Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The .45 GAP pistol cartridge is the child of the famous firearms manufacturer GLOCK. GAP is an abbreviation for "GLOCK Automatic Pistol", and the .45 GAP is GLOCK's first commercially introduced cartridge.
It is based on the .45 ACP pistol cartridge, but is shorter--the same overall length as a 9mm Luger or .40 S&W. The .45 GAP operates at a higher pressure than the .45 ACP (the same as .45 ACP +P) to make up for the smaller chamber volume. The .45 GAP produces ballistics with between those of the standard .45 ACP and the .45 ACP +P loadings. The standard .45 ACP bullet weight of 230 gr. (14.7 g) is not reccommended for the .45 GAP as the long bullet reduces the chamber volume to the point where performance suffers; the .45 GAP 230 grain loadings offer virtually no improvement over the .45 ACP, and are significantly inferior to the .45 ACP +P loading.
The .45 GAP cartridge was designed by GLOCK to be used in the medium frame sized GLOCK 37 pistol. From a performance point of view it is ideal for police use. The lighter .45 caliber bullets produce less recoil than the often criticized .45 ACP 230 grain loadings, but they still retain many of the terminal ballistics advantages of the heavier, larger .45 caliber bullets. The smaller overall length allows a smaller grip diameter (since nearly all semi-automatic pistols store cartridges in the grip) which means that even a high capacity pistol can have a grip that is easily handled by most adults.
The .45 GAP would also have a market advantage in countries like Mexico, where civilian possession of ammunition and firearms in government chamberings is illegal. As no government has adopted the .45 GAP, it would be legal to own in a country with these restrictions.
The .45 GAP is likely to be a highly successful cartridge, since its design makes adapting existing 9mm and .40 S&W, and .45 ACP firearms relatively simple. While the shorter overall length limits the versatility compared to the .45 ACP, the .45 GAP retains enough attractive features to give it a promising future in the police and self defense markets.
Initial market response to the .45 GAP cartridge
Gun Tests Magazine, which is widely respected for its unbiased evaluations of firearms and related equipment, ran an article in the February 2005 issue comparing 5 commercial loadings of .45 GAP ammunition when fired through the GLOCK 37 polymer framed pistol (the only two pistols chambering the .45 GAP at the time of the test were both similar in size and weight, and had polymer frames). All of the brands failed to meet the desired 2 inch accuracy at 50 feet; the groups ranged from 2.3 to 3.5 inches. 4 of the 5 loads generated velocities on par with the .45 ACP +P, and these loads were considered uncontrollable by the testers, as the recoil generated was extreme for the weight of the pistols chambering the round. The one remaining load, firing a 185 grain bullet at an average velocity of about 950 ft/s, was considered to be at the upper limit of controllability. They theorize that the potency of the .45 GAP is an attempt to avoid derogatory comparisons between the .45 ACP and the .45 GAP, as was experienced when the .40 S&W was introduced as a reduced power replacement for the 10mm Auto. If the Gun Tests testers are representative of the market, then reduced power .45 GAP should begin appearing to address the issues of heavy recoil in the light pistols.
- 12.9 g (200 gr) full metal jacket: 290 m/s (950 ft/s)
- 12.0 g (185 gr) hollow point: 310 m/s (1020 ft/s)
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