WWII Union Switch & Signal US&S 1911-A1 US Army .45 ACP Pistol, 1943 C&R

SOLD FOR: $3,700

LSB#: 231028RW001

Make: Union Switch & Signal Co.

Model: 1911-A1

Serial Number: 1051926

Year of Manufacture: 1943

Caliber: .45 ACP

Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine

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 top-right screw is seized in its bushing, turning the screw turns the bushing in the frame. The bushing and frame threads are intact.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Refinished

Bore Condition: The bore is light gray with sharp rifling. There is some light erosion and minor pitting in the bore, mostly 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 95% of its current metal finish. The new finish is generally strong with some edge-thinning and a few light marks. There is scattered odd erosion under the finish, mostly on the top of the slide and on the dust cover. The controls show light handling wear and the action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with usable slots. As noted above, the top-right grip screw is seized in its bushing. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in about Very Good condition as refinished.

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 magazine marked “L” on top 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. 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 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 neat find for collectors as an earlier production US&S which lacks the “P” marking on the slide. The pistol has been refinished, retaining about 95% of its new blued finish with strong mechanics and a decent bore. There is some odd erosion under the finish, but the gun is otherwise in quite good shape. 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

WWII Union Switch & Signal US&S 1911-A1 US Army .45 ACP Pistol, 1943 C&R
WWII Union Switch & Signal US&S 1911-A1 US Army .45 ACP Pistol, 1943 C&R