Gunfighter Moment – Larry Vickers

Based on what I am seeing in my classes the 9mm vs .45 ACP debate is over and 9mm won. 40 S&W is history – ask any gunshop and they will tell you they can’t hardly give pistols away in this caliber. Quality 9mm pistols are plentiful, they hold a lot of bullets, are relatively easy to shoot, self defense loadings are very effective and practice ammo is plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Tell me the downside to this?

Larry Vickers
Vickers Tactical Inc.
Host of TacTV

Larry Vickers of Vickers Tactical is a retired US Army 1st SFOD-Delta combat veteran with years of experience in the firearms industry as a combat marksmanship instructor and industry consultant. In recent years he has hosted tactical firearms related TV shows on the Sportsman Channel with the latest being TacTV of which Bravo Company is a presenting sponsor. Larry Vickers special operations background is one of the most unique in the industry today; he has been directly or indirectly involved in the some of the most significant special operations missions of the last quarter century. During Operation Just Cause he participated in Operation Acid Gambit – the rescue of Kurt Muse from Modelo Prison in Panama City, Panama. As a tactics and marksmanship instructor on active duty he helped train special operations personnel that later captured Saddam Hussein and eliminated his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein. In addition he was directly involved in the design and development of the HK416 for Tier One SOF use which was used by Naval Special Warfare personnel to kill Osama Bin Laden. Larry Vickers has developed various small arms accessories with the most notable being his signature sling manufactured by Blue Force Gear and Glock accessories made by Tangodown. In addition he has maintained strong relationships with premium companies within the tactical firearms industry such as BCM, Aimpoint, Black Hills Ammunition, Wilson Combat and Schmidt & Bender.

With over 300,000 subscribers, his Youtube channel features a new firearms video every Friday. 

Larry Vickers travels the country conducting combat marksmanship classes for law abiding civilians, law enforcement and military and works with Aztec Training Services to coordinate classes to best meet the needs of the students attending the class.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

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101 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Larry Vickers”

  1. David Harvey says:

    Is this a commentary on the 9mm vs .45 ACP or an ad for Larry Vickers? It is a bit ridiculous when the ad for the writer is vastly longer than the few sentences he wrote.

    • SSD says:

      That’s boilerplate and been there for YEARS. Is this your first visit to GFM on SSD?

      • Marcus says:

        SSD. Suggest you re tittle these threads as:

        Gun Fighter Moment, followed in the thread by DFM (Dumb F’r Moment).

      • PPGMD says:

        I’m probably going to get flamed for his, but what the hell. I agree with David, the boilerplate bio shouldn’t be longer than the content.

        If I clicked the GFM tag and look at all the GFMs. The content difference is staggering. Ken Hackathorn, Mike Glover, and others writes a half a dozen to a dozen paragraphs with pictures if needed that at the very least don’t seem to be published anywhere else.

        While the LAV GFM are often a paragraph at best, and sometimes he just links to one of his already published Youtube videos. His content just seem lacking compared to the others that write the GFMs.

    • Get back to me when you have a resume that compares

      • Doug Olivo says:

        Oh burn!

      • PTMcCain says:

        Ouch, now that’s not going to buff out.

      • Hunsdon says:

        I should be able to like this post.

      • Patrick Aherne says:

        But, can you repair printers, LAV? I think I’ve found the LAV’s weakness…

      • Disco says:

        Please don’t milk it.

        One day a longtabber with a Ranger tab as well and all these years of a hot war is going to retire and say “Fuck James Yeager, Fuck caliber debates, fuck flavor of the month brand whoring, and to hell with the good old boy system”

        He will be retired and no longer need to care or give a shit about some fat ass running off to Brigade to score brownie points for tattling.

        But by that point he will probably just want to smoke all the weed that’s legal and screw girls young enough to be his daughter and won’t care about guns anymore.

        But good self esteem is important

        • Disco says:

          And if LAV gets butthurt and oversensitive again

          “Cash me outside how bout dah”

        • Yogi says:

          What are you even saying here?
          I mean i literally could not understand your point..

        • SSD says:

          What exactly are you trying to say?

