Colt M45A1 Close Quarters Battle Pistol (CQBP) – Review & Range Report

This is a fairly representative picture of the color of the Colt M45A1 CQBP, which was adopted by the US Marines Special Forces in 2012. If you are a fan of Colt, you are going to want this gun.

It is hard to get a truly representative picture of the color of the Colt M45A1 CQBP, which was adopted by the US Marines Special Forces in 2012. This is a little light than in person, but the photo below is closer. If you are a fan of Colt, you are going to want this gun.

Colt M45A1 CQBP
Buy one on GunsAmerica!

Full disclosure, I am a Colt fanatic. So if my pictures of the Colt M45A1 Close Quarters Battle Pistol (CQBP) look like they were shot through rose colored sunglasses (I live in Miami), don’t be surprised. It took me a long time to finally get a review gun from Colt, and I am absolutely enamored with this pistol. If you didn’t know this already, the United States Marine Corps contracted Colt Defense in 2012 to build just over 4,000 of these guns for their Special Forces units. It was the first time since the end of WWII that Colt had supplied new 1911 pistols to the US Government, and for Colt fanatics like me, the news was like a homecoming. Prior to this deal, the Special Operations had been using the 1911, but they had to be rebuilt from guns that were retired upon adoption of the Beretta M9. The old guns had gotten tired, and Colt was the winner among several manufacturers to supply the new guns. The contract is ongoing, so a lot more than 4,000 guns will be shipped to the Marines. The good news for us is that the civilian version is the exact same gun, and they are finally starting to reliably show up in the market. The MSRP on the Colt CQBP is $2,149, and you can find them for slightly less if you look around.

The USMC spec states that the gun had to maintain a 4" spread at 25 yards shot without a rest. I was able to repeat this with all of the ammo I tested.

The USMC spec states that the gun had to maintain a 4″ spread at 25 yards shot without a rest. I was able to repeat this with all of the ammo I tested. This color is actually pretty close to the actual color.

The M45M1A is built on a stainless steel frame and slide, which has been covered with a Desert Tan Cerakote. It was raining for my first outing with the gun, but I have tried to keep the pics as close to the color in person as possible. A lot of online pics I noticed show the gun as too light colored. I shot this gun the first time at SHOT Show Media Day of 2013, and I remember that I had a peeve on it that the front of the muzzle gets really dirty when you shoot it a lot, so I was really pleased when the carbon rubbed right off without even any solvent. Why am I talking about colors and keeping the finish nice before the performance lol? Because most civilians who buy this gun are going to treat it as a collectible. As a collectible, Colt is shooting these guns at the factory, and though mine didn’t come with one, they are supposed to come with a test target. Don’t be afraid to shoot your M45A1 Colt. It cleans up perfect.
You will see a halo of carbon on the front of this gun after you shoot it, but I found that the carbon rubbed right off without solvents.

You will see a halo of carbon on the front of this gun after you shoot it, but I found that the carbon rubbed right off without solvents.

The firing system on the gun is the Series 80 design from Colt, which features an internal firing pin safety. A lot of people have complained that the triggers on the Series 80s are spongy, but I didn’t experience that on my test gun. It snaps crisp and clean, at just under 6 lbs. The reset is a fairly standard 1/10th of the inch or so for a 1911, and it is a little scratchy, but with a noticeable feel and sound of a click. The gun failed zero times out of just over 300 rounds using everything from standard roundball to flat point to pointy Hornady carry bullets, to hollow points of several types.

You would think that that this would mean that the gun is somewhat sloppy and rattly. It isn’t. In fact when you shake the gun there is no movement in it whatsoever. And in accuracy tests, I proved out the original USMC specification of under a 4″ spread of 5 shots at 25 yards over several brands of ammo. The USMC requirement said an “unsupported firing position,” so that is how I shot my tests. Ultimately a gun is only as accurate as you can fire it. And though an offhand test is much more subjective than a bench rested test, it does give you a good idea of how the gun performs in the field. I am not an accomplished pistol shooter, and I was able to ding 12×18 steel plates at 50 yards with every single shot, and about half the shots I hit the swinger in the middle. Oh, and that was with one hand. I am a retired SASS shooter.

Series 80 Colts have been criticized for having a spongy trigger, but I found this gun to be very crisp and consistent at a predicable break under 6 lbs.

Series 80 Colts have been criticized for having a spongy trigger, but I found this gun to be very crisp and consistent at a predicable break under 6 lbs.

With a progressive reloading press, a lot of free time and a barrel of money I’m sure that you could get this gun shooting into a fraction of what I tested it at. Since the Marines adopted the gun, it has received nothing but high praise from the Quantico gunsmiths that used to build the old M45s from spare parts. Do yourself a favor though. If you have all three of those things (press, time, money), buy a second one of these guns to put away and not shoot a lot. These guns are going to be extremely collectible, and the consumer serial numbers are still in the 2000s.

The Colt M45A1 CQBP comes with Novac style 3 dot night sights. The original guns apparently used actual Novac brand sights, but my test gun has Trijicons. This is of course a rail gun, and the rail is machined into the frame, not bolted on. Each gun comes with two Wilson Combat 7 round mags, and they have the extended pads on the bottom to protect your palm from getting hurt by the lanyard loop that sticks out of the bottom of the gun. The ambidextrous manual safety is surprisingly crisp and positive. I don’t know if this gun was sent to other reviewers before me, but in my experience most 1911 safeties take some break in time, whereas this one did not. The barrel is stainless, and marked “COLT 45 AUTO NM,” for National Match. All of the parts are meticulously Cerakoted, and after firing the gun a great deal, there is very little finish that gets lost. Some 1911s are hard to field strip. This one was not.

The grips on this Colt are beefy. The grip circumference is about the same as my doublestack 45s.

The grips on this Colt are beefy. The grip circumference is about the same as my doublestack 45s.

Please see the pictures for details of my brief first outing with what is probably the most exciting Colt for me since the 901. I am not a Colt fanatic for no reason. Sam Colt may have died in 1862, long before the famous and groundbreaking 1973 Peacemaker, but his company pioneered the commercial firearms business through the last 100 years plus. Everyone wants to talk about John Browning John Browning John Browning with it comes to 1911s, but there are a lot of great inventions that never go anywhere because nobody buys them. It was Colt that made the 1911 an American firearm staple, and that goes for the AR-15 as well by the way. Inventions are great, but sound production, good marketing, and grabbing military contracts like this are what have given Colt, and the 1911, such longevity.

