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Colt Type #3 Widespur Hammer

Price: $24.99
United States Pistol, M1911, M1911A1, Government Model Pistol Specifications: Weight 2.437 lb (1,105 g) empty, w/ magazine (FM 23–35, 1940); Length 8.25 in (210 mm); Barrel length 5.03 in (127 mm), Government model; 4.25 in (108 mm), Commander model; 3.5 in (89 mm), Officer's ACP model; Cartridge .45 ACP; Action Short recoil operation; Muzzle velocity 800 ft/s (244 m/s); Effective range 75 yd (62 m) (FM 23–35 of 1940); Feed system 7 rounds (standard-capacity magazine), +1 in chamber. The M1911 is a single-action, semiautomatic handgun chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. It was designed by John M. Browning, and was the standard-issue side arm for the United States armed forces from 1911 to 1985. It was widely used in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Its formal designation as of 1940 was Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911 for the original Model of 1911 or Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911A1 for the M1911A1, adopted in 1924. The designation changed to Pistol, Caliber .45, Automatic, M1911A1 in the Vietnam era. In total, the United States procured around 2.7 million M1911 and M1911A1 pistols during its service life. The M1911 is the most well-known of John Browning's designs to use the short recoil principle in its basic design. Besides the pistol being widely copied itself, this operating system rose to become the pre-eminent type of the 20th century and of nearly all modern pistols. The M1911 pistol originated in the late 1890s, as a search for a suitable self-loading (or semi-automatic) handgun, to replace the variety of revolvers then in service. During that time the United States military was adopting new firearms at a fast pace, including several new handguns and two all-new service rifles (the M1892/96/98 Krag and M1895 Navy Lee), as well as a series of revolvers by Colt and Smith & Wesson for the Army and Navy. The next decade would see a similar pace, including the adoption of several more revolvers and an intensive search for a self-loading pistol that would culminate in official adoption of the M1911. Hiram S. Maxim designed a self-loading pistol in the 1880s, but he was preoccupied with machine guns and did not pursue the design further. Nevertheless, the application of his principle of using bullet energy to reload led to several self-loading pistols in the 1890s. The designs caught the attention of various militaries, which began programs to find a suitable one for their forces. In the U.S., such a program would lead to a formal test at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. At the turn of the century, a test of self-loading pistols was conducted, which included entries from Mauser (the C96 "Broomhandle"), Mannlicher (the Steyr Mannlicher M1894), and Colt (the Colt M1900). This led to a purchase of 1,000 DWM Luger pistols, chambered in 7.65mm Luger, a bottlenecked cartridge. These would go on field trials but ran into some issues, especially in regard to stopping power. Other governments had also levied similar complaints, which resulted in DWM producing an enlarged version of the round, the 9mm Parabellum (known in current military parlance as the 9x19mm NATO), a necked-up version of the 7.65mm round. Fifty of these were tested as well by the U.S. Army in 1903. Due to problems encountered by American military units fighting Moro guerrillas during the Philippine-American War, the then-standard .38 Long Colt revolver was found to be unsuitable for the rigors of jungle warfare, particularly in terms of stopping power, as the Moros had very high battle morale and frequently used drugs to inhibit the sensation of pain. It's also been reported that the Moros wore a very effective bamboo "armor" that was difficult to penetrate with the smaller caliber revolver. The U.S. Army briefly reverted to using the M1873 single-action revolver in .45 Colt caliber, which had been standard during the last decades of the 19th century because the slower, heavier bullet was found to be more effective against charging tribesmen. The problems with the .38 Long Colt led to the army shipping new single action .45 Colt revolvers to the Philippines in 1902. It also prompted the then-Chief of Ordnance, General William Crozier, who became Chief of Ordnance of the Army in 1901, to authorize further testing for a new service pistol. Following the 1904 Thompson-LaGarde pistol round effectiveness tests, Colonel John T. Thompson stated that the new pistol "should not be of less than .45 caliber" and would preferably be semi-automatic in operation. This led to the 1906 trials of pistols from six firearms manufacturing companies (namely, Colt, Bergmann, Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM), Savage Arms Company, Knoble, Webley, and White-Merril). Asking for a .45-caliber automatic pistol was a tall order that few manufacturers or inventors attempted successfully in the early 20th century. To accomplish this, Browning settled on a design that is so timeless, it has been changed little in nearly 100 years of production. Of the six designs submitted, three were almost immediately eliminated, leaving the Savage, Colt, and DWM designs chambered in the new .45ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge. These three all had issues that needed correction, but only Colt and Savage resubmitted their designs. A series of field tests from 1907 to 1911 were held to decide