.45 ACP VS .45 Colt: Bullet Comparison

The .45 ACP and .45 Colt are two iconic American cartridges that were popularized in the early 20th century. Both of these rounds have been used by American police and military forces for more than a century. And they are two of the most popular handgun cartridges of all time.

While both of these rounds are .45 caliber, they are very different in terms of power and performance. In my today’s blog post, I’ll compare the .45 ACP and .45 Colt to see which one is the better round and look at the history of each round, their ballistics, and the best uses for each. I’ll also discuss the pros and cons of each round to help you decide which one is right for you.

 

The Brief History Of .45 ACP And .45 Colt

The .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) is a cartridge developed by John Browning in 1905 for use in his Colt semi-automatic pistol.

  • It has been in production since then and is still one of the most popular handgun cartridges in the world.
  • It is used by a wide variety of law enforcement and military organizations, as well as civilian shooters.

The .45 Colt (also known as .45 Long Colt or .45 LC) is a rimmed, straight-walled cartridge developed by the Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company (now Colt’s Manufacturing Company) in 1873 for use with their single-action Army revolver.

  • It is one of the oldest cartridges still in production and is still a popular choice for Cowboy Action Shooting and self-defense.
  • It is available in a variety of bullet weights and it is capable of producing significant stopping power.

 

Uses Of .45 ACP And .45 Colt

45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol):

The .45 ACP is a popular handgun round used by law enforcement and military personnel around the world. It is a very powerful round and is often used for self-defense and target shooting.

  • The .45 ACP is a semi-automatic round.
  • It is commonly used in 1911-style handguns, as well as various other semi-automatic handguns.

45 Colt (Colt Revolver Cartridge):

The .45 Colt is the original handgun round, designed in the late 1800s. It is a revolver cartridge that is commonly used in single-action revolvers.

  • It is a very powerful round but is considered outdated compared to modern handgun rounds.
  • It is primarily used for hunting and target shooting.

 

Exploring The Benefits & Drawbacks Of .45 ACP VS .45 Colt

Advantages of .45 ACP

  1. The .45 ACP round is more widely available than the .45 Colt, making it easier to find and purchase.
  2. The .45 ACP round is more powerful than the .45 Colt, making it a good choice for self-defense.
  3. The .45 ACP round is more accurate than the .45 Colt, meaning it is better suited for target shooting.
  4. The .45 ACP round is usually cheaper than the .45 Colt, making it a more affordable option for those on a budget.

Disadvantages of .45 ACP

  1. The .45 ACP round is not as powerful as the .45 Colt, meaning it may not be as effective for hunting large games.
  2. The .45 ACP round is generally less accurate than the .45 Colt, making it less suitable for precision shooting.
  3. The .45 ACP round is more expensive than the .45 Colt, making it less attractive for those on a budget.

 

Advantages of .45 Colt

  1. The .45 Colt round is more powerful than the .45 ACP, making it a better option for hunting large games.
  2. The .45 Colt round is more accurate than the .45 ACP, making it better suited for precision shooting.
  3. The .45 Colt round is usually cheaper than the .45 ACP, making it a more affordable option for those on a budget.

Disadvantages of .45 Colt

  1. The .45 Colt round is not as widely available as the .45 ACP, making it more difficult to find and purchase.
  2. The .45 Colt round is less powerful than the .45 ACP, making it a less suitable option for self-defense.
  3. The .45 Colt round is generally less accurate than the .45 ACP, meaning it is not as well suited for target shooting.

 

.45 ACP VS .45 Colt: Complete Bullet Comparison

Cartridges:

  • The .45 ACP is a rimless, straight-walled cartridge designed by John Browning in 1905 for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic pistol.
  • On the contrary, the .45 Colt is a revolver cartridge dating to 1872. It is a rimmed, straight-walled cartridge, and is almost twice as long as the .45 ACP.

Muzzle Velocity:

  • The .45 ACP has a significantly higher muzzle velocity than the .45 Colt.
  • The .45 ACP typically has muzzle velocities of 800-900 fps, while the .45 Colt typically has muzzle velocities of 600-700 fps.

Energy:

  • The .45 ACP also has a greater energy per round than the .45 Colt.
  • The .45 ACP typically has an energy of 400-500 ft-lbs, while the .45 Colt typically has an energy of 300-400 ft-lbs.

Stopping Power:

Both cartridges are considered very effective for self-defense. But the .45 ACP is generally considered to be more effective due to its higher muzzle velocity and greater energy per round.

Which Is Better for Self-Defense: .45 ACP or .45 Colt?

Both cartridges are excellent choices for self-defense, and the choice between them often comes down to personal preference.

  • The .45 ACP is more powerful and offers more stopping power than the .45 Colt, but it also produces more recoil and is more expensive to shoot.
  • The .45 Colt is slightly less powerful than the .45 ACP, but it is easier to control and less expensive to shoot.

Ultimately, it is up to the shooter to decide which round best suits their needs.

Performance of .45 ACP Compared to .45 Colt

The .45 ACP and .45 Colt are both rimless centerfire cartridges designed for use in handguns. The .45 ACP is a more modern cartridge than the .45 Colt, which was first developed in the late 1800s. Both cartridges have similar bullet diameters and case lengths, but the .45 ACP operates at higher pressures and velocities than the .45 Colt.

