The U.S. has had a love of the .45-caliber cartridge for many years. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the enduring popularity of the .45 ACP, and its earlier predecessor, the .45 Colt.
How did the .45 Auto, or .45 ACP, cartridge come into being?
- The U.S. adopted the .45 Colt in 1873, pairing it with Colt's Single Action Army revolver.
- It served for almost two decades before replacement by the .38 Long Colt.
- Complaints were made during the Phillipine Insurrection about the .38's stopping power.
- The .45 Colt was reissued, and it remained in service until the .45 ACP's adoption.
- The .45 ACP was adopted in Browning's M1911.
- However, it first saw action in World War I in a double-action revolver.
To celebrate the .45-caliber handgun cartridge, a group of writers recently met at Gunsite Academy to experience shooting semi-automatics, and single-action and double-action revolvers all chambered in .45.
In 1873 the U.S. Government adopted the .45 Colt cartridge for its new standard sidearm, the Single Action Army revolver. It fired a 250-grain lead bullet that left the muzzle at about 900 feet per second (fps), making it a powerful handgun round that soon gained a good reputation for protection.
The .45 Colt and the .45 ACP have about the same ballistics, so the .45 could be called “America’s handgun caliber.” It has served our military, police and law-abiding citizens well for more than a century, and, to some people, challenging its supremacy is heresy.
Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt from the September 2017 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.