SOLD FOR: $6775
Make: Union Switch & Signal Co.
Serial Number: 1074045
Year of Manufacture: 1943
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked with a “USS” monogram logo and “U.S. & S. CO. / SWISSVALE, PA. U.S.A.”. The left of the frame below the magazine release is marked with a “P” acceptance proof, there is another “P” on the top of the slide in front of the rear sight. The left side of the frame above the magazine release is marked with circled “R.C.D.”. The right side of the frame is marked “UNITED STATES PROPERTY / No 1074045”, “M 1911 A1 U.S. ARMY”. The left link-lug of the barrel is marked “P”, the right is marked “HS”. The top of the floorplate toe is marked “R”.
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short blade with a serrated, ramped rear face fixed to the slide. The rear sight is a square notch dovetailed into the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered brown Keyes Fibre panels with reinforcement ribs on the inside but without reinforcement rings around the screws (early-style). The grips have minor handling wear with some tool marks around the screw heads. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine-Excellent condition.
Please note: The bottom-left grip and top-right screws are seized in their bushings, turning the screw turns the bushing in the frame. The bushing and frame threads are intact on the left. The frame threads are intact on the right, but the bushing threads are damaged and don’t properly secure to the frame.
Type of Finish: Du Lite
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is some scattered light erosion with infrequent very minor pitting in the grooves. 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 92% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. There are some scattered minor nicks and scratches with an “idiot mark” under the slide stop on the left of the frame. Under the grips, there is some wear and minor oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with usable slots. As noted above, the bottom-left and to-right grip screws are seized in their bushings. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Very Good-Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The trigger pull is crisp. There is very minor 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 Risdon Mfg. magazine.
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. As in the Great War, production demands of WWII required many manufacturers to produce military equipment for the war effort. While much of the small arms production was performed by arms manufacturers, there were also contracts that went out to other firms.
As the name suggests, Union Switch & Signal Co. produced switches and signaling equipment for railroads. They received a contract to produce 200,000 1911-A1 pistols, though the contract would be shortened with only 55,000 delivered to the government. This makes the US&S 1911-A1s the second rarest of all the manufacturers, behind only Singer who developed the educational material to allow non-firearms manufacturers to swiftly tool up to produce 1911 pistols. It is believed that when the drawings were originally delivered to US&S, the “P” proof mark on the slide was not included, leading to the early production US&S pistols not having the mark at all. When this was discovered, Ordnance requested that the marking be added to the pistol, but it appears that the location was not clear, with interim production guns, such as this one, having the marking notably left of center. The later production pistols had the marking in the same location as other makers.
This example is a wonderful find for collectors not only for having its original DuLite finish and proper parts, but also due to its high condition. The pistol retains about 92% of its original finish with strong mechanics and a pretty good bore. This pistol should garner a lot of interest from the collectors of WWI and WWII pistols, and 1911s in particular. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud