The AFP and their undying love affair with the .45
Today’s Armed Forces of the Philippines trace their lineage to 1935 when the formation was officially established by the new nation, with then-retired U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur asked to supervise its foundation and training. As such, their weapons, uniforms, and equipment were very much 1930s U.S. Army surplus and the fighting men of the Philippine Commonwealth Army were armed with a stockpile of some 220,000 M1917 Enfield rifles in 30.06 as well as shipments of M1917 Colt and S&W model .45 ACP revolvers.
While the Japanese would capture most of these guns in 1941/42 (with the exception of those cached, destroyed or otherwise kept in use by rebel remnants of the Commonwealth’s Army) the AFP would be reformed in 1946 with largely the same caliber weapons, only upgraded. This meant that they received thousands of M1 Garands and M1911s, which they have put to good use over the years. Remember that the AFP sent troops to Korea– Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK)– as well as the Philippine Civic Action Group to Vietnam, in addition to fighting a low-key simmering insurgency off and on for decades.
Of course, the M1s have been supplemented by M16s and M4s, but the M1911s continue to soldier on, now in their 70s for the newest guns.
In keeping with the trend, the PI government earlier this month awarded a contract to local 1911-maker Armscor (Rock Island) for 50,000 new TAC Ultra double-stack 1911s.
Although they have neat features like a 14+1 capacity, an extended beavertail, plastic grips, an accessory rail, and better sights, deep down inside they are still .45s– a gun that was ironically invented because of the Philippines.
More in my column at Guns.com.