Top 5 .45s for Home Defense

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Not too long ago, I offered up my Top 5 .45’s for concealed carry. Not everyone agreed with my choices, and there were a lot of great comments and reader suggestions. That got me thinking about concealed carry being only one of the purposes for a good .45 ACP handgun, and how different uses can often mean different choices. If you follow my YouTube channel, you probably know that I have an affinity for the John Moses Browning cartridge. So, if you’re interested in using this superior ballistic wonder to defend your home and family, I offer my Top Five. One more note before I start – just to be considered for this list, I had to feel the gun was 110% reliable with proper maintenance and good ammo. So that’s a given for all of them.

There may be no better bedside friend than the Glock 21. Seen here with a mounted Streamlight TLR-2 and extra ammo, it's ready to defend hearth and home.

There may be no better bedside friend than the Glock 21. Seen here with a mounted Streamlight TLR-2 and extra ammo, it’s ready to defend hearth and home.

 

#1 – Glock 21

Here’s why: Reliable, simple to operate, high round capacity, and well supported in aftermarket options. When the glass breaks at 2 AM and your reach for something to keep you and your family safe from a threat – this polymer 2×4 might be the nicest thing you’ve ever felt in your life.

It has only one control that you need to think about – the trigger. Plenty of rail space for a mounted light and/or laser sight. Can be equipped easily (or purchased with the optional) night sights. With 13+1 rounds of .45 ACP and the reliable simplicity of a Glock, it’s my opinion that this pistol is the benchmark of a home defense handgun.

MSRP: $600 and up.

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The Smith & Wesson M&P 45 combines duty-proven performance with industry leading ergonomics.

The Smith & Wesson M&P 45 combines duty-proven performance with industry leading ergonomics.

#2 – Smith & Wesson M&P 45

Just about everything I said about the Glock 21 applies to the M&P 45 – except round count. With a max of 10+1, it loses points. It can also lose a few points if equipped with additional safeties such as the external manual safety and magazine disconnect safety. Mine has neither, for which I am quite grateful.

The M&P 45 is an ergonomic masterpiece, though still a handful of gun. Few guns feel as comfortable in the hand as the M&P line, and the controls are well placed and easy to use. The recoil management of the M&P 45 is good, as is its reliability and simplicity. I’ve never had a failure of any kind with it. It is also one of the most accurate .45’s I own. It can be purchased with night sights (or have them easily added), and the front rail provides ample space for that mounted light/laser.

MSRP: $600 and up.

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If you're in need, this SIG Sauer P227 in a wall safe is a friend indeed.

If you’re in need, this SIG Sauer P227 in a wall safe is a friend indeed.

#3 – SIG Sauer P227 Nitron

Recently adopted by more than one U.S. State Police agency as the new sidearm, and built on the time and battle proven P226 platform, the SIG P227 is as fine a .45 as I’ve ever shot. Well, the standard trigger could use a little improvement, but otherwise it’s awesome. This pistol feels more like you’re holding a baseball bat than a 2×4, as SIG opted for a rounded approach to the grip, but left it at a 10-round capacity (though the promised 14 round extended mags should be showing up in stores now). The polymer E2 grip provides excellent ergonomics and hold, and the controls are very well placed. Think of it like a P226 that has put on a few pounds over the holidays.

Reliability, accuracy, and craftsmanship are all there and all pure SIG. Unlike those above, this is a hammer fired double-action / single-action (DA/SA) pistol that might take some getting used to for some. The upside is that heavy first pull acts as a safeguard against the adrenaline rush of an emergency. The P227 has no external safety, but does have a de-cocking lever to safely drop the hammer after firing. Front end rail space on the aluminum frame is adequate for lights and lasers, and it can be purchased with night sights.

MSRP: $1,108 w/Night Sights.

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Home alone with a good book? Not to worry, the HK45 has the options of double-action or cocked-and-locked readiness.

Home alone with a good book? Not to worry, the HK45 has the options of double-action or cocked-and-locked readiness.

#4 – Heckler & Koch HK45

Like the SIG, this gun is DA/SA operation and hammer fired. The major differences are a polymer frame construction, a thinner but taller grip design, and an external safety. The external safety on the HK45 also doubles as a de-cocker for the hammer. Also a maximum of 10 rounds in the magazine, there is no extended option available as of yet. H&K was the innovator in polymer framed handguns and still produces what I feel is the flagship example of them.

This pistol is the sidearm of choice for many elite fighting units worldwide. Ergonomics, function, and control placement are all excellent. Night sights are harder to find on stock models, but do exist. The base sights are “glow in the dark” that have to be charged with light and only glow for a while – I don’t consider those of any value when the gun is kept hidden away until needed. Front rail space is very good – plenty of room for lights, lasers, or a toaster-oven. The one control that some folks might not like is the magazine release.

The HK45 features the European-style paddle release incorporated into the rear of the trigger guard. It is by nature ambidextrous, so that’s a plus. But if you’ve not used that style before, it will take a little getting used to.

MSRP: $1,200 and up.

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This affordable and high quality Ruger SR1911CMD puts over a century of confidence in the nightstand.

This affordable and high quality Ruger SR1911CMD puts over a century of confidence in the nightstand.

