It appears that the last active duty component of the U.S. Military has retired the tried and true 1911. In an article by the Marine Corps Times, Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC), has officially announced that it is withdrawing the .45 ACP Colt Rail Guns (M45 MEUSOC 1911)from service while completely switching to 9x19mm Glock 19s. Earlier, the SOCOM entity had simply authorized the Glock 19 for limited use with the group. The article didn’t mention anything about the Marine Corps’ Recon battalions which also issue the Colt 1911, but I’m sure this will change in the future as well (Recon falls under a completely different chain of command than MARSOC does). Although these battalions don’t actively engage in operations overseas as much as MARSOC does (apart from a MEU), so it might take some time for the requirement to reach them.
The article specifically mentions the reason of the 9mm versus the .45 ACP debate. Although this must have been an item of serious consideration, I’m almost positive this is more of a public relations reason than anything. The Colt Rail Gun has seen some publicity regarding cracking in the frame, especially from the 12,000 round endurance test ran about five years ago. This, in addition to the reduced capacity and the need for a concealable handgun while working in discreet locations are probably the actual reason for the switch rather than the stated one.
“We put our money behind the 9mm round fired by an extremely well-trained marksman carrying a Glock 19,” Mannweiler told Marine Corps Times.Since last year, MARSOC has purchased and fielded 1,654 Glock 19s because Raiders needed a reliable secondary weapon “that could be used for both a concealed carry profile and a low-visibility profile,” and having one approved pistol for all special operators saves money, he said.…“Based on lessons learned in our operations, we also took into consideration how well a round could penetrate objects of varying densities and in different environmental conditions,” Mannweiler said. “We concluded that a 9mm round suited our needs.”