Any time the subject of 9mm carry guns comes up online, it’s a matter of time until someone mentions the Glock 19. In many cases, it seems to have become the default answer — but we shouldn’t have to tell you that a G19 isn’t always the “perfect” answer. Users with larger hands may find its compact frame too small for comfort, especially without trigger guard undercuts and other frame mods. In these cases, the 9mm Glock 45 is a more sensible option, offering increased grip real estate and 17+1 capacity while retaining the compact G19-length slide.

As with most Glocks, the G45 can tap into the near-infinite supply of aftermarket components, but this comes with a challenge: restraint. We’ve all seen builds that look like the gun equivalent of a ’93 Honda Civic with an oversized muffler and glued-on chrome accents from Pep Boys. So, when we decided to hot-rod this Glock 45, our goal was an end result that was clearly custom but remained tasteful.

Our Glock 45 9mm Project

The build began at Southwest Precision Arms in Goodyear, Arizona. SWP machined the factory slide using a Battle X2 pattern — a prototype at the time, but now a standard offering — that includes knurled areas at the front and rear, chamfered edges, and side pockets. A variety of additional options are available; we went with a direct-mount Holosun 509T slide cut (no adapter plate required) and a window at the top of the slide. That window leads us to our favorite feature, SWP’s Shoot Flat porting.

A series of 10 small ports were drilled into the factory barrel; unlike compensators or large single ports, these allow gases to bleed off gradually as the round travels down the barrel. The result is a recoil impulse that feels astonishingly smooth and predictable. With the recommended addition of a 15-pound recoil spring, our G45 has continued to run flawlessly with a variety of range and defensive ammo.

Above: Due to the Holosun 509T’s unique footprint, many users install it with an RMR footprint adapter, but that increases height over bore. It wasn’t necessary for this build, since SWP milled a 509T dovetail mount directly into the factory slide.

Although SWP offers refinishing services, we opted to have the raw slide and barrel sent to P4 Coatings in Tucson, Arizona, since there were many modifications ahead. P4 Coatings performed custom framework based on our requests, including grip stippling with recessed borders, stippled index areas above the trigger guard, and a double undercut. P4 also installed a flat-face Overwatch Precision TAC trigger, which was meticulously polished along with the connector and safety plunger. Combined with Wolff plunger and striker springs, this produced a crisp sub-3-pound trigger pull and short, positive reset.

With the frame and trigger work complete, our Glock was ready for a new finish. Rather than simply use an off-the-shelf color, P4 Coatings mixed up a custom shade of gray KG Gunkote, topping it off with precisely masked black accents. Finishing touches include a set of plain black, optic-height Ameriglo GL-429 iron sights from Brownells, as well as a low-profile Have Blue magwell and serrated aluminum slide plate from Overwatch Precision. The final component was a Streamlight TLR-7A, which sits flush with the muzzle for comfortable everyday carry. We also picked up some 17-round Magpul PMAGs from GunMag Warehouse.

Rounds Downrange

In the end, we’re very happy with the understated two-tone look of this build and even happier with its functionality. The fine-tuned trigger makes it easy to put rounds on target in quick succession, and the Shoot Flat porting tames the recoil to the point that bystanders at matches and courses have (somewhat jokingly) called it cheating. There will always be those who claim that porting is impractical for a long list of dubious reasons — a topic we plan to address more conclusively in a future article — but we have yet to meet one person who wasn’t impressed by its effectiveness after trying this particular build. Case in point, we took it out to a Fieldcraft Survival intermediate handgun course to break it in and ended up top shooter of the class. Not bad for a maiden voyage.

Glock 45 Build Sources


Gun Mag Warehouse


Overwatch Precision

P4 Coatings

Southwest Precision Arms


Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 25 of Concealment magazine.

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