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Thread: MEU(SOC) Late Model by Western Arms

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  1. #1
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    MEU(SOC) Late Model by Western Arms

    History

    If you haven't read the history of the MEU(SOC) pistol in our test of the Early Model, here it is again.

    The MEU(SOC) pistol is a special gun created by USMC armorers for the men in the Marine Expenditionary Units, Special Operations Command, MEU(SOC). The Marines saw the need for a reliable .45 ACP pistol, to be used as a secondary weapon from the men of these elit units and since the USMC didn't want to spend any money in procurring new pistols, the Corps armorers were called to create them.

    The USMC armorers used existing 1911 frames the Corps had, and rebuild them to a level, which would make their men happy. Nothing fancy was done on the pistols, just basic work, which however resulted in some very reliable, tactical, no-frills pistols, which was what the men of MEU(SOC) were interested in. The first MEU(SOC) pistols were build on WWII frames, while other parts were procured from the open market.





    If you care to read more information about this pistol, please visit the following pages:

    http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/history/meusoc.htm

    http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/history/meu_1911.htm

    http://www.berryhillguns.com/meusoc.html

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/artic..._28/ai_n6040330

    This review presents to you this particular pistol, as it evolved after the Early Model. The USMC procured some pistols from the market and Springfield Armory was the prefered vendor. These late pistols had basically the same design characteristics as the first ones, with some small differences, as far as some parts are concerned.

    This review is about the Springfield pistols that the USMC procured for its MEU(SOC) units.


    Introduction

    Having tested the Early model of this pistol, it was only natural for me to want to try the Late Model as well. And the good folks at Airsoft Extreme were kind enough to send me one for test and evaluation.



    The traditional WA dark grey box, contained the usual items, the pistol with the magazine, the plastic bag with the few BBs, the bushing wrench (I'll never understand why they bother shipping that with their pistols, I've never met one that wouldn't be disassembled without a bushing wrench), the Japanase instruction booklets, the blank targets and the allen wrenches for the hop-up adjustement and the trigger overtravel adjustement.



    The pistol is made from strong plastic, with the usual metallic parts (sights, thumb and grip safety, trigger and magazine catch). Here is the pistol, just fresh out of the box. Or to be rather frank, that's not the pistol as it came out of the box, because the pistol came out of the box with an ugly, plastic orange barrel. I was almost shocked to see it in that condition. Thank God, Airsoft Extreme had thoughtfully included the standard barrel with the pistol they send me, so I had a very narrow escape from that heart attack that I felt coming, as soon as I saw the orange barrel.



    So what's with this pistol? A lot I would say. First of all, it is a very accurate reproduction of the Sprinfield Armory's 1911, as it was delivered to the MEU(SOC) units.



    The slide came with a dovetailed front sight with a white dot (the first dovetailed front sight, whose base is fully matched to the curvature of the slide).



    A rear Novak Low Mount sight with two more white dots, is used, while front and rear cocking serrations are cut on the slide.



    The pistol uses the standard recoil spring guide rod (short).



    The words Model 1911-A1, Cal .45 are inscribed on the left side of the slide and a lowered and flared ejection port is found on the right. On the frame, there is an N- prefix serial number and the slide stop pin which is flash with the frame (it does not protrude, as is usually the case with standard 1911s). Unfortunatelly the pin's hole is not chamfered, for a perfectly authentic reproduction. An aluminum, three-hole trigger is the only bright part on this model.

    Overall, the quality of the pistol is equal if not better than the Early model. The trigger pull is excellent, and of course the ergonomics are perfect. Having the Novak Low Mount sights, makes its sight picture much crisper. I am used to the Novak sights from my real pistols and I like them very much.



    The grips are the same, well-done Pachmayr immitation (in WA's site, the pictures show the pistols with real Pachmayr grips, but all production pistols are shipped with these immitation ones, which do not have the Pachmayr medallion, but have metal inserts to give weight to the pistol and a good feel), while the ambidextrous thumb safety is the same one used in the Early Model. A beavertail grip safety and a black oval hammer are used.



    The mainspring housing is serrated and features a lanyard loop. The mag well is slightly bevelled up, for easier reloading.



