What Acp stand for in Ammo – A question that often comes up is what ACP means when it comes to guns and ammo. We see this expression a lot and how it came about is a very interesting story.
Most of us know:
The invention of the automatic pistol changed the landscape of guns.
But there was a problem …
The emergence of relatively compact and slim semi-automatic pistols required caliber standardization.
Many revolvers required slide cartridges that remain in the barrel after being unloaded.
However, semi-automatic pistols, such as the Colt 1911, did not require rimmed cartridges.
In fact, if the rim exceeded the diameter of the bullet, there was a risk of the handle jamming or locking.
Browning recognized that the Colt 1911 needed a cartridge that would be ejected after being unloaded and easily loaded into a magazine.
Anyone who has owned or fired this pistol knows that a very specific bullet caliber is required: the .45 ACP.
This brings us to the main question, which we will answer.
What does ACP stand for?
The abbreviation stands for “Colt Automatic Pistol.” The double meaning of this abbreviation is as follows:
1. To inform the engineer or gunsmith
2. To inform the consumer
When you plug in the cartridge, you specify that Colt designed this cartridge specifically for their pistols.
That’s clever marketing, right?
The distinction had to be made technically and for the consumer.
Browning labeled these new pistol cartridges – like the 32 or 45 automatic – as Colt Automatic Pistol cartridges. This name was shortened to ACP.
Same caliber, different bullet
A cartridge like the .45 ACP is not interchangeable with other varieties of .45 caliber cartridges available on the market.
A notable example would be the Colt .45, also known as the Colt .45 Long.
The major difference between a 45 ACP cartridge and a 45 Colt cartridge is an additional 10 millimeters of length for the Long Colt and a protruding rim at its base.
This made the 45 Colt ideal for revolvers. The .45 ACP cartridge was designed only for semi-automatic pistols.
Revolvers, such as Colt’s M1917, can accept ACP cartridges.
However, most revolvers are designed for slide cartridges and the ACP cartridge does not have a prominent slide.
It would be dangerous to load a 45 ACP cartridge in a 45 Colt revolver. It would be disastrous to load a .45 Colt in a gun that accepts the .45 ACP.
The two cartridges are different sizes, even though they are the same caliber.
The loss of length of the .45 ACP also sacrifices ball speed. But the .45 ACP is just one example among many other Colt automatic pistol calibers.
Colt invented a wide variety of firearms. It became necessary to start designating each gauge with a system that made sense for the company.
Some notable Colt automatic pistol calibers are .25, .32, .380, .38 and .45.
All these indicators are designated with an “ACP” at the end. However, these cartridges are also called “cars”.
For example, if you walk into an armory and ask the dealer for a box of .32 ACP or .32, they will give you the same box of ammo.
There is no difference other than the system used to designate this particular ammo.
The situation becomes interesting when you consider the place this ammo holds in the field of short guns.
Automatic Colt Pistol Calibers
The .25, .32, .38 and .380 automatic calibers are very compact and lightweight cartridges. The .380 ACP is two millimeters shorter than the 9 x 19 millimeter Parabellum.
This makes it very compact and easy to fit in smaller pistols, such as the Bersa Thunder or the older Walther PPK.
The .25 ACP is only three-quarters of a millimeter wider and one millimeter longer than the .22 Long Rifle (5.6 x 15 millimeters).
This makes the .25 ACP an extremely lightweight cartridge. Found primarily in derringers and highly concealable semi-automatic pistols.
It was Ian Flemming’s initial choice when he began writing about James Bond.
What Acp stand for in Ammo – He was then mentioned by someone more experienced in firearms that the .25 ACP was an extremely weak cartridge.
Speaking of low power, before the innovations in smokeless gunpowder, many Colt automatic pistol cartridges were considered extremely low power.
The .25 and .32 ACP calibers are still used by some European police forces. The .380 Auto is extremely popular as a pistol caliber for carrying concealed weapons, but many people complain about the penetration of this cartridge into ballistic gel.
Of all the cartridges, the .45 ACP became the most famous because it was used in the Thompson submachine gun and the Colt 1911A1 semi-automatic pistol.
It has earned its place in American nostalgia.
The only cartridge that is no longer in production is the .38 ACP.
The .38 ACP was an attempt to move the caliber of the world from research revolvers to short guns.
It never got off the ground. Recently, Sig Sauer tried to bring the caliber back into their pistol line and this cartridge is now known as the .38 SIG.
In terms of power and stopping potential, the .38 caliber has always been inferior to its older and more powerful cousin, the 357 Magnum.
Colt was not the only company to put its name on the gauges
What Acp stand for in Ammo – While we may recognise popular calibers like the .45 ACP or .380 ACP, it is important to know that Colt was not the only company to use this trick.
– .300 Winchester Magnum (7.62 x 67 millimeter)
– .30-06 Springfield (7.62 x 63 mm)
– .308 Winchester (7.62 x 51 mm)
– 0.40 S&W (Smith & Wesson, a 10mm pistol)
– 0.45 GAP (“Glock Automatic Pistol”, slightly wider and shorter than the 0.45 ACP)
What Acp stand for in Ammo – As armies and police forces required standardization of ammo, some bullets were easier to find than others.
If you have a pistol chambered in 0.45 GAP or 0.38 SIG, you will immediately notice the difference in price per cartridge compared to the Luger 9 x 19 mm.
In summary, the term “ACP” refers to Colt’s designation for the cartridge used in the production of its various firearms.
The term “Colt Automatic Pistol” is interchangeable with “Automatic”, but is not interchangeable with other cartridges of the same caliber.