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Antique Military Firearms
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This is a very fine condition and very rare Colt Government Model 1911A1 Pistol that incorporated the Swartz Safety mechanism.  This particular Colt was ordered by the Argentine Navy in 1941 and remains in its original Colt high polish blued finish with the Swartz Safety mechanism still in place.

 

Argentina, like many countries in South America, had only a nascent arm manufacturing capacity in the 19th century and primarily relied on American and European arms manufacturers to outfit is military and police forces.  As a result, the Argentine Government purchased 21,616 Colt 1911 and 1911A1 pistols from 1914 until 1950, and then produced an additional 112,494 Model 1911A1 pistols in Argentina under license from Colt.

 

In 1914, the Argentine military adopted the Colt Model 1911 pistol as their standard sidearm and contracted with Colt to supply these firearms.  Between 1914 and 1919, Argentina ordered 2,151 Model 1911 pistols from Colt.  These pistols were marked on the slide “MARINA ARGENTINA,” and the 321 delivered in 1914 were from serial number C6201 to C6400, and from C11501 to C11621.  In 1915, a separate order for 1,000 pistols was made and these have the Argentine crest on the slide and were property marked from 1 to 1,000 on the top of the slide.  Another 1,000 pistols were delivered from Colt in 1916 and are from serial number C20001 to C21000.  In 1919, an additional 400 pistols were delivered from serial number C86790 to C116594.  The pistols in these contracts went to the Argentine Navy in two ways.  First, one group went directly from Colt to the Argentine Navy, and these were pistols directly associated with battleships

manufactured in the United States for the Argentine Navy.  The second group of pistols went through the London Armoury Company.  The Argentine Government grew concerned over its dependency on another country so in 1923, Argentina passed an armaments bill that authorized the creation of a domestic arms industry.  The result was the establishment of an aircraft factory in 1927, a munitions factory in 1933, and small steel mill in 1934, and a small arms factory in 1936, all of which were managed by the Argentine Army. 

 

In the meantime, however, the Argentine Commission for Foreign Acquisitions negotiated a contract with Colt in 1927 for the manufacture of Model 1911A1 pistols in .45 ACP that were specially marked and serial numbered in a separate series as well as securing from Colt a special licensing agreement giving the Argentine Government the right to produce Model 1911A1 pistols under license.  This agreement had three specific provisions.  First, Colt agreed to manufacture 10,000 Model 1911A1 pistols that would be designed the Ejercito Argentino Modelo 1927 for the Argentine Army.  Second, Colt agreed to transfer drawings, manufacturing instructions, material specifications and tooling requirements to Argentina for domestic production.  And third, Colt agreed to train Argentine technicians in the pistol’s manufacturing and inspection processes.

 

The first provision in the contract led to 10,000 Colts manufactured at Hartford being sent to Argentina between 1927 and 1933, and these pistols run from serial number 1 to 10,000.  These pistols had the Argentine crest on the right side of the slide along with “EJERCITO ARGENTINO,” and “COLT CAL. 45 MOD. 1927.”  These pistols are known as the 1927 Hartford Argentine Army Models.  With the outbreak of World War Two, and with Argentina’s national small arm factory unable to produce pistols in large quantities, Argentina made a special order in 1941 of 500 “off the shelf” Colt pistols in two shipments of 250 pistols each in the serial number range of C198700 to C208700.  These pistols were to be hand engraved on the top of the slide with the Argentine crest and on the right side of the slide with “REPUBLICA ARGENTINA / ARMADA NACIONAL – 1941,” and they were shipped to the Argentine Naval Commission in Washington, D.C.  Of these 500 pistols, most were eventually recalled for servicing and were then parkerized, so examples in their original blued finish are incredibly rare.  What is even more rare is that some of these off the shelf Colt pistols were those manufactured with the Swartz Safety device.  Colt only produced 416 Government Model Pistols with the Swartz Safety and many of these were brought into American military service early in 1941 with the Swartz Safety removed.  There are only a handful of known Colt Government Models in existence that still retain their original blued finish and the intact Swart Safety components.

 

At the time this pistol was ordered by the Argentine Navy, Argentina was in the middle of a ten-year naval rebuilding program that cost $60 million and that produced a fleet of two modernized American-built Rivadavia-class battleships, three modern cruisers, twelve British-built destroyers, three submarines, minelayers, minesweepers, coastal defense ships, gunboats, and a naval air force.

 

This particular Colt, which was manufactured in Hartford in 1941, still retains 95% plus of its beautiful and original bright polish blued finish with wear noted on the sharp points and numerous very small scratches throughout.  The left side of the trigger guard has the stylized Colt “VP” in a triangle proof stamp below a sans serif “x” inspection stamp.  On the top of the frame, just to the right of the disconnector hole is the smaller Swartz Safety firing pin disconnector arm hole with a sans serif “S” stamp adjacent to it.  All four original stock screw bushings are present, and all retain the majority of their original blued finish. The original type one ejector, with angled nose, is present and retains virtually all of its original blued finish. The plunger tube retains 99% of its original finish.

The front grip strap retains the vast majority of its original polished blued finish that is now beginning to thin.  There is very minor wear noted on the inside friction points.  Both the front and rear walls of the magazine well retain 95%+ of the original blued finish. The back, interior mainspring housing portion of the frame also retains 95% plus of the original blued finish. The interior portion of the recoil spring housing retains virtually all of its original blued finish.  The right side of the frame has the correct sans serif “GOVERNMENT MODEL” stamp over the serial number, “C200776.”

The Hammer is the correct Colt short beavertail type with rounded rear edge of the spur. The upper portion of the hammer, to include the top checkered portion of the spur, retains all of its original polished blued finish and it correctly has no border around the checkering. Very minor wear is noted principally towards the lower portion. The strut retains virtually all of its original blued finish as does the strut pin. There is a serif “D” inspection stamp on the left side of the hammer.  The Disconnector retains 95% of the original blued finish with a polished bevel. The Sear retains 98% of its original blued finish with polished sear hook face and inside cam surface. The disconnector pin retains considerable original blued finish along the pin shaft and sides, and it retains its polished rounded end and trigger interface.  The Swartz Safety Arm remains correctly in the white.  The Hammer Pin also retains considerable original blued finish.

The safety lock is the correct Colt Type without the milled shelf below the thumb piece with checkered thumb piece top and bottom. The front portion of the safety retains 98%+ of the original polished blued finish.  The backside of the safety also retains virtually all of its original blued finish to include the sear stop surface and integral pin.

The sear spring is the correct 2nd Type with right angle bend on the sear leaf. The sear spring retains the vast majority of its original blued finish with wear noted on the edges and the back surface. The grip safety is the correct Colt 4th Type with long tang (this modification was first seen on the Transition Model as one of the design improvements to prevent the hammer from pinching the wearer’s hand). The grip safety retains 95% of its original bright blued finish with very minor wear noted on the left and right sides from friction with the frame.

The mainspring housing is the correct Colt 3rd Type with 27 diamonds on the center row.  The back, checkered portion retains traces of its blued finish in the protected areas with the tops of the diamonds worn to the white.  The rounded end of the main spring cap pin retains all of its original blued finish. The left, right and back sides retain 98%+ of the original blued finish. The bottom portion retains 98% of the original blued finish. The outer surfaces of the lanyard ring exhibits wear on the very bottom. The mainspring housing pin retains approximately 95% of its original blued finish along the shaft with the majority of the original finish remaining on both ends.  The Mainspring Housing Pin retains virtually all of its original finish.

The Trigger is the correct short Colt 3rd Type, which was introduced around the time this pistol was manufactured and was milled from a single piece of steel. The trigger bow retains the majority of its original blued finish on both the interior and exterior surfaces. The face of the trigger retains all of its original blued finish over the deep milled diamond checkering. The sides and back of the trigger retain 99%+ of the original blued finish.

The magazine catch housing is the correct Colt 3rd Type that retains 95%+ of the original blued finish. There are, correctly, 6 diamonds across at the widest point on the button release. The magazine catch lock is the correct Type 3 with slightly marred single slot. The magazine catch spring remains in the white.

The Slide retains 95% plus of the original bright polished blued finish and is marked on the left side with the correct and very crisp Colt commercial Hartford, Connecticut address and patent stamps in two rows.  The stamping on the frame and slide are still sharp and crisp, indicating this pistol was never refinished.

