Today you’ll find the best .45 ACP carbine for you.
I’ve tested over $3,000 worth of .45 carbines.
The best part?
I’ve sorted each rifle by the use. So whether you’re looking for a home defense carbine or CQB, you’ll find it here.
Let’s get started!
- What Is The Point of Pistol Caliber Carbine?
- The 3 Best .45 ACP Carbines
- Which of These Carbines Is Best For You?
- Now It’s Your Turn
What Is The Point of Pistol Caliber Carbine?
Here are the 3 top reasons:
- Recoil Reduction
- Improved Accuracy
- Noise Reduction
Plus the ammo is cheaper.
With that out of the way, let’s move on to…
The 3 Best .45 ACP Carbines
In a rush? Here are the 3 best .45 ACP carbines on the market right now (2020):
- Best Home Defense Carbine: Hi-Point 45 ACP Carbine
- Best for Close Quarters Combat: KRISS Vector Gen II CRB .45 ACP
- Best for AR-15 Users: Just Right Carbine Gen 3 (.45 ACP)
1. Best Home Defense Carbine: HI-POINT 45 ACP CARBINE
A woman defended her home from a 3-man home invasion…alone.
How’d she pull it off?
She used her trusty Hi-Point.
The end result?
She saved her 2 children and got three thugs imprisoned.
Watch the full viral story here:
That video alone should be enough to sell you on the gun.
If you need a bit more nudging, let’s break down why the Hi-Point was so effective at defending her home, starting with…
The Hi-Point is pretty accurate.
Take a look at this 50 yard, 5 shot grouping test results:
Not too bad, right? Take into account this is pistol ammo. Hitting 3.2” groups ‘out-of-the-box’ is REALLY good.
So, how does the Hi-Point do it? It starts with its…
‘Ghost Ring’ Sights
It uses the reliable shotgun ‘ghost ring’ sight…
…with a paired front sight:
Both will help you hit whatever you’re looking at. But I wish they removed the wings to the side:
(It’s a little distracting.)
That aside, the sights help your eyes focus and are very easy-to-use (especially for beginners).
The gun’s build sturdy.
The receiver is built from stamped steel while the rest of the gun is practically made from polymer.
In the video shown earlier, the woman neglected her Hi-Point 45 ACP.
It was rusty and ill-maintained. Yet, it still fired when the time came. That’s because of its simple design:
A blowback submachine gun with few sturdy parts.
A reliable gun that’ll work when you need it most. In fact, I put down 400 rounds through this bad boy and had zero malfunctions.
No failures to feed. No failures to eject. Flawless operation.
Personally, I think that’s why Hi-Point included a ‘no questions asked’ lifetime warranty — their guns just don’t break 😛
The ergonomics aren’t elegant. As IV8888 summed it up:
It’s got the ergonomics of a boat paddle.
That said, the ergonomics get the job done.
The grip is really nice and comfortable. The buttstock’s a skeletonized polymer. It’s got a thumb safety. Any newbie shooter will quickly learn how to use it without any formal training.
I measured the trigger pull at 5.5 pounds. Not bad.
Magazine & Reloading
The Hi-Point 4595TS uses the same 9+1 round magazine as its handgun variation.
The magazine releases fast. In fact, they used a button styled magazine release that resembles a pistol.
(It’s to the left of the grip.)
When the magazine is empty, the bolt locks back.
Length & Weight
The weapon is 32” in length. The barrel is 17.5 inches long and weighs only 7 pounds empty.
Put another way:
It’s as long and heavy as a shotgun (or a .338 Lapua Rifle). This is great for recoil management.
The 4595TS also comes with a sling, so you can carry it on your shoulder. This makes the 7 pound weight bearable for long treks.
The gun is blowback-operated.
This means the gun relies on the mass of the bolt to handle recoil.
Put another way:
The gun mostly relies on its weight to handle recoil. Hi-Point also uses a recoil buffer in the stock to absorb recoil. The recoil pad on the back helps, too.
This lowers perceived recoil even further.
The end result?
Recoil isn’t a problem on the Hi-Point.
For solid ammo for self-defense, I’d recommend one of two options:
- Federal’s 45 ACP 230 gr HST: It has high penetration and expansion. In other words: it’ll stop your target cold.
- Federal’s 45 ACP +P Tactical Bonded LE: This is if you want a bit more ‘oomph’. It penetrates and expands more. The Hi-Point can handle +P rated ammo.
