Gunfighter Moment – Frank Proctor

Why 9mm?

Back in April I received my Wilson Combat 1911 chambered in 9mm. I did a YouTube video with the gun and got lots of comments on it. Here’s the video if you’d like to check it out:

One of the comments I got was “Why would you set up a Wilson Combat 1911 in 9mm?” I replied to it and thought to myself here’s my next article for Gunfighter Moment. So here we go, my thoughts on 9mm.

I like to shoot and I like to train and see improvement and chase that dream of being as good as I want to be! 9mm training ammo is considerably less expensive than .40 or .45 allowing me to train way more, I dig that! Now let’s talk about the tactical application of the cartridge. I carry a 9mm pistol everyday for concealed carry and I carried a 9mm as a secondary weapon in Afghanistan and Iraq, I don’t now and never have felt under gunned with a 9mm.

For concealed carry I use a Glock 19 or S&W M&P 9. In both cases I have a concealable, very shootable (capable of delivering multiple hits quickly on a practical sized target from the muzzle out to 50 yards) and controllable pistol with 15-17 rounds of potent ammunition. I feel good about those capabilities. When talking terminal performance a couple critical things come to mind: shot placement and ammunition selection.

A .45 hole in a lung will produce the same effect as a 9mm hole in a lung, that effect is not instant incapacitation. However, if you research there has been a whole lot of stuff instantly incapacitated by a well placed .22 long rifle cartridge including some pretty large game animals. Without going into that subject anymore let’s talk about ammunition selection.

Not all ammo is created equal, ball ammo can be very lethal with good shot placement, but I think it would be much wiser to select carry or duty ammo that will offer better terminal performance. I have some first hand knowledge on Hornady Critical Defense 135g 9mm ammo. I watched it run through the FBI protocol and was amazed at the performance. It outperformed .40 and .45 duty ammo from other manufacturers. The FBI protocol test and evaluates the ammunitions, expansion, weight retention and penetration, preferably without over penetration.

I went on YouTube and found this video for you guys to check out. This is not the test I was at – when we did it we also ran .40 and .45 duty ammo from other manufacturers through the protocol and the results were not as impressive. Some of the ammo over penetrated and never expanded, some didn’t retain much weight through the auto glass. As seen in this video the Hornady 9mm expanded and penetrated almost exactly the same through everything.

Other thoughts on 9mm, it is a much more comfortable cartridge for a broader range of shooters to handle. That is one of the reasons many LE agencies and the FBI are switching to 9mm. I think another plus of 9mm is that if the gun is not uncomfortable to shoot and not cost prohibitive to train with more shooters will go out and train and increase or maintain their proficiency. Another thing I’m a fan of is magazine capacity. Having 15 rounds of some pretty potent and easy to shoot ammo in a concealable gun gives me a nice warm fuzzy for most anything I might encounter.

Well those are some of my thoughts on 9mm, thanks for reading and I hope to see you at a range sometime!

-Frank Proctor


Frank Proctor has served over 18 years in the military, the last 11 of those in US Army Special Forces. During his multiple combat tours in Afghanistan & Iraq he had the privilege to serve with and learn from many seasoned veteran Special Forces Operators so their combined years of knowledge and experience has helped him to become a better operator & instructor. While serving as an instructor at the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course he was drawn to competitive shooting. He has since earned the USPSA Grand Master ranking in the Limited Division and Master ranking in the IDPA Stock Service Pistol division. He learned a great deal from shooting in competition and this has helped him to become to become a better tactical shooter. Frank is one of the few individuals able to bring the experiences of U.S. Army Special Forces, Competitive Shooting, and veteran Instructor to every class.

All this experience combines to make Frank Proctor a well-rounded shooter and instructor capable of helping you to achieve your goal of becoming a better shooter.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

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30 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Frank Proctor

  1. James says:

    I too went to a 9mm in a 1911. Please don’t spin it like it is deadly as a .45, because it is not, period.

    • balais says:

      ” Please don’t spin it like it is deadly as a .45, because it is not, period.”

      shut up.

      that bullshit has already been debunked countless times.

    • seans says:

      So what is your background?

