Handguns Military news

Delta Force and the Glock

Delta Force Glock
A Glock being fired in military training.

The following e-mail was forwarded to me by Gunner, a fellow blogger over at Gunner’s Journal.  Gunner is a 1911 expert and has contacts with various people who spent some time in the Special Forces community, including Delta Force.

A lot of what Delta does is understandably secret, and there have been much debate about the weapons and tactics they use.  There have also been questions about if Delta is still carrying the 1911, or if a complete swap to Glock pistols had been made.  Attached is some information from someone who has intimate knowledge of Delta’s operations.  None of the information is classified and it was ok’d for publication.

The Army did drop the 1911 about 3 years ago for the Glock 22 rough texture frame which was “experimental” at the time. Glock really didn’t know if they were gonna go with it commercially at the time but since others in the community liked it, they put it on some Gen 4 guns.

There was a down select to the STI 2011 and Glock 22 in .40S&W. The 1911 were costing us way to much per gun to keep them running. Parts, labor, X-rays, you get the picture. Even when Kentucky (Lexington Depot) would build a gun, the unit gunsmiths would practically and literally rebuild the gun for the individual operator during the training course. There was a contract let years ago for a select manufacturer to make the frames and slides and several different parts and barrel manufacturers to make the internals. Much like the MEU/MARSOC pistols a while ago they just got to expensive.

And we changed the way we shoot. In training Army it was two in the chest and one in skull if needed. Now, if I give you 1 you are getting 2, if I give you 2 your are getting 5, if you get 5 then you get the rest of the mag. Plain and simple I am not going to let you get up and hurt one of my team mates.

And we will put all my shots right across your pelvis and then the shoulder girdle. I don’t care if you got a trauma team on hand, 5 shots across the pelvis and you ain’t getting up. The enemy is likely to wear some kind of armor now a days just as much as we are. 2 in a 3×5 card ain’t cutting it. So there are lots more ammo expended in training, which effects how well the guns hold up also.

We went through several different down selects for a double stack auto. The STI did not hold up to OTC and the students did not want to run their go-no go shooting test with a chance of failing. One Sabre SQDN got issued both guns and the guys selected to deploy with the Glocks to Iraq. So that ended the question. Now there is a cornucopia of 22’s, 23’s and 27’s across that command. We went from the 228 to the G-19/ G-26 and G-30’s.

And I understand the Navy has dropped the Sig and now gone to the HK (I want to say the) P-30 family in 9mm. I don’t know if they are going to the .40S&W? Air Force STS went to the G-22/23/27 and HK-416 cuz their Army partners did. Really all of JSOC is following what the Army Unit does.

This jives jibes with what I have heard from other sources.

While I still teach and train for center mass shots, in the military context, the pelvic girdle shots do make sense.  If you have a reasonable expectation of encountering an enemy wearing body armor, you have to train for where the armor is not.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

19 replies on “Delta Force and the Glock”

The 1911s “were costing us way to [sic[ much per gun to keep them running”???

BWHWAHAWHWAHAWHA!!! Compared to what? A stealth chopper? Now I know the size of 1st SFOD-D is classified but I’m willing to bet there are less “operators” than there are, oh, high school students at the HS down the road from me. These soldiers BY AN ACT OF CONGRESS are allowed to set their own tactics/strategy for a mission but “running” some 1911s are “costing us way to [sic] much”? OK!

I have a friend in the National Guard who was sent to Iraq (effed up that we do that w/ the Guard now, but here we are, this is “war” I guess) and before shipping out we went to Academy together so he could buy a sidearm as he hated the service-issued one. I asked “They let you do that?” and he replied with “My CO looks the other way.”

But bean counters at Delta can’t? The morons in GIGN carry .357 revolvers for crying out loud (there is wonderful footage of one blowing up in the face of an “operator” after it was hit with an AK47 round as he as he attempts to storm Flight 8969.

Do your own gunsmithing, carry what you want. I refuse to believe the SHTF weapon of an “operator” – a freakin’ pistol for crying out loud – is driven by costs. If so, go do something else.

