1915 Springfield M1911
very early 1915 production Springfield Armory M1911was manufactured at the
Armory at Springfield Massachusetts located near the Connecticut River.
As part of the original negotiations for the Model 1911 contract, the
Ordnance Department secured the right to manufacture the pistol at Springfield
Armory. The negotiations allowed
the U.S. Government to manufacture one third of those pistols produced after
Colts had produced an initial 50000 pistols.
Production at Springfield was, by necessity, done in batches of serial
numbers as the original authorization for Springfield specified that Colts
Manufacturing Company would be given contracts for 2/3 of the pistols produced
and the orders for same would be given simultaneously with orders to
Springfield. Springfield prepared
a set of drawings and eventually started production, and completed the first
pistols in January of 1914. Other
than marking, the pistol made at Springfield had few obvious differences with
the Colts made pistol. However
not only were there many subtle difference in the parts, but many of the parts
will not completely interchange between a Springfield and a Colts made pistol.
It was not until WWII that proper tolerances were specified for all
parts to function and interchange between manufacturers.
Parts made at Springfield can usually be identified by these subtle
differences in the parts, and although many parts made at Springfield were
stamped with an “S”, many were not so marked, especially in the later
pistols. Therefore unmarked parts
can usually be identified if they were made at Springfield. The total official
M1911 production at Springfield Armory was 25,767 pistols.
production at Springfield there were only three changes that are apparent when
viewing the fully assembled pistol. The
original Springfield made hammer (used from serial #72651 to about serial
#76200) was short but somewhat thicker than the short Colts made hammer.
At about serial #76200, the short spur hammer was replaced with a
longer spur hammer that is also distinctively shaped and easily identifiable.
This second type hammer had a rather sharp rear edge that often pinched
the hand of the shooter. To avoid
“Biting the hand that feeds it,” the sharp edge of the hammer was rounded
sometime later. (Officially the
change occurred by serial #102597, however type two hammers are sometimes seen
in later pistols.) Springfield
pistols use a distinctive magazine (made at Springfield) with folded over and
brazed bottom lips as well as a copper plated section at the rear top of the
walls and a lanyard loop on the floor plate. The magazine also has a
distinctive coloring due to the brazing and heat treatment. A few Springfield
magazines have been found without lanyard loops, however it is uncertain if
these were ever issued with any pistol.
unknown number of Springfield and Colts made pistols were furnished by the
National Rifle Association to members from late 1914 through June 1917.
Most of these pistols are marked N.R.A. just below the serial number
but a few are so marked on the same side ahead of the slide stop pin.
While the total number of original N.R.A. marked pistols is not known,
most observers believe it to be less than 1000.
Reference Charles Clawsons “Colt .45 Service pistols”.
|Springfield Production Summary|
|(For complete information on this subject I recommend Edward Scott Meadows book U.S. Military Automatic Pistols)|