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Choosing a .45 Pistol or Revolver

Sig Sauer P220 semi-automatic.

If you are looking for a good, solid handgun for home protection or to wear as a sidearm while hunting or trekking through the woods, a .45 is a good choice.  Whether you are trying to ward off a home invader or bring down an angry bear, you can rely on a .45 to keep you and your family safe.

Black Powder

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a .45 caliber weapon.  If you are into historical reenactment, the Colt .45 Peacemaker revolver, designed for black powder, is a good choice.  You can make your own blanks for battle and you can buy or make live rounds for competition or hunting.  In my experience, there’s nothing quite so satisfying, when it comes to shooting as the smell of powder after you pull the trigger – and there is something that is definitely exciting about being a good shot with a historically accurate weapon.  Black powder revolvers are often exempt from tough restrictions – more than likely because street thugs are simply too lazy to load them and maintain them properly.

This being said, if you choose a black powder revolver, you’ve got to clear it often.  You can keep it loaded for about two months if your environment is bone dry, but it’s best to discharge it every couple of weeks.  You also need to be fanatical about cleaning and maintaining it, if you want to keep it in good working order.  A gun like this does not come with a modern safety, and you can burn yourself if you’re not careful.  In addition, it packs a heavy recoil, so get in shape if you want to get the most out of this gun.

If you want a modern .45 pistol, you’re in good company.  Police officers and the armed forces rely on .45s to keep them safe, and any crook who’s greeted at the door with the working end of a gun like this will think twice about continuing.  Here are a few good .45 pistols to consider.

Smith & Wesson 325PD “Crimson Trace” Revolver

Considering the fact that Smith and Wesson has been manufacturing weapons since 1870, most Americans recognize the name and connect it with quality.  The 325PD revolver has been called a “pocket revolver” for good reason – its snub nose design makes it perfect for concealed carry, and it packs a powerful punch.  Even though S&W says it has low recoil, I beg to differ.  It has a powerful kick – maybe I felt it because I’m a smaller statured woman – but to me, it doesn’t feel like low recoil.

Compared with black powder revolvers, this fine little Smith & Wesson revolver is a high tech marvel.  The frame is lightweight, and the titanium cylinder is strong enough to handle good self-defense cartridges.  With a fiber optic light and crimson laser grip, it is accurate within about a 15-yard range.  Any further, and accuracy decreases greatly.  Keep in mind a snub nose revolver is specifically designed for close-range self defense – if you want a revolver that you can hunt with in a pinch, get one with a longer barrel.   You can get a new Smith & Wesson 325 PD for between $600-$700.

Sig Sauer P220

This semi-automatic pistol from Sig Sauer is modern and durable.  Made from lightweight aluminum alloy, the frame gives this fine Sig a light weight just over 25 ounces without her magazine.  Steel components are designed to last – they are phosphate finished or matte black oxide.   If you have a good strong grip, you’ll be able to manage this gun well, but if you’re a small person or an inexperienced shooter, you might have some trouble with accuracy at first.  The trigger is double action since the pistol is designed to be carried with the hammer down on top an already loaded chamber.  While you can manually cock the hammer and fire more easily, you can also use that two-stage trigger and keep both hands on your grips if you’re smaller.

If you are still new to shooting, don’t be intimidated by the .45 – she can be your best friend if things get ugly.  Take your gun out and practice regularly – and don’t forget to wear hearing protection when you do.  The more you practice, the better shot you will be.

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  1. As a gun nut w/ over 50years pistol shooting, I love the .45. Colts are a little pricey and I prefer Ruger. I’ve found novices & many ladies are intimidated by the .45 and feel you should shoot/carry what you are comfortable; usually a .22–not the stopping power but it’s easier to carry 50 rounds and less expensive.
    Home protection?? for the novice, a shotgun w/ regular bird shot is what I recommend.

    Thanks, enjoy the article.

    • I disagree on the shotgun with birdshot (at least I won’t put MY life on the line with it!). Go with #4 Buck at least.

