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US military places huge order for ‘greatest handgun’

world Updated: Jul 31, 2012 01:54 IST

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 $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 Sargeant 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, CEO and president of Colt Defense, as saying.

The gun, one of the most successful pistols used at Camp Perry’s National Matches, a competition known to be the main world event in artillery, has barely changed since its creation. Dinkel says that shows the gun’s “elegant design” just can’t be improved on; firearms experts agree with Dinkel.

“You can’t beat a .45 cartridge. Some things are hard to replace,” said Jack Lewis, firearms director for Cowan’s Auctions.

Colt Defense will supply 12,000 of the 200,000 US marines with semi-automatic, tan-colored M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistols including 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.