Two Letters Re: The 9mm Parabellum vs the .40 Smith and Wesson vs the .45 ACP, by B.F.


I enjoyed BF’s “The 9mm Parabellum vs the .40 Smith and Wesson vs the .45 ACP”. It brought back some great memories of my police days and the El Presidente drill we conducted at the end of our range sessions every year. I can attest to his results. When I came on the job in the 1980s, we were issued Ruger .357 Magnum handguns and carried .38 +P rounds. In the early 90s, we went to 9mm because “the criminals are outgunning us with their semi-autos”! In the early 2000s, we went to S&W .40 because “the 9mm doesn’t have enough stopping power!” Within the last year (I’m retired for a few years now), my old job went to .45. I don’t know why, but “everyone else is doing it” so it must be the thing to do! Me, I’m back to a 3” Ruger GP100 .357 with .38+P ammo. Old habits die hard, I guess. Anyway, regardless of what I was carrying that particular year, I consistently shot the same times with any of the three guns I used over the years. Our drill was slightly modified from the original, requiring two reloads and a total of at least 10 rounds, more if you had any misses, and we only scored by time. We loaded up with four rounds each in our gun and first mag, then six in the last mag. We shot a total of five steel targets from roughly six yards out: two hits on each of the targets to your right, reload, two on each of the targets on your left, reload and fire until you hit the center target one time. I never considered myself a great shot, but I have good hand/eye coordination for fast reloads, and my bad habit of slapping the trigger didn’t hurt me in those close distances so one other officer and I traded 1st and 2nd place in the department back and forth over ensuing years. On our best days, we were coming in just under 10 seconds with no misses and the two reloads, working out of Safariland Level III duty holsters and covered mag pouches. Ah, the good old days! – Spolight

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It’s not the kinetic energy of a bullet that drops an assailant, ever. It’s stopping the heart from pumping blood, stopping the brain from giving instructions, or causing so much pain that they quit. Shot placement does that, even with a 22LR. – G. Guy

HJL Adds: This is always a good reminder, but we should also remember that the margin of acceptable error with larger calibers is also larger. The trick is to find the balance where you are using the largest caliber that you can while reliably hitting exactly where you aim.