Other than the badge, possibly the most obvious symbol of authority carried by a law enforcement officer is his or her duty pistol. Every call a police officer responds to has the potential to turn into a life-or-death fight. The duty gun can be the one thing that protects an innocent life or ensures the officer will return home to his or her family at the end of the shift.

Political and fiduciary realities have a large influence on the selection of a police officer’s handgun. Many, if not most, agencies now issue service weapons, putting the burden of the gun’s cost on the agency. Consequently, the cost of the gun will likely be a significant factor in the selection process.

Most important—though sometimes considered only after cost—is the reliability of the firearm. Other points of serious consideration should include the ease of use and how well the gun fits in the hands of the officers expected to employ it. If the gun isn’t reliable or its size prohibits some officers from effectively using it under stress, it isn’t a bargain, no matter the price.

The .45 ACP is a capable cartridge with a track record of effectiveness that stretches back more than 100 years. While there is much debate regarding which handgun cartridge is the most effective, there are few people who would take the position that the .45 ACP isn’t effective, especially with modern hollow-point ammunition. With that in mind, here’s a group of modern service-style handguns that offer reliable service and ease of use without crushing a department’s budget.

For more information on the .45 ACP pistols featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.

CZ 97 BD


Glock 21 Gen4

Heckler & Koch USP

Ruger American Pistol

Heckler & Koch HK45

Ruger SR45

Sig Sauer P220 Nitron Full-Size

Sig Sauer P320 Nitron Full-Size

Springfield Armory XD 4″

Springfield Armory XDM 4.5″

Smith & Wesson M&P45

Walther PPQ 45

This article was originally published in ‘Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement’ February/March 2017. For information on how to subscribe, visit

Up Next

Army Engineers Develop New Muzzle Brake Design for the M119 Howitzer

The Army's new 105 mm low blast overpressure muzzle brake for the M119 Howitzer...