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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The "Seal Guns" thread in the rifles forum made me think of this.

As "nice" and as fast as 1911 triggers are to use, and as much as I personally like them, and given their long track record with our armed forces, and the fact that they're often chosen by many in our special forces (particularly Delta, allegedly), I wonder why they're not the handgun of choice of the navy seals.

The seals are, as a group, right up there as about the best-shooting as well as some of the "most-shooting" people out there. Yet in the first-hand accounts I've read of them, they carried seemingly everything BUT 1911's. Beretta double-actions in 9mm, HK double-actions in 9mm and .45, and even stainless smith & wesson revolvers. Not one mention of 1911 use at all in any account.

Clearly, this means they can no longer be considered "serious combat shooters". I'm highly disillusioned, and so yield the floor to Jeff Cooper and all the followers of his perfect "1911-only" religion... :duck:
 

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Do you think it has something to do with the availability of ammo behind enemy lines. I'll bet there is not much .45 to be had out there, other than in the good ole US of A. My guess is that they want to be able to resupply from enemy stocks if need arises while they are operating far inside the bad guy's home turf.
 

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What I've read in the last year of so say, Marine Force Recon is going back to the .45. I don't think that the real sneak and peak boys have a limitation on their toys, just whats mission appropriate.
 

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IIRC the Marine special forces MEU(SOC) have been using the 1911 for a while, it was built up by the match grade armorers in Quantico using 1940s frames and a shopping list of quality parts. The downfall is that it required said armorers to to refurb the pistols after each deployment and because of the supertight tolerances of the match grade parts, if something went down it was a PITA to fix.

Pat Rogers recently wrote the spec for the replacement to the old pistols, incorporating a light rail among other goodies. I believe... could be wrong... that none of the mfgs came in right on target, so they had to accept an "interim" pistol that became the Interim CQB, Kimber won this. I believe that they are also keeping their eyes open for the final pistol, might be considering modifying the original specs and opening up the bid to other platforms but that is heresay. This new pistol (including the CQB) is intended to be serviceable by normal gunsmiths and NOT the match qualified folks at HQMC. BIG difference.

The SEALs have traditionally used 9mm SIGs as a primary sidearm. Could be the P226 (which I think it is) or possibly the P228. For offensive handgun (suppressed sentry removal) the USP Mk23 (aka SOCOM) in .45 ACP gets the nod. Bigger than the USP .45/Tactical frame, it incorporates a better trigger and separate decocking lever from the manual safety... but... it's so large that the team members are reluctant to carry it. They also have carried the S&W 686 .357 Magnum... MAYBE the M66, but I do think it's the former. This is used, I think, for serious maritime operations where the weapon is subjected to much sand and water and a wash will hopefully run all the grit out. Finally, they MIGHT be issued the AWC Amphibian in .22LR or something very similar.

Now, back to the original question. I think (notice the trend of caveats ;) ) that the issuing of the 1911 for them is a real possibility that I read somewhere. Maybe if the MEU(SOC) pistol, as opposed to the Interim CQB, becomes a reality they will adopt it. I did hear that they are indeed considering moving from the 9mm to the .45 in the same conversation.

For what it's worth...

cheers
 

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John in AR said:
As "nice" and as fast as 1911 triggers are to use, and as much as I personally like them, and given their long track record with our armed forces, and the fact that they're often chosen by many in our special forces (particularly Delta, allegedly), I wonder why they're not the handgun of choice of the navy seals.

...they carried seemingly everything BUT 1911's. Beretta double-actions in 9mm, HK double-actions in 9mm and .45, and even stainless smith & wesson revolvers. Not one mention of 1911 use at all in any account.
At times they have used the M66 (4"), M586 (6"), and Colt (6", but not Python) revolvers. Revolvers have been chosen for situations where water might compromise the reliability of the ammunition. At one time, carbon steel revolvers were chosen because the short useful life of their handguns did not warrant the extra cost of stainless steel!

They have also used, among others, 1911's, S&W M39's and M59's, Beretta 92's, HK USP's in 9mm/.40S&W/.45ACP, Glocks, SIG 226's, Browning Hi Powers, various suppressed .22LR's, and HK P11's (underwater pistols).
 

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They want to be able to CAN the pistol, which is

is the only reason to think about a Beretta, in my book. The revolver was considered to be less likely to blow up if fired with water or whatever in the muzzle, when a scuba diver rose from the water. According to the Seal Team Six guy ( can't remember his name just now), wrote a bunch of paperback novels about "Red Cell", Marchinko, that's the name, he chose the M66 and hot ammo for his 100 or so guys, and they beat them up so badly that every 3-4000 rds, they had to be replaced, and half of them needed smithing in less than 2000 rds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All true. This was just taking an opportunity to point out the validity of "other" gun choices, and the silliness of decreeing one as "best" for everyone.

