1943 Colt 1911A1
This pistol is a mid 1943 production model
1911A1. Colt shipping records indicate this gun shipped sometime between May
4th and June 8th,1943 to the Transportation Officer at
Springfield Armory. 1911A1s made at Colts Manufacturing Co. from about
serial #848000 to about serial #2360400 generally have applied the final
Ordnance acceptance mark of “G.H.D.” that was applied by civilian
inspectors at Colts under the authority of Colonel Guy H. Drewry.
Mr. Drewry was promoted to Brigadier General on September 10 1942 and
he was therefore a General Officer at the time this pistol was accepted.
This pistol appears to be in completely original near new condition.
It is however at least as interesting for what it is not as for what
Pistols in this serial range (From about
serial #930000 to about serial #940000) are often seen with commercial
marked (apparently leftovers) slides or commercially marked receivers
(marked “S” for “sales” on the top of the receiver).
Also in this serial number range all of the known 1,515 Canadian
“Lend-Lease” pistols. These
Canadian pistols can only be identified by their “Broad Arrow enclosed in
a “C” mark” that was applied to the Left rear of the slide and to the
left of the receiver above the magazine release.
To make things even more interesting, most of the Canadian pistols
were returned to England after the war, and due to British proof laws, they
were proof marked on the receiver, slide, and barrel with normal British
proofs at the time they were disposed of.
Therefore a normal Canadian 1911A1 pistol will have both the broad
arrow-C marks on the receiver and slide, but will have the normal British
proofs as well. Not all of the
Canadian Lend Lease pistols were returned to England after the war as some
were apparently used in Canadian prisons and possibly elsewhere. These
Canadian prison pistols received the “Broad Arrow enclosed in a “C”
mark” but did not receive any of the normal British proofs.
Several years ago the Canadian Government decided to get rid of their
“Evil Handguns” by selling them to the “Yanks,” and about 6 Canadian
property marked M1911A1 pistols were sold at auction in the USA.
These pistols were all described as 70% original finish with property
numbers electric penciled in the right side of the slide. (The plot
thickens!) Several months later
a Canadian Lend Lease pistol appeared in the catalog of a well-known,
nationally advertised Southern California dealer of US military pistols.
The pistol differed from normal Canadian Lend Lease pistols in that
it did not have the normal British proofs.
Its serial number was IDENTICAL to one of the pistols sold at the
auction a few months earlier. However
the Southern California dealer described the pistol as having 99+% original
finish and had the original shipping box.
If only the Monarch Butterfly could match the miraculous metamorphous
of this pistol?
Reference Charles Clawsons “Colt .45 Service
Colts made pistols between serial #710,001 and about serial #1,140,000 had the serial number stamped under the firing pin stop plate as well as stamped in the normal place on the receiver. (See image 4)
1 - Right profile
2 - Left profile
3 - View of receiver markings
4 - Serial Number
5 - G indicates
6 - UN marks indicate "in process" inspections at various stages of manufacture. See Note 2 below.
7 - Wide spur hammer
8 - Good view of the
9 - Hammer side profile
10 - Verified proof, Colt inspectors Stamp,
and a view of the slide stop.
11 - Typical ordnance mark, half stamped.
12 - Milled trigger (side)
13 - Milled trigger (front)
From the T. Moore collection
Note 1: Notice the large reinforcement rings on the plastic stocks. These are
referred to by collectors as "Coltwood" or type 7 stocks. The
rings are wider and the checkering pattern is a bit coarser and sharper than
on the stocks that would be found on a Remington Rand or Ithaca. (See
Note 2: Letters, numbers, and geometric symbols identified as factory marks
indicate "in process" inspections at various stages of
manufacture. Stamps in this location have been observed on SN 931974,
957530, 1142706, 1610511, and 1635678. (See image 6) These markings
are usually a mix of numbers and letters that appear to be like “Alphabet
Soup.” Sub-inspector markings have also been observed in the inside
middle grooves of the slide. The
exact meaning of each marking is today largely unknown.
Colt duplicated the serial numbers of Remington Rand and Ithaca in the
range from serial#856405 to serial #958100 due to confusion in the
assignment of numbers. Therefore
a pistol was made by Remington Rand that bore the same serial number as this
pistol. Fortunately slides and
receivers made by Remington Rand and Ithaca can be identified by their
normal factory applied markings as well as their final acceptance markings
of F.J.A. rather than the G.H.D. marking applied to Colts made pistols. (See