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Old December 8, 2012, 09:53 PM   #1
chaim
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Looking for a new carry .45ACP

I've made some adjustments to my carry rotation. I have long been a 1911 fan. However, I live in MD where it is near impossible to obtain a CCW permit. I have a UT permit for carry when out of MD. So, I only carry part-time (always when somewhere I can carry, but I can never carry near home). Further, the time I have available for practice is not what it used to be and I spend less time practicing my draw.

I have long been a fan of revolvers and DAO autos, as well as DA/SA autos with a decocker but no safety, for my home defense guns. The simplicity of pick it up, ID target, aim, pull trigger, is appealing when extremely tired and awakened from a deep sleep.

So, I've been thinking about simplifying my carry rotation a bit and dropping my S&W 1911SC and other guns that I sometimes carry "cocked and locked" and going strictly to guns with no external safety.

I have several good carry guns to choose from that fit the bill: .38spl through .45LC revolvers, .380 to .40S&W autos. But, dropping my 1911SC from the rotation leaves me without a .45ACP. I am not a hard-core .45ACP guy, I like 9mm through .45ACP pretty much equally. There are times I prefer a 9mm, there are times I prefer a .40S&W, and there are times I prefer .45ACP. I'm more likely to pick the .45 in colder weather months when I have more concealment clothing on. For those times I would like to add a new CCW .45ACP to my list.

A couple guns I'm considering include: the Taurus 24/7 full size and compact, the Taurus PT 845 Compact, the SIG P250 Compact, and the SIG P250 full size. I really like the modular aspect of the P250: get the .45ACP in full sized, compact, or both, and also add other sizes and calibers for relatively cheap later. I know many don't like the trigger, but I have a SIG 290, basically the non-modular single stack version of the P250, with a heavier trigger, and I love it. I may add the SIG P220 Carry to my list, if I find one used. I'm not a huge Glock fan, but I will consider both the G21 and G30. I'd be more likely to consider them if they had a G19/G23 sized .45ACP, and no I'm not really interested in the .45GAP G38.

Must have criteria:
  • Under 32oz.
  • No external safety (DA/SA or DAO are both fine though)
  • 6+ round mags
  • Under $700

Nice to have list:
  • Under 30oz.
  • 10 rounds or more
  • 3.75" barrel: Short barrel .45s are notorious for hollow point expansion issues. One of the reasons to go .45ACP is that, being a larger round, careful ammo selection is less important. Going under 3.5" and careful ammo selection is more important/more difficult than with .40 or 9mm.
  • Night sights
  • Hammer fired
  • Under $550

For those who have posted on my recent thread looking for a larger compact or smaller full sized 9mm or .40, I will buy another gun in that category later (maybe next year), but this .45 would be instead of that gun for now. It was that thought process that brought me to now looking for a .45.

I would love to hear suggestions and reviews of guns that fit my criteria above (with as many of the "nice to haves" as possible).

Last edited by chaim; December 8, 2012 at 10:03 PM.
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Old December 8, 2012, 09:57 PM   #2
chaim
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For the record, I am still a 1911 guy. I love 1911s. The 1911 and CZ 75 are my two most accurate platforms in my hands. The ergonomics are terrific. However, the manual safety requires plenty of constant practice so that disengaging the safety is second nature when drawing from the holster. For people with the time to practice enough, it is a terrific carry platform. Unfortunately, while I still practice a lot (and probably wouldn't have an issue), I no longer have time to practice enough for me to feel comfortable carrying a 1911 (or my CZ 75B cocked and locked). So, even though I love 1911s, and even though I have several CCW guns, I am looking for a new .45ACP CCW platform.
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Old December 8, 2012, 10:25 PM   #3
chaim
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Anyone know how tough it would be to convert a Ruger KP345 to a decocker only? I had one years ago, but I got it too soon after the introduction and the bugs weren't worked out yet. Mine was terrible, and once I got it working (I think) I sold it because I didn't trust it. However, it was reasonably accurate, a good size and weight for both CCW and the range, and the ergonomics were terrific. On the down side, the slide mounted decocker/safety is an issue. Since it is DA/SA, I could ignore the safety, decock the pistol and rely on the longer and heavier DA trigger as the safety. However, if I reverted to my prior training on the 1911 and attempted to disengage the safety, I'd risk actually engaging it (I'm used to the 1911 style safety where up=safe, down=fire; the 345 uses the old S&W style where up=fire, down=safe). I'd only consider this if the safety could be converted to deocker only relatively easily.
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Old December 8, 2012, 10:30 PM   #4
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Here's a no-frills video comparing the Glock 36 and Kahr CW45 (both 6+1)... It also briefly shows how they compare to the (fatter) Glock 30:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHF4s1B4yPg

