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9mm vs 40 S&W vs 45 ACP – Which is Best for Everyday Carry?

Selecting the ideal caliber for everyday carry (EDC) is a crucial decision for concealed carry permit holders, self-defense enthusiasts and anyone looking to carry concealed. Three popular options, 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, dominate the EDC market, each offering unique attributes. In this blog post, we will conduct a thorough comparison of these calibers, evaluating factors such as stopping power, ballistics, and practicality to declare the ultimate winner for the best EDC caliber.

Test #1 – Stopping Power:

  • 9mm: The 9mm, also known as the 9x19mm Parabellum, has been a trusted EDC caliber for years. With advancements in bullet technology, modern 9mm ammunition provides adequate stopping power, making it effective for self-defense scenarios.
  • .40 S&W: The .40 S&W was designed to bridge the gap between the 9mm and .45 ACP in terms of stopping power. It delivers increased energy transfer and stopping power, making it popular among law enforcement agencies and those seeking enhanced self-defense capabilities.
  • .45 ACP: The .45 ACP, 45 Auto, or 45 Automatic Colt Pistol, is known for its impressive stopping power and ability to deliver substantial kinetic energy upon impact. Its larger bullet size ensures reliable stopping power, making it a top choice for many concealed carry enthusiasts.

Winner (Stopping Power): .45 ACP emerges as the winner in terms of stopping power, offering superior energy transfer and effectiveness in neutralizing threats.

Test #2 – Recoil Management:

  • 9mm: The 9mm features manageable recoil, allowing for faster follow-up shots and increased magazine capacity. Its flatter trajectory enables shooters to achieve accurate shots at various distances.
  • .40 S&W: The .40 S&W generates more recoil and can be a snappier round than the 9mm but remains controllable for experienced shooters. Its ballistic performance falls between the 9mm and .45 ACP, providing a balance of velocity and energy.
  • .45 ACP: The .45 ACP generates substantial recoil due to its larger bullet size and powder charge. While this may affect follow-up shots, experienced shooters can train to manage the recoil effectively.

Winner (Ballistics): The 9mm takes the lead in ballistics with its manageable recoil, high magazine capacity, and accurate shooting capabilities.

Test #3 – Practicality for Every Day Carry:

  • 9mm: The 9mm’s popularity is attributed to its practicality for everyday carry. With a higher magazine capacity, lighter recoil, and widespread availability of ammunition, the 9mm is easy to conceal and comfortable to carry for extended periods.
  • .40 S&W: While the .40 S&W offers enhanced stopping power, it comes with increased recoil and reduced magazine capacity compared to the 9mm. This can make it less practical for everyday carry for some individuals.
  • .45 ACP: The .45 ACP’s larger frame pistols may be less concealable for some individuals, and its reduced magazine capacity may limit the number of rounds carried.

Winner (Practicality for EDC): The 9mm takes the crown for everyday carry due to its higher magazine capacity, manageable recoil, and ease of concealment.


After a comprehensive comparison of 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, the 9mm emerges as the ultimate winner for everyday carry. It strikes an exceptional balance between stopping power, ballistics, and practicality, making it a popular and reliable choice for self-defense enthusiasts and concealed carry permit holders alike. As always, the decision on the best EDC caliber should be based on personal preferences, proficiency, and comfort level. Remember to prioritize regular training and adhering to local laws and regulations for a safe and responsible everyday carry experience.

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