1917 Government Issue

I recently got a chance to check out this beauty

What we have here is a beautiful Colt Model of 1911 U.S. Army whose serial number, 164462, puts its production squarely in the range of guns made in 1917, during the ramp-up between American pre-war examples and the simplified “Black Army” Colts. For reference, Colt in 1917 produced some 70,000 GIs while in 1918 they made over 360,000.

The frame is correctly marked with the “GHS” stamp of U.S. Army Major Gilbert H. Stewart, who was the inspector of ordnance from Sept. 1914 to Jan. 1918. Accepted martial Colts in the serial number range between 101,500 and 230,000 should have Stewart’s initials.

Intact M1911 models are rarely encountered even though some 650,000 or so were made between 1912 and 1925. After that time, most still in military stores were reworked to the updated M1911A1 standard which saw a different mainspring housing and small parts. Further arsenal rebuilds saw blued finishes replaced with a heavy parkerized coating. Likewise, such reworks will have a variety of arsenal codes (AA, SA, RIA, etc.), which this pistol does not carry.

As the price of even Black Army models skyrocket, nicely blued military-marked M1911s will likely continue to gain value.

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