SOCOM Pistol Mk 23 Mod 0
One of the most thoroughly tested handguns in history, the MK23/Mark 23 project originated in 1991 when Heckler & Koch [HK] began development for the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), the organization that directs the activities of America's most elite military units, including the Navy SEALs and the Army Special Forces. The SOCOM pistol reportedly met with less than complete enthusiasm on the part of operators, due to its massive size.
In August, 1991 a request was made for the US Special Operations Command for an "offensive" handgun. Termed the OHWS, for Offensive Handgun Weapon System, it was a pistol designed within specifications that that would be sufficient for conducting "offensive" operations, as opposed to the more tradtional "defensive" role for the handgun. HK and Colt were chosen to compete against each other for the new pistol. HK eventually won the contract. The gun holds 12 cartridges of .45 ACP ammunition.
Under a January 1994 contract, the Army continued development of the offensive handgun weapon system for the US. Special Operations Command. The complete OHWS includes three components: a new .45-caliber pistol, a laser aiming module, and a sound and flash suppressor. Production requirements call for 7,500 pistols, 1,950 of which would include the laser aiming module and sound and flash suppressor.
On May 1, 1996, the first HK MK 23 pistols were delivered to the US Special Operations Command for operational deployment, making the MK 23 the first .45 ACP pistol to enter American military service since the venerable Government Model 1911A1.
During testing, MK 23 pistols met the most stringent operational and accuracy requirements ever demanded of a combat handgun. Endurance testing demonstrated a service life of over 30,000 rounds of +P ammunition. To meet the reliability requirement, the pistol had to demonstrate a minimum of 2,000 mean rounds between stoppages (MRBS) with both M1911 ball and of +P ammunition. All pistols exceeded the 2000 MRBS with an average of 6000 MRBS. In more than 450 accuracy test firings from a precision firing fixture at 25 meters, MK 23 pistols far exceeded the government requirement, averaging 1.44 inches, with 65 groups of less than one inch. There were four groups of .5 inches, with 5 rounds going through the same hole!
The HK Mark 23 Caliber .45 ACP pistol gives shooters match grade accuracy equal to that of the finest custom made handguns-yet exceeds the most stringent operational requirements ever demanded of a combat handgun. The Mark 23 provides this accuracy without the need for hand-fitted parts common in custom-built match pistols costing thousands of dollars more.
An enhanced version of the USP, the Tactical is designed for users who need the features found on the Mark 23, but in a smaller affordable pistol. The USP Tactical pistol approaches the precision found on the Mark 23 by adding an extended threaded barrel with rubber O-ring, adjustable trigger, and adjustable target-type sights to the USP. Available in .45 ACP and .40 S&W.
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