This is a mint condition and possibly unissued WWI Colt Model 1911 Pistol from 1917. The serial number on this Colt is 138656, which places the production of this pistol in the early 1917. This particular pistol was shipped from the Colt factory to the San Antonio Arsenal in Texas on February 7, 1917 as part of a 650-pistol shipment to Texas for General Pershing’s Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa.
The first shipment to the arsenal occurred on December 16, 2016 and included 500 pistols. The first three shipments of 1917 from Colt were also sent to the San Antonio Arsenal. This particular pistol was part of the third shipment of 1917, which was made on the final day of the Punitive Expedition, sometimes also referred to as the Pancho Villa Expedition, which was active from March 14, 1916 until February 7, 1917 and involved numerous officers who would go on to very distinguished careers including then Second Lieutenant George S. Patton. The third shipment on February 7th included serial numbers 138401 to 139050.
The Receiver on this Colt 1911, sometimes referred to as the Frame, has “square-shaped” lightening cutouts on both sides. The vast majority of the original Colt blued finish remains on the Receiver, to include the areas under the grip panels and in other protected areas. Wear is noted on the sharp edges of the bushing shroud and there is some very light thinning and browning of the front grip strap. The interior portions of the Receiver retain the vast majority of the original bluing and the interior walls as well as the inside of the Recoil Spring Shroud retains 98% of this original, dark finish. All four grip panel screw bushings are present, and all retain virtually all of the original blue finish.
The Magazine Catch and Housing are the correct Colt 3rd Type and the right side of the Catch and single-slot screw retain 99% of the correct polished blued finish. The screw has an unmarred slot. The left side of the Catch Housing has the correct six full diamond checkering across the widest point. There is only very minor wear on only one row of the checkering, but there is no flattening of the checkering. The Magazine Catch Spring is still strong, and the catch works perfectly.
The left side of the Receiver has the crisp, sans serif "UNITED STATES PROPERTY" roll stamp with letters .06" tall. Just above the Magazine Catch on the left side is the final Ordnance Department acceptance stamp, which is the circle with stylized and interlocked “GHS” stamp of Army Ordnance Inspector Major Gilbert H. Stewart, who inspected Colt Model 1911 pistols from serial number 101,500 in 1915 to 230,000 in 1918. The top of the Receiver adjacent to the disconnector hole has the correct U.S. Government Contract "G" stamp at the 5 o’clock position and the sans serif Ordnance Provisional Inspection Mark "H" at the 12 o'clock position for Inspector Frank Hosmer. At the 1 o’clock position is a “b” assembler stamp. Inside the recoil shroud is assembly numbers “7.” The right side of the Receiver is the serial number "No [underline "o"] 138656," in numbers .06" high.
The Hammer is the correct Colt 3rd Type with long beavertail and rounded spur with clean border line on the outside of the checkering on the thumb piece. The Hammer retains 98% of the original Colt blued finish with wear noted on the friction points. The checkering is still very sharp with almost no wear. The Hammer Strut and Pin retain virtually all of their original blued finish. The original Hammer Pin retains considerable original blued finish on the barrel, and it retains the vast majority of its original blued finish on the ends.
The Grip Safety is in mint condition and is the correct Colt 1st Type with the short tang that retains 98% plus of the original blued finish throughout with minor wear noted on sides at the friction points. The Mainspring Housing is the correct Colt Type 1 with the smooth, straight profile and lanyard ring on the bottom and bevel at the lower edge. The Mainspring Housing retains the 95% of the original blue finish throughout with the only wear noted being some thinning on the lower, exterior portion of the housing. The Lanyard Ring also retains the majority of its original blued finish. The Mainspring Pin is the correct second type with rounded and concave ends. The original Sear Spring retains 98% of the original blued finish.
The Trigger is the correct long Colt Type 2 with smooth trigger face, and it is in very fine condition. The Trigger retains the majority of its original blued finish on the sides with minor wear noted from friction with the Receiver on the upper portion. The Trigger face retains the majority of the original blued finish. The original two-tone heat treatment line on the back 1/3rd of the bow is still sharp.
The Thumb Safety Lever is the correct Colt Type 2 with the milling cut on the bottom of the thumb piece and with checkering on both sides of the Thumb Piece. The Thumb Piece retains 99% of the original Colt blued finish. The Slide Catch is the correct Colt 1st Type with checkering on the Thumb Piece that runs parallel with the top edge of the Catch and with the milled-out section under the Thumb Piece. The Slide Catch retains 98% of the original Colt polished blued finish with wear noted on the bottom edge of the thumb piece and around the front sharp edge.
