February 2, 2009

Ruger P345 KP345PR .45 ACP


This was one sharp-looking pistol, and fit and finish were well done, we thought. The frame was black polymer and the slide was stainless steel. Both components had sculptured panels and functional cutouts, giving the gun a modern look. Ruger has several versions of the P345. One has a blued slide; another has a spring-loaded decocker instead of our version’s non-rebounding, hammer-dropping, ambidextrous safety; yet another is DAO. Our test gun cannot be carried cocked and locked. Your first shot must be double action, unless you take time to manually cock the gun, nothing you’d want to try in a hurry. This P345 had a decent single-action trigger.

The P345’s two magazines each held eight rounds. The fixed, white-dotted sights were bold, and easily seen. The rear was driftable and locked with a set screw. The front was also set into a dovetail. To our joy, the top of the slide was smooth enough that it would not gouge the hand during clearance drills. To our sorrow, the gun could not be fired with the magazine removed, a tactical blunder that many won’t like.

As noted in our previous report, takedown is a bit unusual, though easily done. The odd part is having to reach inside the gun to tip the ejector forward. Inside we found much innovation, from the clever self-retained spring (held within the slide-spring guide) that holds the main cross pin in place; to the flat-wound buffer spring wrapped beneath the slide spring. The guide rod also contained the barrel lockup, and eliminated a lot of the tricky machining of other designs.

Ruger P345 KP345PR .45 ACP

Courtesy Gun Tests

We thought the Ruger was a fine handgun, well worth a look by those who need a DA pistol. The Ruger was surprisingly easy to hit with during DA/SA drills, and the KP345PR did nearly as well as a 1911 shot for reference, once we had practiced with it.

Some shooters prefer steel frames on full-size autos. However, a well-designed and constructed polymer frame has advantages, including lower cost to the buyer, inclusion of checkering, weight reduction, and more. The complaints are that plastic frames cannot easily be changed if you don’t like the shape, and often the gun has a top-heavy feel. This latter did not apply to the Ruger P345, which we thought balanced well even when unloaded.

One of the oddest items we found was the fact that there is no steel within the polymer frame where it touches the stainless slide. The slide runs in plastic. Damnably strong plastic, however, and the system seems to work well.

Ruger P345 KP345PR .45 ACP

Courtesy, Gun Tests

The P345 had clearly visible white-dot sights, a hand-friendly top, and pleasant lines. The ambidextrous safety dropped the hammer, so first shots have to be DA unless you cock the hammer.

The P345 tended to shoot high for some of us, especially when in a hurry. We believe the high shots experienced by both test teams came from the shape of the trigger guard, which forced a large gap between the index and second finger. This could be improved if the guard were undercut, so the gun would sit lower in the hand, but that may not be possible. We thought the P345’s grip was nothing like that of a 1911, though they are similar in size.

We shot the three guns with Hungarian 230-grain ball by MFS, PMC’s 185-grain JHP, and with a handload consisting of a 200-grain SWC cast lead bullet traveling at just under 800 fps. The Ruger functioned perfectly with everything. The magazines were easy to load, and we liked the magazine release. We liked the finger cutouts in the polymer frame, and had complete control of our trigger finger. But we didn’t like the Ruger’s DA trigger pull. Just under 12 pounds, it stacked just before the break. The two-stage, single-action trigger required a take-up of 2.3 pounds, and finally broke at 4.8 pounds. Creep was minimal.

Comments (17)

I won a ruger 345 at a friends of nra dinner. it's stainless slide, poly frame and it is engraved with the nra logo and numbered xxx of xxxx. I'm looking for a value, Idon't want to shoot it for fear of lowering the value. I would like to sell it and buy a ak type carbine for home defense. I welcome all opinions adn suggestions. neil

Posted by: neil6 | October 24, 2009 7:10 PM    Report this comment

I have each of Ruger's P series, including a couple of discontinued models, and I have the 345. I never thought I would favor any non 1911 over my Ruger P90 .45. Have stopped carrying the 90 in favor of my 345

Posted by: steek65 | February 27, 2009 1:36 PM    Report this comment

Practice, practice, practice. There is a definite difference between the first shot (double action) and subsequent shots (single action), but it's parked on your side with one up the snout and can't go off unless you pull the trigger. It gives you an extra instant to scope the situation, yet can be made quickly and accurately with practice. Good gun.

Posted by: dgray64 | February 7, 2009 5:53 PM    Report this comment

To Ronald D;
Be sure to read the above enclosed Gun Reports critical critique, paragraph one, where it say that the gun can not be carried cocked & locked and your first shot must be double action. This is the part I started to pay attention to when thinking about a primary conceled defense.
Regards, Gus S.

