Top Five Best Double Stack .45s for SHTF

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The top three calibers that you should consider for an STHF sidearm are 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP simply because they are the most popular and easiest to find. If you decide that .45 ACP is the caliber you would like in your sidearm, it’s time to do your research on the best specific .45 pistol for you.

While the most famous .45 pistol of all is undoubtedly the 1911, it’s also an older design and has a limited magazine capacity of just seven to eight rounds.

These days, there are double stacked .45 pistols that are simpler and hold more rounds. Let’s find out about the advantages to owning such a pistol and then discuss the top five best double stack .45 pistols on the market:


While a double stack .45 pistol is easily going to be bigger than its 9mm counterparts, a .45 round on its own also creates a substantially bigger hole than a 9mm does.

The tradeoff you get with a larger and heavier double stack .45 is an overall increase in firepower, which can be a big plus in a home defense or any self-defense scenario.

Double stack .45 pistols are admittedly not the best for concealed carry, especially for people who are shorter or smaller in overall stature. A .45 double stack pistol will instead be best suited to resting on your nightstand for home defense or in an OWB holster on your side as an SHTF sidearm.

All in all, the biggest advantage to owning a double stacked .45 pistol is how it offers greater stopping power than a 9mm or .40 caliber version of the same gun while coming close in overall round count. As an SHTF sidearm, a dependable .45 double stack pistol represents a solid choice.

Next, here are five of the top double stack .45 pistols currently available on the market, presented in alphabetical order:


Do fifteen rounds of .45 ACP sound appealing in a single magazine?  If it does, then you should point yourself in the direction of the FN FNX-45. With the highest standard magazine round count of any of the pistols on this list, the FNX should already be one of the .45 double stack pistols you consider.

The more rounds in the pistol, the less frequent reloading needed, a major benefit if you have to defend your property or family against multiple attackers.

The FNX-45 is a hammer fired polymer-framed pistol that sports all the features you would expect on a pistol these days. The gun is double action, or single action fired.

The first shot is double, and subsequent shots are in single, while you can flip down the decocking lever to return it to double action (which is safer for carrying).

The FNX-45 also comes equipped with a loaded chamber indicator, night sights, an accessory rail, and four separate backstraps of different sizes.

As a whole, the FNX-45 is a large pistol, but also one that’s high-quality and loaded with a lot of firepower.


You probably expected to see a Glock on this list, and you were right. The Glock 21 has long been a mainstay in the .45 ACP world because it combines Glock’s simplicity and reliability with 13 rounds of .45 ACP in the magazine.

There are many reasons to own a Glock regardless of the model or caliber. Glock is currently the most popular gun manufacturer in the United States, meaning that spare magazines and accessories are virtually everywhere.

The customization options are also endless. Also, Glock pistols are extraordinarily simple and reliable. It is for these reasons that their design has been copied by many other pistol manufacturers.

While the Glock 21 is big and bulky, it’s also not a pistol that’s going to fail you anytime soon.

The third and fourth-generation models, which are both available, offers an accessory rail for adding lights or lasers, while the fourth generation gives you the option of replaceable back straps.

For many, the Glock 21 represents the gold standard of .45 double stack pistols, and that alone secures it on an automatic place in this list.


Just like the USP pistol (still in production) that was made before it, the Heckler & Koch HK45 is a double action single action hammer fired pistol with a polymer frame.

However, the HK45 also offers improved ergonomics over the USP. This combined with the fact that the USP-series may be discontinued should HK’s new pistols prove popular, is why the HK45 comes recommended first.

The HK45 has a ten-round magazine, which admittedly is lower than some of the other pistols on this list. Nonetheless, the HK45 is also the issued sidearm for many military and special forces units across the world, and that says a lot.

The ergonomics of the HK45 are like what they offer on their P30 and VP series of pistols. There’s an accessory rail on the front of the frame for adding lights and lasers, while the external frame mounted safety also acts as a decocker to make the weapon safe for carry after firing.

Heckler & Koch is known for making reliable and innovative firearms, and the HK45 is no exception. While accessories may not be nearly as common as Glock, the quality is equal if not even a little superior.


