Utah Concealed Weapons Permit (Utah CCW)

Review of Heckler & Koch 45 Compact Pistol




1/1/11, by Rob Wilkinson, Utah Concealed Weapons Permit Instructor

In the beginning of 2009, I started looking for a .45 ACP pistol that I could use in conjunction with my Utah Concealed Weapons Permit.

I looked at a number of .45 pistols during my search. One pistol that really stood out to me was the Heckler & Koch 45 Compact. Having owned a HK USP 40 for nearly 10 years, I was accustomed to the controls of the HK and had experienced outstanding reliability and accuracy with my USP. But what really made this pistol stand out during my search was how it felt in my hand. The grip fit my hand well, its mag release and safety were second nature to me, and it was well balanced.

The HK45C has interchangeable back-straps to accommodate different hand sizes. It uses HK’s patented O-ring barrel system, which assists in a providing a solid consistent lockup and improved accuracy. The pistol has a hammer forged barrel and polygonal rifling. The 45C comes standard with two 8-round magazines and can use 10-round magazines from the new HK45. It also has ambidextrous slide and magazine release levers. The control lever that functions as the safety and de-cocking lever is located on the left side of the frame. The control lever can be moved to the right side to accommodate left-handed shooters, or levers can be mounted on both sides of the pistol for true ambidextrous use, but adding or changing the position of the control lever will require additional parts. The sights on the 45C are what I would call a semi night sight, as they need to be charged with light before they glow. Standard tritium night sights do not need to be charged with light before they will glow.

I price shopped this pistol around town and on the Internet and could not find one that would cost me less than a grand. By chance, I ended up locating a lightly used 45C pistol with an extra mag for significantly less than new.

After purchasing the HK45C, I read the manual and thoroughly cleaned the pistol. Even though this pistol had already seen a few hundred rounds, I still put a few hundred rounds through it before I felt comfortable using it for personal defense with my Utah Concealed Weapons Permit. Everyone should properly break-in and reliability test their firearms before using them in a defensive role. You need to know that the firearm is going to be reliable, especially with your chosen defensive ammunition, before you are willing to stake your life on it. During my first few hundred rounds I did not experience any malfunctions and a year and a half later the 45C still has not missed a beat.

During my first range session with the 45C, I was pleasantly surprised both the accuracy and relatively low recoil of this pistol. The HK45C is the lightest recoiling .45 ACP pistol that I have shot as the date of this writing.

The trigger is a typical HK trigger. In double-action mode the trigger is smooth but heavy. In the single-action mode it is smooth and breaks cleanly. The black finish on the slide has been very durable and scratch resistant.

Since purchasing the Heckler & Koch 45C it has become a regular carry gun. The main drawbacks that I see in this pistol are its high cost and short rail system. The utility rail located on the frame of the 45C is too short and really limits the choice of lights and light/laser combos that can be attached to the pistol.

The HK45C is a great pistol. It provides great accuracy and outstanding reliability, in a relatively compact package. Anyone with a Utah Concealed Weapons Permit, who is looking for a compact .45 ACP and can afford HK’s cost of admission, should consider a Heckler & Koch 45 Compact.


I am currently retired from teaching. My son-in-law Rob Wilkinson, who used to teach with me, is now teaching on his own. Please call him at 801-671-6773.

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