Why the Marines adopted the M45 Colt 1911

The news that the USMC had adopted the Colt 1911 Rail Gun as the new M45 pistol generated a lot of controversy. People could not understand why the Marines would adopt a very generic 1911 pistol when more modern, lighter and higher capacity pistols were readily available. Fuel was added to the fire when Solider Systems broke the news that in military tests the Colt 1911 Rail Gun exhibited cracking after 12,000 rounds.

So why did they adopt this 100 year old design? In my opinion there are three reasons why the MEU(SOC) adopted, or readopted, the 1911 (in order of ascending importance) …

  1. Nobody could accused me of being a 1911 fanboy, but the 1911 pistol and .45 ACP combination is proven to work. There may be lighter, faster, more powerful and higher capacity handguns out today, but John Browning’s design worked just as well in 2011 as it did in 1911 and will probably continue to work fine in 2111. I do not know why the USMC adopted Colt’s Rail Gun over other 1911 designs, maybe they all exhibited cracking at 12,000 rounds.

  2. Giving the Marine elite a distinct and more powerful pistol than what is issued to the regular
    Corps, Army, Navy and Airforce helps group cohesiveness. Group cohesiveness is why the Army Special Forces wear Green Berets and why Ballistic knifes were issued to the Spetsnaz.

  3. The primary reason they adopted the 1911 is that they could never adopt a modern plastic fantastic chambered in .45 ACP without a whole lot of drama and politics. In 2005 USSOCOM solicited designs from the industry for the Joint Combat Pistol program. The Joint Combat Pistol was to be chambered in .45 ACP. Many companies spent a lot of time and money developing pistols for the program only for it to be cancelled in 2006. The Pentagon, Congress and industry (everyone except the winner) would be very unimpressed if the Marines tried to resurrect a program killed only a few years ago.

By “upgrading” the old M45 1911 pistols, the Marines are technically just maintaining their current arsenal, not adopting a new design. The Marine elite get to keep their symbol and no helpful Congressmen are going to get involved in the procurement process. Everyone is happy.

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.


  • bbmg

    Human legs are proven to work, they have done so for thousands upon thousands of years. Yet we have bicycles, cars, trains – simply having something that works is not to say that it cannot be improved. A muzzle loading pistol will also work if the latter effort is putting a large chunk of lead through someone’s head…

    Also, while the 45 ACP might have been proven on past battlefields, the scenarios are changing. Given the proliferation of body armour, a large soft slug humming along at well below the speed of sound is not necessarily the best idea for the majority of the threats that can be expected.

    There might be politics in the way, but on a technical level there are many reasons to replace the M1911/45 ACP combination.

    • Higgs

      You are hard pressed to find one military system that could not be replaced with something “better”. What you have to factor in is cost for replacement, training( both armorers, and shooters), replacement of all accessories ie mags, holsters, parts, tooling. Taking into account that it is a secondary system, for a select group, the fact they stuck with a upgrade is hardly baffling.

      • bbmg

        Fair point, I would not argue that a complete replacement would have been the most economical option – but then you say “upgrade”, how much is the chosen M1911 variant better than the original?

      • Alex-mac

        A good argument. But the 1911 pistol adopted is expensive compared to it’s competition and if you take into account the need for a dedicated 1911 armourer, even more expensive.

      • Higgs

        I don’t want to give the impression that the rail gun is a huge improvement. But what you do have with a new contract is new guns not built of ancient frames, or well circulated parts, but new guns, with importantly a warranty from the manfufacturer to adrress any issues a set price per unit.

    • Esh325

      I think the vast majority of enemies that the US military encounters probably don’t wear body armor, but that could always change. A FMJ 9mm is better than the .45 acp FMJ for penetrating armor, but it’s still not very good. They could always issue AP 9mm or .45 acp. I agree with everything you said though.

      • Tim

        If you ever find yourself on a modern battlefield and need a sidearm to defend yourself, it can only mean that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.
        9mm vs. .45 is unlikely to be the critical determinant in your survival.

    • mosinman

      as far as im aware alm ost all the body armour ive seen or read about are reted to stop 9mm , imo its because wherever you go in the world 9mm can be found, so that means the m9 wont do any better against body armour for that reason. i feel that in order to make combat handguns effective we need new Ap bullets, wether we follow what the Russians did with the 9mm or invent a Ap .45 bullet, im sure its not too hard. also, i dont think the average enemy soldier will be running along with a ton of body armor on plus his gear. i also feel that if your down to your pistol against body armour clad enemies i dont think it will make much of a differance what your shooting at him, (imo) in that situation your probably gunna die.

      • charles222

        Russia and China both issue personal armor. Terrorists may not, but given those two countries’ adversarial nature with their neighbors, potential confrontation with them has got to be taken into consideration, especially with diminishing resources becoming a reality.

        That said, a pistol is a secondary weapon; if you’re trying to defend yourself with about any pistol against guys with assault rifles, machine guns, and body armor, your odds of survival are not very high. If it gives a feeling of confidence and allows lethality against second-tier opponents (terrorists)…why not? The 1911 is very confidence-building, and given that MARSOC/Recon in general gets to train to a way higher standard than your average marine, they’ll be able to employ it to its full ability.

      • mosinman

        yeah im sure the russians and chinese do, but still as you said your pretty much screwed when you get down to the pistol, whether it be a FN 5.7 or a flintlock pistol (obiously mentioning the flintlock is really extreme) Imo the only real chance you have is if you shoot for the face area, and yes i know its gunna be really hard in a combat againts a moving target, but thats baout the only place you can shoot through with a pistol

    • John Doe

      I wouldn’t consider most Afghan insurgents ‘well armored’. I’m sure a .45 ACP humming at a relatively low velocity would do well against your average goat herder. Even if they could scrounge up armor, a .45 ACP still hurts a lot.

      • bbmg

        45 acp won’t penetrate a steel helmet.

        Also, if the US military was only made to face goat herders, then the F22 program was a bit of a massive overspend.

      • Lance

        Overall John Doe is right. .45 never was a penetrator even in its early days before body armor. However the energy one give makes up for it and will knock most men over even w/o punching threw skin. little AP rounds like 9mm and 5.7 do the opposite you can empty a mag into a guy armor or not and wont knock him over in time to stop his threat to you.

  • Higgs

    Why did a 1911 win? Because per the requirements set forth in the request, only a 1911 could win. Grip safety, ,45, using 1911 mags, how many polymer handguns fit that? None.

    • DW

      perhaps a polymer framed 1911?

      • Higgs

        What real benefit would that be?

      • DW

        to piss off people who consider polymer handguns a heresy?

      • Higgs

        Ok….. Just to be clear, my original point was not meant to be pro 1911 nor against, but rather explain the obvious question of why a 1911 was picked. The real question is why the marine brass and grunts wanted to keep it. Their opinions are much more relevant than all us keyboard warriors.

    • Kent Christen

      Umm XD45?

      • Higgs

        Also external hammer was a requirement.

  • Nathaniel

    If by “work” you mean “break all the time”, then sure.

  • Vitor

    Frankly, those were quite shitty reasons. Both FN45 and HK45 are way more interesting designs in terms of features and reliability.

    • Kent Christen

      And both are big, clunky and not terribly ergonomic. And the HK has the advantage of having a terrible trigger and being expensive as hell.

      Yeah, great choices.

      • Marc

        Cheaper than the Colt, especially considering the service life.

      • W

        I find it funny how “terrible” my HK 45 is, though I can still shoot fast and accurate. Comfort is a moot point.

        The HK45 and FNP45 were excellent alternatives.

  • Cameron

    I love the 1911, it’s a beautiful shooter, and I’m a big believer in unit morale, but not at the cost of durability and reliability of a weapon system. Green Berets aren’t heavy, low-capacity, finicky eaters. I refuse to believe that any 1911 – to include Wilson, Brown, and Baer – could keep up with the amount of abuse that, say, an HK45 could. That’s not the 1911’s fault! It’s a historic, monumental design, a staggering achievement at the time. If Browning was around now we’d have plasma ray guns. But it has been a century. A lot changes in a century, especially in warfare, and a modern combat pistol design has fewer parts, modern engineering processes, and simply less to go wrong.

    The Model T was a great car in its day, but compared to a 2012 vehicle with GPS, stability controls, cruise, and air bags, it just doesn’t cut the mustard.

    Sadly, this feels like bureaucracy being bureaucracy – clearly better, cheaper options ignored for technicalities.

    • W

      cameron, youre absolutely right. I dont think any 45 can match the HK 45 in terms of durability and reliability. Larry Vickers’ torture test on the HK45 convinced me to go out and buy one (after being sold on Glocks and HK’s own USP). Its something i should have done a long time ago.

      Ill add that comparing one to a 1911 is really apples and oranges.

  • in 1986 I joined the Marine Corps, we had the 1911, it worked, they got old, they were replaced by the beretta M-9. the Marine Corps asks for good tools and gets crap, the Marine Corps doesnt follow others examples, it leads.
    so re-adopting a former weapon system which works better with the proscribed FMJ ammo, was really just the USMC doing what it always does..
    OVER, UNDER, OR THROUGH..Improvise ,adapt, and overcome.

    I think until there is ANOTHER John Moses Browning, we cannot hope to better the 1911 with some modern technology plastic nine millimeter shoot all day pistol.
    besides, it’s a COLT 1911A1 45ACP, what Marine would drool over that icon in his holster?

    in fact, I’d really like one when they make a CIVILIAN version..
    be a nice mate to my Colt 1918 1911 45ACP, serial number UNDER 100K.
    I’d call them grandpaw and grandson…

  • zack991

    I found that I agreed with Cooper on the 1911. I got more accuracy, power and speed with the M1911 than I did with other types of pistols. It’s really as simple as that. It’s the gun I shoot the best. Think of it this way: if a polymer gun wasn’t more reliable than a 1911 when abused and neglected, they wouldn’t exist. And modern police forces wouldn’t issue them.

    The fact that elite special forces military units still use 1911s does not undermine this argument. If anyone’s likely to give a 1911 the care and feeding it needs to achieve combat-ready reliability, it is they. Which begs the question, why bother? Why not use the less finicky and thus ultimately more reliable pistol and call it good? Because JMB’s gun shoots big ass bullets with feeling. And, thus, astounding precision.

    If nothing else. the 1911′s single action trigger requires less manual dexterity than the average Semi-auto.The 1911′s trigger requires less travel and effort than a polymer pistol’s go pedal. This “easier” trigger pull disturbs the gun less, enabling greater accuracy. Note: the 1911 itself isn’t more accurate than a well-made combat gun. Some people are far more accurate shooting a 1911 than a combat pistol. How great is that?

    That’s not a rhetorical question. As the rabbi and other gun gurus will tell you, the 1911 is the best gun in the world to shoot someone with—and the worst gun in the world NOT to shoot someone with. In other words, the 1911′s light trigger pull requires serious training and discipline.

    I reckon this is the crucial fact that explains the cultural divide between 1911 devotees and owners who prefer combat guns. The people who favor the 1911 know that their gun requires more commitment on all levels: maintenance, storage, operation (including manipulating the external safety) and training (including reloading). These requirements bond them to their weapon, and reward them with the thrill of mechanical mastery. They love their 1911s and see themselves (not without reason) as an elite.

    Massad Ayoob

    (“The 1911 pistol is testimony to John Browning’s engineering genius, written in steel. It is slimmer and flatter than any of the more “modern” .45s. When you tuck it into your waistband, it doesn’t dig on the side toward you nor bulge on the side away. It’s grip-to-barrel angle is natural for most people, meaning that if you close your eyes and point your hand at the target, when you open your eyes you’ll see that your 1911 pistol is pretty much aligned to hit that target. If you buy into the “point-shooting” theory of handgun self-defense, a gun that points where you look is absolutely essential. If, like me, you believe that the gun should be visually aligned with its target, a gun that points “automatically” where you look gets you to line of sight quicker. It’s a win-win situation.

    Because of its short trigger pull and cocked n’ locked condition of readiness, the 1911 .45 auto is better suited to the skilled and dedicated practitioner than to the amateur. That said, nearly a century of history has made the 1911 .45 automatic the quintessential “homeland security” pistol, from the rural game fields to house to house combat, and nothing is going to change that.

    The handgun is a defensive weapon, meaning that it is reactive rather than offensive. The great trainer of fighter pilots Col. John Boyd defined the OODA Loop: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. When you Observe danger and Orient yourself to the fact that only gunfire can save you, and then Decide to respond and Act out that response, you want a quick, reactive handgun. Since the 1911 is best carried fully loaded with a round in the chamber and “cocked and locked”—the hammer cocked on the live round, and the thumb safety “on safe”—you want to learn to wipe that safety lever into the “fire” position as you bring the gun up on target.

    With a pre-cocked, single action trigger pull, the 1911 now puts only a short, easy trigger press between you and the necessary hit. Repeat as necessary: the same easy pull will follow for each subsequent shot.

    The 1911 .45 pistol has historically delivered an extremely high percentage of hits for the shots fired in life-threatening close combat. The pistol is simply easy to use well when in the grip of hand-shaking, gut-clenching “fight or flight response.” Browning built it to perform exactly that way. The design succeeded. )

    • Esh325

      You would have to shoot every pistol that ever existed to conclude that there’s no other pistol out there that you can shoot as well a 1911. Consider the fact that there are hundreds of pistols out there that replicate the feel of the 1911, and the mechaics.

      I can’t tell you exact usage numbers of the 1911 in US SF’s, but I usually see a M9 Beretta or a Glock in their holster, and rarely see a 1911. Why do people think that just because SF use a piece of equipment that it ALWAYS is good or the best choice. That’s not always true.

      Less “manual dexterity” These are highly subjective statements. I personally don’t find the trigger pull on a WW2 1911 to be any better than a Sig P226 or a CZ P07. How good of a trigger does a combat pistol need, and how accurate does it need to be?

      “That’s not a rhetorical question. As the rabbi and other gun gurus will tell you, the 1911 is the best gun in the world to shoot someone with—and the worst gun in the world NOT to shoot someone with. In other words, the 1911′s light trigger pull requires serious training and discipline. ”

      Is it not impossible that there are people who know how to use and operate a 1911 properly, but prefer to use it over another handgun?

      I think the problem with a lot of your statements Zack is that they are emotionally charged and subjective.

  • lolinski

    Why didnt they rather use the Para Ordnance P14? 14 rounds of 45 is better than 8 rounds of 45. And you get the same width(since it uses “razor” grips)

    • Higgs

      Can the P14 use single stack mags? If not then that is a disqualifier.

    • Mabey

      How about since the manufacturing moved south it has lost its relibility. Used to be made in Canada to be a bad dog in Canada. Now the feeds jam and the quality is lower. Thats why i buy made in Canada when ever posible hot dry and wet summers and frezing winters up north and dry cold dusty mountains in the west and rain forsts in bc savana like weather in southren ontario if you TOOL works any where in Canada it will work any where. I don’t know why the manufacturing moved to the US had such a problem For the system but it did. And now i will never buy one.

      • dan

        They where purchased by freedom group!

      • bjelac

        Mine P14 has worked fine for competition here in Norway only got different springs to handle hot loads and that was it.

        (i dont really believe in “competition” loads which have barely power to push the slide back)

      • Higgs

        I was just saying that the requirements called for the new pistol to use existing 1911 mags, so if the P14 can’t then it’s a failure out of the gate

  • Brick

    I do not think that the choice of sidearm matters all that much. It is extremely situational, as in there a only very few circumstances where it makes sense to use it instead of other available equipment.
    The set of circumstances mentioned by some was:
    – malfunction of the primary and really short engagement ranges

    I do not believe that any sidearm is better in these circumstances than handgrenades. The soldier better be throwing those instead of shooting his sidearm.

    For tunnel fighting it is the weapon of choice (if there is no UZI, MP7 at hand). Other than that only policing the OWN troops outside of combat comes to mind. Since, it is primarily used in movies, to show that the soldier is on a last ditch effort to hold off the enemy; i think because of that there is only a perception that the sidearm is of any real importance.

    Group cohesiveness is an excellent point. It is an awesome looking gun which made a name for itself, so actually i do believe, that the 1911 is a great choice (of little to no importance whatsoever).

    • Brick

      So many people don’t like my comment but no one explains what he thinks is wrong about what i said?

      Basically it comes down to this: pistols are dead weight on the battlefield. There are only rare circumstances, where a pistol might help. It does not matter if you carry dead weight of type A or B. Group cohesiveness and price should IMO therefore be the deciding factors. That is why I think that 1911 is a good choice.

  • Curzen

    It remains a waste of tax money.

    • Totenglocke

      As does having 42 redundant branches of the military, each with their own expensive bureaucracy.

    • Gsm1

      Ignoramus, the Marine Corps has been ‘recycling’ their 1911’s for 50 years; they ‘recycle’ & fly airframes and helicopters your grandpa was flying in; they used tanks that were older then Sadams T-72s in Desert Storm. They are the ugly step child that get’s no money. Yet they still kick ass. They are the misers of the military. They don’t complain because they don’ get all the shiny crap you get. They want something that they know will shoot when they pull the trigger and they already know how tho work. That saves money. That’s all. They saved their pennies for the pistol which is more then then you can say for the federal government, local government or school districts.

  • Walter

    None of this discussion addresses why the frame is cracking after 12,000 rounds. Frames should never crack like that. I don’t care what gun you’re using.

  • Todd

    I’ve not read all the comments but this picture looks alot like my Sig Sauer Scorpion and not a Colt, am I mistaken or did Colt just make a Sig copy?

  • daniel

    Flip it over. Internal extractor.

    • Brian P.

      Is that a bad thing? I seriously don’t know. I’ve seen both internal and external, and I don’t know if there’s any functional difference, or any pros and cons between the two.

      • Marc

        It’s not the traditional way a 1911 extractor works, so it irritates traditionalists. Nevermind that it has become the standard because there’s no fiddling with tension, it doesn’t require to get “tuned” all the time and it won’t take damage from jumping a rim.

  • bbmg

    Why not put some money into developing steel cored 45 ACP ammunition, the overall weight would be lower due to the lower density resulting in higher muzzle velocity and a flatter trajectory at typical pistol ranges.

    KTW did this ages ago with their infamous teflon coated solid bullets.

  • alannon

    Why did they choose the 1911? Because, despite all the argument for or against, they wanted the 1911. And quite frankly, what the end-user thinks is all that matters.

