9mm vs .45 Caliber Pistol — Which is More Suitable for Self Defense

9mm vs .45 Caliber

“Which is do you think is better for self defense between a 9mm vs .45 caliber pistol?” This was a question that was recently sent to us via Best Self Defense Weapons Mailbag.

This question gets thrown a lot by gun enthusiasts and has been the subject of numerous debates. So, my opinion in this article does not necessarily aim to provide a definitive answer that would put a stop to the age-old debate surrounding this issue. However, I am just going to share my personal experiences and research to provide my own view on the matter.

Advantages of 9mm vs .45 Caliber in Self Defense

9mm Pistol

First, a 9mm pistol is capable of holding more rounds than the .45 caliber handgun. A standard 9mm pistol can carry a minimum of six up to twenty rounds in an extended magazine. On the other hand, the .45 caliber can only carry a minimum of six to fourteen rounds in an extended magazine. On an average magazine, the 9mm can hold ten plus one ammunition in the chamber while a .45 caliber pistol averagely holds seven plus one ammunition in the chamber.

The normal 9mm ammunition and handgun are also a lot cheaper than their .45 caliber counterparts. Then, since the standard 9mm round packs less gunpowder in its shell, it has less recoil when fired. Lastly, a fired round from a 9mm pistol has higher velocity than a round shot from a .45 handgun.

.45 Caliber Pistol

Going to the .45 caliber pistol, the key advantage that you could get from it is that it has a higher stopping power. However, the increased power also brings about more recoil. It should be noted though that the weight of most .45 caliber guns, actually absorb some of the recoil that the gun gives off.

In closer distances, the .45 caliber pistol can cause serious damage to the target. The effectiveness of its shot plus accuracy greatly decreases as the distance of the target is farther.


The 9mm and .45 caliber handgun each possesses its own benefits and downsides. So, it is really hard to pinpoint which type of gun is better on an overall perspective. Also, in the hands of a trained user, both guns can show equal amount of effectiveness and efficiency which would render the mentioned advantages or disadvantages less significant. For short, there are just too much factors that have to be weighed in aside from the technical standpoint.

But personally, for the sake of providing something for a beginner to consider, if you are into more shots or higher accuracy, better get the 9mm handgun. But if you are looking for a gun that would do more damage to a target within an average distance, stick with the .45 caliber pistol.

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