Tuesday, April 5, 2011

1911 vs Glock for Defense

I wanted to get your opinion on choosing gun and ammo combinations.  I recently switched my main pistol from a 1911 to a glock 19 for the extra capacity.  I have been loading it with Federal 147gr. HST, but recently came across some Winchester 127gr +p+ T series.  Do you think there is a clear advantage of either of the two?
Also, do you know of any reason not to load a variety of ammo in the same mag? For example first round 127gr. +P+ HP, second round 147gr. HST HP, third round 9mm Nato (+P ball), then repeating until full. Seems like a way to have all the advantages of each type of ammo at all times.

Hi Greg, I’m just finishing an article I’ll be posting later today about realistic firearms training and it sort of covers a couple topics you may be interested in.
Yes, I think you did well in going from 1911 to Glock. A good friend of mine, die hard 1911 finally gave up and is now packing a Glock 19 as well. The advantages are numerous even for people like my friend that don’t really “like” the Glock, but simply cant deny the advantages. You have twice as much capacity before needing to change magazines. Overall capacity in general if you carry the magazine in the gun plus a spare magazine is 31 vs 17. That’s for 8- round 1911 mags and +1 in the chamber and Glock 19 Mags, but you could have a spare Glock17 magazine instead that gives you +2 rounds.
In terms of stopping power with good ammo the difference isn’t that significant. Of course 45 ACP is better at stopping humans, but with good ammo such as Gold Dot 124gr +P, you’re still talking about good stopping power. 

Glocks are also plenty accurate and more reliable than 1911s. 1911s where designed around .45 Hardball and the design will always be kind of picky of the bullet’s shape.
The user’s manual is more straight forward with Glocks, since there’s no safety to even consider. Now I know how fast and second nature it gets when you’re used to the 1911. A lightly customized 1911 was my first and only gun for many years and disengaging the safety is something you do as you draw without even thinking. I know some people prefer the 1911 ergonomics, but at least for me (medium sized hands) the Glock fits better and during all day long shooting sessions the Glock just feels better too. You don’t need to “melt” a Glock like some fancy customized 1911, the sharp edges are already removed.
Then you have its mechanical simplicity, legendary toughness, and the plethora of cheap and quality made accessories, holsters, etc.

As I’ve said before, I think you really see all this when you start taking more classes or competing (not talking about race guns but standard) and seeing how your firearms choice (in spite of obvious differences between shooters) does against others. You see the guy next to you still has half a mag left while you’re struggling to slam another single stack mag into a narrow well (the Glock is more forgiving because of the wide well and double stack magazine) or you have more failures than the guy next to you, or your magazines are more delicate than the ones of the Glock, or not completely depressing the grip safety when shooting with your non dominant hand in a hurry. Even the thumb safety is just something else that could go wrong. The “oh, that will never happen to me” attitude isn’t very objective. Keep in mind that you have to expect most things that can go wrong to actually occur in a gunfight, the less variables and possible things to go wrong you have, the better, and that’s why the Glocks simplicity makes it the standard by which all other defensive guns are measured. 

About the ammo question, for 9mm I prefer light & fast, 124 gr +p such as the Gold Dot or 115gr. Corbon., something that will slap with enough energy and expand quickly, creating the largest temporal (not permanent) cavity possible.
Of the two you mention, go with the Winchester 127gr +p+ , heavier bullets in 9mm don’t tend to be as effective as faster, lighter ones.
Regarding loading different ammo into a magazine, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Maybe if you want to keep some FMJ in another mag. in your vehicle for added penetration, that’ would make more sense, but don’t mix ammo in a magazine. You have to load it up for your most likely threat: An attacker at close range that isn’t wearing body armor. For that you want quality JHP such as the Gold Dots or Corbon mentioned above, and you want each and every round in your carry gun to be as effective as possible.

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Don Williams said...

1) Ferfal reminds me of that preacher guy in Florida who's trying to ignite a Holy War by burning a Koran. :)

2) I agree with Ferfal that one shouldn't mix ammo in the same magazine -- stopping power depends a lot on where you hit, accuracy is still needed, and it seems to me that different bullet weights/recoil energies would hurt accuracy , although I have not actually done an experiment to see if so and by how much.

3) I think you need to prepare for your worse case --an opponent with body armor -- and that is where 9mm/357 Sig actually shine over the 45 ACP.