    Do you like the 1911? If so, use it; if not, don’t. That’s the great thing about guns: There’s always more options.

    • RocketScientist

      I am normally a big proponent of the “shoot whatever makes you happy” philosophy, and hate it when ‘Citizen A’ criticizes ‘Citizen B’ because Citizen B bought a gun that Citizen A doesn’t like. When you replace Citizen B with ‘Tax-funded military procurement’ however, I think it is every American’s right (obligation?) to educate themselves and form an opinion. If the organized crime cartel in DC is going to steal money from me at gunpoint every year in the form of taxes, at the very least I think I have the right to comment on how it’s spent. If the Corp bought Playstation 3s for every jarhead in service, simply stating “thats what the Marines wanted” is not justification enough for me. Silly example, but gets the point across.

      • W

        I agree. Since my tax payer dollars go into a weapon that requires more armorer intensive maintenance and parts replacements, procuring a 100 year old design because it gives you a warm feeling of nostalgia really irritates me. Im not saying it is a terrible weapon.

        Sure, these M45s will be utterly reliable because MEUSOC armorers know WTF they are doing. Still, I question the wisdom that MEUSOC wanted to equip its operators with the best handgun available when there are more superior options for expeditionary warfare available.

    • Big Daddy

      But in all honesty as the guy who has to put his life on the line I do NOT want you to tell me what to use. Just because you pay your electric bill the electric company doesn’t ask you anything on how they do things.

      If I am the guy who might very well get killed I want to pick the weapon to use. Especially someone who was never in the military or never saw combat even if they are expert shooters. War and combat is different than shooting at targets for fun. Killing people who want to kill you means you should have some say in what to use.

      Which goes back to asking those soldiers who FIGHT not REMFs what they want to use in battle.

      I would rather carry a .45/10mmm/.40/.357 than a 9mm. I would rather carry a 7.62mm NATO than a 5.56mm Nato rifle or at last a 6.8mm/6.5mm as long as it’s not a 5.56mm or smaller.

      I would rather have a M240 or MK48 than a M249 for support even if I’d have to hump it all these things and I have.

      I carried a M-60 many times and had no issues with the weight, those tanks are heavy and it wasn’t as bad as carrying those M1 Abrams, just kidding. Y’all know I’m talking about the M60 GMPMG.

  • Big Daddy

    Honestly I bet the Marines don’t really know why they adopted it.

    It’s like candy in a candy store so many choices you get confused and end up picking the one you know best, just a plain old piece of chocolate.

    That’s what this is, a plain old piece of chocolate. Of course you cannot go wrong with that and that’s what this weapon is, something you can’t go wrong using, it’s as simple as that.

    If they went with anything else there would be a whole bunch of people going crazy so they went with plain old chocolate. That’s what a marine knows and is used to having, nothing fancy just let it work and kill the person I’m shooting at, it’s that simple.

  • Wanlace

    One likely factor not yet mentioned – the ‘Old Marine’ network.

    Colt is led by Gen. William Keys (USMC ret.), so they likely had an ‘in’ with USMC leadership that helped get Colt the nod.

    I should add that there are other precedents for buying weapons that ‘just work’ even if they are old. ‘Ma Deuce’ is still being procured, with the latest attempt at getting a lighter replacement being shelved and the funds put into the M2A1 version upgrade. The M72 LAW rocket has also been brought back – lighter and smaller, just the ticket for bunkers, walls, and light vehicles, but dates back to Vietnam.

    As to the frame cracks at 12k rounds – it depends on the test conditions and where the cracks happened.

    If they tested the samples with a lot if +P .45 ACP ammo, that could overstress the frames more than with standard ball ammo. The same could happen if they were using supressors a lot, since that puts added weight and stress on the gun. BTW, a polymer frame would not necessarily provide much benefit for this design unless it were made much thicker and bulkier at key points. In addition, some cracks near the dust cover or slide stop cutout of the frame are not that critical – you can see the crack and know that the frame needs to be welded/replaced, but the gun keeps running.

  • Another commenter

    They adopted it because it was a rail gun!
    Do you know what’s better than a .45 slug? A hypersonic .45 slug.

  • John Doe

    Because the 1911 just works.

    • zack991

      Tom Givens, Author and Trainer

      As a “fighting” handgun, a properly set up and tuned 1911 has no equal. It has superb ergonomics, redundant safeties, excellent reliability and longevity, and the best trigger action available on any common service pistol. The trigger alone makes it the easiest service pistol to shoot well at speed. My primary handgun every single day, 365 days a year, is a lightly customized 1911.

      That said, the 1911 is NOT a gun for the casual user, or what we call NDP’s (non-dedicated personnel). The gun was designed when technology was expensive, but skilled labor was not. The exact opposite is true today. A carry 1911 should be gone over by an experienced specialist (Heinie, Burns, Yam, Yost, Garthwaite, etc) and then properly maintained by the end user. The average cop or typical CCW holder would be better served with a Glock or SIG in most cases. If you’re willing to spend the money to get a properly set up 1911 and TRAIN with it, then you’re not “average”.

      Last year I took three classes as a student (Taylor, Gonzales, Suarez) and the year before one from Clint Smith. In each of those classes I fired about 800 rounds through my carry 1911 without cleaning it and with zero malfunctions. At the NTI last year, I dropped an impact target with about an eight inch square vital zone at approximately 80 yards, from an awkward position, with one shot from my carry 1911, while being filmed by a TV crew. The superb trigger on my gun made that a lot easier. Since I have a choice in my personal weapons, I choose to carry the system that stacks the odds in my favor. My life is worth the extra expense/effort. YMMV.

      Daniel N. Powell, USMC

      When I qualified with the 1911 in the Marines, my pistol rattled when I shook it, but it would still put a full magazine into the center of a combat target. Later, when we were issued the M9, none of us could shoot them accurately. Not long after they were issued, the Corps recalled the M9 and re-issued the 1911 for that reason. It wasn’t until the Pentagon ordered the Marines to carry the M9 that they were re-issued. However, almost every Marine I encountered carrying a sidearm carried a 1911 in defiance of the order right up until I was discharged in 1991.

      Rosco S. Benson on rec.guns “Is the 1911 an Outdated Design?”

      Of course the 1911 is an outdated design. It came from an era when weapons were designed to win fights, not to avoid product liability lawsuits. It came from an era where it was the norm to learn how your weapon operated and to practice that operation until it became second nature, not to design the piece to the lowest common denominator. It came from an era in which our country tried to supply its fighting men with the best tools possible, unlike today, when our fighting men and women are issued hardware that was adopted because of international deal-making or the fact that the factory is in some well-connected congressman’s district. Yes, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the 1911 IS an outdated design….and that’s exactly what I love about it.

      Chuck Taylor

      “If you’ve heard that Old Ugly is on the way out, you’d better look again, for such is simply untrue; quite the opposite. Everything it has had the capacity to do for the last eight and a half decades remains valid. It thus remains King Of The Hill and will likely continue to do so well into the next millennium. To produce a handgun with better or more practical capabilities will be difficult and perhaps impossible. And I, for one, feel that we can look forward to watching the M1911 continue to dominate the handgun world well into the foreseeable future.”

      “So, is there really a “best” pistol? Technically, if we eliminate shooter skill from the equation, yes. When interviewed after the tests, all participants agreed that the big Colt Government .45 (SA) had the best all-around combination of power, “user-friendliness,” accuracy and functional reliability, while the Glock M-22 .40 S&W (“semi”- DA) and LW Commander .45 (SA) tied for second. The Browning P-35 9mm (SA) was rated fourth and the Smith & Wesson M-39 9mm (DA) last.”

      • Marc

        The ramblings of self-proclaimed authorities who are really just emotionally attached to what they’ve grown used to.

  • WellPowdered

    Is there any advantage of having a exposed hammer in a pistol?

  • jonesy

    There is no such thing as an “elite” marine. That phrase is a redundancy. That is why Recon is a unit and not an MOS. When you have esprit de Corps, you care not for group cohesion.”

    • charles222

      That notion pretty much died when Marine units became part of SOCOM.

    • Tim V

      Stupid archaic statement. Recon is an MOS 0321, MARSOC has its own MOS 0372. The current Marine Corps is exactly as elite as the current Air Force and the current Army and Navy. All you have to do is sign on the dotted line. Dont buy into the propaganda you can only see so many fat weak and Stupid Marines before you realize the regular part of the force is not elite.

      • jonesy

        The philosophy in question here is that no Marine is better than another, not that all Marines are better than something else. 0321 is temporary. You finish your Recon loop and go back to your career field. The MARSOC regiment does have a permanent MOS associated as of last year but even that will be competitive with many rotating back to the fleet after five years. As for fat Marines, the only ones I ever saw got kicked out.

      • Tim V

        Are you retarded? 0321 is not “temporary”, its a primary MOS now, not a secondary and people don’t rotate for the last 10 years or so. Also MARSOC Critical skills Operators will not be rotating back after five years it is a primary MOS as well, 0372. Im am/was just a regular old Marine and yes these guys are better then I am and the majority of the Marines, as they go through an actual selection process and get training, they are the top 1% or less of the entire Military along with the rest of the SOF components. Get over yourself and give credit where credit is Due. This isn’t the 50’s being able to do close order drill doesn’t make you elite anymore.

