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New pistol in works for Force Recon units

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Ed Straker, Jan 6, 2004.

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  1. Ed Straker

    Ed Straker Well-Known Member

    This Week's Marine Corps Times
    _Issue Date: January 12, 2004
    New pistol in works for Force Recon units
    Hand-built .45s to be replaced with a gun that is easier to repair
    By Christian Lowe and Gidget Fuentes
    Times staff writers
    Force Reconnaissance Marines may have a new pistol in their holsters by the end of the year, one that will replace the last of the Corps' M1911A1 .45-caliber pistols still in action.
    The Corps is asking gun makers for a new .45-caliber pistol to replace the modified M1911A1 pistol now used for close-quarters combat and direct-action missions.
    Officials with Marine Corps Systems Command at Quantico, Va., will issue a new request for proposals sometime in the next few months, said Lt. Col. Brent A. Smith, SysCom's infantry weapons program manager. The Corps plans to purchase up to 1,100 of the new pistols under a $1.9 million contract, and fielding should begin in the fall.
    "It's going to be vastly superior to anything we've had," Smith said.
    Currently, Force Recon teams and members of Special Operations Training Groups use the MEU(SOC) .45, a specially modified pistol built from M1911A1 pistols left after the shift to the M9 9mm pistol in 1986.
    Force Recon Marines, who often see close-quarters combat, said the M9 didn't have the one-shot stopping power they needed at close ranges. So they opted for the MEU(SOC) .45, hand-built by Precision Weapons Section armorers at Quantico.
    But those pistols break down more frequently, and the time and expense of fixing them led the Corps to search for a replacement, said Maj. Mike Manning, director of infantry weapons programs at Systems Command.
    Instead of buying a new pistol, the Corps in 2001 modified the MEU(SOC) .45 with a M1913 rail system, which allows the user to attach flashlights, laser pointers or other accessories.
    That rail system couldn't take the beating of near-constant use, however. A Marine typically fires 15,000 rounds through a MEU(SOC) .45 during a deployment, but the pistols failed much sooner when rail systems were added.
    "We put it through a limited evaluation, but the rail cracked after 7,000 rounds on average," Manning said. "So we said, 'Where do we go from here?'"
    A growing need
    The need for a new pistol grew in 2002 as the number of recon Marines increased and a detachment of Marines was added to the ranks of U.S. Special Operations Command.
    Last year, Marine Corps Special Operations Detachment 1 got a new .45 to use in the interim, a modified Kimber 1911 that's unique to the new unit.
    For the Force Recon community, SysCom sought proposals last April from gun makers for a replacement based on the current MEU(SOC) .45 design.
    Three gun makers sent test weapons for a shoot-off at Quantico, but all three were found lacking, Manning said. They all "went to 10,000 rounds before failures," Manning said, but it wasn't enough for a proper evaluation by Marine testers. So it was back to the drawing board.
    On Nov. 21, the Corps went to gun manufacturers with a broadened proposal that opened the playing field by eliminating the requirement that the replacement .45 be based on the MEU(SOC) design.
    Among the requirements is a mandate that the new pistol be easier to fix than the hand-built MEU(SOC) .45, which must be sent to Quantico for repairs.
    Easy maintenance
    "This is the single biggest key performance parameter for a unit. It has got to have drop-in parts," Smith said. "This is a problem we have with the current MEU(SOC) pistol."
    By easing design restrictions, SysCom officials hope to lure more manufacturers to submit their top designs.
    "We will encourage the industry folks to send us their best and to be innovative," Smith said.
    A Dec. 17 vendor session at Quantico, for instance, attracted 10 U.S. and foreign gun makers.
    "All of them said they can make a .45-caliber pistol that meets or exceeds our requirements," Smith said.
    It's a small part of the Corps' weapons inventory, Smith said, but the pistol "is something absolutely critical that the MEU(SOC)s have."
    In the meantime, the MEU(SOC) .45 remains a popular weapon among Marines.
    "It is reliable," said Patrick A. Rogers, a weapons expert and retired chief warrant officer and New York police sergeant. "While nothing that can be held in two hands can be guaranteed to take out an opponent every time, the .45 has a larger diameter projectile" than the 9mm round.
    "Large holes mean more air in, and more air out," Rogers said, adding "the ergonomics and consistent trigger pull make the pistol easier and faster to shoot accurately."

