate incapacitation,” which is only achieved through a hit to the brain or spine. So, the FBI notes, a hit from a 9MM, .40 S&W or a .45 Auto all have the same effect: bad guy down.

The FBI then indulges in some sleight of hand in discussing the “medical facts” relating to handgun wounds. According to the FBI document, “Due to the elastic nature of most human tissue and the low velocity of handgun projectiles relative to rifle projectiles, it has long been established by medical professionals…that the damage along a wound path visible at autopsy or during surgery cannot be distinguished between the common handgun calibers used in law enforcement.”

It continues, “That is to say an operating room surgeon or Medical Examiner cannot distinguish the difference between wounds caused by .35 to .45 caliber projectiles.”

However. The research cited by the FBI was from 1989 medical studies. These studies examined wounds made from the same relatively ineffective rounds used by the FBI and other agencies in the past.

Not by wounds caused by the more effective self-defense rounds available today.

Today’s 9MM self-defense rounds are better than full-metal jacket and hollow-point rounds used by law enforcement 30 and 40 years ago. But so, too, are their .45 Auto brethren.

Take a look at two current rounds on the market today, Federal’s HST Premium Personal Defense, and Winchester’s Defender line.

9MM Federal HST Premium

9MM Federal HST Premium

According to data supplied by Federal, the 9MM HST round with a 150 grain bullet, and fired from a Glock 43, showed an average diameter expansion to .607”, with 13.7” of penetration, when fired into bare 10% ordnance gelatin. When the gel was covered in heavy clothing, a .597” diameter and 13.25” penetration.

From a standard-sized 1911, the .45 Auto HST firing a 230 grain bullet averaged an expansion to .926” diameter and 12.85” penetration in bare gel, and .831” diameter and 13.35” penetration in heavy clothing.

.45 HST after ballistics testing (Comparison to 9MM)

.45 HST after ballistics testing (Comparison to 9MM)

The same general pattern exists the Winchester Defender loads (data supplied by Winchester): the 45 Auto 230 grain Defender penetrates 12.2” and expands to .84” in bare gel; the 9mm 147 grain Defender penetrates 15.8” and expands to .58”.

Of note: both ammo makers used the standard FBI Protocol for gel testing these rounds.

No one in their right mind wants to get drilled with any of the aforementioned rounds. But the laws of physics suggest very clearly that the heavier bullet, with larger expansion, has to do more damage than the lighter, less expanding bullet.

The FBI would have done a better service to both law enforcement officers and concealed carry holders had they admitted they chose the 9MM despite it offering less knock down than the .45 Auto and the many self-defense loads for it on the market today.

But, they didn’t.

Build your own 9MM or .40CAL polymer pistol here with AWC.

Dutch Army Ammunition Crisis


Photo: Royal Netherlands Army flag


In military training, accidents happen. So, if there was ever a good time for Dutch Army soldiers to get shot during training exercises…that time is now. In the short-term, there is safety in the long-term danger of the current Dutch Army ammunition crisis.

Here is the story plain and simple about the NATO member:

Het Nederlandse leger heeft geen munitie.”

That’s how the folks in the Netherlands would say in their native tongue, “The Dutch Army doesn’t have any ammo.”

An confidential email sent from a Defence Summit official to Army officers got leaked to the Dutch broadcaster RTL. Here are excerpts from it which tell how severe the Dutch Army ammunition crisis really is.

“You are informed of the problems with the ammunition Ministry of Defence in the broadest sense of the word. The problems were and are large…and there is a freeze agreed period. During that period, freeze all components have to surrender their ammunition…We are on the eve of the expiry of the freeze period, but that is not the problem ended. I will briefly outline some within the rest of 2015 but also well into 2016:

There is a shortage of all small caliber ammunition…

Competition shooting teams will not shoot until further notice…

Consequences and concerns over training of the staff should be indicated in the usual reports…

I cannot make it better, but there’s really no ammunition. This applies Defence Wide.”


You could say they just have the right to “bare” arms. Being banned from the ability to use bullets in their guns during training exercises, the Dutch Army ammunition crisis has soldiers faking the sounds of rifle fire, and getting frustrated doing it.

Jean Debie, chairman of the military union VBM, “Even if you have no bullets, you have to train with your weapon,” Jean Debie, chairman of the VBM (union for defence personnel) told RTL, “That means, as a soldier, you say ‘Bang, Bang!’ This is obviously disastrous for the morale of the military. You do not want to do this to a professional.”