Believe it. With the ever expanding battlefield, down time on weapons is a no go. Think of the cost to ship a weapon back to the us, having an X-ray on it, then a complete rebuild on a platform that cost $3000 to begin with. This money could be spent on more pertinent things such as armor, ammo for training etc. Also the reliability of 1911s in the desert was not that great as stated in the article. A $600 glock that can take roughly 100,000 rds before any major rebuild is needed and the rebuild can be done at the operator level instead of a custom smith. Plus the capacity, accuracy, and portability (think weight in an already heavy combat load out) perks. It really made a lot of sense. Gen4 glock 22s may have actually been born for Delta (now CAG) due to problems with frame flex on the gen3 with a light attached (see Larry vickers explanation on this). I think they were also using federal efmj as I have seen a lot of surplus off this round in generic white boxes floating around. Idk if they are still using it now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE believer in Glocks. They should have Glocks or my fav pistol, the FN Five-SeveN, certainly both are better than the century-old 1911. I just can’t believe costs are a factor. These commandos, like their SEAL counterparts, are over $1 million apiece to train. Probably team leadership plays a big part in all this. As in, “You’re going to go with what we all go with because when we kick in that door in Libya for that snatch-and-grab if it all goes wrong and we’re running on the streets for hours, we all want the same ammo for redudancy.” That kind of thing. I’ve read Eric Haney’s ‘Inside Delta Force” (Probably the best special forces autobio I have ever read) and there’s the memorable moment when he explains why they went with the old venerable .45, it had more to do with its “stay put” bullet than anything. In an airplane it would tend to stay in a target than travel through a fuselage. He said it also would “drop a man.”

It won’t. That’s a myth. Pistols do not have “dropping power” – a .45 hits you with the same force as a 10 pound weight dropped from 1 foot on your chest. In fact, with modern health care 6 out of 7 survive being shot with a handgun.

Only rifles have dropping power. But they fire with 10x more energy than a handgun. I once heard an ER surgeon say if people were shot with rifles they would have nothing to do (i.e. they’re dead).

The most important thing about a hand gun the ability to put the first and subsequent rounds on target and reliability. A Glock is reliable enough. The problem it must fit your hand to reliably put rounds on target. That’s not hard to test. A pistol should find the target just like your finger does when you point at something. When present your gun the target should be in your sights with little or no adjustment. The secret of point shooting is having a gun the points were you look and getting the same grip every time. Then putting in enough practice you get it right every time.

To me and many others a Glock feels like a 2X4 and doesn’t point where I look. For me a Glock points off to the left when I present it on a target with my right hand and not so far off to the right in my left hand(I am right handed & left eyed). While a CZ-75BD is much closer to right on with either hand.

Unless you have seen someone shoot that is really one with the gun they shoot you may not believe it’s possible. My dad hunting and fishing partner hunted quail with Winchester 1987 Pump shotgun. I went along so they could kill 29 or 30 birds instead of 20. I might get one or two. One day I just watched dad’s friend shoot. Now and then the he dropped a bird before the gun was on his shoulder and never took his finger off the trigger. He slam-fired the gun most of the time and would have 5 or more birds headed for the ground in a big covey before dad’s Remington Model 11 loaded the 5th round. If dad got ahead of him he would start taking a lot more doubles. Later in the season they were took fewer birds per covey.

I’ve seen Delf Bryce do things that seem impossible such throwing washers in the air and enlarging the hole or hitting the on edge on request.

With women going into positions that come under fire in the military they need pistols with smaller grips. Both Egypt and Mexico have bought CZ-75 P-07 pistols for their military. This gun fits small hands better than any double stack 9 than I ever held. I have on and have to fill in below the beaver tail to lengthen the reach to the trigger to make it shoot the way I like.

CZ just announced a striker fired trigger for markets that insist on them. They have made double action only pistols in the past. The Omega trigger could be made DAO but the trigger is rather long and the market wants striker fired guns.

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