The Glock 45: The 9mm Glock Perfected?

Unpacking Glock’s nomenclature isn’t complicated. The Make—Glock—isn’t polluted by sub-brands, and the model numbers simply go up—they’re a sequential list of new guns with no rhyme or reason to size, capacity, caliber, or other specifications. The Glock 45 has nothing to do with .45 ACP or .45 GAP.

The single exception, if the mythology is to be believed, is the Glock 17. The G17 was the 17th patent issued to Gaston Glock, and the number stuck. Some believe the 17 came from the capacity of the original G17 magazines, but that smacks of urban legend.

The number of patents at Glock is so high I’d bet even their legal counsel has lost track. So the naming has been simplified.

What is the G45?

The Glock 45 is a compact 9mm slide assembly (most commonly associated with the Glock 19) on a modified (slightly shortened) full-sized (i.e. Glock 17) frame.

If you were able to slap a G19 slide on a G17 frame, you’d get the picture. It won’t work because of the additional length of the G17 frame, but you get the idea.

The GLOCK 45 with Holosun red dot and Streamlight TLR-7
The Glock 45 is an MOS build with Gen 5 specs. Adding on the Holosun 507 is easy, and the Streamlight TLR-7 is an ideal fit.

This provides compact barrel length on a gun with increased control surfaces and magazine capacity. If you carry this concealed, there’s less barrel and more capacity. For outside-the-waistband carry, there’s less barrel and more capacity. From ease of concealment to the additional fraction of a second you might gain clearing a holster, the benefits are clear.

The Legacy of the 19X

Glock tested the waters of what they call a “crossover” pistol in the 19X. This design was Glock’s submission to the XM17 Modular Handgun Trials that aimed to replace the Beretta M9. The 19X reportedly came close in those tests but lost to what is now the M17.

The 19X, though, was a big winner with Glock fans. This gun, despite it being finished in FDE, provided something new for fans of the Glock pistols—something simple generational changes hadn’t really offered. This was legit new.

There were other elements, too—like the 17+2 mags that came with the 19X, and some of its ambidexterity. But really, it was just the simple appeal of a G19 with more capacity that sparked most of the interest.

The G45

The 19X, if you’re paying attention to the naming conventions we mentioned earlier, didn’t fit. It was a variant, and an odd one for the company. So when the basic design concept was brought back into the line, it made sense to give the new gun a new number—thus the G45.

All of the G45s are Gen 5 guns, though Glock lists them on-site as MOS, as all are built with the optics-ready slide.

A note on the optics plates on the MOS guns. Mounting is really easy. The Glock adapter plates for each of the major patterns screws directly into the top of the slide (once the plastic cover plate is removed). Then all you need is the optic and its mounting screws.

Aiming Glock 45 at a target on outdoor range
If you are going with optics, I’d suggest swapping the Glock factory sights for something taller that will co-witness. Red dots tend to die at inconvenient times.

This is where it gets complicated. Some of these screws are hard to come by. Almost every manufacturer of optics will sell you the screws needed to mount their optic to a Glock, but some will inflate the price almost unbelievably.

Other companies will include a variety of these screws, as they truly add almost nothing to the bill of materials. And why not? If you are up in the air as to which optic you want, check what comes with it.

Fit and Finish

Like most Glocks the finish on the G45’s slide is nDLC. While the 19X stood out, the G45 is simply another in a long line of black pistols. Why mess with success?

The G45 is easy to fit to your hand. The longer grip and modular backstraps mean these can be tailored a bit, even for those with large mitts.

The slide-stop is ambidextrous, which is a good thing. I’m not sure why more aren’t. If you are ever in a situation where you need to manipulate controls with your support hand, an ambi slide stop may help.

The G45 and OWB holster
The G45 is large enough for any OWB carry style and easy enough to conceal if you have a large frame.

The mag release is not ambidextrous but can be swapped out for lefties. Again, many guns are incorporating some kind of ambi mag button. The big concern, of course, is how those buttons contact your holster. Every right-handed holster will have an allowance for a right-handed mag release button so that you don’t accidentally drop a mag when it bumps the holster body, but this clearance isn’t on both sides.

The Barrel

Glock is button-rifling the Glock Marksman Barrels on the Gen 5 guns. While these are still polygonal in nature, and not filled with the lands and grooves most barrels use, they are supposed to shoot more accurately at distance.

No lie. I can’t tell that I’m any more accurate with this G45 than I am with my ancient G19—a gun I’ve carried regularly for a decade. I shoot these guns well in defensive scenarios. Glock pistols are not my go-to for gnat’s-ass-accuracy, but they are the standard by which all duty guns and EDC guns are judged—and for good reason: they work.

I prefer a threaded barrel, though, something that is still hard to come by in a factory Glock. I went with a Killer Innovations Velocity G19 barrel. The KI barrel provides a distinctive look, traditional lands and grooves, and—most importantly—a threaded barrel. If you’re looking for a solid improvement to the Glock 45, add a threaded barrel and a can.

Other Gen 5 Updates

The width of the frame is slightly larger. A Gen 3 G19 is 1.26 inches. The G45 is 2.34 inches wide. This won’t be noticeable to 99.9% of us. But larger it is.

The trigger on these is another area that has been addressed. Glock triggers have a reputation for being reliable, but they are one of the first things people who modify their guns tend to replace. These new trigger systems on the Gen 5 have a more distinct wall and break with just over five pounds of pull.

The addition of forward cocking serrations makes the manipulation of the slide easier. Again, look at what most of the aftermarket mods add to the platform. While the Glock serrations are not as gratuitous as some of the aftermarket slide makers’ additions, they are consistent with the Glock aesthetic and provide just enough grip without being so aggressive that they’ll tear up a holster.

Another recent generational shift is the move away from finger grooves. No more nubbin bumps on the grip. This is an acknowledgment, as are the modular backstraps, that the end users may not all have exactly the same-sized hands.

Though subtle, the mag well has a slight flare to it. I’d classify this as a middle ground between the old version of the mag well and the aftermarket flared add-ons.

Youth shooting Glock 45 with visible muzzle rise
The Glock 45 is easy enough for me to hold down as I’ve had a lot of practice with the G19. My son is still trying to find the balance point and is fighting the muzzle rise.

How does it shoot?

When I bought my first Glock, I was not terrifically in love with it. There were more ergonomic pistols that I shot better. But I am a gun writer, and Glock dominates the industry, so I learned to shoot the G19.

Along the way, I bought a G23 in .40 S&W. That gun shot well, but I didn’t like training with it. I took a weekend class and put 500 rounds through it in one day, and was just about useless for day two. The extra recoil impulse exacerbated issues with carpal tunnel in my wrist and that was it for me and the G23.

I’ve shot countless other calibers and models over the years, but never felt compelled to add another to my daily carry line-up. Not until now. The G45 will replace my G19, if for no other reason than the addition of optics.

This gun shoots incredibly well. I’m proficient with my skills and drills, and I don’t mind the additional grip in the hand. I can’t even feel it, in fact, unless I’m doing a direct comparison between the G19 and the G45. But I do like the extra rounds in the mag.

magwell
This latest generation of Glocks has a much better mag well than the early versions. Glock has really nailed this design.

Conclusions

I hosted an event, recently, for a new product launch that’s cooking and Glock sent me eight G45s. We ran them hard with no issues. This is what defines Glock and all of its guns. Had we had an issue, I would have been stupefied.

These guns work. They work in the worst conditions as well as they do in the best. They’re the industry standard—and that’s saying something, considering the competition.

And now I feel like there may be a new standard for what I’d consider the best Glock model. Before this, I would tell anyone that would listen that the G19 was the gold standard for 9mms. Subtle though the changes are, this one beats the G19 every day.

The MSRP on the Glock 45 is $698. In this market, where there are guns on shelves, the selling price will be lower.

David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. David is a former backcountry guide in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Boundary Waters Canoe Area who was a college professor for 20 years. He ultimately left behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry and was (among other editorial positions) the Managing Editor for a nascent Mag Life blog. In that Higginbotham helped establish The Maglife's tone and secure its early success. Though he went on to an even more practical firearms industry profession still, he continues to contribute articles and op-eds as time and life allow.

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