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Thread: What do I have? M1911/M1911A1 vs. Government Model

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    2nd June 2004
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    What do I have? M1911/M1911A1 vs. Government Model

    There seems to be a lot of confusion for many regarding what type of pistol they have...commercial Government Model or military M1911 or M1911A1? I hope this will help.

    You should only be discussing the U.S. Gov't. issue C&R military pistols listed under the Title of this forum in this area. If you have a commercial Colt pistol, or a pistol manufactured outside the United States to discuss, this is NOT the correct forum.


    There are specific differences by year and serial range in the finishes and characteristics of Colt commercial Government Model pistols and the military M1911 or M1911A1 pistols. Those specific differences may be more difficult to distinguish, but anyone can determine what type of pistol they have (military or commercial) with the information provided here.

    Please contact me through the site with any questions about the information provided in this post.

    Commercial Pistols

    Government Model is a pistol produced for the commercial market by Colt, regardless of whether or not it has the 1924 improvements. These pistols will have a C prefix or suffix with their serial number. The C is considered part of the serial number, and should be included when making reference to the serial number of these commercial pistols.

    This is a 1929 commercial Colt Government Model pistol.






    This is a 1946 post-WWII commercial Colt Government Model pistol.






    This is a 1950 commercial Colt Government pistol (notice the State of NY mark on the right side of the slide).







    Military Pistols

    The military M1911 and M1911A1 pistols do NOT have a C prefix or suffix with their serial numbers. They do all have an No (o is underlined) or NO. serial number prefix before the serial number.

    M1911 is a military model designation for military pistols shipped 1912 through 1919, and only refers to pistols produced under contract for the United States Government. Serial range is 1-629500.

    This is a 1918 Colt M1911 pistol with a "brushed blue" finish.






    This is a late 1918 Colt M1911 pistol, with what some today call the "black Army" finish. The finish is blued, but the surface prep is coarser, which results in a darker and less reflective blued finish.





    This is a 1915 M1911 pistol made by Springfield Armory. All Springfield Armory military M1911 pistols had a "rust blue" finish.





    This is a 1918 M1911 pistol made by Remington Arms-UMC Corp.






    M1911A1 is a military model pistol produced in either 1924, or 1937-1945. Serial range is 700001-2660318 and only refers to pistols produced under contract for the United States Government.

    The first M1911A1 military pistols were produced in 1924, but were originally designated the Improved Model of 1911. Then in 1926, the M1911A1 designation was approved and made retroactive to include all military pistols produced back to 1924 beginning with serial number 700,000...although the serial range actually began at 700001.

    This is a Colt M1911A1 pistol, made in 1940, with a blue finish.





    This is a Colt M1911A1 pistol, made in 1942 with a Parkerized finish.





    In 1941, Singer Mfg. Co. manufactured 500 military M1911A1 pistols. No other Singer pistols were ever manufactured. This is a 1941 Singer military M1911A1 pistol.





    Between late December 1942 and July 1945, Remington Rand manufactured more than 877,000 military M1911A1 pistols. This is a 1943 Remington Rand military M1911A1 pistol.





    Ithaca Gun Co. manufactured 335,466 miliary M1911A1 pistols 1943-1945. This is a late 1945 Ithaca military M1911A1 pistol.





    Union Switch & Signal Co. manufactured 55,000 M1911A1 pistols, all in 1943. This is a 1943 US&S military M1911A1 pistol.



    The only change most people should make regarding their old .45's today is to leave them alone.
    Likes (1) :
    OD* (24th September 2018)

    Last edited by Scott Gahimer; 20th January 2009 at 03:01.


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