7 Best .45 ACP Pistols in 2020 – Rated and Reviewed

When it comes to handguns, nothing beats the classic .45 ACP. It is big, powerful, and packs an incredibly mean punch that will stop nearly anything that comes in the way. This caliber has been an American icon ever since Colt released its M1911 back in 1911.

If you are a firearms enthusiast, you already know that the .45 will come with a bit of recoil. As such, it’s not something that’s recommended for beginner shooters who are looking for their first self-defense handgun. One of the reasons why the 9mm caliber became so popular among law enforcement is largely attributed to their ease of control compared to the .45 ACP.

That said, once you experience how accurate the .45 ACPs are, you will start to appreciate the raw power that most other handgun calibers just do not put on the table.

PistolsNameEditor’s CommentRatingGet The Deal
Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911

Most Recommended Option

1. Adjustable rear right
2. Finely tuned performance
3. Competition pistol

10/10Check Current Price
Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0

Premium Option

1. Striker-fired polymer pistol
2. Textured grip
3. Stainless steel slide

9.5/10Check Current Price
Sig Sauer P220 Legion1. Stainless steel slide
2. High visibility day/night sights
3. Three 8 round magazines
9.5/10Currently unavailable
Heckler and Koch HK45 Compact Tactical1. Military lineage
2. Threaded barrel
3. Recoil reduction system
8.5/10Currently unavailable
Glock 211. Simplistic design
2. Affordable price
3. Easy to field strip and clean
8.5/10Currently unavailable
Walther PPQ .45 ACP1. Police pistol quick defense trigger
2. Adjustable sights
3. Polygonal rifled barrel
7.0/10Currently unavailable
​​Springfield Armory XDM1. Striker status indicator
2. Grip safety
3. Ambidextrous magazine release
7.0/10Currently unavailable

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best .45 ACP Pistols

Comfort

Comfort is pretty subjective. While it may be tempting to choose something that comes with the most features for the money, most shooters neglect the way it feels. If the handgun doesn’t feel comfortable, it may destroy your enthusiasm so it is best to take note of this. Fortunately, you can easily rent a handgun to try it out before making a decision.

It’s also important to highlight that a comfortable handgun for a guy might not be the case for ladies. This works for almost every handgun on the market. Most 45 ACPs come with a double-stacked magazine. As such, it may create a grip frame that’s a little too large for smaller hands.

Features

It might be a good idea to have a list of features that are important to you. The more practical the features are, the more prioritised they should be. A few examples would be night sights, large magazine capacity, how the safety is engaged, and the pistol’s overall weight and length.

Generally, heavier steel framed pistols will soak up more recoil than polymer framed pistols. This essentially makes it more pleasant for longer shooting sessions. That said, you may come to appreciate light polymer frames as they are more appropriate for slipping into your waist for concealed carry purposes.

Budget

As always, establishing a budget for your purchase is crucial. For many shooters, it’s even their top priority. While buying within your budget is important, it may be a good idea to give yourself some wiggle room. In the long term, you might want to save up a little more to invest in the best 45ACP pistols that will be able to fulfill all your needs.

Otherwise, you may resent the purchase that you’ve settled for. Furthermore, secondary and tertiary expenses are inevitable most of the time. Hence it may be a good idea to save a little money for that.

Aftermarket support

Aftermarket support is the ability to upgrade and customise your 45 pistol. Generally, the most popular options are the 1911 style 45 pistols. These models often come with an enormous selection of off-brand magazines, holsters, illuminated sights, or even aftermarket match grade barrels.

Top 7 Best .45 ACP Pistols

1. Heckler and Koch HK45 Compact Tactical

Specifications

Manufacturer: Heckler and Koch
Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel Length: 4.57″
Overall Length: 7.91″
Weight: 27.50 oz
Magazines Included: 2
Capacity: 10+1
Sights: Night Sights
Frame: Black Polymer
Action: DAO

Features

If you didn’t know, the Heckler&Koch 45 originally came about as an improvement to the USP series. In fact, it was developed to participate in the Joint Combat Pistol and Combat Pistol programs as a competent replacement for the M9. Ultimately, HK took the ergonomics of their P2000 series and combined it with the reliability and durability of the USP 45 Tactical.