  • Pete

    Is there anything showing how well the other two submitted pistols fared in the 20k test?

  • gunslinger

    I’m interseted in the 1911… want to hear the sides to this…

  • John

    The 1911 / .45 ACP has numerous pros and cons, but I think the key underlying reason for its selection is that Marines are tradition-heavy: they chose a 1911 because Marines use a 1911.

  • Kyle

    So… They adopted a 100 year old design again. Cool. Awesome. Good on them. If they like their ancient handgun, that’s great. But when “They don’t hold enough ammo!” reports roll in or “.45 is uncommon in the field!” complaints are filling their ears, don’t say nobody didn’t offer them anything different.

    • zack991

      Well the 1911 has served continuously for over 101 years in combat service, if these were real problems that were killing soldiers it would be getting the boot like the M9 is currently is which has only been in service for 27 years. The army is currently testing replacements for the M9. The saying is if it is not broken don’t fix it, the 1911 is a very proven design and even today’s high end Semi-autos are hard pressed to beat a well built 1911. There is a very good reason the 1911 is still in service by those who are more than your average shooters who understand the problem and know the proper tool for the job. I own many polymer handguns but I don’t even consider them to have the same ability to stay in service as long as the 1911 has proven time and time again. I have seen many WW2 eria handguns still in service with simple replacement parts from time to time and they are still very accurate tack drivers.

      • Lance

        The Army program is on a hold and I doubt the M-9 is going away soon since the budget is slashed for it even ICC is on its death bead.

      • W

        yeah im with lance. The M9 is a fine handgun that will see service for many years until phase pistols are developed. of course USSOCOM will obtain what they want.

  • Tony

    Good to see Colt pistols in the US military again. Amen!

  • Lance

    The 1911A1 is a perfect .45 ACP combat handgun. Its not a bulky overpriced plastic famed pistol like the Mk-23 debacle in the 90s was. The Glock 21 is a good pistol But its too bulky for small hand personnel and the 1911 can match it for accuracy. Its fine the Legacy of J.M. Browning won like the M-2 he mad weapons that can go threw time, and still be first class.

    • Esh325

      It’s hard to design a double stack .45 acp without being “bulky” or “thick.” If you want a pistol to be relatively thin and be double stack, then use a .40 S&W or 9mm. I suppose the Marines were not as concerned about capacity as it’s not their main weapon.

    • W

      it is not perfect LOL. There are also contenders for the title of “perfect 45” because there is simply no winner.

      Glock 21SF
      HK 45
      HK 45C
      HK USP 45
      XD 45

      I would take a Mk 23 over a 1911 because it is just as accurate as a 3,000 dollar super duper match competitor, unparalleled in its reliability, and damn near indestructible. Oh, and it will chew up 45 supers. And I have big hands (which eliminates its popularity with most people).

      • jim

        and the MK23 is the size/weight of a Desert Eagle.. enjoy lugging that around..

      • charles222

        Incorrect. It may match the Desert Eagle in dimensions, but the Mk23 is significantly lighter. The DE checks in at 4 pounds; the Mk23 checks in at 2.7.

        W-I didn’t know the 23 could take .45 Super, that’s pretty interesting.

      • W

        Charles222, the Mark 23 can fire 45 super without any modifications. So can the USP 45, the USP 45 Tactical, and the HK 45. Of course dont fire that cartridge through the compact variants LOL you will beat them to death. Undoubtedly, there would be increased wear and tear compared to regular 45 ACP, though I carry a magazine of it on a hunting trip or hike in the woods.

        With that being said, HK doesnt recommend it (of course). The USP and Mark 23 are undoubtedly more suited to handle 45 super than the new HK 45 is. The Mark 23 is capable of handling any off the shelf 45 ACP ammunition and 45 super with ease.

        Personally, for most situations, i would recommend any +P 45 ACP rounds and do just that.

      • charles222

        W-Thanks for the info. I like my oddball pistol rounds and .45 Super is definitely one of those.

      • W

        jim, i have no problem lugging that thing around. I am a owner of a civilian “Mark 23” and frequently carry it in the backwoods or on hunting trips. Regardless of what people think, they are not as heavy as desert eagles nor are they a giant death ray that weighs 10 lbs. Besides, the size is a moot point when you have big hands.

    • FailBlog

      My hands aren’t that big, and I have no problem getting a really nice grip on these supposedly “huge” framed plastic .45 pistols. If someone has problems grasping a Glock in .45, then they must have tiny little micro hands.

      And for those who say that female shooters can’t use these types of guns because they’re too big and too powerful, well, that’s why females shouldn’t be allowed to serve in combat roles. But since the degenerate forces of political correctness force us to allow them in, then they should get their own seperate pistols in weak calibers and small frames.

      The idea that we should water down our weapons so females can use them blows my mind.

  • Brian P.

    Why Colt? I mean, Colts are generally pretty nice, but they’re WAY overpriced for what they are. Half the price is in the name on the gun and the finish alone. Honestly, I think they’d have been far better off choosing a 1911 from a different manufacturer.

  • Mike Knox

    Well, why not. The M1911’s the only sidearm suited for the Marines..

  • SadLefty

    So what do the left handed Marines do?

  • Metalhead2508

    How about….who gives a shit why they chose it?


      If you don’t give a shit, why did you read the article, fucknuts??? Next time, if you don’t have anything relevant to post, keep fucking quiet . And that’s not a suggestion either.

      • RocketScientist

        Man, what is with the misplaced aggression and anger? I get having an opinion and getting passionate about it, but can’t we have a mostly civil discussion, or at the very least steer clear of ad hominem attacks? Attack the person’s beliefs/opinions/politics, not the person themselves. This sort of thing just lowers the level of discourse for us all.

  • Looks like Colt’s test guns are failing before firing 12,000 rounds.


  • Jim

    My real gripe is that a standard 1911A1 was chosen over other 1911s. The MEU would even be better IMO, but it’s not like more modern 1911s don’t exist.

  • Rick Cross

    I have several handguns including a Glock. I’m a vet, but not a combat vet. However, I do daily carry and usually choose my Kimber 1911 over my others even though it is the biggest.

    Why? Simple. I’ve always shot well with a 1911.

    When I decided to actually buy my first handgun instead of borrowing them, I rented and tried most every brand and calibre on the market.

    I mentally rated them on “feel” and how well I shot it at the range (with no “formal” training.)

    Two handguns ended up in a tie for first choice. The 1911 and a Smith & Wesson .357 with a 6″ barrel. The Smith was actually my first choice as it was a true extension of me. However, when range shooting, I found that the cylinders get hot, swell and jam up. Third choice was an XD. BTW, the Glocks were what I did the worst with. I’ve since practiced enough that I’m accurate but it still doesn’t fee “natural”.

    So I found a great deal on a lightly used Kimber Pro Carry 1911 and love it. The 1911 was the right gun, for me.

  • Is there any truth in the rumor that these 1911s are costing the gov’t over $5000 each?

    • http://themellowjihadi.com/2012/07/26/whoah-colt-m1911a1-rail-gun-5625/

      “The service awarded a $22.5 million contract to Colt Defense for its M1911A1 Rail Guns. The deal was finalized Wednesday night, according to Barb Hamby, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. Precise details are expected to be released Thursday evening, but there is widespread speculation the order will total some 4,000 firearms.”

      $22.5/4000 = $5,625 each pistol, although the contract may include spare parts. I don’t imagine that the military armorers need more 1911 tools, bushing wrenches, training, etc.

  • jim

    i would think morale/group cohesiveness is very high in MEUSOC, by virtue that it *is* a special ops group..

    i’m surprised at the rejection that people have for Colt, the 1911 and the .45ACP ball round..

    this is a very, very small group of personnel that will actually have issued this specific pistol.. the costs involved are very, very small in the massive defense budget..

    again, i don’t see what the issue is with this 1911.. or the decision process that concluded that this was the specific pistol needed to fill a niche need..

    as for the cracking issue, i’ll hold off until i see the actual, official report on the testing of these 1911s.. not just a few non-descript pictures from Soldier Systems blog..

  • charles222

    Just a note, Steve, on proper terms for SOF Marines:

    “MEU(SOC)” is the term for the expeditionary, afloat Marine battalions. The SOC stands for Special Operations Capable due to specialized mission training, like embassy reinforcement, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, and amphibious assault. They also have elements capable of hsotage rescue, IE Force Recon, in the MEU(SOC) structure. The only component in the seven MEUs that will actually receive this pistol are the Force Recon guys, not the entire reinforced-battalion structure each MEU consists of.

    MARSOC is the actual SOF component of the Marines. They are exclusively Force Recon iirc, and focus on traditional SOF missions-strategic reconaissance, direction action, and hostage rescue, to name some.

    • W

      you’re absolutely correct. The reason why I keep using MEUSOC is because the M45 is designated as a “MEUSOC pistol”. Its abiding by the bureaucracy but, indeed, it should be called the MARSOC pistol 😀

      • charles222

        It wasn’t just you W :p. But yeah, it was annoying the hell out of me lol. “MEUSOC” is not a thing. MEU(SOC) and MARSOC are. :p

  • Corvinus

    I know it’s nothing more than annoying and offtopic nit-picking from my side, but I just got stumbled upon this phrase:

    “Ballistic knifes were issued to the Spetsnaz.”

