WWII or Vietnam 1911?


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bersaguy
February 26, 2013, 06:57 PM
I'm a bit confused about some posts I've seen on a local guntrader board. Several posts list
a "real deal" WWII 1911 with the serial number placing the production in the '44 or '45. I don't dispute that, but weren't those the same guns used through Korea, Vietnam and basically until Grenada? To the best of my knowledge the US military never ordered new sidearms until the introduction of the M9, or am I wrong? Are there US property 1911's manufactured after WWII?

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Sergei Mosin
February 26, 2013, 07:05 PM
You are correct; military procurement of the M1911A1 ended in 1945 and those pistols were used until replaced by the M9.

12Bravo20
February 26, 2013, 07:55 PM
Sergei is correct. What people don't realize though is the 1911A1 staid in service longer than most think. I carried one during Desert Storm and we still had them as standard issue sidearms all till late 92 (40th Eng Bn, 1AD).

kBob
February 26, 2013, 08:47 PM
Yep last complete gun was supposedly in 1945.

Parts however were procured much later. One issue that caused some headaches was the recoil spring. Originals had a recoil spring small and "closed" on one end and open and wide at the other. That wide end tip went into the Recoil spring plunger in a screwing motion which locked the reoil spring plunger on the end of the spring. The small end was a tight fit over the short recoil spring guide. When replacements were sought in the VN era a spring with both ends the same as the open wide end was procured. As it now no longer meant either end was different the instruction to intall the tight end of the old springs over the recoil spring guide was not considered important enough to have in the then new FMs and TMs. Unfortunately many guns still had the old recoil spring where it did make a difference which way the spring went end. The old style spring when in backwards could kink and prevent the slide from going back far enough to pick up a round from the magazine.....but this problem was intermitant.

SO come the mid 1970s there were cries about the old timey unreliable guns. Over half of the red taged 1911A1s in my arms room were for failure to feed and when I inspected the guns every one so marked had an old style spring installed backwards and worked without a hickup when the spring was either properly installed or replaced with the new style spring.

I saw what appeared to be a complete slide in 1982 that looked like one of the el cheapo clones of the time. I also saw barrels and small parts that did not look like 1940's parts to me.

-kBob

HKGuns
February 26, 2013, 10:48 PM
I carried one in the 80's as well.

Auto426
February 27, 2013, 12:20 AM
As the others have said, the last complete guns sold to the military were in 1945. The military did contract out replacements parts like replacemnt slides or springs every now and then to keep the guns running, but the original WWII era or older frames were used right up until the end. Even the early M45 1911's used by the Marines were built on G.I. frames originally made in the 1940's, albeit with new Springfield slides and other components.

12Bravo20
February 27, 2013, 12:44 AM
My unit was probably one of the last units in Germany in 92 to still have 1911A1s and M3A1s in the arms room. We had went from a construction engineer bn. to a combat engineer bn. We turned our 1911s and M3s in for M9s in late 92.

longknife12
February 27, 2013, 10:17 AM
I was issued a Ithica in the 60's.
Dan

threoh8
February 27, 2013, 11:51 AM
I carried a M1911A1 as my issued weapon during Desert Storm (1990-1991). We did not trade them for M9 Berettas until 1992. It was definitely mix-and-match on parts, and very much worn. I always wondered where else it had been ...

Onmilo
February 27, 2013, 11:55 AM
We had 1911A1 replacement parts still in VCI and dated 1960s-70s- and 80s when I left the Army in 1986
These items were mainly barrels, slides, hammers, springs, links & pins, firing pins and stops & grips.
We still had loads of 1940s era replacement parts including sights, safety locks, grip safeties, trigger assemblies, barrel bushings, and recoil spring caps

bersaguy
February 27, 2013, 06:14 PM
Thanks guys, that's what I figured. I get it that a sidearm carried in WWII carries with it a certain nostalgia, but in reality some of these guns may have been in service as little as 22, 23 years ago. I wonder if any M9's will still be seeing action in 2042.

rondog
February 27, 2013, 06:27 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if there were still a few out there in service now.

NavyEngineer
February 27, 2013, 07:08 PM
Thanks guys, that's what I figured. I get it that a sidearm carried in WWII carries with it a certain nostalgia, but in reality some of these guns may have been in service as little as 22, 23 years ago. I wonder if any M9's will still be seeing action in 2042.
They've been in US service much more recently than that - the US Navy had them until around 2000. They were still on many ships when I left sea duty in 1997, and had largely (probably not entirely) been replaced by Berettas on the waterfront when I returned to sea duty in 2000. While I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, our base had a contingent of Greek medical personnel who were helping to mentor the Afghan doctors and nurses. They all carried former US issue 1911s and 1911A1s. One of their officers allowed me to examine and fieldstrip her 1911. Here are a few poor photos I took of it. Others here will know far more about the platform than I do, but I based on the serial number and Rock Island Arsenal rebuild stamps, I believe this was built in 1913, and rebuilt (at least once) circa WWII. The barrel was pristine, WWII-era High Standard. She told me she would greatly have preferred to have an M9 - I told her I would swap pistols with her in a heartbeat, but unfortunately our Army was expecting my Beretta back at the end of my tour!

http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee453/NavyEngineer/1109_zps6e7e8466.jpg
http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee453/NavyEngineer/1110_zps54f889c5.jpg
http://i1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee453/NavyEngineer/1114_zps83cd5ac4.jpg

clem
February 27, 2013, 08:02 PM
Verified, made by Colt in 1913.
It is a "M1911".

