Heizer Defense, famed for its fashion-forward, rifle-caliber derringers, will break new ground in late April.
At the U.S. Concealed Carry Expo, the company will release its first semi-auto pocket pistol, called the PKO45. As the name implies, it is chambered in 45 ACP.
Heizer reps call this a concept gun in which every feature is the interpretation of an ideal. Company founder Charlie Heizer has aching wrists from his cycle racing days, so central to construction was recoil management. With that in mind, the bore axis is set extremely low, with the guide rod being on top of a fixed, stainless steel barrel.
Like other Heizer Defense firearms, the entire gun is made of aerospace-grade stainless steel. It should be an extremely durable shooter. It has a tidy profile, just 0.8 inches wide, with snag-resistant edges all around. It weighs 25 ounces unloaded. Heizer says the PKO45 is the thinnest of its caliber on the market.
Operation is single-action only, with an internal hammer. True to single-action design, it has a grip safety — but not where expected. It’s on the front of the grip, just under the trigger guard. The recoil spring and slide are built for easy racking, another accommodation to hand injuries.
Magazines come in five- and seven-round capacity, both included with purchase. The mags are built on a Kimber body, with a Springfield XDS follower, and capped with what might be the industry’s first 3D-printed baseplate — a Heizer Defense invention.
There’s an easy-to-operate safety lever on each side of the frame. I’m all for equality, but given the ease with which most manual safeties can be disengaged from the side of a handgun that’s exposed when the gun is holstered, a changeable lever would be preferable.
Hi-Viz sights are standard; TruGlo sights are an optional upgrade that I’d invest in were I purchasing a PKO.
Heizer Defense guns are known for standout finishes, and that tradition continues with the PKO45. Color choices are called copperhead, ghost grey, champagne and tactical black.
During the fall of 2016, I got to shoot a seven-round mag of ammo through a test model of the PKO45. It is indeed accurate; the trigger has a good feel and reset, akin to an off-the-shelf 1911. If I have to have a grip safety, this front-strap style would be my choice; my palms have hollow spots that sometimes disengage a backstrap grip safety just enough to cause an occasional malfunction.
Despite their abiding affection for big calibers, Heizer Defense is planning on meeting popular demand for a 9mm version in the near future. That one will be one to watch.
The PKO45 carries a $999 MSRP, with $849 predicted as the actual price. With its pricing and radically different styling, it won’t be for everyone. But those who choose a PKO45 will likely find it’s tough enough to last a lifetime. And there’s great peace of mind knowing it’s made in the USA by a family who understands that the United States of America is still the land of the free. The memory of political oppression in Hungary always will be fresh in the mind of Charlie Heizer, immigrant and Heizer Defense founder. His appreciation of the opportunities available in this great nation has been passed down to his children, who as adults now operate the business he established.
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