Six Years Off a Century Old


CLICK FOR FULL SIZE COLOR IMAGEToday’s featured pistol is the venerable Colt autoloading pistol Model 1911.  The notes come from Colonel Arcadi Gluckman’s United States Martial Pistols and Revolvers as published by the Stackpole Company in 1956.

  “Caliber 45, recoil operated, magazine fed, self loading.  The magazine has capacity for seven rounds of rimless, alloy jacketed ammunition, Model 1911.  The barrel is five inches long, and is rifled with six grooves making one left turn in sixteen inches.  The total length of the pistol is about eight-and-one-half inches.  Weight of the pistol with empty magazine is 2 pounds, 7 ounces.  A blade front sight and a U-notch rear sight are mounted on the slide.  Checked walnut stocks.  Blued finish.

The pistol is equipped with three safety devices as follows:

(1)      A safety lock on the left side of the frame, in front of the hammer.  When the safety is raised while the hammer is cocked, the latter is locked in that position.

(2)     A grip safety which must be compressed into the grip by the yoke of the hand while the trigger is being squeezed.

(3)     A disconnector mounted inside the receiver in rear of the magazine seat.

Though at first but few men of an infantry regiment carried pistols, the effectiveness of the arm in trench and close fighting proved the desirability of more extensive issue, and created an enormous demand that exceeded the capacity of the Colt Company facilities, as well as the facilities of the Springfield Armory, where these pistols had also been manufactured, but which were now strained to meet the demand for rifles.

Through the cooperation of the Colt Company drawings and plans were made available to the Remington-UMC Company, whose production augmented the Colt output, all parts of the pistol of both companies being interchangeable.

In 1918, in order to fill the constantly growing pistol requirements of the American Expeditionary Forces, contracts for these pistols were given to the National Cash Register Company of Dayton, Ohio; The North American Arms Co. of Quebec, and Caron Bros. of Montreal, Canada; The Savage Arms Company, Utica, N.Y.; Burroughs Adding Machine Company, Detroit, Mich.; The Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven, Conn.; The Lanston Monotype Co. of Philadelphia, Pa., and The Savage Munitions Co. of San Diego, California. 

The coming of the Armistice resulted in the cancellation of the contracts before production began, and the only pistols obtained during the World War were made by Colts and Remington Arms.

At the outbreak of the war the army had approximately 75,000 automatic pistols in storage and in hands of troops.  At the signing of the Armistice this number had grown to 643,755.  Between April 6, 1917, and December 1918, the Colt Company produced 425,000 automatic pistols, and the Remington-UMC, who did not begin production until September, 1918, made 13,152.”