I've always been fascinated by German engineering, and the HK 45 Compact Tactical is a testament to that legendary precision. This being my first foray into the world of HK, I decided to go with .45 ACP on a tactical model to kick it up a notch. While this gun comes with a threaded barrel, I don’t have a suppressor to put on it, so this review is suppressor-free. 

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the HK 45 Compact Tactical.

How it Stacks Up

At 7.91-inches in overall length with a 5.51-inch height and a 1.54-inch width, HK 45 Compact Tactical is large for a single stack polymer-framed handgun. At 29.12-ounces, unloaded, this gun is also quite heavy, which should hopefully mitigate recoil.

Before we can talk about how the gun functioned at the range, we need to talk about how it feels. Let's start by saying this gun looks big and feels big, but the HK 45 Compact Tactical fit my hand perfectly -- like the two were meant for each other. For that reason, I didn't swap out the backstrap, but if you have smaller hands, you might want to step down to the smaller one.

Though it looks and feels like it should be a double-stack 15-round pistol, alas, it only packs 10-rounds. Part of the gun's heft comes from the large extended magazine and what has been coined the "elephants' foot" at the bottom of the mag. 

The grip isn't giving you a ton to work with, and, unlike the original HK 45 design, the finger grooves and texturing are lost on the Compact Tactical with only a minimal sandpaper effect on the front strap and backstrap. On the sides, the handgun features a raised polymer HK design. If I had my way, I would probably add some grip in select areas, either through tape or custom stippling.

Up top, the gun has slide serrations at the front and back that not super aggressive but enough to get the job done. The front sight is a Truglo night sight -- a nice feature that is easy to pick up against the blacked-out U-notch rear sight. Both front and rear sights are adjustable.

How it Functioned at the Range

Always dependable. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

The large stature of the gun does help reduce some of the felt recoil; but it's a polymer-framed .45, so it's still going to give you feedback. The HK is a DA/SA pistol with one of the longest and heaviest double-action triggers pulls I've ever felt. HK officially puts the trigger weight at approximately 11.46-pounds with the single-action coming in at approximately 4.5-pounds.

Despite the long, heavy trigger, the HK provides an even, steady pull. I typically don't prefer heavy, double-action triggers, but because this one feels nice and steady, I didn't mind it as much. The single-action is short and sweet, with travel to reset just as nice. All of this together makes rapid-fire shooting both easy and enjoyable.

The gun offers a manual safety, so you can carry cocked and locked, much like an M1911. The safety also functions as a de-cocker, but it takes some considerable effort to de-cock the gun. I also appreciated the ambidextrous slide stop and mag release. This being my first time with the HK paddle-style mag release, I think it would take me a lot more training to get fully accustomed to it. 

Excellence and reliability were to be expected from HK going into this, and it didn't disappoint. Because of its weight, the HK stays on target, making multiple shots on center mass easy. The only thing you'll wish for is more than 10-rounds. The gun ran through 300 rounds of Winchester ammunition with no problems. 

The Internals and Some HK Intricacies

To field strip the gun, you have to do a quarter cock back and push the slide release pin out with a small tool. Once the gun is disassembled, you'll notice a couple of oddities. The first is a plastic buffer control, which is part of the recoil/buffer spring assembly. HK claims that the piece of plastic helps with recoil, reducing it as much as 30 percent. Since I've never fired the gun without it, I'm in no position to argue.

The other oddity that you might notice is an o-ring on the barrel. HK claims this gives the gun better slide-to-barrel lockup and enhanced accuracy. Although both of these features seem a bit strange, they add up to a reliable performance and an enjoyable shooting experience.

Who Wants This Gun and Why

The HK would function great as a bedside home defense pistol. For me, it's far too big to carry, not to mention the limited capacity makes it less than ideal; however, this would work perfectly as a nightstand gun, especially for those lucky enough to own a suppressor. 

Whether you're attracted to German precision engineering, or you think the HK 45 Compact Tactical looks cool, it won't disappoint. The HK may be big and bulky, but the performance it delivers is worth every penny.