Gunner’s Journal

The 1911 Worlds Finest Handgun!

Interesting News From The Spec Ops World

Posted by Gunner on September 12, 2011

I received this information from a friend in the Special Ops community. I thought i’d just cut and paste his email for your reading.This information is in no way classified but I will not use his name for obvious reasons.

Glock 22 40 Cal Rough Frame

The Army did drop the 1911 about 3 years ago for the Glock 22 rough texture frame which was “experimental” at the time. Glock really didn’t know if they were gonna go with it commercially at the time but since others in the community liked it, they put it on some Gen 4 guns.

There was a down select to the STI 2011 and Glock 22 in .40S&W. The 1911 were costing us way to much per gun to keep them running. Parts, labor, X-rays, you get the picture. Even when Kentucky (Lexington Depot) would build a gun, the unit gunsmiths would practically and literally rebuild the gun for the individual operator during the training course. There was a contract let years ago for a select manufacturer to make the frames and slides and several different parts and barrel manufacturers to make the internals. Much like the MEU/MARSOC pistols a while ago they just got to expensive.
And we changed the way we shoot. In training Army it was two in the chest and one in skull if needed. Now, if I give you 1 you are getting 2, if I give you 2 your are getting 5, if you get 5 then you get the rest of the mag. Plain and simple I am not going to let you get up and hurt one of my team mates.
And we will put all my shots right across your pelvis and then the shoulder girdle. I don’t care if you got a trauma team on hand, 5 shots across the pelvis and you ain’t getting up. The enemy is likely to wear some kind of armor now a days just as much as we are. 2 in a 3×5 card ain’t cutting it. So there are lots more ammo expended in training, which effects how well the guns hold up also.

We went through several different down selects for a double stack auto. The STI did not hold up to OTC and the students did not want to run their go-no go shooting test with a chance of failing. One Sabre SQDN got issued both guns and the guys selected to deploy with the Glocks to Iraq. So that ended the question. Now there is a cornucopia of 22’s, 23’s and 27’s across that command. We went from the 228 to the G-19/ G-26 and G-30’s.

And I understand the Navy has dropped the Sig and now gone to the HK (I want to say the) P-30 family in 9mm. I don’t know if they are going to the .40S&W? Air Force STS went to the G-22/23/27 and HK-416 cuz their Army partners did. Really all of JSOC is following what the Army Unit does.


Well here we go again. Just as we think all is lined out we have one service who doesn’t want to play ball. I know the Marines are broke but geez. Of course has been wrong before—many times.

Marine special operators may have a new pistol by years’ end, but it won’t be the latest in sidearm technology.
The Corps’ weapons officials are bypassing decades of handgun innovations and sticking with the revered .45 caliber 1911 for its new Close Quarters Battle Pistol.
The service launched the effort to replace the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command M45 pistol, another 1911 design, in spring 2010.
The Marines want to take the manufacturing burden off of the internal gunsmiths who currently custom build the M45 and tap a commercial gun maker to provide a similar pistol.

But some military pistol experts maintain that the 1911 design, while extremely accurate, requires more training and care than other modern tactical pistols.
“You’ve got to be more dialed in on keeping it lubed; you’ve got to be more dialed in on trouble-shooting if there is parts or magazine issues,” said Larry Vickers, a well-known tactical pistol instructor and 1911 expert.
Marine weapons officials, however, are satisfied with the design and already have the money for a commercial off-the-shelf 1911 pistol, Clark said. Starting a new pistol program would require additional approval and could be a gamble as billions of dollars in defense cuts loom over all of the services, Marine officials said.
Like the M45, the new Close Quarters Battle Pistol will be “more accurate and more reliable than just the standard 1911” and will be equipped with a Picatinny rail for mounting weapon lights, said Charles Clark III, who oversees infantry weapons requirements at the Corps’ Combat Development and Integration office in Quantico, Va.
Clark acknowledged that the service is in the middle of “source selection” but would not provide any details on the gun manufactures involved in the competition.
One contender is the Springfield Armory Full Size MC Operator, a 1911 design that looks very much like the M45. It has also been reported that the Marines are also looking at a version of Colt’s custom 1911 rail gun.
The Marines hope to make a selection by the end of this year, Clark said.
Like other services, the Corps issues the standard M9 9mm pistol to its conventional troops, and has no plans to change that anytime soon, Clark said.