#5 – The 1911

For starters, over 100 years of providing home defense does count for something. The 1911 was the gun for which the marvelous .45 ACP cartridge was created and vice versa (chicken / egg). Both designed by John Moses Browning (queue heavenly choir and sunbeam), both were the very state of the art over a century ago, and damn few guns or cartridges can claim equality even today. Yes, the 1911 is indeed worthy of consideration for a home defense handgun. Much thinner, with a shorter grip/trigger radius than everything listed above, it is the one most likely to fit every hand that might need to use it. The light and crisp single-action only trigger makes it easier to hit the target with the first shot.

I don’t recommend anything shorter than the commander length (4 ¼” barrel) for a house gun, and you should ensure it has the full 8 round capacity with a flush magazine. Extended mags are available, but one should test thoroughly because magazines are biggest reason for 1911 stoppages. This is no place to save $5. The 1911 design is as accurate and reliable as the day is long, and Crimson Trace makes an excellent laser sight grip.

Downside – SA only and external safety requires more training/experience for safe and proficient use.

There you have it – my Top 5. If you’re upset because your favorite wasn’t on the list, that’s probably because it’s not a Top 6 or a Top 8 list. What would you change and why?

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{ 104 comments… add one }
  • Rem870 October 18, 2016, 4:53 pm

    .45 has ultimate stopping power and I would readily have it as a home defense gun. But you need to train to deal with recoil. By the way, FNX should be added to this list.

  • Justin August 23, 2016, 9:26 pm

    All plastic guns?? Garbage if you ask me..The only .45 acp worthy on that list is the 1911 and maybe the glock. The rest are cheap, mass produced, production line, civilian design water pistols..Ditch this plastic junk and get a 3rd gen S&W 4506. Hands down the most accurate, durable, and reliable .45 ever made.
    God Bless you all.

    • Jackson September 27, 2016, 6:32 pm

      Not a very educated answer. I’m assuming you’re a super conservative mid to late 60’s male who doesn’t understand that there are better things out there than a 1911. An HK45 cheap junk? The hell is wrong with you?

      • Raymond November 27, 2016, 7:27 pm

        I am 40 years old with 35 years shooting experience and have to tend to agree a 1911 and a glock are my pick. And trust me I don’t need more than 8 rounds to get the job done. There is a reason why it has been around for 115 years without many changes to the design

        • Jor April 1, 2017, 8:13 am

          1911 para GI expert cancel or home defence top 5…..

    • Ripman May 19, 2017, 6:50 pm

      Sig stainless steel 1911s, junk?

  • Solo August 12, 2016, 10:35 am

    Interesting read, BUT not mentioned unless I missed it was the fact of shot placement. Being 74yrs young and carrying since age 18 in the US Army with 24yrs in LE you have to be able to place your shots. Brand and caliber is a personal thing as we are all built different as well as having different taste. I love the .45 acp rd. But have been known to carry a .380 when I felt it was more practical because of the location l was going. Presently I carry a Sig p938 9mm but have two Sig 1911 .45s at hand , a 3″ & a 4″ , just personal choice. Just wanted to put my two cents the pot.

  • Nick July 30, 2016, 11:29 pm

    Glock does it ALL and will ALWAYS perform. What do special operators ditch their SI sidearms for? Glock. Why? Reliability. Not to mention a plethora of customization and the easiest cleaning handgun an owner could ask for. For half the price of “top shelf” and quadruple the consistent reliability, Glock is all you need for any and all handgun purposes. Proud Glock 21 Gen 4 hand cannon owner. Never looking back.

  • Mike June 29, 2016, 7:17 am

    FNX-45 is a very worthy contender. 15-round capacity. IMO, it should have made the top 5.

    • Trammell August 26, 2016, 5:59 pm

      I have all of the .45 ACPs on that list except the Smith and Wesson and the Sig. I prefer H&Ks to Sigs and read that on the field test for the H&K 45, the firearm only jammed once per every 25,000 rounds making it 10 times better than the Glock in that regard. However, I just picked up and FNX .45 ACP, and it is absolutely my favorite .45 (aside from my Nighthawk 1911 T3). The FNX holds 15 plus 1 rounds of a .45! That is basically the same amount of rounds as many 9mms. My H&K VP9 Striker fire holds 15 rounds with the stock magazine. Also, it come with tactical night sights (yellow in the back, green in the front), as well as a threaded barrel for a suppressor. Once I get my class 3, then this baby will have all the bells and whistles imaginable. I have never had a jamming issue. The H&K may be a superior firearm – I have only put 200 rounds through the FNX since I have only had it for a week. I also put the Surefire 3,000 lumen flashlight on it and it fits perfectly. The case is also the nicest I have ever seen on a pistol and it come with 2 extra mags as well as 3 extra back straps. This firearm should absolutely be on the top 5 list, especially over the Smith and Wesson. S&W makes the best revolvers on the planet, but they do not have the crown anymore when it comes to semi-auto pistols. I would say that the best .45 ACPs are the H&K .45, The Glock 21, The FNX, and The Sig, and a reliable 1911 like a Nighthawk, Les Bair, or a Wilson Combat. I have a 15 year old Kimber before they started mass producing and it has never jammed on me like the one I bought in 2013 and then sold because it jammed about every 40-50 rounds. I love the Colt, but it totally depends on the model, and unless you are going to buy a very high end 1911, then your first stop should be at the gunsmith. The only exception to this in my opinion is the Springfield. I traded it in for the 2013 Kimber and regret it. I would put my life in a Springfield 1911 any day of the week and twice on Tuesday compared to the very pretty, but unreliable Kimbers unless you get an older model. If I could only have one firearm, it would either be the Nighthawk 1911 or the FNX .45 – Can’t beat 15 + 1 rounds of a .45 that is in the same quality class as Glocks, Sigs, and H&Ks. I am not military or police, but I am a Texan and have been shooting since I was 6 years old.

