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.

New Hampshire Concealed Carry Vetoed


Citizens of New Hampshire fought another long fight for concealed carry rights. The state legislature voted in favor of SB 116, the bipartisan Constitutional carry bill. However, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hasson has just shown her pen is mightier than gun rights. She has vetoed New Hampshire Concealed Carry from becoming law.

Governor Hassan explained why she vetoed Senate Bill 116, repealing the license requirement for carrying a concealed revolver or pistol. She said it  would undo the state’s current “common sense” gun laws.

“The current New Hampshire concealed carry permitting law has worked well for nearly a century – safeguarding the Second Amendment rights of our citizens while helping to keep the Granite State one of the safest states in the nation,” said Hassan. “Our concealed weapons permitting system gives an important oversight role to local law enforcement, while allowing for appeals through appropriate channels.”

The existing New Hampshire state law gives any legal firearm owner the right to carry a gun openly. However, for concealed carry, the person must secure a license locally from law enforcement or town officials.

Any man or woman applying for a New Hampshire Concealed Carry license have to wait for up to 14 days for a decision. Thus, delaying law-abiding citizens their Constitutional Right to bear Arms to defend themselves in the state known for the slogan, “Live Free or Die.” Denials must be appealed in court.

Second Amendment supporting organizations such as the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, Women’s Defense League and New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, all worked to roll back the state law covering who and who cannot carry concealed guns. They say the existing law has racist origins and allows for personal bias. For example, there is a vague consideration in the New Hampshire Concealed Carry application process which gives police the power to determine whether or not the person is “suitable” to be granted a license.


Publicly Governor Hassan’s announcement said, “I support the Second Amendment and I believe Americans have a right to responsibly own guns for personal safety, hunting, and recreation.” However, an email trying to raise money from her supporters this week said, “This week I vetoed a radical right-wing bill that would allow anyone to carry a hidden gun without a license. The gun lobby is furious.”

There will be an attempt to override the veto. But that is unlikely. Meantime, AWC Inc. offers unregistered, unserialized, 100% legal firearm solutions.

Poll: Americans Open Up on Open Carry & More


Are you down with the Barack Obama Countdown? It shows there are 594 days until a new president assumes the Oval Office. Your Second Amendment supporting friends at AWC just happened to know. : )

A newly released poll could provide thought-provoking ammo for the growing list of 2016 U.S. Presidential candidates. It shows how Americans today stand on issues such as rifles, handguns, open carry, and concealed carry of firearms. These are among the issues targeted by both the Second Amendment supporting candidates, and the gun control crowd (Hillary Clinton).


Full disclosure: AWC will keep an emailed copy of this document just in case it gets deleted from the Clinton’s private server.    

Back to the poll. It was conducted May 20-22, 2015 by the international market research firm, YouGov. The data is based on a total of 1,000 U.S. adults who pulled the trigger on participating.

Based on the story we just shared about Jim Cooley of Georgia recently choosing an open carry of his AR-15 at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, we begin with the topic which had a lower approval rating than all other questions:

  • 20% overall of Americans polled say they would be comfortable if someone carried a semi-automatic rifle in public. Among Republicans it was 35%. Independents – 19%. Only 8% of Democrats agree.

It gets better.

  • 36% overall would be comfortable with a person carrying a hunting rifle in public. 47% among Republicans. 37% of independent voters. 20% of Democrats agree.

It gets better.

  • 37% percent overall say they prefer open carry of firearms in public. 36% of Republicans. 37% among independents. 38% of Democrats agree.

It gets better.

40% overall say they prefer concealed carry for firearms in public. Opinions were split at 50% among Republicans. 38% of independents agree, as do 36% of Democratic voters.

NOTE: This poll did not include a question regarding Constitutional Carry of firearms. But we’ll still play along.

It gets better.

41% overall of those polled believe people should be allowed to carry firearms in public. It was 67% of Republicans. 43% of independents agree. 21% of Democrats agree.

It is what it is on this one.

45% overall say people should not be permitted to carry firearms in public.  23% of Republicans agree. 42% of independents agree. 66% of Democrats polled agree.

It gets better.

48% overall say they can trust the “average American” with a firearm. 69% of Republicans agree. Independent voters were split at 49%. Nearly 1 of 3 Democrats agree – 32%.

Now it is as good as it gets. Here at this point we can honestly say, “Most Americans…”

52% overall of the 1,000 American adults polled by YouGov say they would be comfortable if they saw someone with a handgun in a holster in public. 72% of the Republicans polled agree. More than half of the independent voters polled agree – 54%. And more than 1 of 3 Democratic voters polled agree – 35%.





Man Shoots Self in Groin in Concealed Carry Class

man-shoots-self-in-groinSo what did you do over Memorial Day weekend? It’s a question which will be asked all across America for the next few hours. However, one Pennsylvania man is surely hoping no one will ask him. He’d like to keep private the story about his gun, and his privates.

Too late. It’s a memorable example of the importance of gun safety.

Bethlehem, PA Police say the incident took place shortly after 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. A 36-year old man from the nearby borough of Emmaus, Pennsylvania was at the Bethlehem Police Department shooting range. It is part of the Steel City Gun Club in Lower Saucon Township.

He was there for good reason. You guessed it. The man was taking a concealed carry gun safety class.


The established one-day concealed carry class was being taught by a private company, Sights and Trigger, S & T Firearms Training and Consulting. It was designed for instructing police and civilians with proper training for a concealed weapon permit. In Pennsylvania, they call it a License to Carry Firearms (PLCF).

Bethlehem Police Chief Mark Diluzio explains what happened. “While returning his gun to its holster, the weapon apparently got caught on some fabric from his shirt and it accidentally discharged,” he said. “It is not a criminal matter. It was an accident.”

Emergency radio reports immediately following the accidental shooting claimed the bullet hit the man in his groin area and also grazed his thigh. Bethlehem Paramedics said the man suffered some blood loss but that he was in stable condition from his injuries believed to be non-threatening. He was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital.


The man’s name and identity are being concealed by Bethlehem Police. If you were in the unfortunate position of accidentally shooting yourself in the groin during a concealed carry class, you could easily consider anonymity a moral victory.

No word on whether the man will be taking the class again once his groin and pride have time to heal. It seems like he’d be “nuts” not to learn more about gun safety.