Review: Carry Pemits & Ruger P-345 (Gun III)

I applied and received my License To Carry Firearm (LCTF). Which is Pennsylvania’s CWW Permit. Pennsylvania is fairly liberal on it’s carry permits. Pennsylvania is a shall issue state. You simply need to be a resident in good standing.

Many states require a training course. And while I think this is a good thing to have, I am always concerned that such could prevent someone in need from gaining access to a weapon to defend themselves. For instance, my mother had a convicted felon renting (but not paying) her upstairs apartment. Connecticut law requires a class be taken before one can get their permit. It is also an “at will” state. So they have no obligation to grant a permit.  If you were in need of defending yourself from someone, would you really want to have to wait weeks or months before you could get a permit. I am of the opinion that we need a law, that if you get a restraining order on someone than a permit request is fast tracked so long as you are eligible and not a felon or forbidden persons.

***

So I was looking for a new handgun. I was leaning toward something chambered in .45ACP, my understanding being that they are less likely to over-penetrate. And this was an important concern I had.

A lot of people recommended Glocks. So I thought I’d look into a Glock chambered in .45ACP. I wasn’t dead set on a Glock as I personally prefer a manual safety.  I held the Glock and immediately knew THIS WAS NOT the gun for me. It felt like a brick in my hand.  And while it might be comfortable for some, for my short stubby fingered hands it was extremely unwieldly.

I then tried the Ruger P-345 which was also on my list of considerations. As soon as I held it I found myself liking it. It was much more comfortable than the Glock. I also liked the trigger on it better.  But just for comparison I also tried the Glock in 9mm and the Ruger SR9. I really wanted a firearm with a safety. I felt the P-345 had a little nice build quality and smoothness than the SR9. And I really liked having the external hammer and decocker.

I asked my wife what she thought. And she gave the go ahead. So I went home with a Ruger P-345.

***

If I were to try to quickly describe the Ruger P-345 I would say it was a Glock on the bottom and a 1911 on top. That’s not quite an accurate description, but it’s a good quick generalization. The P-345 has a polymer based frame. An exposed hammer which can with some effort be manually cocked.

The P-345 is quite different than Ruger’s other P-series pistols. It is far from the bulky bricks that Ruger’s are famed for. It is in fact quite slender, for a .45ACP, being a single stack (8+1). So if you’ve totally dismissed Ruger pistols on the basis that they’re too bulky. It might be time to reconsider.

The Ruger P-345 is a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) pistol. The first pull of the trigger is double action requiring significantly more force as it cocks the hammer and releases it firing the gun.  Upon the first shot the recoil causes the slide to move backwords; extracting the empty case, cocking the hammer, and chambering the next cartridge. The next pull of the trigger is a lighter single action pull thanks to the hammer having now been cocked. This lends itself to more accurate shooting.

There is much personal debate on what is best both for combat on the street and in the courtroom. Some advocate double-action only, others prefer the single action mechanism of the 1911. I sort of like the DA/SA mechanism for a number of reasons. Firstly,the double-action allows for pulling the trigger a second time on a round that fails to fire. If it didn’t fire due to a soft hit on the primer, a second hit can sometimes be successful.  Second, it gives you a defense in the court room. You didn’t have a hair trigger, you had a very firm trigger which required you to knowingly and willingly fire.

One thing I really really like on my Ruger is it’s safety/decocker. While the safety has been slimmed down a tad bit too much. It’s a flat ambidextrous safety with textured sides that you flip up to disengage. The safety also doubles as a decocker. And this is a feature I just really love.

The Ruger P-345 is probably one of the easiest firearms to disassemble, clean and reassemble.  Rack the slide and there is a small metal piece, part of the ejector. You push that down. Line up a groove in the slide with a marker on the frame. Push out the metal assembly pin. And slide the slide right off the front.  That’s about all there is too it. Granted, there are some Sigs and such with little levers that might be easier. But compared to my Ruger MKIII and Glock, it is a far easier process.

***

At the range…

The first time I took it out to the range. Shoot at a 25ft target. I fired two magazines and if I recall correctly I had two hits on target. I quickly thought to myself embarrassingly “oh no, have I just made a $450 mistake buying a gun I am incapable of shooting?”