between the Savage and Colt designs. Both designs were improved between each testing over their initial entries, leading up to the final test before adoption. Among the areas of success for the Colt was a 6,000 round test at the end of 1910 attended by its designer, John Browning. The Colt gun passed with flying colors, having no malfunctions, while the Savage designs had 37. The basic principle of the pistol is recoil operation. As the bullet and combustion gasses travel down the barrel, they give momentum to the slide and barrel which are locked together during this portion of the firing cycle. After the bullet has left the barrel, the slide and barrel continue rearward a short distance. At this point, a link pivots the barrel down, out of locking recesses in the slide, and brings the barrel to a stop. As the slide continues rearward, a claw extractor pulls the spent casing from the firing chamber and an ejector strikes the rear of the case pivoting it out and away from the pistol. The slide stops and is then propelled forward by a spring to strip a fresh cartridge from the magazine and feed it into the firing chamber. At the forward end of its travel, the slide locks into the barrel and is ready to fire again. The military mandated a grip safety and a manual safety. A grip safety, sear disconnect, slide stop, half cock position, and manual safety (located on the left rear of the frame) are on all standard M1911A1s. Several companies have developed a firing pin block safety. Colt's 80 series uses a trigger operated one and several other manufacturers use one operated by the grip safety. Following its success in trials, the Colt pistol was formally adopted by the Army on March 29, 1911, thus gaining its designation, M1911 (Model of 1911). It was adopted by the Navy and Marine Corps in 1913. Originally manufactured only by Colt, demand for the firearm in World War I saw the expansion of manufacture to the government-owned Springfield Armory. Battlefield experience in the First World War led to some more small external changes, completed in 1924. The new version received a modified type classification, M1911A1. Changes to the original design were minor and consisted of a shorter trigger, cutouts in the frame behind the trigger, a curved mainspring housing, a longer grip safety spur (to prevent hammer bite), a wider front sight, a shorter spur on the hammer, and simplified grip checkering. Those unfamiliar with the design are often unable to tell the difference between the two versions at a glance. No internal changes were made, and parts remained interchangeable between the two. World War II and the years leading up to it created a great demand for the weapon. During the war, about 1.9 million units were procured by the U.S. Government for all forces, production being undertaken by several manufacturers, including Remington Rand (900,000 produced), Colt (400,000), Ithaca Gun Company (400,000), Union Switch & Signal (50,000), Singer (500), the Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal. So many were produced that, after 1945, the government did not order any new pistols, and simply used existing parts inventories to "arsenal refinish" guns when necessary. Before World War II, a small number of Colts were produced under license at the Norwegian weapon factory Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk (these Colts were known as "Kongsberg Colt"). During the German occupation of Norway the production continued; these pistols are highly regarded by modern collectors. German forces used captured M1911A1 pistols, using the designation "Pistole 660(a)".[1] The 1911 pattern also formed the basis for the Argentine Ballester-Molina and certain Spanish Star and Llama pistols made after 1922. Colt 1911s were used by the Royal Navy as sidearms during World War I in .455 Webley Automatic caliber. The handguns were then transferred to the Royal Air Force where they saw use in limited numbers up until the end of World War II as sidearms for air crew in event of bailing out in enemy territory. Some units of the South Korean Air Force still use these original batches as officers' sidearms. Norway used the Kongsberg Colt which was a license produced variant and is recognized by the unique slide catch. Argentina manufactured them for some time and led to the cheaper Ballester-Molina. Spain produced the STAR Model P. The Greek Hellenic Army issues the M1911 as a sidearm. A Chinese company Norinco exports a clone of the 1911A1 for civilian purchase. After the Second World War, the M1911 continued to be a mainstay of the United States Armed Forces in the Korean War and the Vietnam War and was also used during Desert Storm by some U.S. Army units. In the late 1980s, USMC Colonel Robert Young laid out a series of specifications and improvements to make Browning's design ready for 21st century combat, many of which have been included in MEU(SOC) pistol designs. However, as the U.S. Marine Corps began its process of hand selecting members from its Force Recon to be submitted to USSOCOM as Marine Corps Special Operations Command, Detachment One (MCSOCOM Det-1), the selection of a .45 ACP M1911A1-based pistol meant roughly 150 units would be needed, quickly. The PWS was already backlogged with producing DMRs, USMC SAM-Rs, and updating M40A1s to M40A3s, so Det-1 began the search for COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) surrogates to use. Discovering that the Los Angeles Police Department was pleased with their special Kimber M1911 pistols, a