Armand A.D. Swenson Full Custom Colt Model 1911-A1

Sold for: $3,525

Make: Colt Frame and Slide

Model: 1911-A1

Serial Number: 815657

Year of Manufacture: 1942 (Pg. 398 of Clawson’s Colt .45 Service Pistols)

Caliber: .45 ACP

Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine

Markings: 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” logo, and “Colt’s PT.F.A. Mfg. Co. / Hartford, Ct. U.S.A.” and “A.D. Swenson / Gardena, Calif.”. The rib mounted to the slide is marked “A.D. Swenson / Gardena, Calif.”. The left side of the frame behind the trigger is marked with a boxed “W.B.” Ordnance mark (Waldemar S. Broberg, Colonel, Hartford/Springfield Ordnance District). The left front of the trigger guard is marked “8” and with a “VP proof. The left of the frame near the magazine release is marked “P”. The right side of the slide just behind the port is marked “B”. The right side of the frame is marked “United States Property / No 815657” and “M1911A1 U.S. Army”. The right side of the trigger guard is marked “40” at the front. The left side of the slide rib is marked “Bo-Mar”. The top of the frame in front of the hammer is marked with a small “2” and “4”, “5” and another mark that could be part of a “C” or an “O”. The underside of the slide at the back is marked “Pachmayr / Los Angeles” and “A.D. Swenson / Gardena, Calif.” The right slot is marked “G” and “5”, and the flat behind the slot is marked “Z” and “J” or perhaps “U”. The back of the slide is marked “815” and “657”. The barrel plug is marked “U”.

Barrel Length: 5”

Sights / Optics: This pistol is mounted with a Bo-Mar flat topped square notched rear target sight built into the full length serrated rib on the barrel. It is adjustable for windage and elevation. The front sight is a Patridge integral with the rib.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut. The right grip show light even wear. The left grip has a vertical mar at the top and a roundish mar in the middle where the wear is heavier, and spot of heavy wear on the back lower corner. There are neither chips nor cracks. The grips rate in about Fine overall condition.

Type of Finish: The slide and its rib are a bright blue, while the bottom of the slide has a matte finish. The frame appears to be electro-less nickel plated. The front strap is finely checkered and the backstrap is serrated.

Finish Originality: None of the finish is original to the pistol as originally manufactured.

Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion.

Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 95% of its metal finish. The slide shows surface loss on its front and side edges, on the top of the front sight and along the serrations of the rib. The underside of the slide has mars in its matte finish, and the right top edge of the slide has wear marks about 1 ½” back of the muzzle. There is a small mark in the backstrap serrations. The serrations on the hammer and safety are sharp. The screw heads are sharp, and the markings are clear but the slide markings are shallow. Overall, this pistol rates in about Fine Good condition.

Mechanics: The trigger pull is a light with a slight amount of creep. The action functions correctly. We have not fired this pistol.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes in a box with one stainless steel magazine. The box is grey plastic with a pebbled finish and is marked “Gun Guard”. The surface shows no disfiguring marks. The inside is lined with egg crate foam which is intact and shows only the imprint of the pistol. The box is in overall Excellent condition. The magazine is marked “Colt / .45 Auto” on the baseplate, and is in Excellent condition with only very light wear.

Our Assessment: As written by Jason Burton at “Anyone who has read enough gun periodicals or has been around custom 1911s at any length has undoubtedly seen countless references to Armand Swenson and with good reason. As many have mentioned before, Swenson was one of the greatest and probably most important 1911 ‘smiths since Browning himself. Not necessarily because Swenson’s work was cosmetically perfect or without fault but because he was, to a greater or lesser extent, the first to really bring out the custom 1911 in the fashion that we know it today… or at least the first person to be widely recognized as such. While parts, techniques, technology, and the overall build of the custom 1911 have no doubt been elevated to a standard much higher than anything Swenson did the heart and soul of the custom 1911 is still firmly rooted and can be traced back to Armand Swenson’s work. Swenson paved the way for the “bulls-eye accurate and combat reliable” 1911s we have come to know and every custom maker working today owes him for that…. at least a little.”.

This is a great looking pistol built by one of the best Colt 1911 gunsmiths around. The nickel frame really stands out on this so be sure to check our pictures. If you are a serious Colt collector, adding an Armand Swenson custom built Colt that was originally built in WWII with matching frame and slide will certainly help to fill-out your collection.

Armand A.D. Swenson Full Custom Colt Model 1911-A1
Armand A.D. Swenson Full Custom Colt Model 1911-A1