USMC orders 4036 M45 CQBP pistols from Colt

In a press release today, Colt Defense said the Marine Corps placed an initial order for 4036 M45 Close Quarters Combat Pistols, plus spares. Deliveries on the five-year contract will begin later this year. 

Yesterday, Barb Hamby of Marine Corps System Command told us, “After a detailed and thorough source selection, a contract was awarded last night.

In the email to Marine Corps Times, the MARCORSYSCOM spokeperson says, “Colt Defense LLC, West Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $22,500,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract July 18, 2012 for production, delivery and logistical support of the Close Quarter Battle Pistol. Work will be performed in West Hartford, Conn., and is expected to be completed by July 2017. No contract funds will expire by the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured using full and open competition with three offers received. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.”

Piggybacking on a few things we previously reported about the winning pistol, we’ve learned Colt developed a dual recoil system for the CQBP that’s based on the recoil system found in their 10mm models. The modification was made to reduce stresses on the frame and slide and enable the pistol to complete the Corps’ required shooting schedule. Sources tell us the pistol had to survive a 20,000 round shooting schedule. The .45 caliber pistol also has a series 80 firing pin safety, is entirely Cerakoted tan and has a lanyard loop and night sights.

The original solicitation outlines some of the features the Corps stipulated, such as a single-stack, 7+ round magazine, drop in parts replacement and accuracy guidelines. It remains to be seen how many of these points made it into the requirements document and the actual pistol, however. For example, drop-in parts on a 1911 pattern pistol is widely regarded as an unrealistic requirement.

The Close Quarter Battle Pistol is modeled after earlier versions of the semi-automatic 1911 pistol used since the 1980s by Force Reconnaissance units. The contract is for 400 to 12,000 pistols as part of a contract worth up to $22.5 million, according to Marine Corps Systems Command. That means the price per pistol is $1,875. Sources tell us the Marine Corps is ordering 4000 pistols.

Background:
Colt Defense of Hartford, Conn., and Springfield Armory of Geneseo, Ill., sent samples of their latest 1911 pistols to acquisition officers in the fall of 2010, company officials said Jan. 18, 2011 during the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference, known as SHOT Show, in Las Vegas. The third competitor, Karl Lippard Design, submitted documents but was unable to produce version of his 1911A2 NCO pistol that met the USMC requirements in time for the selection process deadline.

Earlier versions of the pistol were called the MEU (SOC) pistol, short for Marine expeditionary unit (special operations capable). Weapons experts at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., have hand-assembled 1911 pistols chambered for .45-caliber Automatic Colt Pistol ammo for years, fielding them primarily to Force Recon and Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

With both communities growing, however, the Corps has sought out an off-the-shelf option.

Force Recon was brought back in 2008 after a two-year hiatus designed to help the Corps stand up and round out MARSOC. The Corps’ special operations command was activated in 2006, and is working to grow to about 2,700 personnel by 2014.

Colt tweaked its 01070RG M1911A1 Rail Gun pistol and sent 10 prototypes to Quantico in the fall of 2010, said Greg Rozon, a product development engineering manager at Colt.

The civilian 1911 rail gun usually has a stainless or carbon steel finish and rosewood grips, but Colt’s prototypes for the Corps have a desert-color Cercoat finish, eliminating glare on the weapon and making it less identifiable at a distance. As the name suggests, this model has a section of 1913 Picatinny rail under the barrel to mount accessories such as a light or laser aiming device. They also have more stainless steel internal components to afford the pistol more corrosion protection since it will be carried in a maritime environment. They’re equipped with a tritium night sight made by Novak of Parkersburg, W.Va..

Springfield Armory sent the Corps six copies of its PX9105ML pistol for evaluation, said Larry Collinson, a production manager with the company. The company calls it the Full-Sized MC Operator, with the “MC” standing for Marine Corps. The pistol has a black slide with a green frame. It also includes tritium night sights and has been sold to the Corps in small quantities before. The Corps also has bought Springfield Armory 1911 slides in the past to use on pistols assembled at Quantico, Collinson said.

Thanks to James Sanborn and Dan Lamothe from Marine Corps Times for helping put the pieces together.