When comparing the performance of the two cartridges,

  • The .45 ACP has a larger case capacity and is able to generate higher velocities with its bullets. This makes the .45 ACP more powerful and suitable for use in self-defense and hunting applications.
  • The .45 Colt, on the other hand, is better suited for target shooting and plinking. It has a slower muzzle velocity and less energy than the .45 ACP which means it is not as effective for self-defense or hunting.

How Reliable Is .45 ACP and .45 Colt?

The .45 ACP and .45 Colt are both very reliable cartridges.

  • The .45 ACP is often used in semi-automatic handguns. It has a long track record of reliable performance.
  • The .45 Colt is typically used in revolvers. It has a reputation for being a very reliable and powerful round.

Yes, both cartridges have a long history of use and are trusted by many shooters around the world.

Which Is Cheaper: .45 ACP or .45 Colt?

The .45 ACP is generally cheaper than the .45 Colt.

The .45 ACP is a rimless, straight-walled cartridge which uses in his prototype Colt semi-automatic pistol. The .45 ACP is a popular self-defense cartridge due to its large diameter and low recoil. The .45 ACP is usually available in a variety of bullet weights, including standard-weight 230-grain bullets, as well as lighter, faster 185-grain bullets.

On the other hand, the .45 Colt is an older, more powerful round that was designed to use in its single-action revolvers. The .45 Colt is a rimmed, bottlenecked cartridge with a large case capacity, giving it more power than the .45 ACP. The .45 Colt can also be loaded with heavier, higher-velocity bullets, making it more suitable for hunting and longer-range shooting.

In terms of price,

  • .45 ACP rounds are usually much cheaper than .45 Colt rounds, particularly for target and range shooting.
  • While .45 Colt rounds can be found for less than $1 per round, .45 ACP rounds can often be found for less than $0.50 per round.

Therefore, the .45 ACP is usually the more cost-effective option for most shooters.

What Ammo Should I Use for My .45 ACP or .45 Colt?

The type of ammunition you should use for your .45 ACP or .45 Colt depends on the type of gun you have and the purpose you intend to use it.

  • Generally, you can use standard jacketed hollow point (JHP) ammunition or full metal jacket (FMJ) ammunition for the .45 ACP.
  • And for the .45 Colt, you can use lead round nose (LRN) or lead flat nose (LFN) ammunition.

But for self-defense purposes, you should use JHP ammunition for both calibers.

 

Best Guns Available In .45 ACP and .45 Colt

45 ACP:

  1. Glock 21
  2. Springfield Armory XD
  3. Smith and Wesson M&P
  4. Ruger SR45
  5. Kimber Custom

45 Colt:

  1. Ruger New Vaquero
  2. Taurus Judge
  3. Uberti 1873 Cattleman
  4. Colt Single Action Army
  5. Ruger Blackhawk

 

A Short Comparison Chart: .45 ACP VS .45 Colt

Factors

.45 ACP

.45 Colt

Bullet Diameter  0.451″ 0.452″
Case Length 0.898″ 1.285″
Overall Length 1.275″ 1.610″
Muzzle Velocity 850-1,200 fps 800-1,400 fps
Muzzle Energy 350-500 ft/lbs 350-750 ft/lbs

 

Faqs

Is .45 Colt the Same As .45 ACP?

No, .45 Colt and .45 ACP are two different types of ammunition. Because the .45 Colt is a revolver cartridge, while the .45 ACP is a pistol cartridge.

Is A Colt 45 The Same As a 1911?

No, a Colt 45 is not the same as 1911. The Colt 45 is a revolver, typically chambered in .45 ACP, while 1911 is a semi-automatic pistol chambered in .45 ACP.

Why Is It Called Colt 45?

The Colt 45 got its name from its .45 caliber bullet. The .45 caliber bullet was first introduced by the Colt Firearms Company in 1873.

Is The .45 Still Used In The Military?

No, the .45 caliber pistol is no longer in active service in the U.S. military, having been replaced by the 9mm Beretta M9 in the late 1980s.

How Far Can A 45 Bullet Travel?

The exact distance of a 45 bullet will depend on the type of bullet, the type of gun, the angle of fire, and the wind conditions. Typically, a 45-caliber bullet can travel up to a mile or more depending on the aforementioned factors.

What Handguns Do Navy SEALs Prefer?

Navy SEALs use a variety of handguns, including the Sig Sauer P226 and the Glock 19. Some SEALs have also been known to use the Heckler & Koch USP and the Beretta M9.

Are 45 Colt And 45 Long Colt The Same?

Yes, the .45 Colt and .45 Long Colt are the same and interchangeable. The .45 Colt is often referred to as the .45 Long Colt and the two names are used interchangeably. The .45 Colt was originally designed as a black powder cartridge but is now loaded with smokeless powder. The .45 Colt was introduced in 1873 and is still in production today. The .45 Colt is primarily used in revolvers but is also available in lever action rifles and even semi-automatic pistols.

 

Final Words

The .45 ACP and .45 Colt are two of the most popular handgun cartridges in the world. And both cartridges offer excellent stopping power, accuracy, and affordability. The .45 ACP is more widely used and it is favored for its higher magazine capacity and lower recoil.  On the other hand, the .45 Colt offers impressive muzzle velocity and penetration.

But in the end, it comes down to personal preference and intended use as both cartridges offer similar performance, reliability, and effective stopping power.