    • Being a vet and a former gun smith. The .45ACP in a modern pistol semi auto is a great weapon.
      Whether you like sig sauer/Springfield XD/XDM/Glock/Taurus/. You really need to get a semiauto in one of these brands. We write with a lot of trepidation. Personally. we would rather skip a few meals and have a reliable weapon. Than to have a lower quality weapon. We have owned Glocks,XD’s,Taurus etc all good.
      In a pinch they will preform. But I personally want a weapon I could rebuild. The Glock is that weapon
      34 parts. You can get a armourers kit and rebuild it. So does colt 1911 . But Taurus and Springfield will not sell a amourers kit. Which is a very bad shame and shame on them.I can rebuild a lower M16A4 receiver and the upper with MILSPEC Parts. But I cannot rebuild a Taurus,Springfield,Sig Sauer. We can rebuild a FN FAL.
      But not these pistols mentioned above. In the future ahead you will need to be reliable on yourselves or your group. Having a gunsmith and a ham radio operator will be a life saver. 73’s KK6AS

  2. For a modern .45 at an affordable price, I think it’s hard to beat the Smith & Wesson M&P. They gave up a little bit of capacity (10 vs. 13 in others like Glock and Springfield XD), but in exchange they kept the grip smaller. With the adjustable backstrap, ladies may find it still acceptable. It’s available with a manual safety if desired, and by all accounts is high-quality and reliable. Made from stainless steel and polymer, maintenance shouldn’t be an issue.

  3. A policeman friend of mine recommends Taurus revolvers “the Judge” for home defense. It has a long cylinder and can fire a shot-filled cartridge. Your assailant will be stopped dead, but walls will not be penetrated by the shot.

    • Although I do not own one now, I agree with the Judge. A 410 gage magnum shotgun shell is devistating and with the judge’s 3″ barrell you don’t have to aim, just point and pull the trigger. As a retired security officer I am glad that I never had to face the judge. My personal preferred weapon is the 22 magnum. I will stop you at 3 feet, 30 feet, 300 feet or 3,000 feet with that gun. Line up six people in a row and the 22 magi will drop all six of them. When I was in weapons training we were taught to vfear the 22 magnum, because it can penitrate the armor vests and do harm. there is no other caliber and load that can do so.

      • Grayfeather, I believe you (regarding what you’re able to do with a 22 mag). A lot of people seem to forget that it’s not the caliber that’s the single most important thing but shot placement (accuracy). I shoot 357s, 45 ACPs, 12 ga shotguns, and a German-made 22 rifle. With the 22, I can hit the bulls-eye every time. I have a 100-round drum on my 22 rifle and if I had to choose only one weapon for self defense, it would be the 100-round 22 rifle (barrel is 18.5 inches).

  4. I didn’t see the government 1911 45 mentioned. Is there a problem? charlie

    • Well, for me there is, Charlie. The 1911s capacity is usually either 7 or 8 shots. Although you can carry extra mags to make up for the lower capacity of 1911, my personal preference is the Glock 21 45 ACP which holds 13 in the mag and one in the chamber. I also have several extra mags for the Glock 21 that holds 30 45 ACP rounds (by Magpul). My opinion is: shoot the 1911 for fun but use the Glock 21 for self defense.

      • I carried a military .45 Colt for many years. Let me tell you, if you know how to use it, you don’t need the extra shots. It is a true one shot, one kill weapon. Properly placed or not, the .45 projectile will inflict massive damage!

        • I disagree.
          A 45 is too slow and does not have the energy for a “One shot, one Kill” scenario with a ‘misplaced shot’!

          When shooting anything from pistol to shotgun and rifle, Shot Placement is always critical and even more critical for handguns, including 45 cal.
          A pistol should be anyones last line of defense and only used to buy time to get to a real gun like a Shotty, or a rifle !