    It’s not the first time I hear about those spring-powered knives, so let me clarify few things. Here is an excerpt from the English Wiki:

    “Ballistic or ‘firing knives’ are believed to have first appeared as part of the equipment issued to Soviet and Eastern Bloc special forces formations, such as the Soviet Voyska spetsialnogo naznacheniya, or Spetsnaz.”

    and then there are a lot of unsubstantiated statements from a single source.

    However, in the Russian article about the subject there are following statements (translation is mine):

    “There is a misconception that the USSR have produced ballistic knives designed for special forces.

    Ballistic knives never were in service within Armed Forces of the USSR and never have been produced for the needs of special forces.

    …units of GRU spetsnaz were issued only with bayonets for AK rifles and “Scout’s Shouting Knife” NRS-2…

    All ballistic knives produced in the USSR were illegally manufactured in makeshift conditions for the needs of criminal elements.”

    I think after the dissolution of USSR someone from the West have heard about “shooting knives of spetsnaz”, NRS and NRS-2, and mistook them for the spring-powered knives. Here is the link about NRS-2:


    Of course, it’s a last-resort weapon, but it’s still more effective and rational weapon than a knife with a single-use blade.

    So for me it seems that those “ballistic knifes” are just another myth about superduperrussianspetsnazthingie, that will make you invincible without too much effort from your side (if you’ll pay generously, of course), along with “Systema”, Sonny Puzikas etc.

    Sorry for my English.

  • Aurelien

    I’ll say the main reason the M45 is a 1911 is because they have been running 1911s since the creation of the Marine Reconnaissance teams.

    They have armorers that have 25 years of experience building, re-building and re-re-building 1911s to shoot straight under any and all conditions and have followed closely the weapons evolution for the last 3 decades.

    Why Colt ? Because they can provide them with basic reliable guns at a fast pace.

    Basically nothing changed, they just went from 20 or so suppliers (a few years ago i had a list of the people suppllying parts to rebuld the MEU(SOC) guns, they were quite a lot) to just the one.

    Now issues with the Colt Rail guns : as said, those guys have been running 1911s pretty hard for quite a few years (since 1985 for the MEU(SOC)), and if they follow the same rules the guns are to be completely rebuilt every 20 000 rounds. Now if they have broken parts or cracking after 12 000, i’m pretty sure they are gonna find a solution. Plus they have shelves full of aftermarket parts for 1911s.

    But the bottom line is this : they were using aging Colt parts as the basis of their 1911s (keep in mind they worked on guns bought in the 1950s), now they are using brand new Colt parts as the basis of the gun.

    Just the new boss, same as the old boss.

    • Al T.

      Actually, it’s worse than you think. The last time the .mil purchased 1911A1s was 1945.

      • Aurelien

        Well actually after going back to things i did on the subject for work, the last guns were delivered during 1946.
        So that’s people running 66-years frames in combat.
        Not bad for an 88 years old gun.

        But getting fresh frames was, according to many sources inside the PWS, a necessity, due to the fact they were unrailed models, and they were running out of good-for-service frames.

  • schizuki

    For those who are trashing the 1911 as obsolete and saying the MEU(SOC) could have and should have chosen something more modern, I have a few questions:

    1) What unit are/were you a member of?
    2) How do your unit’s missions compare to MEU(SOC)’s?
    3) In what ways would the 1911 fall short in those missions, speaking from your real-world experience in a MEU(SOC)-equivalent unit?

    • charles222

      Yeah, I guess practically everyone else in SOCOM who has chosen a different pistol, and the FBI HRT, which ditched .45s for FN Five-seveNs, is probably quite wrong.

      • El Freddio

        You sure FBI HRT ditched M1911A1 for Five Seven?
        Just curious, I’ve never heard of HRT using Five Seven

      • charles222

        @ El Freddio: Ashamedly, I can’t find an actual link about that besides discussion on ar15.net and here. Both places do state that HRT issues the Five-SeveN.

      • El Freddio

        Okay, Cheers 🙂

      • Aurelien

        Well actually not everyone in the SOCOM. The CAG did switch from 1911-patterned 45s to .40SW guns a few years back but went back. They still have .40s Glocks, but the 1911 came back.

      • John Doe

        I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. The FBI do have to deal with people completely off their rocker, and many times, they happen to be armored.

      • W

        Only the FBI tactical teams (HRT and SWAT) deal with “people off their rocker”, and most likely, not even that. The average FBI agent will make 1 to 2 arrests a year, if that, and it exclusively relies on local law enforcement to do the dirty work.

        Im not going to bash the FBI (because I have entire archives dedicated to that for the right time), though from a practical point of view, their use of the five seven wouldnt be because of the people they deal with. Perhaps if the shooters at waco were wearing full body armor and helmets…

      • John Doe

        On the other hand, in a situation like Waco, there’s always the possibility that someone is armored, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. While it’s hardly ideal, the Five-seveN is more than capable of taking on an unarmored target.

      • W

        john doe, thats irrelevant anyways. The Five seveN wouldnt be their primary weapon, a long gun would be, which can easily penetrate body armor and helmets. I understand where you’re coming from though.

    • W

      The question you should be asking, instead of what the resumes of the critics are, is why do the other SOCOM branches use the following?

      – SIG P226/228
      – HK Mk 23 and Mk 24
      – Glock 19 and 22
      – M9 Beretta

      This is covering US special operations units, not law enforcement. It also does not cover the worlds special operations forces.

      The fact is that the 1911 has fallen out of favor compared to modern designs for a reason. It is not a terrible pistol, though there are better alternatives specifically for a military application.

      Specifically, when I was in Afghanistan, operations far from large FOBs necessitate the use of a low maintenance, durable handgun as well as other weapon system. No one should be shocked that special operations forces use Glocks in that theatre of combat.

      • charles222

        I’d suggest that CAG’s selection of the .45 in the 1970s made a great deal of sense from virtually all aspects:

        1. At the time, the 1911 was the US issue service pistol. Therefore, all or most Delta trainees would be familiar with their issue sidearm, and training time on a secondary weapon would be able to basically be maintaining familiarity and able to focus on the more unusual weapons Delta selected initially, in particular the Remington 40XB, MP5, and (later) the HK21.

        2. There were not alot of available viable options to the 1911. Domestically the only competition was S&W with it’s models 39 and 59 iirc, and on the international market, Beretta with the 92 (which would’ve required retraining, given the differences in magazine release and safety controls) and the H&K P7, which would have been a whole new kettle of fish in just about every way.

        3. Ballistically, there was not a lot of practical reason to adopt a new 9mm pistol and simply keeping the 1911 around. Hydra-Shok and equivalent rounds had not been developed yet; 9mm FMJ is definitely, definitely subpar for close-range stopping power compared to .45 FMJ.

        That being said, that was 1977. It’s not anymore. :p

    • John Doe

      When you’re doing reconnaissance far from any FOB, you want the most reliable handgun possible. My brother is a recon Marine. I don’t talk to him much, but the last thing he wants in the field is a gun that has to be pampered. He’d rather take a Glock than a fancy 1911.

      Before you scream ‘heresy’ at a ‘plastic gun’, there’s a good reason why so many cops depend on the Glock. It’s a reliable gun, and that’s what the Marines need.

      • Aurelien

        The 1911s used by the marines are not fancy guns that need to be pampered. They are custom no-nonsense combat guns made to fit the recon teams missions.

        Why do most police departments and military units use the likes of Glocks, M&Ps and FNPs ? Because they are out-of-the-box reliable practical handguns that any idiot can run hard (no offense intended to our cops & soldiers friends) and do not need any advanced knowledge on the part of the user and armorer for takedown, cleaning and overall servicing.

        On the other hand, the 1911 is a gun that requires skilled armorers for any custom work, but can be made as efficient as possible and have pretty much any custom feature the users might want. This is a gun that can evolve through the years (as the MEU(SOC) Pistols have).
        The Marine teams have the skilled armorers and people trained on the proper use of the 1911, so it’s a choice that makes sense.

        And i’m a big fan of polymer-everywhere guns, have fired Five-seveNs and 1911s ans well as Glocks and all those modern design. I’m not a fanboy, but i can honestly see why they stick with the 1911.

        Plus, again, they have been running this model since 1985.

      • ThoughtProvoking

        Google “Glock Leg”

  • Lance

    I know alot of Glock fans are grumbling over this design. Which I dont mind the Glock myself. But the 1911 is a good weapon I do NOT get this hate of it some on here are saying. Yes most of the worlds SF dont use .45 or 1911s but they never did. I only really think of USA, Philippines and South Korea being 1911 users. The fact is US Army and Marine SF have used 1911 well before this in the 90s Ive read and seen SF units have 1911s and in many ways the Mk-23 due to its size never killed the 1911 off. SiGs ive seen in Military service are not .45s but 9mm along with the Beretta M-9s. the only new handgun to seen SF use in the last decade is some chose Glocks as a personal choice for a side arm.

    Both weapons (1911 vs Glock) are good reliable. some of the tacticoolers here hate 1911s because they dont have plastic frames and high cap mags but in most pistol fights they are NOT needed. So a 1911 will do fine.

  • Beefalo

    Seriously, am I the only one SICK of arguing over the 1911? They should make a Colt polymer unrailed .25 ACP pocket 1911 with 6 safeties so everyone could agree it was a POS.