The HK45 Tactical comes with improved ergonomics with interchangeable back straps, a 1913 Picatinny accessory rail, and ambidextrous controls. The grip to slide angle on this 45 acp is the same as the 1911 models. As such, you will feel more confident and familiar as you put your hands on the HK45 Tactical.

The Heckler&Koch 45 Tactical comes with a 5.09-inch threaded barrel that is polygonal bore and it’s insanely precise. You will be getting your sub 2-inch groups at 25 yards with this 45 acp pistol easily. Not to mention, the HK45 Tactical is also a DA/SA hammer-fired gun with a left-side decocking lever. If you love using decockers, you’ll love this 45 acp pistol.

In terms of the trigger, it is match grade and comes with an adjustable trigger stop. The trigger guard is even oversized and hence, if you shoot with gloves, you will enjoy shooting with the 45 tactical.

Another great feature of this handgun is its ability to be converted to 1 of the 9 variants in order to accomodate right or left-handed shooters. The controls can be installed on either side as needed in any manner of combinations. Whether you’re left or right handed, you’ll be able to unleash the 45 acp’s maximum potential from this handgun.

This 45 pistol is a full-sized pistol that’s capable of handling +P ammunition with a magazine capacity of 10. This 45 acp pistol is also available in compact, tactical compact, and tactical models. For under $1000, the 45 Tactical delivers one of the best values.

You will like this product if:

You want a great all rounder. Some may argue that the HKs are a matter of personal taste, but what gun isn’t? The 45 Tactical is a well-designed, reliable 45 ACP pistol that will fit your hands nicely and run incredibly right out of the box. This pistol is the best in terms of being an all rounder compared to other 45 ACP pistols.

You are a fan of suppressor-height factory sights. This handgun comes with micrometer adjustments for windage and elevation. That is because HK wants you to run the gun suppressed as it was designed to be.

You might not like this product if:

You are on a tight budget. A fully loaded model with mags and night sights can be a little too much for you if you have a tight budget. That said, if you are looking for the best 45 ACP pistol on the market, it is worth investing a little more for excellent quality.

You shoot cast lead bullets. The polygonal rifle barrel on the HK 45 works best with jacketed bullets if you want to hit the bullseye more easily. HK doesn’t really recommend you to shoot the HK45 with cast lead bullets.

2. Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0

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Specifications

  • Action Type: Striker Fired
  • Barrel Length: 3.3″
  • Capacity: 6+1-Round
  • Cartridge: 45 Auto (ACP)
  • Finish: Black
  • Front Sight: Fixed
  • Length: 6.5″
  • Magazine Included: 2 x 6-Round
  • Magazine Type: Removable
  • Muzzle: Plain
  • Rear Sight: Fixed
  • Stock Material: Polymer
  • Weight: 1.29 lbs

Features

The Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0 is a stellar little carry gun. If you aren’t really a fan of the 1911 style 45 acp pistols, you will love this handgun. This pistol is a single-stack, striker-fired polymer pistol that was specifically designed to withstand daily carry. If you are looking for a 45 acp pistol to get the job done, the Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0 is the one for you.

Compared to other pistols, the Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0 comes with pretty aggressive grip texturing. It’s so aggressive, you can hold onto your handgun nicely even when your hands are dripping with sweat or water. If you are looking for the best grip you can find, you’ll find it here.

The Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0 comes with a polymer frame that’s embedded with a stainless steel rigid chassis for enhanced durability. This stainless steel slide even comes with a tough Armornite finish. As such, you know that this S&W pistol was truly built to last, unlike many other 45 pistols.

In terms of specs, the handgun comes with the standard factory white 3-dot sights and ships with one 6-round magazine and a 7-round magazine. This 45 ACP pistol comes with a 3.3-inch barrel, weighs 20.5 ounces, and can be easily field-stripped without pulling the trigger.

In terms of accuracy, the Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0 is extremely precise. Since it has a relatively shorter barrel, it will perform best at distances under 15 yards. That said, it doesn’t mean that it cannot be used at greater distances, just not to its fullest potential.

You will like this product if:

You want the best concealed carry 45 pistol. For this price range, the Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0 is perhaps the best you can find. This pistol is a single stack, striker-fired polymer pistol that was specifically designed to withstand daily carry. With a 3.3-inch barrel that delivers excellent accuracy, it’s perhaps the best concealed carry 45 pistol on the market.

You are shopping on a tight budget. For something within this price range, the Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0 delivers exceptional value considering its accuracy, specs, and reliability. If you are looking for a reliable 45 ACP pistol with a tight budget, this is the one for you.

You might not like this product if:

You want larger capacity magazines. The Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0’s capacity is a little limited as it ships with one 6 round magazine and another 7 round magazine. If you are looking for pistols with larger magazine capacities, this might not be your best buy.

You are a long range shooter. Due to the pistol’s shorter barrel, you may not be able to hit all your shots as precisely at distances beyond 20 yards. That said, for concealed carry and/or self defense purposes, you won’t have any issues with the Smith and Wesson M&P 45 Shield M2.0 as it’s one of the most accurate 45 ACP pistols at this price range.

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3. Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911

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Specifications

  • Action Type: Single Action
  • Barrel Length: 5″
  • Capacity: 7+1-Round
  • Cartridge: 45 Auto (ACP)
  • Finish: Carbon Steel
  • Front Sight: Fixed
  • Length: 8.6″
  • Magazine Included: 2 x 7-Round
  • Magazine Type: Removable
  • Muzzle: Plain
  • Rear Sight: Adjustable
  • Stock Material: Cocobolo
  • Weight: 2.57 lbs

Features

Since this article is about the best 45 ACP pistols, it would be impossible to not include the timeless 1911 on our list. If you didn’t know, Springfield Armory has had a long history with the 1911 model and has created a wide range of models. Among all models, the Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911 stands out as the best 1911 45 ACP pistol for under $1000.

The Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911 was specifically designed with competition in mind. This pistol comes with adjustable rear sights, which is an upgrade from the standard GI model. As such, you can really dial in this 45 ACP handgun.

Coming with a 5’ barrel, you can easily hit the bullseye on the range with ease. The Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911 wasn’t designed for concealed carry, but for precision competition shooting. If you are looking for 45 ACP pistols to practice on the range, you will love this handgun.

As most shooters would expect from a Springfield 1911, the trigger pull is incredibly crisp and breaks cleanly after a short travel. Using a Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge, you will notice that the weight pull is at an average of 5 lbs and 13 onz.

This pistol’s slide is striated with cocking serrations at the rear. While it doesn’t come with any front cocking serrations, you won’t have any trouble actioning the slide with only the use of your thumb and 2 fingers. The tight parameters and the 5-inch match grade barrel will significantly enhance the 1911’s accuracy.

You will like this product if:

You are looking for a full size pistol for target shooting. The Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911 has the accuracy, reliability, and comfort that every target shooter needs. With it being a full size pistol, you will have ample space for a full grip and a couple of pounds to help ‘soak up’ the recoil.

You want great grips. Right out of the box, the Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911 features cocobolo wood diamond checkered grips that come with the Springfield Armory logo. With these grip panels and the size of the handgun, it will fit a wide range of hand sizes. From ‘dantier’ lady sizes up to the meaty bear paws, you won’t have problems with the 1911’s grip.

You might not like this product if:

You want a concealed carry 45 ACP pistol. As mentioned above, the Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911 was not designed for concealed carry. It’s designed for precision competition shooting. If you are looking for the best 45 ACP home defense or self defense pistol, this handgun might not be your best buy.

