1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

WWII or Vietnam 1911?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by bersaguy, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. bersaguy

    bersaguy Active Member

    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?
  2. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Well-Known Member

    You are correct; military procurement of the M1911A1 ended in 1945 and those pistols were used until replaced by the M9.
  3. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Well-Known Member

    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).
  4. kBob

    kBob Well-Known Member

    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.

  5. HKGuns

    HKGuns Well-Known Member

    I carried one in the 80's as well.
  6. Auto426

    Auto426 Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. longknife12

    longknife12 Well-Known Member

    I was issued a Ithica in the 60's.
  9. threoh8

    threoh8 Well-Known Member

    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 ...
  10. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    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
  11. bersaguy

    bersaguy Active Member

    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.
  12. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't be surprised if there were still a few out there in service now.
  13. NavyEngineer

    NavyEngineer Active Member

    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!

  14. clem

    clem Well-Known Member

    Verified, made by Colt in 1913.
    It is a "M1911".
  15. NavyEngineer

    NavyEngineer Active Member

    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!
  16. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    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.

  17. otasan56

    otasan56 Well-Known Member

    My first .45 was an M1911A1 built in 1945. It was a great gun. I gave it to my pastor.
  18. DMZ

    DMZ Well-Known Member

    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.
  19. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    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?
  20. Voodoochile

    Voodoochile Well-Known Member

    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.

Share This Page