I bet you’re considering a .45 pistol because you’ve heard of its impressive characteristics. The .45 caliber has served the military and law enforcement for years. The FBI also used the same caliber, which led to the development of the .40 S&W round. Indeed, the .45 ACP is one of the most trusted calibers for self-defense. With the .45 ACP’s proven reliability, there’s no reason not to get yourself a .45 pistol.
Of course, I own a few .45 guns myself for self-defense and backup. It’s my favorite, and I really enjoy shooting with it. However, always keep in mind that you need to practice shooting many times, especially with this caliber.
The .45 has a bit of recoil. So it’s not recommended for new shooters as this round is large. The size of the caliber also means it has less bullets in the magazine. You can get the .45 in a hollow point bullet as well. That one offers excellent stopping power. Now if you’re looking for a .45 pistol for you gun collection consider our top ten list of the best .45 ACP pistols.
- Glock 21, Gen 4: An accurate high-capacity pistol that’s great for self-defense
- Springfield XD(M) .45 Compact: An easy to handle handgun with a great trigger
- Walther PPQ M2 45: An elegantly designed pistol that features a crisp trigger with barely any reset
- Heckler & Koch HK45 Compact Tactical: A highly accurate gun with match-grade design and excellent ergonomics
- Sig Sauer P220 Legion: A reliable gun for self-defense that will last a long time
- Beretta Px4 Storm: A sleek design with accuracy and reliability
- Kimber Custom Covert II: A two-toned gun that is action-ready even in the dark
- Smith & Wesson M&P 45 M2 Compact: A lightweight pistol with excellent accuracy and ergonomics
- CZ 97B: A handgun that offers soft shooting with little recoil
- FN FNX-45 Tactical: A tactical gun with a high round capacity that’s suppressor-ready
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The .45 Pistol Buying Guide
Before delving into these guns one by one, let’s first discuss what you need to consider when buying a .45 pistol. Feel free to skip this and move ahead to the guns section below.
- Ergonomics: Look for something that feels comfortable in your hand. You should always consider the grip angle and grip texture. The gun should fit the palm of your hands securely and allow you to get a solid hold on the pistol. You should be able to reach the buttons and the trigger with ease. Moreover, you should also be able to point naturally, get on target quickly and shoot accurately. Luckily, most guns in the market today come with back straps and grip inserts. You can experiment and adjust these until you get that perfect grip you desire.
- Capacity: This is one factor to consider since 45 rounds are larger and have lower capacity. Some brands offer less than ten rounds, while other brands design pistols that can hold more rounds. Depending on what purpose you’re using your gun for, it’s best to consider your ammo limit.
- Purpose: Do you prefer a full-sized handgun or a concealed carry pistol? Of course, in this case, you also need to consider the materials. A large, heavy gun is good at absorbing recoil but challenging to conceal. Of course, more importantly, check if you can operate the weapon efficiently. Be clear with your objectives when choosing your handgun to ensure you get the right one.
- Aftermarket Support: If you plan to customize and upgrade your gun, then look into its aftermarket. Take a look at the barrel length, the accessory rails, the safety, and the sights. Will you be using lasers? If so, consider a gun with an accessory rail. What about suppressors? Then, choose a gun with a threaded barrel. And what about holsters? It should fit the holsters available in the market if you plan to use one. If not, you’ll get stuck with a handgun that needs a custom-made holster. To summarize, it’s best to choose a gun that can fit most gears and accessories.
- Handling: Of course, you must know how to operate your gun. With that in mind, you need to spend time at the range. As mentioned earlier, the .45 is not a gun for beginners. If you’re getting a firearm for self-defense, you need to be able to rely on it anytime. Even the best gun in the world won’t be reliable if you don’t know how to use it. So practice, practice, practice. There is no shortcut to this.
|Name||Action Type||Barrel Length (inches)||Weight (ounces)||Magazine Capacity (rounds)||MSRP|
|Glock G21, Gen 4||Semi-auto||4.61||29.28||13||$687|
|Springfield XDM .45 Compact||Semi-auto||3.8||27||9 + 1, 13 + 1||$652|
|Walther PPQ M2 45||Semi-auto||4.25||28.2||12||$749|
|Heckler & Koch HK45 Compact Tactical||Semi-auto||4.57||29.12||8-, 10-||$811.32|
|Sig Sauer P220 Legion||Semi-auto||4.4||30.4||8 + 1||$1,199.99|
|Beretta Px4 Storm||Semi-auto||4.1||28.2||10 + 1||$627.84|
|Kimber Custom Covert II||Semi-auto||5||31||7 + 1||$1,740|
|Smith & Wesson M&P 45 M2 Compact||Semi-auto||4||28.2||10 + 1||$497.99|
|CZ 97 B||Semi-auto||4.8||38.4||10 + 1||$899.99|
|FN FNX-45 Tactical||Semi-auto||5.3||33.3||10-, 15-||$1,219.99|
Now let’s talk about these .45 pistols one by one.
The 10 Best .45 Pistols
Glock G21, Gen 4
|Barrel Length||4.61 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||13 rounds|
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without a Glock. They’re reliable, accurate, and durable. In other words, Glocks are handguns that fit just about everyone — be it for civilian or military use.
The Glock 21 Gen 4 has a 4.6-inch polygonal “Marksman” barrel that delivers the power of .45 ACP accurately. It also has a light, manageable recoil due to its dual recoil spring. In addition, it has a sizable 13-round capacity in a double-stacked magazine. The magazine release is reversible.
Like all Glocks, G21 Gen 4 also features a three-safe action system: trigger safety, firing pin safety, and drop protection. Additionally, it has a loaded chamber indicator. This .45 pistol comes with a modular backstrap design with five grip options. You can adjust the grip to fit your hand size perfectly. Also, its frame is durable and lightweight due to its polymer material.
To summarize, Glock pistols are proven accurate and reliable. Glock 21 Gen 4 is no exception, making it an excellent gun for self-defense.
- Polymer material makes it lightweight and durable
- Has a loaded chamber indicator
- Has a polygonal “Marksman” barrel for enhanced accuracy
- High round capacity
- Has a spongy trigger
Springfield XD(M) .45 Compact
|Barrel Length||3.8 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||9 + 1,13 + 1|
You won’t get only a gun with the Springfield XD(M) .45 Compact; you’ll get a whole kit. The Springfield XD(M) comes in a compact Pelican waterproof case. It includes a holster, magazine holders, two extra magazines, and a lock. The frame is made of polymer, which makes it lightweight and easy to carry around. In addition, its Melonite finish provides a rigid and corrosion-resistant surface. This 27-ounce pistol is also easy to assemble and disassemble.
Springfield’s XD(M) provides excellent fit and comfort. The ergonomics are impressively made with its textured patterns and grip angle. Since it’s easy to grip onto, it’s easier to control and shoot. It also has a 13-round magazine capacity. In addition, it has a match-grade barrel fitted together with a dual return spring. At the front end of the frame is a Picatinny rail for mounting accessories.
The best feature of this pistol is its trigger. It has minimal take-up. It has a fast reset, therefore making it easier to shoot accurate follow-ups. Overall, the Springfield XD(M) deserves its spot as one of the best .45 caliber pistols. It has outstanding accuracy, comes at a reasonable price and has outstanding functions.
- Melonite finish for corrosion resistance and durability
- Great ergonomics and a splendidly designed trigger
- Has a Picatinny rail for mounting accessories
- Comes in a compact, polymer carrying case
- Limited customization with its light rail
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Walther PPQ M2 45
|Barrel Length||4.25 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||12 rounds|
Walther is a German-based company with an extensive reputation in the firearms industry. The company doesn’t fail to produce reliable guns for both military and civilian use. One of those is the PPQ. If you’ve already tried out its 9mm variant, then you’ve probably fallen in love with it — it’s superb. But now, let’s talk about its 0.45 ACP version.
You’ll instantly notice this is a Walther gun. This pistol has a unique, elegant design. Its handgrip consists of a curved grip and has finger grooves and a non-slip, cross-direction surface. It also comes with custom back straps which adds to its exceptional ergonomics.
Aside from the grips, the trigger guard is large, facilitating a tactical grip and use of gloves. In addition, this .45 pistol is ambidextrous. You can easily reach the slide stop, magazine release, and its other buttons. It also has three safeties. Plus, a Picatinny rail underneath the barrel with three slots for accessories.
Like other top-quality brands on this list, Walther’s PPQ M2 .45 features an impressive trigger. The trigger is very crisp and has barely any reset, which makes this handgun remarkably fast. On top of that, it has an excellent ammunition capacity of 13 rounds and great accuracy. Overall, it’s a superior gun. You can use it for personal defense, everyday carry or as a great range gun.
- Crisp trigger with barely any reset
- Elegantly designed and made of premium materials
- Ambidextrous design
- Accurate and reliable
- Not a lot of third-party accessories are made for Walther
Heckler & Koch HK45 Compact Tactical
|Barrel Length||4.57 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||8-, 10- rounds|
The next one is the best .45 pistol on this list, in my opinion. The Heckler & Koch HK45 is a slight upgrade from the previous USP45 model. To differentiate, the USP 45 has two extra rounds. Meanwhile, the HK45 has a better trigger. The ergonomics is also much better than its predecessor. It has good capacity with an enlarged 8- and 10- magazine. Both with dual slide releases.