You want three dot sights. While most 1911s feature some sort of a three dot sight configuration, it might take you some time to adjust to the pistol’s black notched/blade sight picture. That said, once you get the hang of it, you will be getting more accurate shots. The great thing about these sites is that they are adjustable for elevation and windage!

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4. Sig Sauer P220 Legion

Specifications

  • Caliber: .45 Auto/ACP
  • Action Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Magazine Capacity: 8 Rounds
  • Overall Length: 7.7″
  • Overall Width: 1.3″
  • Height: 5.5″
  • Weight: 30.4 oz
  • Barrel Length: 4.4″
  • Barrel Material: Carbon Steel
  • Frame Finish: Legion Gray
  • Frame Material: Alloy
  • Slide Finish: Legion Gray
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
  • Accessory Rail: SIG Rail
  • Trigger: DA/SA
  • Trigger Type: P-SAIT
  • Sights: Siglite

Features

Although there’s nothing wrong with the original P220 as it’s a perfectly solid gun, the Sig Sauer P220 Legion is even better. The Sig Sauer P220 Legion is a full size handgun that might pose a little challenge to you if you bought it for concealed carry purposes.

Besides that, the semi-automatic pistol is an incredibly good looking gun thanks to its Cerakote Elite Legion Gray finished slide and frame, black10 grips, and its Legion medallion embedded in the grips itself. Besides looking pretty, the Sig Sauer P220 Legion’s greatest feature is perhaps its P-SAIT trigger.

The entire trigger system is smooth and consistent. The break is pretty crisp and its re-set is short. This is why the Sig Sauer P220 Legion rocks compared to the original P220. This is a hammer-fired double action/single action gun and it’s available as SAO. The double action pull is smooth on this handgun, making it one of the best double action 45 ACP pistols to shoot with.

The Sig Sauer P220 Legion even ships with the Sig’s Electro-Optics X-RAY hi-vis day/night sights and they are nothing short of fantastic. Under daylight, the front sight is vivid green for exceptional visibility. Under low-light conditions, the rear sights will glow along with the front sights.

Instead of using a polymer frame, the Sig Sauer P220 Legion adopts an alloy frame, a stainless-steel slide, and a carbon steel barrel. As such, it is somewhat of a bulky gun. In terms of weight, it weighs at 30.3 ounces (empty) and has an overall length of 7.7 inches, a height of 5.5 inches, and an overall width of 1.3 inches.

You will like this product if:

You want the best DA 45 ACP pistols. The P220 Legion’s double action pull is as smooth as it gets, making it the all time favourite DAs to shoot with. If you want one of the best DA 45 ACP pistols on the market for target shooting, you will love this handgun.

You want great sights right out of the box. For most pistols, you may have to invest a little to upgrade the handgun’s sights. With the Sig Sauer P220 Legion, it comes with Sig’s Electro-Optics X-RAY hi-vis day/night sights. With this, you’ll be able to hit the bulls eye under almost any condition without having to spend a single penny on sight upgrades.

You might not like this product if:

You bought it for concealed carry purposes. The P220 Legion is somewhat a bulky gun largely thanks to its alloy frame, stainless steel slide and carbon steel barrel. As such, it may not be the best concealed carry weapon on the market. Furthermore, you’ll need a good holster and gun belt to carry this gun around due to its heavier weight.

You want large round capacity pistols. If you prefer double-stack pistols because you have larger hands and/or prefer to reload less, this handgun might not be your best buy. That said, unlike many single stack pistols, this gun will be ridiculously comfortable in your hands. You will enjoy shooting and reloading this bad boy.

5. Glock 21 Gen 4

Specifications

  • Caliber: .45 Auto
  • Magazine capacity: 13+1
  • Weight: 26.28 oz (without magazine)
  • Weight: 38.80 oz (with loaded magazine)
  • System: Safe Action
  • Barrel Length: 117mm/4.61 inches
  • Trigger Pull: 28N

Features

For most shooters, the Glock 21 is the essential high capacity 45 ACP tactical pistol. Over the years, it has proven itself to be reliable, accurate, and practically indestructible. Coming with a 13+1 magazine capacity, you can easily access the stopping power of the 45 ACP.

