Are 45 Compacts getting that much better?


March 18, 2013, 11:16 AM
Last month I put my CZ 75 P-01 back in the safe. Switched it out for a Bersa Thunder 45 Ultra Compact Pro (yea I know it's a Bersa) very nice little gun. I have shot 45 ACP for years, but never cared for the small 3 inch ones.

Didn't think too much about it untill I ran across a y-tube video on the SA XD-S that just came out. Got me wondering is this a recent development with people going back to the 45 ACP as a carry gun, yes I know Glock has had them for years, but is this now becomming a more popular trend.

Let me know your opinion.


Glock G30
Taurus Mil-Pro 745
Kahr PM45
Ruger P345 Compact
Kimber CDP II
Sig 1911 Compact
S&W Compact 1911 Pro
EEA Witness Sub Compact 45
Colt M-1991A1 Compact

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March 18, 2013, 11:37 AM
I know comparing calibers drifts a little too closely to splitting hairs, but .45acp really is the perfect self-defense round. The Kahr PM45 is the smallest of the .45acps, but is still a little big for the pocket. IMO, unless someone needs a pocket gun, .45acp is the way to go in the smaller pistol market.

March 18, 2013, 12:18 PM
My concern had alwasy been the reliability of the 3 inch 1911s. They always seem to have had feed issues. I loved the look but was warry of them feeding properly.

It would seem that when they compacted the 40s they worked out the problems of feeding and reliability, double recoil springs, 1/4 to 1/2 inch longer barrel, polished feed ramps and wider ejection ports seems to have solved the problems. I put 50 rounds of XTP & JHP through mine and no issues AT ALL. (Yes I am a happy camper)

Just my take on it.

March 18, 2013, 12:53 PM
Wish I were strong enough to be comfortable carrying a .45. That I would.

March 18, 2013, 01:36 PM
I got my XDs in October and have carried it exclusively every day since. Not a single failure of any type. Before my XDs I was carrying both my Colt 1911 centennial and a Sig p229. I have no issues with the XDs in either my Taktical Hybrid holster, or my desantis pocket holster. Great gun!

March 18, 2013, 01:56 PM
I don't know why small .45s suddenly became popular enough that Springfield would debut it's new line of subcompacts in .45 before 9mm. Maybe we're all rediscovering our man-cards? :evil:

It might be because capacity is less of an issue with a single stack pistol. In a full sized Glock, you lose seven rounds by going with the .45acp model. My XDs has just one fewer round than most of the pocket 9's on the market. Much easier to rationalize giving up one or two rounds for a fatter bullet than giving up five or more.

March 18, 2013, 02:03 PM
I've been thinking about adding a 3 inch 1911 myself.

March 18, 2013, 02:21 PM
Re: reliability of small 1911s. Granted this is only one data point, but I have a Centennial Colt Defender and it has run flawlessly for me. Its mass soaks up the recoil of the .45ACP round quite well. That's the good news.

The bad news is that it came with a poorly cast "ducktail" grip safety. While I prefer the ergonomics of the ducktail to the beavertail, it's not conducive to comfortable appendix carry (unless you think you might enjoy an appendectomy sans anesthesia).

I swapped in a Wilson BTGS and have been happy with that since. "While I was in there" I got rid of the plastic MSH, put in a flat trigger, and installed a Kimber thumb safety. Topped off with VZ 320 slims, it's a great CCW.

March 18, 2013, 02:22 PM
Physics hasn't changed just because we want a small pistol chambered in 45 ACP. Recoil still stinks on these things.

March 18, 2013, 02:35 PM
I have both a Colt New Agent (3" .45 1911) and an XDs. Both have been exactly 100% reliable and PLENTY accurate for the job. I usually have one or the other on me. Usual food is a good 200 gr JHP.

March 18, 2013, 03:07 PM
Physics hasn't changed just because we want a small pistol chambered in 45 ACP. Recoil still stinks on these things.

The small .45s have stout recoil but I don't consider it painful or too powerful to prevent quick followups.

Though... I have been called a glutton for punishment and I like cold showers in the winter. :D

March 18, 2013, 03:38 PM
small pistol chambered in 45 ACP. Recoil still stinks on these things.

It might be me, but I don't find it all that bad or a lot different than my 4 inch Kimber. Matter of fact it is a lot easier than when I was shooting a PT-140 (3 inch). The 40 was harder for me to control than a 45 ACP.


