WWII US Army Colt 1911A1 .45 ACP Military Semi-Automatic Pistol, 1943 C&R

SOLD FOR: $3712.99

LSB#: 230612EA082

Make: Colt

Model: 1911-A1

Serial Number: 878307 (this serial number is in a range shared by Colt and Ithaca, but the markings indicate the slide and frame are both Colt production)

Year of Manufacture: 1943 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)

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”, rampant colt, and “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.”, the top of the slide is marked “P”, the rear face of the slide is marked “878 / 307” under the firing pin plate. The left of the frame below the magazine release is marked with a “P” acceptance proof, the left side of the frame below the slide stop is marked with “G.H.D”. The right side of the frame is marked “UNITED STATES PROPERTY / No 878307”, “M1911 A1 U.S. ARMY” and behind the grip with a crossed cannon Ordnance wheel. The left of the trigger guard is marked “VP” in triangle and “K”, the right is marked “80”. The top of the frame is marked “S” at the disconnector. The left link-lug of the barrel is marked “P”, the right “HS”. The magazine floorplate is marked “L” on the top.

Barrel Length: 5”

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

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered brown “Coltwood” plastic with large reinforcement rings around the grip screws and with reinforcement ribs on the interior. The interior of the grips have mold-number markings where the ribs cross. The grips have minor handling wear with only a few minor marks. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine-plus condition.

Type of Finish: Parkerized

Finish Originality: Refinished, likely Arsenal Refurbished.

Bore Condition: The bore is light gray, the rifling is sharp. There is some light erosion and a little minor pitting scattered through the bore. In this writer’s opinion, this 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. For example, the U.S. used  corrosive ammunition throughout WWII. The U.S. military did not begin to phase out corrosive-primed ammunition until the 1950’s.

Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 97% of its metal finish. There are a few small nicks and minor scratches. There is a light “idiot mark” under the slide stop on the left of the frame. The action shows light operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with a strong slot. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Fine condition as refinished.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The trigger pull is crisp. There is light play between the slide and frame. This pistol has manual and grip safeties. 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 single 7-round magazine. An MGC (Model Gun Co.) box is included, but please note that this is not a model gun.

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. Since their introduction, the 1911 has seen a number of design changes, most minor, but the 1911-A1 introduced the arched mainspring housing, shorter trigger, and relief cuts behind the trigger on the frame. In addition to these inter-war changes, Colt began finishing the guns by parkerizing them, a more durable finish than the original bluing.

This example was produced by Colt in 1943, after the United States had officially entered the war and was bending its considerable industrial might to the war effort. It has a couple of interesting features related to the period when it was produced. As Colt began to ramp up its production efforts, many commercial parts in varying stages of completion were transferred to military production. The “S” marking on the frame indicates that it was originally dedicated to “Sales”, or commercial production. It was also produced as other manufacturers were being brought online, and is in a serial range which was duplicated by Ithaca Gun Co. as they began to produce the 1911A1. The pistol has been refinished, but retains a serial-matching slide, proper Coltwood grips and is in Fine condition. The barrel is a High Standard made part, and while it is generally accepted that these were never used by Colt, Colt collectors know to never say “never”. It will make a good addition to a Colt or WWII small arms collection, especially for those who want a representative example of each iteration of the design. Of course, it could still prove to be a decent shooter, too. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

WWII US Army Colt 1911A1 .45 ACP Military Semi-Automatic Pistol, 1943 C&R
WWII US Army Colt 1911A1 .45 ACP Military Semi-Automatic Pistol, 1943 C&R