      Question: for concealed carry pistols, what are your opinions on the Smith and Wesson MP .357 5 shot with night sights versus the Glock 43? Clearly more rounds can be carried with the Glock, but in my opinion, a S&W 5 shot .357 Military and Police model is tough to beat. Will never fail – I keep it loaded with one .357 Hollow Point (Hornady) and 4 .38 Hollow Point Supers.

      Thoughts???

      – Trammell

      • 357 October 26, 2016, 5:47 pm

        Carried many handguns over the years, if you don’t have it on you, what’s the point? I finally ended up with a hammerless s&W j frame, scandium , titanium 357 that I pocket carried every time I put my pants on. Peace of mind, or so I thought. One day at the range, I pulled it from my pocket and started firing. After the first shot, it jammed up” tighter than dicks hatband” One of the remaining bullets had become unseated from its case, and protruded enough from the cylinder to keep it from rotating. it would not open, I was more than pissed off. I traded that one off. Ammo selection is important, However these were Federal Premium personal defense 357 rounds. 158gr jhp

        • John August 16, 2017, 2:03 am

          You sold your S&W revolver because of defective ammunition? Seriously?

      • Jeff October 28, 2016, 1:41 am

        What model surefire weaponlight is 3000 lumens that firs a handgun? I have the x400 with green laser but that is only 600 lumens.

  • James May 25, 2016, 9:42 pm

    The xdm 45 3.8 barrel is excellent for home defense and cc.

  • DavidBo May 22, 2016, 10:02 pm

    Good Top 5. I carry a Glock 30S, and on my nightstand an FNP 45 with a Streamlight TLR-4. I have a lot of pistols but those are my two favorites.

    • Dan May 20, 2017, 10:19 pm

      FNX-USG at the nite stand, Glock 30s on my belt, and Glock 21 on my passenger seat. NewYork reload baby! You my friend are a smart firearms owner.

  • MartyA May 5, 2016, 9:41 pm

    I agree that all of the guns on the list are excellent choices in 45 ACP, but leaving out other equally excellent choices that cost significantly less and still meet your criteria, like the XDM and the PPQ, doesn’t make sense, excepting of course that it is your list. In my opinion, there is no solid reason for a person to feel they have to spend $1100-$1200 and up for home protection, when your own article states that the two best can be had for about $600, the same price as the XDM and the PPQ. You guys are certainly free to write what you want, but many of us look to you for sound advise. We know that we can always spend more if we have it, and are so inclined!

  • Frank April 24, 2016, 6:54 pm

    Good choices. HK USP 45 was my choice of home defense for a long time until I got a Walther PPQ 45. An excellent pistol and it really molds into my hand.

  • Alan S. April 23, 2016, 3:29 am

    After reading all these it’s plain to see everybody is different. It’s whatever your comfortable with. As long as you learn to handle it correctly that is what matters. I have 3 revolvers and 3 autos and I enjoy each and every one of them. They all have their place and I wouldn’t hesitate to use any of them. It’s all about protecting yourself and loved ones. Thankfully we have the second amendment. God Bless America.

    • Trammell August 26, 2016, 6:06 pm

      It is crucial that we do not let Hilary take away our 2nd amendment rights. I am hoping she does not get elected for many reasons, and that is one of the primary ones. That and the fact the she is a sea monster! Blood on her hands from Benghazi is despicable. have no problem with a female president, but lets not let affirmative action impact electing the most powerful person in the world. Fortunately there are enough of us who care about our rights as humans to defend ourselves and loved ones. I keep either my FNX .45 or my Smith & Wesson Governor with 3 .410 shells and 3. 45 Colts… How dare she try to take away my right to defend my 5 year old daughter, who I am already teaching gun and knife safety to.

      – Trammell

  • MoiCapitan April 22, 2016, 11:28 am

    I keep a Glock 30S with me at all times. Fantastic weapon. I have an FNP 45 Tactical with Trijicon sights and a full size Glock 21, both are too large to wield quickly and don’t conceal very well either.
    Good list however.

  • Ron April 22, 2016, 11:02 am

    I am a 1911 fan also. But can I pick a nit? You say “The 1911 was the gun for which the marvelous .45 ACP cartridge was created and vice versa (chicken / egg).” Browning designed the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge for the Colt 1905, so the cartridge came a few years before the 1911 which was an updated 1905 if I am not mistaken.

    • Bruce July 21, 2017, 1:12 am

      I believe the 1905 your speaking of in 1905 was actually a 41 caliber that they were profecting..Until the powers that be insisted that it must be a min. of 45 caliber..Which was tested & retested until proved perfect in 1911..Hense the 1911 45 acp..

  • Rich April 10, 2016, 12:34 am

    Similar to the Glock 21 in the article, my Glock 30 Gen 4 with night sights and Crimson Trace RailMaster Pro protects me and the family. 13 rounds of 45 ACP baby!

  • Jesse March 29, 2016, 1:32 am

    I love my IWI baby eagle .45, shoots as smooth as a 9mm.

