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Heizer, the same people who brought you such firearms as the pocket sized .410 shotgun and now the pocket sized 5.56 handgun, are bringing to market a 45ACP semi-auto handgun. The concept is that the handgun is no thicker than the existing line of guns, but it is a lot more massive. I had a chance to handle a pre-production model at SHOT Show and talk to the guys behind the concept, and they seemed convinced that it was a winner.

The gun comes with two magazines, either a flush-fit 5 round magazine or an extended 7 round magazine. The action is a straight blowback design, using a fixed barrel and a frankly massive slide. While the slide is massive, the springs inside are actually not that strong and it makes the gun pretty easy to rack — something those without massive muscles might appreciate. There’s a plan to ahve a frame mounted safety of some sort, but the pre-production model they had on hand didn’t have a fully finished safety.


The aesthetics and the weight, however, make the gun anything but a beautiful swan. Heizer hasn’t done the math yet, but they anticipate that the gun will run somewhere in the $700 range. I’m not convinced that the market is crying out for the gun, but I’ve been wrong before.

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  1. Looks ugly, it’s probably heavy, $700 isn’t exactly a bargain, and straight blowback in a locked breech world. Doesn’t sound like a winner…

    • I think someone may have been in error about the straight blowback. Straight blowback guns rely upon a couple of things to counteract the forces of the expended shell. (for every action there shall be an equal and opposite reaction) They are weight (as in weight of the slide you know, the part going in the opposite direction) and spring weight (not how much it weighs, but rather how much force it takes to compress said spring). For a straight blowback gun I’ve seen both ways of dealing with it. First a really heavy slide. That’s what the maker High Point does to constrain the forces on their guns. Made of the lighter aluminum, their slides are overly massive to not only make up for the difference between steel and aluminum, but to be even heavier yet to handle the “blowback” part of the deal. Then there is the spring tension. Look at a sig P232. That 380 has a normal sized slide (admittingly made of the heavier stainless steel), but it relies mainly upon it’s stout action spring. So stout in fact, that I’m unable to cycle the action in spite of all the leverage techniques I try to incorporate. Much, much stiffer that it’s larger brother, the 1911. Due mainly because the 1911 uses a gas delayed, blowback action. Slide and barrel are one until a major portion of the high pressure gases have escaped and only then does the slide and barrel part company and then it’s the slide weight combined with the less tension mainspring to do the rest of the job.

      So now we have the Heizer PKO 45. Sure, current production models are of 100 percent stainless steel, but they also offer an all titanium model and that is only slightly heavier than if it were made of aluminum and yet the action doesn’t change between guns of differing materials. If it actually were “straight blowback”, then the shift to an all titanium model would require the action spring change of double that what it use to be and that simply is not the case. Same spring, same poundage, different weights and differing materials.

      Various manufacturers have used various means to delay the impact of the reward forcing gasses produced by today’s cartridges. Some have simply relied upon a ringed chamber. Where rings or channels of metal are cut round about in the straight section of the chamber. The chamber walls that will come in most contact with the brass case. This rough interior causes the case to momentarily get stuck with the barrel. Gas pressure wins out in the end, but at a time that the overall pressure is drastically reduced and is safe to handle with the design of the rest of the gun. You may of heard of any or all, such things as “roller delayed” “rotation delayed” “case delayed” and a number of other terms and euphemisms that refer to the method of delaying the high pressure gasses. Not sure what is in use for the PKO 45, but it has to be one of them else you’d have the slide (or what’s left of it) squarely impaled into one’s skull.

      Lastly, if this slide is supposed to be sooo much bigger and heavier than it’s 1911 cousin, then you wouldn’t see such a short slide. Shorter than even the Compact or Commander models of its cousin. Now sure, with the 1911, the barrel and slide are separate pieces, but the 1911 still has plenty of slide to cover the barrel on the top and sides and if you count the area just ahead of the dust cover, then it also covers the bottom of the barrel. Not so with the Heizer PKO since the barrel is a fixed piece seen by all from the outside of the gun. In fact it’s in the squared barrel that the slide rails have been cut and the slide (actually “Slides” up and down on them). This means that in that area of an already shortened slide, you only have less than one half of said slide. And since a bunch of the lockwork is contained in the slide, the inside of it is more hollow than its 1911 cousin. Since this lockwork is more directly aligned with the business end of things, there are far less moving parts and the like that has to be utilized in a 1911 design. With this reduced need for working parts they have been able (in current production pieces) to have large cutouts on the sides of the rear portion of the slide. These cutouts serve as the area to pull the slide back and then into battery. What now is done by serrations on the 1911 slide.

