For more than 100 years, one weapon has traveled with American troops into almost every conflict, hot spot, and war the United States has participated in; The 1911.

The 1911 pistol was not only known for its durability and stopping power, but it was also a huge favorite of Delta Force’s founder, Colonel Charles Beckwith.

For years, the US Army’s legendary special missions unit 1st SFOD-D (The Unit) has made considerable use of the legendary M1911 pistol, chambered for .45ACP.

What 1911 does the military use?
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaitlin Rowell)

In addition to Delta using the 1911, the United States Marine Corps issued M1911s to Force Recon units.

Colt M1911A1 frames were stripped down, deburred, and prepared for additional use by the Marine Corps Precision Weapon Section (PWS) at Marine Corps Base Quantico. The pistols were then assembled with after-market grip safeties, ambidextrous thumb safeties, accurized triggers, improved high-visibility sights, match-grade barrels, grips, and improved Wilson Combat magazines. These hand-made pistols were fine-tuned to the specifications and preferences of the Marine Corps.

The Marine Corps laid out a series of specifications and improvements to make Browning’s design ready for 21st-century combat, many of which have been included in MEU(SOC) pistol designs, but design and supply time was limited. Discovering how pleased the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was with their custom Kimber M1911 pistols, a request was issued to Kimber for just such a pistol despite the imminent release of their Custom TLE/RLII models.

Kimber began producing a limited number of what would be later termed the Interim Close Quarters Battle pistol (ICQB). Maintaining the simple 1911 recoil assembly, 5-inch stainless steel match grade barrel, and internal extractor.; the ICQB pistol was not much different from Browning’s original design.

In July 2012, the United States Marine Corps placed a $22.5 million order with Colt for 12,000 M1911 pistols for its MEU(SOC) units. The new 1911 was designated the M45A1 or “Close Quarters Battle Pistol” (CQBP). The M45A1 featured a dual recoil spring assembly, Picatinny rails, and a Cerakoted tan color scheme.

M45A1 pistols continue to see regular use today with Marine Force Recon Battalions, in addition to other specialized Marine Corps units. Additionally, both U.S. Army Special Forces Units and SFOD-D continue to use modernized M1911 pistols.


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