Index of M1911 and M1911A1 Manufactures
(and links to examples of their work)
This page has summary overviews of the manufacturing companies whom produced Model 1911 and Model 1911 A1s. In each manufacturers summary you will find links to examples of their product produced by year. Also found below are references to the top books written on the subject of collecting M1911 and M1911A1 pistols.
As a added bonus Karl Karash has
made his two writings entitled "Beginners
Guide to Collecting the 1911/1911A1 Parts 1 & 2"
available to site visitors to down load.
A donation of $1 sent to this website for each download of the pair and for each
printed copy of the pair made, is requested by the author, to help defray
operating costs of this website.
This page is updated often!
|Select a manufacturer or scroll down|
(M1911 and M1911-A1):(Return
The Original M1911 went into actual production in late 1911 and the first 50 pistols were shipped to Springfield Armory on January 4, 1912. In 1924 the M1911 was given some upgrades based on feedback from World War I. These changes were first incorporated in pistols made in 1924. These pistols and all following production are officially called the “M1911-A1”. Colt manufactured military 1911A1 pistols in every year from 1937 until the war ended in 1945. Colts discontinued Commercial production between 1942 and the end of the war.
|1912 Navy||1913 Navy||1913 Cut away|
|1914 Navy||1915 N.R.A.||1916 .455|
|1942 Navy||1942 C to M||1943|
|1945 JSB||1946||Colt Pre WWII NM|
Ithaca started production in December of 1942 and was the only established firearms company to produce 1911A1s other than Colt. The total number of pistols produced by Ithaca was 335,466. In early 1942 & 1943 Ithaca did not have all the equipment necessary to manufacture the components so they received parts from other contractors that included 6,200 WWI receivers that Springfield had in storage. These early Colt receivers (frames) can be quickly identified by the cut-outs under the stocks. Colt also supplied many of the small parts. Harry Howland of Ithaca designed a stamped trigger assembly that was approved by the Ordnance Department. This stamped trigger was fabricated by the Yawman Metal Products Co. of Rochester N.Y. and became known as the Yawman Trigger. The new trigger was adopted by all other pistol manufacturers by early 1943, except Colts who changed in April of 1944. Changing to the stamped trigger alone reduced the cost of the 1911A1 by about 5%. Later in the war Ithaca also designed a serrated Grooved hammer as a cost reduction but none of the other manufacturers adopted it. Ithaca pistols were probably the coarsest finished pistols of any 1911A1. This seems puzzling since they were previously a manufacturer of sporting shotguns and as such they must have appreciated the importance of cosmetic appearance.
some manufacturing equipment was not available. This caused Remington Rand
to acquire parts from other sources to complete the early pistols. They
purchased barrels from High Standard, Colt, and Springfield Armory;
Disconnectors from US&S;
Grips safeties from Colt; and Slide stops from Colt and Springfield Armory
(2,865 left over from WWI). Remington Rand "C" Division
inherited much of the documentation, tooling, and machinery that
originally was used by The Singer Manufacturing Co. in their Educational
Order. Consequently some of
the parts of the early pistols were made using Singer supplied tooling and
fixtures. Careful examination
of Early Remington Rand pistols will reveal striking similarities in some
of the parts to Singer made parts such as the triggers and mainspring
housings. The first 255 production pistols where accepted by ordinance
inspectors in November of 1942.
March of 1945 they where building the lowest price pistol in the war
effort and quality was considered second to none.
By the end of the war Remington Rand had produced over 875,000
pistols, almost as many as Colt (628,808) and Ithaca (335,467) combined. Reference
Charles Clawsons “Colt .45 Service pistols”.
|1942 SN 917xxx|
|1944||1945||Pres. Pistol #135|
Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge Co. (M1911): (Return
In December of 1917 Remington Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge Co. was awarded a contract for the manufacture of 150,000 M1911s, this order was then followed by a new contract for 500,000 pistols that cancelled the first order. Only 21,676 of these M1911s where actually manufactured and Remington - UMC production was halted in 1919 . Early production guns should have the "E" stamp on left side of trigger guard, bottom of main spring housing, and back of slide. E.E.C. is the mark of Edward E. Chapman whom Inspected 1911s at Remington in 1918 and 1919.
The Remington 1911s where good quality guns although they did not interchange parts well with guns of other manufacture. This is the rarest production M1911 of WWI and a tough gun to find in very good or better condition. Most Remington U.M.C. pistols had a poorly applied finish as most examples show flaking as well as considerable erosion of the finish without erosion of the metal underneath. UMC also duplicated serial numbers that Colt had used in its production.
The A.J. Savage Munitions Company won a contract to deliver M1911s but it was cancelled before they could deliver completed pistols. It is believed that the only truly correct Savage marked guns are the ones that are also marked AA for Augusta Arsenal. The arsenal took into inventory the few completed parts that Savage made and the slides where used as replacement slides in the rebuild programs of World War II. A.J. Savage Munitions Company was located in San Diego, California while the participant in the original trials was the Savage Arms Co. of Utica, N.Y.
Singer (M1911-A1): (Return
In 1939 Singer was awarded a Production study of the Model 1911A1 pistol. This included prep of drawings, researching of production methods, and development of standard raw material sizes. On April 17th, 1940 Singer was awarded a educational order of 500 units to manufacture of the Model 1911A1 pistol. These pistols where numbered No. S800001 - S800500.
Singer management decided that production of the M8 Fire Control Directors was more in keeping with the company’s skill and manufacturing capacity and accepted a production contract in March 1941. Consequently most of the Singer pistol tooling and manufacturing machines were transferred to Remington Rand and some went to Ithaca. Singer delivered only 500 pistols to the Ordnance Department, however an unknown number of pistols were made for factory employees although these were generally un-numbered and uninspected.
Note: Original and correct Singer pistols are highly desired by collectors and when sold, bring significantly higher prices than more common 1911A1 pistols. The Krause Publications 2002 “Standard Catalog of Firearms Price Guide” lists (Original) Singer pistols in excellent condition (96%-98%) at $25,000, in very good condition (92%-95%) at $18,000, in good condition (85%-95%) at $12,000, in fair condition (65%-85%) at $7,000, and in poor condition (60%or less) at $3,500. Singer pistols are one of the most copied/forged M1911-A1s. Reference Charles Clawsons “Colt .45 Service pistols”.
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. 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.
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.
An 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”.
suspended S/N info
Match Pistols (Springfield Armory 1955-1967)(1968 RIA NMs)
The match pistol program was launched in 1954, the first year of competition the pistol issue for competitors was standard military M1911A1 pistols. The second year (1955) Springfield Armory introduced a match-grade pistol for competitors to use.
Each year since 1955, Springfield Armory had rebuilt a number of Service pistols to provide Match-grade pistols for competitors and students at the National Matches. Some National Match pistols were sold by the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM) after the matches. National Match pistols that were not sold would be kept in the rebuild cycle until the receivers were not serviceable and then destroyed.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) was created by the U.S. Congress. The original purpose was to provide civilians an opportunity to learn and practice marksmanship skills so they would be skilled marksmen if later called on to serve the U.S. military. Over the years the emphasis of the program shifted to focus on youth development through marksmanship. From 1916 until 1996 the CMP was administered by the U.S. Army. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (TITLE XVI) created the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice & Firearms Safety, Inc. (CPRPFS) to take over administration and promotion of the CMP.
|1964 NM||1967 NM||Pre WWII NM|
**Special thanks to Ben Reyes and Karl Karash for their assistance in researching the National Match pistols.
U.S. war production revolvers:
I have included on this page some interesting war production revolvers with collector notes. These revolvers cover the periods of the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.
Recommended Reading (Return
Guide to Colt .45 Service Pistols, Models of 1911 and 1911A1” Enlarged
and revised edition 1998 By Charles W. Clawson. . This book is the
required text for any serious collectors of “M1911/M1911A1 pistols”,
and is a subset of the larger more comprehensive text below, but contains
most of the information needed to become an “instant expert” on these
fine pistols. This book is currently out of print but it is sincerely
hoped that the author reprints it.
Until then, the book might be found on some of the “On-Line”
Auctions. It also might be found through some of the “Out of Print”
“Collectors Guide to Colt .45
Service Pistols, Models of 1911 and 1911A1” Enlarged and revised 3rd
edition 2003 By Charles W. Clawson.
This book is the required text for any serious collectors of
“M1911/M1911A1 pistols”, and is a subset of the larger more comprehensive
text "Colt .45 Service Pistols" by the same author that is out of print.
This Collectors Guide contains most or all of the essential information
needed by the novice or advanced collector alike of these fine pistols.
Anyone contemplating the purchase of a 1911/1911A1 military pistol should
consider the entire text required reading if they wish to avoid the
pitfalls of the rampant fakery seen in todays collector market.
.45 Government Models, Commercial Series”
1996 By Charles W. Clawson. This book is the required text for
any serious collectors of “Government Models” This book is out of
print, however it is occasionally found on some of the “On-Line”
It also might be found through some of the “Out of Print” book
Military Automatic Pistols, 1894 – 1920” by Edward S. Meadows.
This excellent book covers only the M1911 pistol.
No substantial information or data is presented about the M1911A1,
yet the quality of presentation and new information provided on the M1911
makes this book indispensable to the collector.
It is written in a different format than the books by Clawson, but
presents most of the relevant information contained in Clawson’s books
on the M1911.
This book is in print, however if difficulty is encountered
locating it, please send an email to this website host.
Government Models” by William H.D. Goddard. This book contains a
number of excellent pictures as well as a fairly extensive list of
selected shipping records.
The information and data presented in this book is otherwise rather
thin, sparse, and rather dated.
This book is in print, however if difficulty is encountered
locating it, please send an email to this website host.
Catalog of Military Firearms"
Beginners Guide to Collecting the .45 Auto Pistol, Parts 1 and 2. By Karl Karash
two papers are an attempt to introduce the new or old reader to the spirit
of collecting 1911/1911A1 pistols as well as collecting in general.
A lot of the information contained therein is a bit dated as well
as is written in manner that attempts to be entertaining as well as being
two monographs are available on line at this website for download, however
a donation of $1 sent to this website for each download of the pair and
for each printed copy of the pair made, is requested by the author, to
help defray operating costs of the website.
The donation will be waved for any reader who finds the documents
not useful or objectionable.
earlier books on the subject are generally not only not worth reading, but
are so full of errors and gross generalizations that they will create
negative knowledge in the reader. Also
regrettable is the “Out Of Print” status of most of the recommended
books and the notion that their purchase can require (provided the books
can be purchased at all,) the outlay of money approaching that required to
buy a collectable pistol.
“Beginners Guide to Collecting the .45 Auto Pistol.”
Copyright 1990 By Karl Karash.
Guide to Collecting the 1911/1911A1, Part 2”. Copyright 1992 By
of Blue/Finish Remaining
Comments on passing By Karl Karash
One thing we collectors
never like to think about is what happens to our collections once we are
gone? This document addresses that event as well as some possible scenarios,
and leads to some handy insights that we can consider. The day will come
for all of us. So read on, for as custodians of these pieces of American
military history we have responsibilities to our posterity!
"Comments on passing". Copyright
- Copyright 2000-2012 Ty Moore- Do not copy or redistribute information on this site.