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Pevely, Missouri sits almost on the Mississippi River across from Illinois. Nestled in town is Heizer Defense, established in 1962, and making small arms ever since. But the company is primarily known for its pocket firearms.

The Heizer Defense PKO-45 is a single-action .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol, but it’s not the usual M1911 type design or anything you probably have seen before, but rather a unique design that has almost toy-like proportions. But a toy it’s not. In fact, it’s a full featured gun in an extraordinarily small polymer-free stainless steel package.

Let’s cover some specifics. First, PKO stands for Pocket and 45 is in honor of its caliber. This gun debuted in 2016. There was also a sibling PKO-9 9 mm offering released around 2017, but that is no longer in production.

Second, the proportions are very different from most pistols. The slide is has an inverted U-cross section with a long bevel on either side. In profile, the slide is a filled in “P” that’s been tilted 90 degrees. The barrel block fits in the missing space.

The barrel is not the usual cylinder, but one that’s been bored out of a rectangular block, and that block retains its rectangular shape as it sits between the slide and the frame. This same block barrel also has long horizontal flutings along its width.

The three dot front and rear dovetail sights slip into the slide from either left or right. The sights are fiber optic: two reds in back and a pale green dot sight in front.

And at back, the slide has a deep pinch and within it are four rounded corner parallelogram serrations instead of the more common simple diagonal ones. The hammer is internal. The width is a very narrow .8”.

The frame has many round corners from the front corner under the muzzle to the rounded rectangle trigger guard to the mild undercut where the trigger guard meets the grip, along the back of the grip, etc. The result is a snag-free concealed carry design.

Continuing the circular theme, there is the round magazine release button, several circular attachment points to join the left frame and right frame and the concentric grip circles. More about that later.

Generally, semi-automatic pistols have their trigger guards near the center and their grips at or almost at the back. But the PKO’s solid trigger is in front of the mid-point and the grip is much further up than usual.

This gun has no removable side grips, but rather integrated ones that make an etched aiming reticule within three concentric circles. Inside the reticule is the Heizer herald and the name HEIZER in all capital letters. The backstrap is smooth, but there’s a fairly deep beavertail considering the small package size.

Perhaps surprisingly, the PKO-45’s design team has incorporated many safeties into the small package. Of course, there is a slide lock. At back, there is a boomerang lever manual rear safety on either side. Up is ready to fire while down is safe. Under the trigger guard is a front-strap trigger safety. There is a tactile flat loaded chamber indicator that protrudes out on the right when there’s a round in the chamber. They also integrated a single slot accessory rail under the muzzle in the little space in front of the trigger guard.

In all, the gun has 63 parts and weighs 25 ounces.

Normally there are several color options including all Tactical Black, Ghost Gray, Copperhead, etc. But currently the gun is only shipping in Tactical Black.

The gun works with either a 5-round flush or 7-round extended magazine. In both cases, they are stainless steel and have witness holes.

The Heizer Defense PKO-45 is made in Pevely, Missouri, so this gun is Made in USA.

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