By now it is old news that Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. has awarded a $22.5 million contract to Colt Defense for its M1911A1 Rail Guns or M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistol (CQBP). The IQID contract accounts for roughly 4,000 pistols, all of which will be manufactured at Colt’s West Hartford facility.
The M1911A1 features a full Picatinny rail that will accommodate a number of mission specific accessories. The M45 also features a dual recoil system that Colt says will mitigate recoil, a move that was preceded by Glock Inc. in their Gen 4 designs. Although there may be some recoil reduction, the more likely reason is that a dual recoil system will enhance frame longevity, which was specified as 20,000 rounds. Finally, the M1911A1 will have a greater number of stainless steel parts that will improve corrosion resistance. What has us intreagued is the choice of a 1911 style pistol over the more modern designs available in .45ACP.
The 1911 style pistols are more complicated to field strip; they have smaller ejection ports, so stove pipes are more common; they have larger grips, so individuals with smaller hands may find it more challenging to shoot; they have a smaller magazine capacity, usually 7+1; finally, they are somewhat heavier. On the plus side, they are extremely accurate in the hands of a skilled shooter.
We certainly see the need for a .45ACP service pistol, especially as the services look to the Asia-Pacific rim, and we also recognize that the U.S.M.C. has considerable experience with the 1911. But, was the 1911 frame the best available choice given the totality of what is available COTS today? This is a question that we will continue to explore as more information becomes available.