- "You have a .45... don't you ever want to use it?"
- ―Stefan Bekowsky
The Colt M1911 is a semi-automatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated handgun chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. It was designed by John M. Browning, and was the standard-issue side arm for the United States armed forces from 1911 to the mid-1980's. It was widely used in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Eventually, under pressure from the rest of NATO to adopt a pistol chambered for the 9x19mm, the American military retired it in favor of the Beretta M9. This was a controversial decision, since the reason for adopting the .45 in the first place was that smaller-caliber sidearms had proven to be poor man-stoppers. Selected units inside the United States Marine Corps and certain special operations forces still use the M1911 (or variants of it) to this day, and the .45 ACP round is still widely used by law enforcement officers.
Cole Phelps uses the .45-caliber Colt Model 1911 as his default side arm. Although most police of the time carried revolvers (usually .38's), Cole was a former Marine officer, and would have been most familiar with the M1911, which was standard military issue. It is also used by Roy Earle, and several criminals throughout the game.