These are the Deadliest .45 and 9mm Caliber Guns on Planet Earth

These are the Deadliest .45 and 9mm Caliber Guns on Planet Earth

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By Kyle Mizokami, The National Interest

(This post is a combination of two seperate pieces from last hear combined for your reading pleasure.)

5 Best .45s on the Planet:

The .45 Automatic Colt Pistol round, or .45 ACP as it is commonly known, is fairly controversial. Invented in 1905 by prolific firearms designer John Moses Browning, the .45 ACP was the standard caliber of the Colt M1911 pistol, and remains so to this day. A heavy, subsonic bullet, a typical .45 ACP weighs twice as much as the 9mm Luger round and delivers a third more energy.

Today, advances in bullet technology means a 9mm round can deliver as much energy as the .45 ACP. Despite this, the .45 ACP is far from dead, as it has also benefited from increased performance. Today there are more choices of .45 ACP pistols than ever before, as almost all gun manufacturers offer their most modern semi automatic handguns in the big caliber. Here are five of the best .45 ACP pistols today.

Wilson Combat Tactical Carry

Wilson Combat was started in 1977 by founder Bill Wilson, a watchmaker by training. For those that know the platform, that’s an appropriate background for a company building custom 1911 handguns. The 1911’s early twentieth-century pedigree involves the precise fitment of many small interlocking parts to produce a reliable, accurate pistol.

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The Tactical Carry pistol is one of the very best of a crowded field of 1911 pistols and represents the pinnacle of the design. Like all full-size “Government” model 1911s, the Tactical Carry has an overall length of 8.7 inches, a five-inch barrel, and weighs 45.2 ounces fully loaded. It also has classic 1911 attributes such as a checkered front strap, beavertail safety and a reduced profile grip safety. The Tactical Carry also has a 3.5 to 4.5 pound trigger pull, fiber optic sights for shooting in low light conditions and a one-inch accuracy guarantee at ranges of twenty-five yards.

Ed Brown Executive Carry

One of the few 1911 variants that garnered acceptance from the user community is the “Commander” type pistol. Named after the Colt Commander, a handgun designed for wear by officers, Commanders feature a shorter, 4.25 inch barrel, a reduction of three quarters of an inch over a standard, full size (also known as Government) model. The Commander variant became popular with with those that wanted a 1911 pistol that was lighter and easier to carry concealed.

The Executive Carry is an excellent example of the Commander type. Like all 1911s it features a single stack .45 ACP magazine of up to eight rounds, the same as a Government model. The pistol features a bobtail frame and smoothed edges to reduce the changes of the pistol catching on clothing. The Executive Carry also features a matte stainless steel finish and fiber optic sights.

Glock 21

The Glock 21 is about as far from the 1911 as one can get in the field of handguns. An Austrian pistol with a polymer frame and modern internal design, the Glock 21 is simply a scaled up version of the original Glock 17 handgun introduced in 1982. Glocks were—and still are—derided as “Tupperware guns” wherein the use of plastics was in some way a fatal design flaw.

In reality, the Glock 21 is actually one of the best, and most affordable, .45 ACP pistols on the market. The Glock 21 carries thirteen rounds in a double stack magazine that is wider than the 1911—but is not uncomfortable to hold. The use of a polymer frame means that despite carrying up to five more rounds than a typical 1911, the Glock 21 fully loaded weighs nearly half a pound less. The Glock is easier to disassemble and clean than the 1911.

Heckler & Koch HK45

The HK45’s development can be traced to the original Heckler & Koch USP pistol. Developed in the 1990s as an entry in Special Operations Command’s Offensive Handgun Weapon System Program, the USP was adopted by U.S. commandos as the Mark 23 pistol. The HK45 is an evolutionary step forward from the USP, chambered in .45 ACP.

The HK45 is 8.03 inches long, has a barrel length of 4.46 inches, and weighs just under two pounds with an unloaded magazine. The pistol features a cold hammer forged, polygonal bore barrel for longevity and accuracy, fully ambidextrous controls, and Picatinny rail for the attachment of aiming lights and lasers. It has a single action/double action operating system and a decocking lever. A major innovation built into the HK45 is a spring operated recoil reduction system, which Heckler & Koch claims reduces recoil by up to 30 percent.

Springfield Armory XD45 Mod 2 Service Model

Originally designed and imported from Croatia as the HS Produkt HS2000, the Springfield XD45 is available in 9mm, .40 Smith & Wesson and .45 ACP calibers. The XD is a striker fired, double-action only handgun with a polymer frame and metal slide. It has an overall length of 7.3 inches with a four inch, hammer forged steel barrel. Like the 1911 series pistols it has a grip safety to prevent accidental discharge.

The XD45’s double stack, two-row magazine holds thirteen rounds. At just 1.2 inches, the grip is extremely slender for a double stack handgun and features aggressive texturing. Takedown is a simple matter of clearing the handgun, removing the magazine, flipping a side lever, and sliding the slide to the rear. The XD has a reputation for reliability and durability, and is one of the most affordable option on this list.

Kyle Mizokami is a writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and The Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

The 5 Best 9mms On The Planet:

The 9mm Luger, invented before the Great War, is one of the longest serving gun calibers in history. Introduced in 1901, it has served in virtually every conflict since then up until today. From World War I’s German army to the British army fighting ISIS in Syria, the Luger round has served militaries for over a century. Despite its age, the 9mm is more dangerous than ever before, due to innovations in ammunition lethality that squeeze greater performance out of the bullet.

