Smallest and lightest .45 ACP ?


January 24, 2004, 09:14 PM
I pocket carry a Kahr PM9 most of the time. I would like a .45 pistol that I could also carry in a pocket holster occassionally. It must be small and light to do this. Is there a relatively small and light .45 out there?

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January 24, 2004, 09:27 PM
The only one that small coming to mind is an AMT Backup .45. If you can go a little bigger, I'd say go with a Glock 36 or a S&W Chiefs Special 45 or even a little bigger a Glock 30, Colt 45 Defender, Para-Ordnance P-10. SIG 245. The latter few might be a little bigger than you want though. With .45 being your choice (a great choice in my opinion) you are left with not too many options. Hope that helps. ....Whit

January 24, 2004, 09:33 PM
Seems a Taurus PT-145 might fit the bill. The PT-145 Millennium Pro is said to be a reliabe subcompact .45acp by some of the folks here.

Double Naught Spy
January 24, 2004, 09:35 PM
I can't recall specifics of the other potential options, but in 1911s, the lightest I know of are the Kimber Ultra series, right around 25 oz. It has a 3.16" barrel and officer's frame.

January 24, 2004, 10:02 PM
AMT Backup 45 is small but its not light. My Kimber Ultra Carry is lighter, but larger.

I go with a Kahr PM40 when the Kimber UC is too large for what I'm wearing. My AMT had its day, but either of these newer (to me) guns is much better.


Tropical Z
January 24, 2004, 10:03 PM

I still want one!

January 24, 2004, 11:50 PM
Glcok. Light as a Cobra. Barrel is 3.78 inches for good performance. Probably too small for my hands. I would go with the 30 if I wanted smaller than the 21.

Glock 36
.45 Auto
Length (slide)
6.77 in. 172 mm

Height 2)
4.76 in. 121 mm

1.13 in 28.5 mm.

Barrel length
3.78 in. 96 mm

Magazine capacity 4)

Mass (weight)
Empty without magazine
20.11 oz. 570 g

Empty magazine
2.40 oz. 68 g

Full magazine 5)
~6.88 oz. ~195 g

January 25, 2004, 12:10 AM

Not an auto.

January 25, 2004, 12:17 AM
Double action single-shot "pistol." This is the smallest there is!


January 25, 2004, 12:24 AM
Detonics made a really small .45. It is a "1911 style", but does not have the grip safety. I think George Hill or somebody here has one. I believe it takes Commander magazines. There's a really nice one at the gunshop that I wouldn't mind owning.

George Hill
January 25, 2004, 12:31 AM

I had one. Kick myself in the butt everytime someone says Detonics.... Should NEVER have sold it. Ever.

January 25, 2004, 12:42 AM
11 ounces :what:

January 25, 2004, 06:07 AM
Easy...The Liberator.:D

January 25, 2004, 08:13 AM
You can't beat a Smith and Wesson CS45 (Chief's Special) it is small at 6.5" long and 23 ozs and totally reliable. You don't want a heavy caliber in an ultra light pistol the CS45 is just about right. Keep in mind that short barreled .45ACP's suffer a slight loss of velocity and energy compared to their 4" and 5" barreled cousins. But for easy carry and excellent close in CCW I don't think you can do better than the S&W CS45. Go to the search engine on this website and you'll find that those who own them really like them. The grip is a little wide lengthwise but hasn't been a problem for me.
Don't count out the Kahr micro .40's they are ballistically very close to a .45ACP and very small. I've heard bad vibes about the polymer framed Kahrs and nothing but good about their all stainless models. I recently aquired an all stainless MK40 Elite and love it.

January 25, 2004, 08:15 AM

If you pocket carry a Glock 30, you must have really big pockets!

January 25, 2004, 09:42 AM
I believe it takes Commander magazines.

FWIW, there's no such thing as "Commander magazines". Commanders take full-length 1911 mags. The Officer's Model uses shorter magazines, but they are still too long to fit flush in a Detonics.

January 25, 2004, 10:21 AM
Cry your pardon. No, my pockets are not large enough for a G30. I forgot about the purpose of the thread.

January 25, 2004, 01:01 PM
FWIW, there's no such thing as "Commander magazines". Commanders take full-length 1911 mags. The Officer's Model uses shorter magazines, but they are still too long to fit flush in a Detonics.

Yea, I meant to say Officer's magazines...... I always get those two confused for some reason. Yuppers, I had a good discussion with the gunshop guy about the gun, I think we came to the conclusion that the Officer's mags will fit reasonably flush with the correct baseplate or bumper pad. I think the Detonic's mags were 5 rounders, not sure though....

January 25, 2004, 01:03 PM
The WSP does look pretty cool, however I'd rather have 6-7 rounds of .32-.380 in the same sized package. Just my preference.

I imagine you'd want to load that thing with some +P hardball. I would.

Badger Arms
January 25, 2004, 02:27 PM
I'll second the Taurus PT 145 based on my personal experience HANDLING them and what everybody has said. The proof is in the pudding. I'll be able to give a range report soon.

January 25, 2004, 02:47 PM
The Glock 36 is the lightest I'm aware of (only one ounce more loaded, 27 oz., than a Glock 26) but it's no pocket pistol.

January 25, 2004, 03:28 PM
I'll second the Taurus PT 145 based on my personal experience HANDLING them and what everybody has said. The proof is in the pudding. I'll be able to give a range report soon.

I hope it doesn't suffer from light strike syndrome.

Badger Arms
January 25, 2004, 04:32 PM
I plan on shooting it dry and cold in 10-20 below weather. If it'll suffer from any light-strike syndrome, I think this would shake that malfunction out. I hope not. As cute as the gun is, I'd hate for it to be a lemon. Have you suffered any light-strikes? If so, is this with the Pro? Comparing the pistols side-by-side, it appears they redesigned the striker.

January 25, 2004, 04:35 PM
I'm in agreement with usnavymasterchief ... The S&W CS45 is a great diminutive pistol chambered for a large caliber.

Notice it only weighs 23.9 ounces (empty). I believe the G36 weighs 20.11 ounces, empty & without a magazine, and the overall length of the G36 is 6.77". Neither the G36 or the CS45 are exactly "pocket pistols", unless you're talking about large, heavy coats/vests with large, sturdy pockets.;)

Model: CS45
Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel Length: 3-1/4"
Capacity: 6 Rounds +1
External Safety: Ambidextrous
Hammer: .260" Bobbed
Grip: Hogue Wrap Around Rubber
Trigger: .305" Combat
Frame: Compact
Front Sight: Novak Lo Mount Carry
Finish: Glassbead
Rear Sight: Fixed 2-Dot
Overall length: 6-1/2" Weight: 23.9 ounces
Material: Aluminum Alloy / Stainless Steel

I also agree you should consider browsing the S&W enthusiast's forum, as it does contain some interesting info from owners ... of which I'm one.

I'm not a big fan of +P ammunition in .45 pistols in general, however, but especially not when fired from subcompact platforms. (The line between "compact" & "subcompact" is an indistinct one, it seems, and more something to be decided by the potential purchaser). The lessened slide mass/increased slide velocity issues ... not to mention the potential for increased perceived recoil, and its potential adverse effect upon controllability ... can sometimes offer the potential for a shooter of such a little pistol to reach a point of "diminishing returns" ...

Some folks will relate their opinions, or experiences, that many HP bullets may not expand when fired from short barreled .45's ...

Maybe not, and certainly maybe not with consistency ... what round will? ... but when we were hosting some limited gelatin testing at our range, both some standard pressure Winchester RA45T 230gr, as well as the RA45TP 230gr (+P), penetrated and expanded similarly in the 4-layer denim test when fired out of my personally owned CS45 ...

If I couldn't get the RA45T loads, I'd opt for the 230gr Gold Dot ammunition, or the 230-gr Golden Sabre ...

It simply shoots MUCH better than it LOOKS ... :)

Much more accurate than some folks might expect, too ....

Not exactly inexpensive, however ...

A couple of our guys looking for small .45's, one of them a die-hard Colt fan who has generally carried one of the little Colt 1911's for an off duty weapon, bought CS45's of their own after shooting mine at our range ...

You could do worse ...

January 26, 2004, 11:54 AM
I've shot the a friends S&W CS45. Not a bad gun, but I'm not sure whether my friend is going to keep it forever though. Give the choice I think I'd rather have a gun in a more manageable caliber for its size.

It has the common faults of small guns in large calibers. It recoils and flashes a fair bit. Enough that some shooters were developing a flinch that disappeared when they switched back to bigger guns in the caliber. We had a few reliability problems that may or may not have been user created. We were shooting at 25 yards because thats the closest we could at the range. Suffice it to say we were hitting the berm, but nothing else reliably. :)

January 26, 2004, 12:07 PM
Anybody try out that tiny 1911 being offered by Cylinder and Slide? It's awfully cute, but I wonder about the reliablity of any 1911 with that short of a stroke. Never mind the cost!!:what:

January 26, 2004, 02:45 PM

You've hit upon one of the common issues with most very small framed, large caliber pistols ... unless the shooter pays special attention to grip stability concerns, the lighter & smaller platforms can increase the potential for "limp wrist" induced malfunctions. A pronounced tendency toward anticipatory flinch can also easily occur, which plays hell with desired accuracy ... ;)

The CS45 pistol itself is capable of reasonable accuracy once these concerns have been addressed ...

For example, I qualified with my CS45 a couple weeks ago. I've previously replaced the stock 3-dot sights with an earlier Ashley Express Big Dot set, so the "potential" for "precision" accuracy is less than it was when the pistol was in stock form. The less acurrate "defensive sights" notwithstanding, after qualifying with a perfect score, I was able to indulge in one of my favorite "self-test" practices of shooting at wooden clothespins on cardboard backboards, and calling the hits ... at 7-8 yards. Before the change to the Big Dots I was able to do this at 10-11 yards ... but that damned BIG DOT simply swallows the narrow clothespin out past 7-8 yards. As it is, I have to "center" the Big Dot over the bottom half of the clothespin at 7-8 yards in order to hit the bottom half of the clothespin, using the top half as the guide for my POA. The least little bit of inattention to my trigger control ... and there's a big hole in the air, but no missing clothespin.;)

Another thought you might consider ... I also own a 4513TSW, which is similar in size to the 457S. Both have 3.75" barrels and have 7+1 capacity. The overall length of the 4513TSW is 7.75" & it weighs 28.6 oz ... the 457S model is only 7.25" in length, but weighs 29 oz.

Either model should provide a noticeable improvement in recoil manageability in comparison to the smaller gripped, lighter, snappier recoiling CS45. At least, it does for ME ... and you're still in the compact platform size.

I enjoy shooting my aluminum framed 4513TSW as much as I do my customized stainless steel Colt Officers Model.

By the way, IF your friend's CS45 was a very early model, either a blued model or one of the first stainless models released ... and your friend bought it new ... if he's concerned about potential functioning problems being pistol-related, and not shooter-related, he can always call and ask to speak to a repair technician. The very early models were fitted rather tightly in the barrel hood in a few instances (mine was), and that's quickly corrected ... and there was a change in the way the small secondary indentations were pressed into the sides of the magazine, below and to the rear of the primary "P lip" magazine lips (to keep the top round stationary during the elevated recoil impulse of the little gun). S&W's lifetime warranty can be a helpful thing ...

Good luck in your search. There's a wealth of diminutive .45's out there to consider. Personally, I think using the terms "Full size", "Commander-size", "Compact", "Subcompact" & "Ultra Compact" aren't always as helpful as we'd think when trying to describe many of the newer pistols chambered in .45 ACP ... :) there's just so many interesting variants nowadays.

By the way, if you think the aluminum framed CS45 can be prone to causing some anticipatory flinching, wait until you shoot some of the "ultra compact" polymer framed pistols. One of our guys bought one ... and he's a BIG guy ... and while I had no problems shooting his little pistol, he appeared to experience the occasional "grip stability" issue, which caused an occasional malfunction. :scrutiny:

It's always something ... :banghead: :D

January 26, 2004, 02:57 PM
MrACHESON, yours is the first negative feedback I have read regarding a S&W CS45. This particular model (non-1911 clone) is one of the most accurate and reliable of the short barrel compact .45ACP pistols available. Granted it takes a bit of getting used to but I've never heard of one FTF or FTE or any other reliability issue.
Shooting a large caliber short barrel pistol accurately out to 25 yards (75 feet) is a pretty difficult thing to do freehand. If a bench rest were to be used, I think you'd see a big difference. You did point out that, "shooters were developing a flinch." Is it safe to assume that you were flinching also? If so that could easily be why you weren't shooting accurately. Even so, 75 feet is a pretty long shot when you consider that most ranges set 7 yards (21 feet) as combat range. The CS 45 doesn't pretend to be a target gun but for a powerful gun in a small package used as it was intended to be used, I think it ranks up there with some of the best.

January 26, 2004, 03:39 PM
I'm not blaming the gun for being inaccurate. The problem was mostly caused by user error. I'm not an especially good pistol shot (but I'm working on it) and frankly 25 yards isn't a good range for a little pistol. Honestly it did as well as any of the other handguns that day with the possible exception of my brother's 1917 revolver which is a much larger gun. We had at least one failure to feed with it though and none of the other autos used that day had any trouble. Not sure if limp wristing can account for that or not...

Under different conditions I'm sure the pistol would fare much better. It was a nice gun, but not really a good gun for novice handgunners shooting at longer ranges.

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