Marines wanting to buy 4000 more M45 pistols

The M1911 is stealthily making a comeback! The Marines are wanting to procure 4000 M45 pistols. The M45 was previously know as the MEU(SOC) pistol. A few interesting points from the procurement document …

  • Pistol must have an accessory rail meeting MIL-STD-1913 specifications
  • five shot group to an average of no more than 4 inches by 4 inches at 25 yards
  • It has a consistent trigger pull of 5 (+/- 1) lbs.
  • Reliability of an average minimum of 300 rounds between stoppages and 5,000 rounds between parts failures

[ Many thanks to Daniel E Watters for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Aurelien

    I heard the frame contract went to Caspian. Any word on that ?

    • Aurelien, I have not heard anything. That was probably one of the earlier contracts, not this one. They have issued a couple contracts over the past year to buy new frames.

  • Aurelien

    Well, lets keep digging.

    I think it’s nice they went the ‘integrated rail’ way. Having to put a tac light on a classic 1911A1 is a pain in the ass.

  • Lance

    Well thats good it be fore Marine Spec ops and for idependent marine Ops as well as there marksmanship team who all also use M-14s still. Most regular Marine units use the M-9A1 and older M-9s though.

    Excited Steve.

  • Marsh

    Looks like a 1911 fanboy made it into funding allocation deparment…

    Those requirements are laughably bad.

    1911s SUCK!


  • Carl

    While the 9mm Beretta is a fine weapon, I can’t say I blame the Marines for wanting more firepower. And the single action 1911 is generally a good platform.

    There are two issues, or problems though:
    -The 45ACP is not that much more powerful than the 9mm Parabellum. A bit, but not a whole lot. And against armored targets It could possibly be worse.
    -The magazine capacity of the single stack 1911 is not very good. It is half that of the M9.

    So, good for them on going their own way and not blindly following the establishment. But good as the 1911 is, there are better, more modern combat pistols out there. Personally, I think I’d look at a high-capacity 10mm auto. The Glock 20 comes to mind.

  • zach

    I thought Kimber had the contract for the MEU(SOC) pistol (?)

  • Stu C.

    Kimber was only contracted for the detachment one pistols- the original marines sent to SOCOM as a test bed. Once that was fulfilled they moved on. The original MEU-SOC pistol called ofr a dawson rail mounted by the precision weapons section at Quantico.
    Marsh, 1911’s don’t suck and for that matter neither do glocks. The only downfall to the glock is it’s trigger (I have yet to see a modified one function properly). I own and carry both, hey you gotta love a weapon you can treat like a lawn mower right?

  • Jim

    Perhaps the marines avoided Glocks because they don’t want any KBs in the field…

  • What’s with the low bar reliability?

  • Don

    I understand the comments about going with a more “modern” design to some degree, but in spite of the advances, but I think they’re still pretty adamant about the steel frame. I don’t think a polymer pistol would hold up compared to steel frame.

    Yeah, I’ve seen torture tests etc. but I’ve never seen one torched or hit on the side of the frame with a gunshot (or a hammer would do).

    I think .45 acp is a sensible choice given increased urban operations and soft targets. Plenty of inertia, at lower velocities controls penetration and reduces amount of deflection. Don’t forget they have to use ball ammo.

    I’d think a double-stacked, double-action, steel frame .45 acp (which is built better than the current options with those specs) would be pretty good.


    P.S. Don’t understand the 1911 hate. Damn things hold their own after 100 years. They’re not exactly obsolete.

  • Aurelien

    Originally the Force Recon were issued modified 1911s because the M9 is chambered in the same caliber as the MP5N, and the MP5 was the standard issue close quarter weapon at the time.
    Standard issue mags for FR and MSOR operators is Wilson 8 rounds mags, and they carry 6 of those, but usually they buy 10-rds from wilson and McCormick as well.
    They use their pistols for extreme close-up combat, usually 10-20 meters, and at that distance i would say .45 or 9mm does not make much of a difference.

    I think the 1911 platform is still a pretty good one. The guys at PWS can work them, the operators are trained on them, they use a steel slide and frame, and there is a ton of aftermarket parts.

  • Matthew

    I love 1911s. One my favorite all time Handguns, without question. But admittedly, they’re are better options for a modern wartime combat pistol. Not naming brands or designs, but we all know who or what they are. And those minimum requirements are pitiful.