The Glock 21 maintains the ergonomics and simple practicality of all the Glock pistols. Besides that, accessories, holsters, and spare magazines are plentiful. In terms of size, it is a little larger and those with larger hands will have a great time shooting the handgun on the shooting range.

In terms of the grip, Glock has made a nice modification to the rougher versions of the Glock 21’s predecessors and now, it will fit on your hand securely and comfortably. Overall, it will feel less abrasive while remaining solid whether your palms are sweaty or not.

The Glock 21’s magazine catch is also much more intuitive. Shooters will find it easier to access without having to shift the pistol in your grip. The catch also remains flush along with the grip. As such, it eliminates the possibility of any accidental magazine release incidents. The Glock 21 is as close to perfect as it gets for this platform.

One of the most outstanding features of the Glock 21 is in the backstraps. Unlike many other systems that require you to adopt one panel or another, this pistol starts with no strap. If you want to keep it simple, this is one thing that you’ll definitely enjoy.

To round it up, Glock even added a dual recoil spring assembly. Hence, gun owners can enjoy a longer lifespan to the spring and this will tame the handgun’s recoil. The sights provided are the simple white-dot front and the white outlined U-notch rear. Good enough for you to consistently hit the bulls eye.

You will like this product if:

You are shopping on a tight budget. The Glock 21 is available at an extremely affordable price point. If you are shopping on a budget, this is perhaps the best semi automatic pistol you can find for target shooting, home defense, and self defense at this price point.

You want great accuracy. The Glock 21 pistols have always been known to be extremely accurate. Short of the Glock 20, this pistol is probably the most accurate standard equipped Glock you can find on the market. Glock is one of the few firearms manufacturers in the world that produces pistols for law enforcement. As such, you can trust them.

You might not like this product if:

You aren’t familiar with Glocks. For gun owners who aren’t familiar with Glocks, the grip angle and texturing may be a little uncomfortable for you at first. That said, give it a few shots on the gun range and you will be good to go.

You want a heavier frame. The Glock 21 comes with a pretty lightweight frame and hence, you may experience a sharper recoil as you shoot. That said, Glock did include a dual recoil spring assembly here to reduce felt recoil.

6. Walther PPQ .45 ACP

Specifications

  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Barrel Length: 4.25″
  • Trigger Pull: 5.6 lbs
  • Capacity: 12 rds
  • Height: 5.8″
  • Width: 1.3″
  • Weight: 28 oz
  • Finish Color: Tenifer Black

Features

If you didn’t know, Walther manufactures some of the most stellar handguns that are available on the market. If you are looking for something that can nail beautiful single hole groups with the first magazine right out of the box, you will love the Walther PPQ .45 ACP.

The Walther PPQ .45 ACP is another full size pistol. It comes with an overall length of 7.4 inches, width of 1.3 inches, and a height of 5.8 inches. This pistol comes with a curved grip with wide, sloping finger grooves to allow for a firm grip as you shoot. Walther calls it a ‘non slip, cross direction grip surface’. The gun even ships with a set of back straps for you to adjust whenever necessary.

Despite the double stack magazine on the Walther PPQ .45 ACP, its ergonomic grip will be well contoured to provide a comfortable fit for a medium sized hand. Additionally, you will also find the controls on the PPQ 45 much easier to reach compared to many 45 ACP pistols on the market.

In terms of the magazine release, it is ambidextrous and will come in extremely handy as you shoot throughout the day. In relation to the trigger, it has a weight of 5.6 lbs and offers you a smooth pull, crisp break, and it is easily operational for higher rates of fire.

If you’ll be taking this pistol to the shooting range throughout the day, you won’t have to worry about taking breaks and cleaning the gun. With or without a magazine, the Walther PPQ .45 ACP will fire flawlessly.

