The classical 1911 is rightly loved by most, but the Taurus TH45 proves you can enjoy the.45 ACP’s proven terminal performance in a modernized, feature-rich platform.

by Jeromy Knepp

Like many American gun enthusiasts, I feel that the .45 ACP sits at the pinnacle of defensive pistol calibers. Its birth, merging with the development of John Moses Browning’s legendary 1911 pistol, set the performance benchmark for everything that has followed. In the ensuing century plus, the .45 chamber has blessed many firearm platforms, beginning with its cold, hard steel past and now represented with assorted polymer-frame models today. One modern example of the breed is the Taurus TH45.

Quick History

In 1904, John Browning developed the first prototype of what we know now as the .45-cal. Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge, or .45 ACP. This cartridge was designed for military trials to replace the aged and anemic .38 Long Colt. Browning, in 1911, developed his final iteration of the beloved 1911 Browning, later selling the patent to Colt.

To this day, the Colt 1911 is the platform considered by many pistol and personal defense practitioners to be king of pistol designs. Many other models of .45 ACP have come and gone over the years. Taurus, a relatively new company to firearms manufacturers when compared to legacy manufacturers like Colt, Browning, Winchester, and Remington, has now made its way into the .45 ACP double-stack magazine category.

The TH45

Tested: Taurus Th45 Review

Preceded by its smaller caliber brothers by almost ten years, the TH series of pistols provides a proven design with a slight twist. Here, Taurus created a hammer-fired, polymer-frame pistol that many manufacturers strayed away from. Striker-fired pistols are all the rage now — with most utilizing a double-action-style trigger and sear that allows for quick point and shoot.

The TH series pistols, though, provide a hammer. This can be cocked like a 1911 or a simple squeeze of the trigger will cock and release the hammer.

This design lends itself to some great safety features. Something missing on the 1911 is a de-cock feature that allows the hammer to be safely de-cocked with a round in the chamber. With the 1911, you either must drop the mag and eject the loaded cartridge or hold onto the hammer and let it down slowly and carefully (not a good option).

With the TH45 fire control, the up position places the pistol in a full safe mode. This allows the pistol to be locked, cocked, and ready to rock. When you’re ready to fire, you simply snap the safety to fire on your draw from concealment.

Tested: Taurus Th45 Review

There is the standard use of flipping to fire for range work or living on the dangerous side of carry with the safety off. Unlike striker-fired pistols, there is no trigger safety or back strap safety. I would not suggest this type of carry. You are asking for trouble to carry like this.

Remember, this is a double-action pistol (pulling the trigger can both cock and release the hammer). Taurus wisely designed a de-cocker into the manual safety. Pushing the safety down past the fire position safely de-cocks the hammer. The pistol is completely safe to carry in this position. The system incorporates a firing pin block that will only free the firing pin to move forward when the trigger is pulled. Should you need it in a hurry, draw from your holster and squeeze the double action trigger to fire the chambered round.

TH45 Features

Although this model is not new to the TH line, the chambering is. August 2023 was the release for the .45 ACP chamber, and it is now available in 10mm. What makes this shine? Double stack magazines. Coming in at 13+1 rounds and +P rated moves this pistol into another level of carry protection. Six more rounds with the plus-one capacity dwarfs the 7+1 capacity of a standard 1911.

Tested: Taurus Th45 Review

There are more desirable features beyond the aforementioned de-cocking safety. All controls are ambidextrous and allow southpaws to shoot it comfortably. A stainless steel 4.25-inch barrel offers good accuracy and longevity. Ample stippling in the grip helps with control during recoil. The gun comes standard with a white dot front sight and a Novak adjustable rear sight. Overall length is 7.80 inches, and the unloaded weight is 28.50 oz.

Tested: Taurus Th45 Review

Provided in the padded plastic carrying case are the following:

  • Two sets of Allen wrenches on key chains
  • Two backstraps that can be used to customize the grip size and angle
  • Two 13-round magazines
  • One magazine loading assist
  • Instruction manual
  • Wire padlock and keys
  • 1913 Picatinny rail for lights and lasers

How Does it Shoot?

Right away, I can tell you that the trigger is good and bad. There is a lot of travel in that double-action take-up. But unlike the my original G3 full-frame, the trigger pull is smooth and not gritty. I think they may have taken some cues from the G3 Tactical, which, in my opinion is particularly good.

Tested: Taurus Th45 Review

On the range at my local club, I met a guy named Jon and we had a good conversation about the TH45. Jon is more of a pistol shooter where I favor rifle. Inviting him to run the TH45 through its paces proved a good idea. His form was solid and accuracy impeccable. His first group free hand at 7yrds measured roughly 1.5 to 1.75 inches.

I asked what he thought of the feel of the TH45 and the trigger. He said, “I feel at home. It feels very much like a GLOCK. I’m a GLOCK guy, and this feels like that.”

It’s been a while since I’ve shot a GLOCK, but I understand that feeling of being at home. To me, this felt very much like the G3 Tactical with a fatter grip. Following Jon’s suggestions with the grip, I managed to pull the groups from the left to center and tightened up.

The only fault either of us could really find would be the magazine release. It is very hard to push and hard to reach. Breaking grip was required to drop the magazine. Using the index finger on my right hand proved to be the easiest way to push the mag release.

Tested: Taurus Th45 Review

Overall, shooting was a pleasure. Recoil is very manageable. Using my Caldwell Matrix rest for shooting groups made me an ace! Ammunition samples from Black Hills, Hornady, and Remington produced good five-shot groups (three groups) at seven yards. Black Hills 230 JHP produced three groupings under an inch average. Both Remington’s 230 JHP and Hornady’s Custom 230 XTP +P produced one group under an inch each.

Ammo / Group Sizes / Average Group

  • Black Hills 230-gr. JHP 0.633, 0.872, 0.887 / Avg. 0.797
  • Hornady Custom 230-gr. FTX +P /0.755 1.096, 1.412 / Avg. 1.088
  • Hornady American 185-gr. JHP / 1.276, 1.460, 1.523 / Avg. 1.402
  • Hornady Critical Defense 185-gr. FTX / 1.20, 1.466, 2.144 / Avg. 1.605
  • Remington 230-gr. JHP / 0.681, 2.050, 2.107 / Avg. 1.612
  • Black Hills 135-gr. Honey Badger / 1.380, 1.400, 2.305 / Avg. 1.695

On Target

I really like being able to make the hammer safe by using the de-cocking safety. Thirteen rounds in a .45 ACP is the way to go. You can never have too much fire power. The front sight is easy to pick up when bringing it up on target. Having the hammer exposed really helps to know if the pistol is cocked or not.

Missed the Mark

Though necessary, the grip is bulky to allow for the larger magazines. Individuals with smaller hands or short fingers may struggle to grip the pistol properly. Taurus needs to improve the magazine release spring weight or make the button larger. Next step, optics ready. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a threaded barrel to make the gun suppressor-ready.

Where is the compact model? I could see this as a compact with a 10+1 capacity.

I had two light primer strikes with the Black Hills and Remington ammo (one round from each manufacturer). Maybe a harder primer cup? Pulling the hammer back and trying again fired them with no problem. The Hornady ammo and the Black Hills Honey Badger fired and fed without issue.

Tested: Taurus Th45 Review

Final Thoughts

Overall, I feel Taurus has really hit on something with the TH45. With an MSRP of $530.99 and street value between $400-$420 opens the door to a high capacity .45 ACP. The sights are rudimentary and simple. The trigger is great, in my opinion, for a double-action. The Taurus TH45 ran pretty much flawlessly through 300 rounds, including rapid fire.

Tested: Taurus Th45 Review

Jeromy Knepp
Hiviz 23

Jeromy Knepp is U.S. Army veteran from the artillery corps. He enjoys competing in benchrest competitions, groundhog matches, and IBS. NRA Certified Range Safety Officer and Metallic Cartridge Reloading instructor, he also enjoys hunting with his son and daughter.

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