  • Vak

    What I don’t understand is : if they had to modernize the 1911 platform, why didn’t they ask for external extractors. Sure, fine tuned internals will work well, but external are much more reliable in the field (which is why all modern pistols use externals).

  • Carl

    Jim, the Marines probably don’t shoot crappy reloads with lead bullets that they bought from some dude at the range, so I don’t think you’d need to worry about their Glocks blowing up, should they use them.

    A double stack 1911 seems like a definite improvement over the single stack. I don’t know if DA would be better though. SA only cocked and locked carry is one of the better features of the 1911 if you ask me.

    Para makes a number of double-stack 1911:s in .45ACP.
    I wonder how big hands you need to reach around those grips though.

    Or you could resurrect the 10mm Delta Elite…

  • subase

    It’s pretty much irrelevant considering marines won’t actually be using them in combat. (they’d need to run out of ammunition for their rifle and be in extremely close distances)

    Also everyone knows Glocks are a superior combat pistol, unless we are talking about super highly trained spec ops teams. In which case the hicap 1911’s are really just cheaper Sig Sauer’s, with cheaper replacement parts too.

    I think these may be just a show piece of sorts. Like fancy swords in the navy’s of the past for example.

    But overall it just seems easier logistics, calling for more of what they already have and are familiar with.

  • Marsh

    I’d never try to modify my guns – unless the modifications were completely proven to work – or use reloaded ammo. Especially in a combat setting. That’s what causes 90% of malfunctions. Stop screwing with your guns! You’re going to blow your fingers off!

    I can understand the desire to get away from the weak 9mm round in a combat zone. Despite common misconception, 9mm rounds are perfectly adequate for the civilian market and self-defense since today’s hollow point rounds are amazingly good. But in a combat zone you’re not allowed to use hollow points and therefore the 9mm is simply too weak in that setting. I’d want at least a .40 but would be much happier with a .45 or 10mm since they have much better stopping power. However the 1911 was a bad choice. Not enough rounds and too heavy!

  • Lance

    Soryy Glocks have many draw backs in military matters. Mosty like the USP Mk-23 ITS TOO FIRGGEN BIG for most people! A 1911 is small enought for most men to grip better.

  • Aurelien

    Vak, on the 1911 the fixed internal extractor is much more simple and have less parts. Just the one.

    Force Recon has been using the 1911 platform for 53 years now, so i think there is a mix of tradition and not wanting to train the soldiers on something else that could ultimately not work. One of the reasons for choosing the 1911 platform in 1986 against the Beretta, aside from the calibre, is the fact that full steel 1911s tend not to wear out as rapidly as alloy handguns. Especially at sea.

  • Marc

    @Matthew, I’m with you in the love for the 1911, I just hope they aren’t just making the same weapon. Put some tweaks on it Marines, you deserve excellence and the low bar qualifications make me frown. Marines make do, but this won’t do.

  • jody

    there’s no difference in effect between 40 and 10mm when it comes to shooting humans with FMJs. well, the 10mm would be more expensive, harder to control, and harder to get hits with. 180 grain FMJs at 40 S&W velocity can already shoot right through humans, so what additional, useful work does the extra 10mm velocity do? it doesn’t do any additional useful work on humans. it’s for 300 pound animals and bigger.

    also, there has been essentially zero 10mm ammunition development in 15 years. not that it matters at all, because FMJs are FMJs, but it’s something to note.

    i remain unconvinced that there is any advantage to getting into a shootout with a 7 round magazine of 45 caliber 230 grain FMJs, when instead you could have a 15 round magazine of 40 caliber 180 grain FMJs.

  • Komrad

    .40 S&W. Already tested extensively by the FBI and used by the FBI and Coast Guard. It has more penetration than a .45 and makes bigger holes than a 9mm. It’s just better. Of course you could get really weird and neck down a .50 AE or .50 .14, perfect for shooting through ten people without any of them noticing.

  • Lance

    Going to 10mm would be worthless since .40 can almost do the same balsitics. The military can convert all there M-9s from 9mm NATO to .40 S&W than switch to a new pistol which would have its own high cost and contraversy.

    Dosnt matter the .45 never went completly away and most US services are commited to 9mm NATO so theres no point in aruguing over a new service pistol as well.

