Best (not cheapest) 45?


March 1, 2009, 11:17 AM
I'm a fairly new shooter (about a year), and have really enjoyed my Glock 19 9mm. Had a chance to test shoot a H&K 45 at the range a couple of weeks ago and loved it.

I trust the collective wisdom of this forum, so here's my question - If you were to purchase a new .45, what would it be?

My priorities - in order -are:

Ease of use

What really doesn't matter is price. I am really looking for a one-time purchase of a semi-auto .45 that I can shoot forever and will to my kids.

Thanks guys and girls!

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March 1, 2009, 11:19 AM
RIA 1911 Tactical for around 400 bucks.

Best value out there for a quality .45

David E
March 1, 2009, 11:43 AM
The Rock Island Armory (RIA) may be a good value, but it lacks in the other three traits.

A 1911 that has been suitably modified is a good start, but only if you'll dedicate to the 1911 cocked and locked system. This is not for the casual shooter.

The HK you mentioned is a quality gun, but suffers from a hard, long DA trigger pull. I suspect most (all?) of your shooting with it was done single action. Another downside here is, any DA/SA gun that requires a safety or decocker to be applied to make the gun safe also requires a degree of dedication to the system. Youtube has all kinds of videos of folks shooting themselves or having AD's because they didn't dedicate to the given system. (and/or are idiots!)

The easiest .45's to shoot, aside from revolvers, are the Glock 21 and 21 SF, the M&P .45, or the Springfield XD. These last two are available with or without thumb safety, and Glock may have one coming)

Go rent these and see what you think. Keep in mind the M&P has replaceable back straps in 3 sizes, so you could fit the gun to suit YOU.


March 1, 2009, 11:50 AM
Try a quality 45 like a Kimber. By quality I mean a firearm with a very good trigger. A lot depends on how precisely you want to shoot a pistol. If it is only for home defense then accurracy and trigger are less important. I can shoot my glock accurately if I work at it. My kimber is easy to shoot accurately.

March 1, 2009, 12:33 PM
How can a Rock Island be a good value if it lacks to other 3 traits? That just means it a cheap piece of junk. I've never shot a RI but have handled a few. I've also talked to quite a few who own them and read a lot on various boards about them. People who've actually shot them seem to be VERY impressed with them. I'm not cheerleading for Rock Island but I also don't think that they should be dismissed out of hand just because they don't cost a lot of money.

I agree that you should go to a range that rents .45's and shoot as many as you can, and if you plan on using it for anything other than casual target shooting, get extensive practice with it. It is not a self defense tool for those who don't want to get to know it well.

Also, when you are talking 45's you are getting into touchy areas with many. For every person who swears by Kimber, or Springfield, or Colt, you will find someone who despises them for various reasons. So, you will never get a consensus on the "best" .45. They simply don't exist, except in the mind of whoever you are talking to at any particular time. You may have to buy and sell a few times to find THAT gun you are looking for. Good luck.

March 1, 2009, 12:39 PM
Big range of prices 1911 ways. A RIA is inexpensive and a good pistol, especially for the price. A Dan Wesson like mine is a VERY well made and accurate gun and may be one of the best value/dollar in a quality 1911. Then you get into the REALLY nice 1911's. Les Baer, NIghthawk customs, Ed Brown etc. I have handled but not shot them and they are VERY nicely made. BUt then they cost 2k+ you say money is not a problem so go check them out, buy one, post it up and let us drool.

March 1, 2009, 12:47 PM
When you say price doesn't matter, does that mean you realize that custom pistols go for $4000 and you're OK with that?

March 1, 2009, 01:35 PM
Best .45?

Anything except a 1911. The OP said a .45, but did not specify a 1911.

IME Sig P220, Ruger P90, Glock 21/21SF, HK USP etc, will be more reliable than the 1911 for less money.