          • Not sure how much you know about ballistics, but the fact that the .45 ACP cartridge is “slow”, is part of what makes it so devastating. You need a basic understanding of how a bullet kills, which is by causing such damage to the tissue and bone, that the nervous system is thrown into shock, and everything begins to shut down. A 9mm round, for example, is a very fast round, which leads it, many times, to pass completely thru it`s target, and not expending it`s energy inside the target. A .45 ACP cartridge hit`s it`s target, and the round typically expands inside the target, transferring it`s energy inside the target. Due to the size of the .45 bullet, this transfer of energy inside the target causes massive shock to the system, the shock causes a disruption in vital nervous system functions, leading to death. More importantly, this massive shock is much more likely to disrupt the targets ability to continue fighting than a round that hits and produces a thru-and-thru hit.

  5. David’s comment on the Taurus Judge is correct. Deadly at close range, recoil mild enough to handle occasionally, won’t do undue damage to your home. On the other hand, if you’re looking at a semi-automatic that’s small enough for almost anyone, take a look at the Glock Model 36. It’s a small .45 with single-stack magazines that hold 6 rounds. With one in the chamber and and extra magazine, that’s 13 rounds total, which ought to be enough for just about anything. It’s my daily carry, and with factory tritium night sights it cost $600 at a gun show from a licensed dealer.

  6. I like the FN 45ACP, great gun for the price. A lot of military and police use it because of the 15 round capacity.

  7. It is true that the 45 has adequate stopping power, but also tends to be a bit bulky for a carry gun. A CCW firearm should be matched to the individual. Large person = large Firearm. Small (older) person = smaller, more controllable firearm. Would you buy your 75 year old grandma a Colt 1911 ? Not really, you get her a Firearm she could handle. If the Firearm is uncontrollable it is no good. You only get one shot before it is taken away and used on you. Get grandma a Ruger revolver in 38 Special. A good brand 125 grain Hollow Point cartridge and lessons. It will do the job and she will be able to control it for the second & third shots, as required. Stay away from Semi-Autos, as if they jam you are SOL. K.I.S.S. is the rule to follow. Laser sights are optional. The key word is “PRACTICE”.

    • .45 ACP is not an ideal round for most shooters as they are not used to the heavy recoil associated with a large slow moving round.I like the ideas of either a 12ga. with birdshot or a .38 revolver especially one of the lightweight titanium models chambered especially for +P ammo for a lil kick.Or buy a .357 revolver because you can have the power of the .357 or shoot .38s thru it.

      • Birdshot should be used ONLY for birds — that’s why it’s called “birdshot” — for self defense (against another human being) it is best to use either buckshot or slugs or a combination of both. Although some shooters believe birdshot is effective to use for self defense, experts (like the FBI and ATF) recommend buckshot (and/or slugs).

  8. I like the SIg Sauer .45 shown. As a former NRA Police Firearms Instructor this firearm worked flawlessly for years. Using reloads or factory rounds they all cycled. That Sig Sauer got the nickname of ‘trash compactor’ for the way it handled different loads. As a wheel gun, a Smith & Wesson Model 65, 4 inch .357 Magnum was reliable and has the necessary stopping power for home protection. Fixed sights and sure fire…with practice using speed loaders it’s quite easy to put 12 rounds into a small group in 25 seconds. That would include; firing 6 rounds, reloading one cylinder and firing that 6 rounds.

  9. The .45 a fine firearm. Especially the Colt .45 commander. There are a couple issues which point in the direction of .9mm. One is that, if you are trecking throung the woods for a long day out in the boonies, the .45 is very heavy on your hip. Another is that the 9mm has very high capacity magazines (clips to those of you who don’t know much about guns) From 13 to 17 rounds is common. Muliple shots are as good as on heavy. Number three is that the 9mm ammo is easy to find. most Police and surely the military have a bunch of it in case you run out of rounds when the $#@% hits the fan. It would be no fun to have to break into a gun store. Even if you did, you’d find the shelves empty.

    Just a few thoughts.


  10. I like the .45 (1911). It holds only 7 shots but a slow round will definitely stop someone.
    I added a laser on mine and where that red dot goes — so goes the round.

