Reaching for the GAP
The .45 Glock Auto Pistol, or simply just the .45 GAP, was designed by Speer in 2003 as a downsized .45ACP that could be used in a smaller framed gun. In other words, if you have ever wrapped your hands around a .45ACP-chambered Glock 21, you can feel how massive and chunky it is– even if you have big mitts. This meant a lot of departments that wanted to use a .45 and wanted a Glock found that a lot of their officers, specifically smaller statured males along with most females, had a hard time manipulating the G21.
Enter the Glock 37, which was introduced by Glock to use the CCI/Speer-developed .45 GAP in a 9mm/.40S&W-sized gun, and was accompanied by a G19-sized compact (the G38) and a G26-sized subcompact (G39). It proved a short-term hit with a lot of highway patrol departments ranging from the New York and Pennsylvania State Police to the South Carolina and Florida Highway Patrol.
However, as 9mm ballistics have gotten so much better since 2003, many of these agencies subsequently dropped the gun and moved to pistols in that now beloved caliber.
With that being said, the FHP last year retired their Gen 4 Glock 37 in favor of the 9mm Glock 45. The Sunshine State bought some 2,500 G37s in 2010 to replace their .40-caliber Beretta 96Gs. The Troopers adopted the gun after a 16-month evaluation, finding “that the GLOCK 37 Gen4 pistol had simply outperformed everything else. On the final vote, by approximately eighteen committee members, two voted for the GLOCK 21SF. All the rest voted for the GLOCK 37 Gen4 in .45 G.A.P.”
As a deal alert for you loyal LSOZI readers, these low-mileage police trade-ins are available at GT Distributors for $289. With shipping and no tax applied, I got one delivered to my FFL for $304 and found that it was in exceptional condition. Keep in mind that, even if it was issued out for 10 years solid, with a 500-round transition run and quarterly practice followed by a qualification shoot, the gun likely still has well under 5K rounds through it, which for a Glock is the equivalent of a Toyota Hi-Lux with 20,000 miles on it. Frankly, I’d be surprised if it had half that many rounds down the pipe.
Why get one? Well, 45 GAP was always rare and expensive– hence the reason why agencies have switched from it to 9mm– with the few loads available running about 60-cents per round. However, I found that locally at least two of my area gun shops still have old stocks of 45 GAP on the shelf, when everything else but .257 Roberts, .41 AE, 44 Special, and 10mm Auto was sold out. While new production 45 GAP isn’t likely to surface any time soon, I would bet that in another 8-12 months, that will change as Glock still has the G37 listed in their catalog and lots of these guns are in circulation.
Besides, even if you don’t ever want to shoot 45 GAP, you can set the top half aside as the frame will accept standard-length aftermarket 9mm/.40S&W slides such as those made by Zev and Polymer 80s. Standard/extended-length Glock 17, 22, 31 (357 SIG), 34, 35, etc, Gen4 slides will fit. ATI sells a drop-in barrel kit that uses the same frame but converts the gun to a .40S&W caliber. Also, you can always toss a .22 conversion slide kit on top and make it a fairly reliable plinker.
Then, 10 years from now when/if the GAP dies out altogether, you still have the very interesting (and collectible) FHP-marked top half to marry back to the frame you have been using for other purposes. Odds are, the guns won’t be going for $300~ then.