The SIG Sauer P227 is the only steel-framed .45 pistol on this list. For many years, its ancestor the P220 was the most successful DA .45 pistol on the market, and it remains popular today.

But if there’s one thing that people complained about the P220, it’s that the magazine was single stack and only held eight rounds like a 1911. People had long been craving a double stacked version of the P220, and SIG Sauer responded with the P227.

While the P227 is wider than the P220, the standard magazine capacity holds ten rounds of .45 ACP instead of the P220’s eight rounds.

A longer magazine with an extended base plate is also available for the P227 and increases the capacity to fourteen rounds. SIG also has installed the P227 with their new and improved E2 grips, which offer far better ergonomics over the grips they used on their previous models.

SIG Sauer is widely regarded as a premium gun manufacturer, and thus the P227 does not come cheap.

You’ll have to plan on saving up nearly a grand to purchase a new P227, and while that may sound like a lot for a pistol, it’s an excellent value when you consider the superb craftsmanship that SIG Sauer provides.

Plus, if you prefer to have a steel-framed pistol like a 1911 over a polymer-framed one, the P227 is easily going to be your best choice for a double stacked .45.


Last but certainly not least, we come to the newest pistol on this list, the Walther PPQ 45. The PPQ 45 holds the distinction as being the very first .45 pistol that Walther has ever produced.

The story behind the PPQ 45 is also simple: Walther released the PPQ in 9mm and .40 S&W in 2011 and updated them with the M2 model (with an American-style push button magazine release) in 2013. A .22 LR version of the PPQ followed soon after, but for two years a .45 version was missing.

Finally, in late 2015, Walther released the PPQ 45 to the masses. You’ll notice right away that it’s bigger than its 9mm and .40 S&W brothers, but this is because the magazine must accommodate twelve rounds of .45 ACP.

While the PPQ 45 is young, reviews have still been overwhelmingly positive as it maintains the excellent ergonomics and superb trigger of its previous incarnations.

The PPQ is marketed by Walther as having the smoothest and lightest trigger pull of any striker-fired pistol on the market. It’s up to you to decide if you agree with that, just know that the PPQ 45 has the same light trigger pull as the 9mm and .40 versions do.

Magazines and accessories can be difficult to find for the PPQ 45 since it’s so young, but as it becomes more popular this is likely to change. As it stands, Walther has had difficulty keeping the PPQ 45 on the shelves, which says a lot about it.


A double stack .45 pistol offers you a lot of firepower, but it’s also important that you make sure your money is spent wisely by purchasing a pistol that is reliable, accurate, and comes from a reputable manufacturer.

Each of the five .45 pistols that we have gone over in this article fulfill that criterion perfectly, so any one of them represents a solid choice.

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    • My 1st and only ParaOrdnance P13 was the biggest piece of junk neither PISCO in CA or Cylinder and Slide could fix. I sold it. My USPs (45 & 45 Exp) have been near perfect in 80,000 rounds of factory and handloads. My Exp. holds 17 +1. I will be getting an FNX as I cannot get a threaded barrel for my Expert 45.

      • I have a Para LDA P12.
        Love that gun. Solid.
        The only things that I have an issue with are the slide doesn’t lock back when it’s empty.
        And, it doesn’t have a regular hammer on it. Hoping to change both.
        Going to get a 14 round mag for it.

  1. I’ve got a Glock 21sf, simply because I am already “invested” in the Glock platform, and it makes no logistical sense to learn a whole new way of muscle memory.
    I DO agree with the two posters above that there are far more attractive price point double stack .45 pistols out there, that should be considered, IF, one is inclined to get themselves a .45 ACP pistol.
    I ever was nor have been a .40S&W caliber fan, since the Miami Incident oft cited as the reason for the initial development of the .40 cartridge itself, was a tactical failure not an ammunition failure at all. But, the FBI never admits its’ tactics are flawed at all.

    • I also use a G-21 as my home defense pistol. My carry gun is a G-30 with 10 round mags. I can also use my G-21 13 round mags in the G-30 if I want to. I have large hands and the large frame Glocks fit me perfectly.