    • ThoughtProvoking

      I’ll take my 25 ACP Bauer SS copy of the Baby Colt over any of your plastic fantastics..

  • Lance

    HRT still uses Kimber 1911 they may have 57Ns as a additional weapon but it did NOT replace the .45 as standard side arm. 5.7 and the 57N are not the best combat pistol and 5.7 lacks killing power. That’s why most nations did not adopt 5.7 over 9mm.

    Most free post chat centers like AR15.com are not the best area for info on what a Tac team uses.

    • Al T.

      HRT & Kimber? I don’t think so. The original HRT 1911 was by Springfield Armory. Kimber in it’s current configuration (QC) is far behind SA.

  • Kevin

    Is there steel core AP ammo available for .45?

    • fred

      mmm you could say that..

  • fred

    Obviously a great choice.

    Plastic fantastics have lots of little delicate parts..
    “Safe actions” are always having accidental discharges etc.

    Are we sure we want a “more modern/high cap gun?”
    NO thank you .
    I will stick to 1911 like force recon and lots of other smart folks..

    Face it 1911 rules..



    here are frames in the USMC inventory that have had as many as 500,000 rounds fired through them.[9]

    • W

      you’re kidding right?

      the 1911 has more parts than the Glock and HK. Unless your 1911 has 35 parts like a Glock, then ill agree with you (that is why i dont).

      “safe actions” are not “always having accidental discharges”. You can have just as many with a 1911. it is a training deficiency, not a gun deficiency.

      Ill take my modern high cap gun precisely because so many credible experts use them. Dont take my word for it. Do some homework.

      Fyi, there are Glocks that have had 300,000 rounds put through them on the same slide. your argument is opinionated and biased.

      Face it, the 1911 is not the king of the mountain on 45s. If it was, everybody would use them.

      • fred

        mm yeah you keep your plastic junk.

        They chose the 1911… cry…

        I have tried the plastic junk.
        I don’t like them.

        I am glad you like yours.

        Tell me how good it is if it is around a hundred years from now..


        • rebart

          If the “plastic” were junk most of the gun manufacturers on this planet would not be making it. About 65% of law enforcement wear “plastic’ Glocks every work day of their life, as do forces all over the world.

      • W

        “mm yeah you keep your plastic junk.”

        Nice refutation. Im blown away LMFAO!!!

        “They chose the 1911… cry…”

        I will cry. At least I give a shit about the fraud, waste, and abuse going on in the armed forces; myself and other tax payers pay the fucking bill

        “I have tried the plastic junk.
        I don’t like them.”

        Good for you. thats all you had to say and I respect your opinion. But to say something as ridiculous as “Plastic fantastics have lots of little delicate parts..” is venturing outside the realm of fact. Expect my response to such outlandish claims.

        “I am glad you like yours.”

        I dont “like” my plastic guns, i love them. I also love my 1911s too and recognize the strengths and limitations of both designs.

        “Tell me how good it is if it is around a hundred years from now..

        Well im not going to be around a hundred years from now and neither will human industrial civilization so who gives a shit? LOL.

      • Michael Hassoldt

        While I love my hk USP, it is not rugged. I put it through 5 years worth of abuse on the streets of LA and let me tell you it shows. It still fires reliably, but occasionally situations dictate that for expediency sometimes it becomes a glass breaker or a illy club. My gun was about one window or skull shy of frame failure. Almost $1000 for that gun, it was over $1000 with the extra mags and holster. The plastic just doesnt hold up to sustained abuse like steel guns do.

        I wouldnt go so far as to call plastic guns jump, I carry one as my ccw (glock17) but I will say that they have a time and a place and in my opinion, based on my experience abusing one, they just cant compare to a 1911, even a beretta is more rugged and those are pieces of crap in the field.

  • John_234

    What is this conversation about handguns and armor? Handguns are not rifles. You shoot around the armor, no matter what you use. A Five-seveN won’t penetrate a ceramic plate, neither will AP ammo for a handgun (which will do the same thing as 5.7×28 against soft armor, but…)

    While the 1911 is not the easiest design to use, it’s a pistol with lots of ergonomic potential which is exceptionally accurate and very adaptable to various conditions and needs. It’s not the most logical handgun for general issue, but for guys who practice day and night to kill bad people, needing extra practice and maintenance isn’t so much an issue.

    If there was a serious problem with the 1911 they would have switched. The Navy leapt between Beretta to Sig to HK for special warfare sidearms, the Mk23 got shot down the moment people figured out it wasn’t a sensible idea.

    If the private purchases of dragonskin are any indication, highly trained guys will generally make changes they think will help them in combat. If MARSOC found a different platform that really had such a drastically enhanced level of performance to ditch the 1911 altogether, I think they would have done so.

    An HK45 is a top-notch handgun. Some would say better than a well-made 1911. That’s fine, we all have our opinions.

    Still, it’s more sensitive to grip and stance than a rifle, half the gun needs to be free to cycle or else a malfunction can be induced, the number of malfs is still broadly dependent on your ammunition and magazines It suffers the same kinds of problems as the M9, 1911 and any other short recoil handgun design out there.

    Until we invent a handgun with perfect reliability, sidearm choice is still broadly preference, doubly so for these small units.

    On that topic. Changing sidearms. This means changing the manual of arms while training on a handgun, ditching the thousands of magazines, recoil springs, miscellaneous parts, retraining the guys that work on the handguns, changing the qualification standards… all for a secondary weapon. It’s not worth it for the Corps, which has huge problems with getting enough budget in the first place.

    As for the cracking of frames, I’m not sure what to say because I’ve not found a source that details what sort of cracks happened, how it affected performance, etc.

    Was it standard ammo?
    Was it consistent, or just one or two guns?
    Were the recoil springs worn to hell by the time it happened?

    I will say that 1911 guys are familiar with the small cracks that form near the slide stop and don’t really affect performance. I’ve also heard that deep cuts for the slide serrations may have factored into some kind of cracking, but that has nothing to do with the 1911 design. It’s a matter of individual execution on Colt’s part.

    • fred

      • John_234

        I’ve seen the video. What’s your point?

        You can make a handgun punch through soft armor if necessary, but in a military context most people with body armor would also have plates.

    • rebart

      The more accurate they are, the tighter the tolerances and the less they work in the sand and dirt.

  • Nicks87



    I know the horse has been kicked to death but seriously?

    William M. Keys is the reason the Marines picked the Colt 1911 and for no other reason what-so-ever. If you dont know who he is go look him up.

    So stop lying to yourselves, 1911 fanboys, the gun just isnt that great.

    • Some would claim that I’m a Glock fanboi. I actually think that Glocks are better combat/defense pistols, generally. Fewer parts, very good reliability and durability, less hand fitting, lighter weight, and less expensive. I’m also a child of the “wonder-nine” generation, so I’d prefer to have more than, say 12 rounds on board.

      However, the Glock 21s, even the SF and Gen4 models are still pretty big. I have size large hands, so it’s not a big deal for me.

      A 1911 might be preferable if I had small hands. . . and I wanted a .45. However, the Colt model pictured has a loong trigger, longer than the one in my 1911.

      I will also admit that even middle-of-the-road, and sometimes even dirt cheap 1911s often have better triggers than a Glock with a good trigger job. The sliding 1911 trigger allows for a better straight-back pull than a hinged trigger. I don’t like the longer trigger pull you get with a 3.5 pound Glock connector, and there’s only so much you can do with a 5 pound connector. Obviously Sevigny shoots a Glock very very well, but I’ve seen footage of him shooting a 1911 or 2011 for Steel Challenge.

    • W

      the 1911 is not superior to the glock and the glock is not superior to the 1911.

      Its all personal preference. In a military unit its about measuring all of the variables and convincing the military to buy your product. Sometimes companies convince the military to buy a product but it is not necessarily the best overall product available.

      The USMC wanted a 1911. a 1911 they shall receive.

    • Ironmajor

      NICKS87: There are only two opinions that count, ours and the enemies. All other opinions are irrelevant. We wanted the 1911-based weapon, it is proven, we have waivers for them, and we are building on that since we have 1911’s in the inventory. We do not want to deal with the bureacracy, or the ass pain of getting something in your opinion (which does not matter) that is better (100% solution) when we can have an 85-90% solution that suffices at lower cost, less hassle. We never should have followed the Army’s lead and NATO in adopting that worthless M9 9mm pistol. We are now correcting that stupid decision.

    • Police rarely fire their weapons in the line of duty, Marines do everyday!
      Let them make their own choices, maintenance costs/production etc…all taken into account, not city tax revenue to support a shiny new unused police pistol, the what if factor behind the police is far inferior to the use by forward deployed combat units. Stay on your couches and get comfortable, leave these decisions to the ones involved in making sure you can comfortably sit on your couch.

    • ThoughtProvoking

      Google “Glock Leg”! Pay particular attention to how many police officers have shot themselves in the leg when using a Glock.. The trigger safety on a Glock is equivalent to putting a brake pedal ON TOP of the gas pedal on a car! Gaston Glock knew nothing about firearms previously to his GLOCK design, and did not have a clue about firearms design while Johm Moses Browining was a Genius!.

      • ThoughtProvoking

        AND…IMHO… the Glock looks like something designed by a committee, whereas the 1911 has intrinsic timeless beauty.

