SOLD FOR: $3,491
Model: Government Model
Serial Number: W105932
Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1918, shipping of these models was not sequential and the first serial range including this serial number shipped to England was in October 1918 (“The Government Models”, William Goddard)
Caliber: .455 Webley Self-Loading (Eley)
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine
Markings: The right of the frame is marked “GOVERNMENT MODEL / W 105932”, with British proof/inspection marks, “MADE IN U.S.A.” and “NOTENGLISHMAKE”. The right side of the slide is marked “COLT AUTOMATIC / CALIBRE 455” and “R A F”. The left side of the slide is marked “PATENTED APR.20,1897. SEPT.9,1902 / DEC.19,1905. FEB.14,1911. AUG. 19, 1913”, with a rampant colt, “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.” and at the rear of the slide with a British proof mark, there is also a British proof on the top-right of the slide behind the ejection port. The bottom of the slide is marked “E”, “A” and “2”. The top of the frame is marked “E” behind the disconnector and “8” to the right of the channel for the barrel’s chamber. The left of the trigger guard has “VP” in triangle and “97”, the right of the frame is marked “R.A.F.” and with British proof marks. The right of the barrel at the chamber has three British proof marks and there is a “P” in front of the link. The magazine floorplate is marked “CAL. 455 / ELEY” and with a broad arrow.
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The pistol is mounted with a “U”-notched rear sight dovetailed into the slide and a short rounded blade front sight fixed to the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered walnut with smooth diamonds around the grip screw escutcheons. The grips have light handling wear, most notable at the bottom of the right panel. There are some scattered light nicks, scratches and tool marks around the grip screws. The checkering is generally well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is oxidation and light erosion scattered through the bore.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 75% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. Most notable finish loss is handling wear in the grip areas and some wear along the bottom-right of the dust cover. There are scattered light nicks and scratches. There are a few more notable dings, most notable on the left-front of the slide just above the flat, and scraping on the bottom-left of the slide in front of the dust cover. The actions shows operational wear. Some of the worn areas show discoloration from oxidation. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. It has both a manual and grip safety and the trigger pull is crisp. The slide has nominal play to the frame. We did not fire this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a single 7-round magazine with a lanyard ring on the floorplate and the top portion left in the white. The magazine has some surface oxidation, operational wear, intact feed lips and a strong spring, in about Good-Very Good condition.
Our Assessment: The 1911 and 1911-A1 pistols served the military of the United States from 1911 to 1985, through two World Wars and the Korean and Vietnam wars. They gained a reputation as a reliable handgun with plenty of stopping power, and are held in high regard by those who have used them. The quality of the pistol was not lost on those from foreign countries, and there have been examples used all around the world. Demand was high enough that Colt chambered their Government model for the British self-loading service cartridge, .455 Webley. There were some government contracts and also many were purchased by British officers who frequently purchased their own service sidearms. This example has an “E” contract marking on the top of the frame, indicating that it came from a British government purchase during the Great War, ca. 1918. While there were many different users of this model, they are most associated with the Royal Flying Corps and nearly all would end up in the service of the re-named Royal Air Force, as the markings on this pistol indicate. It shows wear consistent with having been carried in service, but still retains about 75% of its original blue finish, a decent bore and strong mechanics. This will be a great pistol to add to a WWI, British, or Colt collection. If you have a good source of .455 Webley Self-Loading ammo, it could also be a fun shooter. Please see our photos and good luck!