single source request was issued to Kimber for just such a pistol despite the imminent release of their TLE/RLII models. Kimber shortly began producing a limited number of what would be later termed the Interim Close Quarters Battle pistol (ICQB). Maintaining the simple recoil assembly, 5-inch barrel (though using a stainless steel match grade barrel), and internal extractor, the ICQB is not much different from Browning's original design. The final units as issued to MCSOCOM Det-1 are the Kimber ICQBs with Surefire IMPL (Integrated Military Pistol Light), Dawson precision rails, Tritium Novak LoMount sights, Gemtech TRL Tactical Retention Lanyards, modified Safariland 6004 holsters, and Wilson '47D' 8 round magazines. They have reportedly been used with over 15,000 rounds apiece. The M1911 is also extremely popular among the general public in the United States for practical and recreational purposes. The pistol is commonly used for concealed carry (thanks in part to a single-stack magazine, which makes for a thinner pistol; thus easier to conceal), personal defense, target shooting, and competition. Numerous aftermarket accessories allow users to customize the pistol to their liking. Despite being challenged by newer and lighter weight pistol designs in .45 caliber, the original 1911 design shows no signs of decreasing popularity. Despite its relatively large size, the M1911 has a very flat profile owing to its single-stack magazine design, easing concealment. There are a growing number of manufacturers of 1911-type pistols and the model continues to be quite popular for its reliability, simplicity, and nationalist appeal. Various tactical, target, and compact models are available, including some in other calibers such as 38 Super, 9 mm Parabellum, .40 S&W, 10 mm Auto, .400 Corbon, .22 LR, .50 GI, 9x23 mm Winchester, and others. Some modern "carry" guns have significantly shorter barrels and frames, while others use standard frames and extended slides with 6 in (152 mm) barrels. Several companies have developed a firing pin block. Colt's 80 series uses a trigger operated one and several other manufacturers (such as Smith & Wesson) use one operated by the grip safety. However, under political pressure from NATO to conform to the NATO-standard pistol cartridge, by the late 1970s the US Air Force's Joint Service Small Arms Program was run to select a new semi-automatic pistol using the NATO-standard 9mm Parabellum pistol cartridge (a cartridge that had been previously tested by the US Army in 1903 and found wanting). After trials, the Beretta 92S-1 was chosen. This result was contested by the Army which subsequently ran its own competition (the XM9 trials) in 1981 which eventually lead to the official adoption of the Beretta 92F on January 14, 1985. By the later 1980s production was ramping up despite a controversial XM9 retrial and a separate XM10 reconfirmation, which was boycotted by some entrants of the original trials, cracks in the frames of the Beretta-produced pistols, and also despite a dangerous problem with slide separation that resulted in injuries to some US Navy service members. This last resulted in it being updated to the 92FS standard, which includes additional protection for the user. By the early 1990s, most M1911A1s had been replaced by the M9, though a limited number remain in use by special units. The United States Marine Corps in particular were noted for continuing the use of M1911 pistols for selected personnel in MEU(SOC) units (though the USMC also purchased over 50,000 M9 handguns). For its part, the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) issued a requirement for a .45 ACP handgun (Offensive Handgun Weapon System (OHWS) trials). This resulted in the Heckler & Koch OHWS becoming the MK23 Mod 0 Offensive Handgun Weapon System (beating a Colt OHWS--a much modified 1911). Dissatisfaction with the Beretta M9's stopping power has actually promoted re-adoption of the 1911 (along with other handguns) among USSOCOM units since the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism, though the M9 remains predominant both within SOCOM and in the US military in general. Despite the official adoption of the M9, the M1911A1 design continues to be favored by many military and law enforcement organizations in the United States and many other countries as well as by a large number of police units—especially SWAT teams—and the public, because of the greater stopping power of the .45 cartridge and the superior handling of the weapon in close fighting. Marine Force Recon, Los Angeles Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics, the FBI Hostage Rescue Team and 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta (Delta Force) are among them. The Tacoma, WA Police Department made history in 2001 by becoming the first metropolitan police department in nearly 50 years to adopt the 1911 as its official carry weapon. The Tacoma Police Department selected the Kimber Pro Carry II or Pro Carry II HD as optional, department supplied weapons available to its officers. USMC Marine Expeditionary Units continue to issue M1911s to Force Recon units. Hand-selected Colt M1911A1 frames were gutted, deburred, and prepared for additional use by the USMC Precision Weapon Section (PWS) in Quantico, VA. They were then assembled with after-market grip safeties, ambidextrous thumb safeties, triggers, improved high-visibility sights, accurized barrels, grips, and improved Wilson magazines.
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