Are you looking to add another .45 ACP pistol to your gun collection (or your first)?
If so, you’ve come to the right place. As one of the most popular pistol cartridges in America, second only to the 9mm Parabellum, the .45 ACP is in wide abundance and there are a large variety of different pistols chambered for the round as well.
Owning a .45 pistol will also be highly practical because the .45 ACP itself is a highly versatile round. The .45 is suitable for defense against both humans and dangerous big game, so it’s equally at home as a home defense handgun, for concealed carry, or to have strapped to your hip while hiking or hunting out in the woods.
The .45 ACP cartridge itself really came into existence as a result of the Philippine-American War and the subsequent Moro rebellion in the first decade of the 1900s, when it was decided that a more powerful cartridge out of a semi-automatic pistol would be needed.
At the time, the standard issue United States sidearm was the Colt M1892 in .38 Long Colt. It was a fine revolver, but the .38 LC was just too weak against the Moro rebels, many of whom were often high on drugs and took multiple hits to be brought down. Soldiers serving overseas were re-issued the older Colt Single Action Army revolver in .45 Long Colt, which offered a lot more stopping power but also a slower rate of fire and long reloading times.
It become apparent to the United States military that the world would be transitioning to semi-automatic pistols, and it was also apparent that it would take a .45 round to have sufficient stopping power on the battlefield. The military eventually turned to the Colt M1911 design and its .45 ACP round, both of which were designed by John Moses Browning.
The .45 ACP went on to become the standard issue American military pistol cartridge from 1911 to 1985, and is still in service among certain military and law enforcement units today.
Suffice to say, the .45 ACP is just one of those calibers that is going to be around forever, along with pistols chambered for the round as well. Here are the best .45 ACP pistols money can buy:
Beretta Px4 Storm
The Beretta Px4 Storm is one of the more unique pistols out on the market today thanks to its rotating barrel. Available in several different calibers, including the .45 ACP, the Px4 Storm was designed to potentially be a more modernized replacement to the 92FS. The rotating barrel of the gun is designed to improve accuracy and reliability while reducing recoil, in contrast to the more traditional Browning locking mechanism the most other pistols use.
The Px4 Storm in .45 ACP holds 9+1 rounds, and has a double action/single action mechanism with safety and decocking lever that is virtually identical to the Beretta 92, in addition to having a very ergonomic grip. Thanks to its rotating barrel system, it is one of the most pleasant shooting .45 pistols that money can buy today.
Colt Mark IV Series 70
When one thinks of ‘.45 pistol,’ the 1911 is often what they think of. And for many of those people, the original Colt M1911A1 that was the standard military sidearm in World War II and beyond is what comes to mind. The M1911A1 is no longer in production today, but another 1911 that closely resembles it called the Colt Mark IV Series 70 most certainly is.
Keeping in line with its more traditional look, the Series 70 has an arched mainspring housing, shorter trigger, shorter frame mounted safety and grip safety, shorter sights, and a blued finish and wood grips. It looks like just a classic M1911A1 and other than the markings, the two guns are also identical.
Of course, Colt also makes a grand variety of other 1911 pistols on the market as well today, each of which are very high quality and well regarded. Examples include the Colt Competition, Colt Commander, and Colt Defender.
If you just want a .45 pistol that has as many bullets as possible in the magazine, you’ll want to take a look at the FN FNX45. A large pistol that holds a whopping 15 rounds in the magazine, plus an additional round in the chamber, the FNX45 is currently the highest capacity pistol in production today.
This is a big and heavy gun to accommodate the large magazine, but it comes with a number of bells and whistles, including a steel slide to help reduce recoil, a 5.3 inch threaded barrel and raised three dot sights to accommodate a suppressor, and a smooth double action single action trigger.
Heckler & Koch USP45
There are few guns that have been as torture tested as much as the HK USP. Available in several calibers but probably most famous for the .45 version, the USP was first introduced in the mid-1990s as a nearly indestructible and fully reliable service pistol.
Available in full size and compact configurations, the USP45 is a very large handgun, which helps to reduce the felt recoil of the .45 round. The USP45 was thoroughly torture tested and abused by HK prior to being released and passed all tests, and would be an excellent gun for home defense or to carry on your hip out in the woods. The full size USP45 holds 12+1 rounds, while the Compact model holds 8 rounds. An updated version of the USP45, called the HK45, is slimmer and holds 10 rounds.
If you’re looking for a more modernized 1911 rather than the traditional looking Colt Series 70, you have no shortage of options today because the 1911 is more popular than ever. One such option that is also rather affordable is the Ruger SR1911, which retains the original Series 70-style firing system for a smoother trigger while also having a host of modernized upgraded features.
For example, the SR1911 has a longer frame mounted thumb and a beavertail grip safety, which will make it easier to switch the safety on and off and reduce the odds of slide bite. It also has wider slide serrations, a longer trigger, flat mainspring housing, and raised three dot night sights.
SIG Sauer P220
When the SIG Sauer P220 was first introduced in the 1970s, it immediately competed with the 1911 pistol, which was dominating the .45 market at the time. The P220’s main difference was its double action single action trigger mechanism and the lack of an external safety. The P220 has a capacity of either seven or eight rounds depending on the magazine, and the newer models today feature a tactical rail and an improved E2 ergonomic grip.
For a brief period of time, SIG Sauer also offered a double stacked version of the P220 called the P227, but it is no longer in production. However, you can still easily find used models floating around. The P227 is thicker in the grip than the P220 and has a ten round capacity rather than seven or eight.
The Walther PPQ45 was Walther’s first and so far only .45 ACP pistol. When the PPQ was first introduced in 2011 in 9mm, it quickly became known for two things: excellent ergonomics and one of the best triggers of any striker fired pistol on the market.
The .45 ACP version is no exception, with the only difference being that it’s significantly larger than the 9mm and .40 versions to accommodate the .45 round. Therefore, whereas the 9mm and .40 PPQs are mid-sized pistols, the .45 version is definitely a full sized model. The PPQ45 has a capacity of 12+1 rounds, and is one of the most comfortable .45s on the market to hold today.
The .45 pistols that we have discussed in this article each come from reputable manufacturers and are the very best options available today.
This article first appeared at Gun News Daily.