45 ACP can be stopped by Class I body armor whereas some 9mm FMJ can go through even Class II. Plus if you have to do difficult head shots, the lower recoil of the 9mm helps accuracy and you have 16 rapid shots vice only 8. I suspect that is one factor in why the US military went to 9mm from 45 ACP , although NATO standardization and having twice the number of ammo rounds per pound probably were also factors.

4) Note, however, that Some military units have gone back to 45 ACP. It seems that the guys they encounter in the Middle East generally are not wearing body armor and it appears that it takes around 5 shots from a 9mm to stop them vice 2 from a 45 ACP.

That matters when the bad guy is holding an AK47. Admittedly, This is 9mm FMJ vs 45 ACP FMJ. This is also anecdotal evidence and others have pointed out that stopping depends upon whether an organ (brain, heart etc.) is hit and not on the size of the bullet. The contrary argument is that you can only shoot to center of mass at a moving opponent, especially in low light conditions.

Hollowpoints improve the 9mm but
The military is barred from using hollowpoints because of the Geneva convention.

Note however that some hollowpoints may not open up if clogged with denim or leather.
Also, the FBI lost some men in a firefight decades ago because they were using hollowpoints that opened up too easily and hence did not penetrate (4 inches.).

As a 45 ACP fan, I would like to note that the 45 is still heavier than the Glock if you have to throw an empty pistol at an attacker. :)

Anonymous said...

How about best of both worlds - G21 or G30? Though really, I'm figuring the Best Gun is the loaded gun you have in your hand vs. BunderBarr Fantasy gun in the safe.

Rick said...

"You see the guy next to you still has half a mag left while you’re struggling to slam another single stack mag into a narrow well"

This is what ultimately led me to sell my 1911 and buy a glock! I went with the glock 17 tho. (extra 2 rounds and I was already used to carrying the size of the 1911). I wouldn't mind having the last round or three as FMJ instead of hollowpoint for the reasons listed by Don...

In any case, part of the deterrent is psychological by simply drawing the firearm at a would be attacker. The attacker isn't going to know if its a 9mm or .45 at the moment he sees it, and isn't likely to care.

DaShui said...

I think we will see more and more use of body armor by the most dangerous criminals.

Down south its already widespread.


Anyway from hunting experience I believe in mass. If a bear was charging you .45 or 9mm?

russell1200 said...

Well the other additional entrant would be the Glock 22 which a lot of police forces use. Since your magazine has 14 rounds your capacity is much closer to the Glock 19.

It really is an in-betweener. Not as much stopping power as the .45ACP but many more rounds, and more control. Of course you turn that around versus the 9mm.

If it has a flaw, it is that the .40S&W round can be just a little bit much on the light glock frame. But that is a different sprt of trade off question.

Anonymous said...

The old 1911 vs. the high-capacity 9mm argument again, huh, Ferfal? My solution to the problem is to have both, although I don't carry them at the same time. I think there are very good arguments on either side, mass vs. speed, knockdown vs. penetration, etc. However, it might just depend on where you go or what you intend to do.

If I'm here around my farm, I carry the 1911, or my .44 magnum. I live in black bear country, so it makes sense to have the heavier caliber. If I go into a city(the nearest one of any size is 200 km. away), I carry my Glock 19. I'm more likely to need the extra rounds there, and if body armor is an issue, the 9mm works a little better. As for a head shot, I don't even try those when hunting deer that are standing still with a scoped 30-06 rifle.

templar knight

Bones said...

There is no objective evidence whatsoever showing that "energy dump" or "large temporary cavity" increases stopping power. Opinion and anecdote will get someone killed.

In the 1886 Miami firefight, a "light and fast" 115 gr 9mm Winchester "silver tip" failed to penetrate sufficiently to stop a perpetrator, resulting in the deaths of several FBI agents. So much for "energy dump" and "large temporary cavities".

The FBI concluded that penetration was the primary desired characteristic, and that 12" of penetration was the minimum acceptable for a service round.

Penetration scales with the sectional density of the bullet, meaning heavy-for-the-caliber bullets penetrate better than lighter ones. Increased mass of a bullet more than compensates for the slight loss of velocity.

Practically speaking, for self defense, in 9mm that means using 124 grain or higher. 115 grain bullets penetrate unreliably.

The bottom line is that all pistols suck at stopping, regardless of caliber. They poke holes, that's all, and there's a lot of luck involved as to whether a vital organ/structure is hit.