Roadking Rider
March 18, 2013, 03:56 PM
I'm a big fan of the full size1911's but I never liked the balance, or shooting the smaller 1911's.
I just never felt like I totally trusted them.

March 18, 2013, 09:06 PM
They have come a long way since the Star PD days.

March 18, 2013, 09:15 PM
I've been eyeballing an STI Guardian. I might be a bit biased having just picked up my first STI. But the commander slide on the officer frame. You get the reliability with a shorter easier to conceal butt.

March 18, 2013, 10:15 PM
Are 45 Compacts getting that much better? No.
Have 45 Compacts gotten better? Yes.

In other words, it's already happened. A baby .45acp will never be as reliable or controllable as a baby 380 or 9mm (due to recoil forces involved), but there are some excellent choices in small .45acp guns available today.

March 19, 2013, 12:47 AM
G36 or 30. The 30 accepts G21 mags as well.

March 19, 2013, 01:04 AM
"While I was in there" I got rid of the plastic MSH,

This is the one thing that is irking the heck out of me while looking for the ultimate 3" 1911.. At the price point of some of them like the STI Shadow (1400.00) there shouldnt be plastic MSH and triggers IMO.

March 19, 2013, 09:11 AM
3 in. 1911s can be tuned and tweaked to run 100% but with a mass produced gun built to a price point your chances of getting a 100% example is kind of slim. It's not that the manufacturers cannot build one, they just don't seem to want to bother. There is almost no room for slop or timing errors.

March 19, 2013, 09:23 AM
My Colt Defender has been 100% reliable and even likes to feed SWC loads. :)
It is an easy carry gun and I have always been partial to the .45 myself.

March 20, 2013, 09:40 PM
In the last ten-ish years I have owned:
--two stainless Para C6s (both bought used) one of which had feeding issues, which were subsequently fixed by Para).
--one Charles Daly (Armscor), bought used with big problems, that I never got 100% right.
--one Colt Defender (bought used, worked fine with FMJ ammo but was picky on JHPs).
--two Springfield EMPs (both new, but don't really count because they are 9mm)
--two Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry IIs that both worked perfectly (both bought used; I still have one)
--two Kimber Ultra CDPs--one pre-Series II (bought used) that I wish I still had, plus a Series II (bought new) that belongs to the wife--that both work perfectly.

That covers 3" 1911s--might be one or two I am forgetting.

In addition, I own a Kahr P45 (bought used, works perfectly) and owned a PM45 for a time (bought "unfired/LNIB", so technically used--it was picky about which JHPs it ate). I hope to try the XDs one day.

So in my experience/opinion, yes, they have gotten very good, and if you like .45acp there are quite a few good choices.

March 20, 2013, 10:26 PM
jim243, if you want to discuss compact 45, you need to add Taurus Millennium Pro PT145 with SA/DA trigger model (not DAO trigger model) to your list.

PT145 is just about the smallest 10 round double-stack 45 with shorter slide than G26/G27 and grip length of G19/G23. I had a Glock 30 which is the size of "fat" G19/G23 and could never get SWC bullets to feed reliably. I have a stainless PT145 model with 7000+ rounds and it has performed reliably digesting various factory ammo and reloads, particularly 200 gr SWC loads -

PT145 and G27 with +1 Pearce mag base extension

March 20, 2013, 10:50 PM
Picked up a Sig P250c yesterday for when I don't feel like carrying a 5" 1911. It holds 9+1 in .45 and fits my hand perfectly (better than my XD even). I generally open carry, but this Sig will be paired with something more comfortable for those times when I want to conceal.

I already had a guy at work offer to trade me his P250 9mm, but I like knowing that I have a .45 for protection.

Cocked & Locked
March 20, 2013, 11:52 PM
The only compact .45 autos I've had are a couple of RIA 3.5" 1911 style pistols. The first was fine with no problems but traded it off on something already forgotten several years ago.

The 2nd one (I currently have) has been fine thus far with ZERO issues thru about 300+- rounds fired.

This includes factory loaded Independence & PMC 230 grain ball, Fiocchi 230 grain JHP's, PMC 180 JHP's, and 225 grain cast lead.

All shot with two magazine loads of the original seven round ACT mag supplied by RIA and the remainder with six round Mec Gar flush fitting magazines.

No problems with feeding, extraction, or ejection. On my side now.

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