Marines Tap Colt .45 over S&W, Springfield 1911s

I posted a story on this morning with details on why the Marine Corps chose Colt to make its new Close Quarter Battle Pistol. Colt beat out Smith & Wesson and Springfield Armory, securing a $22.5 million contract to make up to 12,000 souped-up .45 1911s.

Seems … reeeaaly expensive. Please read the story, and tell me what you think.

About the Author

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox has been a defense reporter since 1998 and is an associate editor for He traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq numerous times from 2002 to 2008, covering infantry units in combat. Matthew was an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division.

138 Comments on "Marines Tap Colt .45 over S&W, Springfield 1911s"

  1. Colts are so expensive. That's why I don't own one. So yes, I agree it's a bit too costly. I also question why accuracy at 25 yards is a large determining factor for a pistol that is to be used for CQB. Also, did the pistols tested have the mentioned 'upgrades' at the time of testing? A trigger job and 'improved ergonomics' certainly affect accuracy.

    • KnuttsSTA1/4 | August 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Reply

      More expensive yes…. Worth it… Every penny. As far as accuracy at 25 yards/meters it's still the beast it's been from day one. I regularly hit targets at 50+ with a Springfield 1911A1 Mil-Spec, and have been known to hit then from 100…. By the way. When the round gets there it is still very angry and packs a big punch. If you can't engage a target at 25+ yard consistently it's not the weapon or round… It's the shooter. CQB is the primary use for a pistol, but have range with any weapon on a battlefield is a plus. You have to agree with that. This is weapons system and round that the Marine Corps should have never gotten away from. Glad it's back.

    • When you want the very best…you have to pay for it. Colt is the one..

  2. I wish I could shoot one…

  3. I don't know for a fact, but willing to bet that Colt is likely by far the worst selling brand between the three brands. I know in my house I have a new Smith & Wesson M&P, and a Springfield XMD. Come to think of it, does Colt even do any new product development?

    Guess when you have the government handing over 20+ million dollar contracts, you need not be so concerned with these things!

  4. As I was, Springfield, XDM…

    Semper Fi,


  5. All guns are expensive these days. Colt is really no different in price than a Kimber, Para Ordnance or H&K.

  6. 1875 per pistol really isn't that bad for the govern. My Kimber was over 2 and it didn't come with spare parts. I do question whether the Colt was the best pick, but then again if you want to shoot a pistol that has been in service since Moses was a grunt then it would be a Colt 45. I think a lot of the feeling about Colt, myself included, is they aren't the current flavor in 45. Colt earned that though. I got turned of by them a few years ago when they said they were not going to offer their AR to the civilian market anymore. Whether they do or not now I don't know, I quit following anything they do after that announcement.

  7. FormerSFMedic | July 20, 2012 at 8:08 am | Reply

    I am really happy to hear that these guys FINALLY got their guns. I have followed this process to find a M45 since 2003. These guys have searched high and low and they jumped through every hoop to get to this point. The Colt 1911's have always been solid guns even though their QC dropped off a bit. I know these guys won't have to worry about problems though. A good friend of mine who is with MARSOC mentioned to me that each gun is built to specific specs set by the Corps. These specs are very specific. The MEU/SOC Marines always have the support of the PWS to correct any issues that may arise anyway.

    Good on the Marine Corps for getting their guns. These guys deserve it!

  8. charles williams | July 20, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply

    $1875 PER PISTOL!?! THAT'S RIDICULOUS!!! congrats on a successful con colt!

    • Kirk Abraham | July 20, 2012 at 8:31 am | Reply

      Concur. For that price, the Corps coulda strapped an XDM to one leg, a M&P to the other and STILL had money left over to buy ammo! And that's before you consider the volume DISCOUNT!

      • Harry Uffalussy | July 20, 2012 at 8:41 am | Reply

        I think this is a good choice in cal. and a terrible price for a pistol bought in some quanity.

    • FormerSFMedic | July 20, 2012 at 9:24 am | Reply

      I'm actually happy about the price. When you figure in spare parts and other support equipment, $1875 is pretty good. The price tag shows the bulk price as well, which means for us, the gun would be much more. This tells me that the Corps got an outstanding 1911 and not one of those dreaded bargain basement guns.

      • Hey FormerSFMedic: Happy about the price, ehh? Really? I'm no Colt expert or anything like that, but here's some context for you… Either you or I can walk into ANY story in America that sells Colt pistols (they do still sell those things, somewhere, right?) and buy any one of approximately 20 (TWENTY) 1911 style .45 caliber pistols. That's quite a lot to choose from…

        Do you know how many of those cost MORE than $1875………??? ONE. That's right. One model. The 'Colt 1911 Presentation Grade' w/ Ivory handles and engraving and God knows what else…

        Still think that's a 'pretty good' price? Still think for us it would be 'much more'? If so, my friend, there are plenty of people that would love to sell you some ocean front property in Florida….

        Sarcasm aside, this is absolutely ridiculous. For a GIGANTIC order like this, the price is supposed to GO the other direction. For $22 million dollars worth of guns, they should be selling them for a LOT cheaper than that. SOMEONE is getting PAID. And it's not the Corps and it's NOT the Taxpayer. Period.

        • That's for the gun itself with a warranty. These M45s will have continual support, a spare parts kit, and armorers. Essentially the corps are paying for guns and technical support – at least I read on other postings that they are unloading Quantico's armory off some of the M45 labor.

          That isn't to say this is a good deal. It sounds and feels like a bloated budget like usual, but I don't think it's as outrageous as some think.

        • Kirk – "I'm no Colt expert"

          You should have stopped there while you were ahead.

          "Sarcasm aside" a comparable .45 with the same specs, spare parts and armorer support is going to cost north of $1875 at your local gunshop.

          • Look it up for yourself "MajRod" Colt has one #&*()#()*$)(*ing 1911 out of about 20 models that cost over $1900.

            As far as Armorer support, you can't count that…they already have those guys working for them now! And will be there regardless if they get Colt or any other weapon in. Take a deep breath buddy.

          • FormerSFMedic | July 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

            Kirk, I would urge you to do some research on the subject before ranting. I'll explain.