  • phil March 3, 2016, 1:28 am

    You’re forgetting the ambidextrous, 15+1 1911 style fnx 45

    • phili March 3, 2016, 1:36 am

      Fnx 45 I like the non tactical

  • Mark Tercsak March 4, 2015, 12:57 am

    I owned a Smith & Wesson M&P 45 auto, I will say this it is accurate and reliable ,but is a pain in the but to field strip, they should have done a better job in designing the pistol, also Tried all three grip inserts the large one was first, when I shot the pistol it was very uncomfortable it felt like some drove a rail road spike through the palm of my hand, the mid size one was better it felt like a nail, the small grip insert for me was the best, but was still uncomfortable, that tool they give you to field strip the pistol was also a pain to get out, it took six months before it became easy.

  • Karl January 28, 2015, 4:09 pm

    I have been a 1911 fan my whole life with my preference towards all Kimber pistols and when the Glocks hit the scene a long time ago with the model 17 I could just not get past it being a plastic and ugly as sin gun, it for sure had to be junk! Well I got past that although it took me a long time to admit that it is truly a very good weapon for a whole multitude of reasons. I am still a 1911 guy all the way BUT with that being said I cannot argue against this list in any way!

  • John Lofland January 23, 2015, 12:25 am

    My ist post was deleted because I wrote that gunwriters do not get paid if they write a negative article about a gun whose company advertises in the magazine they write for. I used not foul language. I did not name a writer or company and was censored by someone who says they support the constitution.

  • John Lofland January 23, 2015, 12:25 am

    My ist post was deleted because I wrote that gunwriters do not get paid if they write a negative article about a gun whose company advertises in the magazine they write for. I used not foul language. I did not name a writer or company and was censored by someone who says they support the constitution.

    • Jason May 3, 2016, 10:00 pm

      You troll post is alive and well.

  • John Lofland January 22, 2015, 11:26 pm

    I forgot to add that these are many of the same writers that ignored the HS2000 when it came out. I am sure most of you know what the HS2000 was,but for those of you that don’t it is the now beloved XD from Springfield ( actually CROATIA )

  • John Lofland January 22, 2015, 11:26 pm

    I forgot to add that these are many of the same writers that ignored the HS2000 when it came out. I am sure most of you know what the HS2000 was,but for those of you that don’t it is the now beloved XD from Springfield ( actually CROATIA )

  • John Lofland January 22, 2015, 11:19 pm

    People Remember, Gunwriters DO NOT get paid for a negative article on a gun that advertises in the magazine they write for. Therefore I have limited myself to Gun Test magazine when I want both objective and subjective views on a particular firearms. I do read other magazines but make no purchasing decisions based on them and the short leash they are on.

  • RUSS S. January 20, 2015, 8:32 pm

    THE SELECTION OF WEAPONS ARE GOOD. I AM A KIMBER FAN AND SHOOT THE ECLIPSE 3” AND HAVE HAD NO ISSUES. ADDING THE H&K45C WOULD BE CORRECT AS WELL. VARIETY IS A GOOD THING AND TRYING ANY NUMBER OF BRANDS ONLY ADDS TO THE FUN.

  • Jeffery Reeder January 20, 2015, 8:25 pm

    I like this list. I see four out of five choices that I agree with and own. The 30SF is a great gun!

  • Ray January 20, 2015, 8:21 am

    No plastic! No alloy ! If its not steel and wood I don’t want one. Like most people with small hands the Glock , Sig , SD, and all the “other” Hi-Caps have grips to fat to get my hands on.

  • Charles January 20, 2015, 5:49 am

    I can’t believe the XDM 45 was not in the top 5.

  • YANKEEBILL January 19, 2015, 8:09 pm

    I AGREE WITH THE #1 CHOICE, WHOLEHEARTEDLY. AS A RETIRED LEO/GLOCK ARMORER WHO CARRIED GLOCKS (STILL DO), I CAN ATTEST TO THEIR PERFECTION AS A “TOOL OF THE TRADE”. I HAVE LARGER HANDS, AND THE 21 JUST FITS! THIRTEEN ROUNDS OF 185GR FEDERAL HYDRA-SHOK, AND ONE IN THE PIPE. TRIJICON NIGHT SIGHTS, A LIGHTER CONNECTOR, AND AN EXTENDED SIDE STOP ARE ALL I HAVE EVER ADDED TO THESE GUNS, AND THAT’S ALL I BELIEVE IS NECESSARY. YOU EITHER LOVE ‘EM OR HATE ‘EM, AND I LOVE THEM FOR THEIR SIMPLICITY AND THEIR RELIABILITY. I KEEP ONE WITHIN MY REACH AT ALL TIMES. I ALSO ENJOY SHOOTING MY 1911 PISTOLS, BUT I RELY ON MY GLOCKS!

