Colt M1911

2 years ago

Since the turn of the twentieth-century self-loading pistols have already become widespread in Europe and the USA. However, it was mostly the weapon which operates according to the barrel breech blocking principle and fired with the low powered cartridges. 

The US army at the beginning of the 20th century still used the revolvers, which were significantly behind the self-loading pistols in rapid fire and accuracy of speed firing. This situation was due to the conservatism of the US military, relying on the reliability of revolvers, which at some point more higher than self-loading pistols have. Important revolvers advantages were the constant combat sustainability at safety and usage simplicity,  a long service life as well as the lower-ranking complexity and the production cost with well put technology. 

Besides, the military most suitable pistols have the 9mm caliber, no more no less and the US army has already got the combat experience at the Philippines where the low-powered 9mm revolvers were ineffective in a fleeting close fight the rebels, armed and perfect skilled in blade weapon. The 38 caliber bullets were unable to stop Moro warriors, who had enough time to kill or severely wound the invaders, being deadly injured themselves. 

After ending the Colonial War with the Philippines the American military made a conclusion that the 38 caliber revolvers are too low-powered, the army required the 45 caliber weapon. The military insisted at an automatic pistol, which significantly exceeds the revolver on accuracy and rapid-fire. 

John Moses Browning found out about that, he was developing, at that moment, an automatic .38 caliber pistol. He turned it to a new caliber quite fast and offered it to the US military. The pistol used the  .45 ACP cartridges, which were developed in 1945 for a Colt Model 1905 with the involvement of Browning himself. This cartridge has a good power index and high initial bullet velocity. 

Colt Model 1909 was a temporary decision, it used .45 Long Colt cartridge, provided with a double action trigger mechanism with a high bullet stopping action. Also, the old 45 caliber revolvers, with a single action trigger, were applied to an active army. Only, the American generals wanted to get a modern self-loading pistol, which was of equal efficacy to revolvers, a rapid-fired, an accurate and using the effective 45 caliber bullets. 

John Moses Browning, the greatest American designer-gunsmith, who worked in Belgium, took up the development of the pistol. The first rifle John designed at the age of 14. Later, he with the same success created machine guns, rifles, and pistols. Some of them were finalized by other designers and were in service for decades. Some Browning products are still in the arsenal of the US Army. His name in Europe became a brand for almost all self-loading pistols. Browning called the production of the Belgian FN and pistols of other factories produced in other states, as well as not related to the works of Browning himself. Colt Model 1900 became the first Browning design pistol, produced in the US at Colt plants. The pistol worked according to the scheme of using recoil with a short flow of the barrel and locking through a downward barrel, hinged folding to the frame by two barrel bushings. The 1900 model was also called the Colt-Browning pistol. After many different tests and improvements, the designer created a Model 1905 pistol using the new .45 ACP pistol cartridge. Pistols models 1900, 1902, 1905 and 1909 were not adopted and were sold only in the civilian arms market. The true success of Browning was the M1911 pistol, in which he eliminated all the shortcomings of previous models and combined all his best design decisions. The first samples of the new pistol were made at the Colt's arms factory, so the weapon was called Colt-Browning M1911. In addition to the Colt, the competition was still attended by a Savage gun, but the Browning product was more reliable: eleven delays against more than thirty in competitors.

The competition for a new self-loading pistol for the US Army involved the company Colt and Savage. The tasting began on November 10, 1910. Both pistols fired cartridges .45 ACP - the most advanced samples of that time. On tests, special attention was paid to safety in the handling of weapons. The pistols were dismantled and collected for a while. By the time of incomplete disassembly, Colt defeated, but in time of complete disassembly, the victory was won by Savage. Colt consisted of 64 separate parts, Savage - of 45. On the accuracy of shooting, Savage gave up Colt. In tests for a breakdown, Colt punched more pine boards, while Savage - oak. In tests on the accuracy of high-speed shooting Colt was more accurate and quicker than Savage. Of both pistols, 6,000 shots were to be fired. The Colt proved to be much more reliable - 11 delays versus 33 ones. On March 15, 1911, the tests were resumed after both companies had finalized their weapons. These repeated tests also revealed a significant superiority of the Browning design piston in the reliability of functioning and strength. According to the conclusion of the commission, Colt was superior to Savage for reliability, strength, ease of disassembly and accuracy of shooting, and therefore the Colt's weapons were recommended for further tests in the troops. On March 29, 1911, the US Army adopted a self-loading John Browning design pistol Colt M1911, also known in the civil appeal as the Government Model. Since 1913, the M1911 has been delivered to the US Navy and the US Marine Corps.

In 1911, the Colt pistol was accepted by the US Army under the name Model 1911.

Initially, weapons were manufactured only at the Colt plant, but after the outbreak of the First World War, the situation changed: for the conduct of military operations, the army required much more pistols that could be provided by this company. Therefore, orders began to be placed in other plants. Most of the pistols were manufactured at the production facilities of companies Springfield and Remington. 

The pistol proved itself well during the fighting in Europe. Powerful cartridge "Colt" had a wonderful stopping action, allowing to solve the outcome of the collision with a single shot. Although, the Colt M1911 had its drawbacks: it had a significant weight, had impressive returns, a relatively small range of sight (up to 25 meters), the automaticity of this weapon was sensitive to contamination. However, these shortcomings were inherent in almost all the pistols of that time. Originally the Colt was used only in the US Army, the US police considered this gun to be too powerful. Also, the drawbacks of this pistol are sometimes referred to as a single-action trigger. 

