SOLD FOR: $5,500
Serial Number: 37433
Year of Manufacture: 1913 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup), shipped July 9 to the United States Marine Corps in Philadelphia, PA.
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the dust cover is marked “UNITED STATES PROPERTY”, the right of the frame is marked “No 37433″. 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”, “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.” and behind the serrations with a rampant colt. The rear of the slide is marked “H” (vertical, no serif) above the firing pin plate. The left side of the frame is marked behind the trigger with a “WGP” in circle (Walter G. Penfield Maj.). The top of the frame is marked “H” and “4” at the disconnector. The top of the chamber hood is “P” and “H”.
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a round blade fixed to the front of the slide. The rear sight is a round-top “U”-notch sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered walnut with smooth diamonds around the grip screws. The inside of the left grip panel is hand-carved with “F.B.C.”. The grips have general light handling wear with some nicks and scuffs. There are tool marks around the screw heads. The checkering is generally well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Very Good condition.
Please note, the top-right 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 Frame, Parkerized Slide
Finish Originality: The frame’s finish is Original, the slide has been Refinished, likely Arsenal Refurbished. This likely indicates that the slide is not original to the frame.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is scattered erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 5 or 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 65% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The frame has handling wear and oxidation in the grip areas and on the bottom of the dust cover. The flats have generally strong finish, there is some minor oxidation under the grip panels and erosion on the right of the frame at the slide stop shank and on the right of the dust cover. There are tool marks on the right-rear of the frame. The slide has generally strong parkerized finish with some scattered nicks and scuffs. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in about Very Good condition as partially refinished.
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 with a lanyard loop floorplate, the top portion finished in the white, and the body comes down flush with the bottom edge of the floorplate.
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 an early example of a 1911, made in 1913 before the outbreak of the Great War. It is quite the find for collectors as it is a documented United States Marine Corps pistol, one of 9,950 shipped to the USMC between May, 1912 and December, 1918. Marine Corps 1911s did not receive any special markings, and about half of them were not shipped sequentially. This example is from the second shipment, the largest sequential shipment, of 1,250 pistols shipped July 9, 1913.
Most USMC 1911s saw extensive service and they are frequently found having been arsenal refurbished. This example retains original blue finish on its frame, but does have a parkerized slide. Despite this, the slide itself is also a fairly early example. It was produced before the 1913 patent date was added to the slide markings, indicating production before July 1914. The pistol also has a “long-leg” guide rod, indicating that it was produced prior to 1915. Rounding out the pistol’s early features is a lanyard loop magazine, a feature discontinued in October, 1915.
Any early 1911 makes for a great addition to a collection. This USMC example with its early features is sure to take a prized place in even some advanced collections. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud