10 Best Subcompact 45 ACP Pistols for CCW

Kimber Ultra CDP II - Kimber Custom Defense Package

The good old 230gr hollow point. For some it’s the only logical last line of defense and the best concealed carry pistols are always .45 ACP pistols. So what are the best subcompact 45 ACP concealed carry handguns out there?

Despite 9mm making massive ground in recent years, a bigger and heavier bullet is just a better starting point for some. And 45 ACP ballistics tech hasn’t exactly stood still in the last 50 years.

9mm vs 45 ACP: The War That Never Ends

Stopping Power. There, we said it, once, and we’re done with that tiresome internet debate. You can go have the 9mm vs 45 ACP war on the forums. Or in the comments, it would be good for my SEO…

You can now get a mad selection of subcompact 45 ACP handguns for sale, too. A lot of the best-selling 45 ACP concealed carry pistols really aren’t subcompact at all, though. It’s generous calling some of them compact handguns. 

If you are ready to supersize your 45 ACP EDC and exercise your Second Amendment rights with a slightly larger handgun, then we have a list of arguably more complete handguns right here:

20 of the best 45 ACP handguns for EDC.

This is the place for the real subcompact carry pistols that conceal without printing and hide away inside your belt. The magazine capacity is the trade-off with 45 ACP, but then you only need to hit things once…

What is a subcompact handgun? The Definition…

Now we have to lay down some markers, because subcompact 45 ACP is a vague term. So a barrel length of 3.5 inches or less and a total length of 7 inches to allow for a variety of options. Any less and the choice would be dismal, so that’s our definition of a subcompact handgun for this class. If you were wondering…

The Best Subcompact 45 ACP Handguns For Sale in 2020

Glock 30S Gen 4 - An exceptional 45 ACP concealed carry pistol for sale.

1. Glock G30S

  • Price: $576.99
  • Caliber: 45 Auto (ACP)
  • Total length: 6.97 inch
  • Barrel Length: 3.78 inch
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Weight: 1.43lb

If you want a super reliable 45 ACP Subcompact pistol that goes bang every time you pull the trigger, requires zero maintenance and can be relied on to survive a nuclear winter, then you need to buy a Glock G30S right now. It’s the best concealed carry 45 ACP for the vast majority of gun buyers.

We are not big Glock fans here, but this is a specific task: 45 ACP concealed carry gun. Reliability, accuracy and ease of concealment are Glock’s main strengths and if the barrel on this Gen 4 Glock was just a little shorter then it would have won this competition without breaking a sweat.

The overall length of the Glock G30S means the barrel length isn’t a major issue. In fact it can help with your felt recoil and that other small detail – hitting the target. So we gave the Glock a pass on the barrel length too. 

Gen 4 Glocks Need Mods

The only real downer is this is the Gen 4, which had a notoriously mushy trigger pull. So you may end up replacing a connector plate, or the whole trigger system, to get the best gun possible.

Still, naming anything else as the winner in the concealed carry .45 cal class just seems contrary for its own sake. The Glock doesn’t have to contend with the Sig P320 Compact that is a major thorn in its side in other categories, but is just too big to consider here. So unless you want a shrunken 1911 then the Glock G30S just stands out as the obvious choice for personal defense. Yes, it’s the best .45 ACP CCW here.

It’s your concealed carry gun, not your safe queen or Facebook profile picture. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it has to be effective. Yeah, Glock takes this one, its the best concealed carry 45 ACP handgun for your EDC.

The Colt Defender. The best subcompact 1911 for concealed carry. Buy your Colt 1911 handgun here!

2. Colt Defender

  • Price: $899.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP Auto
  • Barrel Length: 3 inch
  • Total Length: 6.75 inch
  • Weight: 1.5lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

Lots of people really don’t want a striker fired Glock, ever. And that’s fine, too. If you want a subcompact 1911 45 ACP carry pistol, you really should take a look at the Colt Defender and the even more extravagant Dolt Defender Combat Elite.

This isn’t a cheap handgun, but then you have to be really careful with compact 1911 pistols. Don’t cheap out, only a few of them have a stellar reputation for reliability. Colt struggled when it chopped down the 5inch barrel to 4 inches, so we didn’t even get the Colt Defender until 2000. Now it is perhaps the finest of the breed in terms of firing every time you hit the bangswitch.

Old School 1911, Shrunk To Fit

It’s a traditional 1911 cut down to size, made from forged steel, and it just feels different in the hand. We think the 9mm vs 45 ACP for concealed carry debate is done and relatively dusted. But personal defense handguns largely come down to the sense of security they impart. If you’re happier with 230gr on your hip, well that’s your call and it’s literally your life.

The Series 80 Colt Defender has the internal passive firing pin safety, an important safety feature for a gun that could be pointed directly at your nuts if you appendix carry, and you’re a dude, or identify as one…

Fixed three dot Novak Carry sights are slimline and effective, with that rear sight designed for a smooth draw. This is not a tacticool gun. You don’t need a strobe light on this, and an RMR would just look wrong without a real solid reason.

The defining features of the single action Colt Defender Combat Elite model are the slide bevel, which helps with the draw, and the beefed up dual spring recoil system. There is also a two-tone PVD coating that provides corrosion resistance and also looks pretty cool.

Colt Trigger Pull is Stuff of Legend

The trigger pull is legendary. It’s a roll, rather than a break, and it will make your shooting technique better by default. The Dual Spring Recoil System is a big deal for Colt and helps reduce felt recoil. It also extends the life of the recoil springs and contributes to improved reliability.

It’s not quite a Glock in terms of reliability, but then nothing is. For a 1911, if you maintain it well then this is about as good as it gets. With concealed carry handguns, that’s a really important trait.

Of course it weighs slightly more than a plastic gun, but for some that additional weight feels like quality. There’s no doubt this concealed carry will outlast a polymer frame alternative.

There are pros and cons with a compact 1911, but if you’re happy to pay the price, then this is the best 45 ACP subcompact 1911 on the market.

You can opt for a range of Cerakote finishes, polished metal, blued and more. A range of real wood grips mean the Colt Defender comes in just about every flavor and there’ll be a look to suit your mood. Or something….

If you really want to spend big on your CCW Colt handgun, then check out the PVD-coated Colt Defender Combat Elite. That’s a $1,399 gun, but then it is pure gunporn and the gun reviews have gone mad for it. So there’s that…

Colt Defender Combat Elite 45 ACP for sale. A designer CCW handgun spitting 230gr hollow points. Get yours now.

This is the best .45 ACP 1911 here by a mile, we think.

Springfield Armory XD Mod 2. One of the best sub-compact 45 ACP carry guns for sale in 2019.

3. Springfield Armory XD Mod 2

  • Price: $472.99
  • Caliber: .45 ACP Pistol
  • Barrel Length: 3.3 inch
  • Total Length: 6.5 inch
  • Weight: 1.4lb
  • Capacity: 6+1

Some people scoff at two safety levers. But the Springfield Armory XD Mod 2 is supremely popular with Law Enforcement, private security and more, precisely because of them.

Accidental discharges happen. That’s why the Springfield Armory XD Mod 2 comes with a 1911-style grip safety and a trigger blade safety.

There’s almost no way this gun is going off without you wanting it to and that is a big thing with concealed carry handguns. 

Aside from that, this black polymer pistol has brilliant ergonomics. The stainless steel slide is finished in hard wearing Melonite finish on the slide and the fiber optic night sights are a seriously premium feature. Even the black synthetic material feels higher grade than some guns we could mention.

The slide stop, magazine release and external safeties are all consistent throughout the Springfield Armory XD Mod range. So you could theoretically put down the full size 9mm XD Mod Mk1, pick this up and not miss a beat.

You could also come out all guns blazing, with a Springfield Armory in each hand. Before you do that, though, take a moment to ponder what brought you to that point.

Even then, although your life has gone horribly wrong, at least you’ve got a good set of home defense and personal defense handguns to rely on.

Single Stack is Good For CCW

It truly is a subcompact 45 ACP carry gun and the grip is less than an inch wide. The single stack magazine capacity isn’t great, but then this is a 45 ACP pistol that could slip in a belly band without printing. 

The Springfield is a small carry firearm, but the palm swell fits even larger hands. An extended magazine can give you a little more real estate to play with, and more rounds. I would do that…

There’s also another gun to consider, the Springfield Armory XD-S. Now that is a compact 45 ACP, but it comes with a double stack magazine and just a ridiculous 13+1 capacity.

