These .45 ACP pistols are the best on the market.
When it comes to self-defense rounds, .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), also known as .45 Auto, is widely considered one of the best on the planet. The cartridge was designed by legendary gunmaker John Browning and has served in multiple conflicts, including two World Wars.
Simply put, this is a proven round with some of the best stopping power out there for handguns. Understandably, it's the first caliber many people look at when choosing a new handgun.
Today we'll run down some of the best options for the best .45 ACP pistols on the market today. Because we know tastes in pistol types varies, we're also making sure this isn't just a list of 1911-style handguns too!
Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2
This polymer frame single stack handgun only has a magazine capacity of 5+1, but with .45 ACP, you likely won't need that many shots to stop a potential threat. This gun is designed specifically with concealed carry in mind. This gun has a 3.3-inch barrel and an overall length of just 6.5 inches. The weight is manageable at 21.5 ounces.
Springfield Armory trimmed the slide down to make this gun easier to draw from concealment. For the safety conscious, it has a loaded chamber indicator. The front sight is fiber optic to help with target acquisition in low light conditions. This is a good option if you're looking for something in the $600 price range. This gun is usually sold for around $550.
If you're looking for capacity, speed and reliability, Glock is a name to consider. The 21 full-size is largely considered one of the best .45 Auto pistols on the planet. When I took my concealed carry class my instructor called the 21 "The best self-defense gun on the planet." This gun has a 13+1 magazine capacity and a 4.5-inch barrel length for accuracy. These striker-fired guns are easy to disassemble and re-assemble and they'll eat almost any kind of ammo.The safe-action safety means no fumbling when the time comes to use it. Aim and squeeze. Glock includes additional backstraps to adjust the fit and ergonomics. Gen 4 models come with three magazines, which is a nice touch. You won't necessarily have to run out and buy more right away. At $550, there is a lot to like about the Glock 21 as a self-defense option.
FN FNX-45 Tactical
Another full-size option, this combat pistol offers double action/single action capabilities and an excellent 15+1 double-stack magazine capacity. This semi-automatic pistol receives high marks from users for being smooth shooting and for having little recoil. Surprising for a gun as powerful as this. The threaded barrel is available in two lengths, 4.5 and 5.3 inches.
FN includes four interchangeable backstraps to adjust the fit to your hands. Fully ambidextrous controls are also built into this gun. Everything can be changed from the decocker and safety lever to the slide stop and magazine release. An accessory rail gives the ability to add a small flashlight or laser sight. The FNX-45 isn't cheap, they start around $800 and go up to $1,300, but you're getting a lot for your money with this firearm. There's a reason this gun is often the sidearm of choice for military and law enforcement personnel.
Another striker-fired pistol that is praised by users for exceptional accuracy and performance straight out of the box. If you're looking for a safe gun, the Walther has three safties built in, plus a loaded chamber indicator. Serrations on the front and rear of the slide help make it easier to operate. A picatinny rail gives you a spot to mount accessories. The rear sight is fully adjustable. Walther makes their .45 Auto version of this gun in two different sizes. One has a 4.25-inch barrel while the other has a 4.9-inch barrel. The longer version is also threaded. Both guns weigh in at 28 ounces, which isn't bad considering the overall size and 12 round magazines of this firearm. The Walther also comes at a nice price point of $599 and $699 respectively.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
If you're on a budget, you might think a larger caliber pistol is out of range. However, Smith & Wesson makes a few different versions of their popular M&P Shield line in .45 ACP and some go for as little as $439. The bare bones version of this gun features a decent 7+1 magazine capacity and weighs in a very manageable 20.5 ounces. It's also only one inch wide, so it's going to be very easy to conceal and draw quickly from the holster. This is a simple thumb safety polymer frame gun topped with white dot front and rear sights. It also features texturing on the grip for more control and a brisk, two-piece trigger. It's worth mentioning this is also a striker-fired gun, but nearly $100-150 less than most of the competing home defense guns with similar features.
For top-of-the-line firearms made here in the United States, it's hard to go wrong with a Kimber. The barrels and aluminum triggers are match grade. The trigger is set at 4-5 pounds straight from the factory. The frame and slides of these guns are stainless steel and just give these guns a stylish, classic look. They're sure to turn heads every time you step on the range. Kimber offers a few different models chambered in .45 Auto. They all have five-inch barrels and the magazine capacity is either 7+1 or 8+1. Kimber also offers models that are pre-fitted with Tritium night sights. The biggest decision now is deciding what finish and the type of hand grips you want!
Taurus 1911 Pistol
Maybe you want a 1911-style pistol in .45 ACP, but you don't want to fork out $1,100+ for it. This is where the Taurus is a solid option. This gun comes in at an extremely affordable $559 while still delivering the reliability of a proven John Browning design and the stopping power of a .45. This gun has a five-inch barrel and comes in at about 8.5 inches in overall length. It has a capacity of 8+1. This is also a very safe firearm with the beavertail safety and a thumb safety that is ambidextrous. The blued finish and checkered grips also just look nice. It's hard to believe this gun is as cheap as it is. User reviews praise the gun for its reliability.
Sig Sauer P220
Another combat pistol that's hard to wrong with. After all, the U.S. Military chose Sig as their new handguns of choice a few years ago. It is hard to argue with the experts! The P220 is a gun that just comes up again and again as one of the best .45 ACPs on the market. It's a da/sa design that's light on an aluminum frame. SIGLITE night sights help with target acquisition in lower light conditions. This one is highly customizable with a three-lug picatinny rail. Most user reviews of this firearm praise it for its crisp trigger pull and exceptional accuracy. It's not cheap at $1,100, but this is one gun I've often heard law enforcement say they would stake their life on.
Heckler & Koch HK 45
These pistols get high marks from users for their low recoil and ease of use. The HK45 is offered in two different models, a standard and a compact model for concealed carry. The more compact version has a 3.94-inch barrel and a magazine capacity of 8+1 rounds. It is a slimmer handgun designed for all-day carry. If you're looking for peace of mind with a few extra rounds, the standard size has a 10+1 capacity. This gun has many features you'd find on black polymer handguns like interchangeable backstraps, a picatinny rail and ambidextrous controls. This is a nice mid-priced option. Both versions come in at $749.
Ruger SR1911 Pistol
A mid-priced option for anyone looking for a sharp-looking 1911-style pistol. The barrel, frame and slide are all stainless steel. These guns offer stylish-looking checkered hardwood grips and two different barrel lengths of 4.25 and 5 inches. The magazine capacity options are either 7+1 or 8+1 rounds. A beavertail grip safety and a thumb safety help make this a very safe firearm to shoot. Out of the box it's fitted with Novak three-dot sights to quickly hone on your target. The price varies from $799 to $850 depending which model you select.