The most important thing when it comes to reviewing ammunition for use in self defense is how quickly that ammunition is capable of neutralizing a target. The US has a long-standing romance and love affair with the .45ACP. This is, in large part, because it is a caliber that was depended upon by servicemen during WWII, and continued on into action for many years to come. Our grandfathers used .45 caliber ammo in the foxholes, tunnels and battlefields of America’s conflicts. The .45ACP is reliable because it has been time-tested in the harshest conditions.
Modern .45ACP ammunition is far more advanced than it has every been. Simply put, “this ain’t your granddaddy’s .45 ACP ammo.” Improvements in self-defense bullet technology have come a long way. Sure, there are a lot of great 9mm cartridges out there. The .40 caliber isn’t to be overlooked, and there is a great deal of number crunching out there to support an argument for the terminal ballistics of new .380ACP ammunition easily procured at your local gun store. But when bullet-building technology fails, there is still a lingering reality regarding the .45 ACP. It creates a larger wound channel and as a result of being wider, has a bigger chance of disabling vital function.
For those well-seasoned old-timers out there looking to add yet one more force multiplier to their battery, or for the new-comer who appreciates the reliability of a bullet that has gone the distance in many an armed conflict, we’ve taken the liberty of lining out 3 of the top .45ACP self-defense rounds on the market today.
Federal .45 ACP 230 Grain HST
When it comes to knockdown power, the .45ACP in 230 grain stands virtually uncontested. Federal’s heavyweight contribution is a flying ashtray that moves at 890 fps. The HST is, in point of fact, the next evolution of the Hydra-Shok design. These bullets don’t leave much more to be asked for in terms of expansion and penetration. Maintaining a consistent velocity from bullet to bullet, and getting the job done when it gets there, the Federal .45 ACP 230 is an excellent choice for self-defense.
Hornady Critical Defense .45 ACP 185 Grain
You can’t go wrong with Hornady’s key self-defense bullet feature, the FTX flex tip. The visibly apparent element of the red-colored soft polymer, embedded within a hollow point cavity is both pragmatic and intimidating. The polymer serves to prevent the hollow point cavity from filling with material that would otherwise hinder the expansion of the bullet. This is not practice ammo, the jacket is pre-cut for rapid expansion and boasts nickel-plated cases for solid corrosion resistance. This bullet is rated for a muzzle velocity of 1,000 fps from a 5-inch barrel.
Speer .45ACP 230 Grain Gold Dot
In terms of defensive pistol ammunition, Speer’s .45 ACP 230 Gold Dot has a reputation… and for good reason. Technically, the Gold Dot isn’t a bonded bullet, but a plated one. That said, it does in fact perform like a bonded bullet, given that the core and the jacket are bonded to one another. This gives the bullet high weight retention. Another plus of this bullet is that its rounded nose tends to perform best in unmodified 1911A1 pistols.