The MEU(SOC) represents the ultimate evolution of the M1911 Colt system which appeared in the early 1900's and developed into a much-liked and well-respected weapon for countless security and military forces the world over. The system was held in high regard thanks to its overall design, lending to a higher degree of reliability, ruggedness and man-stopping power. The MEU(SOC) was spawned from a need to arm United States Marine Corps personnel with a standard sidearm when fielding the HK MP5-N navy-model 9mm submachine gun.
Seeing it that the M1911A1 was in large supply thanks to it being accepted as the standard US sidearm for decades, the MEU(SOC) was the M1911A1 in modified form - even though all M1911A1's were set to be replaced by the newly-accepted Beretta M9 9m pistols. Though outwardly, the MEU(SOC) shares some similarities to the M1911A1 system, the MEU(SOC) features a host of improvements that have increased its effectiveness and handling characteristics.
The MEU(SOC) features a new barrel design, more sensitive trigger function, improved iron sights and a rubber-coated pistol-grip. The magazines themselves have now been updated to a more effective stainless steel model as well. Some 500 M1911A1 models were modified to this newer MEU(SOC) standard, ensuring that the M1911 series as a whole will continue to serve with US forces for decades more.