Best .45 ACP Pistols

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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 and given some of my first-hand experiences with each model.

What is the .45 ACP?

The .45 ACP is a pistol cartridge developed for handguns in the early 20th century.

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.

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.

Hollow Point .45 ACP Rounds
Hollow Point .45 ACP Rounds

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 competition shooters and those seeking personal defense.

The .45 ACP is popular due to its large size, stopping power, and reliability. The best .45 ACP pistol would be well-made, have a good feel in the hand, and be reliable.

Top 10 Best .45 ACP Pistols

When evaluating potential .45 ACP pistols, 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.

Glock 21

Best .45 ACP Pistol: Glock 21 Gen 5 MOS

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

I first had experience with the Glock 21 as it was my first issued duty weapon while I was in law enforcement. While my issued Glock 21 was a Gen 4 (as seen below), I got to test out the Gen 5 firsthand in many other models.

Glock 21 chambered in .45 ACP

While I always thought it was rather big in my hand, I still had to buy it back when the department went to the Glock 17 for nosologic reasons.

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

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 concealed carry due to its compact size, lightweight construction, and reliable performance.

I’ve had several guns in the M&P line, namely the full size 45, which I had the slide dura coated silver, which looked awesome. It was always a smooth and clean shooter for me.

The subcompact version of that 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 an Armornite finish for enhanced durability.

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

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!

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 | Guns.com | Sportsmans

Sig Sauer P220

sig p220

The Sig Sauer P220 Pistol is well known for 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 and 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 popular due to its price and features, such as grip safety, an accessory rail for lights or lasers, and interchangeable backstraps.

This pistol has a 4.5-inch match-grade barrel, improving accuracy and reducing shooting recoil.

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 quickly if needed in an emergency.

HK45 Tactical

HK45 Tactical .45 ACP Pistol

The HK45 Tactical has high-quality construction, a long legacy, and impressive specifications.

The gun has a threaded barrel, adjustable Tru-Glo high-profile sights that can be used with or without a suppressor, and 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 nearly all 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 because of its durability, low profile sights for snag-free holstering, 7-round capacity, and price point.

I don’t have first-hand experience with the RI GI, but I have a 10mm PSA Admiral made by Rock Island that is very similar to the GI, and I can’t say enough good things about it.

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.

Not to mention this is an iconic revolver for the ages!

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 superb choice due to its many high-quality features and FN name in the firearms world.

First, it has a cold hammer-forged threaded barrel that can attach a suppressor.

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

Its large 15-round magazine capacity provides plenty so you aren’t constantly loading magazines.

The double action/single action trigger provides an accurate shot every time, 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 a beauty, it is one of the most sought after 1911 .45 ACP pistols on the market.

Many different models are available, but the stainless has a look that is hard to beat. Holding it will tell you all you need to know about this gun.

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 | Guns.com | Sportsmans

Beretta Px4 Storm

beretta px4 storm

The Beretta Px4 Storm is a unique-looking pistol with different calibers, including .45 ACP.

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

It is good for 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 has someone of a mixed reputation, but we would be remiss if we didn’t include it in this list.

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

Choosing a .45 ACP pistol

Here are some of the most important factors when selecting your next 45 pistol.

Capacity

It is important to consider the capacity of the firearm.

Best .45 ACP Pistol Magazine Capacity

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 for .45 ACP handguns, with models such as the G21 offering a total capacity of 14 rounds.

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 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 for accuracy.

Short-barreled ultra-compact pistols designed for concealed carry are typically less accurate.

One consideration to remember is that modern hollow points may choke up if manufacturers haven’t optimized their feed ramp profile, so it’s important to research which guns can be used with self-defense ammo before making your purchase decision.

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

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.

Accessories

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, typically the ones with hammers, offer double-action/single-action (DA/SA) or double-action only (DAO) triggers.

This doesn’t apply to sticker fire pistols like the Glocks and other polymer framed pistols.

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).

Sights

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.

45 acp sights

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 – Most manufacturers include iron sights but aftermarket sights are available
  • 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.

FAQ

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: Ensure your chosen pistol has enough rounds to get you through any potential situation.

Reliability: Make sure your .45 ACP pistol is built with quality materials that will last years of use.

Easy handling: You want a gun that’s easy to hold and use without sacrificing accuracy or performance.

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

Typically, the round is the only difference between .45 ACP pistols and their other caliber counterparts.

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 holster for a .45 ACP pistol?

The best holster for a .45 ACP pistol is designed to fit your particular model.

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.

Michael Savage
Michael Savage

Michael is the President of Lynx Defense and an avid gun owner and outdoors man. He's passionate about helping find the best bang for your buck and helping others learn about firearms and the industry as a whole.

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