The right slide of the Slide is correctly marked in sans serif “REPUBLICA ARGENTINA / ARMADA NACIONAL – 1941.”  I have highlighted this stamping in white crayon, which can be easily removed.  Also on the right side is the correct Colt commercial stamping, which is a large “COLT” followed by “AUTOMATIC CALIBRE 45” and the rampant Colt logo.  The top of the slide, just forward of the rear sight, has the Argentine crest, which I have also highlighted with white crayon. The rear of the Slide, above and below the firing pin hole, has the serial number “199” and “828,” which, although a different serial number than the frame, is in the same serial number series as ordered by the Argentine Navy.  It is likely that this slide was substituted during its Argentine Naval service. 

The front sight is the correct Colt 2nd Type, which is a rounded type without serrations.  The front sight retains the majority of its original blued finish with wear on the shar p edges and a slight ding in the top.    The rear sight is the Colt flat top type with vertical sides, rounded shoulders, and squared notch that is beveled at the front. The front slope of the rear sight has a witness mark that is aligned with the corresponding witness mark on the slide just forward of the rear sight dovetail.  The rear sight exhibits wear to the top and front surfaces, probably from holster wear.  The breech face exhibits very minor wear from firing.  The forward portion of the extractor tunnel also exhibits minor operational wear. The barrel bushing seat retains the majority of its original finish. The interior portions of the slide, to include the slide locking lugs and slide rail, retain virtually all of the original blued finish. There is another sans serif “S” stamp on the bottom of the slide, indicating it was a Swartz Safety model.  The Swartz Safety firing pin block is present in the bottom of the slide, and it still works perfectly.

The extractor retains 98% of its original blued finish. The rounded nose of the extractor is correctly polished to the white.  The firing pin retainer plate is the correct 2nd Type with more gradual taper to the bottom edge. The front (rear facing) side of the plate retains 95% of the original blued finish. The back (forward facing) side of the plate retains 95% of the original blued finish. The firing pin is in fine condition with almost no wear on either the tip or the hammer-end and it is the unique Swartz Safety type with the firing pin block groove. The firing pin spring has 38 coils and remains in the white.

The Barrel appears to be an Argentine manufactured Colt barrel that remains in the white.  On the left lug is the correct Argentine stylized “R” inspection stamp.  The Link remains blued as does the link pin.  The bore is in mint condition with a mirror bore and strong rifling.  This barrel was probably installed in this Colt during its Argentine naval service as the pistol was originally manufactured with a Colt marked barrel.

The Barrel Bushing is the correct Colt 1st Type that retains 95% of the original finish throughout. The Recoil Spring Plug is the correct 3rd Type with rounded tab. The body of the Plug retains 90% plus of the original blued finish. The front, checkered portion of the Recoil Spring Plug retains most of the original blued finish in the recessed area of the checkering with the tops of the checkered diamonds slightly worn to the white. There are 10 diamonds across the face of the Plug at the widest point. The Recoil Spring Guide is the correct 2nd Type with short "legs" at the front. The Recoil Spring is the correct 2nd Type with 30 coils that remains in the white.

The Slide Stop is the correct Colt 2nd Type that retains 95% of the original blued finish on the front face, to include the checkered thumb piece. The checkering correctly does not align parallel with the top edge of the Slide Stop, which was a change that began with Transition Model production. There are 15 diamonds on the bottom row and 17 diamonds on the topmost, uninterrupted row. The back of the Slide Stop retains 98% of its original blued finish.

All four single-slot Grip or Stock Screws are present. All of the screws retain 95% of the original blued finish on the domed heads with 98% plus of the original finish on the threaded portions.  All four screws have unmarred single slots.  Both original Colt walnut grip panels are present.  The checkering remains very crisp throughout with some oil staining towards the bottom portion of the left grip panels.  There are no cracks or chips in either panel.    

This Pistol comes with an original WWII Contract magazine manufactured by the M. S. Little Company.  This type Magazine incorporated a pinned base with no seam.  The Magazines retains 98% plus of the original blued finish.  The follower retains the majority of its original blued finish.  The top lip of the base has a serif “L,” which is the mark of the M. S. Little Company.  This is a replacement magazine and was not original to the pistol. 

This is an extraordinarily rare Colt Government Model Pistol with the original Swartz Safety still installed.  Very few Colts were manufactured with the Swartz Safety and fewer survived to this day.  This Colt is equally rare because it was a 1941-dated Colt that was sold to the Argentine Navy and martially marked.  This pistol still functions perfectly.