Just my .02,

March 1, 2009, 01:41 PM
I'd stick w/ the HK45... I was in your position, only I chose the HK45c :D

I will agree w/ the above posters that the HK45s aren't best for ease of use though... the DA is horrendous... and removing the safety from a draw under stress probably requires some practice.

that being said.. HKs are the best for being that lightweight, reliable gun w/ a safety on it.

March 1, 2009, 01:44 PM
Guys, he's looking into a "one time purchase" he can hand down to his kids. Do you really think a Rock Island Tactical or other gun in that range is really what he needs? (not that they aren't good values).

Dan Wesson Valor 1911. Look into it and I think you'll find it combines the best of all the traits you're looking for. You'll find very very little negative reviews on them, if any. I'd get it long before a Kimber. It's probably next on my list.

If money really is no object, look into some of the custom 1911's. The semi customs will probably get you where you want to be for slightly less (Les Baer, Ed Brown, Wilson).

I too have a couple Glock 19's and a Glock 36, which I really like. But really they don't hold a candle to my 1911's for fun factor, accuracy, and "feel". My 1911's have been just as reliable as my Glocks. YMMV

March 1, 2009, 02:37 PM
CZ 97B. By far the best value, quality, and accuracy out-of-the-box.

I no longer have ANY 1911 models.

Not for those with small hands.


March 1, 2009, 02:50 PM
Depends on what you want to spend. IMHO the best production 1911 out there for the $1000 mark is Dan Wesson. For a little more (roughly $1600-$2000), take a look at Fusion. For around $2000 to $3000 you'd want to take a look at Ed Brown, Les Baer, Nighthawk, and Wilson. Springfield's custom shop would also be worth looking at. If money and a wait are not problems, then go with a full house custom. You'll get a unique 1911 built to your specs, and will be an heirloom of sorts to pass down.


March 1, 2009, 02:52 PM
If you're used to a Glock Auto, take a look at a Glock 45ACP first. If that doesn't float your boat, I'd move on to the H&K or SIG 220. A 1911 is going to be so far away from your Glock operationally, you'd probably be better off with a DA revolver first. Coincidentally, I've had a USP, SIG 220 and Kimber Pro. In retrospect I'd take the SIG if I was limited to only one. Just my 2 Cents.;)

Steve C
March 1, 2009, 02:52 PM
I am really looking for a one-time purchase of a semi-auto .45 that I can shoot forever and will to my kids.

Whether a pistol will last "forever" depends upon how much its shot and how well its taken care of.

In modern pistols the H&K or the Sig 220 are both very high quality, reliable DA pistols that with the proper care will last a couple lifetimes.

A Glock 21 would be just like your 19 in manual of arms but larger in the .45 ACP. They last forever but don't have much aesthetic appeal IMO.

In 1911 type pistols a Colt is probably the best for long term value, all others are just knock offs though they may be very good ones.

You can spend a lot more on a custom or mass produced custom for a specialty pistol (bullseye, IDPA, combat) but the value is in the use and a high end specialty gun is wasted on someone who's not a serious competitor.

March 1, 2009, 02:58 PM
I would go with the Sig P220 for "best" and "not a 1911" in .45 ACP, but only because this is the autoloader forum, and I can't say, Smith and Wesson model 25

Claude Clay
March 1, 2009, 03:01 PM
you do not list size/weight, capacity or concealment .
by 'value' do you mean at time of purchase as in value for the money or retained value? anyways, i would go for a med/high end 1911; kimber, springfield or S&W. if you are going to be putting a lot of rounds through it and/or a lot of holster work i suggest stainless. if your hands are anything less than med/large try thin grips and a stippled or checkered front strap to aid comfort and control.

March 1, 2009, 03:49 PM
Without a doubt, the HK45, finest overall gun I own.

March 1, 2009, 04:15 PM
Go ahead and make fun but, I paid $399 for a Ruger P345 and have no regrets. Its very ergonomic, single stack magazine, its a DA/SA with the requisite manual safety systems (decocker, magazine safety, and loaded chamber indicator), I shoot nothing but winchester ranger 230gr hot stuff (duty ammo) and never had a FTF. Its combat accurate, and actually fairly easy to concealed carry.

Just my 2 cents, but Ruger's are often overlooked unjustifiably as I believe they are a great value.

walter o
March 1, 2009, 04:39 PM
Seams like noone has mentioned the 3rd generation S&W 45's I have a 4516 although it is heavy for a 3 1/2 " bbl . it has a sweet D.A. trigger and never fails to go bang.

March 1, 2009, 04:46 PM
Since you really enjoy your G19 I'd go with something with a similar manual of arms. Unfortunately Glock doesn't make a "right" sized .45. I'd go with a S&W M&P. Overall function and trigger feel is very similar to your Glock and the full size is not overly huge like the G21.

I think the M&P fits all 4 of your criteria.

I have nothing against high end 1911's they are just not my thing and may not be the best option for a new shooter especially since you are already shooting a very different type of gun. Just my opinion of course.

March 1, 2009, 04:47 PM
Impossible post to answer, since price could range from the hundreds of dollars into the many thousands of dollars. And really, as is already evident from the replies, it is a matter of both personal experience (what guns a person actually has knowledge of) and a matter or pure preference. You will never get a consensus opinion to a post like this.

I currently own 2 .45acps - a Taurus PT1911, and an FNP-45. Both are great pistols and I am very happy with both purchases. Are there better pistols in .45acp? Sure, maybe, probably, possibly - I could not say. I want and will likely buy a P220 this year or next, and there is a whole universe of 1911's out there to explore. I love the CZ-97, but it is just too long a DA trigger pull for my hand.

At the very least, the criteria in the OP need to be narrowed down - price range, 1911 or non-1911, intended use(s), size and weight bounds, steel or polymer, hi-cap or single stack, ...

March 1, 2009, 04:48 PM
if its an heirloom why dont you get a colt? COLT is the .45acp standard bearer... a gazillion parts available, classic styling... a true automatic pistol... get a colt

March 1, 2009, 04:58 PM
added note: when I was 10 or so my dad let me choose one of his two pistols while the other would go to my brother. The choices were a Colt 70 series Gold Cup (1911) and a Nazi Luger with matching numbers and little swastikas... (Im sure to the dismay of others on here) I picked the Colt. It was what a gun was to me. plus he had a .22 conversion to go with it :)

I have a masters degree in history and fully appreciate the historical value of the Luger but I have NO regrets choosing the 1911- Great symbol of American ingenuity ;)

By the way, the Rock Island pistol says made in the Philippines... heirloom?

March 1, 2009, 05:18 PM
S&W 4506. It hold well in all 4 areas, scores a big one in value. I dont really like the 1911 platform but I cant say enough good things about the 3rd gen S&Ws. I have the 9mm version and love it, and it will outlast you and the next 2 generations if properly cared for. But that said its all preference and how much you like one design over another. Id hate to buy a S&W and find I dont like it so look and see if a local gun range lets you rent different models so you can try them out.

March 1, 2009, 05:23 PM
Another vote for the HK45 or 45c. These guns are amazing. I know some people over at have already LEM'd the HK45c. I don't know if it's a factory option yet or not. The DA/SA with the safety and decocker is great too. Can't go wrong with a H&K.

March 1, 2009, 05:33 PM
taurus stainless pt1911 would honestly be my first choice quality piece at a fair price with lots of extras, or xd45, i personally would look for the 1911 platform

March 1, 2009, 05:36 PM
I don't know about rest of people here, but I jsut purchased a S&W M&P 45. It is reasonably price, has good ergonomics and is very accurate shooter. I have tested fire many of the guns in various calibers at the range, and even though these were used and dirty range rental guns, I was still very dead on with accuracy, even being a new shooter. The gun has a very nice feel and is well balanced in your hand. For the price, I think HK45 is wrong decision and I avoided that route. The S&W M&P 45 is very economical and popular gun. I really don't like Glocks, but I know they have a slim double frame out that may make them more ergonomic, haven't tried them yet.

If you want a good gun for the price, I think M&P 45 is way to go. Also, I hear Springfield 1911's are a good value for the money, but I decided not to go the 1911 route. I just like to avoid manual safetys on all guns I own. HK45s are nice looking guns, and one day if I am rich and money is no object, maybe I wil lget one. However, after reading more and more about Sig 220, I have come to the conclusion that it may be superior and better constructed gun and costs about the same as the HK45. Sig P220 is another good choice if you have more money to spend. I have shot Sig P220 at the range and as a new shooter it takes practice, because it has very low recoil. When you learn how to aim that thing and resist any jerking, its the most accurate gun I am yet to shoot compared with the polymers or Kimbers.

BTW, I just purchased a Sig P229 Elite and I can say its so beautiful and feels so nice in my hand. It is a compact gun with a 15 round capacity using Italian Mec Gar mags and has good weight to it, it probably has minimum recoil I would think. Haven't shot it yet, but next week I will.

March 1, 2009, 08:06 PM
i have a Springfield TRP i would not trade for anything, but that said. you need to go shoot some and choose the best .45 for you all the ones that have been recomended are good guns. the Glock is the only striker fired pistol i woud own, or recomend to people, just my opinon.

Boba Fett
March 1, 2009, 08:11 PM
If you were to purchase a new .45, what would it be?

To answer all your requirements:


Don't know where you live bagmanhd1, but find a place that carried STI. Have them pull out a Kimber, a Springfield, and an STI. Rack the slide on all of them and pull the trigger.

STI's slide is like a room temperature stick of butter sliding around on a superheated Teflon pan. And the triggers are beautiful.

The whole gun feels completely solid.

The price is going to be anywhere from around $600-2000+ depending on which one you get and if you decide have any sort of custom work done.

March 1, 2009, 08:14 PM
If your looking for a gun to last forever and to hand down to the kids, the choice is obvious. A good 1911. I am a big fan of Dan Wessons. I am having some custom work done to my Valor and will have a bunch of money in it, but that was my choice. IF money is no concern from the get go I will say get a Les Baer TRS hands down. Can be had for 1700ish. Or a great DW for about 1k. A 1911 is just nostalgic and sexy. Who the he!! wants to be handed down a glock or HK or any polymer for that matter. They serve a purpose and the good ones are 100% reliable but is not something I would buy for a lifetime and for a hand down to my kids. Just my opinion.

March 1, 2009, 08:52 PM
Another vote for Dan Wesson. Very well made, very accurate, a joy to shoot.

March 1, 2009, 09:16 PM
Heirloom......well you're an American and the 1911 is the quintescent(sp) American handgun. You can pickup a Les Baer for about $1700 and be proud to shoot it and pass it on.

March 1, 2009, 09:32 PM
Wow, I still like Colts

March 1, 2009, 09:59 PM
Best? If I were doing a straight factory gun, a Pardini GT45. Fantastic trigger, superb accuracy. Otherwise call Clark Custom Guns.

March 1, 2009, 10:26 PM
My priorities - in order -are:

Ease of use

What really doesn't matter is price. I am really looking for a one-time purchase of a semi-auto .45 that I can shoot forever and will to my kids

Not just to pile-on, but based on your post I really must agree with some manner of 1911-style pistol. Quality and value are kind of "combinable". You can get quality at a lower price, but a true "heirloom-quality" piece will be worth what you pay for it. If price really doesn't matter you should definitely go full custom, although if you don't want to go through a LOT of trying different brands and configurations, then some of the semi-customs are also excellent choices. When we get into those "Only one gun" threads, I get to thinking that a high-quality 1911 fits just about all the criteria - except for those who put magazine capacity at or near the top of their list. I am not in the camp with those who feel a full-size steel 1911 is an ideal concealed carry gun (although it can obviously be done) but I think it works well for just about everything. Contrary to what most people post, they do not all have to be tuned to be reliable and accurate (especially the semi- and full-customs). Accurate, reliable, potent and (don't like really like the term applied to inanimate objects but, ok...)sexy. I agree with the poster who earlier said as far as an heirloom, a polymer gun - though an excellent tool - doesn't really "speak" to future generations, even tho they may appreciate it as the tool it is.

March 1, 2009, 10:30 PM
Keep in mind the 1911 has been around for 100 years and is going strong. Who's to say parts are going to be available for the HK or other poly flavor of the month in 25 or 30 years? If you buy with the intent to pass it along as an heirloom, stick with a quality 1911.

Any of the top of the line 1911 manufacturers make guns of heirloom quality -- Brown, Baer, Wilson, Nighthawk, and Springfield Pro. I would also look at Colts, especially those who have seen the inside of their custom shop. I don't mean the commemoratives but those like the Colt Special Combat or Combat Elite. The Colt name will continue to add value for a long time.

March 1, 2009, 10:35 PM

March 1, 2009, 11:44 PM
HK45 for home defense.

Les Baer TRS for the range.

Hungry Seagull
March 2, 2009, 12:15 AM
Hold it folks, back up. Give the man some room.

Whatever you want for a handgun for yourself, make sure it fits your hand first before all other thinkings.

I loved all the Colts, had the cash for em but... alas they dont fit me.

I loved the XM's and some of the other guns but either the rack was too hard or the stuff on the guns out of reach etc... pick pick pick...

I found a S&W M&P .45 APC that did the trick for me it fits in my hand (Not necessarily yours) and settles right in ready to go. Just needs a rack.

Im the shakiest shot in the whole USA, but when I put that M&P in my hand, it becomes part of me the same way the remmy 870 does (Does that make sense?)


March 2, 2009, 12:17 AM
go with a 1911 no doubt.. with price being of no object, look at the Kimber varieties, but Taurus offers a great gun for a much lower price in their pt1911 if that situation changes...

March 2, 2009, 12:46 AM
HK45...All of the above. Don't like the DA pull? Carry it C&L, it's designed for it. Dont like the safety or DA pull? LEM... there's one for most folks...yes I love my HK's

March 2, 2009, 01:02 AM
if it's going to be a lifetime commitment.. it should be a 1911..

March 2, 2009, 09:57 AM
If your happy with your G19 Then you'll be happy with a G21. Best is very subjective, what I like you may not like. There are many very good pistols chambered in .45acp some are value priced like Glock and Ruger, some are very high priced like Ed Brown and Nighthawk Customs. It comes down to personal choice. If you want to pass down an Heirloom quality handgun then I would recommend one with historical significance like a Colt 1911 Govt, H&K USP, or Colt Officer's model. If you choose a 1911 you need to remember the only ones that hold their value are wartime productions and Colts. All the others, My Springfield Armory, Kimbers, Wilson Combats, Tauruses, are all knock offs. Some are higher priced Knock offs than the original but still knock offs.

March 2, 2009, 06:24 PM
I really want to thank you folks that have responded. Excellent information!

Keep the comments coming, but this much I've leaned:

Need to hold each pistol to see how it fits my hand (average size guy, but the wife is on the small side).

Rack the slide to see how it feels.

Shoot 'em if I can.


March 2, 2009, 07:44 PM
I own five 1911s from Taurus to Springfield to Colt.

I recommend that you buy the original, buy the Colt.

I would suggest a O1918 Colt WWI Reissue 1911 for $900-$950.

Plus in 5-10 years it will be worth much more money than a fake copy.

I have never had a problem with my three Colts.

Buy the the Colt.

The term "1911" gets thrown around a lot and I believe the meaning has become diluted. The original military designation, however was "Model of 1911" which was abbreviated as "M1911". Of the myriad pistols being built and sold today as "1911s", most have strayed far enough from the original, military design and specifications that they are 1911s only in general form.


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