    • Jeremy says:

      Cause my 45 has guaranteed one shot knock down power. It’s 100% pure death. I make my sister-girlfriend shoot 9mm, because the last time she shot my 45, it made her grow chest hair.

    • PNW_Tree_Octopus says:

      Look up the works of Dr. Gary Roberts, then educate yourself.

      • Mr Snufalufagus says:

        Your an THE Gary Roberts , the dentist who was thrown out of the Naval Reserve? The self-proclaimed ballistic expert and Internet sensation? THAT Gary Roberts?

    • cj says:

      if you were a real man you’d carry nothing smaller than .50 AE

  2. Frank says:

    I need to correct something in the article. The Hornady ammo I watched run through the FBI protocol was the 135 grain Critical Duty not Critical Defense. Critical Duty is what I’m carrying in my Glock 19 right now. I’m confident with the capability it provides! Thanks y’all!

    • ninjaben says:


      You stated your thoughts on 9mm vs 45. What are your thoughts on .40. I am guessing you made GM in limited shooting .40 and not 9mm. I definitely agree with training costs, but that could be offset running 9mm conversion barrels. Some units did this when issued G22s, but with limited supplies of .40. Plus military 9mm feels like it is pretty close to making Major power factor.

      • Frank says:

        Hey dude, the article wasn’t really meant to be 9mm vs anything just an explanation of why I choose 9mm for everything. I have indeed shot close to 200,000 rounds of .40 and also shot quite a bit of mil spec 9mm through a conversion bbl in a Glock, it is very snappy recoil and was actual worse than major power factor .40 Major power factor .40 (I loaded mine to 170 pf with a 180 grain bullet) is more of a push recoil impulse than the mil spec 9mm (155 pf with a 124grain bullet) I’ve also shot a bunch of Winchester white box and duty .40 cal, they are another animal. Second to .357 sig, .40 cal duty is probably the worst recoil impulse that I’ve spent alot of time on. I can and have shot the cartridge well, but is not as easy to shoot for most people as 9mm and I personally don’t subscribe to the school of though that requires a bigger caliber for terminal performance. Also on the topic of .40 cal, the FBI pushed for the .40 cal back in the early 90’s and now they are switching to 9mm for the same reasons I stated.
        Given the fact that I can now shoot and carry whatever I want, I choose 9mm based on what I know about shooting and training and I feel confident with the terminal performance of the ammo I carry in it.

    • Frank says:

      Here’s some more data on the Hornady bullets.

      The critical defense is a 115 gr FTX bullet and will not penetrate gel over 13 inches (designed for home defense eliminating collateral damage potential). Critical Duty 9 and 9+P are 135 gr flexlock bullets(much harder lead).

      • Jim D says:

        Thanks for making that clarification Frank. The Critical Defense is their commercial line while Critical Duty is their barrier blind “LE restricted” loading. I’ve seen it shot at a ballistic shoot also, and it did quite well through all mediums for us, too.

  3. Josh says:

    Well James, if you’re equating “deadliness” with the size of the bullet, which it appears you are, then you should probably just go with the 50 cal.

  4. BAP45 says:

    I don’t want to start an argument over 9mm vs. .45 cal. because I do like both calibers but I never really like the shot placement defense of a caliber. As was stated with good shot placement even a .22 is perfectly effective. I personally prefer to lean more towards a more damaging round be it one of the hornady 9mms or .45 fmj because what if your shot isn’t perfect? When the target and the shooter are both moving erratically a good shot placement is easier said than done.

    It just reminds me of an article I read regarding 5.56 and some soldier complaints about it. the Army’s response was basically “Well just shoot better.” Just feels like a cop out.

    • balais says:

      What if your shot isn’t perfect?

      Follow up shot/s

      “well just shoot better”

      considering most people cant shoot straight, its a good beginning to addressing any caliber problems. Upgrading to something with more recoil isn’t going to solve a damn thing thats for sure.