You will like this product if:

You want a great trigger. The Walther PPQ .45 ACP comes with an excellent striker-fired trigger. There’s less than half an inch of take up before the trigger tighten and it will break at a clean 4 lbs and 5 ounces. Furthermore, once fired, the reset is less than 1/10th of an inch. Follow up shots from this pistol are simply one of the best most shooters will experience.

You are shopping on a tight budget. This pistol is perhaps the best 45 ACP pistol at this price range. If you think a 45 ACP pistol is difficult to handle, the Walther PPQ .45 ACP will change your perspective at minimal cost. This pistol is great for both target price, home defense and/or self defense purposes.

You might not like this product if:

You are not a fan of plastic sights. Plastic sights are without a doubt pretty durable considering their price. That said, the one that comes with this firearm might make you wonder how many rounds you have left before the sight opos off. Fortunately, there are many heavy duty aftermarket options available.

You want a clean look. This sidearm comes with markings all over it and hence, it may give off a pretty rough look. That said, if you are into rough looks, this pistol will definitely meet your expectations. Couple it with a laser and flashlight, you’ll bring the pistol to a whole new dimension.

7. Springfield Armory XD M

Specifications

  • Caliber:.45 ACP
  • Weight: 31 oz.
  • Action: Striker Fired
  • Sights: Dovetail Front and Rear 3 Dot
  • Magazines Included: 3
  • Magazine Capacity: 13 round
  • Barrel Length: 4.5″
  • Slide Finish: Forged Steel, Melonite
  • Frame Finish: FDE Polymer
  • Caliber or Gauge: .45 ACP
  • Pistol Night Sights: No
  • Pistol Optics Ready: No
  • Threaded Barrel Pitch: .578 x 28

Features

The Springfield XD M was introduced by Springfield Armory back in 2009. Make no mistake, these series of pistols were not offered as an upgrade or to replace the XD series. They were offered as a completely different line of pistols with advanced features.

Out of most of the pistols on the market, the Springfield (and maybe the Glock) is perhaps the most visually appealing 45 pistol. While the clean lines of the Glocks are obvious and visually appealing, the Springfield Armory XDM has an appeal of its own. The Springfield Armory XDM exhibits blended lines but yet and aggressiveness in texture where needed.

The 4.5 inch barrel and grip size allows the pistol to look well balanced. Any shorter barrel system or grip would remove the balanced look and feel on the Springfield Armory XDM. As you would already expect from Springfield Armory, the fit of all things mechanical is excellent whether externally or internally.

In terms of construction, the melonite finishes to the slide and barrel are pretty excellent. In terms of the frame, it comes with a polymer frame that’s well constructed and metal reinforced in critical areas. As such, you know this pistol was truly built to last.

The Springfield Armory XDM ships with two 13 round stainless steel and highly polished magazines. These magazines are of excellent quality and construction so you won’t be looking for a replacement anytime in the near future.

Although shooting the best 45 ACP pistol is a large part of the equation, how well the best 45 ACP pistol carries is another party that many gun owners tend to neglect. With a decent holster supported by a good belt, you won’t have any issues concealing this pistol and hence, completing the equation to form one of the best 45 ACP pistols.

You will like this product if:

You want great fit and finish. You will be pleased to find a flawless finish on both the outside and inside of the XDM. You won’t notice any visible machining marks, assembly marks, scruffs and etc. as you pull it out of the box. Certainly, you wouldn’t expect all of this from the best 45 .pistols would you?

You want some of the best accuracy. Mechanically, this pistol is extremely accurate. With its consistent trigger pull, you can easily deliver consistent and accurate shots on the bullseye with proper aim.

You might not like this product if:

You want the cheapest pistol on the market. As the saying goes, good things never come cheap and the cheap ones are never good. Although this pistol is pretty affordable, it isn’t exactly the cheapest on the market.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does a 45 have more stopping power than a 9mm?

The 45-caliber round is a bigger bullet and hence, it comes with greater ‘known down power’ to neutralize your target. While 9mm rounds are generally more accurate, they fall shy in terms of stopping power.

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