The M1911A1 is a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. It is a single-action design, meaning that it cannot be fired from "hammer-down" condition. Unlike a single-action revolver, it does not need to be manually cocked for each shot, as the hammer is automatically cocked each time the slide is cycled. While some consider single-action a drawback, it allows for smoother trigger pull and therefore greater accuracy than double-action designs. It is also one of the safest pistols ever made, with a mechanism-locking engageable thumb safety, a grip safety that disconnects the trigger if the shooter is not actually gripping the weapon, a half-cock position on the hammer, and a spring-retained firing pin that does not rest on the primer and can only be overcome by the force of the hammer dropping from the fully-cocked position. Newer models also have an internal firing pin block for added redundancy. It is virtually impossible to accidentally discharge an M1911.


The M1911 was used extensively by the United States military as the standard-issue sidearm from 1911 through 1986, with the updated M1911A1 model being adopted in 1924. Several other countries including Norway and Argentina also adopted domestically-produced M1911s as their standard-issue sidearm. It is still in service with some United States military units to this day, as well as many law enforcement agencies. Originally produced by Colt, wartime mass-production contracts were also given to Remington Rand, Remington UMC, Ithaca, Springfield Armory, and Union Switch & Signal. M1911s are still manufactured today by many companies including Colt, Springfield Armory, Kimber, Remington, Smith & Wesson, SIG Sauer, Les Baer, Wilson Combat, Ed Brown, Armscor, and Rock Island Arms. Each manufacturer offers specific options, with some of them producing Commander and Compact models in addition to full-size.

It is considered possibly one of the greatest pistols of all time by many and almost universally held as having remained superior in certain aspects (such as durability and, by virtue of the more-powerful cartridge that it uses, lethality) to the Beretta M9 that replaced it as standard-issue. Its reliability is legendary; many original M1911s used in World War I are still fully functional today.

The M1911 was designed by the legendary American gunsmith John M. Browning, who also created the M2 .50 caliber machine gun among many other weapons. Browning's design influenced many later pistol designs, including the HK USP.

M1911 pistol held by a knocked out soldier from the Peace Sentinel.

The M1911A1 could be held in the right hand while used with a knife in the left to perform CQC, a form of close quarters combat developed by Snake and The Boss that was imperative for Snake's missions.


Operation Snake Eater

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

Naked Snake had a standard-issue M1911A1 during the very beginning of Operation Snake Eater, but it was dismantled and thrown into the wilderness by The Boss. Snake's carrying the M1911A1 was because the stipulations for the mission required proof of America's involvement, due to the tense situation requiring the mission. When Snake met EVA in Rassvet, she provided him with another, heavily customized, 1911, which she stole from a vault from within Groznyj Grad that was used to store Western weapons for research by seducing the guards.[1] Snake furthered the gun's abilities by whittling a notch into the wooden grip in order to hold a knife and the gun with both hands to perform CQC. The modified 1911 originally belonged to a Western officer, but the Soviets somehow managed to steal it and place it in Tselinoyarsk for research purposes.[2]

The Sorrow's ghost also carried an M1911A1, presumably it was a WW2 issue and the weapon he carried with him when he and The Boss fought to the death.[3]

Snake lost the pistol at the end of Operation Snake Eater, when Ocelot tossed his gear from the WIG aircraft they were on.


Naked Snake's M1911A1 included the following customizations:

  • A feeding ramp polished to a mirror sheen, providing a smooth area for the cartridge to slide into the chamber on, improving reliability;
  • A reinforced National Match slide;[4]
  • Mating of frame and slide for a precise, tight fit, with the frame itself having been iron-welded and scraped down multiple times, for maximum precision and accuracy;
  • "Stepping" texture on the mainspring housing to avoid slippage during recoil, as well as a checkered front strap part for a more positive grip;
  • A high-profile 3-dot type sight system. It features an enlarged front sight, giving it superior target sighting capability, helping the user to see over the suppressor;
  • A ring hammer from the Colt Commander model, replacing the standard spur hammer. This eliminates "hammer bite" occasionally experienced by some shooters and decreases lock time, making the ignition system faster;
  • A unique dovetail that stood in for the altogether removed grip safety mechanism, designed to simultaneously accommodate the ring hammer;

Naked Snake's customized M1911A1

  • An extended thumb safety and slide stop to allow for easier operation of both controls;
  • A long-type trigger replacing the standard version, which is more comfortable for people with longer fingers. Holes have been drilled into the trigger shoe to reduce bouncing from the recoil. Trigger pull has been estimated to be around 3.5 lbs(1.6kg);
  • A bevelled magazine well for easier and swifter reloading;
  • A shaved down and recheckered magazine release button to lessen the chance of accidental magazine drops during a firefight;
  • Cocking serrations at the front of the slide to allow the user to press-check and clear jams using the front of the slide. This is easier to do for some shooters;
  • Whittled down walnut grips to create a less bulky grip when holding the CQC knife (Naked Snake performed this modification himself using his CQC knife);
  • A threaded barrel made to accept a custom suppressor;
  • A blued finish, with a high-polished slide and controls for a striking two-tone look.

Post-Snake Eater

Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]

The M1911 was later utilized as part of the Vietnam War.

