Today I decided to go try some handguns in .45 ACP because I had never shot this caliber before. Being a long time 9mm lover and yet also being new to guns (shot my first handgun in January of this year and bought my first handgun in February of this year); this caliber is entirely new to me. I had fun. Here's how it went.
I tried four guns: the Glock 21, the Remington 1911R1, the Ruger SR45, and the Beretta PX4. I shot Remington Golden Saber .45 ACP out of all the guns. Here's how each went, as follows:
The Glock 21 was familiar (for obvious reasons). First shot, I was surprised at the recoil and blast, but in a good way. The recoil wasn't intense: it was bigger and more powerful, but not overbearing. I could get used to this; it just slows my shots down. I felt my first real muzzle flip: 9mm doesn't do that as much in my Glock 19. With the Glock 21, there was definitely about 15-45 degrees of flip that I could feel, so it took longer to lineup between shots. But everything else about the gun was obviously Glock, and it was comfortable, I could reach the controls, and it was predictable. I was surprised that the Glock 21 could hold 13 per magazine. The grip was definitely wider, but not too wide that it caused me any problems. I liked the width: it helped cushion the recoil.
The Remington 1911R1 was all 1911 and all new to me. I immediately disliked the grip: too narrow in the back for the recoil. The trigger was nice: not more than a Glock to me, just different from the Glock. I also saw a slide safety for the first time, which was probably hilarious for the range owner who was letting me pick them out before I shot. "Oh, wow, that's how that works." Now I know why people want this feature on my wife's Walther PK380.
But anyways, all the controls were easy, and the gun almost had a beautiful simplicity about it. Recoil was not fun whatsoever due to the grip. It certainly shot nice and without any problems, but recoil was not fun, as if the gun was saying "deal with it." Other than that, the ergonomics were ok, albeit the narrow grip pissed me off: all other ergonomics were great except for that.
Sort of sad: for such a nice gun, for that to be the only issue...
Then I tried the Ruger SR45. The ergonomics and feel were immediately, in my mind, like a Tonka truck or a toy gun. Didn't like it, but it wasn't annoying, as the back of the grip seemed to be spread wide enough, or shaped right, so the grip wasn't annoying.
However, this gun malfunctioned at almost every single shot. The magazine kept falling out, and it kept stove piping. I handed it back to the range owner and told him about the malfunctions. Otherwise, good gun, but I almost hated shooting it due to all the problems. It was a range gun, but it didn't seem like it had been overly abused.
Then I tried the Beretta PX4. Beautiful gun (as usual for Beretta), felt great in my hands. However, as with every Beretta I've shot, it's as if all, and I mean all, of the controls were 0.5" away. It's as if they designed this with a person in mind who had 0.5" longer fingers and 0.5" more circumference in their palm. It was fun and great to shoot until I had to do something like manipulate the safety or the magazine drop. Otherwise, however, it's a sweet gun. If not for the ergonomics, I would've went with Beretta first (as the PX4 and CX4 together plus the 92FS that the military uses would have definitely lured me in).
I did like how the Glock 21 was familiar territory. The grip was 1/8" longer but that didn't throw me off or bother me. All the controls were still right where I liked them.
So now I have experienced .45 ACP. As for the round, it's a much bigger bullet and the recoil is sharper, as I'm sure everyone already knows. However, the recoil didn't make the gun unusable to me, just slowed down my shots. It was still impressive to see such big holes in my target.
I then shot 200 rounds of 9mm Tula through my Glock 19 (yeah I can't wait to finish this stuff off so I can switch to something American-made) and went home. I had loads of fun. I'll also say that while I am not into .45 ACP, it's not bad, and I don't mind shooting it. Maybe some day I'll own a Glock in .45 ACP, but not until there's a compact size one like my Glock 19. Looking at their pistol chart, that means I'd end up, if I wanted a Glock in .45, with the Glock 38 in .45 GAP probably. But that's something I'm going to have to play with some other day.
So to me, the Remington 1911R1 shot the best in terms of trigger and action, but the Beretta PX4 had better looks and more of a fun trigger, and the Glock 21 had the best all-around feel and familiarity. Yes, I'm a Glock fan, but the Beretta came in a close second.
This is how it looked after the .45 ACP guns (all four, 50 shots):
This is how it looked after 50 or so rounds of 9mm through my Glock 19:
And this is how 150 or so rounds of 9mm, switching hands a little, and one magazine of rapid fire, look: