Why has law enforcement abandoned use of the .45 acp round?
It seems to me like most law enforcement agencies are switching from 45 acp to either 40 s&w or 357 sig. I don't understand why, when the 45 acp has a 100 year successful record.
- Some might say it is because guns chambered for smaller calibers hold more rounds, but that can't be accurate, because I own a Springfield XD-45 service pistol, and it holds 13+1 rounds.
- Also, some might say it is because the 45 is more expensive. However, wouldn't prices go down if more agencies used this round?
- HLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
Your statement is not entirely true. There are many die-hard, individual LE officers who cling to their .45 acps. LE agencies such as Texas DPS dropped the Sig 220 (.45 acp) in favor of the new .357 Sig because it is closer ballistically to the best stopper DPS ever used, the .357 Magnum.
Here's the scoop... The venerable .45 acp is a good manstopper because it uses early 20th. Century technology. Shoot a fat, heavy, slow-moving bullet to inflict the most trauma. Liken this to throwing a brick at your target rather than a pebble. But what if the 'pebble's velocity' could be increased considerably? Then you narrow the stopping power gap. Back when bullets fired out of handguns always failed to expand the .45 acp was the solution. The bullet is so fat that it doesn't have to expand to put daylight through your target. Such is no longer the case. Handgun bullets now move along fast enough to insure expansion, shock and trauma. The .45 acp is still a fat, heavy, slow-moving bullet and so it still stops. Truth is that a lot of other caliber bullets today are even better stoppers. You like the .45 acp? Why settle for a .45 acp when you can now have a .50 Gun Industries which is just as slow-moving but even fatter and heavier and available in 1911 style pistols from Gun Industries Manufacturing. You don't like slow-moving bullets because they perform poorly against barriers such as doors, sheetmetal and car glass (which is one reason many LE Agencies are currently dropping .45 acp as their caliber of choice)? Now you have the .357 Magnum and if you don't like revolvers you have the .357 Sig, the 10mm and the hyper velocity 9mms. All these are available in 15+1 ammo capacity and if that isn't enough ammo the newer 5.7mm is a 20+1 round capacity. There's also the old .38 Super which was considered a superior stopper to the .45 acp by old pistoleros. Some early Texas Rangers even stated that the .38 Super would defeat early soft body armor whereas the .45 acp would not! And the Super loaded one more round than the venerable .45 acp, to boot!
Handguns and handgun ammo have come a long way since the .45 acp ruled. The .45 acp is still a good manstopper but so are the older .45 (Long) Colt, .44-40, .44 Special and .38-40. Do you see a pattern emerging? In a pinch I wouldn't feel underarmed with any of these old calibers but in today's day and age make my primary sidearm for uniform carry the Glock Model 20 in 10mm. This one has the same power at a 100 yards that the .45 acp has at the muzzle. It is a 15+1 round capacity, has night sights and is a pistol of modern design that is ultra reliable, user-friend, double-action everytime and even more rugged than the old 1911. If I must carry a revolver then it will be a quality .357 Magnum loaded with 125 grain, semi-jacketed hollow-point ammo which from years of actual observed shootings proves to be the best man-stopper yet. The .45 acp is in second place and why settle for second place?
- Doc HudsonLv 71 decade ago
Like all consumers, Police Departments are subject to the attractions of the latest and greatest.
First it was the 9 mmP singing it's siren-song of high capacity, lower recoil, less penetration, and more modern design that lured cops from their reliable and accurate .357 Magnums.
After the 9 failed so often and so spectacularly, many departments went to the .45 ACP, and cops who are not gun cranks had trouble keeping up their qualification.
In the late 1980's, the FBI adopted the 10mm Auto and a new S&W pistol to replace their Model 19's and M-65's. Even faster, the FBI ditched the 10mm Auto and it's pistol because many smaller statured agents could not handle the recoil and there were reliability problems with the pistol as well.
Even before the FBI ditched the 10mm, S&W developed a reduced pressure load and started selling it as the .40 S&W. Ballisticaly speaking, it is a near twin to the 1870's vintage .38-40 WCF.
Now, since the .40 S&W has been found to be be less effective than the .357 Magnum, a new cartridge, the .357 SIG, has been introduced to imitate the performance of the .357 Magnum 125 gr. JHP.
IMO, the police departments have fallen for hype and been sold a bill of goods. They are vainly striving to find a small-bore cartridge that will perform as well as a .357 Magnum revolver or a .45 ACP.
