Courtesy of Tactical Life

The ability to adjust to unpredictable circumstances will always be more valuable than any piece of equipment. Most of the 9mm versus .45 debate exists in a vacuum, and ignores the real world application of the rounds. Yes, wounding characteristics are studied. Yes, carrying capacity and marksmanship mechanics are studied. But at the end of the day, if you’re issued a 9mm, it doesn’t matter if you want a .45, because you’re going to war with the pistol you’re given.

Civilian shooters can exercise more freedom and select whether they want to use a 9mm or .45 caliber pistol in personal defense. Consequently, increased latitude with firearms selection can lead to the gear trap, in which an individual constantly buys new equipment instead of learning to use the hardware he already owns. Customization if fine, but only after you’ve truly learned your abilities with your equipment, and not the other way around.

If you’re capable and competent with your hardware and are thinking about upgrading, should you? Pistol marksmen in favor of the .45 will argue that it will knock down a threat quicker. However, 9mm advocates will respond that shot placement determines lethality, not the size of the caliber. So how do we decide which platform to employ? Your mission should dictate preference.

In Iraq, some Special Forces teams would trade in their M4s for the 7.62 semi-automatic sniper systems (SASS) platform because it allowed them to kill threats quicker during close contact in a house. The logic was that four assaulters shooting a bad guy with 7.62 ended a fight quicker than shooting 5.56 ammunition. Although these soldiers swapped for a larger caliber primary weapon, they still retained a 9mm secondary. Why?

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