What about ammo for range practice?
I’d recommend PMC .45 ACP’s 230 gr cheap brass. It’s dirt cheap and usually available.
There’s one reason the 4595 is a killer home defense weapon…
…it can be fired WITHOUT hearing protection and not make your ears ring.
Although I always recommend wearing hearing protection, the reality is, when your home is getting invaded you won’t have time for hearing protection.
So it’s a relief to hear you can use the Hi Point 4595TS without ringing your ears.
The reason for it?
The long 17.5” barrel. The barrel allowing the gas to fizz out creating less noise.
The Hi-Point costs less than $300.
That’s by far the cheapest rifle I’ve ever come across. But don’t mistake cheap with low-quality.
As I’ve mentioned, I threw down over 400 rounds with zero issues. The viral video from earlier showed a rusty, ill-maintained Hi-Point work in times of need.
For $300, you’re getting one of the most reliable rifles on the market…at a bargain.
It comes with a polymer Weaver style rail on the top, bottom of the barrel, and bottom of the forend.
It has a boat load of space for tactical accessories like optics and laser sights.
Here are the accessories I recommend:
- The Bushnell TRS-25 Red Dot: Since it excels in close range combat (>50 yards), use a red dot. Bushnell’s TRS-25 is one of the top picks at its affordable price range.
- Pro Mag’s 14 round mag: If the 9 round mag is too small for your defense needs, feel free to upgrade.
Need even more ammo? Here’s a 40 round mag option.
Hi-Point 4595TS .45 ACP Pistol Carbine: Is It Worth It?
For home defense, the Hi-Point 4595TS is all you’ll need.
Here’s why. It’s:
- Reliable (400 rounds no malfunctions)
- Accurate (3.2” groupings)
- Low Recoil
- Very affordable
It comes with a lifetime warranty. So if your Hi Point ever breaks, they’ll fix it free-of-charge.
As a bonus:
The Hi-Point looks straight up cool. Some have described it as coming off the set of ‘Planet of the Apes’.
(They’re not too far off.)
But what I did notice is the looks are highly attractive to younger shooters. The looks, along with the lower recoil, could help get your kids excited to start shooting.
It’s also a LOAD of fun to shoot. For less than $300, there’s no reason not to give this affordable self-defense firearm a try.
2. Best for Close Quarters Combat: KRISS Vector Gen II CRB .45 ACP
The Kriss Vector Gen 2 CRB is one of the best CQB pistol carbines on the market.
It’s the only weapon system that makes recoil a joke.
Because of this, you may have seen the Kriss everywhere. From Divergent…
…to Call of Duty.
But the question is:
Is the Kriss Vector worth its $1500 price tag? Or is it overpriced garbage?
Let’s find out…
The Kriss is bullseye accurate:
Matter of fact, it won in a head-to-head accuracy comparison against the Hi-Point and the civilian UMP (USC .45 ACP Carbine).
(It’s called the Kriss Super V.)
As you see, the average grouping is 2” for a 50 yard range.
And get this:
If you use better ammo — the Remington USC 230-gr MC — you get even tighter groupings (or improved accuracy):
(Average of 1.6”!)
That’s crazy. But what’s the secret to the Kriss’s unparalleled accuracy?
- Kriss Super V Recoil Reduction System
- Trigger/Barrel Alignment
Let’s break down the first…
Kriss Super V Recoil Reduction System
This is what makes Kriss Vector special.
Here’s how it works:
While most guns send the recoil backwards to your shoulder…
Kriss sends most of the recoil downwards:
This makes the perceived recoil and barrel climb (or missed shots) significantly less.
When compared head-to-head with the 9mm Heckler Koch MP5, the Kriss .45 ACP produced 60% LESS perceived recoil and 90% less barrel climb.
No recoil to screw up your shots. And that’s especially true when you combine the second feature…
Kriss Vector’s ‘Perfect’ Barrel Alignment
They aligned the barrel with the trigger nearly perfectly:
So whatever you’re aiming at, you’ll hit it dead center. And that’s truthfully the reason why the Kriss is so expensive (and accurate).
Everything else is icing on the cake like these Magpul’s flip-up polymer MBUS sights.
These sights allow you to quickly transition from a red dot to iron…with no visual obstruction.
The Gen II CRB is very reliable.
I fired more than 700 rounds through it with zero failures.
Why so effective? Its construction.
