While the caliber wars about stopping power continue to rage, one of the items that has not been discussed is the versatility of certain cartridges and firearm combos to be extremely utilitarian in their use. There are few better examples of this than the .45 ACP. Now, before this starts a brush fire, I’m not talking about the .45 as some sort of ULTIMATE MANSTOPPER, because pistol cartridges generally suck, and the performance difference between a 9mm and a .45 is marginal at best. However, an area where the .45 ACP does outshine the 9mm (and a lot of other rounds) is how diversely it can be loaded.
When paired with a revolver, you really see the diversity of the round, as you’re no longer concerned with generating sufficient pressure to operate a semi-automatic pistol. What this means to the shooter is that the .45 ACP can be loaded to extremely light “bunny fart” levels for target shooting; or loaded all the way up to +p pressures with heavy bullets which are more than enough gun for medium sized deer at close range.
One of my favorite loads is 185 grain bullet at about 825 fps. This load is perfect for target shooting, as the recoil is mild, and the weight and muzzle velocity make it a very accurate and shootable load. A couple steps up in the powder makes this load meet the requirements for major power factor, making it ideal for USPSA or IDPA competition.
That’s ultimately what’s great about big cartridges. You can always download them, but it’s much harder to load small bore rounds up to serious power factors.