Picking the Perfect .45 Ammo

Finding the perfect ammunition

When you get that masterpiece of a gun – a .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) – the first thing you want to do is shoot. That’s natural, but it’s hard to do without the right ammunition. Experts have debated the perfect ammo ever since the weapon was introduced. It was designed by John Moses Browning in 1905. Hobbyists want to take the gun out on to the range or to a competition while others want to use it for self-defense or home protection. So, the question remains – what is the perfect .45 ammo? If you’re looking for one brand or type of ammo to use as an all purpose round, you’re going to be disappointed. Some ammo will work well enough for all applications but won’t be ideal: self-defense rounds require ultimate stopping power that is best found in a hollow point, while target practice can use a less aggressive, less expensive round.

Choosing the Type of Ammo

The first thing you should do is decide what the ammo will be used for and then pick the type of ammo that will work best. .45 ammo comes in two styles: Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) and Jacketed Hollow Points (JHP).

Full Metal Jackets

FMJ ammo has a soft lead core encased in a copper jacket. It offers good penetration, but since there is no expansion, it is best used as a target round. If the round is used in a self-defense situation, it could over-penetrate and cause collateral damage.

Jacketed Hollow Points

JHP is the number one choice for a self-defense round. It features a lead core encased in a copper jacket, but unlike the FMJ, it does have expansion. The core of the bullet will expand upon impact, creating a larger channel than the FMJ. However, the copper jackets will slow down the round so over penetration is unlikely.

Testing the Ammunition

Enthusiasts know that the best way to find the right ammo is to do your homework. You can run a search and find out what others are using, and then based on the results, choose what is most appealing to you.

The Process

Testers use the following to determine the ballistics of ammunition. The tests will give you a good idea of what to expect and how to run your own tests. The tests are performed with a compact pistol, which is ideal for concealed carry. A gun with a larger barrel will yield high numbers for muzzle velocity and penetration.

  • Fire 5 shots of each with each brand of ammo to achieve a good average.
  • Shots should be fired from 10 feet away, the average distance in most defense situations.
  • Place 4 layers of fabric in front of ballistics gel to simulate real life situations; the fabric mimics heavy clothing.
  • Ideal penetration for the ammo iss 12-18 inches; shows adequate stopping power without over-penetration.

Regardless of which ammunition brand or style you choose, there is no substitute for practice. Never wait until a situation calls for action to learn how your new ammunition will perform.