            Like others have stated, the $22.5 mil is not just for the gun. I have worked in RDAT&E for the last 3 years and I have never seen any Unit or Branch JUST pay for the gun. The Colt Rail Gun that the Corps is buying will likely run around $1200 for them. Keep in mind that there were specific items spec'd that will cost extra like the finish, sights, grips, etc. With that said, one thing specified for the M45 was that it would run for 50,000 rounds without the need for overhaul. The Colt gun was tested and passed this specification. With that, a certain amount of parts are needed to replace heavy wear items. This would be true for any gun. For example, they may buy 10 recoil springs per gun so that they can replace said component for the 50,000 round life cycle. A decent recoil spring is going to cost at least $5 at a discounted price. That's $40 per gun right there! Now consider the fact that other parts (that cost more) will also be bought for replacing.

            In addition to parts, there is also logistic costs, manuals, service support, and other various add ons for ANY gun the military buys. Saying this gun is too much is couldn't be further from the truth. Do you think the Army's M110 is $11,000 just for the rifle? That would be pretty damn expensive!

          • Spare parts, armorer support – give me a break. At that price they should not need any spare parts except for springs, which are cheap. I know competitive shooters that put a 100,000 rounds through their 1911 platforms without major parts breakage. It the pistol is built with quality parts to start with and properly maintained what major expensive parts are going to break. If it is kept properly lubed it should not wear out. Armorer support? The USMC has it's own armorers, and the 1911 is a simple design. Taking care of one is not rocket science, and does not require a bank of sophisticated instruments.

  9. Excellent choice. With the specs. cost isn't that bad and I am happy they got em.

  10. The M&P and XDM are great pistols! But, the Corp wasn't looming at those they were looking at 1911 style pistols. The S&W and Springfield 1911's are just as expensive as the Colt. Probably more so when you add in extra barrels, springs, pins, hammers, and grip panels. Would I buy a Colt myself, no, but that doesn't mean they are a waste or that the men downrange are getting bad tools. I personally prefer the Sig 226 or Glock 17. I prefer the extra ammo and in an actual pistol use situation of 5 to 10yds the 9mm works fine. Two in the chest and one in the head, 9 or 45 doesn't matter.

  11. Early 20th century guns for the 21st century price! Cool. It looks like the Corps are run by a Neandertal with complete disrespect for the tax money they blow. Who else would organize a competition for a mag fed machine gun and then use it as DMR, and buy 2000$ a piece 1911's in in 2012.
    I'd hang this bunch.

  12. I don't challenge the capability or the well-deserved reputation of the 1911, but there are many…many better choices in .45 APC. I like shooting the 1911…****, I like the M9 (never failed me), but Springfield, Glock, Sig, H&K…the list goes on, provide modern .45 caliber pistols that outperform any brand 1911 in capacity, reliability, durability, accuracy…I think nostalgia played a role in this selection. I, likewise, do not see the emphasis on 25 yard groupings being a critical factor….a factor, sure, but worthy of mention in the article? How does it handle sand? How durable are its magazines? Anyway, I think I've made my point and I don't think I'm alone.

  13. I spent over 25 years 'walking the line' as a Firearms Instructor with a federal agency.And I like the 1911 in all it's permutations and variations- I own a few. However, this ever-growing attraction to and acquisition of custom .45s strikes me as something far more subjective than all the testing and evaluation justifies. In short, and having watched hundreds of tactical guys exercise their pistols, I think the real world reliability of these guns is highly suspect. No matter the production run, so many guns seem to be extremely magazine sensitive, notoriously picky about the ammo they're fed and brutal on any component called a spring.

    At some point, there needs to be a major reevaluation about what a secondary, back-up, CQB weapon (handgun or otherwise) should be. I would think that if the same refinement and improvement efforts were put into a more modern design to begin with, costs could be reduced while actual reliability would be better.

  14. I predict (and this will be my LAST post on this topic so I'll stir it up good before departure) that the Marines will finally stop drinkin' the 1911 Kool Aid sometime in the next 5 years or so, get on the bus and start shooting Glocks. Or, as R Lee Ermey referred to them, "the peak of handgun evolution". #justsayin

    Semper Fi

  15. There's a lot of great guns out there. I love the .45 (and am aware of my bias). Its capacity has always been a weakness IMO so I own para ord. I suspect a lot of the angst is because someone's BFF pistol wasn't selected and an inability to recognize shortcomings in their favorite solution.

    Why the 25m requirement? Uh, maybe because it's MARSOC? Hostage rescue and the ability to very precise are required capabilities.

    .45's are finicky with ammo? Maybe but military units are limited to ball.

    Cost is pretty close considering one is getting a top pistol, parts and armorer support. Then there is the consideration that another 1911 won't require building muscle memory across the organization.

    I'm interested in reading thoughtful well referenced comments. I'd be especially interested in discussions about the Springfield and S&W that lost. I might learn something but I suspect this is going to devolve.

  16. Still a good call Colt makes nice pistols only Kimber and Springfield could be the only real challengers but there production facilities are smaller than Colts.

  17. I couldn't agree more Kirk. The Glock is the simplest and most reliable handgun on the market. There is a reason 75% of American law enforcement and the world military and law enforcement use a Glock. I think the 1911 style is just nostalgia and a very bad choice. My last statement will be regarding the price issue. I agree with the ability to get an M&P or XDM or Glock more cost efficiently. My point with the price they are paying ia comparable price to other manufacturers of 1911 style pistols. They are expensive to make and that 1875 price is not a huge markup over cost. But, With the Glock, at retail price mind you, you could get 2 guns and spare parts and magazines for the same amount

    • Glocks are GREAT pistols. They really are.

      Don't they also have the most acccidental discharges also?

      How do they compare on accuracy?

      There's also the difference in ergonomics and the requirement to retrain and rebuild muscle memory in the whole force.

  18. Glocks out sale any other pistol 2 to 1, so of course they will have the most of any problem. When you consider the per capita problems it is far less than the 1911. I have shot thousands of rounds through my G22 and never hand a single problem. No stove pipes, no miss fire, no failure to feed or eject. Miss fires to me goes back to figure management and lack of training. Most cops don't train to shoot under stress, so they accidently pull the trigger due to anxiety and fear. I think the MarSoc guys won't have a problem with that or muscle memory after the 15000 round work up.

