For a beautiful two-year period, a beautiful but rare handgun existed. This polymer-framed, striker-fired gun, developed on spec from Springfield Armory came in the very unlikely caliber of .45GAP. Moreover, it's not an urban legend.
What is the .45 GAP?
Developed by CCI/Speer engineer Ernest Durham at request of the Glock company, the .45 caliber Glock Automatic Pistol cartridge, commonly just referred to as .45GAP, is something of a compact round that gives roughly the same performance as the proven century-old .45ACP, but in a shorter package. Perfected in 2002 and put into production the next year, the .45GAP was some 27.2mm long overall, compared to the 32.4 mm overall length of the older round.
(.45GAP left, .45ACP right)
While this 5mm doesn't seem like a lot, this nearly quarter-inch allowed for a much smaller chamber and magazine than used by more traditional .45ACP rounds and, by using more advanced powders and a smaller pistol primer, could deliver +P performance on the order of 1150fps velocity / 543 ft. pounds of energy with a 185-grain Speer Lawman Gold Dot round. This is a good bit spicier than the legacy ACP.
In short, it gave you a gun that was the size of the 9mm, but had a performance equal or greater than the .45ACP. Kinda what everyone says the .40S&W does.
The GAP guns
Glock, as it was largely their round, introduced the first .45ACP-chambered handgun, the G37 and followed it up the compact G38 and subcompact G39 series guns, all of which are still in production.
Then came the XD guns in the same chambering.
Starting in 2005, Springfield began offering the caliber offering in both their 4-inch and 5-inch LE Tactical and Service model XD pistols. Ironically, these guns had 9-shot magazines in that chambering while the .45ACP had 10, but they did offer superior performance.
These guns came in the same standard finishes of the time, which included black, black, and black. Many of the options available to other chamberings, such as V10 ported barrels, Slant Pro sights, and bi-tone finishes with stainless slides were not available for the GAP XDs.
A short-lived excursion into the caliber, Springfield Armory closed the door on this caliber in 2007, with many retailers who still had the guns on the shelves selling them at a discount.
Getting your own
Tragically, there just isn't a collectability to these guns at this time outside of the rare subset of XD fans that are GAP lovers. In fact, the gun value books often advise to penalize the price estimates for XDs that are chambered in .45GAP. You cannot tell that to those who are fans of the caliber however.
Unlike some uber-rare tactical rounds such as .40 Super and .450 Short Magnum that have come and gone in recent years, the .45GAP is actually in pretty widespread production. Checking online ammo prices on the chambering shows that loads by Remington, CCI/Speer, Magtech and others are out there in available stock that runs about $.50 for practice loads and $1 for defense rounds. This is comparable to .45ACP/.40S&W.
This likely will continue as long as Glock keeps pumping out their G37/38/39 guns, as there are several large state police agencies that have adopted them.
With this in mind, XD fans whom known about the benefits of the GAP chambering are willing to pay $450-$600 for guns in decent shape as shown by a sampling of online auctions for the past 90- days.
Which is a good deal if you can find it.
Do you have experience with a GAP XD? Drop it in the comments below.