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
When I go out for any extended time in the world while hunting or hiking or anything that has me in the elements with a gun for extended time, I do a few things as precautions. I’m not one to worry about the finish getting dinged or scratched and I don’t over clean my weapons. I’m not a clean my gun even if I fire one round, kinda guy. But, I do want to keep my stuff working in the field if I fine myself in some bad weather. Normally this is not something I worry too much with Ar15s. Sometimes it is if the weather is bad enough, but mostly its to protect much more delicate then combat guns, like a hunting shotgun or something in a hiking back pack.
Above are some of the things I carry into the field depending on gun or conditions. I keep them in a pocket and wrapped up and folded to be small as possible. With careful selection and thought, they can be something so light you don’t notice it or its negligible.
To the right is a “birth bag” from Colt firearms. It is the tough plastic bag that Colt rifles come wrapped in from the factory., They have a rust prohibiting oil all inside the bags since guns may set on a shelf a long time. They are tough and do not tear easy and fit any AR15. I fold one of them up tight and wrap a strong rubber band around them. they weigh nothing really and will fit in any decent size pocket. If I am out hunting with a vintage shot gun or rimfire rifle and it starts a very strong rain or sleet. I can yank it out and stick the gun inside. The oil cuts down the chance or rust and protects the gun. Even out with an AR15 or other EBR its nice to have if the weather gets bad enough, or you have no where to set the weapon down but into soft mud or you need to cross a deep stream. You can imagine its handiness without my help I’m sure.
In the middle is something always in most of my gear, chest rigs, back packs, one in my jeep and again, depending on weather/situation, one in my pocket. It is a few sections of a GI cleaning kit, some eye glasses alcohol wipes to clean optics lenses( or my eye glasses) some patches and a cleaning brush. I learned this lesson when a friend and I went camping and the sling on his carbine let go and the muzzle went 3 inches into the mud. We had to clear the barrel immediately or things could have went very bad. And of course it goes without saying I ALWAYS have a small 2 ounce bottle of lube on my person.
the last thing on the left is a plastic lubricated plastic bag for magazines. If the weather is bad or I have no idea what may be going on, I have at least 1 fully loaded thirty round magazine for my rifle protects and in a pocket. I think this explains itself really.
I think its good policy. I seriously suggest you think about your area and a way to carry some small protective items to take care of your weapon in the field in a situation you have to act fast. It has saved me a lot of grief and may save you too. Not everyone shoots just from a bench or buys safe queens and these items take up very little space and weight.