I'm a card-carrying 1911-ophile; it's what I carried "forever" until 1999 or so, so I'm not slamming it as a choice. But that's what it really is: a choice; not the be-all, end-all uberpistol as some see it. Accepting and honestly considering "outside the box" options is the only way to advance and evolve.

If Thak had never experimented with sharpening BOTH sides of the rock, we'd still be using Grog's single-edged hatchet; and would have never moved on to the spear. And don't doubt for a minute that Thak received vast criticism from the Clan for "abandoning a design that works" in favor of his "silly new toy".

Even John Moses Browning himself "moved on" past the 1911 mechanism with the 1935. If it's ok for the Creator to do so, it must be ok for us to at least consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
andy said:
is the only reason to think about a Beretta, in my book. The revolver was considered to be less likely to blow up if fired with water or whatever in the muzzle, when a scuba diver rose from the water. According to the Seal Team Six guy ( can't remember his name just now), wrote a bunch of paperback novels about "Red Cell", Marchinko, that's the name, he chose the M66 and hot ammo for his 100 or so guys, and they beat them up so badly that every 3-4000 rds, they had to be replaced, and half of them needed smithing in less than 2000 rds.
You were posting as I was typing, so I didn't see your response at first.

Richard Marcinko was his name, and the HK's were sometimes canned, don't recall any of the others being, except some MP5's.

The "...the M66 and hot ammo for his 100 or so guys, and they beat them up so badly that every 3-4000 rds, they had to be replaced, and half of them needed smithing in less than 2000 rds... is also true, and one reason I'm hesitant to run over-hot ammo in my guns. I don't want to have to take them in for repairs every couple thousand rounds. You're right about the M66; I knew it was a stainless K-frame, but didn't recall whether it was the 66 or the 65.

I have no experience with either, but I suspect a canned 9mm subsonic isn't much louder than a canned .22 subsonic, and would be a whole lot more substantial a load; as well as eliminating carrying a second handgun.
 

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andy said:
The revolver was considered to be less likely to blow up if fired with water or whatever in the muzzle, when a scuba diver rose from the water.
The revolvers were preferred for prolonged underwater approaches; as the ammunition was being compromised by swims. Even the best ammunition, specially prepared by folks like Norma, were having one misfire in six. With the revolver, the diver was able to simply pull the trigger again. Since some scenarios might have required the diver to shoot one handed, this was a huge asset.

To the best of my knowledge, all of the revolvers used by "combat swimmers" (other than ST6) had 6" barrels. UDT had originally used the S&W M14 .38 Spl, but later revolvers were .357 Mag.

The M9 was used because the Navy had already purchased them.
 

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Jeff says Glock is just right "for civil servants", who

will never practice enough to be real pistoleros, for whom the lw Commander is IT. The full size and wt 1911 is a bad joke for ccw, really, and it always was. John Browning was never even a shottist, much less a fighter or a smith. He "moved-on" only in the sense that he complied when asked to design a double stack mag. Most of the other aspects of the P35 came from a dude at FN, who never gets any credit for it. If asked about personal ccw, JMB would doubtless have said .32 or 380 blowback. He was not a handgun hunter, had no real experience in having to stop anybody, nor on animals. Henry Ford may have invented the Model T, that doesn't make him the guy to ask about the Mustang, or the Corvette.
 

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Yeah, them "civil servants" like the guys on SWAT teams and Delta tend to like their Glock 19s.
 

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that's all they are. when they come to big combat

shoots, the BEST they ever do is "b" class, more often C class or worse. :) Few even know what REAL speed of hitting IS, just like YOU don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
andy said:
Jeff says Glock is just right "for civil servants", who
will never practice enough to be real pistoleros, for whom the lw Commander is IT. The full size and wt 1911 is a bad joke for ccw, really, and it always was. John Browning was never even a shottist, much less a fighter or a smith. He "moved-on" only in the sense that he complied when asked to design a double stack mag. Most of the other aspects of the P35 came from a dude at FN, who never gets any credit for it. If asked about personal ccw, JMB would doubtless have said .32 or 380 blowback. He was not a handgun hunter, had no real experience in having to stop anybody, nor on animals. Henry Ford may have invented the Model T, that doesn't make him the guy to ask about the Mustang, or the Corvette.
That sounds like Cooper. He's (or at least was) a self-important curmudgeon when I met him. Not name-dropping, I only met him once at the SHOT show in 1992 or 1993, and he was a prick, like a nobleman barely tolerating the serfs. When I put out my hand and said "It's an honor to meet you, sir", he responded with "Humph", and didn't even acknowlege my hand.