Only a rifle bullet has sufficient velocity to make the temporary stretch cavity large enough that the surrounding soft tissue is damaged. As numerous battlefield examples attest, even that is not guaranteed to stop someone, particularly if they are hyped up on adrenalin or drugs.

There are people (who should know better) claim 147 grain bullets are bad, yet they have no objective evidence to support their claim. Beware of opinion, anecdote and perpetuated mythology.

FerFAL said...

Hi Bones, “energy dump” has been killing people (clubs, batons, baseball bats) since the beginging of time. Take a look at Falckner’s chart for 7.62: Permanent cavity similar to 9mm FMJ, yet no doubt much more effective. The difference? Its Temporary cavity will affect cariovascualr vessels, nerves and internal organ like a heavyweight boxer’s punch would. Take a look at 9mm and 45 ACP FMJ, why is one more effective than the other? Some will say its because you bleed out faster with the permanent cavity of the .45 . That’s bullshit. Bleeding has nothing to do with immediate incapacitation. Even a person getting its head cut of with a machete will take minutes before he bleeds unconscious. The greater immediate stopping power of 45 FMJ compared to 9mm FMJ is because it transfers its energy better to the body that’s do its greater frontal area, creating a larger temporally cavoity all along its trajectory after penetrating.
Its true that handgun calibers are weak and generally lack the needed energy, but then you have 357 mangum with a legendary stopping power track record which has been rightfully earned. What does that tell us? That you need at least 1400fps and 125 gr to get acceptable stopping power in a handgun. That’s why I like the 357 SIG which replicated those ballistics. There was a local incident here where a badguy got shot in the head with a 357 magnum, the pressure it built was so high it actually sent the eyeball out of its socket, leaving the brain like pulp.
The 1989 Miami shootout was just one incident. We get dead people and cops in similar (or worse) gunfights every week, and its usually 9mm FMJ that gets them killed, even a fair number of 32 Long kills, a pitiful caliber by internet warrior standards. When I ask cops they tell me they just keep shooting until they go down, when I ask cops that are good shooters they will blink an eye and say, “shot accurately center of mass and they go down”. Don’t get caught in all the interent drama, seems these days that you need a Ruger Alaskan to get a minimum stopping power in a handgun.

David said...

Put a Ghost Rocket connector on a Glock and the trigger improves, though not to 1911 standards.

A Glock with a Rocket connector is moved to a different competitive class in IDPA competitions because it has a trigger stop.

That's all you need to know to see that it has a definite and repeatable effect on your ability to shoot well with the pistol.

LUKE - New Wolrd Exposure said...

I guess Ferfal has never heard of a
Para-Ordnance P14-45??? or the fact if you really feel the need you can upgrade it to rounds like 45 super or 460. rowland???

I will admit that glocks are alot more affordable and that appeals to me but lets drop this glock fanboyism. I'm confused why Ferfal didn't just just compare a 10mm glock to 1911 45. At least those 2 play in the same league.

FerFAL said...

Hi Luke, Of course I know of Para Ordance 45 ACP. I owned one, sold it after trying it out and never looked back. And yes I know of the other wildcats available for 45 ACP, problem being that a)they are wildcats, meaning rare expensive and b)Its still the 1911 platform which as good as it is isn't as good as the Glock. You could go for a .45 wildcat or .400 or wahtever in a Glock 45 ACP, but problem a) still applies.

Got nothing against Glocks 10mm. I just prefer the 357 SIG because I shoot faster with it. Ammo is also more expensive with 10mm. But again, not a bad choice, actually Glock 10mm are excelent choices, its just that I shoot faster with 357 SIG. Then there's also the gun size issue. You probably dont know it but the GLock 10mm is a bigger frame than the full size Glock 31. The Glock 31 inj 357 SIG uses same sights, same holsters as the popular Glock 17. Not the same with the Glock 10mm becuase its a different frame.


Pitt said...

The reason to carry Glocks is more rounds on tap. I carry a Ruger SR9 myself but the concept is the same. Recently an associate of mine was killed in a home invasion attempt. Murder weapon? .22LR semi auto rifle. Shot him through the door. He took 2 to the chest. Bled out in his kitchen. Four men (boys really) ages 17 to 25 were arrested for the murder. 1911 equals 2rds each. Ruger SR9 equals 4.5rds each. I'll take the 9mm thank you very much.