  19. FormerSFMedic | July 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply

    Colt 1911's are the same price as any other GOOD production 1911 on the market. Expensive? Not hardly.

  20. Colt lost the M4 contract so they get the pistol contract, business goes on, everyone profits except the consumer!

    • Kirk Abraham | July 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Reply

      Now THIS makes sense! You mean, this isn't solely based upon what's in the best interest of our troops? This isn't based primarily upon the best overall quality and value for the money? No, that couldn't be it…. (Yeah, RIGHT!)

  21. Jay.
    Not every pistol that comes out of the late 20th century is the answer to the proverbial maidens prayer. Also, not everyone goes gaga over the latest polymer model that comes out. It may be adopted in 1911, but the model of 1911 has far outlasted it's contemporaries.
    The P-38 and the P-08 and to some extent, the Browning Hi-Power has been consigned to the collectors and museums. Although during their heydays, these pistols were like wonderbread.
    The Colt model of 1911 is still around and is still popular to competitive shooters and some SpecOps units. This should serve as a testimony to it's design. Is it a pistol for every grunt out there? It was, until the early 80's and the reason that it was replaced because of NATO standardization to 9mm.
    There are others who quote studies and reports that there is hardly any difference between 9mm FMJ and .45 FMJ. But they are just that, readers of some report or other.
    Those who have dealt in death and dealt it firsthand know what they want. A .45cal round. And if these operators or SpecOps guys prefer a 1911, that is their prerogative. It's their lives on the line and it certainly behooves others to just respect their choice.
    The mag fed machinegun is now known as the IAR ( Infantry Automatic Rifle), not a DMR.
    Save your hanging for later.

    • Boy, did you hit the target! The 1911 was used in the Phillippines, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and every other skirmish in whatever BU-Fu location there was a shooting war. Always reliable, never jammed, dirty in the jungle, desert, wherever. Killed everyone! Shot thru winter clothing, banded chests, whatever! Talk to those boys who used it to kill with one shot and used it to kill and save their lives EVERY DAY OF THE WARS THEY WERE IN!!! Now somebody knocks it because it's still used but not part plastic and blah, blah, blah! No consideration for service or choice of the SPEC-OPS people who pick it? I carried one 1968-1970. Loved it and wanna buy this Marine version. Like you said, the other pistols? – Is there any evidence of their extensive combat experiences? By the way, i bought a Browning Hi-Power in 1970 for $112.50. still have it. Great pistol. Another John BROWNING SPECIAL!

  22. TadW.
    I have fired my share of pistols, but I always gravitate back to the 1911 and I have my reasons.
    Maybe the 75% of US law enforcement and other militaries prefer the Glock, but MARSOC doesn't. Label it nostalgia, or whatever.But MARSOC has come to a concensus. It's a 1911 in .45 that they want because they know it and they use it well.

  23. Well I understand the current number to develop muscle memory is 10,000 repititions.

    Not sure they are firing 15,000 rounds of .45 alone but even if they were you aren't going to manipulate the weapon 10,000 times unless you do a lot of one round magazine changes. (Then again, they can do it dry)

    Granted this is being extremely disciplined but we are talking about MARSOC.

  24. Oh boy, I hear the black helicopters in the distance…

  25. Frame cracks are included in the price. Next time use the same money, buy 3-4 m&ps for the price of one of those **** guns and outfit 3-4 times the amount of people.
    MARSOC wants this? Or their CoC to put in a shadowbox

    • You may want to note no one is talking about M&P failures because they didn't win the contract. You're making a huge assumption they didn't have problems. If there is something fishy we'll see S&W appeal the contract and likely win if they can prove their weapons were better.

  26. newell d anderson | July 21, 2012 at 8:05 am | Reply

    my colt combat comander, pre series '70, will shot a 5 gal. bucket all to pieces at 100 yds.
    the sites on the 1873 colt single action were designed by the army to be on at 100 yds.
    the idea that a hand gun is a 7 yd. weapon is a new idea thas just not valid!t i

    • 100 yds? Man I'd love to have had you in my comapany if you could shoot like that. However every manual I ever saw in the military said max effective range was 50 meters for any pistol. If you can reliably hit a bucket at 100 yds with a 1911 then god bless you but its not a rifle. Anything further out than 25yds should be engaged with a rifle. Claymores have a max effective range of 50 meters but I never saw anyone hit anything with them at that range. 25 meters was optimal.

      When I was in IOBC and the advanced course in the 80's we were told if the enemy is close enough that you can engage them with your pistol, you were screwed. SOF guys often get up close and at 7 meters every 1911 style pistol I've shot the round goes way high at that range.

      If you can reliably hit a bucket at 100 yds with a 1911 then god bless you but its not a rifle. Anything further out than 50yds should be engaged with a rifle.

    • Awww, that's nothing. I can shoot a Nut out of Squirrel's Assk at 150 yd. with my WW-II era. colt .45, while drinking a beer and smoking a chicken foot…Hahahaha!!!

  27. crackedlenses | July 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Reply

    Exactly. Why on earth would anyone pick the 1911 as a combat side-arm? The Marines couldn't possibly be using it because that's what works for them. It must be some deep dark plot by Colt to take over the world!


  28. What's with the .45s these days? My perception is that this is just macho ********. "My gun is bigger than your gun." Or am I missing something? Surely 9mm or .40 cal is plenty.

    • I agree with Markus. The 9mm and 40 give nearly double the ammo capacity, and with modern ammo and MarSoc skill they are just as deadly in a CQB scenario. You are right about the "mine is bigger than yours" crowd. I've been at the range shooting a 9mm and some guy tell me it's a girlie gun, that I need a 45. I've been told I need a 44 or 500 magnum when shooting my 45. I believe foreheads don't care what caliber the gun is, and my Sig 226 9 can cover 16 foreheads where my Kimber 45 only covers 8.

      • TadW
        Modern ammo. Which probably involves Hollowpoints and all the newfangled pow'r'ball' hydro-shock, etc… AGAIN, this is MARSOC, and MARSOC is a MILITARY unit. AGAIN the military is BANNED from using hollowpoints, dumdum rounds etc. The military is only AUTHORIZED to use ball ammo.
        The US Army ditched the .38 round in the Philippines during the Moro Wars. The .38 is basically a 9mm round. It took several .38 rounds to kill a bolo swinging Moro and in the process the Army was already taking casualties from ONE bolo armed fanatic.
        The Army ditched the .38 guns and used the .45 Colt SAA as an interim weapon. Development started on a .45 autoloader.
        It's easy to take forehead shots on targets that doesn't shoot back.
        Unless you are part of any SpecOp unit, I believe you should just respect their decision with regards to their choice of sidearm and caliber.
        By the way, KSK uses .45cal sidearms for CQB.

    • FormerSFMedic | July 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply

      There are some gun owners that invest alot of ego in their big caliber guns for sure. However, this isn't one of those cases. The MARSOC Marines and the MEU/SOC Marines don't care about ego or looking cool. They care about killing the enemy in combat. These guys are limited to FMJ ammo. With that said, neither the 45 or the 9 are really great at stopping threats in their tracks. With FMJ it's all about shot placement and the size of the projectile. So, the 45 is really the best choice for combat. In this case, the slower moving round is a big plus.

      Also, I suspect that the caliber is really an afterthought for these guys. In other words, they really wanted the 1911 pistol as their sidearm and the 45 is the only logical choice for this platform as a duty gun. Yes, the 9mm is pretty much equal to the capability of the 45 when using modern HP ammo but as I said, they don't use modern HP ammo. The 1911 is a high performance gun that will run for the shooter like NOTHING else. That is why they chose the 1911.

  29. FormerSFMedic | July 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply

    @ Kirk Abraham – They did choose the Colt 1911 based on the fact that it was the best gun for the job. There is no conspiracy here. The Marines have literally been testing and running these guns for years in order to pick the best one for the job. I hate it when people talk as if they understand this acquisistiin process when they clearly don't!! Did some big executive or politician have a hand in the process? Maybe. What you have to understand is that those executives and politicians only get the gun as far as the testing and evaluation. After that, it's the end users that ultimately decide what's best for them. In this case, it was the Marines for the MSOT's and MEU's that made the final decision on which gun passed and would be the best choice.

    I don't know why ANYONE would sour about this acquisition. The 1911 is a gun that has not been WIDELY used by other military units. Therefore, Commanders are VERY reluctant at allowing units (even special ones) to adopt such a weapon. These guys said, "NO, we don't want the M9, that is not going to work for us, we want the 1911." And guess what? They got it. Only 4,000 guns were needed and the Corps STILL allowed these guys to put these pistols through a complete battery of testing and a full trial process for the last 2 years +! We should be absolutely ecstatic for these guys. If you've been in the Military, you know that more often than not you have to settle for substandard because the acquisitions office or the Commander would NOT do the right thing. It doesn't matter if you need or not. They just don't give a s$&t. These guys stood up and told the powers that be that they wouldn't stand for second best. I say good on em'. Every Warfighter should be so fortunate!

  30. Guys I work in army procurement. That near $2000 price tag is cheap when you consider that several peoples salaries are being taken out of that money, not to mention all of the TDY trips paid out of it too. Also dont forget the pistols will be shipped to a depot who will charge to receive, store and ship them. Also all military depots are authorized 10% shrinkage so several weapons will disappear and need to be rebought.

  31. FormerSFMedic.
    Could it be that the pistol that was deemed obsolete by the powers that were still find favor with Combat Applications Group and MARSOC? Oh the horror of it all! Some have opined that Big Army specifically laid down requirements that would weed out a 1911 design for the now defunct .45 cal service pistol.
    It would have been a real slap in the face.
    Many have slandered the 1911 for being a range queen, but the fact is there are a lot of 1911 manufacturers out there. Some with excellent quality control, others, not so much. And the tampering of John Moses Browning's original design had some consequences. Tighter tolerance, full length guide rod, to name a couple.
    The 1911 has been widely imitated for good reason. The gun shoots and it shoots well.

  32. Back in 92 a Baltimore projects cop was shot in the back of his head (a solid middle skull hit) at a distence of about 1 ft with 9mm ball. Two under cover narcs shot the perp at a range of less than ten feet 17 times with hydrashocks mostly in the torso but also some leg and arm hits. Both the perp and the cop lived. Lots of gang bangers have been shot with 9mm and .40's and walked away with street cred scars to show off. Not so much with .45's.

    But as you can see there are as many opinions on calibars and pistols as people posting. Bottom line is if you cant hit what your shooting at the bullet size doesnt matter. For what its worth a good friend of mine who was in a SFG was clearing buildings and had to use his M-9. A taliban who had been smoking opium rushed out of an open door with an axe in his hand. My bud shot him 6 times in the chest with the 9mm and was saved only because his partner was able to swing around and snap off a burst that caught the guy in the head with a couple of rounds. I'll stay with one of my .45s. BTW I do have a 9mm because my wife perfers to shoot it.

  33. @DB Cooper: If it's the only thing avail or with ammo, I sure you'd agree, you'd want that in your hand!

  34. I don't suppose you ever wondered why the idiot villains always threw their guns @ superman after emptying the gun (why was it always revolvers?),they were to lame to try to use it as a bludgeoning weapon.

  35. Has glock & beretta fixed that little problem of breaking when they are dropped or run over by a vehicle yet?

    • Please ask the glock's bff on this forum.

      • Way back when Seal Team 6 was formed, they deemed the Beretta Model 92 as their autoloader of choice. Several thousand rounds later, they discovered that their Berettas were starting to crack.

  36. hmmm…. $22million, thats what 11,000 pistols, they really needed that many?

  37. Quick point on credibility so readers understand this is an experienced post…..I am in the arms business.
    I'll set aside my firearm preferences on the purchase, but here are things to consider….
    1. Is the price too high?
    While the cost looks high relative to purchasing a standard 1911 off the shelf, note that the following is included in the price:
    – years of interaction with gov to secure the bid
    – parts kits, Armorers training, travel, classes are all expensive items ( especially when amortized across a small number of guns purchased.
    – these guns are special so there are special parts.
    – special parts require reconfiguring manufacturing
    – working the gov requires extra testing standards and steps for shipping
    It is much more expensive than just making a standard gun, shipping and counting the money.