  11. It really doesn’t matter to me which .45 I use (I have several)…the thing is to take a good firearm instruction course (I recently took one at FrontSight in Nevada and LOVED IT) and, as stated earlier PRACTICE. Pretty much anyone can learn how to handle the recoil. As for the weight? Carry it around all the time and soon the weight is not even noticeable. Make sure you know the gun laws of your state, though!

    For those who are new to shooting, go to a gun shop and handle a few. Or find a friend who may have more than one model to try out. Get what fits YOU, 75 year-old gramma or not, you may find a Kimber short-barrel 1911 fits you very nicely.

  12. THIS is THE worst “gun” article I have EVER SEEN!!!!!

    First, the original Peacemaker was not a blackpowder (as in cap & ball as this author intimates) pistol, it was a blackpowder CARTRIDGE pistol in the .45 COLT caliber. Meaning, it shot CENTERFIRE CARTRIDGES of the same type/dimension as the modern .45COLT cartridges, with the exception that they were loaded with lower-pressure BLACK-powder instead of the modern, much HIGHER pressured smokeless variety. A cap and ball pistol, even if it’s a revolver, is a TERRIBLE choice for self defense UNLESS (of course) it was the ONLY think you could get. Also, blackpowder cartridges are 110% OBSOLETE and MUCH lower-power than their modern smokeless brethren, so most of these pistols that will shoot BP cartrdiges ONLY, are religated to collections. IF you shoot smokeless powder in a “BP Only” gun of ANY type (pistol or rifle), you WILL have an EXPLODING FIREARM on your hands!

    Second, “hot” handloaded or specialty “hunting” loaded .45Colt cartridges, shot out of MODERN pistols which can take the pressures are what most would call a “minimum” for protection against “bear”. The “other .45” caliber cartrdge, which I don’t think this author is aware is diffferent, but she refers to being shot out of a Sig 220 (which is .45ACP caliber) will do almost NOTHING against a decent sized “bear” (unless you stick the barrel in it’s mouth and pull the trigger!) especially if it’s a bear that is big enough to consider a human as “food”. So, while .45ACP IS a VERY GOOD defensive round against “humans”, it is NOT meant to be used ANYWHERE besides the concrete jungle. You need to stop a dangerous bear? .44Magnum is your MINIMUM caliber for these purposes!

    Third, the 325PD has apparently been discontinued, but since this is a scandium/titanium frame pistol it has been a LONG time since they ran $600-$700!!! The current 325 series guns of this type from S&W have an MSRP of $1049! And, since this is a .45ACP caliber revolver, you will probably have the hassles of moon-clips to deal with because .45ACP (ACP=Auto Colt Pistol) is DESIGNED to be shot out of an auto-loading pistol like the Sig 220, or the good old M1911 Browning design. The M1911 is THE gun that made the modern “.45” FAMOUS! The reason the 325 kicks like a farm mule is because it probably only weighs 20-25oz due to its’ space-age frame materials. This gun is designed to not be a “heavy-load” when used for concealed carry, but it is NOT a good choice for a beginner-shooter due to its’ discomfort to shoot full-power defensive loads out of…

    About the ONLY thing this author got right for a good defensive firearm for “many” (not all) of the readers is the Sig 220 (and I bet she can’t even tell you WHY it’s a good choice or not!). But, there are other pistols AND calibers which would be a much better choice for a family with only enough money to buy “one” defensive handgun. Clue#1, the Taurus Judge is NOT IT! (Simple logic here: If the pellets won’t penetrate “the walls”, why do you think they will penetrate and STOP a 250-300lb bad-guy? THEY WON”T!!!).

