I have a habit, whether right or wrong, of looking at something Iâve seen before and making the borderline-snide comment ânothing new to see here, folks, move along…â. I admit Iâve used that, or similar, statements in some of my gun reviews. A more polite way of putting it might be ânot much new here because the old way worksâ or words to that effect. Thus I introduce the fairly-new Glock 45. There is not much new here, butâ¦ Glock has taken two of its popular models and combined them, seemingly. There are some improvements and design changes. Letâs see where it came from.
Model 45 Ancestry
The G45 was introduced in September, 2018. Basically, the 45 is a black version of the Glock coyote-tan 19X. (For my 19X review, click here). The 19X is the civilian version of Glockâs submission for the recent pistol trials that the Army requested. As we know, the SIG Sauer P320 MHS (modular handgun system) pistol won that trial. Glock (not a company to cry in its beir) pretty much immediately re-designed the gun for the civilian market. To the best of my knowledge, all this involved doing was to remove the manual thumb safety. The civvy version even retains the lanyard loop. Thus, was born the civilian 19X. This pistol is a Gen 5 gun, which means that it has:
- Forward slide serrations
- âMarksmanâ match barrel
- No grip finger grooves
- Ambidextrous slide release
- Flared mag well
- Reversible magazine release
- Tougher nDLC finish
- Modular backstrap system
- Enhanced trigger
(For a complete breakdown and an explanation of the difference between Glock generations read my article on the Glock 9mm models). One Gen 5 Model 19 âfeatureâ that wasnât replicated on the G45 or 19X was the less-than-useful cutout at the bottom front of the mag well. This cut was done, as I understand it, in order to make it easier to strip a balky magazine out of the gun if the mag would fail to fall free. There are other ways of doing this that donât involve causing pain when shooting the gun…that cutoutâs edge rides right against my hand and downright hurts after a period of shooting. I was not the first to discover this interesting effect. Even if they had âdulledâ that sharp front edge a bit, it might be a little easier on the hand. I, for one, am glad to see it gone on these two guns.
In designing a pistol with a full-size frame and a compact-size slide and barrel, Glock has jumped on the bandwagon that other manufacturers have hitched a ride on. This seems to be the current trend in defensive pistols â a large, full-sized frame that holds many rounds coupled with an easier-handling, shorter barrel and slide. Now, if youâre going to carry these two guns in an OWB holster, then the grip length doesnât matter a lot. But, if youâre trying to carry the gun concealed, say inside your waistband, that full-size grip can stick out and print through your shirt. I have always said that, between the slide and the grip, the grip is the harder to conceal of the two. The grip can be too long and print, as mentioned above but if the slide is longer, it usually can be concealed without issue. Thatâs because the slide is hidden away from view, unlike the grip. So, if you are going to carry a 19X or 45 concealed, youâd better find a holster that helps hide the 17-round-capacity grip. If you decide to carry concealed check out this article on CCW insurance.
Enter Law Enforcement
The 45 is finding favor with police agencies. There are some interesting reasons why, or at least I think theyâre interesting – I donât get out much. For one thing, when the coyote-tan (insert coyote howl here) gun hit the market, police agencies mostly looked at it as an improvement over their Glock 17s. But â they couldnât take that light-brown color, and didnât need a lanyard loop. They might have been interested if it were available in black. Well, now it is. The 45 solved those issues. Another reason law enforcement agencies might have been interested in the long-slide-short-barrel approach is that the gun was much like their model 17s. Same grip, same mag capacity, and similar holsters. They looked favorably on the slightly-shorter barrel, as a shorter barrel does tend to handle somewhat better than a long one for some folks. And, given the small difference between Glock 17 and Glock 19 barrel lengths, the shorter one doesnât give up a lot in terms of sight radius or velocity. After all, theyâre basically putting a Glock-19-length barrel on the 45. The 19 is Glocksâ best-seller, for some good reasons. This was a gamble that paid off for Gastonâs company. So, now police agencies have a new kid on the block to evaluate.
The long-grip-short-barrel thing is evident in other companiesâ designs. Heck, even Taurus has gotten into the act. I just acquired a G3c compact (3.2-inch barrel) that came with three 12-round magazines, but 15- and 17-rounders are available from the company, with sleeves that fill in the grip. And, I owned a Springfield Armory XD(M) Compact in .45 ACP that came standard with both 9- and 13-round magazines. It had a 3.8-inch barrel. That seems to be a trend. And, from what I have seen and experienced, itâs not a bad idea. If you are going to carry a pistol with a longer grip, you do have to learn how to hide it well but once you do, the advantages of having 17 or so rounds at your disposal can make the effort worthwhile.
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Letâs look at the specs. For fun, Iâll list the 45âs specifications and also the 19Xâs. Letâs see just how similar they are…
|Model 45||Model 19X|
|Length:||7.44 in.||7.44 in.|
|Height (with mag):||5.47 in.||5.47 in.|
|Width:||1.34 in.||1.30 in.|
|Sight Radius:||6.02 in.||5.94 in.|
|Finish:||nDLC (Diamond-Like Coating)||nPVD, coyote brown|
|Barrel Length:||4.02 in.||same|
|Barrel Rifling:||Enhanced hexagonal with right-hand twist||same|
|Length of twist:||9.84 in.||same|
|Weight, empty:||20.8 oz. (my scale)||22.05 oz. (Glock spec)|
|Weight, loaded mag:||30.1 oz. (my scale)||31.39 oz (Glock spec)|
|Trigger pull:||5 lbs, 13.3 oz. (my scale)||~5 lbs, 8 oz. (Glock spec)|
|Real-World Approx. Price:||$570.00||$600.00|
* for about $45 more, you can get an MOS version with cutout for an optical sight
**of course, being a Glock 9mm, you could use any greater-capacity magazine made by Glock in that caliber, including 33-rounders and 50-round drums
So, we see that the 19X is very similar to the 45, except for finish color and lanyard ring. My friend, who loaned me this 45 for review, also owns the 19x that I reviewed earlier (link above). To my mind, it would be like owning two guns fairly identical except for color. They should carry and shoot very similarly to each other.
So…do you buy the 45 or the 19X? They are, for all practical purposes, the same gun wearing different colors. If you are looking to buy the civilian version of the gun Glock submitted for the handgun trials, you will buy the 19X. On the other hand, if you think guns should only be âdressedâ in formal black, youâll buy the 45. Aside from the lanyard ring (which should be removable, I would guess) and the color, there isnât a lot of difference. Both guns come with 17-round mags and the above-mentioned Gen 5 features. So, more than with a lot of pistols, the choice really comes down to color preference. Thatâs something that is a personal preference. I do know which one I would buy, given the choice…
Before we get to the shooting part, letâs look at some photos…
A few things jump out at anyone familiar with Glocks. First, the earlier-generation grip finger grooves are gone, the slide stop is evident on this starboard side shot and the slide forward serrations are evident. But, other than that…well, this is still one Glock that will capture attention. Very nice. And, that âshortâ slide is obvious against the longer grip frame.
The texturing has been improved, finger grooves gone and the replaceable backstrap knockout pin is evident. Note also the same-size hole for the mag release as is on the other side â the release is reversible.
Not exactly a mirror finish aâ la Springfield Armory, but functional and reliable.
There are a few small tweaks here under the hood, but as I said in the beginning, not much new to see here, folks, move along…
Everything that needs to be slippery is polished. Note the striker block is relieved fore and aft in order to facilitate function with minimal friction.
