Making the GLOCK 45 9mm Pistol the Perfect LE Gun

by Tommy Grant

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“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” So said my Grandma and yours, on down through the generations. When GLOCK, Inc. submitted their Model 19X in coyote tan color for the U.S. Army modular handgun system trials, they had high hopes. Unfortunately, rather than select a handgun design with a 35-year track record for success, the Army instead chose a new, more modular pistol design.

Rather than cry in their milk, GLOCK took the lemons that the Army handed them and made lemonade in the form of the G45. For the uninitiated, the GLOCK 45 is for all intents and purposes a black version of the 19X. The notable difference, besides color, is the lack of a lanyard loop on the G45.

GLOCK 45 Specs

For those attempting to keep up with all of the GLOCK model numbers, the GLOCK Model 45 is a 9x19mm, “Safe-Action” (striker-fired), semi-automatic pistol that uses standard capacity 17 round magazines. The barrel is 4.02 inches with a slide length of 6.85 inches and a height of 5.47 inches. Empty weight is 24.5 ounces.

The particular model featured here is their “MOS” version meaning Modular Optic System. This pistol came in a padded hard case with three 17 round magazines with the new orange followers, a magazine loading tool, a bore cleaning brush, the ubiquitous cable-lock, and an MOS adapter plate kit with all the hardware. The sights on the gun were the typical GLOCK plastic front and rear.

All MOS GLOCK pistols come with various mounting plates to allow the installation of either the Trijicon, C-More, Leupold, and “Docter Optic” mini red dot sights. Naturally, any optics that share the same footprint as the aforementioned will work. For instance, the Holosun line of compact pistol optics tend to favor the Trijicon RMR footprint. The new EFLX mini red dot from EOTech uses the Leupold “DeltaPoint” footprint. More on that optic later.         

Perfect Police Sights? 

While the old style GLOCK plastic sights are functional, from a practical and functional standpoint, they are too low (short). The short front sight causes the shooter to elevate the muzzle as distance to the target increases causing rounds to go high.

On the rear sight, there is three to four times as much light-reflecting white paint as there is on the small front sight. What that does is draw the human eye to the rear sight first, not the front sight, which is the most important of the two. Also, the rear sight, being angled plastic doesn’t offer a solid purchase if you need to rack the pistol single-handed.

In 2018, we were approached by the Night Fision Tritium sight company and asked our thoughts about handguns sights, particularly those on GLOCK duty guns, to which the previous comments about the stock plastic sights were offered. Also, as a law enforcement veteran and small arms and tactics instructor, we understand that police officers need to qualify and feel confident that their rounds are going where they’re supposed to go. 

From experience, we knew that the most common distances for police handgun qualification courses were from 5 yards to 50 feet. We set out to create sights that were the perfect height to ensure that shots fired would be point-of-aim/point-of-impact from 5 yards to 50 feet.

Using the GLOCK 17 and the GLOCK 19 as test guns with Black Hills 124 grain Jacketed Hollow Point ammunition, we tried out various front and rear sight heights until we hit the sweet spot. The Night Fision Accur8 Tritium sights offer the shooter absolute accuracy, day or night.

After picking up the new G45 pistol, the first thing that I did was remove the plastic factory sights and install a set of Night Fision Accur8 sights. This version has the yellow or “safety green” polymer ring surrounding the Tritium vial in the front sight.

Night Fision uses a translucent polymer that allows the light from the Tritium vial to come through, making it appear visually brighter than other models from other makers who use opaque polymers.  

EOTech EFLX Optic

Most of you know the EOTech HWS (holographic weapon sights) for rifles and shotguns. What you may not be aware of is that EOTech recently released a mini red dot optic called the “EFLX.” They have two models; one with a 3 MOA aiming dot and one with a 6 MOA dot. I chose the 6 MOA model. You can also find them with black or coyote tan housings. 

The battery source is  the standard CR2032. EOTech intelligently put the battery compartment on top of the optic so that it doesn’t need to be removed to change the battery. Battery life on the mid setting for the 6 MOA optic is 20,000 hours. For the 3 MOA optic the battery life is a bit longer at 25,000 hours. Either way you cut it, that is over two years of constant run time.

After I ran the G45 during my initial range session using only the Night Fision Accur8 sights, I decided to mount the EFLX optic on the pistol. Installation was simple using the tools and hardware included from GLOCK and EOTech. As mentioned previously, the EFLX uses the same footprint as the Leupold “DeltaPoint” so the #4 mounting plate from GLOCK was a perfect fit.

As the Accur8 sights were already zeroed for point-of-aim/point-of-impact, zeroing the EFLX optic was simple. I used the included tool and lined up the red aiming dot so that it was essentially sitting on top of the front sight on the pistol. 

Range Testing

Before I took the gun out for my first range session I disassembled it and applied some FrogLube “Extreme” CLP. I’ve been using FrogLube products on pistols, rifles, and shotguns for over a decade now and have supreme confidence in them. 

For my range testing, I wanted to work with ammunition that was likely to be used for defensive or duty purposes. For this I went with the Black Hills Ammunition 125 grain HoneyBadger load, their 124 grain JHP +P load and their 115 grain EXP (Extra Power Hollow Point). The HoneyBadger load is rated at 1050 feet per second and both of the others have a factory velocity of 1200 FPS.

Not surprisingly, the gun functioned with 100 percent reliability using all of the ammunition put through it. I ran the premium ammunition and a bunch of FMJ training ammunition as well. Up close, rapid hits on target came without issue.

For a challenge, I used the two super-sonic Black Hills loads and moved back to 50 feet and was able to ring the steel half-silhouette everytime. Then I moved back to 25 yards, 35 yards, and lastly 40 yards. At 25 the gun was “point-of-aim/point-of-impact” on steel. At 35 and 40 yards, I was too far away to spot bullet impact, but I did ring the steel. All told, I fired several hundred rounds through the gun before sitting down to write this piece.   

What’s the Big Deal?

During my review period, I told a friend what I was doing. “I don’t get it, what’s the big deal?” he asked. That’s a fair question and to be truthful, it’s one of those situations where you just have to do it to get a good feel for it. Police Departments coast to coast have been trading in their older GLOCK pistols for the G45 and the guys in the field are loving them. I have talked with several cops who love their G45 pistols. 

One reason could be that departments with the .40 caliber G22 and G23 pistols are swapping them and the officers are loving the shootability of the 9x19mm over the gun-busting .40. (Yes, the .40 S&W is a notorious and documented gun-breaker.) 

Is the G45 really all that much better than the G17? Well, I wouldn’t throw away a G17, however, as more and more people get their hands on the G45, it seems apparent that GLOCK has really hit the “sweet spot” with this design. Decide for yourself but, it truly seems that they took lemons and made some sweet tactical lemonade. 

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