There is only pain, misery, and suffering waiting here…


The following article was written by a guest writer, Matt Koetting. We appreciate him sharing the information about the Marine Recon Challenge and photos of the 1911.

Before the sun rises and the marine layer lifts on May 21st several two-man teams will embark on the arduous yet somber expedition that is the 8th Annual Marine Recon Challenge. Each rucksack will be draped in a neon air panel bearing the name of a fallen brother. This is the ceremony that Reconnaissance Marines have developed to honor the brotherhood, namely those who only walk beside us in spirit.


The competitors will compete on land and sea, a route carefully selected to include the worst terrain Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton has to offer. An open-ocean fin leads to steep elevated trails along firebreaks and ridgelines, and a series of events will test the jack-of-all-trades proficiencies and undying spirit of each team. The event culminates in a ceremony and dinner; the whole event is a union of contributed planning and support led by the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation (MRF), Brother Recon, and the active duty cadre of Reconnaissance Training Company.


In support of the 8th Annual Recon Challenge, this 1911 project was born. A Sig Sauer TTT chambered in .45 ACP, conveniently procured in another deal set the base, and support came in from a number of contributors. John Williams III, the owner of DDC Firearms in Fullerton, CA is known for quality precision rifles, he is a well-known go-to Gunsmith for the Marine Recon and Scout Sniper community on the West Coast. Officer Matt Bolton of the Glendale, CA Police Dept., also a Marine Scout Sniper from 1989 to 2000, collaborated with Pelican to donate two Pelican cases, one for the range and one for display (the pistol was meant to get some real use after all). Erik Little, a Reconnaissance Marine from 1985 to 1993, and owner of Rafter-L Combat Leather in Buffalo, WY donated custom leather emblazed with the MRF logo, including a holster, magazine pouch, and belt. Rob Griffin (Owner) and Chris Bridge (Manager) of West Coast Ammo in Temecula, CA provided the Cerakote finish – black and gold befitting the Recon tradition.  The Recon “Jack” inlaid in the Magpul grips incorporates the Marine Combatant Diver, Naval Parachutist Insignia, and the skull, paddle, and knife. “0321” is the Military Occupational Specialty designation of the Marine Reconnaissance Man. All photos and editing were generously donated by Josaphat Orozco (prof. photo website), also a Marine Scout Sniper and owner of Target Indicators.


The Recon Challenge custom 1911 pistol will be raffled off at the MRF Awards dinner and ceremony following the Recon Challenge on May 21, 2016. You need not be present to win, however the transfer must be completed through an FFL in compliance with state and federal laws. ALL proceeds from the raffle will go to supporting the Marine Reconnaissance community and their families. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $25.00 (bulk discounts for multi-ticket purchases) at the MRF website.

Pistol build and Article by:

Staff Sergeant Matt Koetting

OIF/OEF Vet, Purple Heart Recipient, and transitioning Reconnaissance Marine (10+ years). A dedicated advocate for Veterans entering the civilian workforce with purposeful and engaging employment. He can be reached at

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • USMC03Vet

    Semper Fidelis

  • datimes

    Sweet looking weapon.

  • Nicks87

    Another commemorative 1911? Yawn… AND it’s ugly.

  • Suppressed

    I kinda like how it looks. However, while they most likely have some significance that means much more than my simple opinion, I don’t quite get the extra set of grips with the skull and crossbones. They probably look horrible on the gun.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    No disrespect to the Marines (my father is former USMC and Vietnam vet) but that is one ugly gun.

  • Anomanom

    Kinda resembles a Salient modded gun.

  • TCBA_Joe

    Does that look like an added on rail to anyone else?

    • Anonymoose

      SIGs have weird rails.

  • Mystick

    It just bugs me when people put objects inside the trigger guard for photos and exhibitions. I mean, the 1911 is probably one of the safer guns to do this with considering it’s action, but still… it goes against everything I was taught in terms of firearm safety.

  • Nimrod

    Reminds me to watch Generation Kill now on Amazon prime. It is about a Marine Recon unit that led the way into Iraq at the beginning of the second Iraq war. Kind of a modern day band of brothers series.

  • DMS

    Great job Matt!! And good luck this weekend. You’re one of the bravest men I know and proud to have you in our family. Semper Fi…DMS.