Cor-Bon and the .45 GAP

 

by R.K. Campbell

photography by R.K. Campbell

March 11th, 2007

 

 

 

The .45 Glock Auto Pistol has not exactly taken the world by storm, but it remains a viable choice for those who prefer the Glock pistol. The Glock Model 37 in .45 GAP is the only Glock pistol I own. I prefer the .45 caliber to all others but the Glock Model 21 is simply too large for my average size hands. So, when the Glock Model 37 was introduced I decided to give the piece a try. This decision was alloyed by the adoption of the Glock Model 37 by the Georgia State Patrol and the New York State Patrol as well. The GSP's move was a natural evolution in weapon craft. They felt that the Glock Model 22 .40 pistol has given acceptable results but the new Model 37 would give superior ballistics in a comparable package.

The NYSP move was prompted by poor results by the 9mm Glock then issued. The pistol was reliable enough and easy to use well but has proven less than effective in a number of critical incidents. In one of the incidents a young trooper was killed after engaging two bank robbers in gunfire with his 9mm Glock. He hit one of them four times. The NYSP has previously issued .45 caliber revolvers and the Smith and Wesson Model 13 .357 Magnum revolver was developed especially for them. The reasoning behind adoption of the 9mm is highly debatable but now the Glock 17 has been replaced.

I originally obtained a Glock Model 37 in order to produce a report on the adoption of the Glock by the NYSP. After the initial evaluation I was impressed enough with the pistol to include it in my modest defensive battery. The Glock is easy enough to shoot well, it is reliable, and it is accurate enough for personal defense. While I prefer the 1911 system it is OK to have a Glock every once in a while. More 1911 fans than will admit it keep a Glock as a truck gun or just in case we do not wish to mar the finish on our pet Colt .45. But I would not give house room to a pistol that cannot defense the owner. The Glock is a good companion in that regard.

The .45 GAP is a relatively new cartridge. I have handloaded it to an extent, using quality Starline Brass, Hodgdon Titegroup and Winchester 231 Power, and various 185 grain JHP bullets. Extreme care must be taken in loading this number. Cartridge case space is limited and pressure runs up quickly with small increments of powder. Just the same the .45 GAP is not a high pressure number like the .40 Smith and Wesson or .357 SIG. The .45 GAP operates at a modest pressure in .45 ACP +P territory.

I was surprised to learn that Cor-Bon has not one but four loads available for the .45 GAP. These include the Pow'R Ball and DPX line as well as the standard JHP line and a surprise. The .45 GAP is also available in the Performance Match line, a performance grade loading designed to maximize accuracy. Since I have used Cor-Bon ammunition in many of my defensive pistols from the very first introduction of hyper velocity 9mm and 45 cartridges, I decided to give the cartridges a hard look.

My personal Glock has proven quite accurate. I have found the Glock 21 to be among the most accurate Glock pistols, and the Model 37 carries on that tradition. A number of my handloads produced groups in the two to two and one half inch range at twenty five yards. This is good service grade accuracy. I am certain a superior set of sights would narrow the groups a bit and also aid in all around shooting. The Glock sights are bulky and I have seen too many front sights drug off during draws to allow a hard use Glock to retain the front sight for long. I am leaning toward the Wilson Combat sights but I will address that concern at a later date.

I use moderate-velocity handloads for practice in all of my handguns. I am very familiar with the Montana Gold bullets used in the Performance Match loading. This load would be tested on a different basis than the others. The Performance Match load would need to prove accurate and clean burning to achieve high marks and also it should produce moderate recoil. In all particulars I was not disappointed. The Performance Match load is a pleasant load to fire, with moderate recoil. The Model 37 .45 GAP has less recoil than many service pistols, due in part to the low pressure of the cartridge and in part to a polymer frame that absorbs recoil as the pistol flexes in firing.  When bench resting the pistol off a solid rest I obtained groups of two to three inches for five shots. I am probably not the best hand with the Glock trigger but just the same these are pleasing results.

The personal defense loads are hotter as might be expected. There are two light bullets loads of 160 and 165 grains and one 200 grain loading. I tested the 165 grain Pow'R Ball first. The concept of the round nose hollow point bullet invented by Cor-Bon and Peter Pi is simple. The bullet will feed in any handgun that will feed a round nose bullet. While the Glock is a good feeder there are also compact 1911 pistols chambered for the GAP cartridge. I have never met a 1911 that didnít fit my hand so a smaller 1911 frame is a debatable exercise, but then sometimes we make things simply because we can. The Cor-Bon Pow'R Ball would be just the ticket to ensure feed reliability. From the Glock Model 37 this load breaks about 1085 fps. The polymer ball in the nose ensures expansion no matter what obstacles may be met.  I like this load, it is a good option especially for apartment dwellers.

The standard 200 grain JHP load is a good load of the type that remains Cor-Bon's bread and butter. The wide mouth hollow point opened well in wet newsprint, plumping up to well over .75 inch. The load burns clean and achieves good accuracy, practically on a footing with the Performance Match load. Velocity is 966 fps, just over the claimed 950 fps. This means the velocity should still be up to par in the compact Glock pistols, ensuring expansion. This is a fine general purpose defense load for the .45 GAP.

The DPX load is a very interesting loading. This one uses the 160 grain Barnes all copper hollowpoint. The Barnes bullet penetrates in the ideal range. If a felon has his arms extended toward you - as in firing at you - your projectiles may have to penetrate heavy arm bone and perhaps heavy clothing as well to prove effective. The DPX loads in all calibers have that ability. The Barnes bullet expands well. The nose is softer and thinner than the shank of the bullet. This results in good expansion while the shank remains solid and insures adequate penetration. I have discovered that even when meeting hard intermediate barriers the Barnes bullet remains intact, resulting in ideal penetration. Overall, the DPX is a strong choice for personal defense. Of the four Cor-Bon loads I prefer the DPX load for all around use. This load has proven accurate enough and has the ideal balance of expansion and penetration, with penetration the first rule in a combat handgun cartridge. 

After just a few months of service we now have several outstanding loads for the .45 GAP. Take a hard look at these selections and choose the load that suits your personal scenario. I think that Cor-Bon has done a good job with these loads.

R.K. Campbell

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

The author firing the Glock Model 37.

 

 

In this photograph the slide is open in recoil and the sights remain on target.

 

 

Loading the Glock quickly is a simple matter. Note author's Gripswell gloves, a great help on the range.

 

 

Matthew Campbell found the Glock a much better pistol than the 9mm currently issued the armed services - and he is very familiar with the Beretta.

 

 

Glock magazines give a good reserve of ammunition.

 

 

Targets have been shot out by a combination of .45 caliber pistols.

 

 

The Glock is a little dirty with powder residue after over five hundred rounds in less than a week - with no lubrication or cleaning - but it works just fine.

 

 

The DPX bullet maintains its integrity when meeting intermediate barriers - this is quite a bullet.

 

 

The Cor-Bon loads really deliver, whether you are looking for accuracy or power.

 

 

The author's 9mm, top, has fired thousands of trouble free cartridges. The Glock .45 GAP, bottom, is well on the way to a similar career.