  • David W. S. Mason January 19, 2015, 3:07 pm

    I like revolvers. The Smith and Wesson reissue of the 1917 45 ACP revolver is an excellent choice. It can be reloaded very quickly, if necessary, with moon clips. It handles very well. It is simple to use and is always ready.
    The moon clips can be filled with rounds very quickly by the BMT Mooner, see it in use on Youtube

    • Russ January 19, 2015, 8:13 pm

      I love revolvers.
      They’re cool and fun.
      Ruger 357 mag & 44 mag are my bathroom guns
      Right under the towel next to the shower door

  • Walt January 19, 2015, 2:35 pm

    Like I said I have carried from1911 to Sigs most of my life at 64yrs young and NRA Instructor, my go to everyday is a Glock 30s or XDs in 45 and neither one has ever failed me

  • Dale January 19, 2015, 2:12 pm

    I have a Glock 21 S.F. ( that stands for SLIM FRAME, not short frame as some people think, read owners manual) that was still to chunky for my hand after I got it home and shot it. So – I sent it to Robar Industries and they did an EXCELLENT job of slimming the grip frame and contouring it for me. Yes, I had to spend more money, but it was well worth it. Never had a malfunction with it. If it isn’t sitting on my nightstand, it is ridding in the car w/me. sitting next to me right now! I only wish that Glock would do what Robar did, right from the factory.

    • Greg January 28, 2015, 1:10 am

      Sorry Dale… SF = Short Frame

  • Brass January 19, 2015, 1:47 pm

    My main/living room gun is a full size 1911 in 45ACP with light/laser on the rail, night sights and Chip McCormick HD ten round magazines loaded with Hornady 230 gr. PD ammo.
    All other house guns are G19s for commonality of magazines and ammo enabling simplicity of operation and blast/recoil control for my wife.

    • Russ January 19, 2015, 8:07 pm

      I hear you BRASS, it’s your favorite that’s best
      My PHDW is my WALTHER PPQ M1 with 2 mags of .40 JHP
      I keep it closer than the TV remote control.
      After that the rest of the family gets involved with their SG, AR, & AK
      A few Khukris and Ka-Bars laying around as well.

  • Scott January 19, 2015, 1:44 pm

    I would have to put a Springfield Armory XD full size right up there with the Glock. Same round count and a grip safety in addition to the safe trigger. Bought mine after shooting a friends .40 cal with a 5 inch group at 15 yards.

  • law dawg January 19, 2015, 12:54 pm

    Gentlemen, I have had an assortment of 45cal. Pistols. 1911s, s&w polymer, sigs, xds, and h&k…..also some rock lsland 1911s, of which I’m very impressed with. Believe it or not, some of the colts and ruger 345, were terrible. Many times I think it’s what you like and what type of shooter you are….p.s. Let’s vote the anti Americans like Obama and his constituents out of office, to keep them from destroying the 2nd amendment. God bless America… We need his blessings.

    • TPSnodgrass January 19, 2015, 3:47 pm

      Absolutely! Well said! In complete agreement with you.

    • Russ January 19, 2015, 7:53 pm

      Yep, just like Joseph Boslego said above.
      Different people different guns.
      45 isn’t my preferred caliber.
      I like .22, 10 mm., 357mag, 40, 44mag, 00buck, slugs, 5.45, 308, 54R
      You rallied me up with the Obama comment, lol

  • Tom Brollini January 19, 2015, 12:05 pm

    My Kimber Ultra Carry which I got when they first came out shoots everything that’s full power 230gr – period! Since I basically only shoot what I carry in a “carry” gun I know it works fine. Don’t believe I have any real problems with any of the other 5 or 6 or 7 or however many other 3-3.5″ 1911s I have & I will run flush fit 6 rounders to extended 10 rounders thru them. When I have a mag that won’t lock back it’s gone.

  • Ryan January 19, 2015, 11:56 am

    The S&W 45 now has 14round mags

  • michael strange January 19, 2015, 11:13 am

    IM 67 YEARS OLD AND HAVENT OWNED A HAND GUN IN 40 YEARS. WITH ALL THATS GOING ON I FELT THE NEED TO HAVE ONE IN THE HOME. I PURCHASED A SPRINGFIELD ARMORY 45 5 IN 1911 BECAUSE OF THE REPUTATION AND LOOK’S, HOPE I MADE A GOOD CHOICE.

  • Joseph Boslego January 19, 2015, 11:00 am

    The best 45 is the one you feel most comfortable with. Like having different flavors of ice cream – still ice cream. Police statistics say your first shot will be at 78% of your accuracy at the gun range. Your second shot will only be at 28% because of the blast and now your emotions set in – therefore the first shot is what counts. They also say that the number of rounds fired in a confrontation is 3. Bottom line “get them with the first shot from the gun you feel is most comfortable with”.

    • TPSnodgrass January 19, 2015, 3:46 pm

      BINGO! Outstanding comment and so true! Well said, Joseph, well said! The “best” .45ACP pistol, is the one you’ve got on you when things go bad, period. While we all are victims to some extent of “marketing”, most commercially produced pistols are excellent for their intended price points, and design-to-use.
      There are MANY different brands I “like”, which stinks. Makes the marketing hypes at the companies glad though.

  • Retrofit January 19, 2015, 10:57 am

    I’ve heard (cannot substantiate) that many of the competitors in the military combat competitions have started to use the Baby Desert Eagle 4500 (metal frame) because it is reliable and easy to shoot. I bought one and can say that after 1000 range rounds it has yet to balk. I’m 72 years young and I can shoot a three three-inch group with this gun at 7 yards. That is the center of mass expectation for home defense isn’t it? The BE 4500 does feel barrel heavy compared to a 1911 but that helps keep it on target between rounds. Guess I should mention that I have some experience with a lot of weapons across the whole spectrum since I’m a retired Ordnance Colonel.

