Letter Re: .45 ACP Stopping Power and the M1911

Mr. Rawles,
First, I must say that greatly appreciate your website and the expertise that you share. I am 21, and am trying to lead getting my family and close friends prepared logistically for whatever may be coming down in the future. Your information and suggestions are a time/money saver (and likely eventually a life saver.) “Patriots” is an invaluable resource, and more can always be gleaned every time it is read. Thank you!
I wanted to comment on the 45 ACP post from Dec. 20. I generally shy away from handgun discussions because handguns are a mediocre weapon, and the discussions are predictable. In my opinion, the Army Aviators story about the stopping power of a .45 is really inconsequential. If he really did hit the enemy with all 29 rounds, then he didn’t hit him COM. The 3 rounds of 45 ACP and the previous damage from the 9mm is what dropped him. He wasn’t dropped because the .45 is a “super death ray gun”, but is likely because of 3 aimed shots to a vital area. To say the 3 aimed .45 slugs is better than 29 aimed 9mm slugs is not accurate. To say that 3 aimed .45 slugs is better that 29 not-aimed shots would be more accurate. It’s just a thought, because I don’t want to criticize, and I admire his brave service in the army.
I appreciate and understand the fondness of the ‘Warhorse’ (I won’t say ‘old’ Warhorse. I have completed several KT Ordnance “80% Complete” Model 1911s with great success. (See: http://www.ktordnance.com/kto/index.php ) Although the process is very rewarding, I learned that my taste for expensive parts (Smith&Alexander; Ed Brown beavertails, sears, hammers, triggers; Kart barrels; Caspian slides…oh it goes on) can really add up. There can be a lot said for understanding a weapons mechanism and operation, and the 80% project is a good way to understand the basics. I was continually humbled by the vastness of experience needed to successfully do this as a profession.
For someone considering a 80% [KT Ordnance] ‘build’, I would say to set a budget and not exceed it. A good 3 inch group gun can be put together for $500-$600, and that is all that is really needed. A 1911 that shoots 1 inch or less is wonderful, but reliability is second to none! I now prefer the ‘abomination’ called the Glock. With a capacity of 13+1 .45 ACPs, it puts the odds back in the wielders favor. The price is usually half that of a comparable ‘value’ 1911.
‘A 9mm might expand but a 45 won’t shrink’. True, however there are good reasons for having a 9mm in a one’s cache. First, it is so common. Ammunition is cheap. There are loads available that have more foot-pounds energy than .45 ACP hardball (but comparing premium self defense loads to UMC ball isn’t exactly a fair comparison). The 9mm trumps the .38 Special snubby, especially if you look at the Glock 26. The G26 is 10+1(compared to 5 shots in a snub nose), accepts high caps., and the 9mm is more powerful than the 38. The 9mm may be more lady friendly, although the .45 is mild enough to shoot that really anyone should be able to feel comfortable with it(the .45 is much more mild than the 40 S&W which many female police officers must shoot, once a year typically). Capacity is some what important, although familiarity with tactical and emergency reloads is equally as important. I did some 1911 work for a ex-SWAT and nationally known 3-gun guy, and he now prefers a Glock 17 (9mm) because of it’s capacity and his accomplished skill with the sidearm he shoots 20,000 rounds a year with. It really shouldn’t be the first choice if there is a .45 or 10mm available, but it was also provide valuable ‘wampum’ to a post collapse situation (like in your novel with the trade of the Browning Hi-Power for the horse!) Once again, a hearty thanks for your website and book. Sincerely, – The Legend