Confluence of Design
As time progressed, several things came together to produce some of the best .45 ACP service pistols ever made. HK was prepping for the SOCOM Combat Pistol program, and two very well-known individuals began working with HK as consultants. Ken Hackathorn is one of the foremost special operations trainers in the world and a true small arms expert. Larry Vickers is not only a well-known shooter and trainer, and a highly in-demand gunsmith, but he also served for 20 years in U.S. Army special operations, including Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta. Both gentlemen are known for using the Colt 1911 to its maximum potential.
Ken and Larry used their combined expertise to utilize existing HK platforms to suggest changes for a new pistol that could become the 1911 for the 21st century. This included the frame and ambidextrous controls of the P2000, a more rounded and lower slide with front cocking serrations, the USP’s modular trigger system, redesigned control levers to better mimic the 1911, a Mil-Std-1913 Picatinny rail, and an O-ringed, polygonal-rifled barrel in both standard and extended lengths. In conjunction with the engineers at HK, the HK45 and HK45C (Compact) were born.
These guns passed extensive test par*a****meters that included firing very high (24,000) round counts both suppressed and un-suppressed, in harsh conditions that ranged from desert environments to water submersion. They have also passed testing that includes bore-obstruction and other destructive tests
. HK made several changes to the grip and other areas of the full-size gun, but the Compact stayed true to Ken and Larry’s original ideas. I have purchased numerous HK45Cs, and they are my primary working .45 ACP pistols. They can be used with flat magazine floorplates as a compact concealed carry pistol, with standard rubberized floorplates for a better grip; an extended 10-round magazine with a threaded, extended barrel can even turn the same gun into a full-size tactical pistol.
Steel For SEALs
The saga of the HK45 Compact has taken a very interesting turn recently. In early 2011, the HK45 Compact was selected by the Navy as a replacement for the MK 23 pistol for use by Navy SEALs and other Naval Special Warfare personnel. Its new designation is the MK 24 Mod 0 Combat Assault Pistol.