    2. Is the 45 and 1911 a bunch of machoism?
    Remember that the gov created the RFP with specific standards. The fact that it is 45 is likely so it is consistent with their ammo purchase and training of personnel.
    Reality is that with standard ball ammo, it packs more punch, but is much less accurate than a 9mm and the gun holds less ammo.
    If they bought self defense ammo, the 9mm would win on just about every measurement…..but they buy the cheap ammo.
    But at end of day, the 45 and 1911 is not accurate when compared to other duty pistols.
    (Army had to raise marksmanship levels twic when switch made to M9 as too many people were qualifying).
    – also, if the gov switched everyone away from the 1911, there would be significant training of personnel required…and this is NOT the time to do that. Accidents would happen and lives would be lost (especially if they went Glock/M&P striker fired system).
    – Note that you need to pull the trigger to disassemble a Glock. And with the safety in the trigger…that's tough to "feel" when gloves are on. and thats when an accidental discharge happens.

    3. Glock sells a lot more pistols to LE and Military around the world…they should have gone with them.
    – Glock does have a lot of LE presence……but that is because it is an inexpensive pistol to manufacture.
    – the facts are:
    Glock has traded their new guns to a Department in exchange for the old gun and made money. A used Beretta or Sig (even some S&W) will fetch $350 and the manufacturing cost of a Glock is about $150. They make a profit and then have everyone running around saying…" LE must carry it, so it has to be good".
    That's called great "Marketing"!!!!

    Has Glock and Beretta fixed their problems of breaking?
    This is funny as all gun companies have problems with guns. I can make any gun break….every company has problems. It's how they respond is what matters.
    Yes, Glock and Beretta has responded and fixed problems.
    The M9 is the most reliable gun available today.
    Glock has been good up to Gen 4 and are now fixing the flying guide rod problems.
    Know that some problems are more advised by people than others.

    Hope this helps……..

    • Rather than respond to the NUMEROUS issues I have with your post, I'll just ask this one: in interest of full disclosure, do you have any affiliation with Colt Firearms?

      • Sorry, I stopped reading your post after the first paragraph ~ then replied… All apologies Argo1 ~ still find a few points in point #1 price too high suspect, but please disregard my assertion that your a plant by Colt!! :)

    • Argo 1,
      Sir, I beg to disagree. The 1911 is not inaccurate. The 1911A1 as issued by the Army back in the 80's were old and worn down. They were also manufactured according to the original specs of Mr. Browning himself, ie; loose tolerances to keep them functioning under filthy conditions.
      The 1911A1 GI model as issued, is a fairly intimidating weapon to shoot. It has no beavertail and if you're not too careful, you'd end up with a bad case of hammerbite. Horror stories probably passed between soldiers about hammerbite and the recoil didn't help matters either. You have to go into that mindset that you're going to shoot a .45 and you better prepare yourself to tame the weapon.
      Next, there's the issue of training. If you would look at old video clips from the 70's, they were shooting the .45 1911 sideways, strong hand only, with the support hand on the hip. This doesn't help matters obviously.
      Then comes the issue of caliber. A 9mm pistol obviously has lower felt recoil than a .45. The 9mm doesn't jump as much and more easier to control. Hence, there is no fear factor involved when shooting a 9mm compared to a .45.
      Lastly, the design of the pistol itself. No hammerbite. This helps a lot. No more anticipation, no more cringing.
      A lot of these issues are already rectified by the modern 1911, the beavertail, much more accurate, reliable. Because there are a lot of 1911 vendors out there, quality will vary. However, since MARSOC decided on a single vendor, then it shouldn't be an issue.

    • I've got a G30 and had it for 5 years. Its been dropped in dirt, mud and water, used in the worst conditions, nothing has ever broken….it shoots everything I feed it and never a problem have I had with it.

  38. I tried for 25 years to qualify on the 45 while in the USN. No luck. Shot expert on the M16 but the WWII era 45 colts we were given were so loose I was afraid my weapon would blowback in my face with every shot. Nice to hear they're coming back, maybe the Navy can get one after the Marines discard them in 50-60 years…and yes, I'm jealous as all get out…I qualified with the 9mm Beretta easily but my heart is still with the Colt 45…even if you didn't hit anything with it, the noise down range would give the enemy a heart attack…

  39. My first platoon sergeant wore a "President's Hundred" tab. He could do incredible things with a .45.

  40. Let's not forget the subsonic part…

  41. Excellent point. Guilty as charged…

  42. Respectfully submitted, I think times they are a changin' and when we start using references from a war from 50+ years ago as to why the military isn't using alternate ammo and subsequent weapons…I mean come on… Do I even need to point out the fact that this rationale is suspect? I don't care if we've been doing it since Christ was a Corporal, does it make sense, is it the most effective way, what's in the best interest of our Marines? That's what I want to know. Which, by the way, is how the .45 cal round came about, as I understand it. The more things change ehh??

    • Kirk.
      Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it. The rationale is still valid. Come to think about it, if you compare the body size of Filipino Moros of a century ago, they are probably even more smaller than today's Taliban. And yet complaints come out from the battlefield that it takes multiple 9mm rounds to send them on their way to the 72 virgins.
      It's not about sentimentality. It's because the .45cal ball round knocks them down.
      This was MARSOC'S choice. And I don't think these guys will just say ok to what the brass think they should carry as a firearm.

    • P.S. Regarding the issue of alternate ammunition, the U.S. military has it's hands tied with this one. Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't it the Geneva Convention that banned hollowpoints, flat nosed bullets etc?

  43. What about Kimber? Didn't they get a contact a few years ago called the ICQB (Interim Close Quarter Battle Pistol)?

    • FormerSFMedic | July 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Reply

      The key word here is "Interim". The Kimber ICQB guns were just a temporary solution to a problem that was fixed with the new M45. The problem back in March 2003 was that the DET 1 guys needed a 1911 pistol for their inventory but there were none available at the time. The Precision Weapons Section at MCB Quantico didn't have the time or resources to get 1911's to the the DET in time for their deployment work up. So, the DET contacted Kimber after talking to the LAPD SWAT and asked for a 1911 built to their specs. Kimber delivered approximately 98 specialized 1911's to the DET in record time to fill the requirements for the DET's urgent needs. Those guns were to be used until the M45 contract was sorted out.

  44. I am wondering if the newly adopted .45 has the firing pin block and magazine cutoff? Oh,and do remember that the users will be provided with ball ammunition and not the much superior performing hollow points…..does the NATO ball 9mm outperform the 230 gr .45 ball in wounds and stopping? I figure that simplifies the vs. .45 argument. I managed to shoot expert consistently using a service .45. I suspect that blaming not being able to shoot one is a lack of practice and training. Yeah,they got old but they still worked . My personal govmint .45 has had about…..a wholelot of rounds and still has not cracked.

  45. The number greatly depends on the complexity of the task you're performing. 10,000 repetitions is the sort of number you'd see with complex grappling sequences, I'd guess pistol manipulations are a good deal lower.

  46. RE: Glocks and accidental discharges. Glocks do not have a large number of ACCIDENTAL dischargess, they have a large number of NEGLIGENT discharges, due to very poor training/lack of training, negligence and carelessness. Keep your finger off the trigger except when actually firing, and keep your finger out of the trigger guard when holstering and you won't have an accident discharge. You must pull a Glock trigger to get it to fire, don't pull the trigger and it won't accidentally fire. Simple as that. My experience with the Army, and from talking with LEOs, very little actual time is invested in continued weapons training. I know amatuer IPSC shooters that spend more time practicing in a week than must service members or LEOs spend in weapons training/practice in a year.

  47. OldCavSoldier | July 23, 2012 at 7:16 am | Reply

    In my old-guy view, I don't care what pistol the Marines selected, nor do I care about the price of the contract. What I *do* care about is that the Marine leadership has contracted for a .45ACP sidearm. Screw NATO and commonality of pistol ammo with NATO. Yes, the 9mm is a good cartridge, I am not arguing that. I look to the original reasoning for .45ACP and I think it still applies today.

  48. Oh interesting. Thanks man. Out of curiosity what do you think, out of personal preference is a better Weapon System? Because I hear Colt and S&W were dropping their quality standards.

  49. Those look like incredible guns. I wouldnt mind having some one on one time at a range with one and a case of ammunition.

  50. Coming from California we can't have the XDM, but I really like my XD….
    Semper Fi,

  51. Absolutely! I own a 1911 and would not trade it for anything. I am a .45 fan and if someone is so close I have to use a pistol I want a .45 Double and triple tapping is great at the range but when you only have time for one shot you have to make it count.

  52. S&P .45 with a Thumb Safety is going to be my next purchase.

  53. Guys,
    When you only make/buy a few of anything it costs a ton of money. Your run of the mill stock 1911 is $1000 or less because it is a clone of every other one made for the civilian market. Extra testing to insure it meets spec's plus added features not on civi modles drives the price up even more. The plus side is when this modle is offered to the public which it will the price will be much more affordable. Look at your flat screen TV's. They were developed for the airforce for fighter cockpits at $1 Million a pop. Now everyone can afford them.

  54. Oscar,
    I believe it was 3rd SFG who bought new Glock .45s years ago for their first deployment. They got rid of them immediately upon their return to Bragg. Those drop safetys caused to many accidentl discharges and what good is a combat pistol that cant be carried with a round in the chamber.

  55. Oscar,
    Back in 87 when the first M-9's procured began to fail the military sued Baretta and then tried to hide the fact the ******* that procured the ammo bought high pressure rounds loaded for full sized uzi's. Besides the fact the SEALs pistols are 20 years old and probably have more rounds through them than most people could count I'd want to examine the ammo to see whats been fired through them.

  56. ARGO Thanks for giving these guys a point by point explination of why the guns cost more than a civilian weapon. All of the extras the gov't pays for is to try to cut down od the manufacture providing crappy equipment.

  57. @ Oscar: Hague Convention 1899 — no dum-dums.

  58. The reason departments use Glocks isn't because there the best at all. Quite the opposite it's because there all around cheaper the firearm themselves and the cost of training is cheaper. There's nothing but point and squeeze so training is shorter so it's cheaper. Although if you look at departments that allow officers to provide there own firearm the ones that know about firearms don't use Glocks. Not that Glocks are bad just not the best.

  59. Darkwater.
    First of all, some other dude posted with the name Oscar so I'm ammending my handle. I came across this when he posted on" Regarding an armed Citizenry. That guy as I understand it as anti-gun. No way that we are the same person.
    Thanks for the correction there, man. Wasn't really sure if it was Geneva or The Hague. Thanks for pointing that one out. The trouble with people these days is that they push their own BFF's and opine how modern 9mm ammunition is more than a match for .45 ball. Or any type of modern ammunition for rifles for that matter. However, what they don't really understand that the U.S. military IS ALLOWED TO USE ONLY BALL AMMUNITION.

  60. BD Cooper. The way I understood it was that when Cdr Richard Marcinko formed Seal Team 6, the Beretta was not the standard issue for the US Military. Those Berettas were imported from Italy and they used it when they didn't have to go into the ocean. (They used S&W .357's for water ops)
    We all know that those guys from ST6 fire a volume of rounds and what they noticed that their new Berettas were starting to crack. Probably the reason why they shifted to the Sig.

    • Oscar, The Berettas cracked because the army ordered the wrong ammo from the Israelis/ They ordered the 9mm loaded FOR A FULL SIZED UZI! It was almost exactly on the 200th round the pistols started coming apart.

  61. I served in both WW2 and Korea, but as a non-combatant. As a civilian, my only targets are paper. In other words, I don't know squat about gunfighting. But if my life was on the line, there is no way I would trade the crisp trigger pull and low perceived recoil of any 1911 for the crummy trigger pull and high perceived recoil of a Glock. I was trained to shoot one-handed, and can still shoot a 1911 that way even though I'm crowding 90. A Glock? Fuggedaboutit!

  62. Earl I'm with you buddy. Like you, I just dont think a 1911 has much of a recoil.

  63. My new Colt Gold Cup stock out of the box was over 1250.00. If these are "Souped Up" your only talking another 600.00. **** Wilson combat sells 1911's all the way up to 5000.00 and there is a waiting list.

