Part 1 review
Over the weekend I took the Colt MARSOC M45A1 out for its maiden voyage. This was something I had been very excited to do for a long time, and I was not let down. My intention was to shoot it a bit and get used to it it and do some accuracy testing.
When it comes to describing the recoil of the 45A1, I have to say it is very pleasant. I expected it to be a lighter recoil then a gov model, just as the Rail gun and its extra weight make the gun gentle. The M45A1 is down right pleasant. The heft of the beefier gun and the weight of the X300 really made for smooth shooting gun. After I shot it a while and went on to shoot a WW2 gov model I was surprised by the first round from the WW2 A1!! It had spoiled me!! I was caught off guard much to my chagrin.
I went to the range with the full expectation of the gun being completely reliable, and It justified my expectation. No problems at all.
On to the details everyone wants to know, the accuracy. The gun is a laser beam with any ammo close to being decent. To really stretch it out, I did something I often do to change peoples minds on the 1911s abilities. I put up a Q target used by the local police and shot the pistol out to 100 yards, off hand. I fired 11 rounds at the target using a 10 round wilson mag with one round in the chamber.
Despite a wind blowing hard enough to push the gun in my hand, all rounds were on target. This is not really a big deal. But its a really good taste of things to come from a quality gun. Ammo used was just plain 230 grain ball ammo. The weight of the gun and light recoil really made holding the gun up and steady for the longer periods of concentration, easier then it normally is.
Later in the evening I shot some groups at 25 yards using higher quality “premium “ammo. I shot some off hand and then I sand bagged the gun on the bench to try to milk all the accuracy I could from it.
I first shot off hand at 25 yard using 8 rounds of Winchester PDX ammo. This is the ammo you can buy even from Walmart and is essentially the Black talon with out the black coating to make it scary.
Next up I shot off hand at 25 yards using my CCW ammo. This group is 8 rounds of Corbon 185 grain +P Barness solid copper hollow points. The weight of the gun really made it easier to fire the +P rounds without tiring out from the concentration and strain from trying to shoot as small a group as you can offhand. I wanted to use these because I often hear chatter on how the corbon HP gives some guns trouble. I saved it for accuracy testing because its so expensive and I do not have a large amount of it.
Lastly, I shot some match ball ammo from Black Hills. It was fired at the same range from a sand bag from a bench.
I was pleased to say the least. I fired a few groups with it sand bagged, and while not all were this good, they looked almost the same except a first round flyer opening it up about a 1/4 inch more. I believe the manual chambering of the 1st round acts in the same way as any other semi auto. Since it is not being chambered the same way as the rest during recoil, the round seats different and the gun locks up different. Regardless, its nothing to complain about.
I laid a quarter next to the groups to give myself and idea about its performance since it a time honored tradition. Below are all three groups with a quarter for size.
With good ammo and care when shooting, so far, those groups a pretty standard. The M45A1 is fantastic. Its recoil is mild, so far it has been perfectly reliable,it is very comfortable and it sure shoots great. I did find that this example does not like speer ball ammo much though. It will shoot it reliably and enough to ace any qual, but it does not give the kind of accuracy other ammo does. I can live with that. This is a great pistol and if you want one and can find it, I hope this answers any questions about it performance. Obviously this is a limited test at this point and not scientific, but it give me a lot of enthusiasm for the gun. It is certainly the finest factory made combat 1911 meant for modern use, I have ever touched. I will say I love it.
Later I will be getting a T&E model from Colt for testing. when I get the loaner I will proceed to abuse it with large quantities of ammo like I did the Rail gun, I am considering a 1000 rounds with no stop test on the T&E writers demo model. Check bad for that testing at a future date.
Link to part one of the M45A1 review
Colt Rail gun torture test and review along with Phase II testing of the M45A1
As I pointed out already, the Marsoc M45A1 arrived from Colt, and as promised here is part one of the review. I will talk about the gun before moving on to part two where I talk about shooting and accuracy.