    In the beginning of this article, I said that this pistol is an accurate reproduction of the Springfield Armory's pistols. Here you can see that the accuracy is indeed examplery. WA could have used the same frame as on the Early Model, which immitates WWII USGI frames. Instead, they have created a new one. You can see the difference of the two frames in the picture above. It is well-known that the dust cover (and the front grip strap) of the Springfields is of a more square profile, than that of Colt or Kimber or other 1911s. And here you can see that the MEU(SOC) Late model is using a frame with a wider and more square dust cover, than the Early Model.

    Another interesting thing, is that the pistol's front strap, below the rubber grips, is fully checkered.

    The weight of this pistol was 880 gr (compared with 900 gr for the Early version, the difference due to the fact that the Early version had an aluminum slide).

    Finally, the pistol arrived with the usual "Wilson Combat 47D" magazine, which takes 23 BBs.

    Overall, the pistol is very nice and good feeling, like almost every other Western Arms model I've tried. It's authenticity is quite high, imitating very well the real gun. Overall, I didn't find anything I didn't like with this pistol.

    Please continue to Page 2 of our review.

    [BREAK]

    Disassembly

    Striping the pistol to its major components is very straight-forward, even thought it is a little different than the standard 1911.

    Pull the slide back until the disassembly notch is aligned with the top of the slide stop and use a pointing plastic thing (like the pointing edge of the bushing wrench that came with the pistol) to push the slide stop out. Remove the slide stop and then push the slide forward and remove it from the frame.

    Even though the pistol uses a short guide rod and a barrel bushing, you have to remove the guide rod and spring from inside the slide. Then remove the recoil spring plug, again from inside the slide. Now, you may turn the bushing anti-clockwise and remove it. Finally, pull the barrel forward and remove it from the front of the slide.

    Reassembly is the reverse procedure.

    For pictures of the stripped gun, you may look at the test of the Wilson Combat FBI Trial Pistol, we have published earlier.


    Shooting

    I tested the pistol using the same test procedure I've used for all other Airsoft pistols, i.e. target distance is 10 m, either inside the house or outside, depending on the weather.



    The accuracy shown by the MEU(SOC) Late model was extremely well, a 5 shot group in the range of 1.25", from a supported position, was the best I've managed. By all means a very nice group, for an airsoft gun.

    Poor man's Chrono Test

    The BB fired from the pistol, penetrated cleanly through both sides of the coke can. It also opened a hole at the base of the can, but failed to penetrate it. So, I assume the BB velocity is in the range of 350-370 fps, possibly near the upper limit of that range.


    Overall

    Nice pistol. Accurate and reliable, authentic and fun to shooot. Our Early model, was customized with a metallic slide and some upgraded springs, but even in standard form, the Late model is equally nice. The quality of the plastic is good, so the fact that this is a plain model does not make you wish it was customized. WA's attention to detail is great, I was really glad to see that the frame immitates the real Springfield's frame, as far as the width of the dust cover is concerned, as well as all the other details. A great gun as it comes from the factory. It should be of special interest, for those who collect the military versions of the 1911.


    Note on Gas

    With all Western Arms pistols, you are supposed to use the HFC 134A gas. Using Green gas in them, will cause problems, premature wear etc. HFC 134A is giving slightly less performance (lower BB speed), when compared to Green Gas. Green Gas should not be used in unaltered pistols made in Japan, like the WA ones.

    With the above warning noted, I have to admit that I am testing all pistols using ... propane. Green Gas is in reality propane, with a little silicone oil added, to lubricate the pistols. So instead of paying for Green Gas, I bought a canister of propane, like the ones sold in US for the camping stoves, or flame torches, and a special valve adaptor, which allows me to use the much cheaper propane instead of Green Gas. In this site, you can read more on this issue:

    http://www.airsoft-innovations.com

    The reason I am ignoring the manufacturer's recommendation, as far as gas is concerned, is two-fold. First, I want to have consistent environment for all the tests (some of the pistols we'll test here use HFC 134A, some use Green Gas), and second it's plain difficult to find HFC 134A in Greece. Also, I plan to upgrade all the standard pistols (like this one) so that it is safe to use Green Gas (and thus propane) with them.

    Rating

    Accuracy: 4
    Upgradeability: 4
    Training Capability: 5
    Realism: 5
    Quality: 5
    Power: 3

    Overall: 26
    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    http://www.m1911.org
    Last edited by John; 13th September 2008 at 08:31.


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