SOLD FOR: $8,225
Make: Rock Island Arsenal
Model: M15, General Officer’s Pistol
Serial Number: GO 187
Year of Manufacture: 1972
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “General Officer Model / RIA”. The right of the frame is marked “Serial No. GO 187”. The right of the trigger guard has “L”, the left “E”. The top of the slide is marked “P” between the rear sight and ejection port. The plate on the left grip panel is engraved “General / W. P. Hurley”.
Barrel Length: 4 1/4”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a serrated, ramped blade fixed to the front of the slide. The rear sight is a National Match-style square notch dovetailed to the rear of the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered walnut. Rock Island Arsenal started with standard Herrett’s stocks, but the left was inlet for a metal plate (should the General wish to have their name marked on the gun, this example is marked) and the right was inlet for a Rock Island Arsenal escutcheon. The frontstrap was also checkered by Rock Island Arsenal in the National Match style for additional grip. The top of the right panel was relieved by Rock Island Arsenal so that it would not obscure the serial marking. The grips have minor handling wear, mostly at edges, with light tool marks around the top-left screw head. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Blued, Nickel trigger and barrel.
Finish Originality: Original to assembly by Rock Island Arsenal
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 10 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 97% of its metal finish. There are a few scattered minor marks and some light operational wear. There is infrequent edge-thinning. There are some more notable marks in the right-side slide serrations. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in about 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, a Brigadier General Officer’s flag and a General Officer’s belt and holster. Please note, the belt and holster are of a later style for the Beretta M9, but does properly secure the M15.
Our Assessment: While Colt 1903 and 1908 models were used as General Officer pistols from 1944 until 1972, both models were discontinued by Colt in the 1940s and the Army’s inventory eventually ran out. Rock Island Arsenal tested some commercial models, including the Walther P38 and Smith & Wesson 39, but eventually decided to produce their own GO pistol by customizing 1911A1 model pistols. Gunsmiths at the Arsenal were already very familiar with this sort of work after producing many National Match competition pistols. The result of their work was the M15.
First introduced in 1972, the M15 has a 3/4″ shorter slide, a single locking lug for the barrel, National Match sights, National Match trigger, proprietary spring-loaded full-length guide-rod assembly, recoil spring plug and bushing, and the barrel is chrome plated. The frame was modified with National Match style checkering on the frontstrap, six horizontal serrations on the mainspring housing and Herrett’s grips customized with a name plate and Rock Island Arsenal escutcheon. Only 1,004 were produced before the model was discontinued due to cost concerns.
This example, GO 187, was first issued to Brigadier General William P. Hurley of the Massachusetts National Guard. It comes with a 1-Star Brigadier General’s flag as well as a GO belt and holster, though of a later vintage than the pistol. This General Officer’s pistol will make a wonderful addition to a collection of military firearms, especially with its rich history. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud