Ever since Colt first released the 1911 pistol, the .45 caliber has been one of the most popular handguns around. When looking for the best .45 ACP for your money, consider the following factors: durability, accuracy, and design. You will also want a gun that is easy to handle, especially with the amount of power that this gun is able to dish out. Even the best .45 pistol will require some skill and practice, largely due to its recoil.
Why Choose the .45 caliber?
There’s an ongoing debate between law enforcement and handgun enthusiasts. Which pistol is better, the 9mm or the .45? In actuality, the answer to that question is not so easy. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing between these two iconic handguns. Here are some things to know before buying a .45 ACP:
- The .45 is usually bulkier than its 9mm counterpart
- Your .45 ACP comes with a lot of stopping power, and a whole lot of recoil
- The 9mm typically holds more rounds than the .45
- A .45 is nearly twice the price of a 9mm
Honestly, there is no correct answer to settle the .45 ACP vs 9mm debate, as both guns serve different functions. Think of the .45 as a hand cannon that has the power of two 9mm rounds in every shot. The sheer power of this gun is what made it a popular sidearm for various branches of the US military. However, the 9mm is a much more functional self-defense weapon. It’s more comfortable to carry and is easier to handle. This makes it a better choice for beginners than the .45 ACP.
Hunting with a .45 APC
Unfortunately, if you’re planning on purchasing a .45 pistol so that you can hunt some big game, you’re probably going to be disappointed. While the .45 ACP has earned its reputation as being a powerful handgun, its bullets have a relatively low velocity . This means that while you can hit a whitetail or hog with a lot of force, your bullet probably won’t penetrate deep enough to deliver a fatal shot.
Hunting with a .45 pistol is similar to hunting with a 9mm. You can use the gun to take down smaller game like jackrabbits and gophers, but using it against big game won’t be very effective. Stick to using the .45 pistol for self-defense and hunt big game with a .44 or .357 Magnum revolver.
Finding the Best .45 Pistol on the Market
Choosing a gun can be a difficult process, especially if you’re the type of person who wants to get the best bang for your buck. Finding the perfect .45 pistol isn’t about buying the one with the biggest price tag. You want to buy a gun that fits your needs and style. Before you shell out a lot of money on your .45 ACP, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I using it for self-defense?
- Will I need it for concealed carry?
- Do I care more about functionality or design?
- How often do I plan on using it?
Once you have a good idea of why you want to buy a .45 ACP, you can begin exploring your options. This will help you narrow down your options. Here are some options to consider:
1. The M1911 by Colt
Legendary firearms designer, John Browning, developed the M1911. With more than a century of action, the 1911 easily lasts the test of time. It’s been a popular sidearm for law enforcement and military personnel alike, and has saw action in everything from World War I to the Vietnam War.
If you’re a firearms collector, the Colt 1911 is a must-have gun. It is symbolic of firearms in the 20 th century, and having one is the same as owning a piece of American history.
2. The HK45 by Heckler & Kotch
Heckler & Kotch is a company that is known for producing weapons that are well-crafted and of excellent quality. It was initially designed to be an alternative sidearm for the American military, which is why the gun has such a tactical feel to it. Despite the fact that the HK45’s success in the armed forces never took off, it was adopted by some American and Australian police forces, as well as the Special Warfare Command of the United States Navy.
Main features of the HK45 include:
- Adjustable grip panels that make the gun comfortable and compatible with various hand sizes
- Functions can be used easily with left or right handed shooters
- Improved barrel durability and accuracy with polygonal rifling
- Improved barrel-to-slide lockup
With a suggested retail price of $1,150, the HK45 doesn’t come cheap. However, many enthusiasts argue that it’s the best .45 pistol for concealed carry , and is a comfortable .45 caliber to carry around.
3. The P220 Elite by SIG Sauer
When it comes to excellent craftsmanship and durability, the SIG P220 is in a class of its own. It’s the official sidearm of many military forces around the world, including Canada, Switzerland, and specific units in the United Kingdom. For this reason, it’s considered the best .45 caliber pistol by a number of experts around the world.
The SIG P220 has a suggested retail price over $1,000, making the gun far from cheap. It’s most defining feature is the “short reset trigger,” which improves accuracy by reducing trigger reset up to 60%. The vintage design, which was inspired by the 1911, is another popular feature of the gun. If you’re shopping around for a pistol that has a vintage feel while also modern and groundbreaking, the P220 is right for you.
4. The Glock 21
What’s there to say about a Glock that hasn’t already been said? The company’s unique designs and global popularity means that their guns practically sell themselves.
This .45 caliber pistol comes with everything that you’d expect from a Glock. It’s durable, lightweight, and reasonably priced. If you’re looking for a good quality handgun that won’t break the bank, the Glock 21 is, without a doubt, the best .45 pistol under $600.
