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Opinions wanted on best self-defense cartridge for 1911 .45ACP

I just bought a Rock Island Armory 1911A1 MS .45ACP for use as an EDC, and also for fun at the range. I bought a box of American Eagle 230 grain FMJ , but I'm wanting opinions on what others think is thee best round for self-defense in this gun and caliber?
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Replies

  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,445 Senior Member
    Best I can tell you is to try out several kinds and see what the gun likes.  My Shield .45 likes handloads with a Sierra 185gr HP.  It doesnt seem to like any factory offerings.  
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,262 Senior Member
    I'll pretty much always steer you toward heavy for caliber bullets - 147 grain for 9mm, 230 grain for .45, etc..., as those will have more momentum to reliably carry them to effective penetration depths.  Some light-for-caliber hollowpoints have a history of "pancaking" on impact, stopping shallow, and not disrupting the vital functions as needed to stop a threat.

    After that, any of the current-production, top-shelf duty loads by any of the big U.S. manufacturers will have been designed to perform within expansion and penetration parameters laid down by the FBI starting in the early 1990's.  As such, so long as it functions reliably in your particular gun and mags (mags are important), there isn't usually a great deal to choose between them.

    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,495 Senior Member
    Basically what Bigslug said.  I'm not sure there's that much difference between major manufacturer's in on-target performance.  Reliable function in your gun is more important. 
    Overkill is underrated.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,096 Senior Member
    I'm a fan of Federal 230gr HST
    I'm not connected with Lucky Gunner, but besides selling it, they also have ballistics gel tests of it, so you can see how it performed in their test
    https://www.luckygunner.com/45-acp-230-gr-jhp-hst-federal-law-enforcement-p45hst2s-20-rounds

    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,096 Senior Member
    edited April 2019 #6
    This place has the 50rnd "Law enforcement" boxes, both the regular and +P loads, and at a cheaper, per round, price than Lucky Gunner

    non +P
    http://ammunitionstore.com/products/45-acp-ammo-230gr-hst-jhp-federal-premium-p45hst2-50-round-box.html

    +P
    http://ammunitionstore.com/products/45-acp-ammo-230gr-p-hst-jhp-federal-premium-p45hst1-50-round-box.html

    Both are $29.99/50rnd ($0.60/rnd) vs LG's $17.00/20rnd ($0.85/rnd)

    For the record, my light weight Commander is stoked with the +P version

    I've never ordered from them though
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    I mostly use my Colt as a truck or trail gun. I load it up with 230gr fmj. My bedside gun has 230gr hps in it.

    Ive read that there's a big preference for lighter bullets for HD like the 185gr hps for their quick expansion on impact and maybe less penetration.

    After many years of use, I really have no idea what's best???? I hope to never actually find out. For sure I'm not loading up with anything I haven't tested for functional reliability and accuracy.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,928 Senior Member
    230 grain Hornady TAPS...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • ShannonHayesShannonHayes Posts: 211 Member
    knitepoet said:
    I'm a fan of Federal 230gr HST
    I'm not connected with Lucky Gunner, but besides selling it, they also have ballistics gel tests of it, so you can see how it performed in their test
    https://www.luckygunner.com/45-acp-230-gr-jhp-hst-federal-law-enforcement-p45hst2s-20-rounds

    Thanks for the link, Knitepoet
  • ShannonHayesShannonHayes Posts: 211 Member
    knitepoet said:
    This place has the 50rnd "Law enforcement" boxes, both the regular and +P loads, and at a cheaper, per round, price than Lucky Gunner

    non +P
    http://ammunitionstore.com/products/45-acp-ammo-230gr-hst-jhp-federal-premium-p45hst2-50-round-box.html

    +P
    http://ammunitionstore.com/products/45-acp-ammo-230gr-p-hst-jhp-federal-premium-p45hst1-50-round-box.html

    Both are $29.99/50rnd ($0.60/rnd) vs LG's $17.00/20rnd ($0.85/rnd)

    For the record, my light weight Commander is stoked with the +P version

    I've never ordered from them though
    Thanks for these links alsoalso, Knitepoet
  • ShannonHayesShannonHayes Posts: 211 Member
    I mostly use my Colt as a truck or trail gun. I load it up with 230gr fmj. My bedside gun has 230gr hps in it.