In addition, the HK45 has more functions and features an ambidextrous design. The trigger is designed to be match-grade. It also has an adjustable and oversized trigger stop, facilitating the use of gloves. It has a long DA pull, but its SA trigger pull is solid. Furthermore, it has a threaded barrel and an accessory rail to add lasers, lights, and many more.
Aside from its trigger, HK45 features outstanding ergonomics. It has interchangeable grip panels that enable you to choose your comfortable fit. Additionally, Its frame is made of reinforced polymer, making this .45 pistol lightweight.
In performance, it runs smoothly because of its solid trigger. It also has polygonal rifling and comes with an O-ring barrel for enhanced accuracy. In addition, its sights come with luminous yellow dots, which are highly visible. However, its only downside is the high price. The HK45 has top-quality features, making it a highly reliable pistol that can serve almost any purpose.
- O-ring barrel and polygonal rifling enhance accuracy
- Exceptional ergonomics
- Has ambidextrous controls
- Durable and reliable pistol
- Trigger pull is long when in DA mode
Sig Sauer P220 Legion
|Barrel Length||4.4 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||8 + 1|
Sig Sauer’s P220 was a top-quality pistol, even in the late 1970s. It still is a great pistol today. It’s a classic handgun built to exceed military standards. This .45 pistol features a barrel made of carbon steel and a slide made of stainless steel. In addition, it has an alloy frame finished in legion gray. This pistol is built to last with its superior materials.
The P220 Legion also has an exceptional flat trigger. It is lightweight and has an incredibly short reset time. This outstanding feature enables better shooting and faster and more accurate follow-ups. In addition, the P220 Legion offers an 8-round magazine capacity.
Another great feature is that this handgun comes with a rail for accessories. You can easily mount a flashlight, laser, or any other accessory onto it. Aside from its mounting rail, it has custom G10 grips that allow easier handling. It’s impressive to the touch with its checkered texture.
Since the P220 Legion is an outstanding gun, it comes, of course, at a high price. But despite that, the Sig Sauer P220 Legion is a reliable gun. It’s guaranteed to be accurate, fast, and ideal for self-defense.
- Has an incredibly short trigger reset
- Made of premium materials
- Has a mounting rail for accessories
- Made by a reliable brand
- Very expensive
Beretta Px4 Storm
|Barrel Length||4.1 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||10 + 1|
Next is the Beretta Px4 Storm. Arguably, this pistol is one of the best guns ever made. It’s a top-performing pistol that’s easy to use. Moreover, it has a relatively low recoil despite its small size.
This handgun is lightweight and durable, thanks to its flexible polymer frame and reinforced fiberglass material. In addition, it features a rotating barrel that dissipates recoil and muzzle jump. It also has a smooth trigger and accurate performance.
It’s ambidextrous and comes with a flush magazine with a 9+1 capacity. Additionally, it comes with a Picatinny rail for attaching different accessories. It also has many holster options.
A unique feature of this pistol is its auto-firing pin block safety. It’s visible and prevents any forward movement unless you pull the trigger completely. Additionally, the Beretta Px4 Storm is easy to assemble/disassemble. Thus, cleaning it is a breeze. Furthermore, it comes with individual size grips so you can choose the the backstraps that best fit your hand.
For aesthetics, the Beretta Px4 Storm sports a sleek, elegant look. It also comes in handguns chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W. Ultimately, the Beretta Px4 Storm is a .45 pistol with undoubted accuracy and reliability.
- Lightweight, flexible and durable
- A brand that is known for excellent accuracy and performance
- Has an ambidextrous design
- Features an automatic firing pin safety
- Some may not like the unnatural feel of the slide-mounted safety
Kimber Custom Covert II
|Barrel Length||5 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||7 + 1|
Kimber manufactures the finest 1911 pistols in the U.S. The Kimber 1911 Custom Covert II has a frame machined with a lightweight aluminum alloy. The hard edges of this gun are rounded, making it easier to conceal and slide into a holster. Its unique two-tone design finish makes it stand out. It’s corrosion-resistant and adds durability to the gun overall.
The grips are checkered at 30 lines per inch, allowing a secure and comfortable grip. In addition, it sports a match-grade steel barrel that boosts speed and accuracy. This pistol has a magazine capacity of 7+1. Furthermore, it features a carry melt recoil spring, allowing easy handling when shooting.
One great feature is its dependable lights. Kimber equips the Custom Covert II with a set of Crimson Trace Lasergrips and an added hand-held tactical light. You can ensure this pistol is combat-ready for dark scenarios. It also has a Tritium-powered night sight with a three-dot pattern.
The Kimber Custom Covert II is also very convenient to carry. To summarize, it’s a reliable, lightweight handgun with tactical features.
