For years, the US Army’s legendary special missions unit 1st SFOD-D (aka Delta Force) has made considerable use of the just-as-legendary M1911 pistol, chambered for the .45ACP round.
The 1911 was not only known for its versatility and stopping power, it was also a huge favorite of Delta Force’s founder, Col. Charlie Beckwith.
Up until Delta Force began transitioning to Glock pistols as their standard sidearms, each would-be and full-trained operator was issued a pair of 1911s for both training and overseas missions.
While the very first Delta pistols largely came unmodified from the Army’s vast conventional small arms arsenal (as the military hadn’t yet moved to the Beretta M9 back then), Delta armorers soon began retooling the 1911 to suit their needs.
According to former operator Brian Searcy in an interview with Tactical Life, the 1911 was revamped to a match grade pistol with an unheard-of 100 percent reliability rate. Now Brian, along with his company Pilot Mountain Arms, offers civilian buyers the closest thing they can get to a Delta Force-spec 1911, highly similar to the one he carried as a member of America’s premier black ops force.
Dubbed the Pilot Mountain Arms Operator, the pistol is 100 percent made in America with high quality parts. Searcy starts off with a Caspian Arms frame and and 5 inch carbon steel government slide combo.
Candidates passing through the Delta Force pipeline in the 1980s and 1990s were known to have made thorough use of the M1911 pistol.
Housed inside the slide is a match-grade barrel from Kart Precision. An extended magazine release is included, courtesy of Wilson Combat.
The PMA Operator uses Ed Brown grip safeties adjusted to disengage when pushed down halfway, so as to account for a poorer draw in an adverse environment, as well as a set of Ed Brown ambidextrous thumb safeties on both sides of the frame.
A match grade trigger, a slightly-recessed Bomar rear sight and Heinie tritium front sight, analogous to the ones Delta used on their 1911s, complete the gun.
Each gun comes parkerized, though Cerakoting is listed as an optional upgrade. Additionally, buyers can also avail of an underbarrel rail upgrade which accepts most pistol flashlights and lasers on the market these days. The Operator uses Barnhart Performance Burner Grips, and with a pair of 8-round magazines.
According to PMA, a competent shooter can achieve a 3 inch grouping at a range of 50 yards with the Operator.
PMA’s website lists the Operator for a whopping $3,499, but considering the workmanship and the high-quality (and extremely expensive) parts that go into this beauty of a pistol, it’s no surprise that it retails for that much.