The Defence Ministry released a statement admitting the Dutch Army ammunition crisis, saying there are “sometimes tight inventories” as part of the ongoing problem. “There is not always sufficient ammunition available for exercises and training. The Defence Ministry understands troops are not always happy with this. Once additional funding is available, the stockpiles will be replenished in 2015.”

A financial report by the European Leadership Network states 2015 will be first year in over a decade where the Dutch government will spend more on its defence budget rather than less.





Mark Farrell: San Fran to Videotape Guns & Ammo Sales


San Francisco is a safe haven for some people and causes. For example, illegal immigrants and gay rights. Clearly and unfortunately, you can’t include gun owners and Second Amendment Rights under the protective arms of the sanctuary city by the bay.

Supervisor Mark Farrell is the man pulling the trigger on this latest gun control measure. It is designed to create more strict local gun laws, and more difficult access to firearms and ammunition.

Today, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is meeting to move ahead on additional gun control. It plans to draft new legislation which will require the videotaping of all gun and ammunition sales within San Francisco city limits. The proposed new law would also require the videotapes be kept in long term storage for up to five years. All sales data would also have to be transmitted electronically to the San Francisco Police Department on at least a weekly basis.

Under the plan, the San Francisco Police Department would develop the forms and outline the required information to be transmitted on a regular basis. It would include the following items and likely more:

  • The date of the transaction.
  • The identification of the person making the purchase, including their name, address, driver’s license, and date of birth.
  • The signature of the person making the purchase.
  • The brand, type, gauge or caliber, and amount of ammunition being transferred.
  • The name of the agent or employee who handled the sales transaction.


The office of Mark Farrell reports it has multiple goals with this new gun control package. They include a stronger system for:

  • Protecting overall public safety.
  • Preventing and detecting the illegal trafficking of firearms and ammunition.
  • Preventing dealers from the loss and theft of firearms and ammunition.
  • Preventing and detecting any sales of guns or ammunition to persons prohibited by law from possessing these items.


Supervisor Mark Farrell said, “Easy access to guns and ammunition continue to contribute to senseless violent crime here in San Francisco and across the country. “Even though San Francisco has some of the toughest gun control laws on the books in the country – we should do everything in our power to give local law enforcement the additional tools they need to prevent crime and keep our neighborhoods safe.”

A formal introduction of Supervisor Farrell’s gun control legislation is expected to take place in September when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors returns from its summer recess.


B. Todd Jones: From ATF to NFL


We told ya. B. Todd Jones is leaving his post as ATF Director to work for the National Football League. According to a story in the New York Post today, Mr. Jones will be placed in charge of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. It’s definitely a pay upgrade for him, too. The report says Jones will receive a salary worth “several million a year.”

To put it into football terms, you could say Jones’ NFL (Not for Long) status with the ATF came directly on the spiked heels of the proposed M855 ammo ban which ran over him in true “Beast Mode.” Thousands and thousands of Second Amendment defending Americans stood up to the ATF. They came together. They showed themselves as tough to tackle on the issue as a nationwide army of Marshawn Lynch-like gunners who will fight for their Constitutional Rights.

Less than two weeks ago, Jones was forced to wipe green tip egg off his face. He publicly announced the ATF was going to temporarily shelve its proposed ban on M855 green tip ammunition.

The push back against the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional efforts to reclassify the ammo as “armor-piercing” was simply too much. A slew of complaints and vows to fight were fired in the direction of Jones and the ATF. They came from citizens. They came from members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. They came from Republicans. They came from Democrats.

Just last Friday, B. Todd Jones resigned as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATPE) effective March 31, 2015. The 57-year old U.S. Marine and former Assistant U.S. Attorney was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in the summer of 2013. He was handpicked for the job by President Barack Obama back in 2011.

What’s interesting about the N.Y. Post piece is the quotes the article contained. They were attributed to an unidentified source with insider knowledge of the situation. The source claimed the ATF job was really wearing on Jones. The source stated, “He was getting cranky. I think he was over it.”

The unidentified source in the article also told the Post the NFL had been wanting to draft Jones for a while. The deal with him recently heated up quickly. Jones’ new position will include “determining the length of suspensions and handing out fines” for violations against NFL policy.

A piece of advice to B. Todd Jones. The ATF didn’t get as much public backlash as it should have from the unjustified and fruitless raiding of the AWC business one year ago. Raiding the homes of NFL players, coaches, and executives? That probably won’t go so well for ya.