Why .45 Automatic Colt Pistols are Far From Dead
You must note the following: In reality, the Glock 21 is one of the best and most affordable .45 ACP pistols on the market. The Glock 21 carries thirteen cartridges in a double-stack magazine that is wider than the one from 1911 – but not uncomfortable to hold.
The .45 Automatic Colt Pistol Round, or .45 ACP as it is commonly known, is quite controversial. The .45 ACP was invented in 1905 by prolific gun designer John Moses Browning and has remained the standard caliber of the Colt M1911 pistol to this day. A heavy subsonic bullet, a typical .45 ACP, weighs twice as much as the 9mm Luger cartridge and provides a third more energy.
Thanks to advances in bullet technology, a 9mm cartridge can now deliver as much energy as the .45 ACP. Even so, the .45 ACP is far from dead, as it has also benefited from an increase in performance. Today there are more choices for .45 ACP pistols than ever before as almost all gun manufacturers offer their most advanced, large-caliber, semi-automatic handguns. Here are five of the best .45 ACP pistols available today.
Wilson Combat Tactical Carry
Wilson Combat was founded in 1977 by founder Bill Wilson, a trained watchmaker. For those familiar with the platform, this is a reasonable backdrop for a company that makes custom 1911 handguns. The early 20th century family tree of 1911 involves precisely assembling many small interlocking parts to make a reliable and accurate pistol.
One of the best of a crowded field of 1911 pistols, the Tactical Carry pistol represents the pinnacle of design. Like all full-size “Government” models from 1911, the Tactical Carry has an overall length of 8.7 inches, a 5-inch barrel, and weighs 45.2 ounces when fully loaded. It also has classic 1911 attributes like a checkered front strap, beavertail security, and reduced profile grip security. The Tactical Carry also features a 3.5 to 4.5 pound trigger, fiber optic sights for low-light shooting, and a 1-inch guarantee of accuracy at distances of 25 meters.
Ed Brown Executive Carry
One of the few variants from 1911 that found acceptance in the user community was the “Commander” pistol. Named for the Colt Commander, a pistol intended to be carried by officers, the Commanders feature a shorter 4.25-inch barrel, which is a three-quarter-inch reduction from a standard full-size model (also known as the Government) . The Commander variant became popular with those who wanted a 1911 pistol that was lighter and easier to carry.
The Executive Carry is a great example of the Commander type. Like all 1911s, it has a .45 ACP magazine with a stack of up to eight rounds, just like a government model. The pistol features a bobtail frame and smoothed edges to reduce changes in the pistol that get caught on clothing. The Executive Carry also has a matte stainless steel finish and fiberglass visors.
The Glock 21 is about as far from 1911 as one can imagine in the handgun field. The Glock 21 is an Austrian pistol with a polymer frame and a modern interior design. It’s simply an enlarged version of the original Glock 17 pistol introduced in 1982. Glocks were and are ridiculed as “Tupperware pistols,” which use plastic, in some ways a fatal design flaw.
In reality, the Glock 21 is one of the best and most affordable .45 ACP pistols on the market. The Glock 21 carries thirteen cartridges in a double-stack magazine that is wider than the one from 1911 – but not uncomfortable to hold. Using a polymer frame, the fully loaded Glock 21 weighs almost half a pound less, despite up to five laps more than a typical 1911. The Glock is easier to disassemble and clean than the 1911.
Heckler & Koch HK45
The development of the HK45 can be traced back to the original USP pistol from Heckler & Koch. The USP was developed in the 1990s as an entry in the Offensive Handgun Weapon System Program of the Special Operations Command and adopted by US commandos as the Mark 23 pistol. The HK45 is an evolutionary advance over the USP, which is chambered in .45 ACP.
The HK45 is 8.03 inches long, has a barrel length of 4.46 inches, and weighs just under two pounds with an unloaded magazine. The pistol features a cold-forged, polygonal barrel with polygonal bore for durability and accuracy, controls that can be operated completely with both hands and a Picatinny rail for attaching aiming lights and lasers. It has a single-acting / double-acting operating system and a relaxation lever. An important innovation in the HK45 is a spring-actuated recoil reduction system that, according to Heckler & Koch, reduces recoil by up to 30 percent.
Springfield Armory XD45 Mod 2 service model
The Springfield XD45 was originally developed and imported from Croatia as the HS product HS2000 and is available in calibers 9 mm, .40 Smith & Wesson and .45 ACP. The XD is a double-action pistol fired by a striker with a polymer frame and metal slide. It has an overall length of 7.3 inches with a 4 inch, hammer forged steel tube. Like the 1911 series pistols, it has a grip to prevent accidental unloading.
The two-row, two-row magazine of the XD45 holds thirteen cartridges. At just 1.2 inches, the handle for a double-stack pistol is extremely slim and has aggressive texturing. Shutdown is a simple matter of cleaning the pistol, removing the magazine, pulling a side lever and sliding the slide back. Known for reliability and durability, the XD is one of the most affordable options on this list.
Kyle Mizokami is a San Francisco-based writer who has appeared on The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring, and The Daily Beast. In 2009 he co-founded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami. This article is being republished due to the interest of readers.