    Ive read that there's a big preference for lighter bullets for HD like the 185gr hps for their quick expansion on impact and maybe less penetration.

    After many years of use, I really have no idea what's best???? I hope to never actually find out. For sure I'm not loading up with anything I haven't tested for functional reliability and accuracy.
    I agree with you on the matter of not loading up with anything that I haven't tested for functional reliability and accuracy. I'm just trying to get an idea of what I should get ahold of to try in my gun at the range before I decide, without buying some of everything under the sun, lol😎
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,928 Senior Member
    One thing to keep in mind is to make sure your practice/training ammo performs similarly to your SD ammo...carrying light for caliber ammo and practicing with heavy for caliber ammo is a non- starter...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,445 Senior Member
    Jayhawker said:
    One thing to keep in mind is to make sure your practice/training ammo performs similarly to your SD ammo...carrying light for caliber ammo and practicing with heavy for caliber ammo is a non- starter...
    Completely agree with this statement.   In the case of my shield .45, I only practice with the same loads it is carried with.  Other carry options use practice ammunition of the same approximate velocity and bullet weight even if is not the same bullet. 
  • ShannonHayesShannonHayes Posts: 211 Member
    Jayhawker said:
    One thing to keep in mind is to make sure your practice/training ammo performs similarly to your SD ammo...carrying light for caliber ammo and practicing with heavy for caliber ammo is a non- starter...
    Jayhawker, thanks for the advice, I've been doing that my whole life. I've always practiced with what I was gonna be using in my gun when not practicing. I'm forty-one years old, and Daddy was teaching me gun safety and how to shoot literally before kindergarten. I've owned rifles and shotguns all my life, and although I've used handguns in the part while at the range, etc. , this is my first actual handgun of my own. I appreciate everyone's willingness to help by sharing their experiences and opinions!
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,096 Senior Member
    You're welcome
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 3,969 Senior Member
    ...
    I'm wanting opinions on what others think is thee best round for self-defense in this gun and caliber?
    Not to sound snarky but defense against what? People, bear, zombies... ?
    It's like asking what's the best Special Force. I would be inclined to ask, "To do what?"

    I'm guessing BG's and to that end I like something in the 200 grain range. Gold Dot, TAP or custom. Either one seems to perform well.



    I like the middle weight if you're going to use a shorter than five inch barrel. I want to be sure the bullets expand reliably. For an even shorter barrel, like those in compacts, I'll go even lighter.

    Is yours a 4.25 barrel? Just wondering. Other than that, I'm like everyone else. I use whatever realiably works in my own gun.

    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • ShannonHayesShannonHayes Posts: 211 Member
    Spk said:
    ...
    I'm wanting opinions on what others think is thee best round for self-defense in this gun and caliber?
    Not to sound snarky but defense against what? People, bear, zombies... ?
    It's like asking what's the best Special Force. I would be inclined to ask, "To do what?"

    I'm guessing BG's and to that end I like something in the 200 grain range. Gold Dot, TAP or custom. Either one seems to perform well.



    I like the middle weight if you're going to use a shorter than five inch barrel. I want to be sure the bullets expand reliably. For an even shorter barrel, like those in compacts, I'll go even lighter.

    Is yours a 4.25 barrel? Just wondering. Other than that, I'm like everyone else. I use whatever realiably works in my own gun.

    Spk said:
    ...
    I'm wanting opinions on what others think is thee best round for self-defense in this gun and caliber?
    Not to sound snarky but defense against what? People, bear, zombies... ?
    It's like asking what's the best Special Force. I would be inclined to ask, "To do what?"

    I'm guessing BG's and to that end I like something in the 200 grain range. Gold Dot, TAP or custom. Either one seems to perform well.



