9mm vs 45-70: Which is Best for Your Self Defense?

As a responsible gun owner, choosing the correct ammunition for self-defense is critical. Two popular options for self-defense are 9mm and 45-70 ammunition. 9mm ammunition is a popular choice for self-defense due to its widespread availability, easy handling, and manageable recoil.

glock 9mmm handgun

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It is a pistol cartridge that is the most commonly used caliber for personal defense and is inexpensive. It is used by law enforcement agencies worldwide.

On the other hand, 45-70 ammunition is a rifle cartridge that has been around for more than 150 years and is known for its incredible stopping power. With these two options available, deciding which is right for self-defense can be challenging. Pros and Cons of 9mm for Self Defense

The 9mm is popular for many gun owners when choosing the best self-defense firearm. This versatile ammunition offers a range of advantages and disadvantages, which should be carefully considered before making a decision.



One of the most significant advantages of the 9mm for self-defense is its availability and affordability. It’s widely available in most gun stores and online, making it easy to find and purchase. Additionally, it’s less expensive compared to other calibers, which is ideal for gun owners who want to save money on ammunition.

Another advantage of the 9mm is its low recoil. This feature makes it easier to shoot accurately and quickly, even for novice shooters. It also enables faster follow-up shots, which can be critical in self-defense.

In addition, the 9mm offers high-capacity magazines, allowing you to carry more rounds in a single magazine than other calibers. This is particularly important in self-defense, where you may need to defend yourself against multiple attackers.


One disadvantage of the 9mm is it is stopping power. While it’s an adequate self-defense caliber, it may not be as effective in stopping an attacker as larger caliber rounds. This is because 9mm bullets are smaller and lighter and may not penetrate as deeply as heavier bullets.

Another disadvantage of the 9mm is its limited penetration. It may be less effective against heavily clothed attackers or those behind barriers. This is especially true when using standard or hollow-point rounds. However, some specially designed 9mm self-defense rounds offer better penetration and stopping power.

Lastly, while the 9mm is generally considered reliable, it may not be as reliable as other calibers. This is particularly true with some types of ammunition, especially those designed for target shooting rather than self-defense. Choosing high-quality, reliable ammunition when using the 9mm for self-defense is essential.

In conclusion, while the 9mm has advantages and disadvantages, it’s still an excellent choice for self-defense. With proper training, choosing the correct ammunition, and selecting a reliable firearm, the 9mm can offer effective self-defense.

Pros and Cons of 45-70 for Self Defense

Considering a 45-70 for self-defense purposes, you must understand the pros and cons before deciding. Though this caliber is less popular than the 9mm, it has advantages and disadvantages.


  1. Stopping Power: The 45-70 cartridge is a powerful round that can stop an attacker in their tracks. It has a larger diameter and heavier weight than most handgun rounds, making it more effective in stopping an assailant.
  2.  Range: The 45-70 range is more extended than most handgun calibers, making it a viable option for hunting and self-defense.
  3.  Versatility: The 45-70 can be loaded with various bullet types and weights, making it a versatile cartridge for multiple applications.


  1. Recoil: A 45-70 recoil can be pretty intense due to its large size and weight. This may make handling difficult for some shooters, especially in rapid-fire scenarios.
  2.  Capacity: Most firearms that chamber the 45-70 cartridge have a limited capacity, often only holding one to five rounds. This can be a disadvantage in situations where multiple shots are required.
  3.  Cost: The 45-70 is less commonly used than other calibers, making it more expensive and harder to find.

Ultimately, whether or not the 45-70 is a good choice for self-defense comes down to personal preference and situation. When deciding, it is crucial to consider the advantages and disadvantages and factors such as recoil and capacity. If you decide that 45-70 is not the right caliber, consider checking out our article 9mm vs. 45-70: Which is Best for Your Self-Defense? for information on the popular 9mm caliber.

Comparison of 9mm and 45-70 for Self Defense

When choosing a caliber for self-defense, it’s essential to consider various factors. This section compares the 9mm and 45-70 cartridges in their stopping power, recoil, accuracy, capacity, and cost.