  64. Anything the Army buys will cost significantly more than a civilian version. Example. An M-4 costs the govt about $1500. DPMS offers the same weapon (semi automatic) for $720.

  65. MR. BD Cooper It is not hard to hit a target at a hundred yards with a colt 45 or for that mater any high powerd hand gun ,I have seen Tom Knapp hit a small exploding target at 100 yards with a 9mm.I have shot deer at a 125 yards using a rugar Security Six 357Mag. using my own hand loads a158gr. Speer hollowpoint with 8grns. Unique powder using CCI primers. I have a colt 45, 70Series with willaims 3dot sight set up and I can usually put all 8 shots on paper at a 100 yards. If a person is willing to practice, anything is possable. Most people shoot hand guns at 25-40 yards and not much more. but it does not mean in the right hands you can't do better.


  67. for those of you who wish to whine about the 1911 A1 being too much gun or too expensive or whatever, I used one for 20 years. I have been hit by one too. Trust me a 45 will put em down first time everytime. Whiners about the cost How much is your life worth? Now double that thats what a fighting Marine is worth. I wouldn't use a 9mm either our unit allowed certain makes of the 1911 A1 to be used. The last one I bought was a Kimber it's the best hands down.

  68. Hi. I am former USMC 2111 (Infantry Weapons Repairman) and was in from 81-85. My memory is a little hazy but I recall us armorers having to Magnaflux all of the M1911A1s in our armory. There were several hundred and the cracks in the barrels, slides, and frames were many. I suppose since the Corps stopped buying .45s in 1945 had something to do with it. I don't really have a point other than to say I am a big fan of the 1911A1 design and ballistics.

    Charlie is right, those pistols rattled like crazy and I see oscar addressed in his post about the loose tolerences which I assume are slide to frame. Rightly or wrongly, I assumed anyone who wore an expert pistol badge was, well I don't want to say it. As for me, since I had Aircrew wings I qualified with the .38 even though as an armorer I wore a .45 with 10 rounds for security at work.

  69. Colonel, I won't doubt your word on your pistol shooting abilities, I use to have those same abilities with rifles. To much time away from the range to claim any proficiency right now.

    Unfortunately, few people have the ability to hone the skill set you obviously have so you have to remember we are talking about your average soldiers shooting ability. I was once told by a weapons instructor that max effective range of a weapon was the maximum range a trained soldier could expect to hit the target 50% of the time. I don't know if that is the correct definition but people often confuse that with max leathal range.

    BTW In WW1 German Artillery officers were issued 32 rd drum magazines and tripods for thier pitols to engage targets out to 800 meters.

  70. Could you resend? Its not on the post page.

  71. Tornado, Found the site. I have also wondered what would happen in extrem cold. I met some 101 guys who had trouble with the name brand polymer mags cracking when the banged against something when the weathe got below freezing in the box.

    Also all plastic's suffer to varying degrees from the effects of UV which makes them brittle. Has any long term study been performed on these kind of weapons. Maybe plastic is cheaper to produce but metal may be better for the job.

  72. Moondawg, You are correct. Negligent discharges is the correct verbage. I do have to point out that US servicemembers (even in war zones) are not trusted with weapons or ammo so no one gets the carry/use experience needed tp get out of that careless mindset. And your also right that amatuer civilian shooters shoot more in a week than most soldiers do in a year. In many cases the soldier gets 9 rounds to zero then 40 to qualify.

  73. Well a lot of negaive comments on the price. As always the governement usually goes to the lowest bidder. So if 1875 for the pistol and spare parts is to high for ya, then I suspect all the others were higher. At any rate, the .45 is almost indestructable and proven pistol/round for a hundred years. Hard to improve on perfection.

  74. As a former navy corpsman when some wild eyed crazy individual is charging forward with the intent to kill you the 1911 45 cal is the weapon of choice. One round knocks him down the second for the head shot.

  75. This may be old but it deserves being said. The cracks came from a modificaion to the dust cover which was causing kinked and bound springs. Basically the guns were beating themselves to pieces.

    Colt was allowed to fix this and the problems are gone. The new ones feature a different spring and a modified dust cover that eliminates the kinking and binding of the spring.

  76. Colt is just a brand for a so-so quality product. Of the last 5 Colt 1911's I have had. three had to be worked on right out of the box. Of the last several Smiths and Kimbers, none had to be worked on, but for that price they better be better than their production models. Now if the army was smart (and that is a joke by itself) it should have gone with GLOCK, but then look at the stupidity (we all pay for by the way) they could not think out of the box for a truly good sidearm.

  77. This is for you Military personnel on this blog. If you were going to own just 1 1911 pistol, what would it be and why? I need some help. Thank you very much!

    P.S. I am a Glock fan, but I want to add a good 1911 to my collection. I shoot has a hobby and of course, for self defense if needed, lol

    God Bless our Men and Women in uniform!!

    • I carried a Springfield 1911 in Vietnam and own the Springfield mil spec today I love it no problems….

    • Colt is always my preference for a 1911 that is sub $2,000. If you want the best your looking at $3,000+ and that is Wilson Combat.

  78. I was 5th BTLN 297th inf/sct Alaska (arctic scouts). I learned survival tricks like wool mukluks and using grafite on crew served weapons at 40+ degrees below, in my 7yrs (total), I noticed many a sourdough packing a 45-1911. Next best thing to a 44mag. I'm buying a S&W 45-1911 becouse it's S&W, it's only $800.00, and becouse when I shoot something or someone I want them to DROP!!!

  79. FormerSFMedic, Thank you for commenting, the rants began to sound like my wife and her friends gossiping at the hair salon.

  80. Really!!! That's only $1875.00 a pistol!!! There are standard production 1911's out there for twice as much. These are going for real cheap compared to pistols of similar quality!

  81. 3" Springfield Micro-Compact in .45 cal. No complaints… 1.5lbs total weight. Add a Clipdraw and "viola" instant access, comfort, and draw… 5 o'Clock position.

  82. Law Of Attraction Pr | March 24, 2013 at 3:46 am | Reply

    Very energetic blog, I loved that bit. Will there be a

    part 2?