    IF you are an inexperience shooter, stay with a revolver, and stay with a .357Magnum (4″ barrel size is handy). A .357Mag can shoot .38Specials for practice or for weaker-hand shooters and yet the full-power .357Mag rounds are VERY good for self defense, AND can even be used to take down deer-sized game at close ranges (under 40 yards)! Revolver are idiot proof in a high-stress situation, and if they are loaded they will fire! No safeties to fumble with, just point and pull the trigger! 6 rounds of .357Magnum is 6-dead badguys (if you can hit them?), no matter how BIG they are!
    IF, you are a more experienced shooter, or you are willing to train you and your family more with how your pistol operates, then there is nothing wrong with a semi-atuto 9mm, .40S&W, or .45ACP. IF the “S” really “HTF” then Richard G’s comment above DOES make a lot of sense! Soldiers (especially UN!) and police often field 9mm rounds, so 9mm would be a LOT easier to find in a long-duration event like economic collapse or in the wake of an EMP attack! Semi-autos DO require more training to become 100% proficient with however, so unless you are going to take the time, get a revolver as I describe above.

    Carmen, no offense here, but stick to writing articles about off-the-grid toilets, and if you DO write an article about a tool which will be used to defend somebody’s LIFE, then PLEASE take the time to do some research!!!!!

  13. Pat,
    Chill out! Cheeeze. Appreciate the infomation BUT don’t say ‘no offense’ and then take offense. Most understand the seriousness of proper home defense. Everything you offered was preference as was everyone else’ comments. So, get off your high horse. Know it all’s annoy me.

    • No. Pat was right on the money.

      A .45 is great, but the recoil can be intimidating for newer shooters and the ammo is nearly twice the cost of 9mm. They are also usually larger in size. 9mm is one of the cheaper defensive rounds going now – and it’s effective. You can still find it for about $10 a box. This means the average person can practice shooting twice as much or store twice as much as .45 ammo.

      My advice:
      – Get something you can afford to shoot and store ammo for. Full metal jackets are fine for practice, but you will need a good hollowpoint defensive round for carry ammunition.
      – Get something that fits your hand.
      – Get a decent holster and some training. A weekend class will do wonders for a beginner.
      – Get a concealed carry permit if your state allows it (most do now).
      – A .38 for beginners (be advised .357s can safely fire .38 rounds, but the guns are usually a bit larger and built heavier), or a 9mm automatic (I prefer glock for reliability and simplicity of design).
      – If you purchase an automatic, don’t forget to buy extra magazines!
      – Read your owner’s manual!!

    • Ok WMLROY,
      It seems my “know it all” status has been vindicated, as most who have commented about what I wrote seem to pretty much agree with me…
      BTW, I AM a paid and published writer for other firearm magazines, so I DO know a little bit about what I am talking about. I am also an experienced collector of firearms and a competition rifle shooter, including .50BMG caliber rifles which we shoot at targets which are 1000 yards away (that 2/3 of a MILE WM!). I have also been hired by firearm manufacturers in the past as a “paid shooter” to present and demonstrate new weapons to the military for the evaluation and procurement process…
      Like Gary commented, if I wasn’t in front of my home computer, which is where I keep track of all my firearms, I don’t know if I could give you an accurate count of all the firearms I own, pistols and rifles…
      No, I don’t claim to know EVERYTHING, even about firearms! But, I DO NOT write about things that I don’t have a clue about. If I did, my editors wouldn’t send it to print and my publishers wouldn’t pay me!

      • And, Pat, all that expertise is what usually leads an expert to act like an a-hole! There were a hundred ways to impart the useful info that you imparted. Ninety-nine of them were better than the method you chose!

    • Black powder info was better than opinion, though. Pat was offensive, but I DID read it all the way through. Good info, bad attitude.

  14. Thank you, Pat. I was flabergasted at all the erroneous information in this article. I’m glad you cleared it up. I might add that in addition to the .357 and .38 round, the .357 caliber will also take the 38+P round, so it makes it that much valuable if you happen to be scrounging ammo in the future. As for manufacturers, since there are so many novices and preppers without a lot of money reading these articles, rather than S&W, I would have thought the recommendation would be the lower cost, but still high-quality firearms such as Taurus. I echo Pat’s comments…..Carmen, please don’t write about firearms, again.

  15. You didn’t mention the famed 1911! This is the gun that America had in their military inventory well into the late 1980s (I was on a pistol team with this gun in 1986-1987) and then after being replaced by the M9 and it’s underpowered cartridge the 1911 is back in use with my friends in the Army Special Forces as well as other SOF units. This is without a doubt one of the greatest guns ever developed, and though it’s 100 years old this year its age doesn’t show. I carry one 7 days a week and have no question in my mind that it will function 100% of the time and it has a single action trigger, unlike the Sig, which has a double action trigger, as the late, great Jeff Cooper put it, “double action autos are the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

  16. I prefer my Desert Eagle Mk 1 – .44 magnum over any .45 or .45ACP. The best pistol I’ve ever owned. Stick with stock Desert Eagle parts & clips, full jacketed hollow points (Federal super hydra-shock 240 grain, or Winchester full silver cased 245 grain {I.e. black talon style jacketing}) and no other ammo subs, and no problems feeding or jamming, just clean, fast, hard hitting shooting.

  17. Have to concur with Pat about the ballistics of this article.
    I love the .45 ACP and will always own at least one. Right now all I have is my Officers stainless model with Pachmeier grips. (sp?) About the easiest .45 carry I have experienced.
    I bought my wife a Ruger SP101 .357 stainless ( I am a big proponent of stainless) with rubber grip. I must confess I often grab that for my pocket when walking the woods in back of our property. Small and convenient, with plenty of power with either Rem. 125 gr. jhp or even .38 spl +p Hydroshok.

  18. Pat is exactly correct. As someone that works in the firearms industry (just got back from SHOT show, thee industry trade show) and has called on literally hundreds of gun dealers in over a dozen states, an NRA firearms instructor, etc, etc, I have to agree that Carmen should not write about guns or self defense.

    My two cents to add to the other comments: There are tons of good self defense guns, revolvers are nearly fool proof, Rugers are probably the most economical with excellent quality. Smiths are more expensive but also good quality but Taurus guns have had quality control issues for years. They’re good guns if you get one manufactured on a ‘good day’ but they seem to have many, many bad days. By the way, ya can’t just point a Judge and insure that you’ll hit your target.

    Hard to beat a shotgun for home defense, and bird shot at likely, home defense ranges (5-20 feet) will do major damage. I love 1911s, have owned several but I have to call it like I see it. They are more complicated and the novice is potentially going to have trouble with the safety in a high stress situation. It has also been my experience at the range that they are much more prone to being finicky with ammo and prone to malfunction. An M&P, XD, or Glock is fairly foolproof, easy to learn and much less moving parts to give problems than the venerable design of John Moses Brownings 1911. (again, I like 1911s!)

    Ammo is hugely important. Get a quality self defense ammo (yeah it’s much more expensive but simply shoot some to make sure it functions well in your gun and then just load it for your self protection; just use the less expensive ammo for practice) Technology has made huge strides in self defense ammo and a 9mm, .40, or .45 are all adequate. The bigger the better (I’d prefer my 10mm Glock in a gun fight) but let’s face it, most of us do not practice as much as we ought to and a 9mm w/good self defense ammo is very effective and easier (and cheaper) to shoot for the novice. (or expert for that matter)

    Laser grips are extremely effective for the novice or even more advanced shooters. In a high stress situation, most shooters, even experienced shooters, are unable to look at their sights; the mind will force them to look at the threat. In a compromised firing position, impaired vision, shooting weak-handed, faster follow up shots etc, the dot will give you a reference point for your shot that nothing else can compare with.

    Final thoughts: Don’t shoot at a bear with a .45, you’ll make him mad. Four gun guys in a room typically have 5 opinions. When I interviewed for my job in the firearms industry, I was asked how many guns I owned. I honestly responded, “I’m not really sure.” That was the correct response and I would submit that unless you are not sure of how many firearms you own, you should not give advice on guns.

    • Gary, you are absolutely right – shooting a bear with a 45 ACP is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. The 45 ACP was designed to use against humans, not large animals (like a bear). The penetration of the 45 ACP is not enough to bring down a bear (like you said, “it will only make him mad”). The U.S. Fish & Wildlife folks and state game wardens, when in “bear” county, usually carry a 12 ga shotgun with slugs and/or bear pepper spray.