  • Lance

    this whole section on this article is a waste of time. The Marines choose the 1911 and the old .45 solders on no matter how many Glock and FN fans will wine over a 1911 being adopted there no turning back. this arguing is pointless.

    • Nicks87

      The problem is not with the 1911 being picked by the Marines but the justification behind the choice.

      What does the 1911 offer that modern polymer framed pistols like the Glock 21, FNH .45, HK45 etc. do not? All three are superior to the 1911 in more ways than one.

      This decision was made by people within Colt and the Marine Corps who stand to line their pockets by dumping a sub-par firearm on troops that think it’s “cool” to carry a 1911.

      Most soldiers and police officers I know want the best tool for the job. Not the most nostalgic one or the one that looks the best sitting in their holster. There’s a reason why less than 1% of police depts. carry 1911s.

      So I dont care what the marines pick but the 1911 is still inferior.

      • Rick_in_VA

        The reason most law enforcement agencies don’t use the 1911 or any other single action auto is liability. Add to that the fact that seeing a 1911 “cocked-and-locked” scares the CR** out of the hoplophobes.

        • ThoughtProvoking

          Well we know the hoplophobes are idiots… what about you? Why are there so many instances of “Glock Leg” and why has Glock GMBH settled so many out of court, not allowing the people sueing them to talk further?

      • .357Magnum.

        1911 —-104 years of military service (replaced in 1985 as general issue)
        —-excellent grip design (easy to point)
        —-a single action trigger that puts Glocks to shame
        —-8+1 capacity (adequate BECAUSE——> A PISTOL IS A BACKUP
        WEAPON, A PISTOL IS A BACKUP WEAPON, you use it to fight
        your way to a rifle.
        I am not a 1911 Fanatic but I do have 1 and I can say with conviction that it is a reliable, well-built, ergonomically well designed COMBAT PISTOL—-the original intent of Browning. I just think is is funny that all these Glock crazies get their panties in a wad everytime some organization does not elect to adopt their plastic, uncomfortable, slippery slide melonited, excessive recoil because of the light weight, video game pistol! DEAL WITH IT!!!!!!!

        • ThoughtProvoking

          May I say … “AMEN!”

      • ThoughtProvoking

        Google “Glock Leg” …Old Gaston didn’t know half as much as JMB.

  • Lance

    The main fact is you can hate the decision but you can do nothing and I do like Glocks but a 1911 is just as good so why fuss. Are you MARSOC?? Leave it to marines to decide about this.

    • Nicks87

      A 1911 is just as good?

      Tell me how? I would like to know.

      And NO I’m not MARSOC but I am entitled to my opinion AND my tax dollars are paying for the weapons.

      The Colt rail gun (01070RG) wasnt even the best 1911 offered up for bid.

      So just like all things Govt it’s not about having the best tool for the job it’s about who gets paid.

      • Aurelien

        It’s also about who can provide the goods. Sure they could have gone with a top-of-the line 1911 from Wilson Combat, but Wilson Combat has nowhere near the production capability of Colt Mfg.

  • William O. B’Livion

    This is about bureaucracy and budgeting, and very little else.

    The primary reason the Marines chose a Colt 1911 in .45 is because THEY ALREADY HAD THEM, and it would take “too long” to go a different direction.

    Our military follows NATO standards, and for any unit to deviate they have to have some sort of waiver. The Marine SoC already had this for the Colt 1911. By generating a procurement contract for an updated version of an already approved firearm they avoided having to do a new solicitation and go through the procurement hoops.

    I’m sure they did this in part because right now folks in the military are looking at the budgets that didn’t get passed for the last 3 years, and the amount of debt that the current wrecking crew are amassing and thinking that if they don’t spend it now, if they don’t get the commitments made, contracts inked and product in inventory, 5 or 8 years down the line they’ll have bupkis.

    Of course, this won’t change the minds of arm chair commandos, square range raiders and internet specops types clinging to their signed copies of The Survivalist or Mike Hammer and whinging about people making choices they wouldn’t have.

    • Nicks87

      You are wrong, sir but thanks for the effort. Do a little research with the google machine and you will find this decison isnt a money saving decision but a money making decison involving Gen. Keys and Marine Corps brass.

      Also why would you select a weapon system that failed in testing over two other designs that did NOT fail.

      • Nelson

        Same reason we, in the Army, are wearing ACU. Just because something performed better in testing (Multicam) doesnt mean the branch will adopt it.

    • ThoughtProvoking

      uhmmm they could have also gone for a 9mm 1911?

  • mosinman

    i love .45acp and i love the 1911, but why would they have got to something in 10mm like the colt delta elite? almost the same thing but wiht a more powerful round. anyways im ok with the marines choosing the 1911. i firmly believe in superior training over superior weaponry. its not the weapon that makes the man, its the man that makes the weapon.

    • mosinman

      and no, when i said i believed in superior training over superior weaponry i didnt mean that i feel the 1911 is inferior.

    • Aurelien

      10mm guns have been pushed by some, but it’s too much recoil for a handgun. 10 Auto is a good round, but follow-up shot are hard to get right, the gun has way too much recoil and the guns wear pretty fast due to the extra pressure.

      • mosinman

        you must remember that the guys using these 1911s are probably some of the best marines in the corps, and im sure they could have plenty of time to train to anticipate and control recoil

      • rebart

        Yeah, marines aren’t what they used to be. It takes a man to shoot a 10mm.

        • Tony

          rebart you are out of your f…ing mind with that ignorant comment. marines shoot weapons with way more recoil than a 10mm. 10mm isnt chosen because it tears up frames at too fast of a rate. you should be ashame to make such a degrading comment towards any American armed forces. you are entitled to your opinion and I truly respect that, but there is no need to downgrade servicemen

          • dave

            read everything hes posted lol, hes a troll…doesnt know a thing about the subject at hand but for some reason has the most to say

        • JimsHomeShop .

          rebart, you are an idiot, nuf said by a U.S. Marine. Meet you any time to prove it.

      • ThoughtProvoking

        At least the FBI thought so, which is why they went to the shortened ’40’. . And another advantage of the 40 was the ability to fit in 9mm gun frames (hell my star Firestar 9mm and 40 SW slides, frames, magazines interchange!) Good news for those with smaller hands and less recoil tolerance!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TW

    Im glad form my brothers in MARSOC, relay im jealous they get the 1911s while we get the unreliable, overweight, Beretta m9a1 piece of $$$$. overall i think its a great gun but personal i think i would prefer Kimber but thats me

  • Travis

    How about we just get out of the way and let the warfighters make their choice, instead of second-guessing them and spouting conspiracy theories that none of us can prove? I mean, if a 7-round .45 like the 1911 gives a shooter the same peace of mind as a 13-round Glock or 14-round XD, who are any of us to object?

    To paraphrase an old Marine and Korean war vet that my folks used to live across the street from: “Give us the weapons we want and let us do our job.”

    • Eric

      This is of course assuming that every marine wants a 1911.

      • Chreston Allen

        Having shot the beretta, I do!

      • Ryan

        It’s not being issued to all Marines. Just special forces.

    • powerwiz

      A Marine of 13 years and I gladly accept this weapon vice the 9mm Beretta that nearly every Marine loathes.

      Blogs, online internet geniuses nick pick everything about guns down to the rounds. This gun will be welcomed with open arms by most Marines.

  • the test was 12000 consecutive rounds with no maintainence.

    • Abraham Collins

      No amount of maintenance will prevent the metal components from cracking.

  • Alyssa

    1911 is a great gun if its chambered for 10mm or 40 S&W. The 45acp is a slow junk round that don’t penetrate that well. Low pressure and weak. 40 S&W fast and hard punch.

    • All_Hail


      • rebart

        I have a feeling you are more armchair than you’d like anyone to believe.

    • rebart

      If they’re going to go with the 1911 with it’s low capacity why not use the 10m? Just wondering.

      • ThoughtProvoking

        FBI tried that… recoil/penetration was too much, so a decision was made to go with (develop) the shorter 40SW, which has become the standard for US LE. The 40 was shown to “approach” 45 ACP stoppimg power with the added benefit it was only slightly larger than the 9mm and so could be squeezed into 9mm frame guns so users with smaller hands (women) could also use it.

    • scott will


  • Tony

    as a former member of 1st force and a combat vet, I can speak from experiance and tons of training that the 1911 platform is best for combat. plastic
    polymer guns are great for civi use but in a combat environment they are delicate and not rugged enough for sustained combat, there is a reason the 1911 has been around so long, it works for what we do. I do think we paid way to much for the rail guns

    • rebart

      How about we save a few million dollars and just order Sigs like the Navy SEALs do? The Sig 227 has a 14 round magazine, nearly twice the 1911 and good to go right out of the box. Let’s see, 12000 Sigs at, lets say, $1000 each. You do the math and see the savings. No one needs a pistol costing over $5000.

      • Tony

        How about you read what I said a little closer and you will see where I said something cheaper should have been chosen. as for carrying 9mm into combat you will need the extra ammo that it carries just to put targets down. if you are down to using your sidearm you would want the caliber with better chances of a 1 pop stop. as far as trying to compare what a cop carries and what a combat serviceman carries, its 2 different rolls and duties which means 2 different types of wear and tear on the weapon. law enforcement will not come close to using their weapons as much as a combat specialist will.

