I have always liked the look of the pre series 70 commercial Colt 1911s just as much as the US military issue guns. There is no doubt that those older vintage guns have a huge amount of appeal. I have been looking for a near mint example of one for my own collection and uses for years but they are hard to come by at a price I am willing to pay.
So over the last year I got the idea to sort of create my own, at least in spirit. The idea was to take a modern plain Colt government model and slowly put it together to resemble a gun one might have walked into a store and bought before WW2.
The first thing I did was change out the main spring housing. Colt was kind enough to send me a MSH from their no discontinued line or re-issue 1918 WWI pistols. It is beautifully blued and highly polished with the lanyard loop. Looking at it shows the amount of polish and beautiful bluing that went into those early guns that went to the trenches in the Great War. Like all colt made military parts for the 1911, it dropped right in.
The next thing I wanted was the early original pattern of the safety lock. Unlike modern safeties, it has a smaller shelf for the thumb to hit. There is a reason it was made this way despite what some thing. It acts as a surface to tap against for when detail stripping some of the other pins and parts on the gun. You can read all about it at rangehot.com in the posts by John Travis on the 1911 and the genius and thought that went into it. That aside, it is correct for that time period. And I personally love the way they look. It is not a bit hard to hit to take the safety on and off. Once again Colt came to the rescue for me when I could not source one any where else. Midway sales them, but are currently out of stock, so if you want one keep checking back under their listing of colt parts.
The safety came off the line and had yet to be fitted for 1911s so I had to do about 30 seconds worth of careful filing and fitting. With that very little bit of work I got it fitted correctly and after function checking it. I shot it to make sure.
Lastly, I found a WW1 reproduction 7 round magazine to go with the gun. These original mags came with a lanyard loop as well. I have heard a variety of reasons why the mags had loops as well as the gun. One theory is that the US issue lanyards at the time meant for revolvers would not fit through the loop on the new automatic pistols so the asked for a loop on the mag in the meant time while they sorted it out. I am skeptical about that, but I have no idea. I think it is for cavalry being able to not lose the gun or the magazines during a reload while on horse back. In those days magazines would not have been looked as as nearly disposable items like they are now. So it seems reasonable to me to think that the cavalry wanted a way to retain the mag without having to use both hands while riding a horse on a full gallop.
Eventually I will replace the hammer with the original style and I may or may not go to a shorter trigger, I think it will be more of a hybrid of a 1911A1 and a 1911 than fully one or the other. Call it a 1911A0.5 for my purpose. Of course it will still have its colt SS forged barrel and bigger high profile government model sights that can actually be used just as effectively as any other modern sights. So maybe I need to think up a better name.
For now I am in love with this pistol. The new gun is a plain model as it comes, but it has a very attractive highly blued finish. Not as mirror like as a TALO model, but not flat black. It is basically the modern day government model from the past, Before it was the MK IV series 80 and before that the series 70. It is very close to the plain USGI 1911 of the past 100 years but with a bit of improvements for modern shooters. Example being a SS barrel, taller sights that are very easy to use but still can pass as GI sights for those who want that look, a slightly beveled mag well on the inside that helps with faster reloads but does not change the outward looks and a slightly enlarged ejection port. It is the last pistol in the lineage of the GI issue pistols and it is fully capable of going out of the box and right into a fight but with no frills. No ambi-s safety or forward slide serration. But thats OK. It is meant to be a throw back to an earlier gun but still be capable as if if you need it.
I carry this pistol often, for special events, I guess it is essentially a BBQ for me., though I shoot it a lot. I enjoy shooting it for pleasure and for formal target or bulls eye type marksmanship. I do train with it just to stay on top of using a 1911 without a ambi safety, but not like I do with my more modernized every day CCW 1911. My EDC is a Colt 1911XSE in stainless steel. I do love carrying this pistol that is my loving tribute to an earlier time.