There are very few double stack 45 ACP pistols that come close to the Springfield Armory and it’s our hot tip for this caliber. It’s accurate, the sight picture is better and all you have to contend with is a 4 inch barrel and a 1.8lb final weight.

The XD-S is one of the standout 45 ACP handguns for sale in 2020, our winner in the compact class and so good that we think you might want to consider upsizing and finding a way to work around your new gun’s bulk.

Kimber Ultra CDP II - Kimber Custom Defense Package for sale, a great compact 1911 for CCW

4. Kimber Ultra CDP – Kimber Custom Defense Package

  • Price: $991.30
  • Caliber: .45 ACP Auto
  • Barrel: 3 inch
  • Total Length: 6.8 inch
  • Weight: 1.6lb

Kimber’s makes boutique carry pistols that could easily qualify as jewelry, as well as personal defense. I mean the Kimber Ultra CDP II is definitely gunporn and one of the more exclusive concealed carry handguns for sale.

It certainly feels like one of the more exclusive carry pistols in your hand.

Just look closely at the ornate slide serrations, the perfect front strap checkering and the way the light dances with the G10 grips and the fiber optic night sights. It doesn’t, obviously, but you know when you have precision engineering in your hands it just feels special…

Kimber vs Colt: Close With Custom Guns

Now Kimber doesn’t quite have Colt’s flawless reputation for reliability in the carry firearm sector. Indeed you don’t have to look too hard for unkind words, rants even, about the Kimber Micro 9. But the user reviews on the Kimber Ultra CDP II are a different story to the 9mm Kimber Micro.

This is a Kimber Custom gun, which means it gets that extra love and attention at the factory that results in a reliable, sweet shooting concealed carry 45 ACP.

Kimber starts with a KimPro II aluminum frame, marries that to a stainless steel slide and straps some low profile sights up top.

A full length guide rod recoil spring, two tone Cerakote finish and double-diamond rosewood 1911 grips complete this extravagant look. Even the fiber optic front sight looks like an accent touch, functional gunporn.

Under the skin, it’s a single action trigger system that has won rave reviews from pro shooters that can feel subtle differences. In the end, though, these concealed carry guns are emotional purchases, as much as a logical choice, and you won’t buy it because of the trigger system.

You’ll buy it because it’s cool, and you will be right. Kimber Custom’s full size pistols are a sight to behold, too. Check out the full line-up here.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 2.0 - A great concealed carry in 45 ACP Auto. Buy guns online now.

5. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 2.0

  • Price: $433.99
  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Barrel Length: 3.3 inch
  • Overall Length: 6.5 inch
  • Weight: 1.29lb

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 2.0 is another multi-caliber concealed carry star and this personal defense legend is one of the most compelling striker fired pistols in 45 ACP.

The S&W M&P Shield is a slim, lightweight handgun than is easy to conceal without printing. It has just enough detail on the slide to make it easy to work with at the shooting range.

It also has just enough bullets to send most intruders on their way. The thumb safety on this version of the Smith & Wesson subcompact is a nice touch too.

S&W M&P is a Great Handgun in All Calibers

It’s a black polymer special and is designed not to stand out, but the Smith and Wesson is a great little handgun that has proven itself over the years.

The full-size version and the compact aren’t too shabby as carry guns either thanks to the lightweight polymer frame.

This is version 2.0 and it continues to be a sales sensation for the firearms manufacturer. At this price, it’s certainly one of the best concealed carry 45 ACP handguns here in terms of value, and maybe just outright ability.

Sig Sauer 1911 Ultra-Compact Two Tone pistol for sale. It's a great concealed carry 1911 and a stunning handgun with a high price.

6. Sig Sauer 1911 Ultra-Compact

  • Price: $949.99
  • Barrel: 3.3 inch
  • Overall: 6.8 inch
  • Weight: 1.8lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

Most of Sig Sauer’s great 1911s don’t even come close to the size restrictions here. But this Sig Ultra Compact 1911, or micro-compact 1911 to give it a more useful name, is an absolutely stellar gun.

Yes it’s expensive, but we covered this before. Making a small 45 ACP 1911 cycle reliably is a feat in itself and Sig Sauer has earned a nigh-on perfect reputation in that regard. It’s one of the few that could challenge the Colt Defender on the absolute basics.