  • Marsh

    The reason why the 10mm would be great for combat is it’s penetration power and flatter trajectory for more accurate long range shots. You could defeat some levels of armor with proper ammunition and shoot through thick jungle foilage, car windshields, etc. When it comes to combat and the need to rely on your pistol as a last resort I’d want a gun that was versatile, held a crap ton of rounds and that hit hard so I could put someone down with a single center mass hit. I’d also want it to be light so it doesn’t weigh me down and ultra-reliable so I can depend my life on it. A Glock in 10mm would be a pretty sweet backup sidearm to take into combat in my opinion. It holds 15 rounds that could take down a black bear and it only weighs like 25 ounces. Which is almost half the weight of the all steel framed 1911s people on here are talking about. And they’re basically revolver pistol reliable and simple to clean and use.

  • Lance

    Glocks are good for law enforcement weapons but lack safeties and other features which make it lack for military perposes. Most of all the 10mm .40 and .45 frams have half the service life of a 1911 Washington Couty Sheriffs dept. Is switching to 9mm because there .40 Glacoks wore out decades before they should have.

  • Aurelien

    Long range shots with a handgun is good for LEOs. Not military. Marines are trained to use their sidearms only at short ranges. Because they also have a rifle. And that is made for medium ans long range.

    So 10mm Auti would not really have the advantage over .40SW

  • Carl

    I would argue that a soldier that needs to use his handgun actually does not have a rifle available. That is why he is using his handgun…

    With that in mind I know I for one would want as much power, range and ammo as possible.

    In my army everyone would get 10mm Glocks and 7.62×51 rifles, and anyone who can’t handle that wouldn’t be hired. 🙂

  • Marsh

    Glocks are extremely durable. People have shot literally hundreds of thousands of rounds through the same Glock without a single malfunction. There’s even videos of people burying them in the ground only to take them out years later, flush them out with some water and shoot hundreds of rapid fire rounds through them without a single hiccup. And the recoil of the 10mm is totally exaggerated. And just because the military doesn’t train you to take long shots at 100+ yards with your pistol doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to or that you can’t train yourself to do it on your own. And for some soldiers they can only carry a pistol on them like pilots of certain aircraft.

  • Martin

    I don’t get the 9mm fanboys. 9mm is a fine round, in every format EXCEPT ball. 9mm ball is terrible, if not nearly useless. Add that to a sloppy old 92 and I can understand why the USMC wants something better (like 1911s.)

    I love my Browning Hi-Powers! 9mm!
    I love my 1911s! 45!

    Both are John Moses Browning designs!

  • Lance

    Martine Id carry a 92 over any Browning Hi power. I carried a M-9 for over two years in work for the Government. We use 147gr ammo though and that dose make a BIG differnce from 124gr ball. 147gr 9mm ammo can perform just as good as any .40S&W load except for a heavy 180gr bullet. I agree with you 9mm is a ok round and used right is just as good as some other calibers. I do like .45 1911s and in Spec ops and some regular army units it sopuld be used but for most applications a M-9 is just fine. The Military needs to upgrade to 147gr ammo though. And the USAF has adpoted Federal 147gr HST ammo Like what I carry for work and the reviews have been exilent.

    I disagree with the notion that the M-9 is a bad pistol Id take one over a SIG or Glock 9mm any day. LAPD and other Law Enforcement also swear by them as well.

  • Lance

    And Marsh I not saying the Glock is a bad gun. Im saying in the hands of the avrage solder and being shot and handed and cleaned over and over the glock dosnt last as long. In private and most law enforcement hands this dosnt happen and Glocks last forever.

  • Carl

    Lance, the Swedish armed forces have been using Glock 17 and 19 as their standard issue pistols since 1983. I’ve never heard of any issues with them whatsoever.
    And even if they would wear out faster (which there is no evidence to suggest) they can probably be replaced for a fraction of the cost of a 1911.
    This whole “plastic wears out faster” sounds like an old wives tale if you ask me.

  • Lance

    Carl the reason the Austians use Glaocksand have for years is that there 9mm. Your talking about larger caliber Glocks which wear out faster. Theres no point in adopting another 9mm pistol.

  • subase

    Glocks with half a million rounds in them haven’t ‘worn out’ the frames so I’d say its a wives tale.

