Umarex Colt Model 1911 M45 CQBP Part 1
Two steps forward, two steps back, but what a price
By Dennis Adler
One of the biggest “wish list” requests for the Umarex Colt Model 1911 Commander was the addition of extended ambidextrous thumb safeties and a dust cover rail. That’s actually what Colt did with the real 1911 in 2012 when they introduced the M45A1 Close Quarter Battle Pistol (CQBP), which was adopted that same year by the Marine Corps for issue to elite U.S.M.C. tactical units.
It’s no secret, that even though the Beretta M9 (92FS military version) is the standard issue sidearm for our military, that special ops teams, whether Navy SEALS, USMC Force Recon, or other elite U.S. Special Forces, do not necessarily use the Beretta. Navy SEALS carry the Sig Sauer P226; Marine Corps special operations, the Colt M45A1 CQBP. So when Umarex decided to step up and deliver a more modern .177 caliber 1911 blowback action semi-auto, they based its appearances on the Colt M45A1 CQBP. You’ll note I said “appearances” and the reason for that is this recently introduced model is more about looks than full features.
This gun is visually striking, if you overlook the less costly and incorrectly shaped SAO plastic trigger. This trigger system is one of three features that help bring the MSRP for this model 1911 way down the blowback action price scale to just $79.99. The other features that are cosmetic, though they look absolutely functional, are the beavertail grip safety and the promise of the Colt Commander’s self-contained CO2 and BB magazine. But when you depress the checkered magazine release a 19-round stick magazine, with a full-sized 1911 floorplate, drops out.
On the very cool side of features unique to this 1911 model, the deeply milled look black G10 grips hide the CO2 chamber in the grip frame and after removing the magazine, the left panel is lifted off to reveal the loading channel. The flat mainspring housing slides out, and has the hex head wrench built into the top so no extra tools are needed to tighten the seating screw. The airgun also uses a polymer frame (which a number of real 1911s use today), so that is also in the very cool category. With the metal blowback action slide in the correct CQBP desert sand finish, the M45 airgun weighs in at 30 ounces, lighter than a 1911 but still with adequate heft in the hand.
The markings on the left side of the slide are correct Colt stampings, those on the right have COLT M45 CQBP stamped under the ejection port, and all of the requisite airgun stampings for caliber and safety warning are stamped into the desert tan slide and not highlighted as to detract from the authentic look of the gun. The slide also has correct style front and rear serrations. The hammer, while injection molded plastic, is a correct skeletonized Delta style design. The Picatinny dustcover frame rail is correct for mounting any accessory that will fit on the .45 ACP CQBP, so as a practice gun this one fills the bill in that capacity, as well as coming with excellent white dot combat sights and functioning ambidextrous extended thumb safeties.
In overall looks and operation, the new Umarex M45 CQBP is a unique compromise between the Combat Commander and the version of that gun we all wanted. It’s more and less gun at the same time, and that’s the perfect definition of a compromise, a situation where everyone gets something and no one gets everything they wanted. As good as this gun looks, and for under $80, it’s a compromise most 1911 airgun enthusiasts can live with.
In Part 2 it’s time to lock and load and see what this 400 fps blowback action 1911 can deliver downrange.
A word about safety
Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.