The service began issuing custom 1911 .45 pistols to its elite Force Reconnaissance units in the 1990s. Gunsmiths at the Quantico Weapons Training Battalion Precision Weapons Section hand built them from old 1911s that had been replaced by the M9 in the mid 1980s.
With the creation of the first MARSOC units in 2006, the Corps began issuing the slightly updated M45. It features improved ergonomics, a custom trigger and better sights.
The problem, Clark said, is that the creation of MARSOC has caused the requirement to grow from 400 pistols to 4,000 pistols. Finding enough surplus 1911s for the Precision Weapons Section’s custom rebuilds became impractical.
That increased growth made it “really unworkable to have a hand-built solution,” Clark said.
Other special operations units — including the Navy SEALs — have upgraded to more modern handguns such as the Sig Sauer P226.
Vickers, who spent his Army career serving in special operations units, teaches the intricacies of the 1911 in one of his most popular Vickers Tactical courses.
In many ways, the 1911 is comparable to the M16 family, Vickers said. It’s extremely ergonomic and very accurate like the M16, but it suffers from reliability problems if it’s not properly maintained.

“It requires a higher degree of end-user sophistication to keep it running,” said Vickers, who prefers a Glock 17 for its reliability and simple design.
Marine officials maintain that the service has the money to replace the M45 with something similar. Choosing a more modern pistol would call for a new requirement, a venture that’s unlikely to win approval as the Pentagon faces massive cuts to defense spending, Clark said.
“With the constrained fiscal environment, getting a new requirement approved requires a separate funding line,” he said.

A bit of proof for the naysayers who seem to refuse to believe the above changes in handguns for the Spec Ops world. These photos are from an un-named arms room. There are Glocks in several models and a few 1911’s. These are gen 3 and gen 4 Glocks. These pics were sent to me from “Taz” and many thanks for his help! As they say a picture is worth a thousand words:-)




Copyright photos

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31 Responses to “Interesting News From The Spec Ops World”

  1. Huey said

    wow, that is interesting as hell….. .40, I can see that!

  2. Gunner said


    Glad you liked it. It sure was interesting to me as well! Especially the new training regimen.

  3. mike said

    And here we go again!

    There are so many things wrong with this I can’t begin to explain.
    They wanted the G-22 but due to old timers sitting on their ass at HQ-USMC, they couldn’t get away from the boat anchor.
    7 rounds? Get real.
    Ahhh, back in my day we didn’t fight but one or two at at time.
    I guaranteeeeee you, any one in a gun fight will carry as much ammo in as little space as possible.

    Find one 1911 that will hold up to the amount of rounds they are gonna shoot and I’ll buy one.

    Good frickin’ luck!

  4. Gunner said


    I can’t believe they stirring the pot again after what I thought was the end of the discussion. The least they could do is go with a 40 wide body frame with 14 rounds. Oh yea no money! As far as myself I’ll take an M4 in 6.8 SPC along with the already chosen Glock in 40.
    As a retired officer a 1911 is great but not in a war zone with multiple adversaries.

  5. FormerSFMedic said

    Good story, but old news. The D-Boys were running the STI guns as late as 2008 and started running the Glocks in the same year.

  6. Gunner said

    True it is old news but I have been seeing more and more postings on as well as others who swear everyone has 1911’s. I was getting a bit tired of this erroneous information. My friend in the community ran down the time lines and weapons adopted.


  7. Greg Weber said

    Hi Phil,
    Found this article to be very interesting. I was surpised to learn that the military was moving away from their 1911s, SIGs, and HKs in favor of Glocks. Seems that up until now the military has avoided striker fired pistols and anything without traditional safeties/decockers. The Spec Op guys moving towards Glocks brings me to a question I’ve been pondering and thought you could help.
    I’m looking for what is commonly refered as a SHTF pistol and have been focusing on Glocks and XD/XDMs due to their apparent reliability and durability. However, when looking on the various gun blogs, this issue quickly degenerates into a mud-wrestling contest between parties loyal to a certain brand.
    I’ve rented and fired service sized examples of both brands and found the XDM a tad easier to shoot due to it’s ergos, but with a little concentration the Glock shot well too! In a SHTF situation does Glock’s apparent lead in parts availability and accessories become a deciding factor? What is your take on these these two brand of pistols?
    It’s been awhile since we’ve talked—hope that all is well with you.


  8. Gunner said

    email sent=—–

  9. Atom Anteus said

    Folks, USMC may still be fiddling with the 1911, but MARSOC, at least certain “operators, shooters, members” what-have-you are training and deploying with Glock 17 9mm sidearms. Fact, not conjecture. Why can’t the USMC just go with these guns and maybe the HK45, Naval Special Warfare is already procuring the HK45C. Marines, the original Naval Special Warfare group, should put down their relics and follow suit, preferably with the additional improvements suggested by Larry Vickers, then again… what does a bonafide DELTA operator know and co-designer of said pistol know?

