Firearms Tactical

.45 ACP vs .357 Magnum Field Test

Winchester 230 Grain .45 ACP
Winchester 110 Grain .357 Magnum
Distance: 10 yards

Government agencies such as the FBI utilize testing protocols for defensive handgun ammunition that must effectively pass through barriers to demonstrate the capacity of a bullet. As civilians, without access to a wide range of expensive and expendable materials, the average American shooter has to get creative. 10-percent, porcine-ballistic gelation and chronographs aren’t exactly in everyone’s budget.
It’s all good and well to purchase ammunition that you think will perform effectively, but testing it in the field is really the only way to find out if what you’ve purchased will do the job when it counts.
This is why we took it upon ourselves to head to the woods and utilize two common-sense, pragmatic methods of testing bullets for penetration and expansion. Using two of America’s most popular self-defense rounds, we decided to see how the .357 Magnum stacked up against the .45 ACP.

See the video below:


Bullet penetration and expansion were the primary reasons for this test. What we found was that while the faster moving .357 round created a more explosive result on both the water jugs and the melon, the .45 ACP created a larger wound channel with deeper penetration. The .357 round only penetrated 3 water jugs, and we were able to retrieve the mushroomed bullet after the test was complete. The .45 ACP went through all 5 water jugs, and kept on going.

(Recovered bullet from .357 water jug test).


(Wound cavity left by .45 ACP at conclusion of the melon test).


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1 Comment

  • I am the proud owner of both the .45 ACP 1911, and the .357 Magnum.
    I acquired the 1911 from an ex- brother-in-law for the
    outrageous price of $25.00 back in 1963.
    The .357 I got from a lady I was working for, I charged $20.00 an hour or the work and she wanted $300.00 for the pistolol in 2005.
    I am amazed to have weapons at those prices.
    I remember doing sighting and snapping in in MARINE BOOT Camp and then again in ITR. I QUALIFIED SHARP SHOOTER ON BOTH WEAPONS IN 1957.

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