Exclusive: 5 Reasons Heavy and Slow is the Way to Go

We can be thankful for a mature firearms industry with great technology. Granted, not all guns and ammo are created equal but, for the most part, the guns and ammo are very good — reliable, consistent, accurate, durable. And whether you’re a “five to stay alive” or “make mine a nine” kind of handgunner, there’s excellent ammo all over the caliber spectrum. If your preferred ammo caliber “better start with a 4” and, in fact, you’re partial to the relatively heavier and slower .45 ACP, you’ve got some good choices available to you for self-defense rounds. Here are five:

Manufacturer Type Muzzle Velocity Energy
Hornady Critical Defense, 185 gr, FTX



Creedmoor 185 gr HAP



Winchester PDX1 Defender, 230 gr JHP



Black Hills 185 gr JHP



Federal Premium HST, 230 gr JHP



I’ve fired all these rounds in a variety of guns and enjoyed “combat effective” accuracy along with 100 percent reliability. Of course, those features are a function of a multitude of factors, including gun and shooter, but the ammo did its part. Sure, some kick a little more and some are slightly more accurate than others. But all the .45 ACP bullets got the job done at the range.


We can argue ’til the cows come home about bullet weights and feet per second and energy put on target and so forth. At the end of the range session, or at the end of a gunfight, all that matters is you were firing a reliable gun which helped you put rounds on target.


You can see some of the differences between rounds, mainly in the shape or design of the bullet. Despite the variances, none hung up on any feed ramp (in a Glock 30 Gen4, S&W M&P Shield .45, and Metro Arms American Classic 1911). All rounds went into battery and all fired and ejected reliably.


These days, heavy and slow may be the way to go. What’s your preferred self-defense caliber?

— Mark Kakkuri

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15 thoughts on “Exclusive: 5 Reasons Heavy and Slow is the Way to Go

  1. Ric Fondren

    I was a little disappointed when 200gr JHP were not included in your info. I have been carrying for 60yrs and found that the 200gr for me has been the most accurate and has never failed to do the job and my other secret is “shoot what you use and use what you shoot. At this point in my life and what is going on all around me I will not change my carry. Some may ask why and its simple, my wife and family are my treasures that’s why I use what gets the job done.

  2. Pete

    Yep. .45acp in an auto and .44spl in a revolver. Less damaging to my hearing, less penetration into the next house or neighborhood, just as likely to do the job with minimal shots.

  3. Mike Kolendo

    45 ACP tells you that you cannot break the laws of physics. Heavier bullet and wider diameter hits harder. You cannot argue that point nor can you argue that a good frangible 45 ACP will not over penetrate causing less or no collateral damage. 9 mm bullet design has certainly improved but it is still a lighter hitting bullet.

  4. Jasper

    About as much of a non-article as I have read recently! Absolutely no information about anything, just a short commercial from their advertisers! 🙁

    1. Mark Kakkuri Post author

      Jasper and Mike, thanks for commenting. I’m sorry if the article was any kind of letdown for you. My intention was simply to point out there are really good (reliable, consistent, accurate) .45 ACP rounds available today that feed, fire, and eject out of most .45 ACP guns. It was not meant to be a technical article … really more of a way of getting some ammo info out there that wasn’t about all the great 9mm (or other caliber) ammo available today. That said, let me know your thoughts on what would make a more helpful article for you on the .45 ACP. Glad to oblige.

      1. W Brown

        I don’t have a problem with a good 9mm. But the FBI did say the 10mm was the best way to go, then changed to the .40. Now they say the 9mm is it. Don’t always believe what the FBI says.

        1. Mark Kakkuri Post author

          Well, I wouldn’t discount what the FBI says but there are also other reliable resources to consider as well. One quick comment about caliber: In my opinion, the best caliber is the one a shooter can reliably and accurately put on a target during a stressful situation. There are many variables when it comes to a self-defense situation but generally I’d think it is better to be able to hit a target with an easier-to-fire smaller round. But no matter what round you choose — practice, practice, practice.

  5. Macda

    9MM, SIg Elite. Carry what you want, but there’s no logical reason to say the 45 round is superior to the 9mm for self defense. That’s the conclusion the FBI came to…
    “Based in a combination of factors, including so-called “stopping power,” weight and availability, the FBI study shows that the 9mm round penetrates far enough, allows for shooters to carry more rounds…”

  6. Joe

    I chose .40 S&W in an M&P for capacity, 16 vs. 8. The foot pounds of energy at 1200 fps is higher than listed above. Hollow points open to around .60 caliber and .40 is cheaper to shoot.
    I like the idea of 45 acp and the idea of a 1911. Practically I got what I got.

  7. Mike

    First choice: Federal Hydra-Shok 230 gr. JHP. Second choice: Handloaded .38+P using Hornady 158 gr.XTP’s at 900 FPS in my 3 in. SP101. Third choice: Federal Hydra-Shok 90 gr. .380’s from the PPK. Forth choice: my throwing tomahawk at 13 paces.

  8. Martin B

    I just saw a video yesterday which showed the differences between .380 ACP and .38 Special, for pocket guns. The revolvers (S & Ws) were more accurate and had better penetration (due to heavier bullets). The autos were faster reloading, but it was noted that few gunfights involved reloading, other than Police/gang interactions. So for the average Joe, a revolver still makes sense, even if they’re not quite as concealable or capacious as an auto. Reliability and ease of use also go to the revolver. Plus you get a Beatles album named after one…

    1. Mark Kakkuri Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Martin. This is a great extension of my article and I appreciate what you’ve noted here. If you’re a revolver fan, do you prefer a heavier and slower round?


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