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Us Special Operations Command

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In August, 1991 a request was made for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for an

"offensive" handgun. Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer and President Clinton would probably tell you that

all handguns are offensive, but SOCOM had something different in mind. Termed the OHWS, for Offensive

Handgun Weapon System, it was a pistol designed within certain specified parameters that would be

sufficient for conducting "offensive" operations, as opposed to the more tradtional role for the handgun, for

"defensive" operations. HK and Colt were chosen to compete against each other for the new pistol. HK

eventually won out, and the contract was awarded to them. It has undergone many changes from its birth in

1991. Some are obvious, some are not. The official name for the pistol is Mark 23, Mod 0. Not very

catchy. That is why it is more popularly known as the SOCOM.

The SOCOM was designed by the great HK engineer, Helmut Weldle. The gun holds 12 cartridges of .45

ACP ammunition. In a move that the above folks would surely find offensive, HK offered a limited number of

SOCOM pistols to the citizenry of the United States, and left the threaded barrel intact. The suppressor

sold by HK with the gun is made by Knight's Armament Company of Vero Beach, FL. It is usable wet or

dry, with wet knocking even more dB from the already quiet can.

Insight Technology Inc., the maker of the UTL series for the USP pistols, was chosen to provide the Laser

Aiming Module. It had a dual laser, one visible light, and one infrared, visible only with night vision. Wilcox

Industries Corp. has the LAM featured in the Ichiro Nagata photos that start this page.



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