    I like the middle weight if you're going to use a shorter than five inch barrel. I want to be sure the bullets expand reliably. For an even shorter barrel, like those in compacts, I'll go even lighter.

    Is yours a 4.25 barrel? Just wondering. Other than that, I'm like everyone else. I use whatever realiably works in my own gun.

    SPK, my barrel is 4.25" barrel. I was asking for all around, EDC. I'm thinking of going with ball ammo, 325 grain FMJ
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    ShannonHayes saiding of going with ball ammo, 325 grain FMJ
    Typo???
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,928 Senior Member
    Spk said:
    ...
    I'm wanting opinions on what others think is thee best round for self-defense in this gun and caliber?
    Not to sound snarky but defense against what? People, bear, zombies... ?
    It's like asking what's the best Special Force. I would be inclined to ask, "To do what?"

    I'm guessing BG's and to that end I like something in the 200 grain range. Gold Dot, TAP or custom. Either one seems to perform well.



    I like the middle weight if you're going to use a shorter than five inch barrel. I want to be sure the bullets expand reliably. For an even shorter barrel, like those in compacts, I'll go even lighter.

    Is yours a 4.25 barrel? Just wondering. Other than that, I'm like everyone else. I use whatever realiably works in my own gun.

    Spk said:
    ...
    I'm wanting opinions on what others think is thee best round for self-defense in this gun and caliber?
    Not to sound snarky but defense against what? People, bear, zombies... ?
    It's like asking what's the best Special Force. I would be inclined to ask, "To do what?"

    I'm guessing BG's and to that end I like something in the 200 grain range. Gold Dot, TAP or custom. Either one seems to perform well.



    I like the middle weight if you're going to use a shorter than five inch barrel. I want to be sure the bullets expand reliably. For an even shorter barrel, like those in compacts, I'll go even lighter.

    Is yours a 4.25 barrel? Just wondering. Other than that, I'm like everyone else. I use whatever realiably works in my own gun.

    SPK, my barrel is 4.25" barrel. I was asking for all around, EDC. I'm thinking of going with ball ammo, 325 grain FMJ
    AreAyou sure about that bullet weight? The 1911..was originally designed around a 230 grain bullet.
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • ShannonHayesShannonHayes Posts: 211 Member
    ShannonHayes saiding of going with ball ammo, 325 grain FMJ
    Typo???
    Yes, typo, lol
  • ShannonHayesShannonHayes Posts: 211 Member
    Jayhawker said:
    Spk said:
    ...
    I'm wanting opinions on what others think is thee best round for self-defense in this gun and caliber?
    Not to sound snarky but defense against what? People, bear, zombies... ?
    It's like asking what's the best Special Force. I would be inclined to ask, "To do what?"

    I'm guessing BG's and to that end I like something in the 200 grain range. Gold Dot, TAP or custom. Either one seems to perform well.



    I like the middle weight if you're going to use a shorter than five inch barrel. I want to be sure the bullets expand reliably. For an even shorter barrel, like those in compacts, I'll go even lighter.

    Is yours a 4.25 barrel? Just wondering. Other than that, I'm like everyone else. I use whatever realiably works in my own gun.

    Spk said:
    ...
    I'm wanting opinions on what others think is thee best round for self-defense in this gun and caliber?
    Not to sound snarky but defense against what? People, bear, zombies... ?
    It's like asking what's the best Special Force. I would be inclined to ask, "To do what?"

    I'm guessing BG's and to that end I like something in the 200 grain range. Gold Dot, TAP or custom. Either one seems to perform well.



    I like the middle weight if you're going to use a shorter than five inch barrel. I want to be sure the bullets expand reliably. For an even shorter barrel, like those in compacts, I'll go even lighter.

    Is yours a 4.25 barrel? Just wondering. Other than that, I'm like everyone else. I use whatever realiably works in my own gun.

