Test & Review: Heckler & Koch HK45 service pistol in .45 ACP

Americans appreciate the reliability and quality of the products from Oberndorf especially. The fairly hefty asking price for a new pistol remained the only bone of contention for a long time. Costing over 1,000.00 USD, the Heckler & Koch HK45 was almost twice as expensive as an equivalent polymer model by GLOCK or Smith & Wesson. 

In terms of engineering, the Heckler & Koch HK45 is a slightly upgraded version of the USP generation. But the Heckler & Koch HK45 scores points with its improved ergonomics in particular. The engineers from Oberndorf originally designed the HK45 for the US military. It locks in the ejection port with an improved Browning system.

An encapsulated action spring unit with buffer compensates the recoil. The polymer frame is designed for ambidextrous operation. For instance, the slide stop and the magazine catches are positioned on both sides of the firearm. 

But the integrated safety and decocking lever is only on the left. There is no manual safety on the V3 trigger model. Its lever is used simply to decock the weapon. The HK45 is available in the frame colors black, RAL8000 (green-brown) and olive.

Specs of the Heckler & Koch HK45 pistol

Safety catch on the HK45
The controls on the HK45 pistol are neatly and conveniently arranged – but the safety catch is only positioned on the left.

The Heckler & Koch HK45 gets full marks for trigger/frame design (–0 points). Even though it doesn’t include replaceable grip plates like the SFP9 and the P30, the frame’s ergonomic form checks all the right boxes. 

Unlike the older USP frame, the HK45 comes with three finger grooves at the front, anatomically adjusted flanks and a replaceable backstrap. Its circumference is also smaller than the first generation 45-caliber polymer models, due chiefly to the slimmer magazine with a width of below 23 millimeters. 

The trigger is a bit hit and miss (-2 points). The extremely long trigger path is noticeable in double action mode. The pretensioned trigger pull is 1,950 grams – a good value for a polymer pistol – but the let-off is not crisp. 

Muzzle of the HK45 pistol
The beefy 45-caliber barrel on the HK45 is guided through an additional polymer ring, positioned behind the muzzle.

Nothing noteworthy happened in the review section Cycling/Safety, and so there were no deductions either (–0 points). The sights come with three luminous yellow dots. This fairly pared-down sighting system is adequate for a service pistol. Only the rear sight is adjustable for lateral offset. The notch is very broad (–1 point). 

Most of the controls are fitted to both sides of the weapon. But the safety/decocking lever is only available on the left (–1 point). The slide stop lever and the magazine release catch are easy to operate with just one finger and are indicative of the outstanding ergonomics. 

However, the process of removing the slide stop lever when stripping the weapon is more laborious than with the older USP models. The weapon’s finishing is absolutely premium grade (–0 points). Our HK45 pistols scored 48 points for precision (–2 points).

Evaluation of the Heckler & Koch HK45 with .45 ACP:

Precision (max. 50 points)48 points
Cycling/safety (max. 10 points)10 points
Trigger characteristics (max. 10 points)8 points
Trigger grip design (max. 5 points)5 points
Controls (max. 10 points)9 points
Sights (max. 5 points)4 points
Workmanship (max. 10 points)10 points
Total points (max. 100 points)94 points
Test rating
6 of 6

Heckler & Koch HK45: characteristics and technical data

 Heckler & Koch HK45
.45 ACP
Magazine capacity:
10 + 1 rounds
Barrel length:
113 mm
Size (L x W x H):204 x 39 x 144 mm
Trigger weight:

SA 1.950 g / DA 4.950 g


990 g with empty magazine)

749 Euro

Features: Polymer pistol with Browning-Petter-SIG system, external hammer, adjustable sights for lateral offset, single-/double-action system, tactical rail, replaceable backstrap.

The HK45, stripped to its individual parts
The company from Oberndorf trusts in proven engineering for the inner workings of the HK45: a Browning system with control cam open at the bottom, an encapsulated action spring and a polymer recoil buffer.

Heckler & Koch HK45 – The Round-Up

In the HK45, Heckler & Koch is offering a beautifully finished polymer pistol chambered in .45 ACP with sophisticated ergonomics. The handgun also has good precision. The sights and the less than crisp trigger put a dent in the weapon’s suitability for sport shooters. Heckler & Koch’s HK45 comes with two magazines, two backstrap inserts and a case.

Visit the manufacturer’s website for more information about the Heckler & Koch HK45.

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