Rarely if ever will you buy a Colt and have it disappoint you as a functional firearm and collectible that will only go up in value. This USMC contract may have been 22 million, but in modern corporate terms, that is a drop in the bucket. From a lesser name and a less historical gun that size contract wouldn’t have even made a blip. And don’t get me wrong. This 1911 is a great gun, and from a performance perspective, I don’t think you can do much better for this kind of money. But as a Colt fanatic and accumulator (which is different from collector), more than anything the USMC contract gave us all a great reason to go out and buy another Colt. I am going to try to buy this test gun from Colt, and if you can get your hands on one (there are currently only 4 on GunsAmerica), get this M45A1 CQBP while you still can at under MSRP.

To some degree, and a 1911 rail gun is a 1911 rail gun, but a Colt is never just another gun.

To some degree, and a 1911 rail gun is a 1911 rail gun, but a Colt is never just another gun.

My gun came with Trijicon night sights.

My gun came with Trijicon night sights.

The ambidextrous safety is surprisingly not sticky.

The ambidextrous safety is surprisingly not sticky.

For a new 1911 it also field strips very easy.

For a new 1911 it also field strips very easy.

Speer roundball was very tight and close to point of aim.

Speer roundball was very tight and close to point of aim.

Never question your shooting until you shoot Hornady ammo. This Steel Match is intentionally underpowered for competition, but it is scary accurate. This is a 6 shot group.

Never question your shooting until you shoot Hornady ammo. This Steel Match is intentionally underpowered for competition, but it is scary accurate. This is a 6 shot group.

All of the different types of bullets worked without flaw.

All of the different types of bullets worked without flaw.

You would think that a Military gun would be made to optimize roundballs, but I shot a ton of this flat Winchester 1911 ammo and it never even hiccuped.

You would think that a Military gun would be made to optimize roundballs, but I shot a ton of this flat Winchester 1911 ammo and it never even hiccuped.

The gun comes with a lockable case and two Wilson Combat magazines.

The gun comes with a lockable case and two Wilson Combat magazines.

{ 85 comments… add one }
  • Bob Vallier January 9, 2017, 1:28 pm

    I found ( bought ) one of these beauties on line at less than the $2K. I took it to the range just to try it. Nice fit in my hand, sights lined up easy, hit the paper from 15 yds. at a target of 2 inches with a 3/4 inch red dot in the center. All 17 rounds (off hand) hit within the 2 inch circle and most hit the red area. After the first magazine the red dot was gone. All I could say was “Put this Baby away, clean it up and save it.”
    About six months later I took it to Gunsite class as a back up. When my Springfield RO had trouble releasing the safety, I pulled out my back up and to make a long story short, 1000 plus rounds later with NO FTF, NO JAMS, AND NO NOS, NADA, ZIP. My little brown breast is a shooter. Can’t say that about my other brands of hand guns. Now once a month I take it to the local the Action Pistol competition shoot, and has yet to fail me.
    Marines know a good pistol.
    Fate whispers in the ear of a Marine, “You cannot withstand the storm.” And the Marine with a Colt 45 in his hand, whispers back “I am the storm.”

  • Jon February 11, 2016, 9:43 pm


    It appears there are lots of opinions and judgments of the M45A1, many if not most by those who haven’t seen or shot one. For those who just don’t love the 1911, there is no winning an argument with you so I’ll move on and leave you with your cast in concrete I’m certain I’m right opinions. As for those of you who are 1911 guys, this is one fine pistol. With the single exception of trigger pull, it is absolutely in the same class as super custom pistols by Wilson, Nighthawk, and Brown. I say this as I have the good fortune of owning one or two from each of these fine builders. That said, the Colt is stout, accurate, and reliable. Personally, I love it. And a challenge to the 1911 heaters–I’ll meet you any time, anywhere for a tactical shoot off in the situation of your choice and give you 5 to 1 that me and the M45 take your money. Magazine capacity is interesting but can be shown to be non determinative. Trust me on this.

    All in all, this great Colt challenges the best of the best custom builds. Try it. You’ll like it.

  • Will Brescia December 9, 2015, 2:12 pm

    thats ” no one ever has to buy…. ” sorry on the know no. And also thanks for the great article!

  • Will Brescia December 9, 2015, 8:48 am

    If you love Colt you will love this beautiful pistol. I own several Kimber’s and other brands and appreciate those as well, but this one is a Colt and a special one for Colt guys. I was lucky enough to buy a USMC rolled slide version a while back – I believe the current model is the same gun with a different roll mark. Just enjoy it – know one ever has to buy something they don’t want. Thanks to every veteran on the thread here !

  • Donald Brewer December 8, 2015, 1:11 pm

    As far as the debate between special forces and Marines, it is inarguable that given the high level of field grade leadership, one single Marine riflemen even at the entry level, is capable of delivering a vicious sack full of hell to any combatant he encounters, far more than any “special” forces operator. The Marine riflemen have proven it over and over again on the battlefield. When failure is not an option, MARSOC and Navy seals are called upon when high level missions are needed. The army special forces simply concentrate on a higher degree of battlefield effectiveness and endurance than their average soldier. The basic Marine and Seal are already operating at a level of effectiveness far beyond that of the average special forces soldier. Don’t just take my word for it, just look at the universal acceptance of Marine Corps training throughout the entire military. Any soldier, even those designated Special forces, airmen, sailor or coastie must undergo Marine Corps bootcamp if they desire to be a Marine but any Marine may join any other branch of service without having to undergo their basic training. Carry on, that is all.

    • WC "Wild Bill" Barkdull, USA December 12, 2015, 8:36 am

      Bull crappy, I was in the US Army in the mid sixties and was in basic training with a guy who had been in the Marines quite a few years past and had to complete basic training again, so what you say is not total true my man!! I think there must be a time line set for this, not an expert on any of this but do know this happened. . . . . Also there is only one true “Special Forces” and that original specified title holder would be commonly referred to as “Green Beret” I know the catch phrase “Special Forces” is used loosely and generic designation of other branch groups but the original and oldest elite group is the one and only “Special Forces”, GREEN BERET! That’s the facts Jack and Jill. And we can not even discuss “DELTA FORCE” or I would have to eliminate your existence! All of the branches do a fantastic job, sacrifice a lot for us all up to and including laying down their very lives to ensure our freedoms that we enjoy and all too often take for granite. So I have the upmost respect for all of them. May GOD BLESS and KEEP ALL OF THEM SAFE AND RETURN THEM HOME AGAIN. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

    • Dan F. January 9, 2017, 11:16 am

      I am certain that no adult would make such bold assertions without first having served many years in SOF units, operating with many branches, and wasn’t afraid to establish his verifiable pedigree. Otherwise, his assertions would be, and are, laughable. Now: this is a nice pistol, but the Marine Corps allowed themselves to be seriously screwed on this contract and needs to outsource procurement on their next handgun contract. There must’ve been no oversight at all on this. This is an $800 pistol at most, and even after spares and support, this is the military industrial complex at its worst. Corporate welfare has not been good for Colt. They forgot how to compete.

  • Jim Kaylor December 7, 2015, 1:30 pm

    Does Blackhawk, or ANY company make a concealment holster for this pistol the way it comes out of the box!
    Thanks all, I bought one as a retirement gift to myself after 42 years in LE. A VERY nice pistol {ought to be for the money}!
    I would like to carry it but can’t find a suitable pancake like my Roy’s Leather (Magnolia, ARK) & am not fond of inside the waistband holster. Some good posts here, keep it up!
    S/F JK

  • Tony Cheatham October 4, 2015, 8:20 pm

    Any way you look at this gun it’s priced above and beyond many others and out of the reach of many people…

  • Graham Bazzacco September 29, 2015, 1:25 am

    Great gun to shoot handles all ammo type I got 2 inch groups at 25 metres

  • wRecKaGe September 26, 2015, 8:41 am

    I am not a hater of the 1911 pattern pistol. I am also not a hater of Colt as a company. What I am a hater of are fake articles, generated by companies in order to create an artificial demand for a “new” product. The force that uses handguns more often than any other is that of the ranks of our various state law enforcement agencies. I cannot think of one that uses 1911 pattern pistols for it’s main force issue sidearm. (According Kimber’s website the SWAT unit of the LAPD does carry a variant of the Kimber 1911 pistol but I did specify main force issue…) The weapon most often issued to officers in not only the United States, but also a great many other countries, is the Glock pistol, the G17 and G22 pistols making up the vast majority, along with some G19 and G23s. A few also allow the carry of the Glock 21 .45acp pistol, for those of you still mired in the mythology of that round. While some departments have selected other issue sidearm manufactures, such as Smith & Wesson, the fact remains that is the striker fired pistol that dominates the real world of CQB use, and primarily in 9mm actually. Given the improvements in the effectiveness of 9mm ammunition over the past couple decades it is the logical choice when considerations of firepower (total loaded rounds available for immediate use), and weight are considered. It therefore makes no sense whatsoever that our military forces should be limited to the anemic capacity of a single stack primary sidearm when several superior options are available.
    Personally, I believe that the Glock 19 (selected over the G17 only because it is somewhat lighter and more universally ergonomic), with the addition of quality night sights, should be the standard issue sidearm across the entirety of the U.S. military. It is sized appropriately to fit the vast majority of all shooters, carries a 15 round magazine as standard (more than twice that of the 1911), and is built to last, with universally interchangeable parts. Given the proper round selection 9mm is equal, if not superior, to many, if not most, .45acp rounds. The one thing that is the most important factor in successfully defending ones life with a sidearm is shot placement, 9mm pistols are almost universally accepted as being “softer” shooting than their .45acp brethren. The fact that less recoil results in faster follow up shots, with more accuracy, gives yet another reason for my selection. While many will argue that in a military application, where hollow point ammunition is disallowed by international convention, that the .45acp punches a larger hole than a 9mm, there are now expanding rounds available that are not hollow point. The superb rounds produced by Hornady in their Critical Defense, and Critical Duty lines of ammunition are not technically hollow, as their cavity is filled. Expanding monoblock ammunition is also seeing an increase in availability and with a push from government contracts could easily become the new standard. These sorts of filled cavity rounds offer all of the feeding reliability of ball ammo while also providing the increased terminal effectiveness of standard hollow point ammunition. I would take a Glock 19, loaded with Critical Defense +P ammunition into the bowels of hell and never feel a single pang of desire for a larger caliber round.
    The 9mm round is generally a higher velocity projectile, and therefore less suitable for certain “special” applications such as use with a suppressor. For such roles there is certainly still a place for the .45acp round as it is undoubtedly effective, and in it’s general form is inherently subsonic. Be that as it may, for the vast majority of uses the 9mm, the right 9mm, round remains a superior choice. It generates equal or greater foot pounds of energy at most reasonable combat ranges where a sidearm would be employed. In the CQB role specifically, having 15+ rounds of high energy, high velocity, lightweight rounds means that the warfighter can deploy more fire, more rapidly, with greater accuracy and equal if not superior stopping power than any issued .45acp ball ammunition. So if our Armed Forces wish to update something, it should begin with the ammunition itself. The firearm to deploy that ammunition will follow directly to the most logical platform, carrying the highest number of rounds, being easiest to maintain, and being the most reliable over the course of sustained combat. That firearm at this point in time, is the Glock.
    I realize that many 1911 fans will take objection to this idea as a personal assault, it is not intended as such. Only as my $0.02 regarding what I consider to be a superior overall choice for our Armed Forces, over the heavy and distinctly firepower limited, antique design that is the 1911 pattern pistol. For punching holes in paper, a finely tuned 1911 is like a Rolex…very hard to beat. But when the bullets are flying back at you, and your life depends on your sidearm because you’ve shot your battle rifle dry, then I can pretty much guarantee that any person with any sense whatsoever will choose the gun that can hit faster and be reloaded less often.

    • Scott Williams January 28, 2016, 1:03 pm

      I agree with you on the Glock. I have a Kimber 4″ 45Cal. and it is nice and pretty for conversation and all but when it comes to actual fire power and throwing out the rounds give me a Glock in 9M or a XD40. When I first saw the Glock I did not like the looks but here again why are you purchasing a side arm in the first place, looks or protection. I had a Glock 21 and enjoyed shooting that as well however, it is big and ackward to carry but, it sure fired nice and it had plenty of rounds in the mag.

  • Gary D September 25, 2015, 8:22 am

    Colt is struggling financially…everyone knows that…..and this is going to help them considerably, but I don’t see a lot of people paying that kind of money for a somewhat ‘basic’ Colt, when they can get a tricked out Wilson.(or other comparable pistol) for the same or less money.

    Certainly, with articles like this encouraging people to buy the guns at current retail prices, Colt is going to hold back on civilian production in an effort to keep prices high. However, if people don’t buy into the ‘I gotta get it now so I have a low serial number’ hype, and just wait a few months, Colt will lower the price in order to stimulate sales.

    Generally speaking, unless you’re talking about extremely low numbers, who really cares about the serial number? Remember: Buy low; sell high….just like Colt.

  • Ron Myers September 22, 2015, 12:05 pm

    I guess I am one of the fortunate ones who managed to get one of these guns when Colt was till stamping USMC on the slide before the Marine Corps told them to stop doing that. The new ones like the one featured in your article do not have that on the slide any more. You are right about how good this pistol shoots. You can take it apart with no tools, even the screws in the grip come off with the lip of a cartridge. It is a great gun.

  • Jerry September 22, 2015, 11:51 am

    I do not buy a weapon because it’s pretty. I buy one because it is made well and therefore shoots well. Is Colt still putting plastic into their pistols? Mainspring housing, triggers, stamped internals?? If so this weapon is NOT worth $2,000. it isn’t worth $1,000-should sell for about $800 and forget the rail. Who wants a light mounted on a pistol unless you’re hunting raccoons.

  • Twig September 22, 2015, 10:04 am

    This is why Recon Command now allows their Marines the option of carrying the Glock 19 instead of the M45, right? The CQBP is not being met well by the USMC, and it’s not really a secret. The CQBP is typical modern overpriced Colt garbage, with the corporate hype-train behind it. Quit misinforming the public, and quit giving Colt handjobs. Colt thinks this pile of crap warrants an MSRP north of $1,500, so you’re passing on the Springfield Loaded 1911 and TRP, the Kimber Grand Raptor, and anything Sig Sauer makes to buy this pistol. No thanks, Colt, try again.

  • Jay September 22, 2015, 8:08 am

    If John Browning could only see that his 1904 invention is still around and doing well today! Enough said!

  • Kivaari September 22, 2015, 1:11 am

    I have to admit I didn’t read most of the text. What I gleaned is this over-priced pistol has a durable finish. That the grip diameter is similar to double stacked versions. Those two “features” are enough to stop me from buying one. What I want to know is how many US military forces have used any pistol in combat. I’ve heard of two, where medal were issued. This pistol cost too much – yes contract price will be less. It fires what is now pretty much not in the supply chain. Do we need a combat pistol? If so, and I agree, buying a Glock 17 for special operators makes more sense. If the circumstances have deteriorated to needing a pistol you need something with lots of ammo. OK, you will argue that with the .45 you only need to nick a pinky hangnail to send the enemy doing double flips and dead before he hits the ground. Why don’t we buy Glock 17,19 and 34s for all pistol packing warriors. It will cost 1/3 the price if these antiques, that have a mythical stopping power. We do know the .45 isn’t significantly more destructive than a 9mm – but we get to keep the mythical powers around to drive us into a weapon less advanced just because uncle Jimmy-John stopped a platoon of drugged up Japs with his 1911.It was at an internment camp in Southern Idaho not some distant place named Iwo Jima.

  • Steve Warren September 21, 2015, 10:27 pm

    “the Colt M45A1 CQBP, which was adopted by the US Marines Special Forces in 2012.”
    What the hell is Marine Special Forces? (Special Forces is a branch in the Army, no such thing in the Marines).

  • petru sova September 21, 2015, 7:02 pm

    Looks like the trigger is plastic? Yes? No? Any MIM Cast parts in it? How about the main spring housing, is it plastic?

  • Anon September 21, 2015, 6:50 pm

    I love 1911s. I think they’re amazing, I like Colt products. I think 1911’s are a great. I don’t like this pistol. I think you’ll be able to figure out who I may or may not work with based on this reply to above article. First correction, the unit you’re speaking of is not “Special Forces”. I don’t think anyone is offended, but it’s just to better educate my fellow firearm enthusiasts.

    Secondly, this weapon is way over-priced for what it actually is. I’ll start with the positives: It’s attractive. The night sights are great. Good ambidextrous controls, it’s easy to disassemble. Extremely accurate!

    Now for the negatives: The G10 grips are a little too thick. Heavy trigger but I’m sure the civilian guns are lighter. They cerakoated pretty much everything. The author doesn’t show what the inside looks like, but they cerakoated, the feed ramp, where the slide makes contact with the frame, like they just dipped the thing into a tub of cerakoat before putting in the internal components. It’s nice, until you’ve been shooting it for about a week and just put round number 7000 through it. Then the cerakoat begins to chip away. If the ceraktoat chips away on the feed ramp, the round is going to get hung up. If the round gets hung up that becomes a failure to feed. This happened to everyone.

    My thoughts on the gun: If I was given one for free, I would take it to the nearest smith, have him polish the feed ramp, anywhere the slide interfaces with the frame. Get a trigger job, and replace the factory shoe. I would then replace the grips with the old Pachmayrs that were on the MEUSOC pistol (the one this pistol replaced).

    Lastly, if you’re on the 25 yard line conducting slow fire, then by all means, buy this 2000 dollar pistol. If you’re about to do high speed stuff with your friends… I think you get my point. Try it before you buy it. The rest is up to you.

  • Rick September 21, 2015, 6:18 pm

    I’ve owned other Colt 1911’s and even a 1991 “Commando” (a 1911 variant) with a 3 1/2″ conical barrel and loved them. Now I’m retired after over 30yrs in law-enforcement and can not afford 2K plus handgun., As long as its Mil Spec and you maintain it, they are mostly all good. I have a Rock Island Armory 1911A1 fulled sized Mil Spec and it shoots as well as any pistol I’ve owned. I’d like to buy this new Colt, but I’ve rarely seen a 1911 I didn’t like. Semper Fi .. God Bless America

  • Lynn K.Circle September 21, 2015, 6:02 pm

    That MSRP is pretty pricey, right up in the Wilson and Ed Brown stratosphere. How does this gun compare to either a Kimber or Springfield Range Officer (the latter which can be had for less than a thousand?)? I own a Kimber with an aluminum frame which I’ve had and shot vigorously since 2001. At the time it ran about $1100.00. I know about the Colt cachet but, when push comes to shove I have to wonder if it is overpriced.

  • Alvin York September 21, 2015, 4:24 pm

    You shot it at 25 yards and 50 yards, why, as the name implies “close quarter battle pistol”, during the Iraq war the average distances for pistols for us forces was from3 ft. to 13 ft. what are you doing at 50 yards?????????????????

  • Ray K September 21, 2015, 4:18 pm

    Have to agree with the majority of the comments here… Yes, I too have several Colt 1911s (2 MkIV Series 70 early 1970’s production), a recently produced MkIV Series 70 Colt, all in ‘blue’ finish, and a Series ’80 that was given to me from my Dad when he passed away. They’ll ALL shoot well – at least when I’m behind them – even the Series ’80, despite the crappy trigger feel compared to the ’70’s. But $2,100?!? Naw, don’t think so. Cut that in half, then OK, despite the ‘collector value’. My other 1911s, a newly produced Remington R1, and a Rock Island-Armscorp 1911 that was a gift from my youngest brother, shoot well also. NONE of these cost anywhere near $2,100… Love ya, Colt, but not behind you with this gun.
    Probably my favorite 1911 is my Remington-Rand that I carried as my sidearm as an M-60 operator while ‘visiting’ over the Great Pond as a young & dumb Marine with 1/5 Marines. It’s my “Gee, Sir, I lost it during the ‘sh*t in Hue”, but it followed me home anyway, haha. Most fellow Viet Vets will understand… Anyway, it’s my favorite for many reasons, not the least of which is it saved my and my A-gunner’s bacon several times. It shot like crap then and still does, but I always hit who/what/where I aim(ed) it.

    So: Are there other guns, like the striker-fire Glocks, etc etc, that will shoot as well as a 1911? Maybe even better, and with more available rounds coming out of the pipe? Absolutely! I own a few, people, but there ‘ain’t nuthin’ like a good ol’ heavy 1911 (now, I’m sure I’ll offend somebody, but at 66 yrs old, I don’t much care: I never got the chance to wallop an NVA soldier upside the head with a Glock or an equivalent, but I have – twice – with my Remington Rand… It worked wonders on the instant re-education of those two individuals).

    But, sorry Colt – not this time, not this version.
    Semper Fi, all!

  • Myles September 21, 2015, 3:45 pm

    Wow. Looks just like a S&W E-series that’s 1/2 the price and without the benefit of a Series 70 action and an external extractor. Suspect Colt gave the guns away in the contract to get the publicity.

  • Joe Heasley September 21, 2015, 2:25 pm

    And to think, the superior CZ design available at far less….

  • Joe September 21, 2015, 1:39 pm

    Colt…. Isn’t that french for overpriced piece of donkey turd.
    Seriously folks the only reason for that price tag is Government Contract.

  • Winston September 21, 2015, 1:32 pm

    It’s amusing to read about overpriced “CQB” 1911 novelties that will never be used in “CQB”. Reminds me of the market for $60k 4WD SUVs and oversized, ugly pick trucks that never leave the pavement.

  • Johnny B Goode September 21, 2015, 12:18 pm

    Given that Colt is not a very profitable company it seems like they would produce a pistol is going to sell. Most people are living paycheck to paycheck. I do not see many people paying $2,000 for that gun just because it has a dancing pony on the side of it. I guess no one told the people at Colt that Glock S&W, Ruger and several other manufacturers make a striker fired 45 acp that is just as accurate and reliable for under $600. No, their gun is not a 1911 but most people know there is nothing magical about a 1911. Iraqveteran8888,a YouTube contributor, has a Glock with over 600,000 rounds down the pipe that has been torture tested so many times no one bothers to keep count any more.

  • slfree September 21, 2015, 12:09 pm

    Move along. Nothing new here to see.
    A series 80 Colt 1911 painted too. Operators wanting to be cool and spending tax money to do it. So many better cheaper choices.

  • Jerry September 21, 2015, 11:52 am

    Wonder if Colt is still up to their old tricks of putting sub par parts on their expensive pistols. Example-plastic or rubber Main Spring housing, plastic or rubber trigger, rough stamped sear, sear spring, disconnector, etc.? I would like someone’s opinion on what they found after field stripping one of these to know what kind of internal parts Colt has installed before I shell out two thousand dollars. When the hammer is placed in the half cocked position and the trigger is pulled, will the hammer fall?
    Colt has had ample opportunity to make a very good weapon but for whatever reason chose not to build them. In my humble opinion, if this weapon is like some of their past products, it ain’t worth the investment. Of course, after buying one a person could install bullet proof parts but why not just invest a little more money and get a Wilson, Nighthawk, Baer, Ed Brown just to mention a few.

  • bruce September 21, 2015, 11:31 am

    Have been looking for 2 guns that I can give my 2 adult sons for Christmas. Looking for something they can be proud of and pass to my grands…….this may be it…….other looking at a nice L.B

  • Warner Anderson September 21, 2015, 11:05 am

    This commonly-circulated back story on USMC 1911 contracts is inaccurate. The Marine Special Operations Battalion, the test bed for what became MARSOC, ordered 200 custom Kimbers early in the GWOT, all marked “USMC” and “Property of US Government.” They were very happy with this pistol. The Kimber USG purchase was limited to SN001- 200, but in deference to these Marine operators and their pride in this pistol, Kimber and the Command authorized plankowners of the battalion (only) to privately purchase SNs 201 and higher as a one-time addition to the USMC production run. This run was continuous with the USG run – in other words, the same run. The USMC Special Operations Battalion Kimbers are essentially the same as the Colt -except it’s Kimber quality and artisanal manufacture due to the small numbers produced. The USMC and USG markings on the operator-purchased pistols are identical to the USG-purchased pistols. I have never seen one for sale and am jealously guarding mine as a “safe queen.”

    • Todd December 7, 2015, 11:03 pm

      Just as a point of reference to keep the above from becoming internet dogma as mistakes so often become – the number referenced above as starting at 201 for private concurrently produced pistols is incorrect.

      Within and throughout the first run, many were purchased by active duty Det-1 Marines adn were also available to those facilitating the legal transfers.

      In fact, I personally have numbers 200 & 201 to support this and turned down much lower numbers in order to have to consecutive numbers that I found interesting.

      I agree with the entirety of the attached comment excepting the numbers information and want to get ahead of this 200 reference becoming “fact”.


  • Tripwire September 21, 2015, 10:56 am

    I love my 1911’s, but I’m a bit pissed that the Gov is buying these things for that price, Ok I know the gov supposedly gets better pricing but the $1800.00 coffee makers pop into my mind, I carried a loose and sloppy 1911 most of my tour as a Marine and it shot far better then I could and I made Expert every time, I see no need for these expensive pistols, when a Marine has to go to his pistol things are very close and very dirty and anything will hit at that range. And as much as I hate it I’ll admit a Glock or XD with high-cap mags beats the single stack for a CQB handgun.

  • KW September 21, 2015, 10:43 am

    I’m trying to see where this thing is worth over twice what I paid for my Gunsite Service Pistol.

    It’s a 1911A1. After over a century, the design has pretty much finalized. Aside from those silly rails (where one is apparently supposed to mount turn signals, a drink dispenser or fuzzy dice), the primary differences between this and a garden-grade pistol with $200 worth of smithing are the coating, the sights, and the . . .well, just the coating and the sights. Both of which can find their way into any 1911 you can name, for significantly less than the cost of this one. For that matter, you can get a better trigger on a Springfield Armory or Kimber, straight out of the box, because they don’t come with Colt’s’ patented Series 80 Trigger Creep System.

    Handgun prices have gotten out of hand. And the author suggests buying a SECOND one “to put away and not shoot a lot” . . ? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over! IT’S JUST A 1911A1. IT SHOOTS JUST LIKE A 1911A1. IT WILL NEVER BE ANYTHING MORE THAN JUST A 1911A1.

    If I was going to spend two grand on a pistol, it would be a Python.

    • billy396 September 21, 2015, 8:59 pm

      I also have the Colt Gunsite pistol and it’s one of the better 1911’s in my collection. I have at least a dozen left and all of the modern, name brand 1911’s have turned into relative tack drivers for me. I have Colts, Smiths, SIGs, and Springfields and they all pretty much shoot to point of aim every time. I do have 2 Kimbers but both of them were thoroughly worked over with all the best parts available before I got them. It’s a shame that Kimbers need this kind of care to work right, but that has been my experience. Once you replace most everything in there and tune ’em up they shoot great. I had a Ruger and it shot just as good as my full custom Cylinder & Slide. I was very pleasantly surprised. Also don’t overlook the SA Range Officer as those things are great in .45 or 9MM. The price on this Marine gun plus the Cerakote finish means I won’t be buying one. Just personal preference, as I like my guns blued or Park’d.

  • Mikey September 21, 2015, 10:34 am

    Too bad Colt won’t be around, as we currently know it, in five years. Their dependence on government contracts and trying to sell the public these pistols at ridiculous, government prices has already sealed their fate. $2100+ for a 1911 might work for Uncle Sam, but not for me. U.S. Government contracts for firearms has dried up. Next stop for Colt is Chapter 11 and this is exactly why.

    • Mikey September 21, 2015, 2:12 pm

      I need to amend this to say Colt is already in Chapter 11. Who knows where the next stop is. Its sad to see such an iconic American gunmaker in such dire straits. However, this was a slow motion, self inflicted, mortal wound. No one to blame but bad management.

      • Stephen September 21, 2015, 8:58 pm

        Colt put all their eggs in the government contract business, and ignored civilian market that was going gangbusters, and that cost them millions in profits.

  • Jeremy Garner September 21, 2015, 10:32 am

    This article should be amended to mention that Colt is producing two different models. The model reviewed here appears to be the cheaper of the two models and just the production run gun. It will come with two magazines and be in a blue case. This weapon will not come with a test target. The street selling price for this is around $1600-$1700 depending on the shop. The second of the two is with the higher MSRP at the level mentioned and it actually comes out of the Colt Custom shop. As another comment stated already it will be in a Green case with an Otis cleaning kit, spare magazine, and test target.

  • Rosco September 21, 2015, 10:19 am

    The sights are Novak sights. The Trijicon markings on them are referencing the tritium vials installed in them.


  • WillB September 21, 2015, 10:17 am

    I read about these guns 2 years ago when they were only in the contract evaluation stage. It may keep Colt in business a while longer, but one reason for the high prices is that it’s a government contract (IDIQ-Indefinite delivery/Indefinte Quantity). So, it’s not the cost of a limited production run of 4000 (the cost to set up, materials and labor), it’s the uncertainty about how many and when the Pentagon will buy then. My guess is that this is a 5 or 10 year term contract which “could be for 4000” or “could be for less than 4000”, not a lot when you compare it to the Beretta 9mm contract.

  • Steve September 21, 2015, 10:13 am

    $2149 ! Please excuse me, but the Colt CQBP is no Ed Brown etc, etc, etc. . Although we can find similar features on other 1911’s for less, you don’t see too many with a Cerakote finish. Don’t get me wrong, as a collector of all things Colt, I’ll ask my dealer to find one and look as happy as I can paying for it. Let’s hope the premium article is at least properly dehorned, as this has been an annoying fault when comparing Colt 1911’s with other makes.

  • Daniel September 21, 2015, 10:06 am

    I have both versions. The version with U.S.M.C. roll marked on the slide is the collectible piece. The M45A1 is the civilian version. The blue box M45A1 does not come with a target, the M45A1 and U.S.M.C. Roll marked version in the green pellican case comes with the factory target and Otis cleaning kit. I’ll personally take this pistol over a Kimber any day. I know an employee of Kimber, and to say the least, their quality control is not what it used to be. The M45A1 is definitely battle worthy. The Novak sights, national match barrel and crisp trigger make shooting bullseyes effortless. The earlier versions did have problems with the Cerakote chipping. I’ve ran multiple manufacturers rounds and hand loads through mine, and it did not fail once. I use the Wilson Combat 8 round elite tactical magazines in mine, and they work absolutely perfect. I definitely reccomend purchasing this pistol to anyone looking for an accurate reliable 1911.

  • Icorps 1970 September 21, 2015, 9:48 am

    My son bought one on his return from Afghanistan and its a great pistol. I think flawless would apply very well to it. And he has shot it a lot its not a safe queen.

  • Dan September 21, 2015, 9:31 am

    You said serial numbers are still in the 2000’s. I’ve had my CQBP since July 2014, the serial number is in the 7000’s. It also came with a heavy olive drab pelican case and an Ottis cleaning system. What is the deal?

  • Richard September 21, 2015, 9:30 am

    Great looking sidearm. Too bad about the price though. The $2000-plus price tag makes this 1911 unattainable for most shooters. I will have to content myself with my current Colt Series 80 and Spingfield Armory 1911A1. Finally, I am glad for the Marines. They have a reputation for “making do” with what they have while the other services are flush with the latest in everything. Rest assured, these M45A1s will be in use 30 or 40 years from now by Marines not yet born.

  • MARSOCMike September 21, 2015, 9:29 am

    Hate to burst your bubble but MARSOC is giving these up for Glocks over the next 5 years. Moon dust gums them up, they have a low capacity magazine, they’re heavy, and the replacement parts are comparatively very expensive and require fitting instead of being drop in

    • Fotomaniac September 21, 2015, 11:17 am

      Uh – the mil specs on the guns issued to the Marines require that all parts be interchangeable. The only pistols with fitted parts are the CCS versions: O1070CQBP, NOT the M45A1 in the field.

  • Charles Topping September 21, 2015, 9:15 am

    I bought mine for around $1800 at a little fun show 18 months ago. It is my EDC and go to pistol. Barring any shooter malfunction I can put both mags into a 6 in circle at 15 yds. It works with the 8 and 10 round mags as well. Love this pistol.

  • Stephen September 21, 2015, 8:20 am

    I have read and viewed photos where the cerakote finish is chipping on the pistols. I own one the pistols that I bought, and I plan to have it ionbonded. has anyone had this chipping issue?

  • George September 21, 2015, 8:09 am

    While there’s no debating that these are beautiful, accurate and well made pistols, I think the price point is a tad too high. You could easily get the same or better performance out of a custom kimber for the same money, but just because this has the prancing pony the price jumps. Colt makes some really awesome products, but really need to rethink their price points. Nice article by the way.

    • Charles Topping September 21, 2015, 9:21 am

      I can’t believe that you would hint that Kimber would make a better pistol than Colt because of the price. Get a little grit in your Kimber and see how well it performs. I’ve put well over 800 rounds through my MK45 and never had a failure. Way more dependable than my buddy’s Kimber.

      • Dwayne Boyd September 21, 2015, 1:37 pm

        “My buddy’s Kimber”…Nuff said.

  • Bill September 21, 2015, 8:04 am

    Please edit your review to say Marine Special Operations or MARSOC. There is only one Special Forces in the US military. Special Forces is an Army unit also known as the Green Berets. It matters to those that know. DOL/RLTW

    • Evan September 21, 2015, 12:37 pm

      They’re Marine Raiders now

    • Ron September 21, 2015, 2:38 pm

      Like it or not, “Special Operations” is a descriptive term encompassing all kinds of warfighters now…

      • Todd December 7, 2015, 10:54 pm

        There is no “like it or not”.

        While “Special Forces” (as used in the article) are *of* Special Operations Forces… the ONLY Special Forces in Special Operations are U.S. Army Special Forces and holders of earners “Green Berets”.

        USMC troops – regardless of specialness , SEALS, Rangers and Air Force SO guys are NOT Special Forces.


        • Donald December 8, 2015, 1:08 pm

          I disagree, my experience strongly suggests that given the level of leadership, one single Marine riflemen even at the entry level, is capable of delivering a vicious sack full of hell to any combatant he encounters, far more than any “special” forces operator. The Marine riflemen have proven it over and over again on the battlefield. When failure is not an option, MARSOC and Navy seals are called upon when high level missions are needed. The army special forces simply concentrate on a higher degree of battlefield effectiveness and endurance than their average soldier. The basic Marine and Seal are already operating at a level of effectiveness far beyond that of the average special forces soldier. Don’t just take my word for it, just look at the universal acceptance of Marine Corps training throughout the entire military. Any soldier, even those designated Special forces, airmen, sailor or coastie must undergo Marine Corps bootcamp if they desire to be a Marine but any Marine may join any other branch of service without having to undergo their basic training. Carry on, that is all.

          • Todd December 8, 2015, 5:09 pm

            I think you’re missing the point: There are no…. NO “Special Forces” in the United States Air Force or the United States Navy nor the United States Marine Corps.

            For that matter, the only “Special Forces” in the United States Army are SPECIAL FORCES… Not Rangers.

            The pair of words gets used far to liberally to identify organizations who are not deserving of the title.


  • Wm September 21, 2015, 7:12 am

    Thanks for the “jaded” review. I too am a Colt accumulater but I think that msrp is a little high for a production 1911

  • Norm Morris September 21, 2015, 4:33 am

    Great review, and a beautiful pistol, BUT, is it just me or do these prices start to seem a tad ridiculous? For a collector buying a gorgeous limited edition, sure, I get it, good investment. But for a shooter a Sig or Ruger or Kimber 1911 will shoot tighter, weigh less (I didn’t see it mentioned but this is a beefy 1911) and cost s lot less. As a user rather than a collector if I’m going to spend this much I think I’d go with something mid-range by Baer or Brown.
    Anyway I have a low serial # series 70 so understand your love of Colts, but will leave this one to the USMC and avid Colt collectors. Thanks again for the nice write-up and clear pictures.

  • Luciano September 21, 2015, 3:59 am

    How, when, and where can I go about buying one for my collection????

  • Michael Dugas September 21, 2015, 3:52 am

    Even more valuable than this version, as a collector’s piece, is the earlier model, with the USMC stamping on the frame.

    I was able to buy one for my son’s graduation gift as he finished MCRD; needless to say, he was pleased!

    It sold for more than MSRP, however.

    It is not a collector, it is a shooter, and a fine pistol at that.

  • Ken Garner September 21, 2015, 3:44 am

    I would like to speak with someone about advertising an auction that I have coming up on October 17th. I have over 100 Colt pistols along with 300+/- more firearms. Thank you, Ken Garner

    • Administrator September 21, 2015, 6:14 am

      You should have just listed them for sale here lol.