      • W-CG-M&P

        Its the Sig 226, there is no such thing as a Sig 227, smartass, and show me where Meu(SOC)pistols cost $5000…

      • ThoughtProvoking

        I agree on the cost but it is the Sig P226 Navy the seals use (per the SiG website), quantity orders should get it well below $1000 per.

    • Ed

      The Civilian 2012 MSRP: is $1087 to $1188. For the Marines with their specifications, is about $1800. Where does the $5000 come from?

  • when it comes to sidearms id say give each man a small amount to purchase their own sidearm the police have had the same issues with glocks a glock is perfect if your 6 foot+ but if your smaller shooter with smaller hands a glock sucks the big grips are hard to control. as for mag capacity lets face it your going to learn to make fewer shots count more than a 15 shots its all just sense and reasoning. its really easier to just let the army focus on the main weapon (the rifle/assault rifle) and let the soldiers chose their pistol… all my buds in the military have said they have never used a pistol in combat once.

    • ThoughtProvoking

      Glocks are the “gun too ready to fire”. It is so well documented that police agencies who have adopted the Glock experience numerous events of officers shooting hemselves in their own legs, it has it’s own term: “Glock Leg:”. Most occur when the officer tries to holster his pistol and something foreign (windbreaker drawstring slide, holster parts, etc.) depreses the trigger, as the Glock has no external safety..

      • Jackson Andrew Lewis

        news to me thanks…. id call to poor trigger discipline but good to know.

  • KH

    I’ve been in law enforcement 19 years and I’m the chief of police at my current agency. I can say that the vast majority of cops in this country aren’t issued their sidearms. They must purchase their own. I can also surmise that the blue label Glocks that sell to LE for $398 and some change has a lot to do with their popularity. Moreover, Glock has successfully marketed their pistols towards LE for decades, literally giving them away (selling cheap) to larger agencies and supplying holsters to boot. That adds a “notch in their belt” so to speak and adds to the percentage of cops who carry them. A lot of younger officers expound the virtues of the Glock, to include bashing other designs, and they’ve never even fired a 1911 (or anything else for that matter), which is a shame. I’m not bashing Glocks, I own and carry them and have for many years. They’re reliable, combat accurate, don’t need a lot of lube and I’ve never seen one rust yet. A lot to be said for those virtues alone. However, my lieutenant has carried the same Glock 22 for 14 years and the polymer frame is literally chewed up from seatbelts, contact with asphalt from wrestling persons on the pavement, etc. The military tends to be a lot harder on their weapons that the typical cop or concealed carry enthusiast. I also love the 1911 and also carry A ’69 Colt and Les Baer SRP on duty quite often. Condition One carry is fine as long as it is ingrained in the end user. Most military 1911s are carried Condition Three anyway. Unsure of the SOCOM Marines; however, I support their decision to keep the 1911, Colt or not. Politics exists everywhere and since Baer and Wilson can’t keep up with consumer demand, I don’t see them as a player here. Springfield Armory might be a different ball game, but who knows.

    • rebart

      Well, I have a “stainless” steel 1911 that is used only rarely. It sits in a safe mostly in a Bianchi bag. It now has a rust spot on it. So much for the less-destructiveness for the all-steel pistol. Can you imagine what that steel pistol would look like after years of the same treatment? I can, I’ve seen older 1911s that don’t get that treatment, and they are in terrible condition. I know because I customized an old Series 70 and the bluing left a lot to be desired, and I had to replace parts.

      • ThoughtProvoking

        Well since I am given to believe your “Stainless” pistol has rusted (I own several from several maunfacturers) and mine are pretty much pristine except for scratches, I believe you probably have a “nickel-plated” specimen which will “Rust” if the plating is worn, We DO know (from your post) that you don’t maintain your firearms, especialy your safe queens.

  • rebart

    $5,650 for 8 rounds in a single action, slow-to-take-down, antiquated, 100-year-old pistol. 22.5 million dollars for 12,000 minor weapons? Ridiculous!!! Yes, it is way too much to pay for a minor battle weapon, but the Marines always have to showboat–that’s what they do best. The .45 is a great round, but why not get something like the FN with 15 rounds? If you have to use a pistol make sure you have enough ammo, not 8 rounds. I think the statement that polymer guns are delicate is B.S. The new 1911s have tight tolerances, which is no good in the sand. Guns like the FN are faster to take down and put back together. There must be some reason they are used by forces around the world.

    • Hmsailor

      7 rds not 8 rds

  • Mark

    The USMC has long been the little brother hand me down when it came to ordanence.
    The American goverment has never been able to standardize their armed forces like other countrys, one branch making deals with one contracter, the other with someone elsa.
    What surprised me with the US economy in the shitter was ´how and why the Cheif of Ordanence for the USMC would make such an order as the Colt 1911 .45cal. when the US Army has the tried Barreta M9 in NATO cal. at half the cost?

  • Doktor_Jan

    Actual that’s not entirely accurate. They initially went back to the M1911 for the same reasons they had gone with it in the first place. It is simple, reliable, and can easily be repaired in the field if such need arises. They switched from the .45 cal to the 9mm when they started employing women into the military because they could not handle the recoil. When they switched over to the M9s, they were terribly unreliable in comparison to the M1911, were not nearly as consistently accurate, and did not have the necessary stopping power. Another factor is their laziness in training their soldiers; rather then teach them how to properly aim, they give them higher capacity magazines as a cheap fix. Though be it high capacity is nice, when your weapon malfunctions more regularly, the added benefit of more ammunition per magazine is superfluous. In the end, rather then have all the super special elaborate bells and whistles to their handguns, they went with consistent reliability.

    • Abraham Collins

      The 1911 is a lot of things, but “simple” isn’t one of them.

  • Badger359

    There is enough data regarding the terminal ballistics for the 45ACP and the 1911 that should lay issues to rest. If it isn’t broken don’t fix it. I have 9’s as well. And i have read many after action reports that give credence to it’s history. Quality issues have more to do with the proficiency in the quality control department regardless of product. I have seen SIG’s lately that seem to be lacking in reliability (form/fit and function) then the older issued models

  • rick

    lets not argue or question what our milatery wants needs or chooses they defend our country and more than half of this ungratefull war you plastic lovers do your thing enjoy and just support or men and women in their respected branches and love them more then your own lfes cause help they sure protect ours.

  • IckyD

    .45 ACP has a 100% fatality rate on any non-grazing full strike on the trunk of body or in the head.

    Also has a 100% debilitating rate on full strike non grazing hit on enemy targets.

    It is the absolute very best round for man-stopping hit power. The 1911 has had several updates but remains the best choice for close-in combat. The weapon is as near perfect in fulfilling it’s purpose as any in the world.

    Along with the M2 .50 cal “Ma Duece they are two weapons systems designed perfectly from the outset as John Browning (who also designed the ubiquitous FN Hi-Power after a falling out with Colt was widely known for.

    • Abraham Collins

      .45ACP doesn’t even break the speed of sound. 10mm Auto has way more kinetic energy and even higher magazine capacity.

  • jumper297

    Yes, the .45 has stopping/killing power to spare. Yes, the 1911 is a proven platform. But let’s throw out the real reason… it’s effing cool. The move to the M9 (a weapon I personally like, but don’t necessarily prefer) has never been that popular with the shooters. Even if an all-new sidearm came chambered in .45 the nostalgia and desire for the older 1911 would still be strong. Hell, I’ve been on more than one deployment in which officers had carried their personal 1911’s. I say if it’s what they want, give it to them. An updated pistol with modern machining and metallurgy can only be more reliable than the original. (Stories of cracks notwithstanding.)

  • Roush svt

    This whole argument is just ridiculous I guarantee not one person commenting here has actually been in combat, and doubt even more that there’s anyone here who has actually used a pistol in combat, especially enough to compare the fldifference between 9mm and 45 FMJ WHICH IN ALL REALITY THERE IS VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE. To all you 1911 fanboys…….. The 1911 is like a Harley—- way overpriced, heavy, bulky, high maintainaince, unreliable(yes no matter how u want to argue it, the 1911 is tight tolerance and full of tiny complex parts) and overrated. Everytime I go to the range, the only guys having malfunctions are the 1911 guys. My flicks gobble up ammo, shoot just as accurately, and are half the price

  • JSmath

    Logical explanation of some things:

    They must be using non-mil spec .45ACP. ‘Cause honestly, standard .45ACP ball is a fucking joke, ballistically speaking. And I’d even go so far as to assert that it isn’t killing any adversaries wearing something resembling armor. Save all the I’m-a-combat-vet hurrderps. There are, in fact, scores of articles related to this (mis)match up that absolutely agree with my point. I’m not even looking one up to link – you can do it. There’s lots to sift through.

    The increased pressure and specifically bolt thrust from newer, hotter .45ACP loads would explain why such a tried-and-true design produced by a company that has some familiarity with the design is having premature cracking issues. If this is the case, though, this is just one more reason that the saying “They all fall for 45 ball.” is a showing its age.

    Other than that, the 1911 .45 ACP is the BEST pistol combination you can get – for shooting an noncombative, unarmored, stationary target within 50ft. … Which is the niche SOCOM, if anyone, would be filling; So I’m fine with that. Buying a 7 round version when there are so many other comparables, pretty Marine (stupid) for you, but, well, they do the best they can.