I opted for the CW45 with Crimson Trace and like it a lot. It only weighs 20 oz. empty. I've run about 300 rds. through mine with no problems except for two stovepipes. I also have 7-rd. extended mags for it (7+1).
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Old December 8, 2012, 10:34 PM   #5
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I'll recommend the Kahr CW45 as well. I've been nothing but happy with mine.
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Old December 8, 2012, 10:57 PM   #6
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This got me thinking. It is one thing to be able to draw and present, but what about the gun that is laying beside you in the truck or in the glove box or whatever? You may not be in the position to instinctively hit the safety. I know this is about a carry gun, but the reason I usually keep a P89 in my center console with a G19 on my hip. I know you are not a huge fan of Glocks, but there really is nothing more simple than pointing and shooting them! I do keep that p89 with its heavy trigger in the console rather than an un holstered Glock though! Might look at the G30 or 30sf http://us.glock.com/products/model/g30sf
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:28 AM   #7
thedudeabides
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I hate plastic guns, but of what you described the Springfield XDS and Glock 30 would probably fit best. Consider the Glock 36, too.

The XDS and 36 are single stack and hold 5+1 and 6+1 respectively over the Glock 30's 10--but you can get magazine extensions for both and the Springfield's is molded to resemble the grip.

When it comes to CCW, double stack 45s are chubby and that may affect your ability to grip it. All 3 have a trigger safety and the XDS has a grip safety (1911 heritage?). None have night sights for a 500-600 price point, but you can easily buy and install them for less than 75 bucks. All 3 shoot similarly, that is not terribly.

Back when my job required me to commute to some nasty places, I carried a Glock 30, I have traded it since for a Sig P226 (which has a proper hammer and DA/SA). I don't really think any of the plastic Sigs are worth carrying--I think the P250 is crap. I also had a USPc 45 in DA/SA, later converted to DAK, I also thought that gun was worthless.

If my life depended on a plastic sidearm I'd go with Glock, then Springfield, then Kahr. I've shot all four, and even a P250.

Opinions are like buttholes.

Last edited by thedudeabides; December 9, 2012 at 07:37 AM.
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:04 AM   #8
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Springfield Armory XDs. Great gun.
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:06 AM   #9
chaim
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It is true that I'm not a huge Glock fan. A biggie is Gaston Glock's politics and ties to the late Jorg Haider. I don't want to hijack my own thread, but my being Jewish and Glock being independently owned, it is hard for me to spend my money on one while Gaston Glock is alive (at 82 it probably won't be long until I feel better about buying one). Of course, I can get around that by shopping used (and even new, so little of my money would actually go to Glock that I will buy the best gun for me, no matter who makes it, I am not actually boycotting Glock, it is just one factor). Every time I shop for a gun niche which a Glock can fill, I shop Glock. On paper, many of them should be strong competitors, but in my hand the ergonomics don't do it for me; they aren't bad, but they aren't great for me either. The biggest factor that has kept me from buying one so far is the trigger. I'm just not a fan of most striker fired guns, the trigger is usually too springy for my tastes.

That said, the Glock 30 has a number of advantages and will be high on my list. Reasonable cost, 10 round mag, light (24oz), thin (1.27"), short (4.8"), and with a sub-4" barrel (good for concealment). Yet, it is a tad longer than many short barreled guns allowing for a slightly better sight radius. Further, the 3.77" barrel meets my minimum length and by itself will be an improvement over any 3" or 3.5" barrel at addressing the .45ACP weaknesses in a short barrel. The Glock octagonal rifling is a big advantage here as well. It is more efficient than traditional rifling allowing better accuracy and better velocity out of a shorter barrel. With the 3.77" barrel and octagonal rifling, I suspect that bullet performance out of the G30 would be similar to .45ACP performance out of a 4" barrel, with a slightly better length for CCW. In fact, on paper it may be perfect for what I'm looking for, I just have to get over my political distaste for Glock and the trigger.

