SOLD FOR: $3500
Model: 1911, U.S. Coast Guard Issued
Serial Number: 561919
Year of Manufacture: 1918
Caliber: .45 A.C.P.
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”, “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.” and behind the serrations with a rampant colt. The right side of the slide is marked “MODEL OF 1911. U. S. ARMY”. The right side of the frame is marked “UNITED STATES PROPERTY / No 561919”. The left side of the frame is marked eagle’s head over “S8”. The top rear face of the slide is marked “H” (vertical, no serif) above the firing pin plate. The flat on the top of the frame around the disconnector is marked “G” and “H”, and the right rail is marked with “8”. The left link lug is marked “P”, the left of the barrel is marked “COLT 45 AUTO”, the bottom of the barrel is marked “F” and “G” (1937-1945 Colt military barrel).
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short rounded blade. The rear sight is a “U” notch dovetailed into the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are reproduction checkered walnut with smooth diamonds around the grip screws. The grips show little in the way of handling wear with only a few minor marks. The checkering is well defined, generally sharp. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips rate in Fine-plus condition as not original to the gun.
Type of Finish: Parkerized
Finish Originality: Refinished, likely Arsenal Refurbished
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well-defined rifling. There is light erosion scattered through the bore with infrequent minor pitting. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 out of 10.
Many military and C&R-eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 87% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. Much of the balance is handling wear in the grip areas. There are some scattered minor nicks, scuffs and scratches including a faint “idiot mark” under the slide stop. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are generally clear, some are worn, but legible. Overall, this pistol is in Very Good condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The trigger pull is crisp. The slide has light play to 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 a total of three 7-round post-war magazines. Also included is a series of documentation, including a hard-bound book. This pistol was researched by Charles W. Pate who acquired information from the National Archives. Please see Our Assessment for more information about the documents.
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. This is a Colt Model 1911 that was made during WWI in 1918. The pistol has a decent bore and strong mechanics, having acquired a WWII-era barrel as well as a new parkerized finish throughout its history, a very interesting history.
Thanks to research from Charles Pate, we know that this pistol wasn’t just made during the Great War, it was later issued to the U.S. Coast Guard. While such detailed information is not always available, this pistol was in a shipment to the Coast Guard Depot, Curtis Bay, maryland in 1930. Of the seventy-five pistols in the shipment, two went missing. There was an investigation into the missing pistols, and the documents related to this investigation were stored in the National Archives. Among these documents was a list of all of the pistols in the shipment, including this one.
The result of the investigation was a finding that the pistols were removed from their boxes during transit from Boston to Curtis Bay, but no individual was found at fault. It’s not clear if the pistol remained in Coast Guard possession all the way through being decommissioned, its new parkerized finish and WWII-era barrel could indicate it was refurbished during or after the war. In any case, this pistol’s documented history with the Coast Guard, as well as a seemingly minor but meticulously recorded investigation of other missing 1911s, will make it a fine addition to any collection, especially documented 1911s or Coast Guard small arms in particular. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud