WWI Colt Model of 1911 U.S. Army .45 ACP Semi-Automatic Pistol, 1918 C&R

SOLD FOR: $10700

LSB#: 230521JW006

Make: Colt

Model: 1911

Serial Number: 222199

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

Caliber: .45 ACP

Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine

Markings: The right of the frame is marked “No 222199?, the left is marked “UNITED STATES PROPERTY”. The right side of the slide is marked “MODEL OF 1911. U.S. ARMY”. 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 slide serrations with a rampant colt. The rear of the slide is marked “H” (vertical, no serifs) and beneath the firing pin plate with “6”. The left side of the frame is marked behind the trigger with a circled “GHS” monogram. The top of the frame is marked “8” to the right and in front of the feed ramp, “H” and “y” in front of the disconnector, and “G” behind. The top of the chamber is marked with “H” and “P”, the bottom in front of the link lug is marked “5”.

Barrel Length: 5”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a round blade fixed to the front of the slide. The rear sight is a “U”-notch dovetailed to the rear of the slide.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered walnut with smooth diamonds around the grip screws. The grips have minor handling wear with only a few light marks and some light tool marks in the diamonds around the grip screws. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine condition.

Please note: The top-left grip screw is seized in its bushing, turning the screw head turns the bushing in the frame. The bushing and frame threads are intact.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is light gray and the rifling is sharp. There is scattered light erosion in the bore, more in the grooves than on the lands. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 or 7 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 95% of its metal finish. The finish is lightly thinning at most edges. There are some scattered minor scuffs, nicks and small scratches. The action shows light operational wear. The screw heads are tool marked with usable slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Fine condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. It has both a manual and grip safety and the trigger pull is crisp. The slide has nominal play to the frame. 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 and a brown leather M1912 holster. Also included is a 21 August, 1945 dated plan for 533rd Engineer Boat & Shore Regiment (less Boat Battalion) and attached units to land at Wakayama for the occupation of Japan as well as a 14 October, 1945 dated report detailing the results of the landing. The plan and report are in a jacket marked “OCCUPATION OF JAPAN / B-10 / OPERATION”, the cover previously had a 533rd EB&SR tag. The tag has fallen off, but is included. A series of photos and negatives are included, per our consignor they are of or from Robert F. Buzzini, an officer of the Regiment.

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. The design was the end-result of a series of developments by famous gun designer John Browning, starting with the Model 1900. The advances made by Browning were revolutionary at the time, and were so successful that they are considered commonplace today. Browning not only developed first a pivoting and then a tilting barrel to allow for a locked system, he developed the concept of “the slide”, which is now synonymous with semi-automatic handguns.

This is a U. S. Government marked Colt 1911 pistol made toward the end of WWI in 1918. The pistol is in Fine condition, retaining about 95% of its original metal finish. It is an interesting example as it has the left-side US Property marking and was produced before the introduction of the “Heart” shaped cuts on the frame under the grip panels. The pistol has minor wear, appearing to have seen gentle treatment and in remarkable condition given its age.

Per our consignor, this pistol was acquired from the son of Robert F. Buzzini, an officer with the 533rd Engineer Boat & Shore Regiment. The consignor related that Buzzini had told him he preferred a .38 revolver due to the weight of the 1911, and so his issued pistol stayed in a foot locker the great majority of his service time. We were not able to find more details about Buzzini’s service, but the 533rd EB&SR participated in combat landings in New Guinea and the Philippines from 1943 into 1945. Included with the pistol is a plan for the occupation landing at Wakayama in Japan as well as a report on the outcome of the landing. The report is quite detailed, including a map and various charts, but also notes that 533rd EB&SR command staff had returned to Oahu in July, 1945 to plan for their part in Operation Olympic, the invasion of the Japanese home islands. The 533rd was attached to 98th Division and was in the process of planning for the invasion when the Japanese sued for peace and eventually surrendered. Planning swiftly pivoted from invasion to occupation and landings would take place September 27, 1945. You can actually see some footage from the landing provided by the National Archives Video Collection.

This is a very nice example of a WWI-era 1911 in its own right. The included documents and photos from WWII only make it all the more special. After all, how many people have actual landing plans and reports from WWII in their collection? Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud

WWI Colt Model of 1911 U.S. Army .45 ACP Semi-Automatic Pistol, 1918 C&R
WWI Colt Model of 1911 U.S. Army .45 ACP Semi-Automatic Pistol, 1918 C&R