Best .45 ACP Pistols

If you are searching for the best .45 ACP pistol on the market, you have come to the right place! We have compiled some of the best 45 handguns on the market into one convenient list.

What is the .45 ACP?

The .45 ACP is a pistol cartridge that was developed in the early 20th century for use in handguns by military and law enforcement firearms.

The .45 ACP has long been lauded as a man-stopper in its classic 230 FMJ loading, which stays subsonic, making it compatible with suppressors.

It has proven itself across millions of rounds as the supreme self-defense round, with its battle-hardened performance earning it loyal fans across generations.

The cartridge remains popular today due to its versatility and power, making it an excellent choice for both competition shooters and those looking for personal defense.

The .45 ACP is a popular choice for home defense due to its large size, stopping power, and reliability. The best .45 ACP pistol for home defense would be one that is well-made, has a good feel in the hand, and is reliable under pressure.

Examples of suitable pistols include the Glock G21 Gen 5, Sig Sauer P220 Legion, and Springfield Armory XD.

When evaluating potential .45 ACP pistols for home defense purposes, it is important to consider factors such as size/weight balance, ease of use/maintenance/cleaning features, accuracy when firing at close-range targets or longer distances, and reliability under stress conditions or after prolonged use without maintenance.

The .45 ACP (also known as the .45 Auto) is a medium-caliber pistol cartridge first developed in the early 20th century. It was designed as an upgrade from .38 caliber rounds, which were insufficient for military use.

The cartridge has seen official action across two World Wars and several other conflicts, incursions, and operations since its adoption by the 1911; this battle-hardened performance keeps many older shooters loyal while attracting new ones into the caliber.

Best .45 ACP Pistols for Home Defense

Glock 21

Best .45 ACP Pistol: Glock 21 Gen 5 MOS

The Glock 21 is an excellent choice for home defense due to its high ammo capacity, ultra-reliable performance, and reasonable price.

The Gen 5 MOS model is built more ruggedly than previous versions and features dual recoil springs for increased durability and features a Modular Optics System.

It also has a modular backstrap that allows new owners to set it up to fit their hands better.

The magazine release is reversible, allowing for quick switching from left-side to right-side usage.

Furthermore, the Glock 21 offers a 13+1 magazine capacity with its 8.7-inch overall length and 4.61-inch barrel making it one of the best mid-priced full-size .45 pistols available on the market today.

The Glocks’ safe action safety feature ensures no fumbling when using it in an emergency situation, making it ideal for home defense use.

Best .45 ACP Pistol Glock 21

Glock 21

Caliber: .45ACP
Weight: 29.10 oz
Capacity: 13

Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0

smith wesson 45 m2

The Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield M is an excellent choice for home defense or concealed carry due to its compact size, lightweight construction, and reliable performance.

The subcompact pistol has a black polymer frame with aggressive texturing for a secure grip even when wet or sweaty.

It also has a stainless steel slide with Armornite finish for enhanced durability. Additionally, the 3.3-inch barrel makes it easier to maneuver in tight spaces while still providing sufficient accuracy at distances up to 15 yards or more.

The gun comes equipped with two magazines; one with six rounds and another extended mag that holds seven rounds plus one in the chamber for quick self-defense purposes.

The Shield 45 offers an upgraded version from Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center. It includes upgrades like night sights and other features at an additional cost – making it an even better choice than its standard counterpart for home defense use!

Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0

Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0

Caliber: .45ACP
Weight: 22.9 oz
Capacity: 6+1
Price Check: PSA | | Sportsmans

Sig Sauer P220

sig p220

The Sig Sauer P220 Pistol is an excellent choice for home defense due to its lightweight aluminum frame, crisp trigger pull, accuracy and reliability.

It offers an eight-round capacity in single-stack magazines and has high visibility night sights for better target acquisition in low-light conditions.

Its front cocking serrations help with cycling the action or clearing the firearm and the slimmed-down beavertail provides improved recoil control.

With these features combined with its legendary durability proven in combat situations worldwide, the P220 is an excellent choice for home defense.

sig p220

Sig Sauer P220

Caliber: .45ACP
Weight: 22.9 oz
Capacity: 6+1

Springfield Armory XD-M

The Springfield Armory XD-M is a good choice for home defense due to its features, such as a grip safety, an accessory rail for lights or lasers, and interchangeable backstraps.

