If you're looking for a .45 for concealed carry, you have a variety of options. But those options come with real tradeoffs. Thickness for capacity, weight for control, and so on. Kahr's CW-45 has a great trigger, but a limited capacity, a horribly tight slide, and just one magazine in the box. Glock's G30 has 10+1 capacity, is comfortable to shoot, but is massive and thick. Glock's G36 is thin, but capacity drops to 6+1. Springfield's XDS is even worse at 5+1. Taurus offers the PT-145 which is lighter and thinner than the G30, with the same capacity, but with a price-tag around $350. How does it stack up?
At first look, the PT-145 is an attractive firearm. It is a lightweight, striker-fired, full capacity handgun. The polymer frame is checkered on the front and back straps. It has a short picatinny rail for fitting lights or lasers. There are memory pads on both sides of the frame for resting trigger fingers or support-hand thumbs.
The trigger is a smooth polymer lever, lacking the trigger safety device found in most other striker-fired guns (like Glocks). When the striker is “cocked,” the trigger pull is long and slack (more on that in a moment). The double action pull allows for a “second strike” capability, according to Taurus, and only comes into play if the first pull produces a light-strike or misfire. You can then pull the trigger again — with a long, smooth pull — and attempt to fire the round before moving to your malfunction drill. If every pull of the trigger were like this, this would be a great bargain.
The grip holds a double-stack 10+1 magazine and yet fits nicely in the hand. The magazines are steel walled with a pinky-extension that allows for a full three-finger grip. The magazine release, slide lock, and thumb safety are not ambidextrous.
The sights are straight-eight style, adjustable, and are dovetailed into the slide. The slide has a locking mechanism on the right-hand side. Using a special key, the owner can lock the firearm for safe storage. The slide also features a loaded chamber indicator: a very small red lever that pops out above the extractor on the right side of the slide to indicate there is a round in the chamber, ready to fire.
Disassembly and cleaning is relatively easy. Simply lock the slide back, turn the takedown lever 90-degrees clockwise, and then pull the pin out. Then, carefully release the slide and let it move forward and off the rails. Disassembly and reassembly are normal from there.
Okay, so the PT-145 is attractive, feels good in the hand, and it's lightweight. So how does it perform when it counts? The answer is not good.
The first problem I encountered was the magazine release. The steel magazine has a thin cut in it where a small plastic wedge holds it in place (see pic at right). Unless you apply extreme force when depressing the magazine release button, the magazine will not drop free. Reloads under pressure will be impossible based on this design. It doesn't matter if the magazine is full or empty. You have to press so hard that your thumbnail turns white.
The second problem I found was the trigger. The long, smooth, double-action pull that you experience without racking the slide is only available when you dry fire or if you need a “second strike.” When a round is in the chamber ready to fire, the trigger may be the worst I have ever used.
The trigger has five eighths of an inch of total slack before there is any resistance, another eighth of an inch before reaching the breaking point. You then have to pin the trigger to the back of the trigger well to fire a round. That slack, and the fact that the sights are not accurate out of the box, meant that I could not hit the broad side of a barn with this pistol. I fired over 100 rounds at seven yards on my first test. I hit the bulls eye twice. Everything was low and to the left. The two bulls that I hit were because I aimed high and right. I normally don't post pics of my test targets, but this was so bad, I could not resist.
And forget about double taps. Even after correcting the sights, you will need lots of practice to be good with this gun. The trigger is simply horrible. I understand this is a conceal carry weapon, and will likely be used at ranges under seven yards and most likely without aiming. Maybe it's more accurate if you don't use the sights. I suppose you could get used to it, with practice, but it's so different from every other gun that I own that I would find it hard to recommend, unless its the only thing you can afford and it's the only gun in your safe.
The smooth, polymer trigger has a slightly exaggerated curve that caused the only discomfort that I experienced when firing. Recoil was very manageable.
Sights were not zeroed out of the box. Trigger manipulation made accuracy more difficult.
Aside from one of the magazines failing to feed, I never had a problem with the gun itself.
Ease of Use: ***
Thumb safety; slide lock key; “second strike” capability; dovetailed, adjustable Heinie sights.
Godawful. So much slack that you will need lots of practice.
Ammo Capacity: ****
10+1 for a compact .45 ACP.
Just 22.2 ounces.
Aside from the trigger pinching my finger, recoil was manageable. Finger extensions on magazines allow for full, comfortable grip.