-Collectors Guide-
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! 
Regards,
Ty Moore

Select a manufacturer or scroll down
Colt Ithaca N.A. Arms Remington Rand

Rem-UMC Savage Singer Springfield 

US&S National Match U.S. Revolvers Rec. Reading
  M1911 vs. M9  

Colt (M1911 and M1911-A1):(Return to top)
On March 29th, 1911 Colt was notified that the Colt automatic pistol was adopted for use by the United States Government. The history of the Colts Patented Firearms Manufacturing Company’s involvement with the  M1911 and M1911A1 is far too large a subject to be seriously covered here. Fortunately for the collector several superb books have been written on the subject, see the recommended reading section below. 

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.

  1911 1912
1912 Navy 1913 Navy 1913 Cut away
1914 Navy 1915 N.R.A. 1916 .455
1917 1918 1919
Lunch Box 1924 1927
1937 1939 Navy 1941
1942 Navy 1942 C to M 1943
1943 1944 1945
1945 JSB 1946 Colt Pre WWII NM

Ithaca (M1911-A1):  (Return to top)
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.
1943 1944 Navy 1944
1945


 

 

North American Arms (M1911): (Return to top)
The North American Arms Co. Ltd., Quebec City, Quebec, Canada was awarded a contract on July 1 1918, to manufacture M1911 pistols at the rate of 2000 pistols per day, at a cost of $15.50 each.

NAA (North American Arms) leased the old Ross Rifle Plant in Quebec City for the manufacture of the pistol.  Few details are known about the operation, and no pistols were delivered.  The Company however did reach the pre-production stage of manufacturing, and approximately 100 toolroom/pre-production pistols were made.  Pistol serial 46 was submitted to the Claims Board for inspection in the Spring of 1920.  The claims board was set up to examine and settle any claims arising out of canceled contracts and the like.  The board members included Colonel Gilbert H. Stewart, later Commanding Officer of Springfield Armory.

NAA pistols had all of the normal characteristics of the Colts made M1911s, but had different markings.  The left slide legend had the manufacturers name and address.  The serial number was marked on the slide just above the thumb safety, on the Left side of the trigger( sometimes inside the receiver), and on the receiver under the left grip.  No inspection or acceptance marks.  These pistols are of course quite rare and are seldom sold in original condition.  Therefore establishing a value is mostly guess work. Reference Charles Clawsons “Colt .45 Service pistols”. Note: This is a very pricey gun when found in original condition, prices ranging from $10,000 to well over $20,000 have been reported. But be careful as it is one of the most copied/forged M1911s.

1918


Remington Rand (M1911-A1): (Return to top)
Remington Rand was awarded its first order on March 16th, 1942, for a total of 125,000 1911A1 pistols.  The company had no experience building pistols at the time it was awarded the contract. Remington Rand formed a new division (Remington Rand "C" Division) to take charge of building the pistols.  Remington Rand "C" Division converted a vacant plant into a modern pistol manufacturing facility.  The plant was located on Dickerson street in Syracuse, N.Y and was once used for building typewriters,

Initially 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. 

Initial shipments appeared to perform satisfactorily, but subsequent tests performed by Ordnance Inspectors revealed serious problems with parts interchangeability.  In March 1943 James Rand Jr.,  stopped production due to a high rate of Parts Interchangeability Test failures.  Only after a change in management and a thorough review of the inspection and manufacturing operations was production finally resumed in May of 1943. Throughout production Remington Rand aggressively attempted to innovate and improve the production of 1911A1 pistols.

By 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  

1942 SN 918335

1942 SN 918910

1943

1944 1945 Pres. Pistol #135

ERRS #61

1964 NM/Drake/RR

Remington Rand Story


Remington Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge Co. (M1911): (Return to top)
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.

1918


Savage (M1911): (Return to top)
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.

1917-AA


Singer (M1911-A1): (Return to top)
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”.

1941


Springfield Armory (M1911):(Return to top)
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. 

Throughout 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”.