This single action 1911 from Sig Sauer is simply a shrunken 45 ACP handgun with all the requisite features. They include a thumb safety and a traditional grip back-up.

Trigger is Crisp and Clean, Like a Winter’s Day

We love it for that, and the near perfect trigger, and a lot of other things. Those real Rosewood grips, the Hard Anodized Finish and Cerakote coated frame are the cherries on a pretty tasty Sig Sauer cake.

Sig Sauer smashed it out the park with the 1911 Ultra-Compact. It isn’t cheap, but it is perfectly formed and finished. If you’re a Sig Sauer fanatic then you already know this, and you’re probably here just to buy one.

We wish we could show you more subcompact pistols from Sig Sauer, but the P229, the compact 1911s and even the plastic fantastic Sig P320 Compact are just too big to fit this particular list. This is the best of the 45 ACP Subcompact Concealed Carry from Sig Sauer that fit the description.

ATI Xtreme Firepower 1911 45 ACP for sale. A budget subcompact 1911 that actually works.

7. ATI Firepower Xtreme Titan 1911

  • Price: $429.99
  • Barrel: 3.1 inch
  • Total: 6.93 inch
  • Weight: 2.2lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

At first glance, the ATI Firepower Xtreme Titan 1911 looks exactly the kind of budget 45 ACP concealed carry pistol you should avoid.

It’s cheap, and it looks like one of those concealed carry pistols you might regret buying in a moment of weakness.

But then you see the user reviews of this subcompact pistol. The 4.5 star rating and more than 70 positive reviews show that this is a great gun in the Rock Island Armory mold.

It’s a budget shooter that simply overdelivers on the engineering and gives up a few finishing touches.

Why no RIA handguns on this list? Even the smallest tactical 1911 was too big. It’s that simple…

With the American Tactical Innovations subcompact 1911, though, we can easily include it. That’s good, because we love this spec.

The frame is engineered from 4140 Steel, and there’s a stainless steel guide rod and recoil spring. You also get a proper grip safety and frame mounted thumb safety.

The trigger is aluminum and drilled three times for weight saving, while the tech is topped off with real mahogany grips and you get 7+1 rounds in an impossibly small microcompact 1911 package. It’s really a skill.

A Cheap Subcompact 1911 45 ACP That Works

It’s a kind of fusion recipe with firearms, but ATI has delivered a reliable and solid subcompact 1911 45 ACP for less than $500. We have nothing but admiration for that feat and the user reviews are nothing short of ecstatic.

Cheap guns that massively overdeliver tend to be the only ones to elicit that mad gun review love. We saw it recently with the Taurus G2C, the DPMS Oracle and this shrunken 1911.

There’s normally a reason for this kind of internet heat, so if you’re in the market for a subcompact .45 1911 then take a good long look at the American Tactical Innovations ATI Firepower Xtreme Titan and get ready for a surprise.

Kahr Arms CW45. A concealed carry 45 ACP legend comes up with innovation, a double action only handgun with a locked breech.

8. Kahr CW45

  • Price: $353.99
  • Barrel: 3.64 inch
  • Overall: 6.32 inch
  • Weight: 1.19lb

Kahr Arms has plugged away at the striker fired 45 ACP market for a while and it has a devoted following. There’s a lot to like about the Kahr CW45, too, which brings some olde world 1911 technology to the new age.

The single stack Kahr CW45 is a double action only pistol with a locking breech. Some people will love the accessibility and user friendly feel that goes with that. The Kahr CW45 is the point and shoot of the polymer pistol world, it’s a soft, none threatening trigger action and recoil is damped too.

Packaging wise, this gun is a minor miracle. We had to give it a pass on the length of the barrel, because it’s actually 3.64 inches long. But the whole gun is just 6.32 inches long, so this is a lot of gun in a relatively small footprint. We’re impressed, even though it means the design is a little square.

Narrow Gun, Which Prevents Printing

The width is the maddest thing here. This gun is an inch thick at its widest point and that means it stows like a dream. The longer barrel certainly feels more accurate while range shooting and the stippling fits your hand just right.

You can get high up on the grip, the bore axis of the gun falls into place and recoil fades as if by design.

The Kahr Arms PM45 is the classic 45 ACP Subcompact Concealed Carry polymer frame handgun. That is another multi-caliber pistol that covers everything from 9mm right through to 230gr .45 Cal.

The Kahr Arms PM45 is still available on Guns.com and you can pick one up for just over $300. We prefer the newer gun, though, and think the Kahr Arms PM45’s time has come and gone now.

Desert Eagle 1911 Undercover 45 ACP. A stylish sub-compact 1911 that is pure gun porn and a custom gun for off-the-peg prices.

8. Magnum Research Desert Eagle 1911 Undercover

  • Price: $839.99
  • Barrel: 3 inch
  • Total: 6.85 inch
  • Weight: 1.61lb
  • Capacity: 6+1

Magnum Research, the company behind the infamous Desert Eagle .50, also does a rather splendid line of 1911 handguns. This subcompact 1911 CCW is absolute gun porn, and the finishing touches hint at a custom gun.

You could argue that its costume jewelry. But the adjustable rear sights, checkered front and back straps, flared magwell and high-ride beavertail grip safety really do look the part.

There’s a full-length stainless steel guide rod, the frame is machined from billet alunminum and the slide is carbon-infused steel. The aluminum trigger, skeleton hammer and G10 grips are all quality items and this gun stacks up pretty well against the Colt in the looks department.

This subcompact 1911 has a lot going for it and, like the Desert Eagle .50, we think it’s going to be a sales sensation.

Remington 1911 UltraLight Executive for sale. A stunning subcompact 1911 that costs a fortune. Want the best?

9. Remington 1911 R1 UltraLight Executive

  • Price: $1,046.99
  • Caliber: .45 Cal ACP
  • Barrel: 3.5 inch
  • Overall: 7 inch
  • Weight: 1.75lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

Remington doesn’t get that much love on these pages with its 1911s, but we’ve noticed that personal bias and we’re doing our best to address it. Here is Remington’s subcompact 45 ACP concealed carry entrant, and we kinda like it.

The truth is that Remington has become a real niche handgun brand, but when you look at the designs and the tech on each individual model then you struggle to see why it isn’t a bigger force generally.

This is an aluminum framed 1911 45 ACP designed to fit into a small footprint, hence the rounded heel for CCW that helps keep a gun with a relatively long barrel stay at 7 inches long exactly. That’s decent packaging for a 45 ACP Subcompact Concealed Carry.

Remington went further, deleting the manual thumb safety. Now I’m not sure about that, but Remington insists it provides a much smoother draw and you’re fine with the one safety at the rear. Well if you say so…

You get a match-grade barrel, Tritium sights, a drilled out trigger and hammer and a few other neat touches. The Remington is pretty sexy, too, it has to be said. But we just don’t see them out in the wild. Try one, you might genuinely like it.

Charter Arms Pitbull 45 ACP, a concealed carry snubnose revolver

10. Charter Arms Pitbull Revolver

  • Price: $481.99
  • Caliber: .45 Cal ACP Auto
  • Barrel Length: 2.5 inch
  • Total Length: 6.5 inch
  • Weight: 1.38lb

A concealed carry revolver is an interesting choice of compact handgun to begin with. If you then opt for a 45 ACP subcompact concealed revolver, you’re surely just messing with people…

44 Magnum rules the roost when it comes to revolvers, with 357 Magnum a close second. A 45 ACP subcompact concealed carry is not even on the radar of most serious revolver shooters. It really is a round that was designed for semi auto handguns.

But it works here and it works well in the multi-caliber revolver that is the Charter Arms Pitbull. You can find this handgun in the usual calibers, and oddities like this one and 9mm. Why? Because people buy them and seem to like them.

It’s an oddity, a curiosity and yet it’s certainly an option if you’re looking for an alternative concealed carry and the usual Glock rival pistols just don’t do it for you.

What about the most famous 45 ACP concealed carry guns?

Most of them are too big for the subcompact class and even we were surprised by just how few of the established 45 ACP subcompact concealed carry weapons from the likes of Sig Sauer came even close to the self-imposed size limit here.

The simple fact is that there are precious few subcompact 45 ACP carry firearms worth having. Most manufacturers are switching to 9mm now, but the 45 ACP Subcompact concealed carry guns that do feature here are brilliant. So it’s a small selection of epic guns, which is fine when you think about it…

If you want the Sig P320 and the legendary carry 1911 pistols, check out our list of the 20 best compact 45 ACP gun reviews here.

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