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.
Part II of the M45A1 review ( accuracy test)
Rail gun torture test and Phase 2 testing document of the M45A1