US Marines place order for `greatest handgun`

A handgun designed by the legendary John Browning for the US Military around 1911 is set to make a big comeback.

Updated: Jul 29, 2012, 18:26 PM IST

Washington: A handgun, often called the greatest handgun ever made, and designed by the legendary John Browning for the US Military around 1911, is set to make a big comeback, after US Marines placed a USD 22.5 million order for the Connecticut-made pistols.

The Colt .45 M1911, which has been wielded on film by John Wayne and in real life by Sgt Alvin York and Major Audie Murphy, was the standard-issue sidearm in the military for decades, until it was replaced by the Beretta M9 in 1985.

"It just became an iconic part of military and American history," Fox News quoted Gerry Dinkel, the CEO and president of Colt Defence, as saying.

The gun, one of the most successful pistols ever used at Camp Perry`s National Matches, a competition known to be the main world event in artillery sports, has barely changed since its creation.

Dinkel says that shows the gun`s "elegant design" just can`t be improved on. And firearms experts agree with Dinkel.

"You can`t beat a .45 cartridge. Some things are hard to replace," said Jack Lewis, the firearms director for Cowan`s Auctions.

Colt Defence will supply as many as 12,000 of the 200,000 US Marines with semi-automatic, tan-coloured M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistols, and they will include spare parts and logistical support. The gun has long been the weapon of choice for special operations agents, thanks to its reliability and the stopping power of its massive bullets.

"To have the 1911 selected again for US Forces 101 years after its initial introduction is just an incredible testament to the timeless design and effectiveness of the Colt 1911. This is truly a gratifying contract award," Dinkel added.