As with all Glock models, the Glock 21’s handle may take some getting used to. Its other selling points more than make up its strange grip. Top features of the Glock 21 include:
- A 13 round capacity
- Improved accuracy and gas seal due to the octagonal polygonal rifling
- An Internal Locking System (ILS) for added safety
- An indicator that notifies you when the chamber is loaded
- The same resilient polymer design that makes Glocks the most durable guns on the market
The suggested price of Glock 21 handguns is $598, making them perfect for someone looking to find a cheap and reliable means of self-defense.
5. The .45 ACP OSS by Taurus 24/7
If you’re looking for a reliable handgun that is tactical, accurate, and guaranteed to work when you need it, the .45 ACP OSS is the gun for you. Brazilian company, Taurus 24/7, asked commandos around the world what they loved and didn’t love about their sidearms. They then took that information and used it to make the .45 ACP OSS, a handgun that is optimized for combat situations.
When you buy a .45 ACP OSS, you are getting the following features:
- A durable handgun that can withstand mud, extreme humidity, sand, and ice
- A self-illuminating site that improves accuracy in low-light situations
- A key-based system that is able to lock and unlock the safety feature
- Ambidextrous usability
- Improved polymer grip design to accommodate hands that are wet or slippery
- Taurus’ lifesaving “Single Action/Double Action” trigger function, which automatically fires a second shot if the primer fails
With all of these special functions and a retail price of roughly $690, the .45 ACP OSS is easily the best .45 pistol for the money.
6. The Px4 Storm by Beretta
Beretta has a long-standing reputation of power, craftsmanship, and style. After all, Beretta pistols are the handgun of choice for James Bond!
The Px4 Storm lives up to Beretta’s reputation of elegance and functionality. It’s both stylish and easy to handle. Beretta improved the design of the Px4 Storm in order to significantly reduce the gun’s recoil. This makes it the perfect .45 ACP for beginners and novice shooters who want the power of the .45 but haven’t mastered the recoil.
Here are some of the defining features of the Px4 Storm:
- Easy handling for rapid-fire
- Lights and laser devices can be easily attached to the gun
- An automatic firing pin block for added safety
- Ambidextrous decocking and safety levers
- Small, medium, and large size grips
- Customizable magazine release buttons that accommodate various hand sizes
- Chrome-lined barrels for easier cleaning and resistance to corrosion
If you’re looking for the perfect self-defense firearm that is durable and easy to handle, the Px4 Storm is an excellent choice. For $650, you get a gun that is safe, lightweight, and more accurate than its competition. For this reason, the Beretta Px4 Storm is the best .45 APC for the money.
7. The M&P .45 by Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson has a long history of producing top-quality firearms, and the M&P is no exception. The company designed this model with the intention of creating a world-class pistol with improved comfort, usability, and safety. It was no coincidence that Smith & Wesson chose to name this gun the “Military and Police,” as it was designed specifically for both!
The M&P is one of the most popular handguns around, and is a favorite among military personnel and police services around the world. Even the Drug Enforcement Agency , Department of Homeland Security , and the Federal Reserve Police use the M&P as their official sidearm.
Smith & Wesson designed their M&P with soldiers and police officers in mind. Some of the gun’s most popular features are:
- An easy-to-use, ambidextrous design that allows for left and right-handed decocking, switching the safety, and releasing the magazine
- A tactical MIL-STD 1939 mounting rail that allows for lights and lasers to easily be attached to the gun
- Three backstraps to choose from for increased comfort and a more customized feel
One of the most popular features that makes the Smith & Wesson M&P the best .45 pistol for the price is the lifetime service warranty. Smith & Wesson are so comfortable that their firearm will last that they will repair any defects that would appear in the gun. The suggested selling price of the M&P is roughly $800.
Ready to Buy Your .45?
As you can see, there are a number of different types of .45 pistols available on the market. Once you have decided how you want to use your pistol, you can shop around for your ideal model. If it’s at all possible, try to test a prospective gun out before buying it. This way, you will be able to get a good feel for how the gun rests in your hand, as well as how it shoots. You don’t want to buy a gun like a Glock only to hate the way it feels.
Ultimately, before you can find the best .45 ACP, you need to know your own limitations and expectations. If you’re a novice shooter, or if this is your first time handling a .45 pistol, consider purchasing one of the models that has lower recoil. This is especially important if you’re buying the gun for home defense. You don’t want a gun that’s going to be hard to hit any threat that’s coming your way.
Also, consider how important tactical features are for you. If you don’t plan on attaching laser sights or flashlights to your gun, you don’t need to spend extra money on a pistol that has these capabilities. Remember, just because a gun was designed to suit the needs of soldiers and police officers doesn’t mean that it’s the right self-defense weapon for you. Choose a gun that is accurate and has a reputation for being reliable.
The .45 ACP is an excellent gun to have, but understand that going to the shooting range is going to be much more expensive than with a 9mm. It’s also much bulkier and heavier than its counterparts. With that said, the .45 ACP is a popular caliber in the United States for a reason. It’s nice to shoot and has the power to take down anything that comes in your way. Because of this, many enthusiasts consider the .45 pistol to be an all-around winner that will always have a place in modern society.