In the early 1970s, the Army decided to do something for its General Officers in terms of personal protection. The M1908 Colt Pocket Hammerless pistols issued to General Officers since World War II had finally outlived their service life. To address this situation, Rock Island Arsenal, in Rock Island, Illinois began to modify the standard M1911-A1. The US Army adopted the M15 General Officers Model Pistol in 1972 as a self-defense weapon for army officers. In size and weight it is very similar to the Colt Combat Commander, but internally, there are some differences.
The pistol’s slide and barrel were shortened just over .75″ (1.905cm) and the barrel had one locking lug removed. A full-length recoil spring guide was installed, as was an enlarged set of fixed sights. Checkered walnut grip panels inlaid with a brass plate bearing the officer’s name replaced the M1911A1 pistol’s brown bakelite grips. The M15 was adopted in 1972 as the United States Pistol, General Officers’, Caliber .45, M15.