M9 9mm vs. 1911 .45


15-Year Member
Retired Moderator
Jun 9, 2006
I spent this past week in west Texas at our deer lease hunting. I didn't get any deer unfortunately, but my younger bro got his first buck, an 8 point. Pretty nice.

Anyway, one evening we were varmint hunting. Specifically fox. After an hour of calling and nothing showing up, we heard some of the wild pigs feasting on the gut pile we dumped from a previously killed deer. We waited some more to see if they would come out of the trees to where we could see them. No such luck, but we could still hear them.

As we were walking back to camp, I told my dad I was gonna go down the trail to see if I could find them. I took the spotlight and slung my .30-06 across my shoulder and drew my M9 which I always carry around out there (several mountain lions have been seen in the area).

Amazingly, I don't scare the pigs off with the light and catch one eating by suprise. I shot twice from about 15 yards. The boar then charged me, but veered to my left about two yards in front of me. I fired 8 more times and still the boar charged off into the woods. We found it about 20 yards away. It had actually circled around back to the trail. It had about 6 holes in it, and amazingly the first shot I took hit it right between the eyes, and BOUNCED off it's skull.

I've always told myself that I would carry a .45 into combat, but this experience really set that in stone. I'm confident that had I been armed with a .45, the boar would have dropped after the first two shots. The lack of stopping power in 9mm is disgusting. The only argument I've heard FOR the M9 was it's 15 rnd capacity. But why spend 3 shots on one target when one .45 will do the trick?

Zap, I expect you'll have an opinion on this...and any other old salts who were around before the switch to the M9 took place.
Here in California, where the wild boars have access to acorns, the meat is absolutely delicious. How are they to eat in Texas?
Oh yeah; and in the absence of very compelling evidence advising otherwise, I'd be strongly inclined to buy my son a .45 for when he's sent into combat.
One of my former co-workers took a round of .45 ACP in the soft part of his left cheek (not the cheek with the tongue inside) from a negligent discharge while serving in the Air Force. This was, of course, many years ago. Obviously, he lived to tell the story. I think he is the only guy I know who survived being being shot with a .45 ACP.

The argument can be ended easily. Do a 'Roast o' Truth' test. Get a nice big bloody beef roast from the supermarket and shoot it from no more than five feet away with a .45 ACP. Then shoot it in another spot with your 9MM. Take a tape measure when you do the test. You'll never again have a question about which one to pack.
Handguns and combat are oxymoronic. If you are in combat and holding a handgun you are screwed and caliber probably doesn't mean a whole lot. I would take quantity over quality and also the mass of the M9 is heavy enough that when I am out of bullets and throw it at him, it will do as much damage as the .45. All in all, I would opt for a few more magazines of 5.56 in lieu of either.

However, if we are discussing what to keep under the front seat of the pickup, that is an entirely different story.

However again, me personally, I can qualify "expert" all day with the 9mm and barely hit the target with a .45. I am a 6'4", 240lb weenie (and not the only one by the way). I carry a 9mm.
Last edited:
USNA69 makes a very good point about accuracy over firepower, however, if you're close enough to be using a sidearm chances are you can't miss. Give me the big hole puncher.
Weight is to me the overriding issue. Used to laugh in Vietnam when the new guys showed up. First patrol would be backups to backups, a huge pack with head and arms sticking out. Much of it was left in the jungle. It all adds up. And honestly, the thought of carrying a handgun never crossed my mind.
I think carrying a sidearm makes more sense now that clearing rooms is a part of the equation. When I lived in southern Arizona I used to carry a Sig Saur 223; I think it weighed less than 16 ounces. Unfortunately it carried 9 mm shorts; I'd have kept it if it carried 9 mm longs.
I have been doing mental "what ifs" about this very thing. I think full automatic is something I would never give up willingly, no matter what the situation. However, with that said, in Vietnam, our point guys carried 12ga. 7 round Winchester Model 12 pump shotguns with OO buckshot. In WWI they were called trench sweepers. If they didn't take so long to reload, I think that might be my primary house-to-house weapon. Wonder what the troops are really using? Maybe someone in the know will step in.

To me, for the military, the handgun is a survival weapon. We carried them in our survival gear, 9mms. Again, weight and size was an issue. I would rather carry a smaller handgun inside my SVA than have had to strap on a .45 where it would have been in the way, just something else to snag on the helicopter while I was attempting an egress. Getting out, especially for Navy guys, where the odds are that it is in the water, is paramount. Everything else is gravy.

Anyway, an interesting conversation.
Last edited:
I am not military and have never been in combat, but since you're talking calibers and firepower, I will chime in. We own 40 acres for deer hunting in northern Wisconsin. The area is thick with black bear and wolves. (we have 11 different black bears on the trail camera just this year) One bear in particular is a huge sow with triplet cubs. Needless to say, whenever we are out working on the land, we carry sidearms. I carry a Ruger Blackhawk in .45LC, and son has a .44 mag. I would never even consider the 9mm as being adequate for protection in this instance. Like has been said before, if you were in the situation where it was necessary to use the weapon, I would choose quality of the firepower over quantity. Just my two cents.
Something to keep in mind if we ever go to war with the bears of Wisconsin and the "Geneva" convention limits us to handguns.
:yllol: :yllol: :yllol: :yllol: :yllol: :yllol:

I can't believe it! A 9mm vs. .45 ACP thread! CLASSIC! :yllol: :yllol:

A handgun in a combat zone has one and only one purpose: to help you fight your way to your rifle. With that in mind, I would want both capacity and caliber. With today's new weapons such as the hi-capacity Springfield XD's (12+1 in 40 S&W or 9+1 in .45 ACP), you can get the best of both worlds in a compact package.

The fact remains that the only real advantage 9mm has is in magazine capacity. If I had to choose, I'd most likely pack a high-capacity .40 S&W.

In fact, I do. An H&K USP40C is my CCW weapon. :wink:

ETA: I just remembered that the XD comes in a 13+1 .45 ACP version. Game over.
Last edited:
Saturday night. Two NC bachelors. Is this the best you can do? Scenario. You are in your hootch in Falluja. Getting ready to go kick some doors down. But first you have to convoy through 3 miles of streets. You walk over to the gun rack. What do you pick up? Think long and hard. You will be evaluated on this. I did get my 8 point NC buck this year.
PS: This is not 9mm vs .45. This is combat. This is WINNING and coming home to brag about it.
I would pack an XD in 45. Depending on whether we'd be doing house-to-house combat or out in a more open area, I'd pack an M4 Carbine or an M14 in .308, respectively.

USNA69 said:
OBTW, WTF, why are you fighting your way back to your weapon?

Because you can't always guarantee your primary weapon will be locked and loaded in the patrol position.
Zaphod said:
Because you can't always guarantee your primary weapon will be locked and loaded in the patrol position.
I always did. And I could think of 100 things I would rather carry than a back-up handgun. I trusted my M=16/Stoner/M4.
M14 is a killer combination for longer ranges. Relatively light, hi-cap mags, super accurate, long-range, and a great round. For closer-in work, however, nothing beats the M4 (nothing I can think of, at any rate).

Handguns have their place. They are great for last-ditch defense and provide that utility in a small and easily-carried package. Hard to beat, if you accept the inherent restrictions.

Another sweet little alternative is a good 12-gauge shotgun. My preferences are the Remington 870 and the Benelli M2 Tactical. If I could carry the primary weapon, a handgun, and a shotgun, I would.

What would be your preference for a backup?