          • Disco says:

            I suppose I am saying nobody has the market cornered and when some people call it a day; a day it shall be called.

            Resume stumping is becoming the new challenge coin.

            Everytime someone calls some humnbug into question, someone wants to bring up their record. It is not just an internet deal. Sometimes all you can do is SIUDO, but it gets old.

            Pistol calibers are like cell phones at this point. All do the same thing. If you need to shoot someone get a rifle.

            But I dont care anyway. I just know when I’m on my time, I shall do what I want.
            And if someone chumps me out I’ll just shrug and go “As you like it, Miss” than plunk down my challenge coin of a resume.

            But that’s just me and I ain’t nobody to worry about

            • Bobby davro says:

              I get your point disco, there are literally hundreds of ex t1 operators out there who don’t get butt hurt when they challenged , rather, they push to do better next time or put the work in the first time. But in this instance ego gets the better of the man and a “look at my resume I’m better than all of you, listen to my words” statement got made

            • SSD says:

              I still don’t understand what you’re trying to say. Out with it, man!

              • joe_momma says:

                I think he’s saying that while LAV’s resume is impressive, it gets old where that is the end all be all of any comment that isn’t in complete and utter agreement with anything that LAV has to say. I think He’s saying there are plenty of people out there with the BTDT resume, possibly even with more BTDT’s that don’t throw it around regularly.

      • Greg says:

        Larrys the man!!

      • Gerard says:

        Thank you for your service Larry

      • Justin says:

        lol awesome response… 9 mm is hard to beat! My Wilson’s are even in 9!

        • Gerard says:

          Ive learned a lot from Larry’s videos. I also want to make the 100th comment

  2. badjujuu says:

    I’m here for the comments – this is going to be good…

  3. jbgleason says:

    Say it ain’t so.

    While I agree with the reality of your statement, I am going to irrationally cling to my .45 1911. Yes a Glock 19 is what I use for real work but that won’t stop me.

  4. Chuck says:

    inb4 stopping power

  5. Dellis says:

    I don’t think Larry is advocating everyone to drop their .45 at the local pawn shop.

    He never stated the .45 is a horrible choice or unworthy but I believe he means by sheer sales, ammo count, great ballistic properties the 9mm is now on top.

  6. PTMcCain says:

    The war is over! Peace in our times!

    LAV is just speaking the truth.

    Gun forum idiots will continue to debate and argue over caliber. They’d probably just do better to keep practicing their tactical skillz in their mom’s basement playing Call of Duty.

  7. Mark says:

    I work at a regional police academy and we start basic firearms next week. Out of 57 shooters, there are 9 with 9mm, 6 with .45’s and the rest are .40’s. Probably from the personal purchase side of the fence .40 may be dead but maybe not so much in LE circles. It’s going to be a long week….

    • JK says:

      For a long time, .40 was adopted by majority of LE depts that got sold on its alleged superiority over other calibers.

      The process to replace standard issue and the accompanying support structure (logistics, armorer, ammo contracts, etc) can get expensive. Thus, .40 will be around for a long time more until the departments can change over.

      • The Rock says:

        That’s assuming they want to change over. Many are pleased with the .40 and see no reason to go back to the pipsqueak 9,

  8. Disco says:

    As long as their are cops, black dudes, and rednecks…..

    The .40 is here to stay.

  9. jellydonut says:

    This is a wholly uncontroversial statement. Anyone who still believes pistol rounds are worth shouting about need to take up a hobby or something.

    • st says:

      Here here.

      Shot placement and penetration.

      • PTMcCain says:

        Ironically, I think it is precisely the “hobbists” who still perpetuate these idiotic debate! People who know enough to shut up and listen to people who know what they are talking about don’t.

  10. Brian Sain says:

    Larry is a busy guy. Fellow NDIA Hathcock awardee. I have rarely seen him smile and have only spoken to him once at length. He blew by me at SHOT SHOW. Both of us moving fast in opposite directions. I caught him off guard and said “Hey Larry” … “Yeah? He replied … looking back over his shoulder. “You’re still sexy”. He chuckled shaking his head. Guess that’ll suffice. I rock and recommend his slings.

