The MK23 Mod O .45 cal SOCOM offensive handgun was developed by H&K specifically for U.S. Special Operations Command, and in 1996 was adopted as a service pistol under the designation MK23 Mod.0. This is a .45 caliber weapon with excellent knock-down power and accuracy, but its tradeoff is that it’s larger, heavier and less wieldy than the Sig Sauer P226 and P228. The MK23 gives shooters absolute match grade accuracy, while it also exceeds the most stringent USG operational requirements for a combat handgun. The MK23 passed the following tests to ensure it would stand up to rigorous Navy SEAL use:
- 30,000 round endurance firing test with + P ammunition
- Extreme temperatures +73°C/-54°C (+ 160/-60 F)
- 96 hours saline mist test
- Sand, dust and sludge tests
- 96 hour surf simulation
- Harshest drop tests
- Accuracy and the highest precision
The MK23 is extremely reliable. In environmental testing, an unlubricated pistol was exposed to two hours of seawater at 66 feet, and in surf, sand, mud, and icing conditions. In firing testing, all pistols averaged 6,000 rounds between stoppage (MRBS). And in more than 450 accuracy test firings from a precision firing fixture, MK23 pistols far exceeded the USG requirement, averaging under 37mm.
The MK23 has a special recoil-reduction system, which softens recoil forces to the components and shooter by 40%. It is a double/single-action pistol with a 12-round magazine. It is designed to attach a KAC Sound Suppressor, which is so effective that U.S. SOF say that all they can hear when the gun is fired is the sound of the action. The MK23 can also attach a high-tech Laser Aiming Module (LAM) which consists of a 3-dot system of white, self-luminous tritium dots. The LAM operates in one of 4 selected modes: visible laser only; visible laser/flashlight; infrared laser only; and infrared laser/illuminator. The MK23 is kept in the armories of both the SEALs and the Special Boat Teams.