  2. SAR K2- it Can be found for as little as $400. it is proven as a Turkish military side arm, tack driver, magazines hold 14 rounds, patterned after CZ Thay actaully have manufacturing agreements.
    Only down side is time to get parts Which I have never needed.

    • I own this weapon , great gun , all metal easily a 25,000 round life cycle, only issue I had was hollow points would jam, now I only use critical duty or fmj.

  3. Para ordnance are junk. They are not true fighting pistols. Sar k2. If you shoot it enough, eventually you will need parts. Glock rules the roast, whether people like them or not. Parts and accessories are everywhere and inexpensive.

    • I’ve owned and shoot my Para for 25 years now. Never had a problem . I do own a g21 and g41 glock to be truthful and would not hesitate to use any of them . The key to any 1911 pistol is cleaning and lubing .

    • The para p14-45 is one of the highest regarded double stack .45 cap pistols available and FAR from a pos! I have literally 10’s of 1000 rds threw mine with 0 ftf including hollow points!. Also it is a match pistol so if your looking to go tactical it’s not your best choice. However if your looking for reliability and accuracy and don’t mind a long heavyweight weapon it would be hard to beat. I have only one concern about this pistol and that is since para hasn’t done much else right over the years and its release of the tactical .45 flop a couple years ago they have folded.
      The sar k2 is sooo comfortable to hold and shoot. Berreta style feel and well balanced 4lb single action trigger pull. But has many flaws but with work could be a descent pistol. No barrel bushing, poorly designed extractor and ramp. Polish the ramp and top of chamber and file bottom corner of extractor to get it to feed reliably. It’s never going to cycle hollow points reliably do to the ramp position and angle.

  4. I mean no disrespect or offense in any way, but I’ve been carrying the Springfield Armory XD45 since it came out, and it not being in this list is a mistake in my opinion. I have heard good and bad from both sides, but none of the ones we own have ever done anything but put rounds down range and on target. I have not seen any weakness, with them, and when they hold 13+1 they have a nice size capacity.

    Just my two cents.

    • I have fired several XD pistols in .45ACP, and really liked them….a great deal. I guess I could sell a few of my 9mm Glocks and get me one, someday. However, I’m starting to approach my “golden years”, and have no desire to learn “new tricks” at this point.

    • Agree 100%…I have an XDm .45 Compact….Never seen less than a 5 star on this firearm. you have 13 round mags and 9 round mags for “those” states. The 9 round with a Pearce grip extension makes it perfect for EDC, (very concealable). All your fingers on the grip instead of 2….After all it is a .45…!

  5. Glock 41, longer barrel, 13 round capacity, lighter weight. Replacement sights are my only modification. I have other double stack 45 ACPs, including G30SF, 10 round and Springfield XD Mod.2, 13 round magazine. None are a bad choice. A convention 1911 with spare magazine matches the carry capacity of a double stack handgun. Four 8 shot 1911 magazines with one round chambered, 33 rounds. Three double stack 13 round magazines plus one round chambered, 40 rounds. Even two ten round magazines in the Glock G30SF gives 21 round. I carried a Kimber 1911 with only 21 rounds as a deputy sheriff and didn’t feel naked and afraid. I also practiced 500 rounds a week, which may have helped my confidence.

  6. Fortunate to own the XD 45 in 4 different configurations. Along with PPQ 45, Sig 227, and various 1911’s. Sold the ERA witness all steel 45 and my HK45. Both were 10 rounds in 45 compared to the others and were a disappointment in that regard for me. The paddle mag release on the HK45 was something that I wanted to love but like many things in life “wanting and having” sometimes don’t marry up. I never got there. I know…., my 227 is 10 rounds as well. All in with the experiences for me, I rate the XD at 13 +1 capacity along with reliability and shoot ability as my favorites and #1. Your mileage may vary. As I said.”fortunate”!

  7. You stated that the Sig P227 has a steel frame. I think this is incorrect as all listings
    of this pistol show it having an aluminum frame, not steel.

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