  11. Che Guevara's Open Chest Wound says:

    10mm for life.
    Just you wait, it’ll make a comeback.

    • Gerard says:

      Im waiting for my Bren Ten I ordered from Donus and Dixon, anyone know whats going on with that company?

  12. Kit Badger says:

    Come on LAV… …if we can learn anything from politics, we know that logic has no place in a emotional debate.

  13. Callmespot says:

    Crap I have the AR book and the 1911. Does this mean you’re going to do a 9mm book??? Just take my money now!

  14. PTMcCain says:

    Just posted this up to Larry over on his FB page:

    Good morning, Larry. Just saw your post up on SSD and am already reading some of the idiotic remarks made even there.

    Given the improvements in 9mm JHP rounds I really don’t understand why anyone (who knows what they are talking about) keeps trying to keep the 9 v. 40SW v. 45ACP argument alive. But it is a never ending debate on gun forums among the tactical keyboard ninja crowd. I got sick of it and have never participated in it again. I did write up a little piece on this a few years ago and it has been and will remain my “final word” based on a LOT of learning from subject matter experts like LAV and other teachers/trainers.

    • Rick says:

      Well, I’m not a “tactical keyboard ninja” but, I’m pretty sure the same technology, bullet construction and improvements made to the “9mm JHP” have also been applied to .45ACP, .40, and many other calibers…..

  15. I went throught his debate personally beginning with a 1911 style in the mid-90s, switching to HK USP and then Glock 23 in .40, and then settling on Glock 19 about 5 years ago.

    Part of what drove popularity of either .40 or .45 that is not discussed enough are the AW Ban era limits on magazines. It used to be veyr expensive to get high caps for certain models, especially newer ones, so you were stuck with 10 rounds. If you’re stuck with 10, 45 might make more sense. But 15 rounds of 9mm is superior to 13 of 40 or 10 or fewer of .45.

    • AlexC says:

      This is why .40 and .45 are so popular in Canada. Pistols are legally restricted to 10rnds, and so Canadians are more interested in .40’s and .45’s than in the USA.

  16. Ifitgoesbang says:

    That will mean the 9mm will continue to go up in price more likely beyond what people will pay and 40 and 45 will start to come down to a price point people will see a bargain for.

  17. Joe says:

    What kills? Speed and penetration.

    • PTMcCain says:

      Um…no. You can very quickly put a round through a guy’s arm, and he ain’t dying. Try again.

      • Joe says:

        Awesome, you can point out the obvious and not read the context correctly.

        Speed: fast bullets
        Penetration: bullets that penetrate to vital organs.

        This wins over slow, fat bullets.

        Anyone who doesn’t know that shot placement matters please go over to PT McCain here for a seminar.

        • The argument is much more complicated. Speed, penetration/over-penetration, shot placement, recoil, available training, number of rounds, the threat are all factors.

          BTW, those slow fat bullets penetrate to vital organs just fine. In fact McCain’s article shares the FBI photo that shows a slow fat round penetrates as well if not better than half od the “faster rounds.

          While we’re on McCain I whole heartedly agree with him on three points. The pistol is a backup, the shooter is much more important than the caliber and caliber wars are stupid. Oh and nowhere does McCain say speed and penetration are the key…

          What kills? Well as our anti-gun friends repeatedly fail to recognize its people who kill.

  18. Ron Yanor says:

    We have held several ballistic gel shoots at our facility with ATK & Remington. Looking at the spectrum of barriers and bare gel penetration test, there was minuscule difference between calibers when using bonded pistol ammo- decimal points. It is almost a mute issue.

    • PTMcCain says:

      That’s moot…not mute. Sorry, can’t remain mute when people use the word moot wrong.


      • BMG1-509 says:

        PTMcCain, after reviewing your “body of work” on this forum, your frequent and agreious grammatical errors do not qualify your correction above.

        • Chris from Cali says:

          I believe it’s spelled “egregious,” BMG1-509. Best to be correct when correcting someone else in an open forum. That being said, PTMcCain is known for a little bit more than his contribution to the advancement of the English language. He’s what one might refer to as a reputable source, if such a thing can exist.