  83. Bigger bullets make bigger holes. Bigger holes mean they leak and fall down faster. Glocks and Springfield XD's are no fun to shoot in ,45. Sometimes there is no conspiracy its just that simple

    • Josh. I'm with you on that. 9mm's have a bad tendency to over penetrate thus not release the bullets energy into the target. People often mistake the over penetration for lethality superior to the .45.

      Just got my new P220 .45. Really looking forward to going though a bunch of ammo/

  84. The Colt 1911 is proven for CQC. It has the stopping power and it's an American company with history.

  85. Acquisitions 101, several factors go into deciding on equipment, not just COST……

    Semper Fi
    Keeping the tip of the spear SHARP

  86. Veteran Marine.. prefer the .45 by far, much appreciate tiny moa deviations in all my weapons, handguns particularly – I prefer any miss to be mine, not the weapon's. I can much easier tighten my own groups than a sloppy gun's groups.

    But I do love the discussion… best caliber, best motor oil, best tires.. always guaranteed to bring out the spirit.. :-)

  87. I bought a Springfield Armory 1911 a few years ago and was very unhappy with the out-of -the -box quality. Had frequent ejection malfunctions. Contacted Springfield Armory and was told that it was probably the ammunition. Changed ammo. Same problem. Was then told that it was probably a faulty spring. For them to honor the warranty, they said that I would have to bring the weapon to the manufacturing plant (a 6-7 hour round-trip) or ship it to them, which I did. Springfield Armory brought the weapon to good working order, however, they did not refund me the cost of shipping and shipping insurance (a considerable amount since it is a firearm.

    I won't do any more business with Springfield Armory!

  88. Maybe I don't have any business commenting about this. I've never been in a battle, never had the misfortune to be in a situation where I had to shoot anyone. Although, I've been in a few bad situations where things could have gone wrong, but using the proper response, avoided what could have been much worse. A calm voice, showing no fear and giving the bad guy a way out, is a wise strategy. I'm blabbering here. What I'm trying to say is, Every gun is a good gun, if you shoot it well under stressful conditions. I have been in several stressful times when a dangerous animal came out of nowhere and had to use my handgun. If a particular handgun makes you more proficient, then who can say anything bad about it. It's great to have such a variety to choose from.

  89. Part 2: I have owned a Colt 1911-A1 for 40 years. I am probably a better and faster shot with it than any other handgun. I have said for years that I would never own a GLOCK; I absolutely hated them. But really, I had no good reason why I did, other than I wasn't that fond of striker-fired handguns. Something else made me just hate them. It was everyone saying, Glock, Glock, the greatest pistols ever made. All I could say is, BULL. A year ago, I went into a gun store, fondled one for a while and couldn't find a thing wrong with it. It was a Glock-21 and I bought it. I think now it's probably the best defense handgun ever made. And I could go on and on why I think so, but that's not what I'm getting at. I love my 1911, I always will; like I said, I can't miss with it. But when it comes to defending one's life, I would now choose a Glock, or to be more precise a Glock-21.
    Why was I so determined to dislike them so vehemently? It was because of how everyone pumped-up how great they were, far better than everything else. The Glock pistols are not the absolute best handguns, but for personal defense, it is the one that works for me.

  90. Time to wake up…the contract was written for COLT. If the Marines really cared about the troops they would have issued them Glock 21s with a 13 round mag capacity verses the new pistol with a 7 or 8 round mag. I would bet that members of the selection board ….. will shortly be working as employees or paid advisers for Colt.

  91. BucketHead Esq. | July 31, 2014 at 10:46 pm | Reply

    I was given a Colt .45 that belonged to my Grandfather who carried it during WWII. He gave it to my Father for his use in Korea & he gave it to me for my time in Vietnam. Carried a 60 on the ground 1st Tour, kept a Colt .45, one in the pipe, 7 in the mag, in a normal Army issue black holster. I had two spare mags, 7 rds each in a standard canvas issue mag pouch, on a standard web belt. Used it four times, twice when my A Gunner was, (one killed & later one severely wounded, going for ammo during a long firefight)!! My .45 worked VERY well each time!! I must have missed one, I wounded one & killed two, all four were VC. 2nd Tour I went into Huey's, Door Gunner 1st & moved to Crew Chief after a fairly short OJT. Had the same .45, I never shot at anyone else with her but she was a comfort to have it on my hip!! She's still with me, she still works just fine. I did some upgrades, had some done by a Gunsmith. My Colt was made years ago but I always carry it as a backup to my MBR anytime, anywhere!! I now carry nothing but hollow points in all of my hand guns!! Bucket

  92. That’s just shy of $1900 per pistol. Seems like a lot to me for 8 rounds. They could have gotten that new Sig for at least $600 less…carries more .45 acp bullets too.

  93. i trained with the colt .45 when I was an active duty Marine , i used the same hand gun after i got out sure there are many other hand guns that come to mind but i have also sen a clock emptied and the perp still shoot and killed the officer after taking 6 of 15 rounds then onw .45 round center mass stopped him dead so is it how many rounds you fire even at close quarters or stopping power i would go with the .45 any day over a 9mm which i happen to own as well my self i perfer the .357 or .44mag auto mag

    • also about time they got what works for them and not something that was standard issue that never really worked well

  94. Most of these new weapon's will only see range fire and never be pulled in the line of duty. I carried a leftover WW-II .45 Colt back in the 80's while serving on sea duty guarding the Admiral of 7th.Flt. and it rattled like a bed in a Filipino whore house on Magsaysay Drive, but it got the job done. After returning stateside I worked in the 13 area armory at Camp Pendleton, (an older smaller armory), compared to the grunt camp armories around base, and I inventoried dozens of foot locker sized trunks stacked four rows deep with Colt .45 cal. pistols. What happen to all those .45's after the MC had it's Beretta 9mm brain fart??? It's all a waste of money and backroom dealing's . Give the Socom Marines the new fancy stuff and the left-overs can go to the hard core Grunt dog's in the FMF, who do more with less, than and other fighting force in the world. If you give them anything nice they might get spoiled. Hahaha,, Oooooh-Rahhhhh!!!

    • The question of where they all went is a good one. I remember reading once a long time before PC were around that after WW2 the army had over 200,000 .45s new in storage. Don't know if that is true but I wouldn't doubt it. The army doesn't know what it has in storage.

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