It is no secret that the staff members here at New American Truth are Glock fans. It is also pretty obvious that we have an affinity for the .45 ACP round. So, when Glock came out with the .45 GAP round I was both intrigued and a bit disgusted. Do we really need another .45 caliber bullet? In an effort to iron out the purpose and effectiveness of this new round I picked up a Glock G38 and a box full of various ammo and went to work.
First some background on the firearm I chose. The G38 is a compact frame handgun about the same size as the G19 in 9mm. The diameter of the round did cause an increase in the slide width and height to slightly smaller than that of the G21 (.45ACP). I will not bore you here with the specifics of the Glock safe action. If you’re reading this you already know or should head down to your local gun range and educate yourself. The G38 holds 8 rounds of .45 GAP ammo and will accept the G37 magazines to give you 10+1. This 10 rounds of .45 is even legal in the socialist states that think that the 11th round is the evil one… but that’s another story.
The .45 G.A.P. (Glock Automatic Pistol) round was created by Ernest Durham, an engineer with CCI/Speer at the behest of Gaston Glock. Glock’s literature will explain that the driving force behind the round and subsequent pistols was to create a .45 handgun with a smaller frame size to make it more comfortable for people with smaller hands to shoot. In fact, those shooters accustomed to the Glock 9mm and .40 models will see no difference in the frames. I tend to think that vanity also had a hand in the creating of this round. Until now there was no specific caliber with the Glock name on it… we have .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), .40 S&W (Smith and Wesson) and even .357 SIG (Sig Sauer), but where was Glock? Well, now Gaston Glock can say he has his own round also.
The round was designed to be a short .45 ACP but with greater case pressure and thicker brass to prevent head blowouts. Because the venerable .45 ACP was created with gun powder technology that originated over 100 years ago, this didn’t seem to be that big a stretch. Use up to date formulas for your propellant and push the same bullet at the same rate out of a smaller firearm. Cool huh? The .45 GAP round can be adapted to other manufacturer’s guns more easily because it will fit in the same frame size as a 9mm or .40 S&W. Right now the price of GAP ammo is a bit much but in theory the GAP round should be cheaper to produce than the .45 ACP round because there is less powder charge per round, a shorter case (less raw materials) and a smaller primer with the same projectile. Mind you I did say theory (don’t yell at me saying there are a lot more ACP guns out there making the volume produced the pivotal factor… I know this). I had a hard time getting a good cross section of ammo for this article because two of my local gun stores don’t carry the GAP ammo. Looks like the third shop will be getting more of my ammo business until I start to reload the brass.
After installing a set of XS-Sights 24/7 Standard Dot Tritium sights in place of the stock non-tritium units, I picked a few boxes of Winchester 230 grain ball as well as various duty rounds and headed to the range. First impression; this thing shoots like a regular .45 ACP. Perhaps the report is a tad hotter than standard ball ammo, but nowhere near a 45+P round. In fact, several shooters felt that the recoil was easier to manage than the 9mm round in a model G19. When shot along side a G21 there was no felt difference in the two. I had a couple shooters comment that they didn’t feel comfortable with the full sized G21 but had no problem handling the smaller grips of the .45 GAP model G38.
I had no malfunctions with the G38 during testing even though I went through almost 700 rounds of differing ammo and only swabbed the barrel out once. Accuracy was everything I’ve come to expect from a Glock; better than me in most cases. After being rather excited to get this firearm to the range, I was really a bit disappointed. It was just like shooting my 9mm Glock. I didn’t really notice any changes until I started shooting steel. The pepper poppers and reset targets fell more quickly and more consistently when shooting the GAP; just like shooting the standard 45 ammo.
I caught some crap from a couple of the guys on the range who still didn’t see the need for the new round (or subsequent firearm models). They couldn’t understand that once the bullet left the barrel we were shooting the same round, ballistically. That’s the true trick to this round. The stopping power of the .45 GAP is exactly the same as standard .45 ACP. The target doesn’t know the difference because there isn’t any. One thing to note was you “may” have some trouble getting a holster to fit the new Glocks. While the slide dimensions or nearly identical to that of the .45 ACP pistols, the frames are considerably smaller. This could cause a problem with the trigger guard hook on some holster designs. I’ll have to let you know after SHOT Show. I’ll be shopping for some new leather while in Orlando.
I really hope this round catches on. It is similar to the .40 S&W which is nothing more than a short 10mm round but gives you a larger hole in your target. There doesn’t seem to be any down side to the .45 GAP. While the .40 S&W was a 10mm lite round the GAP is exactly the same as the ACP in a much more user-friendly package. The nice thing I’ve noticed is that a couple police departments have cleared the Glock GAP pistols for duty use. That should ensure their longevity and encourage the holster manufacturers to get off the stick.
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