In 1926 the pistol was modernized.

Although the changes may not seem very important, they have significantly changed the appearance and characteristics of this weapon:

 - The "tail" of the safe button, located on the handle, was made longer;

 - The trigger force was reduced and the flow of the trigger was shortened;

 - Changed the emphasis for the fighting spring;

 - Behind the trigger appeared inclined grooves;

 - In the new pistol, the holding hand and spokes of the trigger were more reliably separated, which positively affected the accuracy of the weapon;

 - The rear part of the handle was arched.

After the modernization, the gun was named the Colt M1911 A1 Government Edition, in this form, it was in service with the US Army until the end of the next world war. After it, several models of the gun were developed: Commander, Officer's, Double Eagle. However, these "Colts" did not have any serious differences in the design from the main modification. Colt M1911 - this is a real army pistol-long-liver: accepted for service in 1911, it was in service until the mid-80's. Many armies of the world use it to this day. "Colt" is very popular in the US - this gun is one of the most sold in the country.

Gun construction

The design of the Colt M1911 pistol consists of more than fifty parts and three main parts: a barrel, a frame and a shutter casing that moves along the guides in the frame.

In the gun used a scheme with a short flow of the barrel. The barrel channel is locked (engagement of the barrel and bolt) due to two warheads on the barrel (they are of a semi-circular shape) and grooves on the inner surface of the bolt (they are located at the top and in front of the chamber for ejecting the cartridge-case). 

The barrel is connected to the frame through a barrel bushing, which is located under the breech part of the barrel, and a transverse rod in the frame. After the shot, the casing, along with the barrel, moves back, the barrel bushing rotates on the rod, and the fighting stops come out of engagement with the grooves on the casing. The bolt continues its reverse movement, it cocks the fighting and return spring and throws the cartridge-case, and the barrel stops. The return spring is located under the breech part of the barrel, and the battle-spring is in the grip. Also in the grip are trigger pull, trigger and safety key, it turns off when the hand grips the pistol tightly. Trigger mechanism "Colt" of a single action, the fighting spring is twisted, its forces are transmitted to the trigger through the rod. Another one (non-automatic) safety key is on the left on the frame. It locks the bolt and sear, prevents the trigger from moving. The gun is produced from a single-row magazine, with a capacity of seven cartridges. The magazine lock (looks like a button) is at the top of the grip, next to the trigger guard. Sights of the gun consist of a foresight and a permanent pillar. 

Cartridge for Colt M1911.

The .45 ACP cartridge was developed in 1904 for the Colt Model 1905 by the Frankfurt Arsenal in conjunction with John Browning, Colonel John Thompson and with the participation of Union Metallic Cartridge. The new shell bullet, created in 1911 in place of the lighter, had a mass of 14.7 g, energy 505 J and an initial speed of 262 m / s. Such a bullet had a high stopping action, it has an optimal depth of penetration into the body of 30-35 cm and provides damage to vital organs even after passing through a barrier such as a hand or other light obstacle. At the same time, the bullet does not pass right through and transfers the target most of its energy. Thus, even without the use of expansive bullets banned for use in military weapons by the Geneva Convention, the .45 ACP cartridge provides a high stopping effect and excellent shooting efficiency, which was proved during World War I fights. 

Modifications of the pistol

 - M1911. The basic model accepted in service in 1911.

 - M1911A1. Model of the gun after the modernization carried out in 1926.

 - Colt Commander. This is one of the variants of the M1911A1 with a barrel shortened to 108 mm. The pistol was specially designed for the officers of the US Army. The design used high-strength aluminum alloys, which made the gun easier.

 - Colt .45 Gold Cup National Match. Modification of the pistol, which appeared in 1957. It had improved build quality, a spent trigger, and some changes were made to the design of the return spring and ejector. These pistols were released with the sights.

 - M15 General Officers model. An even shorter and more compact model of the pistol, developed by the high command of the American army. It was produced from 1972 to 1984.

 - Colt Officers ACP. Model pistol, developed in the early 70's. She had a magazine with six cartridges.

 - Colt Double Eagle. The modification with USM double-action was issued from 1989 to 19997. Differed in increased weight.

 - Colt .380 Mustang. A small model of a pistol, which appeared in 1980. Very popular as a means of self-defense.

 - MEU (SOC) pistol. Model of the pistol M1911A1, designed for US Marines.

 - Interim Close Quarters Battle pistol. Another modification of the M1911A1 pistol for US marines' reconnaissance. It was created by the American company Kimber.

 - Colt .380 Mustang Pocketlite. Modification of the pistol, created in 1987. It has a casing made of aluminum alloy, it differs more strongly in recoil.

 - Grizzly Win Mag. Modification of the Colt pistol developed not for the standard for this pistol ammo .45 ACP, but for a more powerful cartridge .45           Winchester Magnum. For this reason, the gun is large. This modification was created by gun designer Perry Arnett, it was produced by L.A.R.

 - Smith & Wesson SW1911. The modification, developed by Smith & Wesson, is based on the M1911 for two munitions: .45 ACP and 9 mm Luger.


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