      If you can’t tell, this gun is on my “Must have it next” list as I thing it’s everything it’s been purported to be and then some. Sure it may tip the scales a bit, but then again you don’t have to suffer having a gun made of plastic or of aluminum (two materials I feel are unsuited for firearms manufacture).

  2. Now that the comments seem like they’re back up I’ll just C&P what I posted to the forums.

    I for one am intrigued as I’ve always found blowbacks in more serious calipers to be interesting. That said I can’t wrap my mind around a $700 blowback 45. I’m guessing they are using expensive alloys for the frame or some such.

    The recoil spring looks like it is sitting over the barrel, which really makes me want to see its guts or a patent drawing. It’d hilarious if this is just a modernized M1900 Browning. Hopefully they round off some of the edges on the blackstrap for the production pistols.

  3. I wonder if Heizer has licensed their design patent from the kid who was kicked out of school for nibbling his Pop Tart into a gun shape – this looks like a virtual clone of the Pop Tart gun! And if you eat too many Pop Tarts in one sitting, you’re also like to suffer from blowback – another similarity.

  4. So this is what they have been working on?
    Hey Heizer, listen up for a second. I have been waiting for you to put out a 45 auto single shot and then for you to come out with more barrels in 357 mag and 410 3″ and maybe even 22lr.

    I don’t want and don’t need another small 45 on the market, there are already a million of them. Don’t be one of those gun companies that come up with good ideas and none of them fully make it to market.

  5. This looks like a homemade toy from my childhood-circa 1960. No wait…my Mattel shiny snubby looked real-this doesn’t. And 700bucks?!?

  6. I see.
    All the weight of a 1911, with less ammo capacity, a 2-finger grip, and a shorter sight radius.
    Got it.

    Pocket gun? Only if your pockets are made of kevlar and you have construction-grade suspenders to keep your pants up.

  7. For that money you can buy a Glock 30s, as well as lots of ammo to shoot. And have a gun that looks better. Which is really saying something for Glock.

  8. Pistol seems a modernised application of Clarus designed 1908 Pieper/Bayard, smallest .380″ made at a time. Short barrels may not need a locked breech for safe use since the bullet remains in the gun shorter time than standart sizes, even making some powder charge burned out of the bore giving larger muzzle flash. Stronger return springs only reduce the backward impact at end of recoil and make manual retracking the slide harder.
    By the fact of that gun’s return spring remaining at the softer side, the producer should use some kind of impact cushions inside.

  9. “…and they seemed convinced that it was a winner.” And they would be the only ones. Really though, I hope they sell enough of these to at least break even.

  10. “I had a chance to handle a pre-production model at SHOT Show and talk to the guys behind the concept, and they seemed convinced that it was a winner.”

    Well, I would certainly hope that company reps at a business show would be behind their product.

  11. A pocket gun that weighs in more than 20 ounces is not pocket-able. Let’s hope they come up with a “functional’ and aesthetically pleasing design. This is not it…..I’ve seem the updated version as well.

  12. Great design, great idea, finally a real pocked carry 45ACP. Those of you who want something pretty I would go up against you and your handsome Kimber 9mm any day with this gun. Recoil dosn’t look to bad remember use it or lose it, practice or somebody will take it out of your dead fingers. Price a bit steep but not out of line, weight, take up another notch in your belt. I will seriously consider buying one.

    • Heizer people make things that I dream of and the new one here is another dream! I have many of the double taps and yes no one wants to use it on the range.. But going to Cinderellas ball in my fancy clothes.. I am proud that I CAN have the caliber of protection I need.. And all my friends would love to be able to love it. I wear my 45
      in my top shirt pocket right next to my cheeters !


  14. Yah, this really a nice gun. It is a bit heavy for its size but it is easy to carry and it shots very well. Good accuracy is possible with the follow-up shot. The production gun is actually quite pretty. Mine is in black on black. I got the last one of a production run about 3 years ago and my gun dealer got so many positive comments, by those seeing my gun, that he ordered a half dozen from the next production run. So, I am not much of a gun enthusiast, but I suspect this will be a financial winner for Heizer.


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