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Choosing a .45 Pistol or Revolver

Sig Sauer P220 semi-automatic.

If you are looking for a good, solid handgun for home protection or to wear as a sidearm while hunting or trekking through the woods, a .45 is a good choice.  Whether you are trying to ward off a home invader or bring down an angry bear, you can rely on a .45 to keep you and your family safe.

Black Powder

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a .45 caliber weapon.  If you are into historical reenactment, the Colt .45 Peacemaker revolver, designed for black powder, is a good choice.  You can make your own blanks for battle and you can buy or make live rounds for competition or hunting.  In my experience, there’s nothing quite so satisfying, when it comes to shooting as the smell of powder after you pull the trigger – and there is something that is definitely exciting about being a good shot with a historically accurate weapon.  Black powder revolvers are often exempt from tough restrictions – more than likely because street thugs are simply too lazy to load them and maintain them properly.

This being said, if you choose a black powder revolver, you’ve got to clear it often.  You can keep it loaded for about two months if your environment is bone dry, but it’s best to discharge it every couple of weeks.  You also need to be fanatical about cleaning and maintaining it, if you want to keep it in good working order.  A gun like this does not come with a modern safety, and you can burn yourself if you’re not careful.  In addition, it packs a heavy recoil, so get in shape if you want to get the most out of this gun.

If you want a modern .45 pistol, you’re in good company.  Police officers and the armed forces rely on .45s to keep them safe, and any crook who’s greeted at the door with the working end of a gun like this will think twice about continuing.  Here are a few good .45 pistols to consider.

Smith & Wesson 325PD “Crimson Trace” Revolver

Considering the fact that Smith and Wesson has been manufacturing weapons since 1870, most Americans recognize the name and connect it with quality.  The 325PD revolver has been called a “pocket revolver” for good reason – its snub nose design makes it perfect for concealed carry, and it packs a powerful punch.  Even though S&W says it has low recoil, I beg to differ.  It has a powerful kick – maybe I felt it because I’m a smaller statured woman – but to me, it doesn’t feel like low recoil.

Compared with black powder revolvers, this fine little Smith & Wesson revolver is a high tech marvel.  The frame is lightweight, and the titanium cylinder is strong enough to handle good self-defense cartridges.  With a fiber optic light and crimson laser grip, it is accurate within about a 15-yard range.  Any further, and accuracy decreases greatly.  Keep in mind a snub nose revolver is specifically designed for close-range self defense – if you want a revolver that you can hunt with in a pinch, get one with a longer barrel.   You can get a new Smith & Wesson 325 PD for between $600-$700.

Sig Sauer P220

This semi-automatic pistol from Sig Sauer is modern and durable.  Made from lightweight aluminum alloy, the frame gives this fine Sig a light weight just over 25 ounces without her magazine.  Steel components are designed to last – they are phosphate finished or matte black oxide.   If you have a good strong grip, you’ll be able to manage this gun well, but if you’re a small person or an inexperienced shooter, you might have some trouble with accuracy at first.  The trigger is double action since the pistol is designed to be carried with the hammer down on top an already loaded chamber.  While you can manually cock the hammer and fire more easily, you can also use that two-stage trigger and keep both hands on your grips if you’re smaller.

If you are still new to shooting, don’t be intimidated by the .45 – she can be your best friend if things get ugly.  Take your gun out and practice regularly – and don’t forget to wear hearing protection when you do.  The more you practice, the better shot you will be.

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