My Glock Sight Hissy-Fit
As for the sights, well, theyâre pretty much the standard plastic Glock âcup-and-ball”, âgoalpost-and-football”, or â__- __-___â (fill in your own description). To this day, I donât know why Glock insists on mounting plastic sights of this configuration on their guns. The rear-sight outline they use looks like a clumsy attempt to imitate the finely-executed white rear notch outline on an older Smith & Wesson double-action revolver. Looks like Glock used a white crayon that was too thick… For a company that makes night sights available on many of their guns, why donât they just include those on every gun they sell, from the get-go? Their guns are not cheap…Glock, why not give the buyer even more of an incentive to spend their hard-earned cash on your product by installing, at the factory, first-rate sights? This might keep them from buying another gun that is just as reliable, as easy to carry and shoot and already includes useful sights at a lower price. That is one question that I would like to ask a Glock executive. You shouldnât pay $500-$700 for a gun and then immediately have to turn around and spend another $80-$100 on sight upgrades. Many police agencies require night or other sights on any backup gun officers carry, so this is money out of their pocket from day one of ownership. Heck, even Taurus is including Glock-compatible steel sights with their new $275 G3c compact 9mm. Anyway, thatâs my two centsâ worth.
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Shooting The Model 45
I was anxious to shoot the 45 for a couple of reasons. The main reason was that I wanted to see what shooting a Glock 17 with a 19 slide might feel like â that’s basically what we have here. It did feel a bit odd to have that long grip in my hand with room for all my fingers but yet have that shorter slide up top with the front sight seemingly closer to my face. I know, it was my imagination but it was different. At any rate, it worked very well.
I was able to dig up three different loads to shoot â two factory loads, plus one of my handloads. In this day & age of very scarce ammo, I consider myself lucky to have anything to put through a gun. And, with 9mm being THE most popular handgun cartridge out there now, that caliber of ammo is extra-scarce. At any rate, I shot a few targets using Winchester 115-grain and Fiocchi 115-grain, both FMJ. My handload consisted of a Lee 124-grain round-nose cast bullet over 4.8 grains of Long Shot powder. (For you reloaders out there, you might give Long Shot a try if you havenât done so yet â it is very versatile, accurate, readily available and burns fairly cleanly).
At any rate, here are some representative targets… they were shot at 20 yards.
As you can see, any of these loads would work for practice. In terms of shooting lead bullets through a Glock, Iâve done that many times, usually with excellent results. I owned a Model 30 .45 ACP Glock once upon a time and put I-don’t-know-how-many-cast-bullets downrange with it. I do not condone this practice officially though â Glock says to not use lead bullets with their polygonally-rifled barrels. If you do shoot lead, just clean your barrel very well after each session. Itâs the lead build-up that can cause problems.
Please note that there is a big difference between soft lead bullets (like those that are swaged) and hard-cast bullets. The harder ones have more tin and antimony in them and rate higher on the Brinnell hardness scale. Do NOT shoot swaged lead or equivalent-softness bullets in your Glocks! At any rate, mine are hard-cast, powder-coated bullets that did not leave any lead or anything else other than powder fouling in the bore. So, youâre on your own. Given the current ammo situation, it might almost be worth getting a third-party conventionally-rifled barrel for your Model 45 to shoot cast bullets since they are readily available. Casting your own bullets and reloading does make for a rock-steady ammo supply, though â if you canât find ammo at your local store, youâre not out of luck. A press and related equipment, bullet furnace and mold, and some wheel weights and youâre in business. (For more about these topics you can read my articles on reloading and powder coating bullets. Both are interesting reads if youâve not done either before).
I have explained before that, when I review a gun, I donât usually shoot hundreds of rounds. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, I am not that great a shot and I wouldnât want someone to decide whether or not to buy a certain gun because of some of my pattern-like groups. Another reason is that I couldnât get hundreds of rounds to shoot through a gun right now even if I wanted to. Plus, letâs face it â it’s a Glock and is going to shoot pretty much like any other Glock out there, right? I am not the biggest Glock fan in the room, but I will admit that, for the most part, they are accurate enough and certainly reliable. This one was no exception.
I enjoyed shooting the Model 45 I was loaned. Would I like to own one (or its near-twin, the 19x)? Possibly, but I think that I might lean more towards the plain olâ 19 family, of whatever generation. (Except for Gen 5 â I do not like that semi-circular cut-out at the bottom front of the grip!). The reason I would take one of those over its longer-gripped brethren is exactly that â the grip is too long for me. If you are built like my friend who loaned me this gun and his 19X, then you would be perfectly happy with their Model-17-length grips. He is tall and thin. But I am built more like Curly of the Three Stooges and have all of his svelte shape â that is, if round is a shape. I have trouble hiding a compact-sized grip, even in an IWB holster. Itâs just me â I know, after reviewing a ton of holsters, that there are some out there that supposedly make it easier to conceal a longer grip for us Curlys. But, alas, not for me… I still have a tough time getting guns under wraps. At any rate, you, dear reader, have a choice. If you can handle the longer grip, go for the extended-capacity models. If youâre built like me, at least we have extended magazines we can buy if needed. And, whoâs to say that 15 rounds isnât a good thing? Iâm carrying my new Taurus G3c that comes with 12-round magazines (three of them). I like think that a 12-round-capacity is enough, so 15 or 17 would be a plus.
If you are looking for a new Glock and want something different, take a look at the 45. This model seems to be popular with law enforcement, so that gives the rest of us reason to look at it. If you like a 19-length slide but want a couple of extra rounds in your hand, check this gun out. I donât think youâll be sorry. As always, leave us a comment below if you have experience with this gun or its sibling, the 19X. Keep âem in the black, and stay safe!
I’ve been shooting a G45 for over a year now, and it’s become a daily carry for me. To your point regarding the factory sights, that’s always been a shortcoming of Glock. Mine is now sporting a set of Tru Glo TFX Pro day/night sights with the tritium inserts. I also added a tungsten guide rod with a 15 lb spring. Seems a little more front-end weight works well for both accuracy and recoil mitigation. I’m a lefty, so the ambidextrous control scheme on the G45 works for me.. This is my 4th Glock, and is definitely the best one yet.
I might add that the CZ 75 SP-01 is by far my favorite, but it’s just too heavy to carry comfortably on a daily basis!
John, good points. As a fellow lefty I can appreciate the slide release being on both sides of the G5. Sounds like you have it figured out in terms of which one to carry. The CZ is one heck of a gun. as well. Thanks for writing!
If they call something a 45 it better be a .45.
R. Paul, yeah, that was kinda my take on it as well. I knew that wouldn’t happen, though, after Glock brought out a model 44 but it was a .22… Seriously, they might’ve considered doing something different with the model number here as it could be a bit confusing to some. Thanks for writing!
I bought one a month ago ($550 out the door); was in the process of helping a colleague buy one, and it the price point, I could pass it up. This is my first 9mm (I’m a 1911/45ACP guy, but I do have a G22 in 40 S&W, and I’ve been impressed with the Glock platform).
I like the shorter slide and full size frame; I carry it IWB in appendix carry position. This allows the larger grip/frame to not print badly. I bought a Muddy River Tactical leather holster for that purpose. I also manage to carry 2 extra mags IWB on the left side of the belt buckle; allows the front of a t-shirt to be pulled out of the pants and worn loosely over the G45 and mags.
I find it’s accurate, shooting factory range ammo.
As to the sights; yes; they’re disappointing, but I have my sights set (sorry, couldn’t help it) on a set of AmeriGlo GL818’s, which are the correct model for this pistol, and offer the tritium night illumination I was looking for.
Thanks for the great article!
Marc, good thinking on the appendix carry. For those who can do that (safely!), it is a great way to go. With two extra mags, you should just about be ready for anything. As for the sights, it seems the first thing some Glock buyers do is budget for a replacement set. Shouldn’t have to do that, but that’s the nature of the beast. Thanks for writing!