The receivers are nitride-treated steel. That makes it rust-resistant. Then, they sandwiched the receivers in advanced polymer coated in Cerakote.
This makes the entire gun almost rust-proof.
With all that said, the gun isn’t indestructible. In fact, if your gun malfunctions, it can damage the polymer ejection port housing like it did for GYG’s gun:
Swap the ejection port housing for metal. But that’s not really needed. As I’ve said, I’ve fired over 700 rounds through mine and had zero malfunctions.
Even if it does malfunction (as it did with GYG’s gun), the gun still functions perfectly. But just something to keep in mind.
I’ve gotta admit:
The Kriss Vector feels weird. And it’s no surprise why…
…the gun’s design is weird. But you get used to it after a few shots.
Some things I liked:
The fast, ambidextrous safety switch:
Along with the M4-styled stock. This makes it easier to shoot for AR boys (like myself :P).
However, the Vector has got one flaw:
The magazine release button.
It’s positioned in the same place where you keep your support hand. This leads to accidental misclicks (especially problematic for lefties).
To overcome it, I installed a vertical fore-grip and it resolved the issue along with a few other ergonomic issues. The recommendation for the forward grip is in the accessories (attachment) section below.
The trigger pull was measured at around 6.3 pounds. That’s similar to the glock trigger pull.
(It even feels like it.)
My favorite part?
The crispiness of the trigger pull.
It makes a audible click sound when it breaks. And does so cleanly with no overtravel (or extra trigger extension).
Magazine & Reloading
The Vector CRB Gen II uses a double-stack 13 round Glock 21 magazine.
Since they share the same magazine, you can seamlessly swap magazines with your Glock. This saves you time and room when it comes time to reloading.
More good news:
The KRISS also comes with a side folding charging handle and bolt release:
Pull the charging handle back and press down the bolt release. And boom — the gun is locked and loaded.
The great part?
You can do this even with gloves on.
Length & Weight
The Vector CRB is around 38.25” inches with a barrel length of 16”. It also weighs 7.8 pounds empty — a bit heavy but the recoil mitigation makes up for it.
Is the gun a bit too long for you?
Get a foldable stock. It can shorten the gun enough to fit in most range bags.
For CQB ammo, I’d use the Remington UMC 45 ACP 230-gr MC. It produced 1.6” average group…with the smallest group of 0.9”.
But what about practice?
I’d use the Aguila 45 ACP 230-gr ball. Produced a 2.0” average group. It’s quite cheap and fairly accurate.
Here’s the coolest thing about the Vector:
You can use multiple calibers. Seriously.
Let’s say you wanted to use a 9mm in your Kriss Vector. You can do that easily by simply detaching off the lower receiver…
…and putting on the 9mm lower receiver.
The awesome part?
This process doesn’t require ANY tools and only takes seconds to do. Just press four pins and its separated:
This same feature extends to the following calibers:
- 9mm Luger
- 10mm Auto
- .357 Sig
- .40 S&W
- .45 ACP (this model)
So, in a way, you can think of the Kriss Vector as being multiple guns in an all-in-one package.
I will admit:
The Kriss Vector’s $1500 price tag isn’t for everyone. Fact is, I personally wouldn’t recommend it for people looking for a practical firearm (self defense).
There are much cheaper guns on the market that do the job…for a whole lot less. However, if you love to shoot CQB and want a gun that’s INSANELY fun to shoot — the Kriss is for you.
The Kriss’s got a full length MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny top rail:
It’s also got a lower rail, too:
Need more rails? You can install more on the receiver.
With these 2 (or 3) rails, you can throw on any size optic, flashlight, or laser of choice.
Here are the top Kriss Vector CRB accessories:
- Aimpoint Pro Red Dot: Since Kriss excels at close range (>50 yards), you need a red dot. The aimpoint is fast and has really long battery life (3 yrs.).
- Got astigmatism? Then a EOTech holographic sight would work better.
- Folding Stock: This makes your Kriss Vector fit in most carry cases and increases maneuverability.
- Troy Vertical Foregrips: This fixes almost all of the Kriss Vector’s ergonomic issues.
- Glock Extended Mag (30 rounds): The Kriss Vector’s rate of fire will eat up a 13 round magazine in a second. A 30 round mag solves this.
- Surefire E1B 80-Lumen Tactical Light: This is the same light Kriss includes in its ‘TacPac’. Great for CQB operations.