  10. David said

    I have yet to have an auto pistol that didn’t fail at some point. That includes the higly lauded 3rd Gen S&W, HK, Colt 1911(old and new) and most recently, the marvelous Glock(G30SF).

    It’s a truth that it takes more to keep the 1911 “alive” as there are many testomonies to that fact, myself included. there are the most fincky I’ve seen to date with magazines/springs/ammo than any pistol I’ve seen. Ergonomics and trigger? You can’t beat them but they’re a pain when things start to go wrong.

    I don’t prescribe to the “spray and pray” crowd who thinks anything less than 17 rounds is ancient history. There still are many who choose the revolver over autos and rightly so given the above and that’s not without merit. I’d rather have six sure tilmes I pull the trigger someting happens that hope I’ll get through 12 or so without a FTE, FTF or FTRTB issues.

    Anyone who says, “I’ve shot x amount of rounds through my G19 and it’s never failed”, hasn’t had it long enough or shot it enough. Sooner or later things happen. My G30SF started eating magazines for some reason and wouldn’t go fully into battery after just 300 rounds. I’m still workiing on it.

  11. Gunner said


    I have had one that never did fail in any way. I certainly agree with you in general though. The one I shot for years was an early German P-226. You are 100% correct that many people talk about such and such gun has never failed but then most don’t if you only shoot a few hundred rounds:-)
    Having worked the street in some very bad areas I carried a revolver for many years before we started carrying semi autos. The bottom line with either one is hit with that first round. If you need 17 rounds to get the job done you are very much in trouble!
    By the way Glock has a voluntary recall of the recoil assembly on the gen 4 guns.

  12. I found your page via KitUp and enjoyed the article very much. Things with moving parts, shock, pressure and heat eventually fail (btw, I Have sent 100s of thousands of training/competition/teaching rounds downrange). Once my extremely well cared-for S&W M-13 failed in a class. Not a backed out primer. The ejector rod came loose and I hadn’t notice (forehead slap). On another occasion my BHP seized up. I had fired so many rounds through it that the lug halfway tore off the bottom of the barrel! Again, terrific info and Thanks so much!

  13. Gunner said


    Thanks very much and you are very welcome! I’m glad the info has been helpful and that’s my main purpose for the blog.It’s always good to know from readers I’m doing well:-)


  14. uscca said

    I use Glock guns for concealed carry, so it is reassuring that many in Spec Ops also find them reliable

  15. Gunner said

    They proved to be reliable in testing prior to adoption by most of that community. The primary reason for adopting another pistol is the cost of maintaining the 1911 and customization for each operator.
    The Marines recently announced they will stay with the 1911 and will adopt a new model in the future.

  16. ack! I lost my darned post. My question of the moment is why would you select the Glock 27 going overseas or to a dangerous place? I love mine, but I find that my Sig P229 has just as low a profile in a good IWB holster. For me I imagine the Glock is a lot lighter for long days. My Glock 27 is one of my three favorite serious handguns so I’m happy to see that serious folk are choosing it!

    Thanks for the great update and everyone for your posts!

  17. ack! This is my third try because I hadn’t logged in! duh.
    My question for the moment is why do you think that the Glock 27 is one of the choices people make when they’re going overseas? My G-27 (which I also have a Storm Lake dual port .357Sig barrel for) is one of my three favorite serious sidearms but I find that in a good IWB holster my Sig P229 is as low a profile under even a t-shirt. I’m guessing both the weight and that most people don’t like the rather heavy Sig first DA. What do you think?

  18. Gunner said

    Now they are buying model 22’s (gen 4) as the newest Glock. I think they just hold up well in that environment. The price for large purchases never hurts either!

  19. BLACK said

    Good read… not the first I have heard about the Glocks being used by HSLD types in theatre and hopefully not the last. I have heard tale of some Marine sniper teams utilizing the XD platform in theatre as well but this information was only regurgitated from one mouth who is a BTDT type back in CONUS briefly on R&R .

  20. Gunner said


    I haven’t heard about the XD’s but I guess anything is possible. I know SF was so short of Glocks they took the M9 over to the Gan and swapped out with the troops rotating back to CONUS. They get the Glocks and the returning troops take the M9’s. Hot swap as they called it.
    They had to change out the recoil system on the gen 4’s per Glocks recall but other than that they like them alright. The Marines just started a selection for another 1911 so it appears they are staying with the old tried and true.

