Many people contact me and ask for advice about the best .45 semi-auto for CCW under $500. I am asked which pistol or revolver would be best for home defense, or which would be best for CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) while out and about? Generally speaking, the answer to these questions is as complex as the people asking. However, taking this question as a whole, one good quality semi-auto or revolver should fit the job. In trained hands a pistol or revolver loaded with defense ammo is good as any weapon. What is perfect for home defense likely is not good for taking to the mall. So what single semi-auto or revolver should you buy?

The main things to take in account before buying this firearm would be the physical size, the experience and the mindset of the user. In other words, no one firearm is the best fit for everyone. This theory has proven correct when police agencies across the country went from 38 special revolvers to semi-auto 9mm to .45 and .40 caliber autos. Now the majority are returning, in part or whole, to the 9mm. Diverse police agencies struggle with coming up with a standard issue sidearm all can shoot. With this said, we should explore what is available in the way of a USA made firearm.

In my professional opinion, when defending your life or a life of another, you need to put down the attacker as quickly as possible. If nothing else you should injure them sufficiently to cause them to stagger away thereby stopping their attack or threatening advances. This would require a caliber of sufficient size to bring the stopping power to the target. Based on my 45 years of duty and service, I recommend the .45 ACP. Now many writers and experts will differ with this, but 106 years of stopping dirt-bags around the world in their tracks says enough for me. Matching the right .45 ACP to the pistol is key.

The best .45 semi-auto for CCW under $500

In looking for a .45 ACP true CCW pistol, one should look for a single stacked five to six plus round, striker-fired semi-auto. The striker-fired semi-auto, with secondary safety, would be my choice for those who CCW. For you who like to carry your weapon inside the pants, a striker-fired semi-auto with a safety is the only choice. After all being a warrior man, I don’t feel comfortable carrying a loaded firearm in my front waistband with the business end pointing at my business. So I would need a sub-compact .45 ACP with at least two safeties. Yes I love the 1911 pistols and there are sub-compact 1911s on the market…and I have one. But one should be highly trained to carry a sub-compact 1911 style pistol which in fact are not sold for under $500.00.

Ruger Firearms

Taking all of this into consideration, my top choice for a sub-compact .45 ACP semi-auto striker-fired pistol is the Springfield Armory XD® Mod.2® 3.3. I chose the XD® Mod.2® 3.3 based on several key factors. The product is made in the USA by an excellent company. The mod. 2 in the 3.3 configuration is very concealable. This pistol is well tested and receives excellent reviews for dependability. The recoil of the .45 ACP is well controlled.

Now I know what my fellow warriors are saying, “This pistol only holds six rounds?” My answer to this is, “Just how many rounds do you need to put down an attacker?” With the six round mag plus one equals seven large dirt-nap pills. With regular practice and the proper rounds loaded in this bad-boy you don’t need more than seven rounds. A citizen with their CCW getting into an extended firefight is just not going to happen. If you need more magazines this weapon comes with a five shot mag. Buy three or four extra to carry in the car or camper. As an armed citizen you only need to protect yourself and possibly others close by. Going out to look for trouble is the LEO’s job who are training and well equipped for this task.

For any personal defense, when a life or lives are on the line, warriors and sheepdogs should have the ammunition to match the weapon and task. For this reason I highly, highly recommend the Hornady 45 Auto 185 gr FTX® Critical Defense®. In my professional opinion look no further, this is the perfect round for the sub-compact .45 ACP pistols. Lighter bullet generally means less recoil. The Hornady 185 gr FTX Critical Defense bullet design facilitates the loading process of any semi-auto.

I have a good friend who served as a police officer for almost ten years. He has bought several CCW type semi-auto in .380 and 9mm. He purchased a Springfield Armory XD® Mod.2® 3.3. which is the .45acp. He made this purchase from a dealer on the internet including shipping and transfer fee for $480.00. He moved up to the bigger caliber based on the more serious events currently happening. He carries this pistol with a CCW permit, and when permitted, he carries where ever he goes. Living in a rural area, often at night when returning home from work he encounters various varmints running amok in his yard trying to eat one of his cats, digging holes under his house foundation and just engaged in general chaos. He told me he has used his XD Mod. 2, 3.3 to dispatch several varmints. He has fired several boxes of ammo through this pistol with no malfunctions. He told me, for him, the pistols’ sights are dead on for the 10 to 15 yard shots. This distance is well within the normal range of protecting one’s self. Since buying and carrying the XD Mod. 2, 3.3 he says he has found his perfect weapon. He is now sold on Springfield Armory firearms.

Check out the Springfield Armory website and the many different semi-auto pistols they offer. I also recommend going to your favorite ammo website or store and buy a 100 rounds of the Hornady 45 Auto 185 gr FTX® Critical Defense® ammo and 200 rounds of target ammo to familiarize yourself with your next and best defense weapon the XD Mod 2, 3.3.

The XD® Mod.2® 3.3 Sub-Compact Model .45ACP

  • Barrel Length: 3.3 inches, 1:16 Twist
  • Total Length: 6.5 inches
  • Slide: Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
  • Hammer: Forged, Steel, Melonite®
  • Sights Fiber Optic Front and Low Profile Combat Rear (Steel)
  • Height: 5.5 inches with X-Tension™
  • Grip Width 1.20 inches
  • Weight: 27 ounces with compact mag.
  • Action: striker-fired
  • Magazine: 5 Round +1 & 6 Round +1
  • Frame: Black Polymer
  • Caliber .45ACP
  • MSRP $593.00
  • Found for: $450.00 or less.

Springfield Armory


Ruger Firearms