  • subase

    Actually considering the Glock 21 does have a rather huge grip that isn’t adjustable and they need the .45 calibre cause they are using ball, bringing out the 1911 design makes sense, I’m just glad they were able to make it somewhat high capacity.

    But I think now with the Gen 4 glock 21 with adjustable backstrap, there’s no need to go 1911 at all.

  • Lance

    Subase. severla Seriffs deparments in Oregon have traded in there high caiber Glocks for 9mm Glocks because the .40 wears the action out quicker than other caibers. As per 1911 even a Gen 4 glock is too big for a small hand or woman marines so thats why the Glock or USP havent taken off. Too BIG.

  • Carl

    Lance, do you have any sources behind this alleged low longevity of the large-caliber Glocks?

  • Stu C.

    Gents, lets face facts. I will come right out and say it(owning many pistols mind you) the 1911 is a connoissuers’ weapon. They have more parts, that are finely machined and hand fitted. They are single action, they have what is considered a low magazine capapcity. Just to name a few from those that decry the 1911. The people that are going to be issued these pistols are not the general unwashed masses, if you need a weapon for them go to a glock. But when actual trigger pullers request something specific you can bet there is a good reason. I am not one of these men but i have served along side and am honored to call some of them friend. If this is the gun they want you might want to pay attention.

  • Lance

    Yeah look up local Oregon lae Enforcement talk to the local cops.

  • ChrisL

    As every armorer will tell you glocks do infact have safeties, when you pull the trigger you just have disengaged all three. Go ahead Lance and try to pull the trigger back without hitting the trigger safety. It wont go back. For anyone who thinks glocks don’t have safties, because they cant see an external thumb safety, you should really take an armorers class. It’s impossible to shoot unless, you pull the trigger. This discusion is arleady settled .45 APC is the round chosen, not .40 S&W.

    The question is why didn’t they choose the HK45 or S&W 45. Not every soldier is a 1911 gunsmith that knows how to tune his extractor.

  • Greg

    I can’t believe how many misinformed people are posting their opinions here. Glocks have internal safeties instead of external safeties. The whole idea was to allow a person to operate the weapon in a much simpler fashion. Your finger is your safety, keep your finger off the trigger and the weapon doesn’t go bang. The reason the Glock didn’t win against the Beretta was because of the external safety requirement the military has. This is old fashioned thinking…

    As for the 10mm round, it’s a great round. It has far more power down range than any of the normal handgun rounds. It’s running 300fps more than a .40 S&W round, and at 50-100 yards it carries enough energy to still drop a target, which the 9mm, .40, and .45 can’t claim.

    One of the main problems with the .223/5.56 is the lack of barrier penetration. When entering a home they’re finding they can’t shoot through the walls of buildings very effectively. Having a 10mm sidearm would help them in this department. A 10mm would do far more penetration to a wall than a .223/5.56 would.

    Personally, I use a 9mm for most everything including SD/HD. However, I have the luxury of picking which ammo I want to use, and that’s always JHP. If I was restricted to ball ammo then the 9mm surely would not be one of my top choices. .40 or better would be my requirement, but I definitely would fight for a 10mm as my current 200gr JHP are flying down range at 1250fps.

  • William

    there’s a reason that the good old 1911 is back at least with the Marines even in limited numbers..true 1911 guns are not really obsolete..(e.g. .50 Cal. MG Browning is still in use not only by the americans but also some of its allies)..& is good news for the 1911 fan…sure hope they went for a railed double stack version of the 1911…more ammo..more compatibility for pistol accessories…this year JMB’s 1911 is still evolving and improving..and making a grand comeback…cheers…

  • I am 66 years old and an army brat growing up till age 18. At age 12 i was instructed how to field strip, clean and reassemble a 1911-a1. I see no reason according to sum people why it should not be issued as it was back in the 70s. All parts can be interchanged and anyone with some training can take care of it. I have seen several times what one well placed 45 round will do to a human on the other side i have looked over reports were it took several 9MM rounds to stop a person, in one case the subject took 31 rounds to the body before dropping dead. All you 9mm lovers can have them, I have something i know will stop a man with 1 or 2 torso hits. Ask any operator what cal pistol he would want to take on a mission and the 45 will be at the top of the list.