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WE / Socom Gear MEU Comparison

WE / Socom Gear MEU Comparison
By Jason Hills

For those who are unfamiliar MEU stands for Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit. The focus of this article is not this elite force of marines but suffices to say they are the best of the best and choose to carry a sidearm with more punch then the standard issue M9. Their elite status has prompted the airsoft market to make numerous replicas of their sidearm of choice, a modified M1911. Once Marui makes a gun the other manufacturers will follow. That rule holds most true with the release of the Tokyo Marui M1911 MEU. Soon to follow were the WE and the Socom Gear M1911 MEU, the focus of this article is to compare those models.

Considering the WE and the Socom Gear are replicas of the MEU they share many of the same features. They have enhanced wrap around rubberized grip panels that are aggressively textured for a firm grip. Embedded in each side of the grip is a Marine Corps medallion. A feature that I find excellent on each of these pistols is that the main spring housing (rear of the grip) and the front strap is textured despite the rubber grip. So, if you did want to switch the grip you could do so without a bare front strap. Each pistol has a ambidextrous safety lever. For those who are unfamiliar with the 1911 design both have a grip safety separate from the safety lever that must be depressed before the hammer will release. The grip safety has a beaver tail for a improved grip and to protect your hand from being “bitten” by the hammer or slide. The sights are a fixed “three dot” configuration that makes sight acquisition quicker them black on black sights. A special note on the slide is the cocking serrations. In addition to the standard serrations the MEU has forward cocking serrations for bringing the gun to action quicker and easier. They do not look half bad either. The final feature is a loop on the base of the grip for pistol lanyards, a feature that no tactical pistol should be without.

The WE being the cheaper of the two is missing some of the features of the Socom gear but it does have some of its own. The primary difference is that the WE has two models available their standard and the “tactical” model that comes with a accessory rail integrated into the frame. The accessory rail gives the user the option of mounting equipment like a flashlight or laser onto the underside of the gun leaving your other hand free for other duties. The standard model is not without its own feature. It includes two magazines, a blessing if you consider that the magazine is designed after a single stack. The only shortcoming with the WE is the barrel bushing and recoil spring plug. They retain the same design as their single stack 1911. On some guns the molding on the spring plug will break due to the stress of the recoil and cause the barrel bushing to crack. WE provides replacements to its dealers but if you happen to get one of the unlucky ones I recommend replacing the “nipple” style spring guide with a aftermarket full-length spring guide. For the majority however this is a none issue.

As mentioned the Socom Gear has some additional features beyond what is included with the WE. The most noticeable being the trademarks written on the frame and slide. On the right side of the slide below the ejection port is the Marine Corps globe and anchor with the words “U.S. Marine MEU SOC.” Below that on the frame are SOCM gear’s trades written to the left of that is written “R.T.E. Quantico, VA.” On the reverse side of the slide it reads “PROFESSIONAL CAL .45.” And to add to the tactical look the Socom gear model comes with a threaded outer barrel for the addition of a barrel extension or mock suppressor. The externals are not the only difference however. Inside the Socom gear is a rubber buffer on the spring guide that is designed to absorb some of the shock from the recoil. This is designed to eliminate the issue with barrel bushing and spring plug by relieving the stress placed on them. Also, as a special note Airsoft GI includes a pistol lanyard with all the Socom gear M1911 MEU Pistols they ship out.

Having a chance to look at them both I can see that both the WE and the Socom Gear share many of the same features. So many, the conclusion that they are from the same manufacturer is easily drawn. The distributor Socom Gear has added some unique features that the WE does not include but at a reduced price I could go for either. Both would be a good economical choice for a tactical M1911 or a MEU replica for the mil-sim / reenacting crowd.

Product Name:
WE Full Metal 1911 MEU WE Full Metal 1911 Tactical MEU SOCOM Gear M1911 MEU
Beavertail Safety:
X
X
X

3 Dot Sights:

X
X
X
Safety Lever:
X
X
X
Textured Trigger:
X
X
X
Lanyard Loop:
X
X
X
Threaded Barrel:
O
O
X
MEU Trademarks:
O
O
X
Wrap Around Grip:
X
X
X
Textured Straps:
X
X
X
Cocking Serrations:
X
X
X
Accessory Rail:
O
X
O
New Spring Guide:
O
O
X
Overall Score:
9
9
11

This article was published on Friday 07 November, 2008.
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