    SPK, my barrel is 4.25" barrel. I was asking for all around, EDC. I'm thinking of going with ball ammo, 325 grain FMJ
    AreAyou sure about that bullet weight? The 1911..was originally designed around a 230 grain bullet.
    That's what I have, 230 grain. Having a bad day, health wise, don't know why I typed 325, I meant 230
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 10,931 Senior Member
    ...


    That's what I have, 230 grain. Having a bad day, health wise, don't know why I typed 325, I meant 230
    Don't worry too much, just slight dyslexia plus 5

    I've made plenty of blunders along with many others.  1911s were designed to run the ammo you chose, yours should digest each round easily.

    When you get a chance try some "Flying Ashtrays"  CCI  200 GR JHP.  I don't remember how wide they expanded, but they were fast and expanded big time.  They were devestating on watermelons.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,744 Senior Member
    They all fall to hardball.  I am not technical, I shoot whatever I have on hand.  Cheap is good for me, Whitebox is just fine.  I don't even know what my 1911s are loaded with.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,742 Senior Member
    I echo the votes for 230gr Federal HST. That’s what I run in my TRP as defensive ammo. As a general endorsement for the bullet design, I use 124gr +P HST in my Glock 19 for daily carry. 

    If you have the credentials to get a place to sell you the “law enforcement” marked HSTs, they are about half the price of the “personal defense” boxes. Well, same price but 50 rounds instead of 25. Some places will sell them to .mil. 
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,031 Senior Member
    I am fond of the HST bullets. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,557 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #26
    I just bought a Rock Island Armory 1911A1 MS .45ACP for use as an EDC, and also for fun at the range. I bought a box of American Eagle 230 grain FMJ , but I'm wanting opinions on what others think is thee best round for self-defense in this gun and caliber?
    First, please buy at least 500 rounds and shoot it and train and practice as much as possible. 

    The jury is kinda out on 45 ACP hollow points. It’s slow. Hollow point 45ACP bullets are made of soft lead and thin jacketing to PROMOTE expansion, not ensure it.  Ball ammo (FMJ) is not necessarily a “wrong” choice for EDC ammo. 

    Reliable feeding, certain penetration. It’s inexpensive too. 


    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • 104RFAST104RFAST Senior Member Posts: 1,281 Senior Member
    One advantage of the .45 is you don't need Nuclear tipped ammo. FMJ works
    just fine for me, although as long as I have the Nuclear tipped stuff I'll load
    the magazine with both. Some 1911's don't digest the JHP stuff dependably,
    my Kimber Ultra 11 in particular 






  • bobbyrlf3bobbyrlf3 Senior Member Posts: 2,543 Senior Member
    edited July 2019 #28
    I have been fortunate in my results with the loads that are typically available near me.  Each of my carry sidearms (including a Kimber CDP) have performed well with the defensive loads sold at my LGS (and at various other places within reasonable driving distance) so I have plenty of each load that I can rotate through and not worry that I'll have a failure at a critical moment.  We still prepare for the worst, but I have a reasonable assurance that the equipment won't fail me. 
    Typical loads are:
    Remington Golden Saber
    Winchester PDX-1
    Hornady Critical Defense
    Sig Sauer Elite
    Federal Hydra-Shok
     
    Knowledge is essential to living freely and fully; understanding gives knowledge purpose and strength; wisdom is combining the two and applying them appropriately in words and actions.
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 5,817 Senior Member
    104RFAST said:
    One advantage of the .45 is you don't need Nuclear tipped ammo. FMJ works
    just fine for me, although as long as I have the Nuclear tipped stuff I'll load
    the magazine with both. Some 1911's don't digest the JHP stuff dependably,
    my Kimber Ultra 11 in particular 






    Have you had a conversation with Kimber about this?  I’ve had 7 Kimber 1911s go though my hands over the years and 4 of them are still with me including 2 UltraCarry models.  All of them have digested all sorts of HPs without a hiccup.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,031 Senior Member
    Guess I need to shoot a pig with ball ammo. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 3,969 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    Guess I need to shoot a pig with ball ammo. 
    Don't forget to inform the piggy, he's part of an important ongoing study.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

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