  • Davey Ditzer January 19, 2015, 10:32 am

    I keep a S&W .45 ACP mod 1917 fitted with a crimson trace grip in the night stand – all the power of the 45 ACP with no worries about reliability or functioning. Fast reloads with full moon clips if it should ever come to that. I think 6 shots properly placed should manage 99% of any problems I can imagine.

    • Jeff Long January 19, 2015, 4:03 pm

      I am glad someone else also uses the wheelgun. Mine is a Smith 625 with the 3″ barrel and has never had a problem. Glaser Safety Slugs and 230 gr. Hydra Shocks occupy the back up full moon clips, the only thing not stock is I run Fitz target grips on it, they cut my groups by half.

  • Joe Striker January 19, 2015, 10:17 am

    Springfield XDM not considered? Hi-capacity, ease of use, additional safety options like Grip safety, no external manual safeties.

    • Administrator January 19, 2015, 10:25 am

      The author who wrote this is a Glock guy, and it is interesting to see that the majority of comments have mentioned the XD series. We are huge fans of the Springfield guns here, but since they are also a big advertiser at GunsAmerica it is interesting to see the opinion of people who drank the Glock koolaid. The XDM is a better gun that all of these.

      • Russ January 19, 2015, 7:40 pm

        My exact thoughts. (and I do like Glocks)
        As far as a full size 45acp goes, the XDM’s where its at.
        Why the old schoolers like exposed hammer and safety (1911-ish) crap, is beyond me.

      • Justin Opinion February 17, 2015, 12:02 pm

        A Glock guy? In as much as I own several and enjoy them yes. Going by that criteria, I am also a Smith & Wesson guy, a Walther guy, a Sig Sauer guy, a Kimber guy, a H&K guy, a Ruger guy, and yes – quite certainly a Springfield guy. Take a peek back at my “Top 5 .45 Carry Guns” piece and you’ll see the XDS as #1. XDM would surely be a fine candidate for the list – as would many others. Let’s not make it appear as if the author has some flawed perspective. The author is “a gun guy” and pretty much brand agnostic.

  • george carter January 19, 2015, 10:04 am

    Kimber pro carry 2

  • Juan January 19, 2015, 9:41 am

    Seems to me that everyone is hung up on models, name brands, and amount of rounds. Simple XDS with extended mag and a little something extra at the end of each round. Nothing more need be said.

  • Juan January 19, 2015, 9:40 am

    Seems to me that everyone is hug up on models, name brands, and amount of rounds. Simple XDS with extended mag and a little something extra at the end of each round. Nothing more need be said.

  • Griffendad January 19, 2015, 9:30 am

    My first comments so take it for what you will but I have to agree with Jay. The FNX Tactical is a great piece. 15 in the magazine, red dot ready, threaded for a surpressor. It comes with 3 mags and 4 backstraps for a perfect fit. Totally ambidextrous, cocked and locked or however you want to carry and from a great, time proven arms maker. Should be the next military carry weapon.

  • Chris January 19, 2015, 9:18 am

    Used to have an original SA Para P14. Fit great in my hand. 14 rnds + 1 in the pipe. Now I have a Glock 22, miss the 14 but the simplicity of a glock makes it my number 1 choice when the glass breaks.

  • Del Holford January 19, 2015, 7:50 am

    I like the choices. Mine is just different. My first choice at age 62 was the tough as nails Ruger P345. I can conceal it but it sits next to my bed every night and has ripped the center out of 50′ NRA speed targets from Bass Pro at 21 and 15 feet. Any closer and there’s little challenge to making one hole (albeit a large one). Any farther and it’s better than I am although occasionally I can hit a target at 50 yards, just not consistently. I’ve used it for 6 years now. My Kahr PM45 is my constant companion.

  • XDMan January 19, 2015, 7:41 am

    I’ll leave the omission of my own bedside gun, the XD .45, out of this. However, how you can have the HK and Sig AFTER the Glock and S&W is beyond me. All fine weapons, but c’mon.

    • ScottGunn January 19, 2015, 5:58 pm

      I agree totally, every Glock I ever owned either was sold or is used as a “bang around gun” that sits in a toolbox on my tractor. The Glock and the S&W are, in this mans opinion, far inferior to the HK45, FNX, 1911, Sig, XDm, etc etc.

  • WatchingAmericaDie January 19, 2015, 6:51 am

    Anyone who overlooks the Taurus Judge in favor kissing the collective butt of the mega-dollar “name brand” makers is wasting MY time… don’t know about yours…

    • Irish-7 January 19, 2015, 10:47 am

      I favor a revolver with both .45 caliber and .410 gauge versatility for home defense as well. However, I’ve experienced multiple “Fail To Fire” with the Taurus Judge. Primer was dented each time, but no round went down range. It may have been the ammo, Fiocchi 250 grain Cowboy Loads. I did NOT have that issue shooting the same ammo with the Smith & Wesson Governor, though. Anyway, I load chambers 1, 3 & 5 with Winchester PDX1 .410 GA and the even chambers with 300 grain .45 Long Colt jacketed hollow points. My first reload (if required) is a moon clip with 6 .45 ACP (3xFMJ + 3xJHP). I find this to be quicker than a speed loader with .45 LC rounds. Also, my EDC is a Smith & Wesson Model 457 .45 ACP. It is never more than a few feet away……

    • Ken D. January 19, 2015, 10:54 am

      The Taurus Judge is in fact one bad gun! I shoot the .410 000Buck. Its four ( aprox 9mm pellets ) that is bad to the bone. It has a surprising tight group being the “Public Defender” 2 1/2 inch barrel. Stainless Steel model. I sure as heck would not want to be on the receiving end of this little monster. Very mild kick my 20 year old daughter has no problem shooting it.

