Nearly a century ago, the grand old 1911 was selected by our military as the official sidearm, only being supplanted by the Beretta M9 after serving admirably for over 70 years. This wasn’t the end of the pistol. While rank-and-file troops adopted the new Beretta, Special Forces still coveted the big .45ACP. The US Marine Corps elite units’ MEU-SOC (Marine Expeditionary Unit-Special Operations Capable) pistols were built using parts from Springfield Armory on World War II frames. Predictably, this would only last so long, as the frames eventually wore out and became depleted. The Marine Corps then ordered complete pistols from Springfield Armory, and these guns were eventually marketed to the public as the “MC Operator.”
On the law enforcement front, the FBI employs the Springfield Armory guns almost to the total exclusion of 1911 pistols from other makers. This is also the case with the US Marshals Special Operations Group.
In 1996, the FBI determined that they wanted to issue an M1911 pistol to their SWAT and Hostage Rescue Teams and put the request through channels. The requirements set forth for the pistol were very stringent. Most notably, the FBI’s test candidates had to fire three con-secutive 10-round groups at 25 yards from a Ransom est into 1.5 inches or less.
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