NavyEngineer
February 27, 2013, 08:43 PM
I thought it was pretty cool that a 98 year old pistol was still serving with Allied forces in a combat zone! So did she, after I told her what the serial number meant!

RetiredUSNChief
February 27, 2013, 08:56 PM
One good think did come out of the Navy's shift to the 9mm...

On one of the submarines I was on for decommissioning, the Torpedomen found a locker that still had a stash of spare parts for the old 1911's...springs, magazines, and such. All was designated to be tossed into the trash, so they asked around to see if anybody wanted a few magazines and such. I jumped at the opportunity and they gave me a couple. I asked for as many as they'd give me, but they said no...they wanted to spread them around to other people.

Nobody else stepped up for several days, so I cleaned out their entire stash of magazines...close to 60!

I cleaned them all up and oiled them, then tested them at a range...all fully functional with no problems. After cleaning them again, I lined them all up from best to worst, stashed 7 away for myself, and kept the rest in an ammo can to give out to people I ran across here and there who only had one magazine for their 1911.

Heck, I even gave a couple to someone on this site for just that reason.

(7 is a magical number: that's an entire box of ammunition loaded at one time, plus one in the chamber, when target shooting. I hate spending all my time reloading after each empty magazine!)

I think I finally gave away the last of them (except the 7 I kept for me) last month, in fact.

:):)

otasan56
February 28, 2013, 10:29 AM
My first .45 was an M1911A1 built in 1945. It was a great gun. I gave it to my pastor.

DMZ
February 28, 2013, 12:09 PM
I qual'ed on a 1911 in 1972 and carried one on very rare occasions. The ones we were issued were bastardized pistols maintained by the unit armorer from a parts bin he kept. I remembered carrying one with a slide that the finish had long wore off of, and a grip frame with 70% phosphate finish.

Those were not very accurate weapons, but the standard, at least in my small unit, was 7 rounds at 7 meters, on the target.

mljdeckard
February 28, 2013, 12:42 PM
In our arms room in 1992, we had several special shooters, on which we replaced the barrels, bushings, and links, and they shot well, except for the junk magazines. I wonder now, how they would have shot, had I been able to use some Wilson 47Ds?

Voodoochile
February 28, 2013, 01:19 PM
My M1911A1 surely seen some service in WWII & possibly other areas of the world we were involved in, it was manufactured in 1942 & I've had it since 1990.

CZguy
February 28, 2013, 05:47 PM
My M1911A1 surely seen some service in WWII & possibly other areas of the world we were involved in, it was manufactured in 1942 & I've had it since 1990.

Now that calls for a picture.

Markus
February 28, 2013, 06:00 PM
I was an MP and had 1911s from every manufacturer except colt in my 8 years. I never had one that wouldn't shoot well. A lot of guys claimed they were shot loose. I could always keep it in the ten ring from 25 if i took my time. It was a sad day when they left the arms room. If I remember it was 89 or 90.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

VAPOPO
March 1, 2013, 12:23 AM
Also a MP in the mid to late 80's stationed in Munich FRG. My 1911 A1 was a Rem Rand SN;2242096 we had to procure ammo for qualifications through our local Rod and Gun club. Never saw a Beretta M9 in a military holster untill I was outprocessing at Ft Dix in Sept of 89.

Arp32
March 1, 2013, 12:32 AM
Great thread!

MICHAEL T
March 1, 2013, 05:41 AM
I have a Colt shipped Dec 1941 Ive owned since early 1990's Barrel was shot out when I got So I had new barrel fitted and better fixed sights .(Remember in 1990 these were still clunkers of little value I paid little over 100 for this one) I have a 2nd set of orginal GI sights and the worn out barrell if ever wanted to change back

kBob
March 1, 2013, 12:11 PM
I truely think the accuracy "problems" with the 1911A1 in US service was a loose nut behind the grip frame......that is the shooter.

An example was one of my bosses in te Artillery. He had been enlisted five years and an officer for fie years and never once actually qualified with the 1911A1. ALways managed to shoot an M-16A1 as his issue weapon and barely make marksman. ( although in 1970 he made excellent use of an M-16A1 at two yards and at a bit over 150 yards in a hot sweaty place in Southeast asia you might have heard of). Our new Colonel insisted folks actually shoot their assigned guns......I had none but the Colonel had authorized my carry of any Privately owned weapons I could qualify with. SO I carried my Series 70 Mark IV .45ACP. I still used the finger bushing at the time and had "messed with" the trigger stuff so, no surprise, it shot very well.

