SOLD FOR: $17025
Model: Lightweight Government Model, Documented U.S. Trials Gun
Serial Number: 667-LW
Year of Manufacture: 1950
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Automatic with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “GOVERNMENT / MODEL”, “COLT”, “AUTOMATIC / CALIBER .45” and with a Rampant Colt logo. The rear face of the slide, under the firing pin retainer, has a five-pointed star inspection mark. The right side of the slide is marked “COLT’S MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.”. The right side of the frame is marked “667-L.W.” above the trigger and behind the grip with an Ordnance escutcheon. The barrel at the port is marked “COLT .45 AUTO”. The left-rear of the trigger guard is marked with “VP” in a triangle, the left-front “1” in circle. The magazine floorplate is marked “COLT / .45 AUTO.”.
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade with a serrated, ramped face fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a square notch dovetailed to the rear of the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered brown “Coltwood” plastic panels with rampant colt in circle on each panel. There is some mold flashing around the outside edges of the grip screw reinforcement rings and the rings show minor stretching, caused by the all-too-common shrinkage that Coltwood grips are known for. Otherwise, there are only light handling marks. The checkering is sharp. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine condition and would rate Excellent but for the shrinkage.
Type of Finish: Blue & Black Alloy Frame. The side flats are polished and the rounded portions are matte-finished.
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion, but there is some minor fouling. The fouling looks like it will clean up easily, we have elected to leave it in place on the off chance that it is original to trials use.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 97% of its metal finish. The finish shows faint thinning at some sharper edges. The right slide flat has some minor scuffing and scratches. There are a few other scattered tiny marks. The action shows minor operational wear. There are some forging pores visible in the matte-finished rounded portions of the frame. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Fine-Excellent condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The slide has very little play to the frame. The trigger is crisp. 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, a photocopy of a Colt Historian letter and a photocopy of the page in Edward Meadows’ “U.S. Military Automatic Pistols 1945-2012” where this pistol is noted by serial number as being one of fifteen Lightweight Government Models sent for the 1950 trials. The magazine has minor operational wear with intact feed lips and a strong spring. The Colt letter confirmed that this pistol shipped August 31, 1950 to Springfield Armory in Massachusetts as one of seven pistols of the same type in the shipment.
Our Assessment: What a fantastic opportunity for collectors of Colt and U.S. Military handguns! This is an extraordinarily rare Lightweight Government Model, one of only fifteen which was sent to Springfield Armory for the 1950 trials to replace the 1911A1. The pistols were produced alongside the earliest Commander Lightweight models, of which there were also fifteen sent to the trials. In fact, Colt’s records indicate that this pistol was recorded as a Commander Model and that “Standard .45 Caliber Length” was a special feature.
In addition to listing this pistol by serial number as being a part of the trials, Meadows’ book indicates that “Certain of these pistols have been used for extensive firing tests in order to evaluate their performance”, which may also explain why a whopping 120 extra magazines were also on the order with Colt. This example does not appear to have been used for these extensive firing tests, based on the limited operational wear seen. The inclusion of these fifteen Lightweight Government Models in the trials is intriguing, as the pistol exceeds both the length and weight restrictions specified for the trials. It is possible that they were to be a reference for how much of the weight saving and change in handling characteristics was from the shorter length vs. the lighter weight of the 14s heat treated aluminum alloy frame.
Since the trials in 1950, this pistol has been remarkably well preserved, retaining the vast majority of its finish and showing just a hint of the shrinkage which plagued the plastic “Coltwood” grips installed on this pistol. The bore has a little bit of fouling, which may even be from firing in the trials, though there’s no way to be certain. What fouling is present looks as though it will easily clean out if the lucky winner so chooses.
This exceedingly rare pistol marks an important milestone in the development of John Browning’s design. In the post-war era of rapid technological advance, the dark uncertainty of the Cold War, and the enduring legacy of the Colt 1911, this is a gun which certainly stands out. With only fourteen other examples made, collectors have no way to know when they may have another chance to add one of these ponies to their stable. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for this documented, high condition, U.S. trials Lightweight Government Model pistol. Please see our photos and good luck!