    • Rick September 21, 2015, 10:55 am

      Ken, how can we find out more about your auction?
      Paul Helinski, you are now on my hit list!!! I will have my Harley Road King paid off in November and was looking forward to
      being debt free…………Now I am faced with another debt, the M45A1…… I have 4 Colts now that I kept out of my collection and you have started me on another mission………………Thanks I think 😉
      Semper Fi and God bless. Rick

    • Mitch Slot September 22, 2015, 2:10 am

      Hey Ken, if you’re fair with the pricing, I wouldn’t mind speaking with you about some of those Colt’s you own.
      Thanks, Mitch Slot

    • Ralph Stephens September 25, 2015, 3:49 pm

      I would like to know more about your auction.

  • Will Drider September 20, 2015, 11:15 pm

    What are the grips made from? Texture? How do the grips perform “wet”? Looks like left grip is recess cut at mag release? Ejection port looks beveled but not lowered? Sharp or snaggy edges? Function with 8 round mags? All steel weighs in at?
    Semper Fi,

    • Administrator September 21, 2015, 6:26 am

      To tell you all that irrelevant stuff we’d have to sell Colt a full page ad or a cover like the print mags lol. It weighs 2 lbs. 10 oz. with an empty mag. I’m not going to booger the grip screws or dunk the gun in water, but the grips look plastic and are quite pretty. I don’t have an 8 round mag, but regardless, wouldn’t that be a function of the magazine not the gun?

      • davud September 21, 2015, 1:27 pm

        ‘sell’ colt an ad? why would colt waste the money when they get the boilerplate for free? ‘this gun is sure to appreciate, you don’t have much time, buy now while it’s only 2 grand.’

        • joe September 22, 2015, 11:50 pm

          Only 2 grand ?

    • Billy September 21, 2015, 9:57 am

      They look like VZ G10 grips.

    • Spydersniper September 21, 2015, 4:03 pm

      The grips are different colored laminated G-10. They are textured so that when hands are wet or wet gloves or just plain gloves you have complete control. Yes , there is a recess cut for for the mag release.It comes standard with 2 Wilson Combat 7rd mags. The ejection port is lowered then beveled and flared. No snaggy edges, and the ceracote finish smooths it down. After 38 years as a Military SAI, and having trained on the old .45’s, if we had of had these back in the 80’s we might still be carryin. It has a few things it needs, but after over 500 rd’s of 8 different types of ammo with no malfunctions, it’s a keeper.

    • Bob Clarke September 22, 2015, 4:02 am

      Billy and Spydersniper got it right about the grips they are made of G-10 (Micarta) and they’re cut or checkered aggressively enough to allow a firm grip went wet or dry without tearing up your hands.
      There is a cutout on the left grip panel to allow the shooter (right handed ones at least) to have a chance to manipulate the magazine release which is or was slightly “extended” to allow the shooter to eject the magazine without having to shift their firing grip.
      As far as using eight round magazines goes, it should accept and function just fine with them.
      I will make a personal statement about the choice of Wilson Combat magazines. I hope that the USMC Armorers that do the first checkout on these pistols knows to replace the plastic magazine floor plates with after market metal ones as I know I’d hate to be in the middle of a firefight, slamming (firmly seating) the new magazine in place and having the floor plate break off and all of a sudden having a pistil that doesn’t feed like it’s supposed.
      Please don’t think that I don’t use or hate Wilson magazines. I have, still do, and will continue to use them. I have a number of them and some of them are approaching 35 years of age! I can also tell you that not one of them has its original floor plate or follower. The difference being is that they broke at matches or practice, not in combat!
      I can tell you that if I was going to carry a 1911 pistol into combat or carry as a defensive pistol, I’d make sure that I was carrying top quality magazines (Metal Form or Meg Car) with welded on floor plate and then glue or screw (or both!) extended “slam pads” on to the floor plates.
      And just an observation for Mr. Helinski, I’d be willing to bet that the sights on the pistols are Novak sights that either Colt or Trijicon bought and then installed the Trijicon Tritium capsule in. After all Trijicon has to get them somewhere!

      • Newell Anderson September 26, 2015, 1:18 pm

        Cylinder & Slide has a stainless, round top 1911 magazine follower, that is the best you will ever own! The follower top is exactly the same as a loaded round! There is no transition to flat top feed ramp as is the case with most followers.

  • Tom McCarthy September 20, 2015, 5:11 pm

    If you are a colt fanatic i have a Colt Automatic Pistol Pocket Model Caliber >380 Hammerles 98% condition for aucation. contact me at email.

    • Administrator September 20, 2015, 7:41 pm

      This is GunsAmerica just list it for sale lol. You will lose more on your “aucation” than the 2% sales fee here.

    • Gary September 27, 2015, 7:08 pm

      The author seems to ridicule John Moses Browning stating that Colt made the 1911 great. It is absolutely the other way around. If it wasn’t for John Browning, Colt would have been gone a century ago. The same goes for Winchester. John Browning was so integral to the firearms world that Winchester made it a point to buy the rights to every John Browning designed gun up to the Auto 5 shotgun. They did this to either produce the gun to sell or to keep any of the ones they didn’t produce from their competitors. If John Browning wasn’t the GREATEST firearms inventor in history, then why is the longest produced military weapons are Browning inventions. The 1911 and the Ma Deuce. Not only did Browning invent the weapon themselves but also the rounds used in them. In addition to this there has not been ANY significant new designs since his passing in 1926. So that says a huge amount to his greatness as a firearms inventor that nobody can deny.

    • Powderman September 29, 2015, 10:53 am

      Yet another Colt for me to drool over. And no, I would not collect it–I would shoot the h-e-double toothpicks out of it!!!

      And while we’re at it–hey, Colt! When are you folks going to make a DOUBLE STACK 1911, like the P14? PLEEEEESE make one, or at least offer one through the Custom Shop!

    • Donald December 7, 2015, 4:28 am

      The original release of these pistols all had the word “Marine” on the slide and this one doesn’t. Isn’t that something that should have been discussed in the review. What is the difference between the two pistols?

      • Lawman December 10, 2015, 8:29 am

        One doesn’t have “Marine” on the slide…they decided to take it from the commercial models…those who have one before they did that have a more valuable pistol…

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