The FBI went after the best pistol for its SWAT-trained agents. The result was a highly customized 1911A1 from spring field Armory\'s Custom Shop. Following a controversial test that pitted Colt, Kimber and Springfield Armory against the country\'s foremost custom gunsmiths, the Federal Bureau of Investigation selected a customized 1911 pistol for its SWAT-certified field agents. America\'s most wanted handgun is a Springfield Armory Model 1911A1 customized by the Springfield Custom Shop to exacting specifications enumerated by the FBI. The FBI is currently issuing these accurized and hand-fitted 1911A1s to selected agents who, in addition to their regular duties, are specially trained as SWAT team members. Previously, the issue gun for FBI SWAT was the Browning Hi-Power. Not to be confused with the FBI\'s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), the SWAT agents are spread throughout the country in regional FBI field offices. The HRT had already acquired a new pistol, a Les Baer customized Para-Ordnance .45 ACP in 1995, replacing their Hi-Powers. However, the regional SWAT teams did not receive the Para-Ordnance. The impetus to rearm the SWAT teams with a Government Model pistol came as a result of the \"Branch-Davidian Incident,\" as the FBI euphemistically refers to their immolation of 90 followers of David Koresh, including 25 children. We quote from a confidential FBI document obtained by American Handgunner: \"After the Branch Davidian incident in Waco, Texas (1993), the Heymann Report recommended that the SWAT tactical elements become standardized throughout the FBI. Based upon the Heymann recommendation, the SWAT Training Unit began to develop specifications to standardize all SWAT team pistols. It was determined that accuracy would be the number one factor in developing a SWAT pistol.\" (Emphasis is in the original FBI report.) A Call To Arms The subsequent solicitation and testing was fraught with controversy from the start. The Bureau issued a Request For Proposal (REP) #6990 on Oct. 25, 1996. (An RFP is essentially a purchase order from the government in which bids and samples are solicited.) Eight companies responded: Colt\'s Mfg. Co., Kimber Of America, Springfield Armory, Wilson\'s Gun Shop, Les Baer Custom, Pro Gun, Cylinder & Slide Shop and C-More Systems. C-More, a manufacturer of optical sights, has a contract with Colt\'s to manufacturer and sell aftermarket accessories for the 1911 under the trademarked name \"Colt Competition.\" C-More\'s submission of five customized Colt pistols was, according to company president Ira Kay, essentially a method of entering Colt guns twice, doubling their chance to win. There was a rumor-- never officially verified, but nonetheless widely believed-- that Smith & Wesson wanted to submit pistols, and attempted to assemble a 1911 made from Caspian Arms slides and frames. A day late and a dollar short, S&W missed the deadline. They went on to develop the single-action Model 945-- which would have met the FBI\'s specs-- only after the test was completed. Following several questions from the candidates to clarify nebulous specifications, a succession of five amendments were issued to RFP #6990, the last one coming on April 22, 1997. The most significant amendment was the deletion of a controversial requirement for a firing pin safety because Colt\'s Mfg. Co. holds a patent on the Series 80 firing pin safety. No other manufacturer could submit a gun with a firing pin safety without a license from Colt, a rather significant advantage for the Hartford gunmaker. Once the firing pin requirement was dropped, testing began with each contender entering five pistols. The initial phase consisted of simply examining the pistols to see if they met the basic requirements. For instance, the specifications did not include a recoil spring guide rod. Wilson submitted guns with guide rods, so his pistols were returned for correction. Wilson removed the guide rods and resubmitted his guns. Les Baer submitted pistols with adjustable sights, but the specification called for Novak fixed sights. The guns were returned to Baer to correct the sights; however, Baer had a change of heart and decided not to resubmit. He dropped out of the test at that stage, citing concerns over the service and warranty requirements. Bill Laughridge of the Cylinder & Slide Shop also decided to withdraw from the testing. Laughridge also cited the RFP\'s provision for follow-on servicing and warranty requirements as the reason for withdrawing.