The Grand Power P45L makes for the twentieth model (Five variants of Stribog and 14 pistols) of Grand Power that we've reviewed. If you're new to Grand Power check out our Grand Power Pistol Guide.
Browning's 45 ACP may not be the most popular cartridge on the market these days, but it's effectiveness at creating large holes is seldom contested. As a pistol shooter I got my start with 45 ACP and still prefer the way recoil tends to push with the caliber rather than pop in the hands like 9mm does. Grand Power pistols use a unique rotating-barrel action that typically reduces perceived recoil. Logic follows that a Grand Power pistol chambered in 45 ACP would then be a very smooth shooter. We wanted to find out and so tried the P45L.
You can get a look at the Grand Power P45L, what comes in the case, and how to field strip this uncommon action in the tabletop video below.
We opted for the P45L because it maintains the 5" barrel length that most 45 ACP ammunition is designed for. It seems some have forgotten that when Browning created 45 ACP it was meant to be a modern-powder replacement of the black-powder loading of 45 Colt. He needed a 230gr projectile to travel at about 850 feet per second. That was done with a 5" barrel in mind (ie original 1911). With barrels shorter than 5" 45 ACP doesn't gain as much velocity (in traditional loadings) and as a result often ends up yielding less energy than 9mm does from a 4" barrel.
Magazine release, slide lock/release, and safety truly ambidextrous
Weight w/o magazine: 33.3oz
Width through controls: 1.4"
Height w/o magazine: 5.4"
Overall Length: 9"
Barrel length: 5"
Slide Surface Treatment: Tenifer QPQ
To get a feel for the Grand Power P45L we of course hit the range for our standard battery of experiences:
Cold Shots: Truly our first rounds through the gun. For Teya also her first time handling the gun.
Full Magazine +1: Not all guns perform well when "fully stuffed", adding challenge we attempt this with the included extended magazine to see if the springs are proper.
What's For Dinner™: A test to see what ammunition the gun will eat. Does the gun feed the round from slide lock, will it cycle and feed another round of the same type, does the slide lock to the rear on empty, and is there any notable point of impact change with different loads.
For this gun we used the following ammunition:
118gr ARX Inceptor
155gr Alchemist Ammunition
185gr Steinel SCHP
200gr Black Hills SWC
230gr TulAmmo FMJ
Sights & Trigger Control: on a 6" spinner target at a distance of 12 yards. We got this from Titan Great Outdoors and use it to gauge how learnable the trigger is and usable the sights are for forced, timed, precise shots.
Practical Accuracy: Five shots from a distance of seven yards at a one inch target. This isn't so much about printing a tight group as it is a culmination of our shooting experience and time for us to collect thoughts prior to making a conclusion.
After Shots: Final impressions from two shooters. We both have different interests, backgrounds, preferences, and approaches to shooting. We don't always agree, but that's why we present you with two opinions.
The unscripted, single-take range experience can be seen in the video below.
Ammunition seen in our Shooting Impressions video was made possible by our Patrons and supporters of our ammunition savings account through Ammo Squared. Additional, on-demand ammunition through True Shot Gun Club.
It had been a while since either of us had shot a 45 ACP pistol, so that might have influenced our experience a bit. The Grand Power P45L is certainly a large gun, and the long slide helps smoothen the recoil impulse, but it wasn't quite as smooth as I was expecting. It might be that, like our experience with the 10mm P40L, the natural recoil impulse of the cartridge isn't reduced as much by the Grand power action type. It was still a pleasant gun to shoot, but not as silky of an action as I was expecting.
The Grand Power P45L also reminded us of the capacity limitations when using larger rounds. This is a large pistol, but only holds 10+1 rounds. Of course the argument can be made that if you can't solve the problem with 11 rounds of 45 ACP then you likely weren't going to solve the problem on your own in the first place!
To conclude, the P45L brings most of what people love about Grand Power pistols to fans of 45 ACP: completely ambidextrous controls, an incredible trigger, and functional ergonomics.