Click pictures for a larger version.
Superb set of Trijicon/Novak tritium night sights.
Ambidextrous thumb safety.
1913 Picatinny accessory rail.
Slide lock (top), magazine latch (bottom).
Textured G10 grips.
Pistol comes with two 7-shot magazines.
Upswept beavertail grip safety.
Series 80 firing pin safety prevents the weapon from
discharging if dropped.
In July of 2012, I was very pleased to learn
that the United States Marine Corps had selected Colt to
manufacture their new Close Quarters Battle Pistol. Marine Corps
System Command (MARCORSYSCOM) awarded the contract to Colt
Defense, LLC. On July 18, 2012 for an indefinite
quantity/indefinite delivery order for the new pistols, to be
issued to Force Recon and Marine Corps Forces Special Operations
I first had the opportunity to handle and
shoot a couple of these pistols at Gunsite in Arizona a few
months ago. Part of the accompanying video is a brief
introduction of the pistol by Michael Guerra of Colt. The two
pistols that were at Gunsite had many rounds put through them by
several writers, and everyone who fired the Colts seemed
well-pleased with them. Finally, after months of waiting, (seems
like national defense takes priority over me) I have a sample
gun here to wring out for function and accuracy testing.
For many years, the USMC has been
hand-building 1911 pistols for use by these units, but this
contract will gain the Corps a new pistol that is ready for
battle, right out of the box. Built primarily from stainless
steel and wearing a tan Cerakote finish to reduce glare, the
pistols are very much like Coltís commercial rail gun, with
the exception of the rail being changed on the USMC pistol to a
1913 Picatinny spec. The pistols also wear an excellent set of
Novak Trijicon tritium night sights, a long lightweight trigger,
and an extended-style ambidextrous thumb safety. The grips are
made of textured G10 material, with oversized grip screws.
O-rings are used underneath the grip panels, around the grip
screw bushings, to help keep the screws from loosening. Behind
the trigger guard the frame is relieved as is done on Coltís
XSE pistols. The steel mainspring housing has a lanyard loop at
the bottom. The grip safety is the high upswept beavertail style
with a bump for positive deactivation as the weapon is grasped.
Slide serrations are placed front and rear. The barrel, bushing,
and recoil spring plug are not Cerakote finished, but are
natural brushed stainless. The chamber is throated to feed
modern hollowpoint ammunition. The M45CQB pistol uses a dual
recoil spring system, as is found on Coltís
Delta Elite 10mm pistol.
Critical specifications for the M45CQB pistol
are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces,
and linear measurements in inches. The grip and frame widths
were measured at their widest points. The maximum width is
measured across the grip panels, and includes the ambidextrous
thumb safety. The height includes the sights. The trigger pull
is listed as pounds of resistance. The weight includes the empty
seven-round magazine. Length is measured from the muzzle to the
tip of the beavertail grip safety.
|Maximum Grip Width
I tested for velocity with my
chronograph set at ten feet from the muzzle, and an air
temperature of forty-three degrees Fahrenheit and a relative
humidity of sixty-two percent. Velocity readings were taken at
an elevation of approximately 541 feet above sea level.
Velocities are listed in the chart below. FMJ is a full metal
jacket bullet. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint. DPX is an
homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. Glaser is a specialty
pre-fragmented core inside a copper alloy jacket. PB is PowíRBall.
LWSC is a cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. UHD is Remington
Ultimate Home Defense hollowpoint ammunition. NPA is National
Police Ammunition frangible bullet ammo. HCL is a hard-cast lead
bullet. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet
weights are listed in grains.
|Buffalo Bore HCL
|Buffalo Bore JHP
|Buffalo Bore FMJ
|Buffalo Bore JHP
|WCC 1911 Ball FMJ
The USMC specified that these new pistols be
accurate, and Colt delivered. The M45 has a match-grade barrel,
and it is very well-fitted to the slide, as is the slide to the
frame. For accuracy testing, I secured the M45 into my Ransom
Master Series machine rest, and fired for accuracy at a
distance of twenty-five yards, firing five-shot groups with
several different types of ammunition. Accuracy varied,
depending upon the ammunition tested, but the average of the
five-shot groups fired with each type of ammunition measured
from well under an inch to the largest group fired of the day,
which stretched out to three inches. Most everything measured
between one and one-half to two and one-half inches, with a
couple of Buffalo Bore loads doing very well, as did my handload
which consists of Rim
Rock 200 grain LWSC bullets loaded over charges of 5.4
grains of Titegroup powder. I really like the Buffalo Bore 230
JHP load. This is the same hollowpoint bullet that Remington
loads into their Ultimate Home Defense load, but the Buffalo
Bore bullet leaves the muzzle running almost 200 feet-per-second
(FPS) faster. The 230 grain hollowpoint at just over 1000 FPS is
a dandy 45 ACP load, suitable for either fighting or hunting.
Reliability was perfect, right out of the
box. The Colt fed, fired, and ejected every cartridge without
fail. The Colt never failed to go fully into battery. The Colt
never failed to lock open on an empty magazine. The Colt never
failed. The trigger pull on the test gun is absolutely
wonderful. Releasing crisply at two and three-quarters pounds,
every time. The sights are easy to see, day or night. The
beavertail grip safety places the hand high, making this Colt
very comfortable to shoot, even with the Plus P ammunition
tested. Most of the loads listed above are Plus P rated high
performance loads, and the Colt handled them with ease. The dual
recoil springs will handle any 45 ACP ammunition on the market,
without beating up the weapon or the shooter. Being left-handed,
I also appreciate the extended ambidextrous thumb safety levers.
A full-sized 1911 is an excellent fighting
pistol, and to carry one concealed requires a good holster.
Shown here is the excellent Summer Classic from Barranti
Leather. This holster is built like the excellent holsters made
famous by Milt Sparks and Bruce Nelson many years ago, but Mike
Barranti makes his with a belt loop that swivels, allowing the
holster to function at any angle. The rough-out leather keeps
the holster perfectly positioned, and the reinforced mouth makes
re-holstering the weapon easy to do one-handed. In the Summer
Classic, the M45 carries well, and conceals well. Barranti does
this classic design up right. The holster is well-crafted, looks
great, and carries the big Colt comfortably.
This new M45CQB pistol is also available
through the Colt Custom Shop to civilians. This version is just
like the Marine Corps pistol, but it comes with a compact Otis
cleaning kit, and is packed into a Pelican
I am delighted to see that some United States
Marine Corps units are carrying an American-made pistol,
chambered for the 45 ACP cartridge, and built by an American
icon. Colt has been in the 1911 business for over one hundred
years now, and hopefully soon, all of our fighting men and women
will once again be carrying a real fighting pistol into combat.
Check out the extensive line of Colt firearms
and accessories online at www.colt.com.
For the location of a Colt dealer near you,
click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order Colt firearms online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
To order quality holsters for a 1911 pistol,
go to www.barrantileather.com,
To order quality ammunition online, go to www.buffalobore.com,
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Click pictures for a larger version.
M45CQB pistol comes with two magazines, instructions,
cable lock, and Otis cleaning kit, packed into a Pelican Storm
Excellent Otis compact cleaning kit.
Barranti Summer Classic concealment holster.
Accuracy testing was done with the aid of a Ransom
Master Series machine rest.
25-yard accuracy shows both the best and worst groups