Posted by: www.gusplaceresort.com | February 7, 2009 3:05 PM    Report this comment

looks like i did ok trading for the Ruger P345, i traded an egyptian FN 49 for the Ruger new in the box but didnt know anything about it im a revolver guy and am just now starting to look at autos,all this input really helps me.

Posted by: Ronald D | February 7, 2009 2:09 PM    Report this comment

DARN!! An I wanted it! Guess we all talked GUS S into keeping a VERY nice pistol! I own two...standard blued model and the so called duo tone stainless slide and of course black frame. I wouldn't part with either one of mine! Most reliable damn gun I've ever owned besides my .40 cal 75B CZ.....
Kindest Regards everyone!

Posted by: Geometric1 | February 6, 2009 7:16 PM    Report this comment

I've had mine for three years. I bought the gun when it came out. I've been completely satisfied. The gun is tough, shoots where I point it and has excellent reliablity.

Posted by: DAVID M | February 6, 2009 6:51 PM    Report this comment

To dgray64; Thanks for the imput/advise, yes it looks like everyone here really likes their P345. I have several other Rugers and have always respected the brand.
Thanks again, Gus.

Posted by: www.gusplaceresort.com | February 6, 2009 9:28 AM    Report this comment

Funny, .45s usually recoil less than a .40. My XD40 is the softest shooting .40 I've tried, but is still more than most .45s. I would buy that Ruger in a minute. The trouble is that ammo is more expensive. Of course I'm set up to reload so that doesn't matter a whole lot. Rugers are tough to beat. Gus S, I'd take it out and use it. There have been so many made that they will go up in price a little, but no great amount. You have a good gun, shoot it and enjoy it!

Posted by: dgray64 | February 6, 2009 8:33 AM    Report this comment

I have had my P345 for 2 years now. It hits everything I aim at. At 50 yrds (150ft)I hit a B27E target with 7 out of 8 shots in the numbers (X through 7), standing in a Weaver stance, my 8th shot hits the target, but not in the numbers. It fires everything I load ( holowpoint, ball, hand loads) It is a great pistol. I bought mine for$435 including Tax. It is my back-up for consealed cary ( S/W--M&P 40cal compact). The recoil is less than my M&P 40cal compact.

Keith L.

Posted by: smileymo | February 5, 2009 7:17 PM    Report this comment

I've had mine 4years also and love it!I paid $370.00 out the door at a local gun show special. This my (kp345dpr)home defense gun with tactical light, shoots all that I feed it. Currently loaded with POW'R BALL 165gr+P

Posted by: Ish55 | February 5, 2009 5:24 PM    Report this comment

dgray64; My Ruger P345 is new, unfired, still in the box. A few years ago Guns & Ammo magazine named this Ruger "Gun of The Year" and that is why I recently purchased it,I just read the above Gun Reports article pointing to all its flaws. My inquiry is should I trade it off while it is still unfired? Is the gun really as crummy as Gun Reports say? I can not answer your questions in compareing it to a 1911.

Posted by: www.gusplaceresort.com | February 5, 2009 5:14 PM    Report this comment

I've had mine for 4 years now and is my carry back up, and hits everything I aim at and hits it hard. Would'ent carry anything else this caliber. but a 40 cal and they don't make one,,,,why don't they make a 40 cal. ,,Keith

Posted by: Keith F | February 5, 2009 10:40 AM    Report this comment

I'm curious, Gus S. How was it so unlike a 1911? I know 1911s are single action. OK. Was the recoil so much different? Ruger usually makes their pistols so that they can be run over by a tank and still run. Would you recommend this pistol?

Posted by: dgray64 | February 5, 2009 9:45 AM    Report this comment

To Geometric1; My Ruger P345 is Satin & Black, I paid $465 plus 6.5% sales tax.
Gus S.

Posted by: www.gusplaceresort.com | February 5, 2009 8:58 AM    Report this comment

Hey Gus S...the pistol is an excelent addition to the Ruger large cal. autos in my opinion...what'd you pay for yours?? You don't want it I'll buy it!! Regards...

Posted by: Geometric1 | February 5, 2009 8:27 AM    Report this comment

Wow; I just purchased this gun, it was named The Gun Of The Year by one of the popular shooting magazines. It is still unfired, should I trade it off? The artical is very unflattering.
Gus S.

Posted by: www.gusplaceresort.com | February 5, 2009 8:12 AM    Report this comment

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