  • LEO January 19, 2015, 5:57 am

    RUGER ALL THE WAY FOR THE BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK, SR1911, SR45 IS MY CARRY. SEMPER FI

  • Tony D. January 16, 2015, 12:55 am

    Your #1 may be the Glock 21. I used to have one, but the 2×4 thing made me get rid of it. Having smaller hands, I had to settle for a Colt slab-side for quite a few years. Then along came the Glock 41. Now the 41 is “my” … #1

    • Justin Opinion January 16, 2015, 7:21 am

      Tony – you’re aware that the G41 and the G21 are the identical frame…. right?

      • Peter January 20, 2015, 7:40 pm

        The G21SF is the same as the G41 without any additional grip panels. I have both and I have small hands. I sold the G21 due to that 2X4 size that’s too big for me. So, although the fire control and the internal parts are interchangeable, the G41 definitely have the smaller grip.

        • Gaston January 21, 2015, 3:57 pm

          No, the 21 gen4 and the 41 gen4 are identical in frame size. Not close, not slightly smaller, identical. The 41 is only available as a gen4, so any comparison to previous generations of the 21 is misplaced.

  • What I know January 15, 2015, 9:54 pm

    Why is all the gun writers in love with Smith and Wesson M & P piece of shits!

    The guns are junk.

    It sounds like the writers are paid to say nothing bad about the guns!!!!

    They never say anything bad about ant S&W products!!

    Why is that?????

    • Eric R January 19, 2015, 4:51 am

      Because S&W has Been an American name for 100 years! I agree on them being over-rated.

      Springfield XD never get mentioned and they shoot, feel, and look nicer than the ugly glocks.

      14+1 .45acp capacity and has rail for laser/light.

      I haven’t checked prices lately but I would assume they are still selling between $500-600 retail. I bought my kit (gun, holster, two magazines, speed loader, lock, case, etc) 8 years ago for under $500.

      • Mike January 19, 2015, 9:36 am

        Totally Agree. My tactical XD 45 is super. IT NEVER jams…even with reloads. I have a Gold Cup, and a LLama. love the gold cup,,,don’t really care about the llama.
        I think people will kick themselves in the butt in time for not buying a XD. it is like Betamax…better system than VHS. But VHS had better marketing.

    • John Lofland January 22, 2015, 11:04 pm

      It’s important to take what the average gunwriter states with a spoon of salt. They write for a magazine that accepts advertising from the company that makes the gun. Secondly, any less that glowing report would be turned down. The onle people that I can realy depend on for gun reviews write for Gun Tests. No adevertising means no beholding to the company.

  • Doug January 14, 2015, 12:03 pm

    You have obviously never experienced a Para Ord Warthog, a 3″ compact with a double stack 10+1 magazine. The wide grip offers a solid handful to hang onto and the plastic finger grip extension on the bottom of the magazine yields a place to plant your little finger. A 1911 is one of the safest guns ever designed with thumb safety, grip safety, firing pin block plunger and half cock notch. Once you learn “cocked and locked” you will never want to go back. Some full frame 1911 shooters shy from the slightly increased recoil of a compact but, unlike other 3″ .45ACP, one quickly adjusts to it with minor loosening of grip and stance.
    Not only a great 1911, equal in accuracy and performance to a full frame, it makes a great carry gun you can actually wear all day without it jabbing or poking you somewhere uncomfortable. The stainless version is purposely 7oz heavier than the anodized frame. Weight soaks up recoil! The heft and weight of it on your hip is no different from a full frame and easy to get used to.
    I have several full frame 1911s but after the Warthog(s), they live in the safe as I have no need of them anymore.

    • Michigan Jeff January 14, 2015, 12:40 pm

      The Para-Ordnance .45ACP Warthog is a top quality gun; however, in my experience as a certified LE and Civilian handgun instructor, I see a lot of reliability problems (mostly ammo related) with the super-short 1911’s. Unless the owner is willing to learn the gun well and find the most reliable gun/ammo combination, I respectfully assert that truncated 1911’s like the Para-Ordnance Warthog only be considered the the advanced and well-trained shooter.

      • ShinyPartsUp January 19, 2015, 6:35 am

        I have to agree. I spent some money and more than a little time finding out my Springfield 3.3 inch XDs was only reliable with one brand of ammo ( I tried 7 major brands commonly used in self-defense). Also needed was a conscious effort to train with a stiffer wrist than normal, or feed and stovepipe problems cropped up. YMMV.

        • XDMan January 19, 2015, 7:47 am

          I’ve put hundreds of rounds thru my XDS .45, and it has eaten everything. No exceptions. You must have gotten a lemon.

          • RiverRat January 19, 2015, 8:21 am

            I have five 45acp semi auto’s and the XDM 4.5″ with 13+1 capacity is my chosen night stand pistol. Never a malfunction.

          • MikeW January 19, 2015, 9:35 am

            I love my Para Ord Carry 12. With 12+1 capacity it has ample firepower. As Doug stated, it is as accurate as any full size pistols. It also has the much needed night sights which all defence weapons should come standard with. I did have some problems with stovepipe when I first got the gun, but when I contacted Para Ord they sent me some new mags which fixed the issue perfectly. I have put round after round through the gun with no problem whatsoever. The “LDA” trigger is the most perfect double action only trigger I have ever felt. If you have never shot one you do not know what you are missing.

