Heizer Defense is best known for their hard hitting and hard kicking thin all steel pocket pistols. The first Heizer I reviewed was their two shot .45ACP, and that gun was just no fun to shoot. Since then Heizer has come out with some even larger hand cannons, all the way up to a 7.62×39 “Pocket AK,” but I’ve never considered them anything more than novelty.
I love novelty guns as much as the next guy, but things seem to be changing for Heizer with this new PKO 45, and later this year, the PKO 9. Both guns have the standard Heizer look and feel, but instead of novelty, the stress seems to be on ergonomics and shootability.
The PKO 45 was announced last year, but is just coming into production this month. It is a 5+1, single action only, with a manual thumb safety, and 1911 style grip safety with the lever inside the grip instead of in the web of the thumb. The barrel is a fixed piece of bar stock with a rifled hole bored in it, and heatsink fins on the sides. Fixed barrels are not a new idea, but it is unusual in a gun with an expected street price of around $700.
Heizer claims that the fixed barrel lowers the bore axis to the hand, absorbing recoil, and that it will make the very short barreled gun inherently accurate, hopefully we’ll get in a gun for review as it comes to market, and it would be great to substantiate those claims in practical tests. The gun weighs in at just over a pound and a half, so the ergonomics matter, we’ll be sure to report them.
The 9mm will apparently be available later in the year. It is an aluminum frame gun, and that example you see there is apparently a working prototype. It will be under a pound, and again, the claim is that it is extremely soft shooting and accurate. Both of these Heizers could be great.
The one thing I can say about Heizer is that as much as you’ll hear opinions about the novelty side of their design choices and recoil, you don’t hear complaints about the guns breaking, or about customer service if and when a lemon does hit the shelves. As explained in the video, this is an old aerospace company that started making guns only several years ago, and they have a great deal of manufacturing experience, and an underlying manufacturing base of operations. With the slowdown coming for the firearms industry this year, it will be interesting to see which of the new breed last, and which fade into a memory. With a real manufacturing base behind them, and newer and more practical designs, it could be that we’ll see Heizer Defense in guns for a long time.