Twice my boss went to the line and twice he failed to qualify. To me the use of the M-1 Pencil for qualification is a deadly sin so that was not going to happen. He comented that it was easy for me to qualify with the special pistol. I took my Series 70 down to show him how the finger bushing and barrel locked up, then broke his pistol down to compare it then assembled his gun with my barrel and bushing. I then sent him to the ammo point.

He came back and shot sharp shooter. He then had many good things to say about my Series 70 barrel and bushing. I asked him to strip his pistol so we could swap parts out. He was flabergasted to find I had replaced his original parts back in his pistol while he was at the ammo point and he qualified Sharpshooter with the same gear he had failed to even qualify with only minutes early...twice.

When I was enlisted a member of our weapons squad that carried a 1911A1 failed to qualify so I loudly asked one of our NCOs to issue him some of the "Special Match Ammunition" we had and he caught on right away and set a partial can we had from an earlier shoot on the table and made a big deal of counting out the ammo needed for Qualification. Guess what? with the SPecial Match Ammo that was just the left over ball from four months ago the guy qualified.

The worst M1911A1 I ever used in service, including one that rattled from being constructed of left over parts from my rebuilding the platoon guns via mixing the best fitting parts and leaving the junk on the extra gun (we had 10 and nine slots for them in the platoon) could have shot a qialifying score, mabe not expert but at least qualifying.

See what I mean?

-kBob

Onmilo
March 1, 2013, 12:28 PM
In 1982 and 1983, I had the good fortune to hang out in a Special Forces Arms Room. They had some remarkable things there but what I remember most were BRAND NEW in the original box 1911A1 pistols from Colt and Remington rand as well as Brand New in the carton M14 rifles!
I often wonder what became of those guns when they were finally declared obsolete.
My guess is the guns went to some third world country as military aid.

12Bravo20
March 1, 2013, 12:32 PM
I had similar experiences as kBob did. The 1911A1 I carried during Desert Storm was your typical "rattle battle" that sounded like it would fall apart when shaken. I qualified either expert or sharp shooter (only missing expert by1) every time with it and it functioned just fine in the sand.

I get a laugh every time I watch shows on TV about how the US Army switched to the M9 in 1985. I was always in rapid deployment units or forward deployed units (Germany) and I carried a 1911A1 all the way till late 1992.

Onmilo, some of those units still had those weapons in their arms rooms at least till 91-92. I got to shoot a M1 Thompson and M14 while at Ft Devens in 91

sleepyone
March 1, 2013, 12:43 PM
When I was enlisted a member of our weapons squad that carried a 1911A1 failed to qualify so I loudly asked one of our NCOs to issue him some of the "Special Match Ammunition" we had and he caught on right away and set a partial can we had from an earlier shoot on the table and made a big deal of counting out the ammo needed for Qualification. Guess what? with the SPecial Match Ammo that was just the left over ball from four months ago the guy qualified.

Love that story! Perception is reality and is a very powerful thing indeed!

JerryND
March 1, 2013, 02:49 PM
I agree with kBob. It was usually the shooter. In the mid to late 60's our club had a number of DCM 1911A1's One was my favorite. Late Sun aft and I had everything else in the car except the 1911 and a running deer target at 100 yds. One of our more "opinionated" members showed up and asked what I was shooting at. I told him I was going to shoot at the deer target. A 45 at 100 yds? You can't even hit the backstop. Well the bet was a cup of coffee. Sat on the ground in front of the bench, two handed hold, locked wrists between knees and put 7 in the kill zone and 1 through the knee. The sweetest cup of coffee I ever had.

Onmilo
March 1, 2013, 03:06 PM
12Bravo20 I was still qualifying with an M14 in 1986, we had several in our arms room when I left.
I did Familiarization on maintnance and repair of the M9 but they had not yet been issued to rank and file when I left, still using 1911A1s & S&W and Ruger Service Six revolvers when I ETSed.
I HATED the M16 back then with a passion!

RetiredUSNChief
March 1, 2013, 04:48 PM
I, too, had no problem qualifying with the .45 in the Navy.

Granted, back when they still had the .45 the course of fire was pathetic...at least from a submariner's viewpoint.

We got a total of 30 rounds for the course of fire, and the target was a man-sized, black silhouette. We shot from I think three different distances, both strong and weak hand. To qualify, all we had to do was get 20 out of 30 in the black.

I never once had a problem chewing a hole 2-3 inches in diameter center of mass with no strays. Since it was impossible to actually count all the holes, I always scored a perfect 30.

In the years I maintained my qualifications using the .45, I shot several different pistols and never once experienced ANY which gave me problems with either accuracy or reliability.

In fact, the only person I knew who had problems hitting anything was a guy in my division and the problem was very clearly him, not his weapon. We used to put a guy on either side of him on the firing lane, each shooting 10 rounds into his target during the course of fire just to get him to pass. I remember him scoring a 22 one time after that.

:evil:


Oh...and the one time I did this for him, my grouping was still tight enough that there was still no way the instructor could count them...and I scored a perfect 30 again.

:neener:


I'm sure there were lemons in the bunch, especially considering the sheer number of decades these pistols saw service. But I believe they were the exception rather than the rule.

otasan56
March 2, 2013, 09:41 AM
Way to go, Chief!

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