1914
(S/N 73,952)

Early 1915
(S/N 82,xxx)

Late 1915
(S/N 106,xxx)

1917 N.R.A.
(S/N 127,xxx)

Springfield suspended S/N info
(S/N 128617-133186)


Union Switch & Signal (M1911-A1):(Return to top)
The Union Switch & Signal company Of Swissvale Pennsylvania, made Railroad signaling equipment but received a contract on May 5, 1942 for the manufacture of 200,000 M1911A1 pistols.  The first pistols were accepted by Ordnance inspectors in January 1943, but the company received word that their contract would be canceled, due to a severe drop in requirements for the pistol.  Within a month U.S.&S. had signed a contract to supply carbine parts. On March 8, 1943 the company was officially notified that their contract had been cut back from 200,000 pistols to 30,000 pistols.  However on June 26th, when the contract was nearly complete, and many of the workers had been transferred to Carbine operations, the company received a letter of intent to purchase an additional 25,000 pistols.  The last of the pistols was shipped on November 27, 1943.  55,000 Union Switch and Signal pistols were delivered serial numbered from 1041405 to 1096404.  U.S.&S. made M1911A1s are the second rarest of the M1911A1s.  Only the Singer is rarer.  None of the Union Switch & Signal 1911A1s had the crossed cannons ordinance stamp even thought the practice was standardized in late 1942. Also none of the early pistols up through about serial 1060100 received the “P” proof on the slide and frame.  From about 1060100 to about 1082000, the “P” proof was applied, but at the Left edge of the slide where the curved part meets the flat.  This was due to a poorly drawn ordnance drawing showing the placement of the proof.  Finally from about 1082000 to the end of production, The “P” was placed in its normal location on the top of the slide.  When the "P" proof mark is found it will be on both the Slide and Receiver and be of the same size. Notice the "P" proof stamp is smaller then Colts but still a uppercase letter.

It is reported that Union Switch & Signal produced high quality pistols and did not experience the extreme production problems that Remington Rand and Ithaca had. The ordinance department reported the Union Switch & Signal pistols had a superior finish and consistently rated high in the interchangeability tests. Reference Charles Clawsons “Colt .45 Service pistols”.
EXP 61 EXP 42 1943 1,050,xxx

1943 1,082,xxx

 

 


National 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.

1961 NM
 
1962 NM
 
1963 NM
 
1964 NM 1967 NM Pre WWII NM


Click here to view the distinguishing characteristics chart of 1955-1967 National Match pistols.

**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.


U.S. Revolvers


Recommended Reading (Return to top)
The following books are not only recommended, but are universally considered essential to the .45 AUTO collector or student:

On March 29th, 1911 Colt was notified that the Colt automatic pistol was adopted for use by the United States Government. The history of the Colts Patented Firearms Manufacturing Company’s involvement with the  M1911 and M1911A1 is far too large a subject to be seriously covered here. Fortunately for the collector several superb books have been written on the subject.  The following books are not only recommended, but are universally considered essential to the .45 AUTO collector or student:

“Collectors 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” book sellers.

“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. Click here to order this book!

“Colt .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” Auctions.  It also might be found through some of the “Out of Print” book sellers.

“U.S. 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.

“The 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.

"The Standard Catalog of Military Firearms"
Published by Krause Publications - Ned Schwing, 2002
ISBN 0-87341-997-9 MSRP $24.95
The Standard Catalog of Military Firearms is a yearly price guide loaded with tons of useful information on everything from Model 1911s used by the U.S. and foreign armies to fully automatic machine guns. This publication covers arms produced as early as 1870 to present and represents arms from most major countries. The book is published by Krause Publications, is softbound, and has over 340 pages of information, prices, and photos. The model M1911 and M1911A1 section is edited by Karl Karash, well known collector and historian on the subject. To order click here.


Beginners Guide to Collecting the .45 Auto Pistol, Parts 1 and 2. By Karl Karash

These 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 informative. 

These 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.

Regrettably 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.  
Click here for document

“Beginners Guide to Collecting the 1911/1911A1, Part 2”. Copyright 1992 By Karl Karash.
Click here for document

Percentage of Blue/Finish Remaining
Mr. Karash was kind enough to build this spread sheet to help calculate the percentage of remaining bluing or finish on a Model 1911 or 1911-A1. This is a aide for the collector and does not guarantee that the numbers you generate with your input will be accepted by all. There is no written or verbal warranty implied. Regards, Ty Moore
Click here for spreadsheet


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! 
Best ~
Karl Karash

 "Comments on passing". Copyright 2003 By Karl Karash.
Click here for document


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- Copyright 2000-2012 Ty Moore- Do not copy or redistribute information on this site.
12/19/2011