What can be more American than the .45 ACP cartridge?

Serving in battles and in the civilian world since World War One it has a proven track record.

Here is all about the grand ole big bore pistol cartridge, the .45 ACP.

Sportsman’s Guide

John Moses Browning was in the world of gun and cartridge inventors the Einstein above most others. Way back in 1904 he came up with the .45 ACP for a prototype pistol. His design with a few modifications became the Model 1911 and then with a couple other modifications the Model 1911 A1 that we are all familiar with. This great semi-automatic pistol platform would survive right up to this modern day and it’s popularity has never gone anyway. This is in the face of the higher capacity polymer pistols that are now popular also. The war between the 1911 and the Glock rages as hot as ever.


Let’s get back on the subject of the cartridge itself. Originally tested was a 200 grain projectile that clocked along at 900 fps. in velocity. Later the 230 grain projectile we are familiar moving at 850 fps. became the load of choice. Following that all manner of loads were developed for the military such as tracer loads and even birdshot loads (presumably for small game in survival situations). CCI currently makes a birdshot load also and in my testing they work well on pests.


Training in the U.S. military back up at least into the 1980’s from my sources was mostly done with one hand. The hard hitting full metal jacket projectiles have much more knock down power compared to smaller calibers such as the 9mm Luger also using full metal jacket (ball or hard ball) ammunition. This is why the .45 ACP cartridge has been a favorite with military personal especially where restricted to non-expanding ammunition due to the Hague Convention.


For civilian and law enforcement use the .45 ACP loaded with expanding hollow point ammunition the caliber is a lion. Expansion brings the already .45 caliber slug into a larger diameter upon impact. The modern expanding ammunition is heads and shoulders above what was offered only even a decade ago.


Cartridge loads don’t stop at full metal jacket and hollow point loads. There are also hard cast large meplat loads for hunting and even other more radical designs. If an inventor could think of it, that projectile was loaded in a .45 ACP cartridge.


The .45 ACP has been chambered in everything from the traditional 1911 style pistols, double stack magazine style pistols, single shot handguns, revolvers using moon or half moon clips, sub-machine guns and even rifles and carbines. The Thompson Sub-Machine Gun is a great example of a non-pistol format that was very popular in World War Two along with the M3A1 “Grease Gun”. AR-15 variants and carbines offered give shooters a long gun for better accuracy and quite a bit of fun too. For competition shooting the .45 ACP knocks over steel targets with massive authority.

Auto Ordnance

The great .45 ACP cartridge is here to stay along with hot rod versions such as the .460 Rowland and .45 Super cartridges. It indeed may be the Goldilocks caliber of power and control-ability with great history to boot. Long live the .45 ACP cartridge.

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Post Author: enestor75