Kriss Vector .45 ACP Carbine Review: Is It Worth It?
The Kriss Vector is the best CQB weapon on the market. It beats almost ALL of the carbines in a head-to-head CQB test (including the beretta cx4 storm):
It’s also got:
- Excellent Accuracy
- Highly Maneuverable
- Virtually ‘Zero’ Recoil
- Multi-Caliber Compatibility
- And much more.
That’s why the Kriss is almost ALWAYS sold out. If you’re lucky enough to find one, I’d snag it…ONLY if you’re trying to take your CQB game to the next level.
Otherwise go for a more affordable gun like the Hi-Point or the next gun…
3. Best for AR-15 Shooters: Just Right Carbine Gen 3 (.45 ACP)
The Just Right Gen 3 is nearly identical to an AR-15.
It uses the same mil-spec parts and handles nearly identically.
The main difference?
It uses standard glock magazines.
But is it worth getting? Read on to find out.
Just Right Carbine Gen 3 Vs. AR-15
It’s no secret:
The Just Right and the AR-15 look like twins:
They even use the same parts. So, the question is:
Why would you get a JRC over a standard AR-15?
Here are 4 reasons why:
- Cheaper: To convert an AR-15 to a .45 ACP chambering costs over $700 on top of the purchase of the AR-15.
- Less Mag Bulk: Just Right uses the same magazine as a Glock 17. Great for self defense.
- Less Restrictions: In gun-restricted states or countries (like Canada), Just Right passes where the AR-15 fails.
- Young Shooter Friendly: Low recoil, cool designs, and simple controls. appeal to younger shooters. This would be a great gun to get your kid into shooting.
If any of these reasons appeal to you, then read on to find out what else this pistol caliber carbine can offer.
At 50 yards, I was nearly dead center.
At 100 yards, I scored about 3” groupings with a quality optic. Honestly, I believe the JR can go up to 150 yards with solid accuracy.
The JR carbine used to be highly unreliable.
That was until Gen 3 was released. It fixed all the kinks out, so now it’s as reliable as an AR-15.
I’ve fired over 700 rounds through it …with zero malfunctions. No failures to feeds. No stovepipes. Impeccable operation.
The secret to its reliability?
- Simple Blowback Design: This means fewer parts for the gun to screw up on.
- Gun’s Rugged Construction: Uses mil-spec AR-15 parts and aircraft-grade aluminum receiver.
The end result?
The gun will always work when needed.
However, the JR has a small problem…
A loose fore-end.
I’ve found under repeated recoil, the fore-end slowly loosens and unscrews itself.
The good news? Fixing it was easy.
All I had to do was use some Loctite and it held on tight. I’m guessing the problem only exists within my specific gun. I don’t know. I just wish they fixed this at the factory level.
The Just Right handles similarly to an AR-15.
Why is that?
It’s got an AR-15 grip:
And even a similar AR-15 styled safety:
So it handles very similar. But there’s two parts that handled differently:
The charging handle and the bolt hold open.
Let’s start with….
The Charging Handle
In my opinion, it’s a bit small and oddly textured.
However, I quickly learned that wrapped the handle in duct tape made it usable.
As for the…
Bolt Hold Open
You get used to it.
Sure, the bolt doesn’t open once the magazine is finished, but it operated smoothly.
I measured the trigger pull weight at around 7 pounds. It broke clean.
No problems with the trigger.
Magazine & Reloading
Just like the Kriss Vector, this pistol caliber uses the same standard 13 round Glock mags.
(Speaking of Glocks, check out my Glock 32 .357 SIG review)
This is great for two reasons:
- Less Mags: You can now share mags with your rifle and pistol.
- Glock Reliability: Glock mags are battle proven reliable.
But there’s something I didn’t like…
The mag release position.
JR positioned the mag release on the left side of the magazine — similar to the Glock.
Personally, I would’ve liked a right side position for right-handed operation. But despite that, it worked surprisingly well and was pretty ergonomic
A quick pro tip to keep in mind:
Don’t reload hard like John Wick:
You’ll end up jamming the gun like I did at first.
Reload it carefully until the magazine locks in place and that’s it. No need for excessive force.
Length & Weight
The gun’s about 31” collapsed…
…or 34.25” when extended.
The barrel is 17” long. This gives the bullet a 150 FPS velocity boost. This means better accuracy.