  19. I certainly disagree with using a black powder gun for defense. If that is all you have then it is better than nothing. I own one for hunting but as a defensive gun it lacks, you are limited to the number of shots, before you have to reload, which takes way too long compared to other options There is a huge billow of smoke that hides the target after firing, unless you are in a gail, so for home defense it could be useless after the first shot, unless you plan to hide in the smoke. You have to plan for worst conditions not perfect conditions and that is what you need with black powder.
    I am surprised that the “Judge” was not one of the choices, I load my Judge with a round of 410 #6 shot, 2 rounds of 410 #000 buckshot, and fill the remaining cylinders with 45 Colt. The first shot is to change their mind, the second two shots are to slow them down and the rest to finish them off. I have always thought a shotgun was the best home defense gun because you didn’t have to be dead acurate, but harder to manuver through a house, the Judge gives you the best of both worlds. I like mine over any other pistol I have.

  20. Ok, Pat. Yet, your sarcasm is rather ‘dripping’.

  21. I’ll have to say the testosterone-induced screeching on the comments section here is totally uncalled for. Maybe Pat is so busy being a “writer” that he didn’t take the time to “read” the title of the article – it’s about different .45 caliber weapons. Not .38s or .357s or any of those other numbers…. .45s

    And I’ve come to find out that opinions about weaponry are like posteriors – everyone has one. It doesn’t make any one more stupid or uninformed because their personal choice is something different than yours. And there’s not enough information in this article to make anyone go out and buy any of these suggested makes, but enough to give someone a direction to go in. I think we ought to be able to have a civilized debate about the merits of the different types of weapons without resorting to patriarchal snobbery. And yes, several of you did engage in it… your whole attitude is “Go home little girl… you’re not intelligent enough to play with the big boys.”

    While I agree that a .45 is not the right weapon for bears, let’s get real… the debate rages with people on both sides weighing in. It’s a major topic in many chat rooms. So don’t act like her opinion is stupid and out in left field. And no where did she “insinuate” about the type of ammo for the .45 black powder weapon. She said she liked shooting it and led the intro off with “if you like historical reenactment…” Perhaps Pat needs to quit “writing” and start “reading” to comprehend and quit allowing his own personal bias to color the content of the article.

    In addition, maybe Pat needs to do his own research as well…. I Googled the 325PD and in a matter of seconds found three websites selling a new one for around $650. When an average person like me can come up with that in a matter of seconds, Pat, it makes me wonder about the veracity of the rest of your claims.

    So could we get over our manly vapors around here and just give our opinion of the pros and cons of each weapon and make without the insults?

    • mississippigirl, well stated and you are right on the mark — I would say “bulls-eye” but that is no longer politically correct (just kidding about the PC!!!). I believe the article was written as an “opinion” and to stimulate thought and debate, not to be personally attacked (can I use the word “attacked” or is that a no-no???).

  22. Dear Ms. Carmen:

    I’m in love with my two 1911A1″s. I’ve fired and trained with them so much over the years that they’re more an extension of my arm than inanimate objects……’nuff said. Every sovereign inhabitant of this land should possess a firearm that fits and works well for them, and train with that weapon regularly.

    It is nice to see women involved in this forum…..oh BTW, I’ve personally witnessed two 250-300lb trapped black bears instantly put down with .22LR.

