Heizer Defense PKO45
Last week, I wrote about Heizer Defense and their derringer line. This year, the company breaks new ground with its first semi-auto offering, called the PKO45. As the name would indicate, it’s chambered in 45 ACP.
Heizer reps call this their concept gun; every feature is the interpretation of an ideal. Company founder Charlie Heizer has aching wrist injuries from his cycle racing days, so central to construction was recoil management. To this end, the bore axis was set extremely low, with the guide rod being over the fixed, stainless steel barrel.
Like other Heizer Defense models, the whole gun is made of aerospace-grade stainless. It should be extremely durable, albeit heavy at 25 ounces. The company compensated for this inconvenience by crafting what they claim to be the thinnest 45 out there. It’s just 0.8 inches wide, with a flat, snag-resistant profile.
Operation is single-action only, with an internal hammer. True to single action design, it has a grip safety–but not where expected. It’s on the front of the grip, just under the trigger guard. The recoil spring and slide are built for “easy racking,” another accommodation to hand injuries.
Magazines come in five- and seven-round capacity; both included with purchase. The mags are built on a Kimber body, with a Springfield XDS follower, and capped with a 3D-printed baseplate.
There’s an easy-to-operate safety lever on each side of the frame. I’m all for equality, but given the ease with which most manual safeties can be disengaged from the side of a handgun that’s exposed when the gun is holstered, a changeable lever would be preferable.
Hi-Viz sights are standard; TruGlo sights are an optional upgrade that I’d invest in were I purchasing a PKO.
As might be expected, Heizer Defense is offering the PKO45 in some standout finish choices, called coppherhead, ghost grey, champagne, and tactical black. It’s a great gender-neutral selection that goes with everything. There’s no other gun like this one around … its top-heavy but slim construction and shiny finish will surely find some devotees.
I got to shoot a seven-round mag of ammo through the PKO45. It is indeed accurate; the trigger has a good feel and reset, akin to an off-the-shelf 1911. If I have to have a grip safety, this front strap style would be my choice–my palms have hollow spots that sometimes disengage a back strap grip safety just enough to cause an occasional malfunction.
Despite their abiding affection for big calibers, Heizer Defense is planning on stepping over to the dark side with a 9mm version in the near future. That one will be one to watch.
Hopefully, the company will find its way to a more moderate price for the PKO 45 than the current $999 MSRP, with $849 predicted as the actual price. It’s a special gun, for sure–but maybe not double the price of proven-reliable standards special.
The PKO45 was looking good and ready at the writers’ conference where I got to test it. However, ordering is not yet available. That announcement is predicted to take place sometime late this fall or early winter.