He espoused the 1911, pontificated a "somersault test" for holster selection, and then endorsed a holster (Yaqui slide) that wouldn't pass the test he said was the criteria for selection. Naturally, when shown this, his response was that the somersault test wasn't an absolute "litmus test", but rather a benchmark. Basically, with Cooper we got a Reagan-esque sermon, with a Clinton-esque weasel propensity when shown incorrect. Not the kind of person I'd ask for opinions from about anything societally-oriented.

Let's be honest with ourselves; if we accepted Cooper's opinions as the final word, you'd have to accept the Scout rifle as the "ultimate individual shoulder arm" (his words). And we know that's not going to happen any time soon, is it...? :)


Regarding the Glock, Marcinko did mention using them in his fiction books. Don't recall any mention of them in the non-fiction ones.

Henry Ford may be a bad source of information about the Mustang or Corvette, but about the Model T, he'd be "the guy" to ask; just as JMB is (was) "the 1911 guy".

Actually, that's a heck of an analogy; wish I'd thought of it myself. The model T was revolutionary in its time, and even today would still be a functional, reasonable choice for its intended task.

Substitute "1911" for "model T", and the same holds true.

The 1911 of today is in fact a much-modified version of the 1911 of a century ago. While it works (and works very well, IMO), there's no question that just as the Mustang and Corvette are much more capable than a "much modified version" of the almost-century-old Model T would be today, a more advanced firearm design can unquestionably be more capable than a "much modified verison" of the century-old 1911.

Mankind has never, in any mechanical science or discipline, hit a plateau and just stayed there for any great length of time. Transportation, building, medicine, electronics, even things as mundane as cooking our food, fastening our shoes, or plucking the feathers from a chicken; none have ever, in recorded history, hit the point where they weren't later improved on. How there can be such a large group of people that believe that it's somehow now happened in the field of weapons, completely baffles me.

The 1911 is a very good weapon platform; not knocking it. But to regard it as "the zenith of achievability" is to ignore mankind's historical track record.
 

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andy said:
shoots, the BEST they ever do is "b" class, more often C class or worse. :) Few even know what REAL speed of hitting IS, just like YOU don't know.
Yeah, all those bozos know about is how to best kill people who need killin'. They should be far more concerned with what Jeff Cooper says.
:rolleyes:
 

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a more advanced firearm design can unquestionably be more capable than a "much modified verison" of the century-old 1911.

Just curious, in your opinion what IS more capable? I guess the role that we have to outline here is the ability to put down accurate fire quickly.

Yes, "power" is the other part of that triangle and one reason why I feel the 1911 has lived on for so long. Whether .45 ACP constitutes "power" is for each to decide.

G19 is another great platform that allows fast shooting due to the low bore axis and fast trigger reset. It it accurate? In trained hands it can be, that's for sure. But would the same person be more accurate with a 9mm 1911? That's what I've heard from those who switched. BLackwater currently issues G19 as its sidearm to the contractors.

G21. Another good one, but might not be fast if you have medium to small hands. Crillo said if he had to do it all over, this is what he would use.

G23? Got the power, but, oddball cartridge for military... less accurate OR slower than the G19 because of this increase in power/pressure.

P7M8. My favorite, has speed and accuracy but it does have other problems, some of which should clearly take it out of contention for team usage. Chris Carraci, former SEAL Team 6 member said it's the sidearm that he prefers.

SIG. Awesome reliability, but not so great speed unless you tune the hell out of it like... Langdon? Not so sure how well that trigger would hold up, at that. High bore axis, long trigger reset, etc. No offense though, it's a great weapon.

HK USP series. Assuming they cost what Glocks do... still have the same problem with SIGs PLUS a very unergonomic manual safety lever. Not too easy to get a high grip on at all.

Beretta. I think that's been covered.

S&W? Ruger? Doubt it.

So remembering that the role of the 1911 is that of a sidearm, OR in the case of some MEU(SOC) groups a CQB/entry weapon, what would be the logical choice? For the SEALs, heck, all things considered I'd call it a G19 w/ maritime cups so it can be fired underwater. If Glock came out with a single stack G21 sized .45 ACP, I think it would give the 1911 a good run for it's money, but perhaps not succeed it.

For the others, however, I think the 1911 would be hard to beat. (and I have neither a Glock or 1911... just a USP .45 and P7M8)

just my thoughts...

cheers

(edited: wanted to add sorry if i came across as snooty, I'm just interested in opinions because I'm going to ditch my USP and possibly P7 to refine my choices to either the Glock or 1911 platform. If there is another fast and accurate platform, I'm all ears. Of course it's more the shooter than the equipment, but might as well start again the right way.)
 