San Hieronymo Incident

Main article: San Hieronymo Incident

During the San Hieronymo Incident, Big Boss and his resistance group procured a M1911A1 from a building within the San Hieronymo Peninsula's main communications base after a spy unit discovered it, with Big Boss later using it to shoot out the lock of the cage Skowronski was held inside, and later to hold up Gene at the Plant while everyone was distracted with Skowronski's rampage with RAXA. It was also utilized primarily by Soviet officers within the San Hieronymo Peninsula, despite its stance as an American-made weapon. Roy Campbell, the resistance group's subcommander, also carried a M1911A1 with him, although it ended up stolen by Private 1st Class Jonathan as soon as he regained consciousness in an attempt to escape shortly after Big Boss kidnapped him to recruit him to their side, before Big Boss knocked him down with CQC, also sending the M1911A1 away from him in the truck. Cunningham also had access to this weapon, and proceeded to use it to shoot several of Snake's comrades as part of his interrogation to the latter.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

Peace Walker Incident

Main article: Peace Walker Incident

During the Peace Walker Incident, Big Boss and his mercenary group, the Militaires Sans Frontières, managed to procure design specs for the M1911A1 after Big Boss's meeting with Amanda Valenciano Libre's FSLN unit was unexpectedly cut short due to Chrysalis ambushing the FSLN group and kidnapping Chico. The Peace Sentinel also made use of the M1911A1. Also, the MSF later made customizations to the M1911A1s in a similar fasion to Naked Snake's customized M1911A1 during Operation Snake Eater after finding design specs during an attempt to disarm claymore mines at the bottom of a cliff at Selva de la Muerte.

Guns of the Patriots Incident

See also: Liquid Sun, Solid Sun, Third Sun, Twin Suns, Old Sun, and Naked Sin/Naked Son

In 2014, Solid Snake made use of the Springfield Operator, an M1911A1 type pistol. Another type, the SIG GSR, was used by the various PMCs operating under Outer Heaven, and occasionally under the use of the South American rebel soldiers.

Behind the scenes

Weight: 1.0 kg

Although players may favor firearms in other categories such as assault rifles for greater firepower, the semi-automatic M1911A1 pistol can provide compact lethal firepower at range combined with CQC capabilities for close ranged encounters. The M1911A1 that EVA supplied is also the weapon with the most slides in a radio conversation, encompassing 14 slides dedicated to each modification.

The actual airsoft gun made for Kojima Productions by, a boutique shop located in Japan who made one-off metal guns based on Western Arms airsoft pistols and other custom airsoft toys and parts. They are no longer in business. Also, resin models had been built for the window slides in the radio conversation with Sigint. MGS4 has a more detailed model, than MGS3, that can be unlocked by a password.

Various M1911 types are available in Metal Gear Solid 4 and Metal Gear Online in the form of the GSR, Springfield Operator, Race Gun (a competition 1911 in .38 super) and Big Boss's original 1911 Custom:

  • The Operator has a 7 round magazine, an integrated laser sight, threaded barrel and an accessory rail. It has average stats;
  • The GSR has 8 round magazine and an accessory rail.
  • The Race Gun has an 18 round magazine and has neither an accessory rail nor threaded barrel, but its .38 rounds will ricochet (similarly to the SAA) and give little recoil impulse. It offers poor damage, though;
  • The M1911 Custom has a 7 round magazine and a threaded barrel. However, it has the highest range and rate of fire of all the 1911 pistols. It is essentially an upgraded Operator, being a very good all-round pistol.

The M1911 Custom is only available with the password "1aytmmymhk". It is the only weapon that cannot be unlocked by playing the main story or Metal Gear Online, but it does not need to be collected to complete weapons collection requirements.

In-game weapon descriptions

"The M1911A1. A .45 caliber automatic pistol that boasts high reliability and massive stopping power. Magazine size is 7 rounds."
―Weapon description in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
"This masterpiece of an automatic pistol has been a faithful partner to U.S. soldiers since the first model was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1911. Capacity is limited to seven rounds, but the .45ACP bullets boast excellent stopping power, and the gun's simple design makes it highly reliable.
With its high potential firing accuracy, the M1911A1 is also widely used as a base for custom models in shooting competitions.
―Weapon description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops.
"The legendary custom handgun used by Naked Snake in Operation Snake Eater in 1964.

Even after 40 years, this gun is still in prime condition. Its parts work together with watch-like precision, resulting in both unparalleled performance and remarkably facile handling. Uses 45-caliber ammo. Holds 7 rounds.

Has an extremely quick fire rate and high stopping power.
―1911 Custom weapon description in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
"The primary automatic pistol of the U.S. military. Uses large-caliber .45 ammunition. It is easy to modify, and has thus become popular as a base for custom guns.
The .45 ammo gives it high stopping power, making it an effective tool for halting enemy advances.
(Rank 2) Equipped with a limited-use suppressor. The suppressor will eventually wear out, so use it prudently.
―M1911A1 weapon descriptions in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
"A custom model of the M1911A1, incorporating high-precision parts for improved all-around performance.
The improved firing precision allows users to pinpoint enemies vital areas, increasing the chances of dealing heavy damage.
(Ranks 4-5) Equipped with a limited-use suppressor. The suppressor will eventually wear out, so use it prudently.
―M1911 Custom weapon descriptions in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker


Notes and references

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Kojima Productions (2004)
    EVA, in a radio conversation implies this was the case.
  2. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Kojima Productions (2004)
    EVA: I grabbed it from a Western munitions armory. It probably used to belong to one of your officers...
  3. ^ The M1911A1 is seen in an M7 Holster.
  4. ^ The slide is likely a Drake, which were produced in 1964.

See also


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