Also known as the MEUSOC, the US Marine Corps M-45 Pistol became the standard firearm issue to the Force Recon Element of the USMC Marine Expeditionary Units in 1985.  The design of this pistol was based on John Browning’s M1911.


The M-45 is a semi-automatic, magazine fed handgun which has been known to shoot as many as 80,000 rounds before requiring replacement.  However, a number of Marines generally ask for a rebuilt after 10,000 rounds.  When rebuilding the M-45, almost all parts – except for the frame – are discarded.  The frame is then inspected and only reused if it continues to meet military specifications.  Some frames have been known to withstand up to 500,000 rounds. 


Step back in time as you witness an extensive collection of weapons in the Firearms and Ordnance Gallery at the Armed Forces History Museum.  Countries around the world and various eras are represented in this incredible display.  A 1991 pistol - which was the basis for the design of the M-45 - is one of the many pistols which can be viewed at the museum.


Specifications for the M-45 MEUSOC Pistol

  • Type:  Semi-automatic
  • Combat Usage: 
    • Grenada
    • Panama
    • Somalia
    • Iraq
    • Afghanistan
  • Designed in 1986
  • Overall Length:  8.25 inches
  • Barrel Length:  5.03 inches
  • Cartridge:  .45 ACP
  • Action:  Recoil-operated, closed bolt
  • Muzzle Velocity:  830 feet per second
  • Effective Range:  230 feet

The USMC often uses the M-45 to help newly trained Marines become familiar with the handling and firing of handguns and small firearms. 


New requirements were issued in 2010 for an off the shelf pistol to replace the ones being currently custom built.  After reviewing there different options, in July of 2012, the Colt 1911 Rail Gun was selected and re-designated as the M45 Close Quarter Pistol – or (CQBP).  The CQPB is not considered a new design, but an upgrade of the previous design.  This new upgrade of the USMC M45 pistol will have a desert-color Cercoat finish, which will eliminate the weapon’s glare and make it more difficult to identify from a distance.