As for the Kahrs, I probably won't consider the CW45 (though the price is nice), but I may consider the P45. The 3.64" barrel and traditional rifling of the CW45 may keep me away. The closer you get to a 3.5" barrel in .45ACP the more velocity will suffer. Short barreled .45ACP tends to have an issue with consistent hollow point expansion. The 3.54" barrel on the P45 has Kahr's polygonal rifling which is more efficient and provides better velocity and thus might perform closer to a 4" barrel, so I think on the .45ACP it may be worth the extra money. I'm also not crazy about the fact that the mag only holds 6 rounds, barely meeting my minimum, and I'd much rather be close to the 8 rounds my S&W 1911SC it will replace holds. If I go Kahr, I'm most likely to go with the TP45 with its 4" polygonal rifled barrel and 7 round mag, but then, it is getting pretty expensive (especially with night sights).
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Old December 9, 2012, 08:42 AM   #10
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Sig P220 Compact:
under 30 ounces
6+1 capacity
great trigger (mine has short reset and short reach trigger)
flawless fit and finish
Zero malfunctions through 700 rounds

Mine is the newest version: 220 Compact SAS gen 2



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Old December 9, 2012, 08:44 AM   #11
chaim
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Thank you for the XD suggestion, I never really think about them when looking (the Glock blockiness I don't like ergonomically is just as bad on the XD), but they make high quality pistols, and they have one that looks like it will fit what I'm looking for perfectly. I don't see the single stack XDS you mention on the website, but I'd prefer more rounds anyway. For spring through fall use when wearing less concealment clothing, I'd prefer a smaller 9mm or .40 anyway. This gun will be a winter gun, so I don't have to go as small as possible (which is also why I'm wishing that there was a Glock between the compact G30 and the full sized G21). Anyway, the XD 45 Compact looks like it fits on paper perfectly (even better than the G30): 10 round mags (13 rounders available with an extension), 1.26" wide, 7.3" OAL (concealable, but with a decent sight radius), 4" barrel, 5" in height (very concealable), and 29oz. The XDM looks interesting and is a little smaller (27oz, 7" OAL, 4.55" height), but the 3.8" barrel, while meeting my minimum criteria, is pushing the limits of consistent .45ACP expansion.

Another gun that looks like it would be a good option is the S&W M&P 45. The M&P45 compact has an 8 round mag, a 4" barrel, and it is sized right: about 29oz with the empty mag, 1.2" wide, 4.8" height, and 7.55" OAL. The 4" barrel on the compact is nice so it can get reliable expansion out of .45ACP JHPs. They also have an interesting option, similar to a Commander sized 1911; they have one with the full size frame and compact's 4" barrel (instead of the full-size's 4.5" barrel). It differs from the compact primarily in height (5.5"), weight (just over 30oz with the empty mag), and capacity (10 rounds). Both the compact and the one with the same concept as the Commander would be high on my list, though I have never warmed to the springy M&P trigger so I'd have to get around that.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:05 AM   #12
chaim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelyfun
Sig P220 Compact:
under 30 ounces
6+1 capacity
great trigger (mine has short reset and short reach trigger)
flawless fit and finish
Zero malfunctions through 700 rounds

Mine is the newest version: 220 Compact SAS gen 2
Nice looking gun. I am a big SIG fan. I had a 226 which was decent, but what really did it for me was the 229 I used to have. I loved that gun (I wish I didn't sell it). I really like my SIG P290RS, it is a terrific small subcompact single stack 9mm. SIG doesn't really put out a pistol I don't like. Even the P250, which gets a lot of flak online, is high on my list. As much as I like my P290, and as interested in the 250 as I am, the metal framed SIGs are my favorite. They have the practical no-nonsense look like a Glock, yet like a 1911, CZ or Hi-Power, they are esthetically pleasing as well. They are reliable, accurate, and very well made. Unfortunately, they are expensive (and a little wide at 1.5"), which is what will probably have me go with the 250 if I go SIG.

The 220 Compact is a good gun. I like it and if I see a good deal used I will certainly consider it. However, the 220 Carry is higher on my list. I am a big fan of commander sized 1911s (like my S&W 1911SC), and I like other guns that follow the same concept. The 220 Carry has the shorter Compact slide, with the full-sized 220's frame. For a cost of 0.5" greater height (i.e. only a small cost in concealment ease), you get 2 more rounds, an easier to control gun (a larger and more comfortable grip), yet the shorter barrel makes for an easier to conceal gun than a full-size. The Carry is less than an ounce heavier than the Compact. Both are good guns, and if I see a nice deal on one (probably used) I'll consider both, but the 220 Carry fits my preferences a little better.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:16 AM   #13
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One to watch for in the near future is the Boberg 45ACP, rumored to be in design. If it's anything like the 9mm Boberg, it will be a must have.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:29 AM   #14
thedudeabides
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Sigs aren't cheap. Compact and Carry P220s will run you 900-1100 if you buy new--and why I didn't recommend one.

If money is no object, I think that a P220 will outperform any of the guns in this thread (the SRT in the SA/DA variants is incredible).

