Glock 45: All About the G45

They’re phrases uttered at your local gun store and posted on social media: “my Glock Forty,” “my Glock 9,” “my Glock 45.” Usually, they’re decipherable even when the lack of a proper model name drags at you like fingernails on a Glock-y chalkboard, but what about that last one? What is a Glock 45? What is the point of the Glock 45? Wait, do you mean the model or the caliber…and which caliber? This is where we answer those questions. Keep going to learn about the Glock 45, 45, and 45.

Glock 45 9mm handgun left and right profile
Glock 45 (Photo: Glock): one of several Glock 9mm models.


The Glock 45 — and here we speak of this article’s focus, the specific model — isn’t chambered in any type of 45 at all, it’s chambered in 9x19mm. This gun is considered a crossover between a compact and full-size gun, a fact made clear by the full-size frame and compact slide. It was created after the 19X was successfully debuted in 2018 and although it was designed with the needs of law enforcement officers in mind you, too, can get your 9mm-loving hands on one.

Sig P320 MHS US Army
No, that isn’t a Glock. The U.S. Army decided to replace their standard issue Berettas and Glock took a shot at it with their 19 MHS but Sig ended up winning the contract in the end. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Capt. Charlie Emmons.)

So, how does the G45 differ from the G19X?

The most obvious-yet-slightly-vague explanation is that the G19X was made with the military in mind but the G45 was made for law enforcement. In reality, the 19X is the civilian result of Glock’s attempt to win the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun contract.

Glock’s 19 MHS (modular handgun system) ended up losing out to Sig’s 320 MHS so the company decided to modify it for us mere mortals, releasing the 19X with a few changes from the 19 MHS.  One change was the removal of the manual safety that had been required by the military for all pistols under consideration for the contract.  Another issue was the FDE finish of the 19X, rendering it that lovely dirty shade you either love or hate. FDE wasn’t — isn’t — ideal for law enforcement and isn’t widely loved by the general public, either. In addition, the 19X has a lanyard loop while the G45 does not, and the G45 has front slide serrations (the 19X does not).

The G45 was designed for open carry. It’s difficult to conceal that full-size frame for most gun owners — and made for faster use and deployment. If you’re thinking the military would probably benefit from quicker use and rapid target acquisition you are correct, but the military did put restrictions on the MHS handguns which meant Glock’s gun hands were tied with the 19X. They rectified those issues with the G45.

To Summarize

The G45 came about later in 2018, it does have significant differences from the 19X, and its most likely use is for open carry.

Glock 19x in FDE/Coyote Brown and with a lanyard loop
Don’t confuse the G45 with this G19X. Among other things the G19X is FDE/Coyote Brown and it has a lanyard loop. (Photo: Glock)

Glock 17, 19X, and 45 Specs

For those guys who claim the G17 is just as good as the G19X and the G19X is just as good as the G45, a comparison:

MODEL Glock 17 Glock 19X Glock 45
Caliber 9x19mm 9x19mm 9x19mm
Overall Length 8.03 inches 7.44 inches 7.44 inches
Slide Length 7.32 inches 6.85 inches 6.85 inches
Barrel Length 4.49 inches 4.02 inches 4.02 inches
Slide Width 1.0 inch 1.0 inch 1.0 inch
Weight (Empty) 24.87 ounces 24.83 ounces 24.48 ounces
Capacity 17 (standard) 17 (standard) 17 (standard)
Line of Sight (Steel) 6.46 inches 5.98 inches 5.98 inches
Height (with Magazine) 5.47 inches 5.47 inches 5.47 inches
Trigger Distance 2.83 inches 2.76 inches 2.76 inches

Taken by numbers alone the specs of these guns may appear so similar as to not matter. The G17 is a little different from the other two, after all, but the 19X and G45 are all but inseparable from a numerical standpoint. However, guns are not comprised of their inches or millimeters alone. There are a host of other features to consider when choosing a firearm and figuring out what fits your hands and needs best.

Defining Features

Features of the G45 that set it apart from the 19X include but are not limited to its lack of a lanyard loop, the inclusion of front serrations, and a flared magwell. It’s also black rather than FDE and boasts Gen 5 internal parts and magazines. What does all this mean? I’m glad you asked.

