They SAS no longer uses the HP to any great extent. I don't know of any modifications they made on a regular basis, except for possibly trigger work. "14 Company", an affiliated surveillance unit, made no modifications to their HPs.
You can't probably imagine how strange your question may sound here. In Europe, we don't have a big tradition on customising. Modifying a weapon is a major no-no in our armies. I never heard about custom work on SAS pistols. I rather heard that, as the rest of the British army, they were required to download their HP to 12 rounds and stens to 28. Meager customising, isn't it?
Here, some elite units like GIGN, 11 Choc or Commando Marine in France, GSG 9 in Germany have some latitude in chosing and modifying weapons that aren't necessarly in the normal inventory, like GIGN's Manurhin revolvers, but it doesn't go as far as in the US. It looks really exotic, for me, to see all these special LAPD SWAT, FBI HRT or Marines MEU 1911s. Basic armement for a swat team here is a good pistol (SIG Sauer, Glock, HK, Walther), a HK MP5 (or Beretta M12S) and some knife.
I have pretty much read the same thing that Larry stated.
Besides, if it were to be true the armorers within those units would be doing the modifications and I generally the public wouldn't know much about it.
Yes Larry, it seems that every company wanting a LE contract is doing some pretty amazing stuff with 1911 pattern pistols. It didn't take Kimber long to jump on the "LAPD SWAT Certified" role with their advertising.
Can't vouch for mods to the Hi-Power, but can tell you that in 23 years with the Marines and two combat tours I never saw a modified 1911. They always seemed to work just fine.
Won't even mention the abomination the U.S. later adopted. It pales in comparison to JMB's designs.
The British Army does not, nor does the SAS, require its soldiers to download to 12 rounds as has often been stated. That is one of the biggest gunshop myths of all time.
The L9A1 (FN GP35) remains the issue handgun for the British Army. The British Army recently placed a multi million US dollar order for weapons training simulators. Significantly, the only hand gun supported on the simulators is the L9A1. The SAS does use P226s (along with a number of other weapons), and the MOD has purchased a quantity of P226s, but they have not replaced the L9A1.
As for modifications, limited modifications have been made, mostly trigger improvement, and I believe some ambi safeties were installed. The NZ SASR did delete the Mag disconnector on some L9A1s they used, but that was also done at regimental level.
To the best of my knowledge, the SAS, whether, Australian, British or Kiwi has not sent guns to Novaks. Any mods. would have been done 'in-house'.
I can't find any information on the subject and was curious as well. I did surmise however that any mods would have been done "in house" just as our armed services have their own armorers, i.e. for example, our own the US Marine Markmanship Gunshop at Quantico, VA.
I would imagine that the SAS or any "special ops" force may have access to a wider variety of firearms to fit in with their "mission" assignment and goals?
G'Day, The SAS (Australian and probably British) buy a standard handgun from a firm. Usually they will look to have worked very hard, if they are up for sale, and they will have all the levers extended, slide release, safety catch, magazin release, so they can be easily used with gloves on. The extentions will most probably be sound but unfinished (silver solder, bronze or weld showing)
SF and SAS regiments are the favorites of any army, of the bosses. They can and will get anything they want. Unit holdings are not uncommon at 18 firearms for every soldier. They probanly 'trialed' everything.
I believe your memory of what you read is a little muddled. The SAS amongt others used the Walther PP .32 ACP in Northern Ireland during 'The Troubles', including the 1980s, for undercover work. If memory serves, the British Army designation for it was XL47E1.
As for SF & SAS being the bosses favourites; that's only true as long as they perform, they don't eat up the budget, and manning isn't a problem. Budget is a big one. Special Ops/forces are expensive, and that is a problem when the money from 'on high' is tight - peacetime in particular.
ARGH!!!! Not the myth of the SAS downloading their mags!
Neither Australian nor British Army requires the magazines be loaded to 12 rounds only. Both state clearly in their L9A1 pams that the magazine capacity is 13 rounds, and that the magazine should be loaded with 13 rounds.
Ayoob, amongst othere, is responsible for the enduring life of the SAS/12 Rd. myth. He even claimed in an article a few years ago that SAS troops would be put on a charge if found with 13 rds in their Browning mags. BULLS' WOOL! Any soldier fronting his O.C. for it would simply present the current Pam. turn to the appropriate page, and the result would be red faces for the NCO who charged him.
If ANYONE either army is downloading their magazines to 12 it is purely because they are superstitious about the number 13.
G'Day, my turn - there is a well held belief that Glock magazines will last years longer if you "never load a glock mag more than two rounds less than the maximum". I was a spanner and that's a spanner in the works.
Sorry for the myth! It is strongly alive on the other side of water, too. Maybe because some german polices required the HP to be loaded to 8 rounds only (!!!) to save the springs and for uniformity with others guns like P08 and P38. It was the case in Nordrhein Westfalen (NRW) which used HPs in the 50-60s.
About P5s in british hands, the Walther specialist Dieter H. Marshall mentions that the P5 Compact is used by british police forces and SAS under the name L 102 A1. It is the phosphate version with plastic grips and magazine button on the trigger guard, sometimes named "Special Forces".
Thank you for the very neat information on the P-5 compact specially outfitted for the SAS. I've got some books around here with some info and pictures of the SAS in action. I need to dig them out and scan some of the images for posting here.
When I was stationed at a small base in Scotland, I was on an auxiliary security force and got to talk a lot with the Ministry of Defence Police members who provided our gate security and such. They carried Hi-Powers, and said they only loaded twelve rounds in each of their two mags. I saw one of their pistols/mags/ammo sets laid out for a periodic training session, and it included twelve also. I realize that the MOD Police are NOT the SAS, but it shows that the "twelve rounds" policy does (or did) exist in places in the UK. I've also seen reduced-magazine policies at some US Navy commands. It's possible that these policies have come and gone based on local decisions, perhaps influenced by factors such as the age of the magazines in the inventory.
I've read that the L 109 A1 were given for personnal protection and cover operations, notably in Ulster, not only to SAS but also to others units, like the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), for example.
When I was in the Navy, the Petty Officer of the Watch Inport carried a 1911 in a web holster with an empty chamber hammer-down, 5 rounds in the mag and 5 rounds each in the two spare mags in the mag pouch on the duty belt. Why 5? I don't know...maybe the Chief Gunner's Mate had the same misconception...but I can tell you from standing many quarterdeck watches that the oncoming and off-going Petty Officers of the Watch were required to account for every round of ammunition when the watch changed...and I personally witnessed it many, many times.
Don't know how the magazine short load thing got started and I certainly would not speak for the SAS, but I can tell you that when I was in the Navy, short loading the 1911 mags was standard practice, at least on the ship I was on.