  2. 7.62FullMetalJacket

    7.62FullMetalJacket Well-Known Member

    The last stand for the 1911 in the military. It took 100 years.

    Any ideas regarding what will replace it? 15,000 rounds per deployment? That is a lot of dead paper or BGs.
  3. 444

    444 Well-Known Member

    Pat Rogers, where are you ?
  4. Waste of Money

    Waste of Money Well-Known Member

    Might be a good place for the SIG GSR to go through the wringer and see if it's colors will hold. I'm sure alot of folks would be more willing to purchase it if it could pass the USMC criteria. Even if not selected, any pistol which does pass should benefit.
  5. VG

    VG Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2004
  6. dsk

    dsk Well-Known Member

    I'm just really amazed that the pistols would go 10,000 rounds before crapping out yet STILL weren't considered good enough. Now, I'm not an MEU operative (nor do I play one on the PC), but it seems to me if they're gonna run guns into the ground like that they should be receiving new ones on a regular basis. I personally think they're asking for the moon and sky to expect any handgun to take that sort of beating and not fail, especially if they run that much lead through them each year.
  7. 7.62FullMetalJacket

    7.62FullMetalJacket Well-Known Member

    They expect 15,000 rounde per deployment. If it were a year, that would be 500 rounds per day for 300 days. Yowza. I am glad I do not load the magazines :what:
  8. lotus

    lotus Well-Known Member

    Written by 7.62FullMetalJacket:
    That's 150,000 rounds, not 15,000! That's more DevGru than Force Recon!
  9. krept

    krept Well-Known Member

    Seeing how the military issues the SIG P226 and P228 to certain groups, I have to wonder if the GSR is going to be considered by the DET... I know there are a couple differences between the GSR and the original spec that was released, but the timing of SIG releasing a 1911 sure is interesting...
  10. 7.62FullMetalJacket

    7.62FullMetalJacket Well-Known Member

    My thumb hurts :eek:

    I wonder what GSR stand for? Government Service something?
  11. Blueduck

    Blueduck Well-Known Member

    1.9 million for up to 1,100 pistols...

    Thats $1,727 per handgun. Guess another 1911 model is the only option, no other quality handgun cost near the amount they need to spend ;)
  12. 444

    444 Well-Known Member

    I am sure that the $1700+ is not simply for a handgun.
  13. Blueduck

    Blueduck Well-Known Member

    Just kidding 444, I'm sure that takes into account a lot of parts, mags, holsters etc.. even then I'd almost bet that cost includes evaluation/testing as well which I assume can get real expensive.

    On only a slightly more serious note...In the article it describes the requirment to be "a .45 caliber pistol". Wonder if that really means 45 caliber and other than 45 ACP guns would be considered...???

    Imagine the fallout on firearms forums if the Glock 37 would be adopted:what:
  14. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Well-Known Member

    It's a kimber, IIRC. Internal extractor. series 1. (IIRC)
  15. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Isn't this the bid for which the new Kimber and SIG 1911's were made?

  16. cslinger

    cslinger Well-Known Member

    I have said from the beginning that I wouldn't be surprised if we read about on of the Special Ops type units at least considering if not adopting the SIG1911. It is just too weird for SIG to suddenly say hey lets jump into one of the most saturated markets in the gun industry without some reason.
  17. Greg Bell

    Greg Bell Well-Known Member

    I bet they dump the 1911 platform altogether. They should adopt the 220 or U.S.P. and be done with it.

    Ha, I've got flame proof underwear on!:D
  18. kbr80

    kbr80 member

    They will adopt what ever is cheapest, and from which manufacturer will donate the most to whom it may concern.
  19. Greg Bell

    Greg Bell Well-Known Member

    Then they will get Glocks. Gaston would give em' to them to get his foot in the door on a U.S. military contract.
  20. BluesBear

    BluesBear member


    According to SIGArms GSR = Granite Series Rail
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