  19. Marcus says:

    Larry Vickers, the Don Rickles of gun fighters πŸ™‚

    It wouldn’t be a Larry Vickers thread without at least one person attempting to throw an insult. I’m starting to think it’s a setup.

    Personally, I’m gonna pose aa someone else and hurl insults Until Larry gets behind a custom semi auto that has a ten- round capacity.

  20. Hubb says:

    So you’re saying .45GAP is dead?

  21. Philip says:

    I was always taught that shot placement reigns supreme, and that everything else is secondary to it. All three calibers can be lethal in a self-defense scenario… I think it comes down to personal preference and training.

    But I do like the widespread availability of 9mm ammo right now, everyone’s got it stocked and almost to the point I’m getting tired of seeing it. Good time to stockpile.

  22. Rick says:

    The downside is, the 9mm doesn’t kill the soul, as the .45 ACP does….

  23. CQB60 says:

    Sage insight and observations stated here. LAV is spot on in his assessment of contemporary industry trending and waves of change.

  24. mudd says:

    Most every guy who served, definitely in SOF & likely in combat arms, post 9/11 has a much more impressive resume.

    • SSD says:

      Let’s start with yours…

    • JHP says:

      I was crafting my sage and pick the response when I realized that the troll is strong with this one

      • mudd says:

        O I’m not that interesting.

        But to have someone pre 9/11 beat their chest about a resume is ludicrous.

        Peak war SOF units were banging 1 to 3 targets a night.. for months on end. So more operations in a week than pre 9/11 guys did in 20 years…

        Good on those guys for staying in so long when nothing was going on (big exodous with this generation 2007+ when optempo dropped), takes a kind of discipline.

        But the bottom line is they weren’t around for the lessons learned and shift in TTP’s once war was situation normal.

        So if screening for positions, in the present arena, their resume isn’t impressive enough to get a call back.

  25. Steve Kay says:

    Mr. Vickers,
    1. I don’t believe there is a downside to the 9mm.
    2. I very much appreciate all of the videos / articles you’ve produced and shared over the years.

    I’m a little older and grew up in the era when it had to be a 1911. After years of carrying all that weight and fewer rounds – I made this decision to go Glock and only carry 9mm, the only exception is when its ultra difficult to conceal I will carry an LCP 380.

    Someday I may be on my back staring at the sky thinking “if I had only had a 45acp” But that will be the only way I concede. I firmly believe the Glock with Corbon 9mm is gonna get it done.

  26. WLB says:

    By no means do I come close to the training and experience of LAV but I do have three years Army as a 12B, twenty five years as a police officer/firearms instructor and thirty five years as a handgun shooter with some competition. I have carried a handgun everyday for thirty two years for work and/or personal use. I have owned several S&W, Glock, Taurus, and Springfields in 9mm over the years. I have also owned several Colt, Springfield, Taurus, Kimber and Sig 1911’s .45 ACP. I personally have seen great shooters with both calibers in many different makes of handguns and have seen crappy shooters with one become better shooters when they changed calibers or guns. I think the nines have become popular again like they did in the 80’s and some people think they are the greatest thing ever. There are many great nines and I currently own two but I personally like and shoot better with a 1911 .45, than a high capacity nine. Not everyone is the same so luckily we have many great choices. Don’t believe what the fan boys or internet experts say is gospel. If you are able, try many different makes and models to see what works best for you but I do think you should stick with either a 9mm or .45 ACP.

  27. Juan Zuluaga says:

    LV, the only downside is I own guns in the other two calibers and don’t like to get rid of guns I already I’ve got a G19 and M&P Shield 9mm. Love those two guns and are my EDC guns depending on weather and clothing. Thank you for you service.

    • SSD says:

      Nobody is telling you to get rid of any guns. The point here is that the market has spoken. It prefers 9mm. I just saw the Czech 7.5 FK by BRNO at IWA. It’s a new handgun caliber that has the body armor industry a bit worried. It’s also not yet common, but some folks are going to adopt it. Talk about bucking the trend.

      • Nattydreadbushdoc says:

        5.7 vs 9mm
        round 1, fight!
        C’mon I’m bored.

        Love and respect Larry.

        Hate name drops and resume bombs.