  23. the first line calls your gun credibility in to question. A pistol can be EITHER a semi-automatic
    (an automatic) or a revolver. A pistol is any one handed firearm.
    As to gun caliber, there are several factors to consider. Parts, ammo availability and weight , wear + tear
    and volum of report of shot of larger guns.
    Target reaquisition after first shot, should another be required immediately.
    To a proficient shooter, caliber isnt crucial.
    However a nonlethal wound w/ a .22 leaves a dangerous enemy. not so w/ a .45. If you know you put a
    .45 anywhere in the body, you can afford to direct your attention elsewhere.
    (So explain Cole Younger shot 11 times, and lived, during the “great northfeild raid” Cowboys
    traditionally had larger calibers)

  24. As with many calibers today they are many options for the .45 ACP. Personally, I have several 1911 style semi-autos. But, I carry a S.A. XD .45 ACP. Being a CA resident I am limited to a 10 round Magazine capacity. So, I carry two extra mags with me. Given my years of shooting and practice I can trust that 1 to 3 shots will be all I need depending on the threat(s).

    • Being a CA resident, I’m surprised they let you carry anything at any time! Have the wackadoodles in Sac-Town just not gotten around to exterminating your ‘evil’ 2nd Amd rights, yet? What’s up with that?

      • I live in Cali too.
        I guess I forgot to ask “them” for permission to carry? I saw my permission in the 2nd ammendment and figured it was good enough ! ; )

  25. I like my Glock 40cal..
    its still has the knock down power .and isnt too much of a wallop compared to the 45.

    The Glock is durable, lightweight, water weather resistant and low maintenance.
    i also have 38 revolver..
    Long arms ….i have a pumper action shotgun in 12ga..Remington and a semi auto .22 and 308 Saiga. based on the AK platform..all these 5 guns together was under 1500 dollars…over a period of 3 years..
    I dont need anything else…i have the guns i need for urban breakdown, hunting if i have too and home defence.

    thats my opinion…

  26. The cap and ball revolver is alot of fun to shoot, but for self defense, not the best choise. the early cap @ ball pistols were either 32 or 36 caliber to start with. the army eventually went to 44 caliber. I believe the navy used a 36. the biggest problem is re-loading. after # 6 goes BOOM. unless you have an extra cylinder…and a few minutes, your DEAD. If the cylinder is NOT greased properly, the whole thing will blow up in your hand. I believe this is called chamber fire. I have had this happen to me, and some other people who were new to black powder. this firearm would be a last resort. meaning no other choices.IF you get It wet[ moisture from rain or humidity], Gunfight over before it started. They are fun to go to the range with, i just wouldn’t stake my life on one.
    the XDM is my favorite auto handgun. the 9mm is 19 plus one, the 45 is 13 plus one. I also like the 1911. less rounds but I am certain it would do the job. one last thing about black powder. there is alot to learn about cap @ ball, precusion, and flint lock guns. learn about all of them and have fun. my 54 caliber longrifle can hit a pie size plate at 200 yards. on the bench of course. my long rifle is a 1750’s repro flintlock.

  27. I like my S & W Model 411 .40 Cal pistol for self defense. It holds 11 + 1 rounds of 180 grain ammo of your choice. It doesn’t kick quite as bad as a .45 and the grip is a bit slimmer for my wifes smaller hands. 12 gauge pump is my other weapon, definitely with buckshot (not birdshot). Looking down the barrel of that puppy will turn any bad guys knees instantly into jello. Not to mention what will happen when you pull the trigger. Just my .02 worth.

  28. Well alot of talk about the 1911 as agreat sidearm except for the lack of capacity….I love the 1911….so the obvious choice for me was Para Ordinance! I carry a P-12 everywhere I go, I dont hardly realize I have it on, inside the pants holster is very comfortable So if you like the 1911 but dont like the 7 rounds…..go Para!

  29. Many of the posters are missing the point of this article. We all already know, and I believe agree that any handgun is less than the ideal ultimate self-defense weapon, and a long gun is preferable. This article however, is merely to point out the merits of the .45 ACP as that handgun on the hip, when a handgun is all we can get.

    I`m a huge fan of the .45 ACP as a killing handgun. The .45 is a big piece of lead, traveling slow enough that the energy of the round is transferred to the target, causing massive damage to the nervous system. The only drawback of the .45 is that it`s so difficult to conceal when carrying out in public. But as far as devastating “knock-down” power, and the ability to end a fight with few hits, the .45 ACP is a dream caliber.

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