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Nick and Jeremy S caught-up with the Heizer Defense PKO-45 handgun at SHOT Show. Heizer’s promising a September delivery date for this bad boy and swears up, down and sideways that it’s not so bad, recoil-wise. “It boasts a revolutionary fixed-barrel-under-the-guide-rod configuration, resulting in less recoil felt by the operator.” Yes, well less is still more compared to anything other than a derringer. If you’re a TTAG reader attending the Concealed Carry Expo in Atlanta (April 29-May 1), where consumers can test-fire the PKO-45 at the expo’s mobile shooting range, we’d appreciate a quick email with your impressions and a video/pics. Meanwhile, whatchewreckon? Cool toy or practical pistol? Press release and pic after the jump . . .

Heizer PKO-45

Heizer Defense
Heizer Defense

Pevely, MO – -( Heizer Defense, known for their innovative line of powerful pocket pistols, is pleased to add their first semi-automatic pistol to the product line, the PKO-45.

Heizer will introduce the PKO-45 to the public at the upcoming Concealed Carry Expo in Atlanta, GA from April 29-May 1. Heizer Defense is a Live-Fire Shooting Range sponsor for the show, which will allow consumers to test-fire the PKO-45 at the expo’s mobile shooting range.

The PKO-45 or Pocket 45, is the slimmest semi-auto .45ACP on the market at just 0.8″ wide and approximately 25 ounces. The PKO-45 is made with 100% US Aerospace grade stainless steel.

There are no plastic or mimed parts on the PKO-45. It boasts a revolutionary fixed-barrel-under-the-guide-rod configuration, resulting in less recoil felt by the operator.

The PKO-45 also features a snag-free design, internal hammer/single action, and a front strap safety with an additional thumb ambi-safety. It has 5+1 capacity with a flush magazine, and 7+1 capacity with the extended magazine.

This new pistol will be available for purchase in September 2016. For more information on Heizer Defense, visit

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  1. Not so bad compared to…

    … our 7.62 x 39mm derringer.
    … our 5.56 x 45mm derringer.
    … our .45 Colt derringer.
    … our upcoming .500 S&W Magnum derringer…

    • If you scrunch your eyes closed . . . very tight, and whisper 3 times “Abracadabra, Abracadabra, Abracadabra” you might even think that your post adds anything to the discussion. But that is because you have a “special” magic about you.

  2. At 25oz for 45 ACP I’m willing to think there’s guns that kick a ton more. Something like an airweight .357 comes to mind.

    • I’m almost positive my Sig C3 1911 weighs 26oz, same as a G19. Most aluminum framed carry model 1911’s are in that range. So really recoil should not be that bad at all.

  3. I’m not a gun designer but if you are going with a fixed barrel what is the advantage of a guide rod over a regular blowback design common in smaller calibers?

    • The guide rod should not have anything to do with the action type, a straight blow back can and does have a guide rod in many if not most cases.

      The reason that you do not want a blow back in this case has to do with the caliber. The idea of all semi automatics is that they let the cartridge pressure bleed off before the empty casing gets ejected from the action. There are a multitude of ways of doing this from the Luger’s toggle action to the Browning style action to straight blow back and several others I’m neglecting. With exception to the straight blowback all of these systems have a way of inducing a delay before the case starts ejecting.

      The compromise you make with a straight blow back is that you need to increase slide mass and spring pressure as you increase the power of the round. A great example of this is a Hi-Point 9mm. Ever wonder why they are heavy up top and chunky? The fact they’re not a delayed blowback is why. The mechanism is significantly simpler, but you end up with a brick on the top of your gun. Where a straight blowback shines is cost, parts count and simplicity.

      • Interesting. Also, you have a knack for explaining concepts clearly, without resorting to too much jargon or secondary concepts.

      • Thanks. I kind of assumed that any fixed barrel design would in essence be a straight blowback action. Other than the blowback and Browning tilting barrel short recoil action I’m not familiar with other semi-auto pistol actions.

        • Off the top of my head there’s also the locking block on the Beretta M9 and that weird side saddle thing on the Russian Italian Glock thing.

    • I’m guessing 2 reasons to use a guide rod above the barrel instead of having the recoil spring directly around the barrel:

      Using a guide rod puts the entire spring above the barrel, so there’s no room needed below the barrel, for a low bore axis. But note “bore axis” is not a direct cause of muzzle flip, it’s more like a result of muzzle flip-causing design elements, aka correlation not causation.

      And with a thin guide rod design the recoil spring could be of as small of a diameter as you want, instead of larger than barrel diameter. This could result in a lower center of mass of the slide, reducing muzzle flip, lowering the sight line and reducing the overall width of the slide now that the widest component is the barrel itself

    • A new favorite action of mine:
      The gas-delayed blowback action. As used on the current Walther CCP. Elegant in its simplicity and dampens recoil better than most other actions.

  4. You see that grip texture…

    What do you call that, the palm shredder, the hand decimator, the d*ck skinner, skinner?

    Do these people actually shoot guns?

      • Correct me if I am wrong (I don’t use decal grips), but isn’t a flat, smooth surface ideal for adhering things?

        • It is a flat surface, just with groves machined out.
          If I was to get one, I would slip on a bike tube and see if i like it better. Never had much of a problem with them on my Kahrs when carrying (I don’t use the tube any more). Also keep in mind, you can chose the material of the decals.

        • I it a flat surface, just with groves machined into it. A decal should have not problems adhering to it

        • I agree, that’s why dragsters have Slicks on them, more mass on the road, in this case the hand. The real gripping is done at the Backstrap level, front and rear checkering would have looked better with a flat sided grip, Perhaps polished out.
          That would have looked much cleaner. they could have even checkered a grip into the sides. I really think those slots look like crap.

  5. I can’t possibly see the use for this gun that a compact pistol like
    an compact M&P wouldn’t to better and the M&P could hold more rounds.

    • Some people don’t carry double stacks, some people want 45, Also, I think this is going to be way more comfortable with an inside the waistband holster than an M&P. I kind of wished they made the frame out of aluminum, 25 oz is just little to heavy for me for a single clip, kydex IWB holster, but would be nice with a hybrid.

      • See Andrew Lias comment above. There is a reason straight blowback designs have heavy slides.

        Mass is your enemy… until it’s your friend.

        • I don’t think it is a blow back, just not a tilting barrel. There is likely some kind of locking going on. Looks like there is a something that is in the front of the slide. And i was talking about making the fame out of alloy, not the slide.

  6. Heizer seems to design their handgun grips to be shot while clamped in a woodworking vise, not held in a human hand.

  7. Looks like maybe a 2 finger grip for me, and a 1 finger grip for fat-fingered fellas.

    That’s not enough to comfortably shoot a .380, let alone a .45.

  8. That design looks like the slide will slice the top of the hand, I think there is a reason the shooter is wearing a glove on their web page.
    Not interested in slide cuts on the top of the web of my hand.

  9. “revolutionary fixed-barrel-under-the-guide-rod configuration”

    Just like the Browning model 1900, designed in the late 1890s. Revolutionary as in going back to early designs, perhaps?

    • I like it, but this is a self-defense gun. I’m not saying it isn’t worth it, but for me, $899 is more than I want to forfeit to a police evidence locker room.

      • Yep. That’s why they make Rugers, Bersa’s, etc. My j frame smith was less than half the cost of this Heizer.

        And how good is after purchase support from Heizer?

  10. ““It boasts a revolutionary fixed-barrel-under-the-guide-rod configuration…”

    Revolutionary? Like FN1900, Great War era revolutionary.

    That term is thrown around just a little to often.

    • Same here my Xds does the same thing, and costs less than 1/2 the price. I see a bomb coming. It’s just not that useful. And it’s ugly. Take out the grooves make it nickel, and flat, put some checkering on the Strap, “front and rear”. and maybe you have a winner. Also put some fancy new night sights recessed into the frame.
      I should have been a designer, “oh wait, I kind of am”.

  11. The only revolutionary feature is the fact that heizer actually made a practical gun. Hell. It may even be a pretty good gun.

  12. It looks to me like the effective bore access isn’t any lower than typical for more conventional guide-rod-below-the-barrel guns. Look at the height the web of your thumb will sit compared to the barrel. Looks no higher than normal to me.

  13. 25oz’s ain’t really a “pocket pistol”. It does look interesting-for a lot less than $899…remember when the Heizer/Doubletap derringers had an MSRP of 4 or 500? Someone will pony up the $.

  14. I am afraid another “cult” gun. People want to like it cause it’s a great caliber in a small package.

    If springs need to be replaced every 500 rounds and the fan-boys dedicate a site to tweaking it to make it work…..count me out.

    I will reserve judgement until (and if) it is found at dealers. Learned my lesson with the DB9. Tiny gun with serious cartridge is hard to pull off.

  15. I do love blowbacks and I have always found the FN1900 barrel arrangement neat. But I don’t run anything in .45acp and I am not seeing a ~$900 gun here. Also while Heizer has the carry ergonomics down I am not convinced they have the shooting ergonomics pegged.

    I think this would be neat in .380 and .32acp as a sort of neo-Fn1900 with more focus on concealed carry.

  16. If it’s anything like the Double Tap, I’ll find one for under $250 at my LGS within a couple of years.

  17. I wouldn’t call the lower barrel revolutionary if there were already pistols made in that configuration in 1900

  18. I went to the Concealed Carry Expo in Atlanta GA last spring. And looked at the Heizer PK045 and was so turned off by the cheap and poor feel of the action of the manual safety that I did not waste my money on firing it. It was approximately $1 per round to fire the guns in the trailer which is pretty steep for someone of my income level. The Walther CCP and the Kahr PM 9 were good though. The Bond Arms Bullpup(formerly the Boberg) had a nice light trigger, but it was a mile long, and the pistol had no slide lock. So how do you clear a double feed? Also the safety techs in the trailer tried to use the disassembly lever on the Bullpup to lock open the action between shooters for safety and the pistol disassembled its self.


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