Boys & Toys: .45 vs. 9mm

Top: Browning 9mm. Bottom: Springfield 1911 .45 ACP. (

Against my better judgment, because I always know how this conversation ends, I got sucked into a conversation about guns guns guns… last night with two specimens of the penis-having gender. I typically avoid this conversation for a few reasons.

While I am technically registered to vote as “no party” because I’m not a joiner and I like to keep my options open, I am a liberal. I am liberally liberal. I believe in liberty and equal rights for everyone. I am pro-women and pro-choice. I believe in free and fair elections, and freedom of speech, the press and religion. Conservatives would call me a “librul demcrat” in the most demeaning of ways and I’m okay with that.

I also own guns, two of them, which makes me different from most of my ilk. A lot of my fellow liberals would never consider owning a gun, but then most of them have never had someone personally try to kill them on multiple occasions. Once you’ve had someone nearly strangle you to death and then beat the piss out of you while you were already down, well, it changes your perception of personal protection and its necessity. Restraining orders and guns go very well together I’ve found.

But, that’s really just a convenient ideologue’s excuse. Truthfully, I own guns because I like them. I find shooting projectiles at high speed to be incredibly relaxing, which might seem counterintuitive, but I assure you, it’s not. When you have a gun in your hand, you never forget that you have a gun in your hand for one second. Guns have a very demanding presence. They insist that you pay attention to them. As a consequence, you forget everything else. All of your cares and worries disappear for a while and you focus only on the thing in your hand that is capable of instant death. Some people meditate for clarity; I shoot guns.

I’m rather between a rock and a hard place as a female gun-owning liberal. Even in the right-wing, women don’t typically own guns of their own volition. They own guns because their husband/boyfriend/father wants them to learn to shoot for their own safety since there are guns in the house. Even if I were Republican, a female deciding to get a gun all on my own without a man involved would be an anomaly. Women don’t enjoy guns. Women only shoot guns because their husband/boyfriend/father does, right?

The women I typically see at the range are the bubbly kind who wear high heels to shoot guns and nervously giggle a lot. When I go to the gun range by myself in Los Angeles, I still get stares even as a member. The staff look behind me to see where my man is. When I walk into the lanes, all the men look at me. They watch and wait for me to shoot to see if I know what I’m doing. It’s rather annoying and quite disgusting that in 2014, a woman shooting on her own is worthy of stares, and not even covert stares, but blatant, gaping-mawed stares. Women couldn’t possibly enjoy shooting or own a personal firearm. Misogyny and firearms seem to go well together I’ve found.

So, that’s why I typically avoid the guns conversation. Another reason is that, even when I prove that I know what the hell I’m talking about, men usually insist that my 9mm isn’t good enough.

I have a finely machined, all-steel CZ 75 B chambered in 9mm Luger:

CZ 75B

I absolutely adore my gun. The tolerances, heft and balance are perfect. The trigger force, either single or double action, and recoil control are smooth and manageable. It has eaten all the ammunition I’ve ever fed it from dirty reloads to fancy expanding rounds, no matter the grain, without ever jamming or stovepiping once. It even has Tritium glow in the dark night sights, because you just never know when zombies will attack.

CZ’s website says “CZ 75 B is used by more governments, militaries, police and security agencies than any other pistol in the world,” though I’m not sure how accurate that claim is and the the 75 can also be chambered in .40 S & W. Wikipedia says the CZ 75 B is used by these law enforcement agencies in particular:

Picture 6Yeah, so the Slovak rail police use it. Big deal. But scroll down to the bottom of the list and you might see a United States Special Forces detachment called Delta Force. Yup, I have the same gun as Delta Force, bitches. I’m that badass. OK, so maybe I’m not as badass as Delta Force, but my gun is.

Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin not firing my gun. (wikipedia)
Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin not firing my gun.

My point is that 9mm is a perfectly reasonable, standard round. It’s used by a lot of law enforcement professionals around the world. So, why is it then that most times I have the gun conversation with men, they insist that my gun isn’t good enough and that I should really get a .45?

I don’t want a .45. I am completely comfortable with my gun. I can fire it accurately without the kickback knocking my sites off target. I can fire all the rounds in my semi-automatic as fast as I can pull the trigger. I could drop ten shots in you in less than ten seconds (sixteen if I didn’t live in California which has stupid ten round magazine rules). Ten shots of 9mm will stop practically anyone in their tracks except vampires or meth heads.

Top: Browning Hi Power 9mm. Bottom: Springfield 1911 .45 ACP. (
Top: Browning Hi Power 9mm. Bottom: Springfield 1911 .45 ACP.

9mm is more common and way cheaper than .45. It’s lighter, easier to carry and 9mm firearms have larger capacity magazines. Most .45s hold seven rounds, plus one in the chamber. My gun (outside of California) holds sixteen rounds, plus one in the chamber. I could shoot you seventeen times without reloading and you can only shoot me eight times. Yes, eight .45 rounds will do a lot more damage than eight 9mm rounds, but seventeen 9mm rounds will do more damage than eight .45 rounds and that’s what I can shoot without reloading.

A well-placed fragmenting 9mm round will do the job just as well as a .45 round. Hell, even a well-placed .22 round will do the job as well as a .45 round. A .22 through the eye will seriously mess up your day. Dead is typically dead, unless we’re dealing with zombies.

In a home invasion scenario, which is where the “guns conversation” always ends up, I would rather be able to shoot ten clean shots from a gun I’m comfortable with than seven shots from a gun that is too big for my hand.

Yet, none of these sound, practical arguments ever convince the men who insist that I need a .45 caliber handgun, which is why I ended the argument last night by simply saying, “I’m a girl,” and walking away.

Yeah, right.