Gun Digest

Colt’s Battle-Proven Workhorse — the M45A1 CQBP

The battle-tested M45A1 gets an even more durable and wear-resistant Decobond Brown coating for 2016

The battle-tested M45A1 CQBP has received a new coat of armor for 2016.

The original 1911 and 1911A1 were the workhorses of the battlefield in their extensive service over much of the 20th century. The 1911 served U.S. soldiers in two World Wars and several other major conflicts, and all the while provided reliable stopping power that could be counted on in the time of need.

While the U.S. military largely moved away from the 1911 in the 1980s, many specialized units preferred—and still prefer—the more potent energy and stopping power of the .45 ACP to that of the NATO standard 9mm cartridge. For this reason, several of these special branches of the military have continued to field the 1911 or at least modernized versions of it.

One of these modern 1911s currently in service is Colt’s M45A1, a tan cerakoted and modified version of the company’s previous Rail Gun. In 2012, after a rigorous selection process, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) selected to adopt the M45A1 as one of its pistols under the Close Quarters Battle Pistol (CQBP) designation.

Today, the M45A1 is still in use with the Marine Corps, and it has also become popular on the civilian market. For 2016, Colt is making an improvement to the already stellar handgun: It is swapping out the tan cerakote coating on the M45A1 for an even more durable Decobond Brown coating that will reduce the signs of wear even more.

This new addition is a running change, and will not alter the price of the gun or its features. The same elements that made the M45A1 a great option for the battlefield or the home will continue to be found on the updated version.

The M1913 Mil Spec Picatinny rail will remain, allowing users to customize their handgun with laser sights, flashlights and other accessories for whatever tactical situations they might encounter or for whatever home defense needs they might have.

Likewise, the M45A1 retains its Novak Tritium Front sight and Novak Low Mount Carry three-dot night sights. The G-10 tan checkered grips are the same, and the frame and slide are still manufactured from stainless steel. The trigger remains set between 4.5 and 6 pounds, and the pistol keeps its ambidextrous thumb safety and upswept Beavertail grip safety.

Importantly, the newly upgraded version of the M45A1 pistol still utilizes the excellent Dual Recoil spring system. This system allows for reduced recoil impulse—an important consideration with the .45 ACP—while also extending recoil spring life dramatically. Recoil reduction with the Dual Recoil spring system is noticeable, and it allows shooters to quickly reacquire their sights and target after firing for improved follow-up accuracy, which is where many shooters may fail with larger caliber pistols.

The updated M45A1 CQBP features a 5-inch polished stainless steel barrel for an overall length of 8.5 inches, and its unloaded weight is 40 ounces. This durable, duty-oriented handgun comes with two magazines and is available for $1,699.

Colt M45A1 CQBP Specs:
Type: Semi-auto
Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel: 5-in., stainless steel, polished
Overall Length: 8.5 in.
Overall Height: 5.5 in.
Overall Width: 1.25 in.
Slide: Stainless steel
Frame: Stainless steel
Weight: 40 oz. (unloaded)
Trigger: Solid aluminum, 4.5 to 6 lbs.
Sights: Novak tritium front, Novak Low Mount Carry 3-dot night sights
Finish: Brown Decobond
Magazine Capacity: 7+1
MSRP: $1,699

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