Let’s consider that 19X lanyard loop.

Are you really planning to run a length of paracord through a polymer loop at the base of your grip to hang your Glock from your neck? (If you are, please don’t tell me, I don’t really want to know.)

Glock 19x on a lanyard hanging around the neck
Are you really going to put your Glock on a lanyard? (Photo: The High Road)

In the real world, a quality holster will serve you far better than a lanyard loop. Attempt to justify its existence however you want but that loop serves no real-life purpose.

Magwell and Magazines

The flared magwell of the G45 combined with the gun’s use of Gen 5 magazines, which have slightly extended base plates, allows the shooter to execute smoother, faster magazine changes.

Yes, your mag change time matters.

If you’ve never fumbled or stumbled trying to execute lightning-fast mag changes, more power to you, but having a larger base plate and flared magwell comes in handy for most shooters. They are features that grant you a slight edge and sometimes that hairs-breadth edge means the difference between life and death in a self-defense scenario.

Front Slide Serrations

Front serrations are a point of some debate in the gun world. Some gun owners feel putting serrations right by the muzzle of a gun invites nothing but trouble and fingers overhanging the barrel while others think those same serrations can be lifesavers.

Glock front slide serrations
Front slide serrations on a Glock are perfection to some and anathema to others. (Photo: Glock)

Bottom line? There are situations in which having front serrations will benefit you but using them requires practice and attention to safety details. Just as you should not cover the ejection port of the gun with your hand while manipulating the slide or catch a live round being ejected simply to be cool you shouldn’t view front serrations as for funsies. Get proper training and put in the practice time.

This is also a good time to mention the existence of the Glock 45 MOS. Glock’s MOS line is made to be optics ready; MOS stands for Modular Optic System. That means the slide is milled and ready to take a red dot which is a big pro for a lot of gun owners.

G45 Performance

It’s a Glock. That means it is, as expected, durable, reliable, and tough.

As it turns out the G45 is also a well-balanced pistol; the combination of that compact slide and full-size frame works well to deliver a pistol that feels good in most hands. There will be cases where a shooter’s hands are too small for the classic double-stack Glocks in general but it seems the G45 works for a broad range of gun owners.

Thanks to the polygonal barrel and Gen 5 internal parts the G45 does out-perform some of the older-gen Glocks on the market. Shooting from the bench at 25 yards the G45 delivers an average five-shot group size of 2.75-inches. Hornady nailed some of the tightest groups while Federal’s were some of the larger groups.

This is also a gun that does beautiful rapid-fire work from 10 yards, offhand. As with any gun, practice is required but the G45’s features and tolerances do assist you in creating those life-saving groups at a variety of distances.

.45 ACP and .45 GAP cartridges
That’s a .45 ACP and a .45 GAP. The G45 is neither. (Photo: Quora)

45, 45, or 45?

Here’s the thing about referring to a Glock by its caliber rather than its model name — not only does it out you as someone lacking experience but it also makes you wrong.

For example, the G45 is chambered in 9x19mm. It’s the G21 that’s chambered in .45 ACP — but wait, there’s more.

You also need to remember the G37 which is chambered in .45 GAP.

If there doesn’t seem to be any precise rhyme or reason to Glock’s model names that’s because there really isn’t a readily explainable logic. Are they named in order of release? Order of approved patent? Order of design start date regardless of release date? Maybe so but that doesn’t make understanding the numbers any easier for the vast majority of us. You are not alone if you’re wishing for a more outwardly logical model naming system.

The Glock-Bottom Line

There’s a reason the G45 is favored by quite a few members of law enforcement over the G17 but that doesn’t mean you’re going to love it. The gun that beautifully fits the hands of one shooter won’t necessarily perform to an impressive point for another. It’s all about hand size and purpose.

What the G45 is, is a well-balanced, reliable pistol chambered in what is currently the most popular caliber on the market (yes, 9mm). It is not a .45 ACP, not the 45th gun ever made by Glock, and not a 45-ounce bludgeon. This is a solid choice for a lot of shooters looking for a good open carry or home defense gun. After all, it’s a Glock, and even if the black-and-blocky aesthetics of the gun don’t appeal to your sense of style, the gun’s consistent cycling and ability to reliably save your life should appeal to your sense of survival.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.


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