UPDATE: According to Task & Purpose, Miller was issued his 1911 in 1992 and it officially became his general officer sidearm in 2009. Let the .45 versus 9mm debate resume!
General Austin “Scott” Miller currently serves as the commanding officer of both NATO’s Resolute Support Mission and US Forces - Afghanistan, making him the top general in Afghanistan after having been appointed to that position late last year.
Being a 4-star general comes with a lot of perks, and apparently one of them is being able to select what you’d like to carry as your personal sidearm in-country, even if it’s non-standard. Case in point, an Afghan news network recently published images of Miller carrying none other than the granddaddy of badass pistols — the legendary 1911 — as his piece.
The manufacturer and specific product name of the 1911 in Miller’s holster is pretty unclear, though the design does sport a fairly prominent beavertail and a dark matte finish. To tote around the gun, Miller seems to be using a sweet Kydex holster, also of indeterminate brand/type.
While definitely an incredibly unique choice of sidearm, especially for an officer in such a lofty billet, the 1911 is a weapon that Miller, a former pipe hitter, would in fact be extremely familiar with.
A West Point graduate and a former platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne, Miller went on to serve with the 75th Ranger Regiment before eventually passing selection and the insanely difficult Operator Training Course to become a full-fledged member of the Army’s elite special missions unit, more commonly known as Delta Force or simply “The Unit."
Candidates passing through the Delta Force pipeline in the 1980s and 1990s were known to have made thorough use of the M1911 pistol, firing the weapons for hours on end every day, according to former Delta operator Eric Haney, in his book Inside Delta Force.
A popular rumor still exists that you can identify a member of The Unit simply by looking for a telltale callus formed on his dominant hand from endless hours and millions of rounds of practice with the 1911.
The end result of the constant practice was near-complete accuracy with the 1911 and an expert-like proficiency at instinctive shooting.
The 1911 is still used by the Unit today, custom manufactured by civilian contractors and modified to suit the needs of the operator, including standard tritium sights, ambidextrous safeties and enhanced parts to ensure the guns were at 100-percent reliability.
Miller would have likely deployed multiple times as a Unit operator with the pistol, including to Somalia in 1993, where he was the ground force commander during Operation Gothic Serpent, more popularly remembered as the Black Hawk Down incident.
He eventually went on to serve as the commanding officer of Delta Force before being assigned to key special operations leadership roles as well as a stint helming the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence in Georgia.
Prior to his current role, he led Joint Special Operations Command.
This wouldn’t be the first time Miller has made waves on the internet on the topic of wielding small arms in-theater. Just last year, he drew attention for carrying an M4 carbine while on official visits around Afghanistan, a highly unusual loadout for a 4-star general.
A month prior to pictures surfacing of him with the carbine, Miller drew his weapon and helped secure the area after an insider attack in southern Kandahar.
Ian D’Costa is a correspondent with Gear Scout whose work has been featured with We Are The Mighty, The Aviationist, and Business Insider. An avid outdoorsman, Ian is also a guns and gear enthusiast.