WWI Remington UMC Model of 1911 US Army .45 ACP Semi-Auto Pistol, 1918 C&R

SOLD FOR: $2,500

LSB#: 201215FH38

Make: Remington UMC

Model: Model of 1911 U.S. Army

Serial Number: 961

Year of Manufacture: 1918 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)

Caliber: .45 ACP

Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine

Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “PATENTED DEC.19.1905 / FEB.14.1911.AUG.19,1913. / COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO.”, “REMINGTON / UMC” in circle, and “MANUFACTURED BY / REMINGTON ARMS UMC CO. INC. / BRIDGEPORT, CONN. U.S.A.”. The rear of the slide is marked “E” above the firing pin plate. The right of the slide is marked “MODEL OF 1911 / U.S. ARMY CALIBER .45”. The left of the frame is marked “UNITED STATES PROPERTY” on the dust cover, “E.E.C.” and eagle’s head over “E1” behind the trigger. The left of the trigger guard is marked “E”. The right of the frame is marked “NO 961” above the trigger. The barrel’s right link-lug is marked “HS”, the left “P” (WWII-era High Standard production).

Barrel Length: 5”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short blade with a serrated, ramped rear face, fixed to the front of the slide. The rear sight is a “U”-notch dovetailed into the rear of the slide.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered walnut panels with smooth diamonds around the grip screws. There are 13+/-1 checkers between the points of the diamonds on the right panel (appropriate for UMC), the left panel has 15+/-1 (appropriate for Colt), the relief cuts for both at their bottom-rear corners closely fit the mainspring housing pin. The grips have some scattered compressed checkers, most notable on the right panel at the rear edge, with some light nicks and scuffs in the diamonds. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Very Good condition as partially not original to the gun.

Type of Finish: Parkerized

Finish Originality: Refinished, likely arsenal refurbished.

Bore Condition: The bore is gray with sharp rifling. There is scattered light erosion in the bore.

Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 70% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. There is scattered finish wear, most notable in the grip areas. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches with a couple of more notable dings on the left of the dust cover. There are infrequent spots of minor erosion, most notable at the right-front edge of the dust cover. There is a brass braze repair below the top-right grip bushing. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in about Very Good condition as refinished.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The trigger pull is crisp and the slide has light play on the frame. We have not fired 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 one 7-round magazine with the top portion finished in the white, the bottom blued, the baseplate pinned in place with the body extending down flush with the bottom edge of the floorplate. The magazine is tight in the magazine well, we tested other magazines in the pistol and have confirmed that this is due to the included magazine. The magazine has scattered operational wear, minor surface oxidation, intact feed lips and a strong spring, in about Fair-Good condition.

Our Assessment: The outbreak of The Great War saw every major European power scrambling for any and all arms they could lay their hands on. This demand caused the expansion of military arms production in America, despite not having entered the war. In addition to expanding their existing facilities, Remington UMC made entirely new factories in New Jersey and Vermont just to supply ammunition to the Russians and French, respectively. In 1915, Remington completed what was, at the time, the largest factory complex in the entire United States, a 1.6 million square foot factory spread over 75 acres solely to supply the Russian Empire with M1891 rifles and bayonets. As Russia descended into revolution, America entered the war, and the facility was turned over to producing Browning .50 caliber machine guns, flare pistols, and Model 1911 pistols. Bringing 1911 production online was easier said than done as Colt apparently didn’t have any drawings for the design, and never did supply Remington with sets of master gauges. Colt supplied a first set of drawings, but they only included nominal dimensions with no indication of tolerances. A second set of drawings was supplied later, and found to have 430 discrepancies when compared with the first set! Remington proceeded to find five military issue Colt 1911s which had satisfactory parts interchangability and produced their own drawings by measuring every part and setting the nominal measurements as the average and the tolerances as the extremes. This is certainly not the ideal method of starting production, but Colt wasn’t helping and there was a war on! Remington UMC had originally received a contract for 150,000 pistols, later increased to 500,000 in March 1918. At this time, it was thought that the war could go on for years, the Germans launched Operation Michael in the same month this order was increased. Instead, the Germans were pushed back to the Hindenburg line, that line was breached, and the Armistice was signed in November. The result was that Remington UMC produced only 21,676 Model 1911 pistols. The manufacturing equipment was transferred to Springfield Armory, and was later distributed to various manufacturers during WWII to produce 1911A1 pistols. This example of a Remington UMC 1911 is from quite early in production, serial 961. It has the early-style two-line marking on the right of the slide as well as proper early inspection marks on both the slide and frame. This example appears to have seen service, having a parkerized finish, some later-era replacement parts including the barrel, and a braze-repair at one of the grip bushings, a repair style used before the later practice of installing over-size bushings. Given the small quantity produced, any Remington UMC 1911 would make a great addition to a 1911 collection. With this one possibly serving in both World Wars and having such an early serial number, it will take a prized place in even advanced collections. Please see our pictures and good luck in your bidding!

WWI Remington UMC Model of 1911 US Army .45 ACP Semi-Auto Pistol, 1918 C&R
WWI Remington UMC Model of 1911 US Army .45 ACP Semi-Auto Pistol, 1918 C&R