The Best .45 ACP Ammo for Range Training

The .45 ACP is perhaps the most iconic of all pistols on the market today. It was designed by firearms legend John M. Browning for Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company in 1905. The round was tested over a period of six years alongside the Colt M1911 pistol. Both excelled during strict military testing and were quickly adopted by the U.S. military as a standard issue equipment, replacing the .38 Long Colt. The M1911 is the longest-standing military and  law enforcement handgun in the world.

The .45 ACP was immediately lauded as the best ammo on the market and was also chosen by the U.S. Cavalry and the U.S. Army. The military used .45 ACP handguns as official sidearms throughout WWI and WWII. They were issued until they were replaced by 9mm semi-autos in 1985.

The .45 ACP has had a regular presence in the history books. It was used in many military conflicts including Iwo Jima, Normandy, Korea, and the Tet Offensive. It was used extensively at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and was a favorite of outlaws Bonnie & Clyde and John Dillinger.

The .45 ACP on the Shooting Range

The .45 ACP is a favorite for range training with amateurs as well as competition shooters. Known for its high accuracy and deep penetration, the .45 ACP is known as a high performance round. It is also preferred by those that like to reload their ammunition or create wildcat rounds, loading their own ammo instead of relying on factory rounds.

Choosing Ammunition

Range training generally has its own set of rules, just like competitions. While governing bodies of most shooting competitions will not recommend specific types or brands of ammunition, they do have guidelines. When choosing ammo for the range, it is best to seek the advice of someone who is accustomed to shooting your specific ammo. Have fun  target shooting with different guns as well as a variety of ammo.

Reliability

Shooters require reliable rounds, so choosing the right ammo for your gun is crucial. Try shooting various bullet weights and brands.

Consistency

Consistency is another important aspect of choosing the correct ammo. Range training is the perfect place to test different types of .45 ACP ammo to gauge what will work best for you and your gun.

Cost

Shooters who spend a significant amount of time on the range can go through hundreds of rounds in a short period of time. Buying ammo online is an easy way to save money. Also consider trying different brands or sampling bulk or surplus ammo. Serious shooters may want to consider reloading rounds.

Testing .45 ACP Ammo

The only way to test ammo is to shoot a couple hundred rounds. There are specific protocols used to test ammunition, even if you don’t feel the need to learn about each type’s ballistics. The data collected during this type of test will help you down the road with making the right choice for ammo, whether you’re a competition shooter, law enforcement, or target shooting on the weekend.

The following is common criteria for collecting ballistics data:

  • Shoot from 10 feet away, which is the average distance in defense situations.
  • Using 4 layers of heavy fabric in front of ballistics gel to simulate real life situations.
  • Ideal penetration is 12-18 inches, enough to do damage without the risk of over-penetration.
  • Make 5 shots with each brand of ammunition to establish an average.

Consider using a compact pistol with a smaller barrel, if you plan to carry concealed. However, a longer barrel will provide greater numbers for muzzle velocity. This information will help you to understand things like penetration and muzzle velocity, as well as how to compare different bullet weights and calibers.

The Best .45 ACP for Range Training

Federal Ammunition: American Eagle 230 Grain FMJ

Federal Ammunition is always at the top of the list for range training. It produces a 230-grain .45 ACP cartridge with a full metal jacket, non-magnetic lead core, and non-corrosive Boxer primer. The brass can be reloaded up to five times, which makes it an affordable choice. The American Eagle .45 ACP is Federal’s newest production ammo, featuring clean-burning powder and ballistics like Federal’s Premium Personal Defense rounds. It is an ideal for practice shooting purposes.

Federal American Eagle Non-Toxic Primer 45 ACP 230 Grain TMJ

Federal’s American Eagle line has a solid reputation for manufacturing quality ammo at a reasonable price. This 230-grain TMJ was made specifically for range training. TMJ bullets fully encase the lead core to include the base of the bullet. They primers are free from toxic metals. It has a muzzle velocity of 890 fps, which is similar to their 230-grain JHP loads. It’s a great product to carry in your range bag.

Federal Classic Hydra–Shok Persona Defense

This 230-grain round has been on the market for a long time. The bullet is made with a central lead post to aid in jacket expansion while keeping the bullet intact. This allows the bullet to give consistent performance and is preferred by agencies like the FBI.

Federal Ammunition Personal Defense

Federal Ammunition Company produces a 230 grain jacketed hollow point (JHP). It is often called the best large caliber for self-defense regarding to accuracy, precision, and penetration while maintaining close to 100% weight retention.

Hornady Ammunition Duty Defense JHP

Hornady manufactures this 220-grain, .45 ACP +P ammo is an FTX that offers ultimate stopping power. It has similar characteristics of Hornady’s cartridges, offering accuracy, precision, and penetration with maximum expansion.

Magtech Ammunition FMC

Magtech Ammunition has been manufacturing ammo since 1926. They produce all components used in their ammo including the powder, primer, and projectiles. The company’s strict quality standards ensure this 230-grain round will be reliable. Magtech’s reputation and high quality ammo have put them at the forefront of the industry.

Speer Ammunition Gold Dot JHP

Speer’s Gold Dot has an outstanding reputation for delivering clean products. This 230-grain jacketed hollow point (JHP) is an accurate round that gives controlled penetration that’s powerful enough to stop any threat.

Winchester Service Grade .45 ACP 230 Grain FMJ

Winchester is one of the oldest manufacturers in the country for good reason – they consistently deliver quality ammunition. Winchester Service Grade 230-grain FMJ is intended for those who spend a lot of time at the range and demand a reliable, clean-burning target ammo. They use new brass and Boxer primer to offer a highly accurate round to last you through your time at the range or throughout the competition.

Conclusion

Target shooting and range training are activities that can help you improve your skills while having fun with friends and family. Knowing which ammunition to use only enhances the experience as you hit the bullseye each time. To learn more about the .45 ACP check out this guide on “The Best .45 ACP Ammo For Self-Defense, Target Shooting, and More.”

Sports Shooting For Kids

Youth Sport Shooting Competition

You think your kid may be a natural in the sports shooting arena, and you want to get him involved. Sports shooting can teach kids several skills including responsibility, independent learning, handling peer pressure, and functioning in stressful situations. However, there are some things to consider before you get started. Consider the child’s age, interest, and ability to focus.

Age

There are differing opinions on the age when a child should be introduced to guns. Some organizations will start at age 8 while others suggest ages 10 and above. For the most part, it depends upon the child’s interest and maturity level. Children at younger ages tend to start off with simple weapons like BB guns and air rifles. As the child ages, the weapons become bigger and more lethal.

Interest

One parent stated that you should wait until the child expresses interest in guns before heading out to the range. If a child is not interested in shooting, then pushing the issue is not going to have a great result. Consider the reason for wanting to teach the kid to shoot. Is it because he is interested or simply because you want a plinking buddy or future Olympian? No matter what the reason, start off easy and gauge if it’s a sport that interests your child.

Ability To Focus

The ability to focus is the most important aspect when it comes to being educated about guns. A child should never be given a gun without knowing the basics and being versed in safety. Keep the instructions short and to the point, but reinforce it often. If the child only wants to play and refuses to listen to the rules, then forging ahead can lead to disaster. Table the activity or choose another sport that is less dangerous.

Lessons Learned

There are many lessons that can be learned from sports shooting. Many can be transferred to other areas of a child’s life. The best part is that the child will probably not realize he’s in a school of a different kind.

Learning To Fail

Learning to fail may be one of the best skills we can teach our children. While no one wants to fail, it creates great opportunity for growth. A child that never learns to fail won’t be able to handle it when things don’t go his or her way. In sports, success and failure are instantaneous. If you hit a target, you’ll know it. If you miss, that too is obvious. It gives the child the chance to use critical thinking to correct what went wrong and fix it. Success after a failure is more powerful than hitting the target on the first try.

Competition

Sports shooting is highly competitive and can teach the child how to challenge himself. In competition kids are often pitted against adults. This may seem unfair but it’s one of life’s best lessons. It creates persistence and tenacity. Additionally, children will be exposed to every type of competitor, from the newest of the new to old timers that have been competing before their parents were born. It teaches children how to relate to people in other age groups, learn from experience, and perhaps gain a mentor.

Quality Time

Shooting sports are not age or gender specific. Unlike Hannah’s soccer game or Bobby’s wrestling match, shooting is a sport that everyone can participate in at the same time. The entire family can have a great day plinking or attending a competition. If one or more members of a family compete, the family may have the opportunity to travel across the country. It’s a bonding experience that will last a lifetime.

Education

Ray LeBlond said, “You learn something every day if you pay attention.” What can shooting sports teach children? Critical thinking, time management, math, and physics, for starters. Children who participate in sports show much higher levels of success in math and science than children who do not.

Choosing a Sports Shooting Rifle

Introducing Shooting

 The Gun

After educating your child on the basics and safety procedures involved in shooting, the next step would be to find an appropriate gun. Until you gauge your child’s interest in sports shooting, using a gun already on hand is the smartest and most economical way to go. When choosing a gun, make sure it’s one that the child can handle safely. If a child is injured on his first day out, chances are that’s the end of it.

When choosing a gun, consider if the child is best suited to using a rifle or a handgun. Also, consider the ammo needed and the amount of recoil. 

Fun Targets

Shooting should be fun, especially for kids. To keep it light, pick out some fun targets. There are paper targets on the market that incorporate several games to keep the child’s interest. Family members can compete against each other in a lighthearted way. It builds the child’s confidence and skill level without adding pressure. You might also want to choose tin cans or steel targets that create a noise when hit. Moving forward, you may want to incorporate skeet shooting. Every kid likes to see things explode.

Keep it Simple

Remember that teaching shooting should be easy and fun. Approaching a lesson like an Olympic trial isn’t going to make the kid want to continue. Always keep safety measures in mind, but create games to engage the child. If the child makes a mistake, point out what he did right and help him to correct his mistakes in a gentle way. Pushing too hard will cause a child to lose interest.

Bring a Friend

Kids like to be around other kids. If your child has a friend who would like to tag along, encourage it. Maybe that friend has a parent or sibling that also enjoys shooting. Creating a fun day out will only encourage your child to continue, and by continuing, to improve.