Fighting Polymer .45s

By CTD Blogger published on in Firearms

Over at Gun Nuts, we’re talking about how the 1911 may not be the best choice for someone looking for a .45 ACP for serious carry or competition use.  Lately I’ve come to believe that most shooters would be better served by one of the many polymer alternatives out there to the 1911, so here at Cheaper Than Dirt! we’re going to take a look at your options for polymer .45s.

First and foremost on the list is the M&P45, probably my personal favorite gun on this list.  The price point on the M&P45 is very attractive, at less than $500 for a brand new gun.  Extended magazines that hold 14 rounds are available, doubling the firepower of the traditional 1911 pistol in a package that’s lighter and easier to carry.  The M&P even comes from the factory with good sights – while 3-dot combat sights aren’t my favorite, they’re a step up from a lot of the sights offered on many other pistols out there, especially the next gun that we’ve got on the list.

S&W M&P45

Glock 21

The Glock 21 would be my second recommendation to people looking for a “fighting .45″.  What keeps it from being number 1?  The sights.  Because of ATF import restrictions, Glocks are imported with plastic sights, which are not exactly the best sights on the market.  However, these sights are easily removed (with a pair of pliers) and can be replaced with significantly better parts from 10-8 Performance, Heinie, Warren Tactical, etc.  The Glock 21 does offer three more rounds than the M&P45 in its factory configuration, however I personally prefer the ergonomics on the M&P.

The M&P and the Glock are definitely at the top of the list of polymer .45s.  It’s an interesting side note that the of the last four National Custom Defensive Pistol IDPA champions (CDP being IDPA’s division specifically for .45s) 3 of them have been won by shooters with Glocks and M&Ps.

After Glocks and M&Ps, the sea becomes a bit murkier.  There are offerings from Springfield’s XD line, and Sig has the most attractive price point on their P250.  However, if you base your purchasing decisions off which guns win matches and are chosen by law enforcement for when their lives are on the line, the M&P and Glock win hands down.

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The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (28)

  • Jeremiah II

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    In response to comment #13: My experience has been that the Glock 21 is dead nuts accurate and amazingly soft shooting. I’d also rather have the capability to go 14 rds between reloads or going dry for good than have to make 7 do the job of 14 in a pinch. The 1911 is an awesome pistol with a tremendous history. But it’s not a polymer .45 and beyond the scope of this blog.

    Reply

  • Isaac Blakeslee

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    Very neat blog article.Thanks Again. Much obliged.

    Reply

  • TSnyder

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    Why must you choose?? I have a Taurus 24/7 pro with over 5k rounds and no malfuncions and a Kimber CDP II that has had a few minor hiccups but is by far a better made gun. I love them both. To each his own. We don’t all drive the same cars, do we??

    Reply

  • WoodyTX

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    I read far too much on the stories that led to this article.

    Bottom line: The 1911 was designed when guns needed some fitting. Any 1911 will require some gunsmithing at some point in its life. Some modern 1911s are not manufactured to spec (cheaper materials, cheaper approaches to machining, unnecessary firing pin safeties, etc), and will require more work than they otherwise should.

    Also, the original 1911 was designed with looser tolerances than many gunsmiths are putting on them. Reliability was more important than accuracy.

    That said, the newer polymer .45s are designed with inexpensive manufacturing as an important design component. This is why they’re so inexpensive – they are designed to be.

    The 1911 is not a perfect gun, but it is one that requires some upkeep and maintenance. And rewards the shooter who treats it right.

    Reply

  • Tono Bungay, Jr.

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    There are no superior alternatives to the 1911. People complain that most 1911s currently on the market are unreliable, need work out of the box, etc., but there’s an easy solution: Don’t buy a bad one. If the one you buy turns out to be bad, get it fixed, or buy another and get that fixed. It’s not rocket science. If somebody made Glock knockoffs that didn’t work, you wouldn’t blame Glock. A real Glock fan would buy one anyway, find a good gunsmith, and invest some money getting it to work most of the time. That is what this sport is all about. I know a guy who bought a CZ52 that didn’t work for a couple hundred bucks, and spent another $500 with his gunsmith, and let me tell you, now that thing runs like a top. On a warm day, if you hold it right, if you clean it every few rounds. But if you can’t keep a gun clean, you shouldn’t shoot! Now there’s a man I’m proud to call a friend, and even prouder to call a customer. It’s a fine gun now, but his 1911s run even better, with the right ammo, and believe me, it took years of work and a massive investment of time, effort, and money to get there. But it’s worth every penny.

    If you’re not willing to do your homework, invest a couple thousand bucks, develop a vertiginously expensive long-term personal relationship with your gunsmith, and then start over and do it all again, YOU are the hobbyist, YOU are the effeminate, mincing, lisping, limp-wristed, metal-injection-molded diletante. YOU are the one who is not serious about shooting, and frankly, I don’t care to have the likes of you on a range with me.

    Reply

  • Jeremiah

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    Please explain to me the major differences in the firing operation between the Socom 16 and the M1 Garand, and then show me the superior alternatives to the 1911.

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  • David Maynor

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    @Jeremiah the Socom 16 is as close to the M1 Garad as the HK45 is to the 1911. And the fact the the Socom 16 adds a composite stock instead of the old fashioned wood seems to add support to the argument. It was used in many battle fronts but superior alternatives to the 1911 are availabe. Just like The Sherman at the M!A2 or the M1 Garand and the SOCOM 16.

    Reply

  • Jeremiah

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    The 1911 is battle tested yes but more importantly battle PROVEN. The Sherman…eh…
    And for the record, Navy SEALs often DO carry the SOCOM 16, which is basically a stubby M14 with a composite stock,
    and the M14 is basically a Garand with a magazine and selector switch. So in a sense they do carry M1 Garands instead of M4s 😀

    Reply

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