The HK45CT is derived from three pistols designed in 2006 with the consultation of Ken Hackathorn and Larry Vickers, both of whom run advanced tactical training schools and have years of military and firearms instructional experience. They were hired to help design a .45 ACP pistol for the Joint Service Pistol competition. This project was shelved without a competition occurring, but three of HK’s bestselling pistols resulted: the HK45, HK45C and the P30, which comes in .40 or 9mm.
The HK45CT is designed for professional users in Tier 1 military units who require an accurate, reliable and suppressor-capable pistol. The “CT” in its model name stands for Compact Tactical and has certain additional features that the HK45C does not. These include a threaded barrel, night sights for use with a suppressor and magazines that hold 10 rounds instead of eight.
Equipped with 11 rounds of .45 ACP firepower and ready to be suppressed, the HK45CT was recently adopted by the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Group as MK24 MOD 0 Combat Assault Pistol. Shown here with a Viridian X5L laser/light.
Besides HK45CT, Heckler & Koch produces four other suppressor-capable pistols, three of which are chambered in .45 ACP: the USP Tactical, USP Compact Tactical, and the MK23. Though each of the .45-caliber pistols have been used by Tier 1 military units, the MK23 is the pistol that was extensively tested starting in 1991 to fulfill USSOCOM’s need for an accurate, suppressor-capable weapon smaller than a submachine gun. After two prototypes and only a few modifications, including the elimination of a slide-lock device designed to reduce mechanical noise when using a suppressor, the MK23 became a fielded weapon of U.S. Special Operations troops in 1996.
USSOCOM never acquired the total possible number of contracted pistols. The MK23 performed well, but it’s larger than it needs to be, and the concept of an “Offensive Pistol” never made sense to the operators who used it. The MK23 is 9.6 inches long and when equipped with the Knight’s Armament suppressor it was intended to use, the unit measures 16.6 inches. At one convention I attended, a SEAL explained that he would much rather carry an HK MP5K compact submachine gun that is only slightly larger than the MK23 but offers vastly more firepower than the MK23 with its 12-round magazine.
According to news reports, the Navy chose the HK45CT as the replacement for the MK23 early in 2011 and designated it the MK24 MOD 0 Combat Assault Pistol. This pistol is equipped with the Ti-Rant 45S suppressor from Advanced Armament Corp. and a waterproof infrared laser made by Crimson Trace that mounts below the barrel on the Mil-Std-1913 rail. The complete system measures 14 inches in overall length.