But with a little practice I began to improve. It’s a different experience from my Ruger MK III chambered in .22LR and my GP100 in .357 Magnum. And I have significantly improved over time and would not consider it a mistake. But for those who’ve never shot anything but a revolver or mayber an auto-pistol chambered in .22LR; it can be quite a different experience.

***

On carrying….

As I said at the start, I had acquired a carry permit and this was my first firearm purchased with the intent to carry.  I thought I might share some insight into that first time out.

I had just gotten both the pistol and the permit. I was going to carry for the very first time.  Our daughter was being babysat and we were going out for some baby free time.  Which included a trip to Friendly’s ice cream.

So I decided to take the P-345 with me. I had a cheap nylon holster that I picked up when I picked up the pistol. But mind you, I was brand new to this and had no one to be a mentor. So that first night out I went with an unloaded pistol (and I don’t just mean no round in the chamber).  Of course I spent half the time thinking to myself – this will be the night that I actually need one and I’m walking around unloaded. *LOL*

I still tend to carry without one in the chamber, mainly because my sidearm remains in the vehicle for work.  And I imagine drawing and chambering a round in the parking lot before I put the holster on my cause a bit of a scene.

But even that first night, I was having the realizations of how your life will be slightly altered by carrying. For instance, that night in Friendly’s when I asked my wife if we could switch seats. She didn’t understand the reason, and I just asked her to please switch. Later in private explaining that my sidearm was on that side and I’d rather it discreetly faced the wall instead of the public. Reducing the chances of spotting.

All in all, I really like my P-345 but I wish Ruger would expand on this model and offer it in 9mm.  I think if they offer a few varieties of this model it would gain in popularity (P-390 in 9mm/P-340 in .40cal)

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Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 4:23 am  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for the review. The P345 sounds like a good gun. If only they’d make it 9mm you’d be set.

  2. Good point about the grips of the Glock vs. the P345. The double stack .45 mag of the Glock is unavoidably wide. And I believe the grip angle of the P345 is designed to emulate a 1911, much like their smaller 22/45.

    I think it’s pretty clear the P345 paved the way for the SR9 in some respects. Now will the .40 be hammer or striker fired? LOL.

    Being able to hit a bad primer a second time is invaluable, imho.

    You and I differ completely on carry in a restaurant, and I don’t know who’s right! LOL. I wonder what Mas would say, but I want my pistol to the outside to reduce obstructions should I have to produce it. I guess it’s all carry methods and and situation dependent, but I wonder if Mas would have some general advice on that. Time to re-read his book?

  3. I understand what you are saying regarding the outside and unobstructed.

    And part of me agrees, however, my thought is that the following are good reasons for the inside:

    – Less likely for any printing to be observed

    – Therefore, a criminal element is less likely to know you are armed.

    – You can draw your firearm, and doing so would not readily be visible, since it is likely to be hidden from the criminal’s view by your own body. Potentially giving you an element of surprise.

    Neither is a wrong answer IMHO, just a different tactical outlook.

  4. I never thought about this until just now, but if you’re gun side is inside, you pretty much have to muzzle sweep either you or your companion to bring the gun to bear.

    “Being able to hit a bad primer a second time is invaluable, imho.”

    I disagree with this completely. If a round fails to fire, do a tap rack and move on. It simplifies your training to have one response to any malfunction with any gun. What happens if the primer is totally dead? How many times do you pull the trigger until you rack the slide? What happens if you’re shooting a different gun?

  5. “If a round fails to fire, do a tap rack and move on.”
    Is that faster than pull one more time, then tap rack, move on if it doesn’t fire. I think there’s an argument for both.

    But what if it’s your last round. Or you’re facing a group of hostiles and down to your last magazine. Ammo can be precious..

    “I never thought about this until just now, but if you’re gun side is inside, you pretty much have to muzzle sweep either you or your companion to bring the gun to bear.”

    That’s a very good point…unless you use a cross draw holster. Then it’s one of the few exceptions to muzzle-sweeping when using a crossdraw.

    But it’s definitely something to consider. Is an element of surprise worth the risk of muzzle sweep. I don’t have a right answer…but I think this is a great discussion as we are bringing up many points to consider.

    🙂


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