Origin:                          United States

Military Service:                1911 - Present

Wars:                            WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Current Conflicts

Cartridge:                       .45 ACP

Action:                          Semi-Automatic Blowback

Magazine:                        7 / 8 Round Detatchable

Significance:  John Browning's 1911 is the most popular and arguably the best handgun design of all time.

  • During initial testing in 1910, a single M1911 fired 6,000 rounds over the course of two days. When it began to get hot, it was simply immersed in water. There were no reported malfunctions.

  • During WWI, due to the high demand for M1911s, Colt eliminated the final polishing step in its process to expedite production. These late-war "Black Army" pistols appear black. The early war pistols have a more refined lighter blue finish. 

Historic Photographs

Interesting Facts

Differences between the WWI M1911 and WWII 1911a1

The uppermost pistol is a 1919 production Colt M1911.  The bottom pistol is a 1944 WWII wartime production Colt production 1911a1.  WWI M1911s were blued.  WWII 1911a1s were parkerized.

The M1911A1 changes to the original design consisted of a shorter trigger, cutouts in the frame behind the trigger, an arched mainspring housing, a longer grip safety spur (to prevent hammer bite), a wider front sight, a shortened hammer spur, and simplified grips. These changes were subtle and intended to make the pistol easier to shoot.

The iconic Colt M1911 served as the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1985 when it was replaced by the Beretta M9.​ 

The 1911 was developed by John Browning with the intention of replacing the multitude of different service revolvers in the United States' inventory. The 1911 was formally adopted by the Army on March 29, 1911; hence, its designation of M1911.

The pistol below is a WWI era "Black Army" Colt M1911 that survived a house fire.  It does not retain its original finish or its original grips; however, it retains all its original markings and components.

Colt M1911