    • seans says:

      You realize plenty of guys have been shot multiple times with .45s and lived. 7.62 nato,short, 5.56 and plenty of other rounds. Look up Phineas Gage, guy took a tamping iron through his brain and lived, and made a pretty good recovery. Saw a insurgent take a 300win mag center chest on deployment from 500 yards. Dude ended up walking to our spot hands up looking for treatment. Believing you have a significant advantage over 9mm with a .45 in this day and age is insane.

  5. Roy says:

    I think there is an error in the article. Hornady Critical defense comes in 115 grain. Critical duty comes in 135 grain.

  6. Dellis says:

    Here’s my spin….I had handguns in .22, .380, .9mm, .40 and .45 all at the same time.

    This gets costly buying all that ammo, holsters, magazines and so on. It gets confusing going to the range and one mistakenly tries to fit a 9mm CZ75 mag into a M&P .40 Long Slide! So I sold off all of them but the 9m’s.

    As noted 9mm ammo is cheaper and more prevalent. I have also kept all the handguns in our house under one maker, M&P 9’s. Why? Well as I looked at my growing collection of handguns I had one thought, what if we have a SHTF scenario and gun parts get scarce? How can I fix a CZ with parts from a SIG 226? Boxes of magazines that can’t be used with other handguns! So my wife, myself, daughter and son all have M&P 9’s. We now have a cross platform where mags, ammo and parts can be shared among each other if need be.

    So for me this is why the 9mm makes sense in more ways then just being a potent round. Oh….I also kept the .45!!

  7. Danke says:

    These are getting good! First the cop one, now the bullets vs. bullets.

  8. pup says:

    This is one of the best written articles cuting out all the bullshit i have read in a long time.

    thank u Sir

    I have seen people shot with the the best 7.62mm ammo and take multiply shots to go down. I seen guys drop from 1 rd of so called weak 5.56mm due to good/luck shot placement.

    Shoot until the stop being a threat. Reload as needed. Run or find cover if out of ammo or take out ya knife and go toe to toe.

    Again great read sir

  9. Mohican says:

    You know, this is a never ending story. There is a lot of info about this and even real data support than 9 mm. is as lethal as any other cartridge, so shot placement is the key. But there is no guarantee to incapacitate a person when shooting any cartridge but a direct 40 mm. HE grenade.

    Good to know Frank agrees the others.

  10. CTF says:

    Great video, Frank.

    Regardless of caliber, bullets kill and so does an eating fork if you use it correctly. Let’s be glad we still have the right to bare arms and that there are people like Frank teaching others how to do it responsibly.

    Happy Sunday!

  11. Robert says:

    One other thing to consider is penetration. The amount of drag created by a large expanding bullet of any caliber often under penetrates. A shoulder shot on a large individual makes it difficult to achieve adequate penetration of vitals. Also consider the over penetration Frank talked about. A .45 due to the large hollow point plugs when encountering any barrier more than .40 and a .40 more than a 9. A bullet that has essentially turned into an FMJ makes virtually no permanent wound channel. Bullet technology has changed a lot in the past few years. Permanent wound channels on a .45 these days are only 1/4″ larger than a 9mm and penetration is about 30-40% less. Get yourself some ordinance gelatin and each flavor of ammo on the market and try it.

  12. SShink says:

    Does your 9mm 1911 reliably feed the first round from a 10 round magazine…from slide-lock? If so, who/what magazines are they?

    • Frank says:

      The Wilson Gun feeds and runs all the time. I do a good bi tot slide lock reloads with it and never had an issue. I use Wilson Mags with this one. I have a Rock Island Single stack in 9mm also it feeds well with the Wilson mags but is sluggish. It feeds faster and smoother with Metalform mags. The Wilson gun feeds with both type mags but runs smoother with the Wilson mags.

  13. Chuck Haggard says:

    Excellent observations Frank. Well stated.

    At my job we have been using the 9mm as a duty round since about 1989, never had any issues with “stopping power”, even when using less than optimal ammo like the Hydrashock. The 124gr +P Gold Dot is what we issue for duty ammo now, and it works as well or better than any other service pistol round on the planet.

  14. Tim says:

    Wilson’s make me smile too. 🙂

    But I like the .45 ’cause it’s such a nice round to reload. (I’m one of those people who actually like to reload ammo.)