New and Improved: Five subcompact .45 ACPs

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I reviewed the DoubleTap earlier this week.  The thin .45 ACP is just a hair over half an inch wide.  Shooting the DoubleTap is almost as much fun as catching a fastball without a glove.  Almost.  But forget about the sheer joy and euphoria you may experience just after shooting it.  It does a job well.

The over under of the DoubleTap.  (Photo by David Higginbotham)

The over under of the DoubleTap. (Photo by David Higginbotham)

And the DoubleTap isn’t alone.  The market for subcompact .45s is getting competitive.  So here’s a look at some of what’s new and improved in the big bore small pistol market.

Five subcompact .45 ACPs

Let’s back up a bit and define what I mean by new.  I don’t have any exposed hammer single-actions in the list.  As one who regularly carries a Colt Mustang and a Springfield Armory Range Officer, I’m certainly not averse to new twists on the old single action.  And I respect the various efforts to trim down the 1911.  Still, for this list, I’m looking at more unique delivery methods for the .45 ACP.

There’s nothing new about the derringer, but what DoubleTap Defense is doing with the old form could be considered a major improvement.  The gun, despite its historic lineage, feels new.

And there are other innovations to consider.  Some, like their 1911 brethren, are chopped down versions of larger guns.  Some are working from the other direction and accommodating larger calibers.  All are rock solid options for backup guns.

The Springfield Armory XDS.  (Photo by David Higginbotham

The Springfield Armory XDS. (Photo by David Higginbotham)

The Springfield Armory XDS 45

The XDS led the new pack of subcompact polymer .45s.  The 3.3 inch barrel is very functional.  The whole gun is only 6.3 inches long.  It is just under an inch wide.  The magazine, though, only holds five rounds.  Still, with an MSRP of $599, it competes well with some of the more high priced competition in this list.

The gun has a grip safety and a trigger safety, but neither require thought.  The gun disappears easily, and functions flawlessly.  This is the most accurate short barreled .45 I’ve ever shot.

An example: I was shooting (and missing) clays from the edge of a ravine not long ago.  The unbroken clays drifted down and thunked in a mud flat about about 100 yards below where I stood.  When I’d finished with the shoot, I loaded some slugs into the shotgun and tried to pick off the clays below.  I couldn’t connect.  When I’d run out of slugs, I pulled the XDS from my hip.  After a few calibration shots to calculate hold-over, I could break the clays with the XDS with little difficulty.

The Glock 30s

The Glock 30s (Photo by David Higginbotham)

 The Glock 30s

We shot the Glock 30s at SHOT Show last year, and then for a review shortly after.  It is impressive.  If you are a fan of Glocks, you will like the 30s.  I say that becasue it is clearly a Glock.  It is like all of the Glocks I’ve ever shot, only a bit smaller.  And a bit punchier.  It works flawlessly.

The real draw of the 30s is the magazine capacity: 10+1.  That smokes the XDS.  But this capacity comes at the cost of width.  While many of these guns are going to com in under an inch, the 30s won’t.  It is 1.27 inches wide, and about 7 inches long.

I’m going to make allowances for the extra size.  The Glock 30s may be the biggest in the list, but it may also be the most versatile gun, too.  It is small enough to hide, but large enough to use as a primary weapon, if you need to.  MSRP is $637.

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