The original Sear retains 99% of the original blued finish with only very minor friction wear noted on the edges and is correctly polished on the bottom legs and on the beveled edge. The Disconnector also retains 99% of the original blued finish that is polished on the disconnector end and on the beveled lower edge. The original Sear/Disconnector Pin retains considerable original blued finish.
The Slide is the correct Colt Slide for the serial number on the Receiver. The left side of the Slide has the correct sans serif two-line Colt Patent data and two-line Colt Address information. The Rampant Colt is correctly to the rear of the slide serrations on the left side and the stamping is the correct Colt 3rd Type Rampant Colt logo with curved neck, eleven dimples on the mane, lower spear that is in front of the left, front leg and tail that ends below the rear hooves. All of the stampings on the left side are very crisp.
The right side of the Slide has the correct serif "MODEL OF 1911. U.S. ARMY" roll stamp in letters .09" tall, which was used from the start of production until approximately serial number 180,000. The Slide retains 99% plus of the original blued finish on both sides and 98% plus of the original blued finish on the interior portions of the slide with minor storage wear on the sharp edges.
The Breech Face of the Slide is very clean and also retains the vast majority of its original blued finish. The forward interior portions of the Slide retain the majority of the original Colt blued finish to include the slide locking lugs. Just above the Firing Pin Retaining Plate is a sans serif, vertically stamped Ordnance Provisional Inspection Stamp "H" for Frank Hosmer. Below this “H” stamp, on the rear plate face is the Colt Assembler Stamp “Z,” and below the firing pin tunnel is the serif “G” government contract stamp.
The Rear Sight is the correct Colt Type 2 with the straight top and "U" shaped sight notch. The front portion of the Rear Sight has a witness line that lines up perfectly with a witness line on the top of the Slide. The Rear Sight is in very fine condition and retains virtually all of its original blued finish with wear noted only on the sharp edges at the top of the sight. The Front Sight also retains the majority of its original blued finish on the sides and top. The center slide rail has serif “S” and “U” stamps.
The Extractor retains the vast majority of its original blued finish. There is almost no wear noted except for the friction wear at the mid-point friction "knuckle." The Firing Pin Retaining Plate is the correct Colt 2nd Type with the steep radius profile that retains 98% of the original blued finish. The Firing Pin and Firing Pin Spring remain in the white.
The Barrel on the Pistol is the mint condition and correct Colt Type that retains 95% of its original blued finish. The Lug and Link retains 95% of the original blued finish. The top of the chamber exhibits some thinning but still retains considerable original blued finish and it has the correct vertically stamped “H” and “P” stamps. The bottom of the barrel, just forward of the lug, has a “5” Assembly Stamp. There are no other markings on the barrel. The rifling in the barrel is still sharp and the bore still has a mirror finish. The Barrel Bushing is the correct 1st Type, 1st Variation that has a polished face and it retains 98% of the original blued finish on the face with 95% remaining on the interior surfaces. The Recoil Spring is the correct Type 1, 2nd Variation with the single crimped end with 32 coils and it remains in the white. The Recoil Spring Plug is the correct Colt 3rd Type with rounded punch tab and ten full and partial diamonds across the widest portion of the checkered face. The Recoil Spring Plug retains 99% of the original blued finish with only slight wear to the checkering on a few of the rows. The Recoil Spring Guide is the correct 2nd Type with the short legs.
The Grip Panels are the correct Colt WWI-era truncated diamond pattern, black walnut panels in very fine condition. There are no cracks or chips noted. Both panels exhibit almost no wear and flattening to the checkering. Both Panels have the 14 rows of diamonds between the larger diamond points. There are 20 diamonds across at the widest point of both panels. The top diamonds are both approximately 1.3" long and .61" wide. The bottom diamonds are 1.26" long and .63" wide. The distance between the points of the two larger diamonds on both panels is approximately 1.38”. The backs of both panels have the correct “ghost image” of the “rectangular” lightening cuts from the receiver. All four original grip screws are present and all of them retain the majority of their original blued finish with one screw have more pronounced wear on the top and a slightly marred slot.
The Magazine is an original, correct, and early Colt World War I 1911 Type 2 two-tone Magazine with the lanyard loop. This particular magazine correctly has no markings on it. Both rivets on either side are visible, and are smooth. The magazine retains the majority of its original blued finish on the sides, floor plate and follower. The magazine works perfectly.
This is a beautiful, original, and correct WWI Colt Model 1911 that was manufactured a few months before the United States entered WWI. This particular pistol was shipped to the San Antonio Arsenal in Texas towards the end of the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa and, I suspect, given this pistol’s nearly unissued appearance, that it was never subsequently shipped to France during WWI. This Colt 1911 would be nearly impossible to upgrade, and it still functions perfectly.