This pistol has a 4.5-inch match-grade barrel which improves accuracy and reduces recoil when shooting.

It ships with two 13-round magazines for plenty of ammunition. Additionally, the pistol’s overall length is 7.7 inches, and it weighs 31 ounces, making it easy to carry around the house or keep in a safe place while still being able to access it if needed in an emergency situation quickly.

HK45 Tactical

HK45 Tactical .45 ACP Pistol

The HK45 Tactical is an excellent choice for home defense due to its high-quality construction, advanced features, and impressive specifications.

The gun has a threaded barrel and adjustable Tru-Glo high-profile sights that can be used with or without a suppressor, as well as two 10-round magazines.

The slide is blued and there are grip knurls front and rear for improved ergonomics.

Finally, the trigger is DA/SA but can be easily switched to right-handed operation if desired.

Overall this full-size .45ACP offers great value for those looking for a reliable handgun for home defense purposes.

Overall this full-size .45ACP offers great value for those looking for a reliable handgun for home defense purposes.

hk45 tactical 45 pistol

HK45 Tactical

Caliber: .45ACP
Weight: 31.20 oz
Capacity: 10
Price Check: PSA | EuroOptic

Rock Island M 1911 GI Standard

rock island 1911 gi standard

The Rock Island M 1911 GI Standard is an solid choice for home defense because of its durability, low profile sights for snag-free holstering, 7 round capacity, and price point.

The pistol has a non-reflective parkerized finish that provides extra protection against wear and tear while remaining easy to handle.

Its 4 to 6 lb trigger pull allows for accurate shots every time while its well-balanced weight makes it comfortable to handle during prolonged use.

rock island 1911 gi standard

Rock Island 1911 GI Standard

Caliber: .45ACP
Weight: 2.14 lbs
Capacity: 8

Ruger Redhawk .45 ACP/.45 Colt

ruger redhawk 45acp 45colt

The Ruger Redhawk .45 ACP/.45 Colt is a great choice due to its large frame, heavy weight and smooth double-action trigger pull.

The heavy weight helps tame the recoil of the powerful .45 ACP rounds it’s chambered for, making shooting this revolver feel comparable to shooting a smaller caliber handgun.

The smooth double-action trigger pull also makes it easier for shooters who are unfamiliar with revolvers to use the gun effectively in self-defense situations.

ruger redhawk 45acp 45colt

Ruger Redhawk

Caliber: .45ACP
Weight: 44 oz
Capacity: 6

FN FNX-45 Tactical

fn fnx45 tactical

The FN FNX-45 Tactical is a great choice for home defense due to its many high-quality features.

First, it has a cold hammer-forged threaded barrel that allows for the attachment of suppressors and other accessories.

The pistol also comes with two mounting bases, allowing you to easily mount red dot sights without having to remove the factory night sights.

Its large 15-round magazine capacity provides plenty of firepower in case of an emergency situation.

The double action/single action trigger provides an accurate shot every time while also allowing for quick follow-up shots if necessary.

fn fnx45 tactical

FN FNX-45 Tactical

Caliber: .45ACP
Weight: 33.3 oz
Capacity: 15
Price Check: Sportsmans | PSA

Kimber 1911 Stainless II

kimber 1911 stainless ii

The Kimber 1911 Stainless II is an excellent choice for home defense due to its reliability, accuracy, and advanced features.

The stainless steel frame and slides have a satin silver finish for a polished look, while the 5″ carbon steel barrel has a match-grade stainless steel bushing to reduce recoil and ensure accuracy.

Its aluminum match-grade trigger gives you an easy pull of 4-5 lbs, while the synthetic double-diamond checkered grips are low profile for comfortable shooting.

kimber 1911 stainless ii

Kimber 1911 Stainless II

Caliber: .45ACP
Weight: 38 oz
Capacity: 7
Price Check: Grab-A-Gun | | Sportsmans

Beretta Px4 Storm

beretta px4 storm

The Beretta Px4 Storm is a unique-looking pistol and comes in a number of different calibers, including .45 ACP.

The pistol has a cold hammer forged rotary barrel which reduces muzzle flip and allows you to stay on target for consistent follow-up shots.

It is good for both left- and right-handed shooters with an ambidextrous safety and reversible magazine release.

Like most modern pistols it has interchangeable backstraps for improved grip and a Picatinny rail on the bottom for accessories.