Stopping Power

Stopping power is the ability of a bullet to incapacitate an attacker. While the 45-70 is a robust round commonly used for hunting large game, the 9mm is a popular choice for self-defense due to its higher capacity and ease of use. However, if placed correctly, both cartridges can deliver enough stopping power to neutralize a threat.


Recoil is the backward movement of a firearm upon firing. The 45-70 has significantly more recoil than the 9mm, which can be difficult for some shooters to manage. The 9 mm recoil is manageable, making it a popular choice for beginners and those who want to practice more frequently without being fatigued by the recoil.


Accuracy is crucial in self-defense situations, where precise shot placement can make all the difference. The 9mm is generally more accurate than the 45-70 due to its lower recoil and ease of handling. However, the 45-70 can be precise with proper technique and training.


Capacity refers to the number of rounds a firearm can hold. The 9mm has a higher capacity than the 45-70, with many popular models holding 15 or more rounds. The 45-70, on the other hand, typically has a much lower capacity, with most rifles holding only a few rounds. This makes the 9mm a better option for self-defense situations where multiple shots may be necessary.


Cost is another important factor to consider when choosing a caliber for self-defense. The 9mm is generally less expensive than the 45-70, with more widely available ammunition and firearms. This makes it a more economical choice for those on a budget.

In summary, both the 9mm and 45-70 have advantages and disadvantages regarding stopping power, recoil, accuracy, capacity, and cost. When choosing between the two, it’s essential to consider personal preference, the purpose of the firearm, and legal considerations. Ultimately, the best caliber for self-defense is the one you feel most comfortable and confident using.

Factors to Consider in Choosing Between 9mm and 45-70 for Self Defense

When choosing between 9mm and 45-70 for self-defense, several factors must be considered. These factors include personal preference, the purpose of the firearm, and legal considerations.

Personal Preference

Personal preference is an essential factor to consider when choosing a self-defense firearm. The type of firearm you choose should feel comfortable in your hand and be easy for you to operate. Some people prefer the feel and size of a smaller 9mm handgun for concealed carry. In contrast, others may pick the larger, more powerful 45-70 rifle for home defense.

Purpose of the Firearm

The purpose of the firearm is another critical factor to consider. If you are looking for a gun that is easy to carry for personal protection when out and about, a compact 9mm handgun may be the best choice. On the other hand, if you are looking for a firearm to defend your home, a larger 45-70 rifle may be more suitable due to its increased stopping power and longer range.

Legal Considerations

Legal considerations are also important when choosing a self-defense firearm. It is important to research the laws in your state and ensure that the firearm you choose is legal for you to own and carry. Additionally, you should consider the legal consequences of using lethal force in self-defense and ensure you are prepared to handle the aftermath.

In conclusion, when choosing between 9mm and 45-70 for self-defense, it is important to consider personal preference, the purpose of the firearm, and legal considerations. By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose the best gun for your needs.


Choosing between 9mm and 45-70 for self-defense ultimately boils down to personal preference and the intended purpose of the firearm.

If you prioritize accuracy, capacity, and cost, 9mm is your better option. It is a widely available and affordable ammunition that can be comfortably carried and fired in various handguns. Many high-quality 9mm self-defense ammo options offer reliable stopping power and penetration.

On the other hand, if you value sheer stopping power and are willing to sacrifice capacity and cost, then 45-70 is the way to go. It is a powerful and effective round that can take down even the most significant game animals, let alone any human attacker. However, it is essential to note that 45-70 is not a practical choice for concealed carry or home defense due to its size, weight, and recoil.

Ultimately, the choice between 9mm and 45-70 for self-defense is subjective and should be made based on your needs and preferences. Be sure to consider all the factors we’ve discussed, such as stopping power, recoil, accuracy, capacity, and cost, as well as any legal considerations in your area.

Whatever your choice, remember that proper training, practice, and responsible gun ownership are essential for effective self-defense.

Darren is a proud and patriotic individual who firmly believes in upholding the principles of the Second Amendment. As a concealed gun carrier, he understands the importance of personal protection and the right to bear arms.