February 28, 2020 7:00:00 AM PST
6 Awesome Choices Of .45 Pistol For CCW
Trying to nail down the best .45 pistol for concealed carry? We have some solid candidates for you.
Some people are going to whine about this list, probably because we left out this or that or what have you. Well, you can’t always please everyone. Even Led Zeppelin didn’t write tunes everyone liked; they left that to the Bee Gees.
But that said, here are 6 rock-solid choices. You might find something you like a little more, but you won’t go wrong with any of these .45 pistols as a carry gun.
It’s a polymer world out there, and one of the best poly-frame, striker-fired .45 pistols for daily carry is the Glock 30. There are, in fact, two compact Glock .45 ACP pistols, the Glock 36 and the Glock 30. The 36 is a single-stack, the 30 uses a double-stack magazine.
The Glock 30 and Glock 36 both employ the same 3.8-inch barrel, and ultimately the difference between them is the Glock 30 is only 0.2 inches wider (1.38 inches in width overall) yet carries 10 rounds in the standard magazine compared to the 6-round capacity of the 36’s magazine. With that, you get the Glock operating system, which is dead simple and dead reliable.
So why the 30 instead of the 36, which is slimmer? 0.2 inches in extra width won’t make it unconcealable, and you get 4 more rounds, which is nothing to sneeze at. Unless you had a compelling reason not to (like the 36 just fits you better) why wouldn’t you?
GLOCK 30 HOLSTERS
S&W Performance Center M&P45 Shield: Compact .45 Pistol With Bells And Whistles
If you wanted a compact .45 pistol of the polymer frame, striker-fired variety, it’s worth dropping a little extra cash for the S&W Performance Center M&P45 Shield. The additions to the gun make it worth the extra expense.
The basics of the 45 Shield are still there; 6+1 or 7+1 of .45 ACP, with a 3.5-inch barrel and the M&P striker-fired trigger system. The base 45 Shield is a very decent pistol, but it’s what the Performance Center variant adds. The barrel and slide are ported, helping to tame muzzle climb, which is important in a small pistol firing a big bullet. Tritium night sights (or HiViz fiber optics) are also added by the factory, and the action is tuned by the Smith and Wesson Performance Center
While those upgrades cost you – MSRP is $636 – it would cost you more to get that work done on your own, and will pay off in terms of easier shooting.
S&W M&P45 SHIELD HOLSTERS
Charter Arms Pitbull: A Compact Revolver As A .45 Pistol?!
A .45 pistol with a cylinder?! That’s a thing?! It sure is, and there’s a compact revolver chambered in .45 ACP that you might consider, if you’re into such things.
The Charter Arms Pitbull is a 5-shot snubby revolver, with a 2.5-inch barrel. The rear sight is a top strap notch, with a metal blade front sight. However, the Pitbull – which is also offered in 9mm and .40 S&W – has a party piece.
Unlike other revolvers made for 9mm and .45 ACP cartridges, it isn’t made to be used with moon clips. Charter Arms installs small tabs, just inside the mouth of the cylinder. The rim of cartridge headspaces on the tab, keeping it in place and ensuring reliable ejection.
Granted, it’s just 5 rounds, but if you wanted a .45 pistol that was as simple as all get-out…they don’t get much simpler.
H&K USP Compact: An Upscale .45 Pistol For Daily Carry
The H&K USP 45 Compact is a touch on the big side, but it’s compact enough to be tenable as a concealed carry gun. However, since it does have a bit of heft, that means it will be controllable.
The USP is a classic service-type pistol, with a DA/SA firing system and a decocking safety mounted on the frame. There’s an accessory rail for mounting a light, a polymer frame to save weight. However, unlike the HK 45 Compact, it’s actually compact, with a 3.78-inch barrel, putting overall specs close to that of a Glock 19. Capacity is 8+1 or 10+1, depending on the magazine.
It’s one of the few pistols of the type in .45 ACP that are legitimate compacts. Granted, you’ll pay for the privilege; MSRP starts at $1100…but you’re paying for quality.
H&K USP COMPACT HOLSTERS
S&W M&P45 Subcompact .45 Pistol
Let’s say you want a .45 pistol of the modern variety, but could stand a slightly bigger gun. In that case, the S&W M&P45 Subcompact is a slightly larger take on the 45 Shield. Overall dimensions, with a 4-inch barrel and 8+1 standard capacity, are roughly equivalent with the Glock 19, so it’s plenty concealable.
The larger grip and trigger reach make this pistol a bit more shootable than the M&P45 Shield, and the 4-inch barrel and longer sight radius might make it a tad more accurate for some folks. While compactness makes for easier concealment, it doesn’t always mean easier shooting, and you need to be able to make accurate hits with a carry gun. Some people find a slightly bigger pistol helps in this regard
S&W M&P45C HOLSTERS
Colt (Or Anyone’s, Really) Lightweight Commander .45 Pistol
Any list of .45 pistols that doesn’t include a 1911 is just plain wrong. DUH. The gun and the cartridge were LITERALLY made for each other.
While the original configuration – the “Government” frame – is obviously a good fighting pistol, arguably the best version for carrying is a Lightweight Commander. The Commander size reduces barrel length to 4.25 inches (4 inches from some manufacturers) making it a bit shorter. While the Officer frame configuration is even smaller, many people find the Commander – or alternatively the CCO, a Commander slide on Officer frame – is the best balance between compact size and shootability.
Lightweight models employ an aluminum alloy frame, reducing overall weight – depends on who makes it – by up to 8 ounces, with some models tipping the scales at as little as 29 ounces. A number of manufacturers make lightweight models including Springfield Armory, Dan Wesson, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Kimber, Colt (naturally!) as well as a few others.
1911 COMMANDER HOLSTERS
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