Easily the most popular round used in a 1911 style pistol, 45 ACP has been around for over 100 years. This particular cartridge has stood the test of time and shows no signs of slowing down with regard to interest by American shooters.
Like all great cartridges, the 45 Auto or 45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) was born out of a need. During the Philippine-American War between 1899 and 1902, soldiers reported that their issued revolvers in 38 Long Colt, were insufficient to stop Moro juramentado warriors. By 1905, the United States Army wanted a new handgun and cartridge. Semiautomatic pistols were becoming more popular at the time, and the army wanted one as long as the bullet had a 0.45" diameter.
Legendary firearms designer John Browning had been working on a rimless case design using a 0.41" diameter for Colt. Hearing the army's needs, Browning scaled up his tooling and came up with a cartridge using a 0.45" diameter bullet for use in the Colt Model 1905. His original concept used a 200-grain round nose projectile with a muzzle velocity of 900 feet per second.
This was later changed to a 230-grain full metal jacket bullet traveling at 850 feet per second, and the 45 ACP cartridge was born.
Apart from the M1911 pistol, revolvers were chambered in this cartridge as the US entered World War I and found that Colt could not keep up with the demand for semi-auto pistols. Two revolvers, one made by S&W and a retooled New Service Revolver by Colt, were built in 1917 to accept 45 ACP ammo and designated the M1917 revolvers.
The 45 ACP round has evolved somewhat over the years by running lighter or heavier bullets based on the needs of the shooter. From target loads to defensive loads to plain old-fashioned bulk ammunition buys, 45 ACP literally offers something for everyone.
From its inception 45 ACP ammo has always been considered a self-defense round. Its use by the US military led to its adoption by the armies and navies of hundreds of other countries in one form or another. They didn't all go with the M1911 pistol, but the 45 ACP round itself in a variety of revolvers, semiautomatic pistols, revolvers, and even submachine guns like the M1921 Thompson and the Israeli Uzi.
Although most nations in NATO have adopted the standard 9mm round for their sidearms, 45 ACP is still in use by a few elite special operations units such as the Navy SEALS, Special Operation Detachment Delta, and Marine Force Recon. Because of its power and being subsonic in most loadings, 45 ACP suppresses very well when used with a silencer with a low chance of malfunction.
In law enforcement circles, 45 ACP is still the cartridge of choice for many officers. For many departments, 45 ACP was used by SWAT officers due to the round's inherent accuracy and reliability for incapacitating a threat. Many rural departments still use it for dispatching dangerous or wounded wild animals when needed.
Due to its use by the police and military, 45 ACP found a following among citizens who legally either concealed carry or open carry their handgun of choice. The slim grip frame of most single-stack semi-auto pistols such as the Colt M1911, S&W 4506, or HK's various compact frame versions of the USP, P30, and others have proven themselves in this role.
Aside from being used as a defensive load, 45 ACP ammunition has become increasingly popular with civilian target shooters due to the round's low recoil, subsonic speed, and inherent accuracy. Several target shooting sports such as IPSC, IDPA, Bullseye, and even sub-genres of Cowboy Action Shooting were developed with the M1911 pistol chambered in 45 ACP in mind.
While overlooked by some shooters, the 45 ACP round is one of those rare cartridges that works well in either a hollow point or a round nose configuration simply because of the mass of the bullet. It is typically almost twice the weight of most 9mm defensive projectiles, but admittedly at a much slower muzzle velocity. It still delivers a muzzle energy of 350-460 foot pounds of energy.
When looking for the best 45 ACP ammo, SBR offers quite a few options to the dedicated 45 ACP aficionado. SBR's Mission Essential ammunition is loaded using carefully selected powders and primers to ensure reliability and performance. Extensive testing is conducted in every lot to make certain that consistency, accuracy, and cleanliness are in every cartridge. We also offer the 45 ACP in frangible lead-free and tracer. High performance self-defense and duty cartridges are available as well.