Its simple snag-free design allows for fluid drawing from holsters or other areas of concealment making it ideal for home defense scenarios where quick access is essential.

beretta px4 storm

Beretta Px4 Storm

Caliber: .45ACP
Weight: 27.7 oz
Capacity: 9-10

Sig Sauer P320

Stock Photo of Sig P320

The Sig Sauer P320 Pistol is an excellent choice for home defense due to its lightweight and modular design, as well as its durable polymer frame and solid steel frames.

It features a striker fire operating system with a crisp trigger and pronounced reset for smooth shooting, an ambidextrous slide catch lever, reversible magazine release, Picatinny rail for your favorite accessories, and night sights standard on the Nitron Compact model.

With 9+1 rounds of .45ACP firepower in a compact package, the P320 Pistol is perfect for those looking to protect their home or family in any situation.

It also comes in multiple sizes and one is bound to meet your needs.

Stock Photo of Sig P320

Sig Sauer P320

Caliber: .45ACP
Weight: 29.5 oz
Capacity: 17

What to consider when choosing a .45 ACP pistol for home defense?


When choosing a .45 ACP pistol for home defense, it is important to consider factors such as the pistol’s length, height, width, and weight. You should also consider the magazine capacity and whether or not it has a threaded barrel for use with a suppressor.

When comparing different models of .45 ACP pistols, you should keep in mind that some may have features that make them more suitable than others for home defense purposes.

For example, pistols with DA/SA hammer-fired mechanisms tend to be heavier in weight compared to those with DA/SA striker-fired mechanisms.

Additionally, some models offer more versatility regarding magazine capacity or threaded barrels than others.


When selecting a .45 ACP pistol for home defense, it is important to consider the capacity of the firearm.

Most models can hold between 6 and 10 rounds, with aftermarket magazines extending this slightly.

Glock is one of the top names in reliability and capacity when it comes to .45 ACP handguns, with models such as the G21 offering a total capacity of 14 shots.

For concealed carry purposes, carrying 17-round magazines of .45 ACP may draw attention since they are larger than most 9 mm pistols which can accommodate standard magazines of 15 rounds or larger.

Barrel length

The barrel length of a .45 ACP pistol is an important factor to consider when choosing one because longer barrels are usually better when it comes to accuracy.

Short-barreled ultra-compact pistols designed for concealed carry are typically less accurate, as John Browning designed the cartridge in 1904 for a 6-inch long slide that allowed it to fully burn a powder charge and produce low bullet speed.

One consideration to keep in mind is modern hollow points may choke up if manufacturers haven’t optimized their feed ramp profile so it’s important to research which guns are capable of being used with self-defense ammo before making your purchase decision.

Finally, recoil becomes more noticeable with shorter barrels meaning that training should be undertaken before using one in everyday carry.

Muzzlebrake Configuration

Muzzlebrake configurations for a .45 ACP pistol can include:

  • Threaded barrel with a suppressor: This configuration allows shooters to reduce recoil and muzzle jump by reducing the speed of the exiting bullet. It also reduces noise levels for better stealth.
  • Non-threaded barrel with a muzzle brake: This type of brake attaches directly to the end of the barrel and works by redirecting gas pressure away from the shooter’s face, reducing felt recoil and muzzle jump.
  • No muzzle brake/no threaded barrel: For those who do not want to add any additional weight or length to their firearm, this option leaves the standard muzzle rise and flip intact

Rate of fire

The rate of fire for a .45 ACP pistol is typically between 500 and 600 rounds per minute.

This rate can vary depending on the make and model of the pistol, as well as how experienced the user is with it.

Generally speaking, however, the rate of fire is simply a statistic that’s fun to say any modern weapon will have a rate of fire sufficient for self-defense.

Overall weight

Overall weight is an important factor to consider when choosing a .45 ACP pistol because it affects the recoil of the gun and your ability to control it.

The .45 ACP is considered a heavy pistol, with most models weighing over 30 oz. This added weight can make controlling the recoil different depending on the model and weight.

Additionally, heavier pistols are more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces or while carrying them around concealed.

Weight Distribution

Weight distribution refers to the distribution of weight between different parts of a weapon.

When choosing the best .45 ACP pistol, it is important to consider the weight distribution of the pistol as it can affect your ability to handle recoil effectively.

A pistol with a larger frame will generally have more weight distributed toward its frame compared to smaller pistols, which means it will be more comfortable to hold and fire.

