BEAUFORT — The Provost Marshal’s Office Special Reaction Team on Aug. 21 familiarized themselves with the newest addition to their arsenal at the pistol range aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
This exercise marks the beginning of the transition to the M45 1911 A1 pistol.
“We will be the first in PMO to carry them,” said Sgt. Daniel Sloniker, a team leader with the SRT. “We’ll be training a lot with them, that’s what we do - we shoot guns all the time.”
In a move to assist with the fleet-wide transition to the M45 close quarter battle pistol, the Marine Corps recently awarded Colt Defense a five-year contract. Full implementation of Colt’s M45 CQBP will begin later this fall.
Implementation of the weapon into the special reaction team is critical to their role as a response force. They respond to crisis situations such as: terrorist attacks, hostage situations and VIP protection. The unit has capabilities similar to civilian S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams.
“We’re the ones who kick the doors in, save hostages and take out the suspect,” said Sloniker. “We have to be able to employ our weapons and make sure if we shoot, we hit our target.”
SRT has begun to cross train the Marines to prepare for a standard issue with the weapon, said Staff Sgt. Joshua Sumerfette, a team commander with the SRT.
The transition will leave behind the Beretta M9A1, which has been the Marine Corps’ standard issue side arm for the last 20 years.
The pistols’ differences were noted by the SRT as they shot the new M45 for the first time.
The M45 employs a .45-caliber round that is noticeably larger than its predecessor’s 9 mm round. No increase in recoil was noted by the SRT Marines, despite the pistols larger round diameter.
The M45 has a seven round magazine vice the M9’s 15 round magazine, said Sumerfette. However, the stopping power makes
up for the lack of rounds.
“Even though there is an obvious difference between the [9 mm] round and [.45-caliber] round, the recoil is similar],” said Sumerfette. “The M45’s trigger tension is lighter and makes for a smoother shot.”
Before stepping out in front of their targets, the majority of the Marines of SRT had their expectations for the new weapon.
“I personally have never shot the [M45 1911 A1],” said Sloniker, from Lawton, Okla. “I’m expecting it to be a little more accurate
because the trigger pull is a lot softer than the M9 pistol.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a good time.”