Serial Number: 858242
Year of Manufacture: 1942 (Proof House)
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”, “COLTS PT. F.A. MFG. CO. / HARTFORD. CT U.S.A.”, and with a Rampant Colt logo in the center. The left of the frame near the magazine release is marked with a “P” acceptance proof and under the slide release with a boxed “G.H.D.”, the initials of Guy. H. Drewry Lt. Col., USA, ordnance inspector for Colt & Smith & Wesson 1930-1946. The left side of the frame in front of the trigger guard is marked “K” and with a “VP” in a triangle. The right side of the frame is marked “UNITED STATES PROPERTY / No 858242”, “M1911A1 U.S. ARMY” and at the front of the trigger guard with “30”. The left side of the barrel above the lug is marked “COLT 45 AUTO” and with a “P” on the left side of the lug (correct for serial number 8xxxxx). The underside of the barrel in front of the lug is marked “G”. The rear face of the slide (under the firing pin stop) is marked “858 / 242”. The top of the frame in front of the hammer is marked with a large “G”. The top of the slide in front of the rear sight is marked “P”.
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short rounded blade fixed to the slide. The rear sight is a “U” notch dovetailed into the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered reddish brown plastic. The checkering is sharp to the touch with very light wear across the top of the right grip. There is a small mark in the center of the right grip and one or two tiny mars above the grip screw on the right side. There are neither chips nor cracks. The grips rate in about Excellent overall condition.
Type of Finish: This pistol has a dark grey parkerized finish. The barrel is blued.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling shows light wear. There is light erosion in the lands and grooves in the front third of the bore.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 95% of its metal finish. There is thinning on the front edges of the slide and frame, the tops of the front and rear sights, and on the edges of the port and slide release. There is a mark though the finish on the top of the slide behind the front sight and a mark in the middle of the slide on its top left shoulder. There is a spot of surface loss on the left side of the trigger and a few light marks scattered around the slide and frame. The slide and magazine release checkering are sharp, while the checkering on the safety, hammer and mainspring housing shows light wear. The slide serrations are sharp. The checkering on the recoil spring plug shows light wear and surface loss. The grip screws are sharp and the markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in about Fine plus condition.
Mechanics: The trigger pull is crisp. The slide is tight on the frame. There is a lanyard ring present on the bottom of the mainspring housing. The action functions correctly. We have not fired this pistol.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol does not come with a magazine, but does include an officers holster, flag, painting, photographs and paperwork. The holster is a black polished leather top flap holster a piece riveted to the rear face that has two slots for a belt as well as a brass double hook with a drop style belt loop attached. The holster shows a few handling marks and light wear on the edges of the top flap. The flag is a red with two large white stars. It is marked “Flag, Distinguishing, Major General U.S. Army 3×4 ft. / Valley Forge Flag Co., Inc.”. It shows slight yellowing on its white border. There are no rips, tears or other marks. The flag is in about fine condition. The painting is of Major General John Dillard made by Army Specialist Four Denis Baccheschi, shortly after Maj. General Dillard’s death in Vietnam. The painting is in a 22 ¼” x 19 ½” wooden frame with brass corner pieces, and shows Gen. Dillard in uniform with his medals. There is a colored picture of General Dillard and a black and white picture of him and two other men. The paperwork consists of a letter from the Army documenting the painting of Gen. Willard, a letter from the Army to his widow, two newspaper clippings detailing Maj. Gen. Dillard’s death as the 6th general to have died during the Vietnam war, and a notarized letter from our consigner indicating how her late husband acquired these artifacts and stating her belief that this pistol belonged to Gen. Dillard. Please see our photographs for more details.
Our Assessment: > The 1911 and 1911-A1 pistols served the military of the United States from 1911 to 1985, through 2 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. This 1911A1 pistol was made by Colt in 1942 and marked “United States Property”. The slide and frame numbers match, and the Colt barrel is correctly marked for the period. This pistol reportedly belonged to Major General John Dillard, the 6th U.S. General to have been killed in Vietnam. The pistol is in about Fine Plus overall condition with about 95% of its original finish remaining. There is thinning on the front edges of the slide and frame and the slide which also show a few minor marks. The grip checkering is sharp with a few mars in the right grip and the slide is tight on the frame. This pistol comes with a General Officers pistol holster, a Major Generals two star flag, a painting and pictures of Gen. Dillard, newspaper articles about his death, letters from the army about his death and the painting, and a letter from our consigner on how her late husband acquired all of these artifacts. WWII manufactured 1911A1’s that are correctly marked with matching serial numbers are normally very collectible, and the very nice finish on this one should have the collectors extremely interested all on its own. When combined with the additional artifacts we are providing with this pistol and the letters of provenance, this pistol is a must-have for anyone collecting military arms.