Heizer Defense Now Shipping the PKO-45 (Thinnest .45)! – SHOT Show 2018

Heizer Defense got our attention with the introduction of the PKO-45 several years ago.  We were anxious to get out paws on it back then for a full review.  As we were following last year’s SHOT Show.  But it wasn’t quite ready for prime time.  Excellent news.  Now it is ready.  The wait is over!  The PKO-45 is shipping to a dealer near you.

The PKO is a very different style of firearm, reflecting Heizer’s heritage as an aerospace firm. At .8-inches wide, it is the thinnest .45 ACP on the market. At a time when almost everyone else has switched to plastic, Heizer has doubled down on stainless steel.

The most unique feature of the PKO-45, which explains why it looks like it does, is the recoil system. The recoil spring mechanism is on top of the barrel, not underneath it. This allows the lowest possible bore-axis, and the use of a fixed barrel. Ideally, this should improve a shooter’s ability to put lead on target, especially during follow-up shots as muzzle rise is at a minimum.

The takedown is simple. No trigger pull or tools required.


  • Frame: Aerospace-Grade Stainless Steel
  • Width: .8″ wide
  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Capacity: 4/5+1 Flush Mag/7+1 Extended Mag
  • Weight: 28 ounces
  • Safety: Ambi
  • Action: Single/Internal Hammer
  • Cost: $700 (Street price)


The controls are familiarly placed. But they do feel a bit different. I imagine it will take some time adjusting.  Not too long, though.

The PKO features a thumb safety, though it is very thin, keeping with the lines of the gun. In place of a beavertail safety is a grip safety located on the front strap, like an extra trigger. It’s intuitive to engage. The slide has some mass to it but is extremely easy to rack.

At .8-inches wide, it is the thinnest single-stack .45 ACP on the market.

Users can opt for a flush-fit 5-round mag or an extended 7-round mag.

Overall, the gun weighs 25 ounces or about the same as an XDE. Not bad for an all steel .45 ACP.

Coming soon, a 9mm PKO!  Heizer had a 9mm prototype on display.  Maybe we’ll see it by the second quarter of this year.  Fingers crossed.

Aesthetically, both guns look like extras from a Steam Punk movie, and I am looking forward to field testing them.  Very much so.

Don’t forget about the pocket AR! Always a crowd pleaser.  Click to read our review of the pocket AR and pocket AK.


We’ll have to confirm the MSRP of the PKO-45. UPDATE: Official MSRP for the PKO-45 is $899.  But I’m seeing them listed on GunsAmerica right now for as low as $769.50.  While you may bristle at the price tag, remember this is an all steel pistol.

For more information on Heizer products, visit HeizerDefense.com.

***Shop for Heizer Pistols on GunsAmerica***

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • gunbob October 8, 2018, 4:03 am

    I’m intrigued by this gun. I cant wait to see on in person and fondle it. That will really be proof of the pudding. It will ether be very cool or bla… The price is certainly bla but what the heck. If it is quality then OK. I’d like to see more guns made like this. imagine how small a 9mm could be. I got a little .25 that is considered junk, but, it is a shooter and I can bounce coke cans around from 20 ft. When I need a gun but have to have something absolutely small as possible, the raven arms .25 gets the nod. A similar 9mm made like this heizer would be very cool. I think this company kinda blew it doing a .45. Can’t be as small as a “nine” could and could have really grabbed some attention via very small size. If I want to carry a .45, I’ll get a XDS. Quality and it shoots and it can hit at close range so if you want to carry a .45 and have it be affordable, there you go and in bitone color combo, they look fantastic.

  • Michael Rebar February 10, 2018, 1:58 pm

    Anyone know of a specific laser sight or holster that fits better than others?
    I was thinking of an Urban Carry holster option. How about you?

  • Blase February 4, 2018, 6:30 am

    I have owned .380 blow back designs and my experience
    has been more than a few rounds of practice really hurts my hand.

  • Steve ARIZMENDEZ February 4, 2018, 3:01 am

    Looks nice, but still want a 44 Mag. Where can get a good price in San Antonio ,Texas. Any suggestions ? Ranger Out.

  • Stef January 31, 2018, 10:18 pm


  • Rick January 31, 2018, 6:24 pm

    Single shot pocket howitzers for $300? I’m sure something could be machined up for much less that would do the same job, and be both steampunk, and sexy. I’m talking Arrakis…..Dune……Desert Planet. That Heizer looks like something Flash Gordon would keep in his boot.
    The mag fed .45 gets a little more love as it is thin but seems to be a bit pricey for what you are getting. There are a lot of other options out there for $900.

  • ES January 31, 2018, 12:56 pm

    Jeff, are you saying yours is a lemon? If so, please give reasons.

  • Allen Lawson January 31, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Remember it’s steel ? How much can that increase the price of a 28 oz pistol ? I bet it’s a real turd!!! Years down the road somebody’s great grandson will look in the gun safe and see one. What the heck is this !

  • Norm Fishler January 31, 2018, 11:08 am

    I’ve owned bigger .25 ACP autos. I’d like to shoot one to see how manageable it is for me.

  • flintman50 January 31, 2018, 10:01 am

    Wow….That looks like one bad arse flamethrower!

  • Jeff January 31, 2018, 8:21 am

    I own one. Can’t wait to see other owners comments. Mine a lemon or the standard. Check the warranty before purchasing.

  • Cyrus January 31, 2018, 7:50 am

    No Thanks – Looks like it would blow up in your hand!

  • Heavy10mm January 31, 2018, 2:40 am

    “While you may bristle at the price tag, remember this pistol is steel.”
    “While you may bristle at the price tag, remember this is a gimmick gun that any number of manufacturers across the globe can best with superior weight/capacity/functionality/proven performance/etc.”

  • Robert Smith January 30, 2018, 7:55 pm

    Looks interesting, but I would like to know more about the locking system. Fixed barrel usually means straight blow-back but that requires a heavy slide and a stiff spring, neither of which it has. Some kind of gas-delay like a Walther CCP? Please tell us, Heizer.

    • Eric M Polkis March 2, 2018, 2:42 pm

      It is a fixed barrel under guide rod configuration. This low bore axis virtually eliminates and muzzle rise. The fixed barrel also makes it extremely accurate. Also, it is a direct blow-back, however, it is one of the easiest 45’s on the market to rack. Please visit the Heizer Defense website to learn more and view some videos of the PKO-45 being shot. Many thanks, Heizer Defense

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