The barrel’s also threaded, which allows you to install any AR-15 muzzle brake, flash hider, or sound suppressor of your choice.
But honestly, you don’t need any of these accessories. The muzzle flash is nearly non-existent and muzzle rise is minimal. It doesn’t make much sound, either.
It weighs about 6.8 pounds empty. This is pretty standard for most AR-15 rifle carbines nowadays.
It’s almost identical to an AR-15 carbine in length and weight.
The JR carbine uses a simple blowback design.
It handles recoil just like my SIG P226 pistol. And since its heavier than a pistol, the recoil is similar to a .22.
Recoil isn’t a problem on this gun.
For accuracy, use HPR 45 ACP 230-gr. full metal jacket.
(It got 2” groupings @ 25 yards)
That being said, a quick word of caution:
Do not use +P rated ammo in JR. It damages the weapon.
The Just Right is left-hand configurable (ambidextrous).
Simply unscrew the charging handle…
…and move the ejection port cover to the side of choice.
And you can now shoot left-handed.
Another thing I liked was the Just Right’s construction. It mostly uses AR-15 parts.
You can customize your JR carbine using AR-15 parts. This leads to some crazy AR-15 builds on your carbine.
The last thing I liked is the caliber interchangability. You can fire 9mm or .40 rounds from your carbine.
- Buy one of the Just Right conversion kits ($250)
- Get a compatibile Glock mag
And you’re switched!
The Just Right is priced at around $700 MSRP.
That’s about the same price as a standard AR-15.
But keep in mind:
To convert an AR-15 to a pistol carbine usually requires expensive parts — like this $730 MAG-AD9 conversion kit — and special tools.
With the Just Right carbine, you get that entire costly (and time-consuming) process done for you…out-of-the-box. Pretty sweet deal.
The Key-Mod model has a full length Picatinny top rail.
And a quad rail at the end:
This allows you to equip optics, lasers, and even flashlights.
But which accessories should you get?
These are the best JR Carbine accessories:
- Glock Extended Mag: JR carbine drinks bullets like water. Get an extended mag for less headaches and more fun.
- 17 round extended mag
- 33 round extended mag
- 50 round extended mag
- UTG Foregrip: This adds a lot more stability to your rifle. It even comes with a built-in flashlight.
- Magpul Backup Sights: This is an AR-15 standard. Serves as a ‘battery-free’ backup for your red dot (or to co-witness).
- Primary Arms 1-4X Scope: This scope serves as a red dot, ACOG, and LPVO (scope) in one package. This makes close-range and ranged (100 yard) shots easy.
- Magpul Stock: An AR-15 standard. This helps you handle recoil better.
Just Right Gen 3 Carbine Review: Is It Worth It?
If you want an AR-15 in a .45 pistol calibers form, the Just Right Gen 3 is what you’re looking for.
- AR-15 Feel
- AR-15 Customization
- Accurate (2” groupings @ 50 yards)
- Glock Mags
- Multi-Caliber Compatibility
The gun’s also cheaper than the AR-15. It comes with a 2 year limited warranty. So if your JR carbine ever breaks on you, they’ll fix it for free.
So if you like what you see, then feel free to check it out.
Do you live in a gun-restricted state (like California)? Here’s the JR versions you should buy:
- SAFE Act
Which of These Carbines Is Best For You?
1. What is the Best Carbine for Home Defense?
The Hi-Point Carbine is hands down the best. It’s affordable, reliable, and accurate.
2. What about Close Quarter Combat?
The Kriss Vector Gen II CRB is what you need. It’s bullseye accurate and has virtually zero recoil
3. What about an AR-15-like carbine?
Go for the Just Right Carbine Gen 3. It handles, looks, and shoots similar to an AR-15.
Whatever option you choose, you’re bound to hit a good, reliable gun. I’ve fired more than 500 rounds through each of these carbines with no issues.
Now It’s Your Turn
I hope you enjoyed my pistol caliber carbines guide.
Now I’d like to hear from you:
Which of these carbines will you choose? Maybe the Hi-Point or the Kriss Vector?
Whatever your choice, let me know in the comments down below. I’m also open for suggestions for future updates. Speaking of future updates, I’m currently working on a a Thompson “Sub Machine Gun” update.
I’m gonna add a semi automatic Tommy Gun to the list for the Godfathers out there. I’m even thinking about reviewing the beretta cx4 storm as well.
Either way, stay tuned.