A larger frame provides many benefits when choosing a .45 ACP pistol for home defense, including increased comfort and stability when holding and firing the gun.

Additionally, having more space for accessories such as sights or lights helps ensure that they aren’t obstructing your grip while shooting.

Having proper weight distribution is essential in ensuring that you have control over your weapon when firing so that you don’t injure yourself or others in an emergency situation.

Frame Size

When choosing a .45 ACP pistol based on frame size, it is important to consider the advantages of having a larger frame.

These include better grip and control due to its increased weight and solid feel in your hand, as well as more space for accessories such as sights and lasers.

However, it can also be difficult for those with smaller hands to safely handle and fire these larger pistols due to their increased weight.

Additionally, smaller frames may not provide enough room for all of the desired attachments without interfering with your grip.

Accessory Rails

When considering .45 ACP pistols you should look for models that offer Picatinny or Weaver-style rails.

These types of rails can accommodate pretty much any accessory you want to mount up front and underneath the barrel, including:

  • Threaded barrels
  • New slides
  • Trigger control groups
  • Lights and lasers

Trigger Action

When choosing a .45 ACP pistol, it is important to consider the trigger action.

Many pistols in this caliber offer double-action/single-action (DA/SA) or double action only (DAO) triggers, which allow for more control than a striker fire single action “Glock style hair trigger”.

With DA/SA triggers, your first pull of the pistol is a heavier, longer double-action pull that cocks and releases the hammer; every follow-up shot will be a light single-action pull that is crisp. With DAO triggers there is no need to manually cock the hammer before each shot.

However, some .45 ACP pistols have traditional single action (SA) triggers which require manual cocking before each shot; while this offers quick follow-up shots with minimal effort it also increases the potential for misfires if not done correctly since there is no safety mechanism in place to prevent accidental discharges if you don’t manually cock it first before pulling the trigger again.

The trigger weight is the amount of force required to fire the weapon. It is measured in pounds (lbs).

Hammer System

Some 45 caliber pistols are double-action/single-action hammer-driven pistols. This means that it has a manual safety/decocking lever. Additionally, the double action external hammer allows more control over a striker fire single action “Glock style hair trigger” since the first pull is heavier and longer than subsequent shots.


It is important to consider the sight configuration when choosing your pistol.

Most manufacturers are putting out quality pistols with rock-solid sights, and upgrades are relatively inexpensive if you don’t like the ones that came with your pistol.

Suppressor height sights are perfect for those who have a threaded barrel, while standard height sights can be used with or without a suppressor or red dot sight.

On the other hand, Glock’s polymer and plastic irons are not as durable or reliable as metal sights and may not hold zero over time.

It is up to each individual shooter whether they prefer suppressor height or standard height sights depending on their preference and what they intend to use them for (such as co-witnessing with a red dot sight).

When choosing a .45 ACP pistol for home defense, there are several sights to consider:

  • Iron sights – Glock polymer sights are an option, but most manufacturers offer decent iron sights.
  • Suppressor height sights – Perfect for those with threaded barrels, these night sights provide a clear sight picture in all lighting conditions.
  • Backup irons – Some people prefer to have backup irons co-witnessed with their red dot or reflex sight in case the optic fails.
  • Pusher – If you don’t have one already, it may be necessary to go get one in order to install your rear sight yourself without help from a gunsmith.

Magazine Capacity

The magazine capacity for a .45 ACP pistol is typically between 6 and 10 rounds.

Some pistols offer aftermarket magazines with extended capacities, but these are usually heavier and add unnecessary weight to your firearm.


What is a .45 ACP pistol?

A .45 ACP pistol is a type of semi-automatic handgun that fires the .45 ACP round.

The .45 ACP round stands for Automatic Colt Pistol after the Army’s M1892 revolver which fired the .38 Long Colt Cartridge was found to be too light to stop charging Moro tribesman in the Philippines.

It quickly became beloved by both the U.S military and law enforcement professionals due to its power, as it is more powerful than 9mm rounds.

The M1911A1 pistol designed by John Moses Browning was one of the first pistols to use this new caliber round in 1921 and remains popular among shooters today due to its reliability and accuracy in various conditions.

What features should I look for in a .45 ACP pistol for home defense?

