Brian Searcy weighs in on the Caliber Wars™

Which is better, 9mm, .40S&W, or .45ACP? Now I have long been a .45ACP man. Bigger is better, right? So while I was taking the TigerSwan Introductory Pistol class, I asked the lead instructor, President and Chief Operating Officer, Brian Searcy what he thought.
Brian has 16 years with the US Army’s Tier 1 counterterror unit, commonly called Delta Force. He’s been all around the world carrying basically whatever he’s wanted. I thought it would be crass to ask him how many people he’s shot, but it’s a fair bet that he’s had to shoot people. Given that he said during class, “I’ve never seen anyone shot in the pelvis that didn’t drop like a sack of potatoes,” and “I’ve seen people shot in the jaw, and in the top of the head get up and walk away, but I’ve never seen anyone shot in the eye orbits get back up,” he’s probably shot his share of people. Here’s what he said.
“Get a 9mm. Civilians are not limited by the Geneva Conventions and can carry hollowpoints. A 9mm hollowpoint is devastating. Plus 9mm is cheaper and you can practice more”
He said that “The Unit” has gone to carrying .40 S&W, but only because they can’t use expanding ammo in combat.
I guess that shoots my “bigger is better” theory right in the backside.
Did I mention that I got a chance to shoot his personal Glock 17? It’s the same one they sell at their pro-shop. First shot hit on a steel man size silhouette at 65-75 yards. I missed the other 6 shots, but I did hit it once.

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4 Responses to Brian Searcy weighs in on the Caliber Wars™

  1. I have ordered that slide release and the extended mag release for my G36 and I’m looking at sights. The mag and slide releases on that G17 sure did make operating it a lot easier.

  2. I certainly was a little better with 9mm than my usual .40SW. But honestly, I think the differences are too slight to matter.

  3. Yep honestly if you’re looking for an auto-pistol cartridge 9×19 is hands down the best if you select quality ammo to use for social calls.

    You get more ammo stuffed in a smaller, lighter gun, and the recoil and muzzle flip will be easier to deal with.

    That being said you can have a .45 and run JHP or LSWC through it and get the same performance and damn manageable recoil package. And the quality hollowpoints will do you that much better.

    What I don’t like is .40 S&W, as the difference between .45 and 9×19 is academic, but the recoil impulse and muzzle flip on that high-pressure cartridge makes it far more difficult to shoot than either gun on either side.

    my 2c

  4. The best caliber is the one with which the shooter is most proficient.

    I like the .45ACP because I shoot better with it than with a .40S&W or a 9mm. Which probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve had a lot more practice with it. Which definitely has to do with the fact that I prefer its recoil profile to those of the others.

    But only the very last of those considerations has anything to do with anything that can be objectively measured and applied to people who aren’t me.

    If you shoot better with a 9mm than with a .45, then you should carry a 9mm. Indeed, even if you shoot them with about equal skill, you should probably carry a 9mm, thanks to the greater ammo capacity in a gun of given size.

    But if you ever _need_ your gun, your life-or-death scenario is almost certainly not going to come down to what caliber it is, but rather whether you can consistently hit what you’re shooting at. Which is why the advice I always give is “find the caliber and the gun you’ll most enjoy practicing with, then practice with it, and then carry that…don’t let other people’s chest-thumping caliber wars make your decision for you”.