Hopefully, good sense will eventually prevail and these two grand old warhorses will return to the center-stage of American Law Enforcement.
- LisaLv 44 years ago
That stuff about the ,357 SIG is puredee bull droppings!!! The .357 SIG is nothing more than a pale imitation of the .357 Magnum (and only in one bullet weight at that) designed to operate reliably in semi-autos. No lead or jacketd lead handgun bullet will give through and through penetration of a normal engine block, and damned few AP rifle bullets will do that. Even if you used an aluminum block from an old Chevy Vega, it would probably still not give through and through penetration. Granted, the ,357 SIG has a better chance of penetrating soft armor than a .45 ACP, but it won't penetrate Class 3 Soft-Armor. Believe me, if the .357 SIG could penetrate body armor like a laser, the Yankee government would have restricted it to "Police and Military use only." Don't believe everything the gunshop commandos tell you, and don't believe all the hype you read about new calibers. Doc As for the armor piering capability of the .45 ACP, I don't think it has enough velocity even if loaded with the famed KTW Teflon-coated Tungsten bulets.
- AndyLv 71 decade ago
Law Enforcement hasn't abandoned the .45 ACP. But many never accepted it to begin with. The great wounder nine crazy of the 1980's left many police with a handgun that held 15 rounds of 9mm, but was only marginally better than the .38 special they left behind. Many administrators look down on the .45 as too much gun and complain small statured officers can't grip a .45 ACP chambered handgun. Yet a double column 9mm is better?
I know LAPD SWAT and SIS both use Kimber .45 ACPs. FBI HRT use .45 ACPs. Indiana Conservation Officers use Sig P220 in .45 ACP. Boone County Sheriff's Department in Indiana issues 1911A1 to it's officers as well as to their reserve officers in .45 ACP.
I'll add that when departments switched from 9mm to .40S&W many saw a lack of accuracy with the .40 S&W.
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- GlacierwolfLv 71 decade ago
You are mis-informed, and, about 20 years late to make this statement.
When the US left the 45acp and adopted the 9mm NATO allot of police departments went the same route as both cost savings and in the hope more people would be familiar with it. Nearly all departments that went 9mm, 40 S&W and even 10mm have had issues with them.
The US Coast Guard along with other military and police nation wide began to move back to the 45acp about 6 years ago - but - not with a 1911 style pistol. This trend was not un-noticed by Gun Manufacturer's who have brought out many new and innovative 45acp pistols - Springfield Armory XD in 45acp is a prime example.
Back in 1968 when Canada moved from the 45acp to 9mm you could find Canadian ball 45 ammo in about every gun shop for $.86 a box. Took years for the stuff to finally go away. When the US went to 9mm the US military did not sell or surplus the 45acp stockpiles. With billions of rounds in inventory - most of the smaller branches of the military have made the transition back to 45acp.
Hope this helps
- 1 decade ago
The powers that be in administration are always trying to 'up grade' or economize or just follow the pack in regards to issued weapons. Some upgrades involved 'safety issues' like prevention of unauthorized use or 'idiot proofing' weapons. Some departments wanted to issue on the cheap only to discover the 'bargain guns' were money holes. Some department heads thought they could provide a more 'user friendly' pistol.
When all is said and done most will return to the Browning system .45 or the .38 wheel gun, many dollars shorter on their budget now, but they will be back. It's like a cycle...
- C_MillionaireLv 51 decade ago
recoil is often lighter which makes accuracy and carrying easier, you can carry more rounds in the same size weapon, or a smaller weapon with the same number of rounds, the .45 acp has trouble penetrating body armor. the xd can carry up to 14 rounds, but some pistols for smaller rounds can carry 17 or 18 rounds. the dimensions of pistols chambered around smaller cartridges make them easier for people with small hands to wield, and easier to conceal. and if everyone wanted to buy the 45 acp, then demand would shoot up with supply unable to keep pace, thus price would go up dramatically, at least manufacturers could change tooling.
these are just reasons why the 45 acp isn't more popular, i think it still has lots of uses, is an effective round against people without armor, and is probably the best subsonic round widely available. however, i don't think it's as versatile as some of the newer rounds
- John de WittLv 71 decade ago
They may not admit it, but I think it's because there's really nothing wrong with the 40 Smith, and it means carrying a few ounces less weight all day, often in a slimmer pistol than the equivalent 45 ACP model. Comfort really does matter, after all, especially when you consider that most policemen will never fire their weapon at a bad guy.