When I first got the gun out of the box the first thing I noticed is that is felt heavier then even the Rail gun. Its not the kind weight that is off putting, but it is a little heftier for sure. The reason is of course, the beefed up frame and rail for heavier use. It is in just the right place and I expect it to feel very sweet during recoil. especially with the X300 added. The rail gun is a very easy shooting 1911 with its added weight and even better with the light on it. Another point is I had been hearing about how the grips are thicker then standard grips. Howard asked me how they felt and if I thought they were too thick. But, I have been using the gunners grips for over a year now and they are as thick or very close one side or the other, and the grips felt very natural to me. The grips are relieved to make pressing the mag release easier, but I have smallish hands and still can not hit the button without slightly shifting my hand anyway, so it does me no good.
Some of the other touches to the M45A1 are, like the rail gun, it is completely dehorned. No sharp edges anywhere but where needed. This gun is very comfortable to run your hands over, The coating and the dehorning make for a unique and very comfortable feeling gun. Also, like the rail gun is has all the custom touches. It is scalloped under the trigger guard for a higher grip. the same grip safety, ambi safeties and barrel. The MARSOC has a lanyard loop with a small relief cut to make snapping the lanyard on as well, I thought that was a nice touch.
You can see the major difference in the rail. It is a true to spec M1913 rail and the metal around is is considerably thicker and beefier. The gun also uses a dual recoil spring system like the delta elite 10mm guns. The rail gun rail is pretty much the same spec rail but not exact.
You can see in the comparison, the rail gun has the lightening cuts, but the trigger guard and scalloping are the same around the grip and trigger. Of course the rail gun uses a combat/comp style 3 hole trigger and the M45 does not.
The MARSOC uses Novak combat sights like the rail gun, but the M45A1 uses night sights.
My rail gun does not use the exact ambi safety as the USMC gun, mine has the STI colt used in earlier runs, but the MARSOC uses the same current safety that I think is a Wilson combat job. The hammer is also the same on both guns as well. A big difference is the way the slide cocking serration. The Marine gun cuts are larger and spaced further apart between each cut with fewer , but bigger, over all.
You can also tell from the picture, the grip screws are larger on the MARSOC, to secure the grip panels better, Apparently some times they shoot a little loose under a harsh firing schedule.
Internally, there is a difference. While in my experience and the same with my friends, most colt 1911s will interchange parts with no problems except for a few that needed special fitting, but the M45A1 is like the USGI pistols from the world wars. All parts will go in each M45A1 as if they originally came from that gun. If you had 10 of these guns, you could take them apart, mix the parts and assemble the guns and with none of the original parts in them, and they would work fine, Very few 1911s other than colt will allow this, but even colt will sometimes have a part or two that will not. Not so with the MARSOC.
Another touch is the M45A1 insides have been coated to make them slicker and smoother for assembly and function and it shows. This thing is a master work for combat. It is not secret I do not think much of “hard fit” or “tight fit” guns, and this one is not some hard fit gun only good for the gun club. It is the nice balance of a tighter tolerance, but loose enough to get filthy and dirty and still work perfect as all serious fighting 1911s should.
Now, as far as the price and rarity. I know many will want one. And as you may not know, the USMC wants colt to stop roll marking them USMC. so with April production, that will end. the price wlil only go up on these guns as suppliers demand more. the good news is, the rail gun is very very close to the same pistol. You can read my 4,000 round torture test ( I will link to it below) of my rail gun, that is now getting close to 30,000 rounds though it. It is stainless like the MARSOC but not coated in the same FDE or say USMC, but minues the night sights, offers up close to exactly the same capabilities. The have the same barrel and almost all the same upgraded touches. The Marine gun is more accurate but the rail gun has accuracy that approaches the M45. the rail gun is a great substitute for a M45A1. In fact the rail gun with the FDE finish was the original submission for the M45A1 and then was upgraded. You can get the rail gun in SS or in SS with a black cerekote finish and its damn near the same, unless you have to have the same the USMC uses.
Holster for the M45A1 could be a hassle right now since the frame is bigger then most other railed 1911s. But the good news is. Dark Star Gear makes a custom kydex holster to fight a railed 1911 with out a light and it will fit the M45 just right.
And the DSG is very high quality. I adore them. You will not be let down. So if you have one of these or got one on the way and need a holster, give them a call. I really love the holsters and you can get it in the coyote color I think goes well with the M45A1. I think the FDE anodized 6940 M4 Colt carbine goes well with the coyote 1911 to!
