Military Times: Coltâ€™s prototypes for the Corps have a desert-color Cercoat finish, eliminating glare on the weapon and making it less identifiable at a distance…. [T]his model has a section of 1913 Picatinny rail under the barrel to mount accessories such as a light or laser aiming device. They also have more stainless steel internal components to reduce corrosion. Theyâ€™re equipped with a tritium night sight made by Novak of Parkersburg, W.Va.
30 years after the US Armed Forces went to a 9mm Parabellum Beretta, the United States Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) has re-adopted John Moses Browning’s original single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated Model 1911 pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge as its issue sidearm, to be produced (in what amounts to a typically-customized contemporary version) by the original manufacturer: Colt Manufacturing LLC of Hartford, Connecticut.
Stars and Stripes story
As “Col. Colt” puts it on the 1911 Forum:
Everything you need, nothing you don’t. The Colt 1911 has been stopping fights and saving it’s owners lives for 100 years now. And during most of that time it did it just fine dead, issue, box stock with 230gr. roundnosed jacketed Ball ammo! It built it’s “street rep” on it’s as issued form – think about that for a minute.
The American Soldier, Sailor or Airman never had any doubts that his issue handgun would work – or that it woud put his adversary on his back immediately if he did his part. It made it’s reputation from doing, not talk. From chasing Pancho Villa in the nineteen “teens, to the deadly trenches of WWI, to shooting down the Japanese Banzai charge in the dark on Edson’s Ridge on Guadalcanal, the American Fighting Man could count on his 1911 – and we still can. Korea, Vietnam, all the way up to the present day, nobody ever felt undergunned in the handgun department who carried the 1911.
Steve the skeptic discusses the politics behind the choice:
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.
Note the difference in size.
One of the US military’s major historic mistakes is being rectified. Strategy Page reports that the Department of Defense has announced that the United States is going back to the hallowed .45 ACP cartridge as the chambering for US issue sidearms.
January 27, 2006: After two decades of use, the U.S. Department of Defense is getting rid of its Beretta M9 9mm pistol, and going back to the 11.4mm (.45 caliber) weapon. There have been constant complaints about the lesser (compared to the .45) hitting power of the 9mm. And in the last few years, SOCOM (Special Operations Command) and the marines have officially adopted .45 caliber pistols as “official alternatives” to the M9 Beretta. But now SOCOM has been given the task of finding a design that will be suitable as the JCP (Joint Combat Pistol). Various designs are being evaluated, but all must be .45 caliber and have a eight round magazine (at least), and high capacity mags holding up to 15. The new .45 will also have a rail up top for attachments, and be able to take a silencer. Length must be no more than 9.65 inches, and width no more than 1.53 inches.
The M1911 .45 caliber pistol that the 9mm Beretta replaced in 1985, was, as its nomenclature implied, an old design. There are several modern designs out there for .45 caliber pistols that are lighter, carry more ammo and are easier to maintain than the pre-World War I M1911 (which is actually about a century old, as a design). The Department of Defense plans to buy 645,000 JCPs.
SOCOM will, with input from other branches, handle the evaluation and final selection. This will take place this year, and if the military moves with unaccustomed alacrity, troops could start getting their JCPs next year. But don’t hold your breath.
The US military switched from a .38 issue cartridge to the .45 with the adoption of John Moses Browning’s renowned Model 1911, as the result of unhappy experiences with the lack of stopping power of the smaller round against earlier Islamic opponents: the Moro pirates of the Philippine Insurrection.
.45 ACP cartridge history