  21. BradmanTaz said

    Gunner, MARSOC also has a number of Glock 19’s (as do various other tier 2 SOF types) and M9A1’s in inventory (as well as a small number of 26’s and other goodies)- idea for MARSOC is to have a one 9mm and one .45 in inventory for specific purposes as a secondary to the Operator’s primary weapon.

    contact me if you want pics.

  22. Gunner said

    Good deal I’d like to have some photos:-)

  23. BradmanTaz said

    I forgot who said something about it being a relic but the 1911 is purpose oriented weapon, MARSOC has enough “gats/sidearms” for every trigger puller and then some, each shooter is issued ONE .45 and ONE 9mm, current designation for the .45 is the M45 and as for the 9mm, depending on which coast you’re on you either get an M9A1 or a Glock 19 (with option of 26), I know for a fact that east coast MSOB’s have the 19’s.

    As for limited capacity, they’d currently being carried with Wilson mags but also have McCormick extended 10rnd mags. The reason they’ve stuck with the 1911/M45 and not gone with another .45 is because it’s a proven platform, they use them specifically for their DA stuff where they might need a highly accurized weapon handgun if using their primary weapon is not an option, such at CT or Hostage Rescue missions. So it’s pretty much comes down to this, 1911’s for DA/Raid type taskings, 9mm’s for everything else….

    have a good’un

  24. BradmanTaz said

    Also, NO ONE is using the XD as there’s currently no NSN for it (great weapon though), units, no matter who they are just go out with unit funds/credit cards and buy shit like that… for weapons/toys, if it doesn’t have an NSN or if GSA doesn’t have it in a warehouse, you’re not getting it…. Glocks have NSN’s, why they are carried, various 1911’s and parts/parts kits have NSN’s, why they are carried….

    have a good’un

  25. […] […]

  26. Ken del Valle said

    Got my first Army surplus 1911 in 1962 when I was 15. Later I did three tours in Nam with a 1911. After Nam I also used a 1911 in some contract work over a period of about fifteen years.

    However, in my dotage I have been carring Glocks. The potency of today’s 9 mm cartridges combined with the simplicity of operation, reliability and high capacity make a Glock 19 or 17 a wise choice. Both pistols are utile for the novice as well as for the expert. I think they are good military side arms and good civilian primary response pistols. Remember, everybody in uniform goes in rifle first.
    The interchangeability of Glock magazines with after market sleeves make any smaller Glock more effective.

    The .40 caliber Glocks require a little more practice but they are more effective.

    Lately, I have moved on to the Glock 31 and 32 as well as the Sig 229 in .357 Sig. The 125 grain .357 Sig Speer Gold Dot cartridge is better than any 9mm or .40 cal. And I think it may well be up there with the best .45 ACP’s … if not better.

    If we are looking for an effective round that can fit in high cap pistols we should really give the .357 Sig a closer look. Shooting it from a Sig 229 is a treat. Unfortunately Sig pistols that shoot the .357 Sig round only take twelve plus one in the tube.

    Still, however, my bedside pistol is a 1911. Hammer back, no tumb safety and tritium night sights.

  27. Matt said

    “The reason they’ve stuck with the 1911/M45 and not gone with another .45 is because it’s a proven platform, they use them specifically for their DA stuff where they might need a highly accurized weapon handgun if using their primary weapon is not an option, such at CT or Hostage Rescue missions. So it’s pretty much comes down to this, 1911′s for DA/Raid type taskings, 9mm’s for everything else….”

    That right there is why the 1911 is still a viable combat weapon. #1 without a stock, in fact. If a silenced .45 is required, a chopper or per-definition Offensive Handgun (HK, FN, Sig, etc.) would get the nod but other than that, if you HAVE to take a pistol to an action, a reliable 1911 is probably your best bet.

  28. Matt said

    Or such as the old time plainclothes Dick’s trick, well a system some of them used, of carrying a GM and a hammerless J frame. Jerk and work the snub in an emergency. Anytime you have the time, draw 1911 and approach danger. Would work fine today with any number of striker subcompacts in place of the snub, and carry positions

  29. […] GLOCKS are being used by our military. Read this: […]

  30. bradmantaz said

    1911’s are great, but IF I had to go back into harm’s way, I’d still want my old M9 or a Glock since those are the two systems I trained on and know won’t fail on me…. 1911’s require a bit of love and TLC to keep going, great weapons, but expensive to maintain…. now IF I could have any .45acp on my hip, I’d want the HK45c that NSWC adopted, think they called it the Mk 24 Mod 0 or something of the like….

  31. bradmantaz said

    Shit, or a G21SF or G30

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