You just have to shell out more for one.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:35 AM   #15
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If it were two years I'd say get one of the police trade-in S&W 4553TSW's from Buds.Best buy I've ever had.$249 and it feeds everything, like most Smith 1st-3rd gen .45's.Got used to the dao,and it's crazily accurate.You might find one floating around at the shows or shops.They were well carried so they don't have that"I have to lock this in the safe forever "stigma.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:41 AM   #16
chaim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedudeabides
Sigs aren't cheap. Compact and Carry P220s will run you 900-1100 if you buy new--and why I didn't recommend one.

If money is no object, I think that a P220 will outperform any of the guns in this thread (the SRT in the SA/DA variants is incredible).

You just have to shell out more for one.
Yeah, if I go SIG (other than the 250), I will be looking at used and CPO guns. That also limits the selection. Instead of practically everyone carrying them, and if they don't have what I want they can order it, I will be limited to what I can find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.p.driver
If it were two years I'd say get one of the police trade-in S&W 4553TSW's from Buds.Best buy I've ever had.$249 and it feeds everything, like most Smith 1st-3rd gen .45's.Got used to the dao,and it's crazily accurate.You might find one floating around at the shows or shops
I have been a fan of the 3rd gen S&W autos for years (I've long wanted a 3913 or 908). However, I long ago got used to the 1911 style safety so I would definitely need to find a DAO or decocker only version (see my 3rd post where I discuss the Ruger KP345). I know there are some DAO S&Ws out there. I don't remember if they made any decocker only versions. Even if they did, I don't really see them out there, and DAO isn't always easy to find, can the DA/SA S&Ws with the safety be converted fairly easily to decocker only?

Has anyone taken a DA/SA pistol with a decocker/safety and converted it to a decocker only? How hard is it? If I had a smith do it, how expensive is it?
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:45 AM   #17
thedudeabides
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Most CPO sigs are P229s in 40--if you want to go that route. They hold 12 rounds and can be converted to 357 SIG with a barrel swap.

Good luck finding a CPO P220 compact or carry, I've never seen one in North and Central Florida where we have a lot of hand-ins from a variety of LEOs.
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Old December 9, 2012, 09:48 AM   #18
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Quote:
I'd be more likely to consider them if they had a G19/G23 sized .45ACP
They do... the G30 is about the same size as the G23/19, only a little thicker.
If you reallly want a 45 I'd suggest the G36 though.

Otherwise, for a similarly powerful round that would get you your desired 9+1 I'd suggest the G27... and its even smaller than the G36, by quite a bit.
For $9 you can add a Pearce floorplate to one of the mags if you want a place to put your pinky finger. I dont notice a difference really...
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Old December 9, 2012, 10:49 AM   #19
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:12 PM   #20
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I'm also going to recommend the SIG P220 carry SAS.
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Old December 9, 2012, 01:20 PM   #21
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Because some of your criteria includes no manual safety and more than a six round capacity, my choice would be the very pistol I've been carrying comfortably concealed for the past several years (and which you have included on your list of options if you can find an affordable used one): a SIG 220 Carry. The single-stack magazine gives the pistol a slim factor not often found on most .45 ACP pistols (though the 1911 is plenty slim ) and my pistol has proven to be reliable in the extreme and very accurate. The da trigger pull is better than most semi-auto da trigger pulls in my experience and the sa pull is just about right imo for a pistol intended for self-defense use.
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Old December 9, 2012, 01:29 PM   #22
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Quote:
I would definitely need to find a DAO or decocker only version (see my 3rd post where I discuss the Ruger KP345). I know there are some DAO S&Ws out there. I don't remember if they made any decocker only versions.
The .40 caliber Smith Model 4046 comes to mind and might meet much of your criteria. Sadly, however, the chances of finding one (as you noted referencing a different third generation variant) will require a serious search. But they are out there and it's not that unusual to see them at affordable prices at major gun shows.
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Old December 9, 2012, 02:10 PM   #23
mk70ss
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Here is my XDs in my carry rig. It is a VERY thin pistol. Google XDs vs. Glock and look at the images for size comparison.


Last edited by mk70ss; December 10, 2012 at 07:29 AM.
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Old December 9, 2012, 06:45 PM   #24
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^I'm waiting for that XDs to prove its self in 45 over a couple of years, then show up in .40
An XDs40 might, just maybe, if the stars align...provoke the sale of my beloved PM9
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Old December 9, 2012, 07:54 PM   #25
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IMO the Glock will fit the bill. It was my favorite duty weapon before I retired and is now my favorite CC weapon. It is accurate out of the box, robust, reliable, and packs a punch.
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