        I believe in the science!

      • The Rock says:

        Yes the civilisn market HAS spoken, and the words are: “less recoil, more bullets, less money”. Ergo, 9mm.

  28. Stu says:

    I’m still more scared of the Golden BB then any caliber mention so far.

  29. Dells says:

    Ya know what’s a real bitch? Heading out to the range gun bag or bags filled up and then realizing you forgot your .40 ammo or your 9mm mqgazines or brought your .45 magazines but no gun!

    At one point I had .357, .45, 9mm and .380. Had to stock ammo for all, extra magazines and then holsters. It can get to be a real pain and expensive to keep that going. So now I am down to all handguns in 9mm and .45, no more hassles and never again will I go to a competition with a 9mm pistol and .40 magazines!!

  30. Bulldog76 says:

    Nazis used 9mm …Americans used.45ACP so inturn bad guys use 9mm good guys use 45 and im a good guy…. my logic is undeniable. …

    • Gerard says:

      Yeah thats perfect, people who use 9mm are similar to nazi’s that’ll keep this debate under control lol

  31. CWG says:

    Most civilians shooters spend so much time rationalizing their impulse handguns purchases that they start to believe they provide something extraordinarily more effective than what the industries that actually need them have selected.

    There is nothing wrong with buying a gun because it looks cool or is different, from a movie or video game or is what your dad/grandad carried back in the xxxxx.

    Most of the silly caliber/platform debates are a lasting result of the Clinton AWB, where everyone needed to justify to everyone why they “needed this particular tool.”

    Now that it’s okay to just like guns, hopefully enthusiasts will eventually re-learn how to separate collectibles from practical modern fighting tools.

  32. Leebotx says:

    There is no question in a rational objective observation that the wounding potential of 45 is greater than 40 which is in turn greater gun 9 mm. The issue is , is the difference great enough to offset the increase in recoil and reduction in magazine capacity. Only each person can answer that for themselves. As to LAV’s point, all trends favor the 9mm.

    • Chris K. says:

      Read the FBI report on this, it explains why they’re going back to 9mm…

  33. Hubb says:

    With the popularity of pistol caliber carbines on the rise like the Sig MPX, KRISS, and MP5 clones, the 9mm is not going away anytime soon.

  34. SamHill says:

    Great commentary guys.
    There is room in my heart for both the .45 and the 9MM. As far as carry, competition, practice and training I definitely see the advantage in the 9.

  35. John Smith says:

    This…discussion….exemplifies the chief uses of the internet these days:
    Advertising and nihilism.

    • PTMcCain says:

      You forgot the third chief use: posting stupid comments claiming the chief use of the Internet is advertising and nihilism. I’d go with “exstentialism,” but hey, that’s just me.

      • John Smith says:

        Do you mean Existentialism?

        I wouldn’t hazard a guess how you would get to that but hey- that is just you.

  36. Billy says:

    99.9% of the dudes with a similar background/comparable CV, do not publish their CV, anywhere.

    And I agree and one doesn’t need to go to a class, simply look through any FFL’s A&D…the 9 won long ago. Even though one of my 1911s will aways have a place close by.

  37. Lerch says:

    What happened, I blacked out?

  38. lysander6 says:

    Shot placement is job one for lethality, even with a .22.

    Keep your .40 and get a .40-9mm conversion threaded barrel, problem solved.

    The data has been obscured b/c the most profligate use of 9mm in two-way ranges has been Western conventional forces issued FMJ since the end of the War to Save Josef Stalin. Wounding with handgun FMJ tends to be statistically better for survivability than JHP. Wound channels and hypovolemic shock kill, even with a .22.

    Shot placement.

    JHP in 9mm is deadly when delivered to the right address on the anatomy.

    β€œGuns don’t kill people, physics kills people.”

    In the end, your skill at arms is a training issue no matter what caliber you employ in social work.

    Practice does not make perfect, practice makes bad habit. Perfect practice make perfect. You will never exceed your highest level of training.

  39. Harambe says:

    So what we’re saying is the closer 9mmP gets to .40 Velocities, the more effective it is?

  40. Ryan Snow says:

    Paul McCain is like an LAV cheerleader