As far back as the 18th century, around the time of the Revolutionary War, small compact pistols were being carried for personal defense. Back in the 1770’s it was a single-shot flintlock, usually no larger than a man’s hand and chambered in a substantial caliber. This concept continued into the 1800’s with percussion single-shot pocket pistols, and later with Samuel Colt’s pocket revolvers. Thus, for more than four centuries the notion of the “subcompact” pistol has been a constant. In the 21st century we have perfected the art of making as much gun as possible in the smallest package possible. The following examples have raised the bar and lowered the mass without compromising caliber or ease of use from .45 ACP to 9mm.

Wielding & Concealing The .45 ACP

The .45 ACP is historically known for its stopping power. Not so much its velocity but sheer grain weight. Today’s tactical rounds like Federal Premium Law Enforcement 230-grain Hydra-Shok, and Personal Defense ammunition such as Hornady’s 185-grain FTX and CorBon’s 160-grain DPX, lighter and faster grain weight bullets, make the .45 ACP a more practical option for concealed carry.

For more information on Ammo visit: hornady.com and federalpremium.com
 

Glock 30 SF

While not new, the smallest Glock pistol offered in .45 ACP comes in a close second to the XDS for size, measuring 6.97 inches in overall length, 4.45 inches in height, and 1.28 inches in width, with a 3.77-inch barrel length and total carry weight (empty) of 26.3 ounces. The Glock’s big advantage is capacity, 10+1. Not exactly “pocketable” (although depending upon one’s build and the clothing worn, it can be), the G30 SF is best suited to a small IWB holster, paddle or minimal belt carry rig providing excellent concealment and quick retrieval. Like all Glock models, regardless of size, the G30 SF is very easy to operate and employs the proven Glock Safe Action trigger system.

Glock’s G30 series (G30 and G30 SF) have long been a popular choice for law enforcement as all of the operating features are identical to Glock’s standard and compact models. For civilian concealed carry, the G30 has maintained its stature as one of the best .45 ACP semi-autos for the past 16 years! In addition, Glock also offers the slightly narrower G36, which shaves almost 0.25 inches off width by using a single stack 6-round magazine.

For more information on the Glock 30 SF, visit: us.glock.com
 

Sig Sauer Ultra Compact 1911

Like any semi-automatic pistol bearing the Sig Sauer name, the Ultra Compact 1911 has a distinctive look with a squared, contoured slide, deep serrations, dovetailed tritium 3-dot sights, extended beavertail and grip safety, skeletonized hammer and triangle three-hole trigger all handsomely set off by a matte stainless steel slide and alloy frame, or optional two-tone version with a matte black hard anodized alloy frame. While any 1911, even one this small, is hard to call a Subcompact, the Sig comes closest to fitting the definition.

For a 7+1 capacity .45 ACP, the Sig has some pretty trim measurements, stretching only 6.8 inches overall, a compact height of 4.8 inches and a width of slightly over an inch. The stainless steel 7-round magazine has a flat (flush) floorplate and witness holes on either side.

If the new little Sig Sauer .45 ACP lacks any one feature it is an ambidextrous thumb safety. The grips are wide enough and deep enough to allow a firm one-handed hold with the little finger perfectly wrapped around the bottom of the finely checkered grip frame. The thumb safety clicks on and off with ease and the slide release requires only modest pressure to chamber the first round on reload.

If the Sig Sauer Ultra Compact 1911’s general appearance seems familiar it is simply a function of design, since it is based on the most famous semiautomatic pistol in history. What the Sig Sauer version adds, aside from somewhat smaller dimensions, are standard features that are generally extra cost options. As a concealed carry .45 ACP semi-auto the Sig Sauer measures up.

For more information on the Sig Sauer Ultra Compact 1911, visit: sigsauer.com

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