Best 45 ACP Revolvers – 2022 Ultimate Round-up

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The .45 ACP cartridge has been around for more than 115 years now. It has won wars, saved lives, and is the second most common caliber for handguns across the globe. Here we’ll be talking about a bit of a retro firearm by today's standards: the .45 ACP revolver.

This is a review of the best of these revolvers being sold today. Plus, you’ll get more insights into the topic and how to choose the best one for yourself. 

Comparison of the Best .45 ACP Revolvers

  • Tritium front/fixed rear sight
  • Textured grip
  • Six-round capacity
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  • Full sized tactical revolver is great for duty use and self-defense
  • Under barrel rail for accessories and adjustable sight
  • High quality trigger and durable scandium alloy frame
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Factors to Consider Before Buying a .45 ACP Revolver

This section covers a comprehensive discussion on what to expect when buying a .45 ACP revolver and what you should be aware of. 

Ankit Kumar - Writer for

This Section Written By:

Ankit Kumar

Expert Author

Ankit Kumar is an engineer turned writer who specializes in topics related to firearms, gun safety and weapon tech. His passion towards enrolling in the Army drifted his interest towards light and heavy firearms. He’s a qualified competitive air rifle shooter and an avid nature lover. His other areas of expertise include survival, prepping and firearms/ammo storage. When he’s not writing, he’s either learning a new skill, trekking or enjoying a long drive.

Practice - Don’t spray and pray

Practice with the firearm you’re going to carry is very essential. If you are going to buy a revolver, make sure you work enough on your aim and accuracy that you can make most rounds count. That’s because reloading a revolver is a much more lengthy process from mag fed pistols. 

Learn How to Use a Speed Reloader

Speed loaders for revolvers allow you to quickly feed an array of new rounds. So it is better to carry one or two extra reloader clips. However, carrying them requires somewhat different space management and holster due to their unique shape and design. 

If you are using your revolver as a primary weapon for self-defense or EDC, practicing with a speed reloader is a must. 

Adherence to Recoil

A .45 ACP bullet weighs almost twice compared to a 9mm. Being bigger and bulkier, the caliber has some recoil to it. Although it is quite manageable, you should practice enough to learn how to handle the recoil. Especially female or lean shooters. 

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Perfect Barrel Length

Proper selection of barrel length will decide the difference between failure and success in some situations. Make sure you choose the right length according to your intended use and get an appropriate holster. 

Single or Double Action

Single action revolvers have become a thing of the past. Only to be used in casual range use or wild-west-themed shooting events. Double action revolvers are always a better choice as they ensure the easy single-handed operation and let you focus on the target rather than your grip. 

Exposed Hammer Spur or Not

Some revolvers feature a design that makes the exposed hammer spur concealed inside the frame. Hence making the revolver snag-free and very easy to maneuver and fire from sticking distances. It’s eventually your personal preference.

Review of the Best .45 ACP Revolvers

Now that we've covered a bit of background info, let's dive into the review.

Best Overall:
Smith and Wesson Governor


  • Silver finish is stylish
  • Features a grip that is hard to drop
  • Very lightweight and easy to handle
  • Tritium night sight improves accuracy
  • Snub-nose reduces the chance of snagging on a holster


  • Not very stealthy
  • Recoil a bit troublesome
  • Firing pin sometimes does not hit the primer hard enough

What Recent Buyers Report 

The recent users of this .45 ACP revolver report that it provides consistent performance and decent stopping power when the firing pin manages to work correctly. Many users have indicated that the firing pin doesn’t always strike with enough force to expel the bullet from the barrel. You may need to visit a gunsmith after purchasing this revolver to ensure that its performance won’t fail at a critical moment.

Why it Stands Out to Us

As .45 ACP revolvers go, this is one of the most comfortable to use and one of the most appropriate as a self-defense weapon. The short size of the barrel and the synthetic handgrip are both great for use as a defensive sidearm, as it’ll be easy to draw and difficult to drop. So long as the firing pin doesn’t give you any trouble, this is a fantastic defensive weapon.

Who Will Use This Most

Those in search of an excellent defensive sidearm will find a lot to like with this .45 ACP revolver. It's very easy using handle thanks to its light weight and the silver finish makes it distinctive. When holstered on your hip, it's sure to deter any would-be assailants once they see what you're armed with. Despite the small size, it can pack quite a punch.

Bottom Line

This defensive .45 ACP revolver is a great choice for home defense enthusiasts or those who want a sidearm that can stop any attacker in their tracks. Just make sure the model you receive after purchasing has a firing pin that can put in the work necessary to ensure success.

S&W Performance Center Model 325 Thunder Ranch


  • Crisp and clean trigger with a stop
  • Super cool design and lightweight frame
  • Textured synthetic grip for better handling
  • Interchangeable gold bead front and adjustable rear sight
  • Under-barrel removable accessory rail and comes packaged with all necessary hardware


  • Priced on the high end
  • More of an OWB gun than a CCW

What Recent Buyers Report

The Thunder Ranch feels like a marvel to its users. Especially because of its astounding appearance and tactical capability. Users appreciate the equilibrium between weight and durability. Plus the semi-auto caliber and accuracy of this revolver is amazing. The ability to mount an under barrel optic was also appreciated widely by the buyers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Thunder Ranch revolver features a sturdy and lightweight scandium frame with a steel cylinder and barrel. It works with both moon clips and speedloaders while offering accuracy and controlled shooting. The trigger has a clean pull and the user can mount/dismount the accessory rail with ease. 

Who Will Use This Most

The Thunder Ranch was designed to be a tactical defense weapon. However, it can be used for target practice, fun shooting and competitions as well. The large frame size of the revolver disqualifies it as a CCW, but it can still be used as an effective weapon for self defense using moon clips and/or speedloaders. 

Bottom Line

The S&W Thunder Ranch is an amazing, accurate and effective revolver chambered in the popular 45 ACP. It has a clean trigger pull, adjustable sights and a removable accessory rail. So the weapon can be geared up for tactical purposes. However, the price may act as a limiting factor for buyer’s on a budget.

3. Smith and Wesson 625 JM


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to reach safety
  • Matte finish for style
  • Large frame creates balance
  • Can get it in four different barrel length


  • Insignia wears off
  • Not all barrels are perfect

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who've used this .45 ACP revolver most recently reported that it is a solid firearm with phenomenal performance. The handgrip is incredibly comfortable and each trigger pull is smooth and consistent. The ability to reach the safety or cock the hammer back without having to move your thumb means it’s an easy weapon to use if you have a smaller than average hands.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This weapon stands out for its versatility. Being able to swap out different barrel lengths or purchase a revolver with different barrels means you can use it for different purposes. Longer barrels will be better for target shooting and for hitting targets at a distance, while a shorter barrel will make the revolver easier to handle and be better for self-defense.

Who Will Use This Most

Virtually anyone would enjoy using this .45 ACP revolver. It features an excellent design and a durable stainless steel frame that is sure to last for a long time to come. Because it’s so easy to use and can fit in a variety of scenarios, we’d recommend it as a serious sidearm for anyone who appreciates a little more stopping power in their pistol.

Bottom Line

This versatile .45 ACP revolver is built to a superior standard and is worth every dollar. If you have the cash to spare, you can’t go wrong picking up one of these revolvers in the barrel size of your choice. You can pick up a few extra barrels if you have a gunsmith that will make modifications at a bargain price.

Best .45 ACP Snub-Nose Revolver:
Charter Arms Pitbull


  • Very easy to draw and hold
  • Stock material is comfortable
  • Easy-to-reach safety and hammer
  • Finish promotes long-term durability
  • Textured grip eases handling the kick 


  • Sight isn’t the greatest
  • Lower capacity than many other revolvers

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who’ve had a chance to try out this .45 ACP revolver report that it excels as a short-range, self-defense weapon but suffers as soon as you start to push it beyond the 100-yard mark. While most .45 ACP revolvers can reach 200 yards consistently, the mediocre sight and short barrel don’t do this revolver any favors in the range department. It’s still an excellent short-range or close-quarters weapon, though.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This caught our attention as the premier snub-nosed variety of .45 ACP revolvers that we’d like to showcase. The short barrel length may not help with range, but it does make drawing this revolver extremely easy and fast. The sight also doesn’t matter when you are using this revolver as a self-defense weapon against an attacker close in front of you. We also really like the nitride finish that gives the revolver an old-fashioned look and will guard it against damage over time.

Who Will Use This Most

Those interested in a top-tier, self-defense weapon should check this revolver out. Keep in mind that it only holds five rounds as opposed to the standard six, so you may need to reload more frequently than you are used to. But a little practice should allow you to get used to this weapon’s weight and other quirks before long.

Bottom Line

This is a phenomenal self-defense .45 ACP revolver that can deliver the stopping power and agility you might need in a life or death situation. It’s so easy to handle and doesn’t weigh enough to make it hard to aim. Because of that, we’d recommend it even for those with smaller hands or weaker arms.

5. Chiappa 1873 Regulator


  • Medium size frame and six round capacity
  • Long barrel for accuracy good ergonomics
  • Transfer bar safety mechanism for exceptional safety
  • Chambered in the powerful and popular 45ACP caliber
  • Durable design with a protective and attractive cerakote finish


  • May feel a little bit bulky with its 3 lbs weight
  • Single action mechanism limits rate of fire(unless you have mastered cowboy shooting skills!)

What Recent Buyers Report

Users of this Chiappa 1873 Regulator seemed impressed with the aesthetics of the revolver. The gun shot very accurately and all the components worked flawlessly. Changing cylinders, disassembly and loading/unloading rounds is a breeze with this revolver. Plus the price was also an appreciable factor. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The 1873 Regulator is the perfect weapon to quench the thirst of retro firearms for a leisure shooter. The revolver has been meticulously designed and shoots the powerful 45ACP caliber, which makes it more than a fun shooter. The transfer bar safety is also an impeccable safety feature for such a weapon. 

Who Will Use This Most

The revolver is best for practice, fun shooting and competitions like cowboy shooting with single action revolvers. It is also a great product for people who like to try their hands on old firearm models. Since this is a recreation and doesn’t have to be safeguarded like an antique handgun. 

Bottom Line

The Chiappa 1873 regulator is a powerful 45 ACP revolver perfect for recreational shooting and competitions. The revolver features an impeccable finish and impressive accuracy along with a reliable safety mechanism. A classic weapon that can be bought without hurting your wallet. 

6. Ruger Vaquero Blued


  • Easy to load and unload
  • Blued finish increases the lifespan
  • Can be purchased in several barrel lengths
  • Holstering is smooth
  • Transfer bar mechanism guards against accidental discharge


  • Grip wears down over time
  • Grip is not ideal for some owners
  • Can sometimes snag on draw

What Recent Buyers Report 

The most recent users of this .45 ACP revolver claim it makes them feel like an old western cowboy. This is appropriate given the revolver’s name. It's styled just like the sidearms of old and features a stylish grip and distinctive silhouette that is sure to draw attention. Most users report that it’s a consistent weapon with plenty of potential uses.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The look and affordability of this .45 ACP revolver make it stand out in our eyes. It’s definitely an impressive-looking weapon, but it also has a nice blued finish that will increase its lifespan and promote durability. It’s nice to have a guard against accidental discharge, as well.

Who Will Use This Most

Those who spend their time on the prairies or in the deserts and who have the outfit to match will really appreciate this .45 ACP revolver. It’s also pretty good for hitting targets at a distance, so target shooters who like the feel and sound of .45 ammunition will appreciate using this pistol on the shooting range. You’ll be able to hit targets at a distance more consistently than with a snub-nosed revolver.

Bottom Line

This sleek .45 ACP weapon is a great choice for gun enthusiasts and target shooters. It can work as a self-defense weapon, but we would recommend that you practice your draw before you plan to rely on it. The long barrel and the finicky grip can make it tricky to a lot of your holster in a hurry.

Best .45 ACP Double-Action Revolver:
Taurus Judge Magnum Blued


  • Comfortable rubber grip
  • Decent barrel size for accuracy
  • Red fiber-optic sight is accurate
  • Will last for a long time due to the finish
  • Easy to fire off shots thanks to double-action design


  • Safety is small
  • Only 5 rounds

What Recent Buyers Report

The most recent users of this .45 ACP revolver report that it sits between snub-nosed and longer-barreled variants of the same weapon. As a result, it can deliver enough accuracy that you can reach close to the 200-yard maximum effective range for these types of revolvers, but it is a little unwieldy in the recoil department. Only those with lots of experience with firearms should consider this revolver.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This revolver stands out thanks to its double-action nature. The double-action revolver will let you pull the trigger and get off a shot without having to draw back the hammer beforehand. This can be invaluable in a self-defense situation or when you need to quickly fire off a few shots in rapid succession. We feel that even its significant recoil can be mastered by those willing to put in the practice to make the most of its benefits.