That is the end of part one, I will be writing up the shooting portion of the review very shortly so please check back.
The M45A1 came in from Colt today. I will try to get a review up as soon as possible. Likely in two parts. First will be an over view and the 2nd part will be accuracy testing and such. I will also re-post up the testing the military did of the pistol. For now here is a picture of the 45A1 decked out with a few extras.
Recently when I was at my range another shooter hit me in the back of my head with the muzzle of his rifle.
Needless to say I talked to him about it.
When I work at a Range Officer I often have to stop people from pointing their firearms at other people. Most all these people would quickly tell you to never point a firearm at another person at the range, but as soon as they have to case their firearm, or pack up, they start swinging it all over the place. For many people muzzle awareness only starts and stops when they are thinking about firing.
And many times these guns are loaded. One of the holes in the roof of the gun club is from when a Range Officer told a customer to unload his rifle. That customer reached over and pulled the trigger to show the RO that the gun was unloaded.
It is also not uncommon for someone to load or unload their firearms at the trunk of their car in the parking lot.
As always, keep your head on a swivel. Don’t expect the people around you to be doing what they are suppose to be doing.
I went to the range today. One of the other shooters was having an issue with a LC9 so I got the chance to look at it.
This Ruger LC9 would not fire. New out of the box, the owner could chamber a round, but he could not make it fire. He was asked if it had a key lock the owner said no. So the owner was told to contact the company and if necessary send it back.
I went and took a look at the Ruger web site and they they note that this pistol has a key lock. My best guess is that at some point the key lock was used on this pistol rendering it inert. Fortunately this owner choose to test his firearm before relying on it.
Moral of the story: Test your gear, avoid unnecessary extra safety locks.
Every so often I see or hear a complaint about how someone just bought a new Red Dot optic(or similar reflex sight) and got a defective one with a screwed up reticle.
Now there are the occasional defective optic, but usually the answer is that the person has an astigmatism or other eye problem that they did not know about causing the dot to look like something other then a circle. I know a guy who bought an Aimpoint PRO and sent it back for being defective. He sent the replacement back also complaining how he was sent two defective optics in a row. It wasn’t the optics that had the problem.
So, how do we diagnose if the problem is the person or the optic? First option is to have someone else look through the optic. If that is not an option, simply rotate the optic when looking through it. Some people will see a J shape, or a figure eight(or similar infinity sign), multiple dots, etc. If these remain the same when the optic is rotated, it is the persons eye that is the problem. If this aberration rotates with the optic, the optic is at fault.
Most people will find that these issues go away when they wear their corrective lenses. Others learn to live with it, finding a point on the deformed reticle that they can use. For example the top of the J, or in between the circles of an figure 8. For some they can not deal with this so they do not use red dot type optics.
Recently I have seen a few scopes come off rifles under recoil. Buy good mounts, and make sure that they are installed correctly and you can often avoid the problem. In the picture below the mount came with the wrong screws which were too short. The scope came off giving the owner of the rifle a nasty cut.
I saw a new bipod called the “Flex Bipods”. While it is not a “Tactical” bipod, it is an interesting rest. First it is rather light for its size, lighter then a comparable Sinclair F-Class bipod. Second is that it is designed to flex, for pre-loading the rifle. And lastly is that the feet on it(adjustable for height) are very gripy and grab the ground, carpet, and even the concrete shooting bench well.
This Flex Bipod is about 20oz, breaks down small and flat for storage, has swivel and height adjustment. Price is around $200 dollars which makes it competitively priced with its competition. It would not be right for people who don’t use bipod pre-load. I think it is nifity and might be good for some F-class shooters but it would not be the right bipod for me.
Howard found this picture of the lay out of a Paratroopers gear from WW2. I don’t know where it came from originally be we picked it up from Ar15.com.
Obviously the belt is heavy modified by riggers. Its said to be a radio mans gear due to the radio. but I think it may be an officer or Artillery observer, The small radio, from what I understand was about the same as a walkie talkie and was for use inside the smaller units,like and officer calling up his company commander not the one used by the regular radio men