- Has a unique two-tone design
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Equipped with night sights and lights ideal to use in the dark
- Does not come in an ambidextrous design
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Compact
|Barrel Length||4 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||10 + 1|
When you see Smith & Wesson, you know you’re getting a top brand pistol. The company’s firearms are famous for their reliability, accuracy, and brilliantly designed ergonomics. The M&P 45 M2.0 Compact is intended as a police and military pistol due to its powerful .45 ACP caliber and tactical build.
The lightweight polymer frame materials contribute to its lightweight characteristics. It features an ambidextrous option and has a Picatinny rail for light and laser mounting. Its front sight utilizes a white-dot dovetail mount and its rear sight has a steel, low-profile carry.
The polymer chassis material enhances this pistol’s durability. Additionally, it sports a Zytel polymer frame with a stainless steel barrel slide. Smith & Wesson reinforced this gun with a built-in skeleton underneath the polymer frame. This addition enables stability, especially when shooting rapidly. You can guarantee that this handgun doesn’t break easily. No doubt, durability is one of the characteristics of Smith & Wesson’s products.
In addition, it has interchangeable palmswell grip inserts, allowing you to select a comfortable grip based on your hand size. Finally, the best part is that it comes with a limited lifetime warranty and a lifetime service policy.
- Made of premium materials; guaranteed to last
- Exceptional ergonomic design
- Has interchangeable backstraps
- Offers a lifetime service
- Not easy to disassemble/ assemble
CZ 97 B
|Barrel Length||4.8 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||10 + 1|
CZ was introduced in 1997. You may have heard about its flagship CZ 75B pistol. It became one of the most trusted home-defense pistols because of its notable characteristics and mid-range price. The 97 B is an upgraded version of the previous 75B. The main difference is that the 97B is larger.
This pistol features a safety with no decocker. You can carry the gun safely even when it’s cocked during SA, or you can ease the hammer down in DA mode. Furthermore, this handgun sports fiber optic sights that pick up rapidly. Plus, it can hold 10+1 rounds in its double-stacked magazine.
It has thick grips, even for those with large hands. So if your hands are small, you might have a hard time getting a good hold on this one. Another thing to note is that the CZ 97B is made of steel, including its frame. Although the materials make the gun heavy, its weight is essential to reduce recoil, enabling a more manageable and comfortable shooting.
In short, CZ 97B offers soft shooting and easy handling. The trigger in double-action mode is ridiculously long and heavy. However, its single-action trigger is crisp and has a short reset. In addition, its recoil impulse is soft and smooth. Not to mention its highly exceptional accuracy.
- Delivers comfortable shooting with less recoil
- Made of durable steel materials
- Accurate and reliable for self-defense
- Some folks might find this pistol too large or heavy
- Not a great option for those with small hands
FN FNX-45 Tactical
|Barrel Length||5.3 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||10-, 15- rounds|
Finally, the last best .45 pistol on this list is the FN FNX-45 Tactical. This 3.33-ounce pistol is large, heavy, and looks like a beefed-up version of the CZ 97B. Plus, this gun doesn’t have the tactical in its name for nothing. The FNX-45 is designed for the military, so this handgun screams tactical overall. It’s too large to conceal, so it’s best suited for combat, self-defense, and duty use.
The FNX-45 Tactical sports a stainless steel slide and a threaded barrel, making it durable and suppressor-ready. Moreover, it packs plenty of rounds with its 15+1 magazine capacity. It’s ambidextrous. The night sights are raised for easy use in case you have suppressors attached. Additionally, it has two mounting bases that have a red dot mounting.
It has excellent ergonomics, providing a natural grip angle. But because of this gun’s large structure, those with small hands might have a hard time operating it. In addition, the trigger is longer than usual. Its double-action pull is heavy at 10 pounds. In contrast, the single-action trigger pull is much lighter. However, both triggers have a far reset which may slow you down.
Overall, in terms of reliability and accuracy, the FNX 45 Tactical won’t disappoint. It also comes in two finishes: Flat Dark Earth and Black.
- Made of durable materials
- High magazine capacity of 15+1 rounds
- Ambidextrous design
- Accurate and reliable pistol
- Heavy and large, which can be difficult to conceal
- Long trigger reset
There are a lot of .45 pistols out there, and each has its unique purpose. From concealed carry to tactical handgun — most brands have them all. If you’re interested to know the best .45 ammunition, read our article: Best .45 ACP Ammo.
Take note that before choosing a .45 pistol, head to the range and try out different firearms. Shooting practice is an essential step to determine your gun preference. Getting used to how the gun operates will also make you feel more confident in your selection. At first, it may be intimidating to find the best .45 pistol that’s right for you, but I hope this list of the 10 best .45 pistols made it easier for you to choose a viable option.
You might also like to read more about .45 ammo in our 10mm vs .45 ACP – Cartridge Comparison.
If you need to narrow your list of possible .45s a bit read our Best .45 ACP Pistols [Excluding 1911s] guide.