Who Will Use This Most

Experienced firearm enthusiasts will find a lot to like about this revolver. But beginners can also enjoy this revolver’s ease-of-use, as the double-action design means they don’t have to remember to draw back the hammer. The comfortable grip makes dropping the weapon unlikely, as well.

Bottom Line

This effective revolver is a great choice for beginners and experienced shooters alike. It’s a great weapon if you don't like having to pull back the hammer for each shot.

How Accurate is a .45 ACP Revolver?

A .45 ACP revolver is quite accurate, with a maximum effective range of about 200 yards, beyond which accuracy will drop off sharply. This allows the .45 ACP to compete with modern handguns that use 9mm or .45 Colt ammunition. However, the main draw of the .45 ACP revolver is the increased stopping power that comes without adding too much muzzle flash or recoil for many handguns.

The .45 ACP still delivers more recoil than many 9mm sidearms, so its accuracy is very much determined by your ability to control the kick of the round. Your revolver’s weight and balance will matter more for .45 ACP accuracy than other weapons.

Why Are These the Best of the Year?

These .45 ACP revolvers are the best of the year because of these three aspects:


Each of our .45 ACP revolvers are comfortable handguns that can be used in defensive or target practice applications. Because .45 ACP revolvers require good handling and balance in order to project rounds to their maximum accuracy, user comfort is of critical importance. Consider the overall comfort of any .45 ACP revolver before you finalize a purchase.

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Great revolvers will always have great features. These include additions to the barrel to improve accuracy or noise suppression, sights, extended barrels, safety engagements, and so on. The more features you have, the more you can tailor your revolver to your personal needs and usage habits. All of the .45 ACP revolvers on our list have phenomenal features that make them worthy of your time and money.


You don’t want to purchase a .45 ACP revolver that isn’t made of high-quality materials. You have to purchase a revolver that is made to last and which is built of a metal that can deliver consistent performance after repeated use. All of the .45 revolvers on our list are made of durable materials and many of them have finishes or after touches that make them even better.

Why Should I Get a New .45 ACP Revolver?

Let's find out:


Purchasing a new .45 ACP revolver will let you pick out exactly what it is designed to do. Some revolvers are better for self-defense while others are better for target shooting. You can choose a .45 ACP revolver that is specifically built for either of those purposes or which straddles the line between both. It’s all up to you.

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Better Materials

Newer revolvers have better materials for their grip and barrels, making them more effective and user-friendly alike. These new .45 ACP revolvers can take advantage of advances in chemistry and metallurgy, while older revolvers are a little more cumbersome and may not be as accurate, especially at range.

Longer Lifespan

Newer finishes to the metallic frames of .45 ACP revolvers mean that modern firearms will last longer than their comparatively ancient cousins. Newer revolvers can be expected to last for decades, as long as you treat them properly, so it’s a great time to purchase a new revolver passed down your family for many years to come.


Overall, the right .45 ACP revolver is one that fits your needs. But we are confident that one of the above revolvers should fit the bill, as each is perfect for a certain type of shooter. Good luck and thanks for reading!

People Also Ask

If you have any lingering questions about .45 ACP revolvers and their use, let’s tackle those now.

What Does ACP Stand For in .45 ACP?

ACP stands for “Automatic Colt Pistol”, as the ammunition was originally designed for use in a prototype Colt semi-automatic pistol. The ammunition is now used in different types of sidearms and revolvers all across the world, but the original name and abbreviation stuck to distinguish the ground from similar cartridges.

How Do You Put .45 ACP in a Revolver?

Because revolvers use rimless cartridges, and .45 cartridges are a little large compared to many other revolver rounds, it’s a good idea to use a full moon clip that holds six rounds and preloads the cartridges into that clip before sticking them into your revolver. You can have several of these clips prepared beforehand for fast reloading in a pinch.

Michael Lutes

Michael Lutes is the managing editor and owner at Gun Mann. He is a veteran, gun enthusiast, 3 gun competitor, and 2a advocate. Mike has a passion for innovation and education across the industry to create great content, training, and insights from the best and brightest.

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