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In Marcinko's 1st book about SEAL Team Six he spoke of how when training with the Beretta they would do room clearing with it cocked. A cocked Beretta without the Condition one safety of a 1911. And they had a fellow stumble one day and shoot another SEAL in the back. And according to unit policy they had to wash out the shooter. Personally I thought it called for perhaps the early firing of the unit commander. How much of a pistolero conducts such live fire training with cocked and unlocked Beretta's?

I've seen SEALs post on line that, considering they are carrying MP5's, or M4's or SAWs, etc, 9mm Sig vs 1911 isn't considered all that big a deal and the Sigs have performed well. And when they do have to shoot someone with a Sig, he's shot a few times in the head and body and the 9mm tends to do the trick employed in such fashion. That said, there is some degree of scuttlebutt out there that they are seriously considering the new USP Compact .45 model with a slightly longer barrel threaded for a can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
krept said:
...Just curious, in your opinion what IS more capable? I guess the role that we have to outline here is the ability to put down accurate fire quickly...

If it were up to me to define "capable" or at least the factors in "capability"?

1. reliability - absolutely paramount
2. simplicity - ease of use
3. power - relative and subjective, but at least allows side-by-side comparison between options
4. low maintenance - is possibly a sub-category under 'reliability', but is important in itself if you "live" with a gun daily
5. capacity - again, relative, but gives a basis for comparison
weight - if you're going to carry it all day...
6. accuracy - almost didn't list it, because most any modern non-pocket-size handgun is acceptably accurate for defensive use


Given those factors, the 9mm Glock series does quite well in a side-by-side comparison, but I won't say it's the "ultimate", either. I don't believe there is an "ultimate".

Comparing 8-shot .45 1911, with 18-shot Glock 17, both with modern HP factory ammo, you get this:

Reliability - out of the box, a 9mm glock is at least the equal of an out-of-the-box mil-spec 1911.

Simplicity - the glock manual of arms is simpler, glock maintenance and gunsmithing is simpler.

Power - on hand, glock has 7,650 ft/lbs (18x425); 1911 has 2600 ft/lbs (8x325). That's almost 3x the muzzle energy on tap. Important or even relevant? That's a judgement call, but if it does matter, the glock 17 wins in a large way. The .45's power can be "upped" some with +P loads, but the glock can take +P and even +P+ loads, so for comparative purposes it's a wash.

Maintenance - having carried both 1911's and glocks both concealed and in uniform, I can attest that the glock is much lower maintenance in the real world.

Capacity - another area some will say is unimportant and doesn't matter. If so, it's a "tie" and neither gun wins. If it does matter, the glock wins at 225% of the 1911's capacity.

Accuracy - the glock does take more getting used to in this aspect. While it's a simpler operation, it's not as easy to master; the trigger does take some acclimation. Once accustomed to, the glock is much more than acceptably accurate. To be fair, most any good-quality pistol with a 3+ inch barrel nowadays is accurate enough, so it's not a win/lose comparison when comparing glock vs 1911. Also, a highly-tuned 1911 can absolutely be more accurately shot than a highly-tuned glock; not much question of that. But at defensive distances, at defensive speeds, either one is much more accurate than necessary.

This sounds like a pro-glock diatribe, but it's not meant to be. I have no delusions that the 9mm glock is the "ultimate" fighting handgun, especially since there are a lot of handguns I have zero experience with, and any of them may be much better.
 

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I'm right there with ya on the Glock 9mm. Damn things are like Lays. Got five of the dern things now. G34 the latest. (got them all over the place) The trigger sho does take some work but very good work can be done. Saw Dave Sevigny at area GSSF match a couple weeks ago and the story was that he was playing The Mexican Hat Dance on the hanging steel plates they had set up for him. :laugh01:
 

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The only "ultimate" handgun is the one that is ultimate for that person. If there was a universally "ultimate gun" it'd be the only one made.

I think the major following the 1911 has is that, with VERY few exceptions, it's about the only single action autoloader suitable for fighting. If people didn't pee themselves over a cocked-and-locked design, there'd probably be more of them.

That being said, there's more than a few handguns that beat the 1911 out on John in AR's list. I prefer my P-90s. They're DA/SA, which is the only "bad" thing I see about them. Not everyone likes them. Big deal. Each person has to pick the ultimate for them. The only problem that comes about is when you try to ram your ideal down someone else's throat, which members of both 1911, and Glock camps do regularly.

Best advice is to shoot and evaluate as many as you can before settling on one.
 

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What say any here as to the H7K USP/Tactical series ;as far as the O-ring type bushing?Does that provide any use in salt/fresh water-heavy environments?I was wondring...
 
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