When looking for a .45 ACP pistol for home defense, there are a few key features to keep in mind:

  • Low recoil: The less recoil your gun has, the easier it will be to control during firing and at close range.
  • High magazine capacity: Make sure the pistol you choose has enough rounds to get you through any potential situation.
  • Reliability: Make sure that your .45 ACP pistol is built with quality materials that will last for years of use.
  • Easy handling: You want a gun that’s easy to hold and use without sacrificing accuracy or performance in any way.

What is the difference between a .45 ACP pistol and other handguns?

The .45 ACP is a common handgun round that is used in a variety of different handgun designs.

There are full-size, compact, and subcompact models available, as well as competition-specific models such as heavy metal pistols.

The full-size design is best suited for handling the recoil energy from the powerful round and offers more space for rounds in the magazine compared to other handgun designs.

The .45 ACP is also commonly used for high-power competitions due to its ability to get more points for using an energetic round.

What kind of ammunition do .45 ACP pistols use?

The .45 ACP is a classic pistol cartridge that has been used for decades.

It is known for its powerful stopping power and subsonic capabilities, making it ideal for use with suppressors.

The ammunition typically uses full-metal jacket (FMJ) bullets and has an average muzzle velocity of around 805 m/s (2,664 ft/s).

What is the magazine capacity of a .45 ACP pistol?

The magazine capacity of a .45 ACP pistol depends on the model. Most .45 ACP pistols can only accommodate standard magazines with between 6 and 10 rounds.

Aftermarket magazines may extend capacity slightly, but they add extra weight and cost. Glock is one of the top names in reliability and capacity when it comes to .45 ACP handguns, with its 21 model offering a total capacity of 14 shots.

How does the recoil of a .45 ACP pistol compare to other handguns?

The recoil of a .45 ACP pistol is often considered to be more intense than other handgun rounds, such as .40 S&W.

Many shooters find the recoil of the .45 ACP to be less pleasant than smaller rounds like the 9mm.

However, this does not mean that the recoil impulse from a .45 ACP pistol is not manageable. Many .45 ACP pistols are large and steel framed which helps absorb some of the energy from firing the gun.

What is the best compact .45 ACP pistol for home defense?

When it comes to compact .45 ACP pistols, there are a number of excellent options available.

They range from lightweight subcompacts meant for concealed carry to full-size handguns that offer higher magazine capacity and less perceived felt recoil.

For home defense purposes, I would recommend choosing a compact .45 ACP pistol. Federal’s .45 ACP 230 gr HST is an excellent choice as it offers both of these benefits in one package.

Additionally, make sure you spend enough time at the range practicing with your new gun as each model will have its own unique shooting characteristics.

What are the advantages of a polymer frame for a .45 ACP pistol?

The advantages of a polymer frame for a .45 ACP pistol include:

  • Decreased weight can feel lighter in your hand, giving you less fatigue and increasing stability and accuracy.
  • Longer slide provides more room for accessories such as sights, lasers, and tactical lights without interfering with your grip.
  • Reduced overall weight makes it easier to draw from concealment and reduces recoil when firing.
  • Loaded chamber indicator provides safety-conscious users with peace of mind that there is no round in the chamber.

Are there any accessories available for .45 ACP pistols?

Yes, there are many accessories available for .45 ACP pistols. Glock models in particular offer a wide variety of aftermarket parts and accessories, including threaded barrels, slides, trigger control groups and more.

Other manufacturers such as Sig Sauer and Smith & Wesson are also starting to catch up with their own line of aftermarket parts for .45 ACP pistols.

Almost every company makes upgraded trigger system upgrades for every halfway decent .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol these days.

You can mount up front and underneath your barrel Picatinny or Weaver style rails on most handguns with this caliber making them compatible with any accessory you can imagine

Lastly iron sights on new .45 ACP pistols are generally decent but some people may want to upgrade them for better accuracy or personal preference – this is relatively inexpensive and can be done by a gunsmith.

What is the best holster for a .45 ACP pistol?

The best holster for a .45 ACP pistol is one that is designed specifically to fit the particular model you own.

It should be made of durable materials, such as kydex, and it should have an adjustable retention system to ensure that it stays securely in place while still being easy to draw from.

Additionally, it should have plenty of space for extra magazines or other accessories if needed.

When evaluating holsters, consider factors such as material type and construction quality; adjustability; compatibility with your specific model handgun; available space for extra mags/accessories; customer reviews/ratings; cost-effectiveness; and any special features that may be beneficial.

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