Adequately powerful and compact, the 9mm Luger round received newfound popularity in the 1980s when the so-called “Wonder Nine” pistols upended the dominance of revolvers and large caliber handguns on the U.S. market. It is the standard handgun caliber for NATO members, with many armies on their second or third generation 9mm pistol, and was recently re-adopted by the U.S. Army for its new issue M17 Modular Handgun System. The 9mm Luger round will be around for many more years. Here are five of the best guns the round is used in.

Glock G19

The Glock 19 was one of the first Glock variants produced. Released in 1988, it was basically the same handgun albeit with a shorter barrel and grip. This reduced the magazine capacity from seventeen rounds to fifteen, but also produced a pistol that was easier to conceal. Today, it is generally acknowledged among handgun enthusiasts as the best Glock model for all-around use. The Glock 19 has been adopted by the U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Army Rangers and a modified version competed for the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System competition.

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The Glock 19 has an overall length of 7.36 inches and a barrel length of 4.01 inches. It is a double-action pistol, meaning that after a round is chambered the pistol only requires pulling the trigger to set the firing pin and fire. Subsequent shots will also only require a single trigger pull. This eliminates the need to cock the hammer prior to firing but does introduce a slightly longer trigger pull. The basic Glock design incorporates three safeties, including a firing pin and drop safety, as well as a trigger safety. It does not have an external manual safety mechanism.

Sig P226

The Sig P226 was originally developed from Sig Sauer’s P210 pistol as a replacement for the long-serving .45 ACP 1911A1 handgun. The resulting pistol failed to win the contract, which went to the Beretta M9 instead. Although the U.S. Navy also picked up the Beretta, early problems with metal quality resulted in cracked slides among pistols with high round counts. SEALs, who experienced defect-related accidents, turned to the Sig P226 instead, calling it the Mark 11. Adoption by U.S. police forces further raised the P226’s profile.

The P226 is an all metal handgun with a metal frame. It has a fifteen-round magazine, an overall length of 7.72 inches, and a barrel length of 4.11 inches. Loaded, the gun has a weight of 2.28 pounds. Like the Glock 19 the P226 is also a double action pistol, although it also has a single action mode allowing the pistol to be manually cocked. It also features a decocking lever to lower the hammer without pulling the trigger.

Heckler & Koch VP9

One of the newest 9mm Luger handguns is the Heckler & Koch VP9. Introduced in 2014, the VP9 is like the rest of the handguns on this list a high capacity, twin-stack handgun with a steel slide and polymer frame. The VP9 carries up to fifteen rounds—as many as a Glock 19. This German-designed pistol has dimensions similar to the G19 and P226 and uses a cold hammer forged barrel for increased accuracy and barrel life.

Unlike older pistols that utilize a hammer, the VP9 is a striker-fired pistol. Striker-fired pistols use a spring-loaded firing pin that is partially cocked by pulling back and releasing the slide. Pulling the trigger completes the cocking action and releases the firing pin. As a result, striker fired pistols are immune to any accidental discharge that does not involve pulling the trigger—such as dropping the handgun on a hard surface.

A new feature—increasingly common in handguns—of the VP9 is the ability to tailor the pistol’s grip to a wide variety of hand sizes. Each pistol comes complete with a number of removable backstraps and grip panels to reduce or enlarge grip width, with a total of twenty-seven different size configurations available for small to large hands.

Smith & Wesson M&P

The Smith & Wesson M&P (Military and Police) was first introduced in 2005 and as a hybrid of two previous guns, the Sigma and the SW99. Like the rest of the guns on this list, it has polymer frame and steel slide, a large internal magazine (seventeen rounds) and a striker-fired operating system. The M&P has aggressive good looks, with serrations on the slide to promote a better grip, and a built-in Picatinny rail under the barrel for mounting lights and laser pointers.

Smith & Wesson claims that the M&P’s low bore axis reduces muzzle rise and allows the shooter to get back on target faster. In many respects it is similar to the Glock 17—including magazine size—but one reviewer has pointed out that it is slightly larger and heavier. The M&P also features a loaded-chamber indicator which tilts upward when a round is in the chamber, ambidextrous controls and four interchangeable palm swell inserts of different sizes to accommodate different hand types.

Springfield XD

Originally developed in Croatia as the HS2000, the Springfield XD (“Extreme Duty”) handgun has enjoyed considerable success in the United States. The XD externally resembles a Glock, from nearby Austria, though is somewhat blockier in appearance. The standard service model features a four-inch barrel—par for the course on this list—and a double-stack magazine that holds up to sixteen rounds of 9mm Luger ammunition.

The Springfield XD combines a number of older and newer features from other guns on this list to create a fairly unique and impressive package. The XD has a grip safety like the one on the Colt 1911A1 handgun, that prevents the gun from being discharged unless gripped properly. It also features a trigger safety, like the Glock, a drop safety that prevents the striker from being released, and a loaded chamber indicator like the Smith & Wesson M&P. A flip of a lever allows the pistol to be quickly field stripped for cleaning.

Kyle Mizokami is a writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and The Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

Image: Creative Commons. 

This piece was originally published by The National Interest

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