          • T.C. January 19, 2015, 9:41 am

            I also have the xds in 45 caliber and haven’t had a problem. I shoot Hornady critical defense through it and it shoots wonderful

      • Rob January 19, 2015, 3:32 pm

        I’ve carried and competed with a Para-Ordnance P-10 (predecessor of the Warthog) since the mid 90’s and have never had a stoppage. When competing in IDPA ‘BUG’ (Back-Up Gun) matches I use 200 grain semi-wadcutters. For carry purposes I’ve tried a multitude of current production defensive ammo without failure. The accuracy is amazing for such a small gun. I wonder if some of the problems you’ve witnessed have been owner/operator error.(?)

  • Jay Landoe January 14, 2015, 10:59 am

    I would make a strong case for the FNX 45. Highest capacity 45(15+1!), da/sa action with combo safety decocker, and if you’re willing to fork out the extra cash, the tactical allows for an rmr and suppressor. But in all fairness, FNH had me at 15+1.

    • LeRoy Reinburg January 19, 2015, 8:42 am

      I’ll second the vote for the FNX .45 Tactical. This is my go to for home defense and mine sports an RMR and a SilencerCo Osprey. The 15+1 is hard to beat. Suppressed with no muzzle flash conceals my position while preserving night sight and hearing.

    • Logan Mcmillan January 19, 2015, 1:10 pm

      I agree, my FNX is on the nightstand. Not only is it my favorite gun, just because it was next to impossible to find one and in FDE and was pure luck and fate, but it is also fairly “gentle” to shoot. It is a large pistol but ironically if I put the large back strap on it feels better.

    • in January 19, 2015, 4:15 pm

      I carried my 1911 Colt Commander for 3 decades and continued to carry it after I “retired”. I carried it right up to the day I got my FNX, now my Commander sits in the vault. I’ve owned Glocks, XDs, Para Ords, Berrettas, Taurus, and Rugers, but (with the exception 15 years ago of the SIG 220) I had never even thougt of changing from my Commander…until I shot the FNX. It’s exclusion from this list can only lead me to the conclusion that the author simply forgot about it, for surely they’ve fired one and therefore know it excedes the guidelines used to make these recomendations.

    • ScottGunn January 19, 2015, 5:51 pm

      I also would take the FN FNX over the Glock or Sig any day of the week and twice on Sundays. I own a HK45 and use it for home defense and stowed in the truck. Absolutely LOVE it, but the FN may be even better. I use a YHM Cobra suppressor on the HK, which the FNX would handle just as well. Two things the FNX has over the HK (depending on user preference), the 5 extra rounds and the optional red dot sight which could be very useful in a stressful situation. Only downside of the FNX to the HK, weighs significantly more with that extra ammo and the grip is a handful for some people. I would have the top three being (in no certain order) HK45, FNX and 1911, with the Springfield XDm placing in top 5.

    • John January 19, 2015, 6:45 pm

      The author definitely must have forgotten the FNX. I think most shooters don’t know about its existence. If you want a DA/SA, this is the gun to beat.

  • Edward J. Palumbo January 13, 2015, 4:11 pm

    Though not in enthusiastic agreement with the Glock 21 as a first choice, I do agree with these choices. I rely on the Kimber Custom II, but have fired all but the SIG P227 (though I’m well acquainted with the P226 and often recommend it). Our local Police Department uses the S&W M&P in 9mm and .45 ACP, and is very satisfied with the choice. I had the opportunity to fam-fire it and it performed well for me, but I can’t comment on its long-term reliability and durability on the basis of a fam-fire. I have trusted the .45 Auto since the Marine Corps issued me one at age 18 (I’m 68 now) and I’ve cycled through five personal .45s. It’s a fine cartridge, and these are excellent choices. The make and model is a matter of choice, but there are no poor options cited here.

    • Andy Bonavitacola January 22, 2015, 6:07 pm

      I own the Glock 21 and Ruger SR1911. The SR1911 cycles quickly and very smoothly. The Glock 21 is a beast. Both are comfortable in the hand with surprisingly minimal recoil. I have an HK P30 9mm that has more recoil than both of these .45’s. I would recommend both.

  • Martin B January 13, 2015, 3:32 pm

    Glock 30S. This can take a Glock 21 magazine for extra capacity, but is slimmer in the slide and a trifle more ergonomic. Good enough for undercover cops in California.

    • Justin Opinion January 13, 2015, 9:01 pm

      Martin – I featured the Glock 30S prominently in my Top 5 .45’s For Concealed Carry list. They certainly do make a complimentary pair!

      • Walt January 19, 2015, 2:00 pm

        I have carried a 45 for most of my life and I am 64 yr old. 1911s are my love and I carried a sig 220 my first had a clip on the heel of the gun 30yrs ago and some , but I carry a 30s or xds # five from factory all the time.

    • JohnR January 19, 2015, 11:08 am

      I was also going to say the Glock30S. I have a Glock 21 and it is a lot of hand gun. Buy both!

    • Don January 19, 2015, 1:42 pm

      I never hear anything about the Beretta PX4 45 APC. I own one and like it very wel . Would like to see a revie .

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