Yes, the .45 Glock Auto Pistol is still around, even if a lot of folks have never heard of this interesting 21st Century cartridge and the handguns that use it.
The .45 GAP was designed by Speer in 2003 as basically a shorter .45 ACP that could be used in a smaller framed gun. In other words, if you have ever wrapped your hands around a .45 ACP-chambered Glock 21, you can feel how massive and chunky it is – even if you have big mitts. This meant a lot of police departments that wanted to use a .45 and wanted a Glock found that a lot of their smaller-statured officers had a hard time manipulating the G21. Better still, while it could be used in a 9mm-sized handgun, in most loads the .45 GAP proved a ballistic match for, if not slightly hotter than, standard.45 ACPs.
Enter the Glock 37, which was introduced by Glock to use the CCI/Speer-developed .45 GAP in a 9mm/.40S&W-sized guns and was accompanied by a G19-sized compact (the G38) and a G26-sized subcompact (G39).
Popular with Law Enforcement (for a time)
Glock's .45 GAP pistols proved a short-term hit with a variety of LE agencies, including a lot of highway patrol departments ranging from the New York and Pennsylvania State Police to the South Carolina and Florida Highway Patrol.
However, as 9mm ballistics have gotten so much better since 2003, many of these agencies subsequently dropped the gun and moved to pistols in that now-beloved caliber.
As an example, the FHP last year retired their Gen 4 Glock 37 in favor of the 9mm Glock 45. The Sunshine State had originally purchased some 2,500 G37s in 2010 to replace their .40-caliber Beretta 96Gs. The Troopers had adopted the Glock after a 16-month evaluation, finding “that the Glock 37 Gen 4 pistol had simply outperformed everything else. On the final vote, by approximately eighteen committee members, two voted for the Glock 21SF. All the rest voted for the Glock 37 Gen 4 in .45 G.A.P.”
Glock wasn't the only company that made handguns chambered in .45 GAP. Para-Ordnance produced the CCO GAP and Carry GAP Officer/Agent-sized 1911-style pistols between 2006 and 2008 while Springfield Armory marketed both 4- and 5-inch XD models chambered for .45 GAP at around the same time.
These days, Glock remains the last manufacturer standing that's making production guns in .45 GAP, with the Gen 3 G37, G38, and G39 pistols still listed in its catalog. Ammo, however, isn't that easy to find, especially in the past couple of years.
So why go GAP now?
Why get one today? Well, .45 GAP ammo was always rare and expensive – likely a reason why agencies have switched from it to 9mm – with the few loads available prior to 2020 running about 60 cents per round. As it was developed by Speer, most loads you see are made by that company or related Vista-owned brands, with no value makers like Wolf or PMC ever taking the plunge to swim the GAP, leaving it to become a Gucci round by default.
However, I found that locally at least two of my area gun shops still had dusty old stocks of .45 GAP on the shelf in the past couple of years, when everything else but .257 Roberts, .41 AE, .44 Special, and 10mm Auto was sold out. While new production .45 GAP ammo isn’t likely to surface in great quantities any time soon, I would bet that in another 8-12 months, that will change. Glock still has new guns in its catalog and lots of hard-to-kill older guns will continue in circulation for generations to come.
Besides, even if you don’t ever want to shoot .45 GAP, you can set the top half aside as the frame will accept equivalent-length aftermarket 9mm/.40 S&W slides such as those made by Zev and Polymer 80s. Standard/extended-length Glock 17, 22, 31 (.357 SIG), 34, 35, etc, Gen 3 slides will fit on a Gen 3 Glock 37. ATI sells a drop-in barrel kit that uses the same frame but converts the gun to a .40S&W caliber. Also, you can always toss a .22 conversion slide kit on top and make it a fairly reliable plinker.
Then, 10 years from now when/if the GAP dies out altogether, you still have the very interesting (and likely collectible) top half to marry back to the frame you have been using for other purposes.