Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Northern Illinois
The Colt Model 1911 was the product of a very capable person, namely John Moses Browning, father of several modern firearms.
The pistol was designed to comply with the requirements of the U.S. Army, which, during its campaign against the Moros in Philippines, had seen its trusty .38 revolver to be incapable of stopping attackers. An Ordnance Board headed by Col. John T. Thompson and Col. Louis A. La Garde, had reached the conclusion that the army needed a .45" caliber cartridge, to provide adequate stopping power. In the mean time, J. Browning who was working for Colt, had already designed an autoloader pistol, around a cartridge similar to contemporary .38 Super (dimension wise). When the Army announced its interest in a new handgun, Browning re-engineered this handgun to accommodate a .45" diameter cartridge of his own design with a 230 gr. FMJ bullet, and submitted the pistol to the Army for evaluation.
In the selection process, which started at 1906 with firearms submitted by Colt, Luger, Savage, Knoble, Bergmann, White-Merrill and Smith & Wesson, Browning's design was selected, together with the Savage design in 1907. However, the U.S. Army pressed for some service tests, which revealed that neither pistol (Colt's or Savage's) had reached the desired perfection. The Ordnance Department instituted a series of further tests and experiments, which eventually resulted in the appointment of a selection committee, in 1911.
Browning was determined to prove the superiority of his handgun, so he went to Hartford to personally supervise the production of the gun. There he met Fred Moore, a young Colt employee with whom he worked in close cooperation trying to make sure that each part that was produced for the test guns was simply the best possible. The guns produced were submitted again for evaluation, to the committee. A torture test was conducted, on March 3rd, 1911. The test consisted of having each gun fire 6000 rounds. One hundred shots would be fired and the pistol would be allowed to cool for 5 minutes. After every 1000 rounds, the pistol would be cleaned and oiled. After firing those 6000 rounds, the pistol would be tested with deformed cartridges, some seated too deeply, some not seated enough, etc. The gun would then be rusted in acid or submerged in sand and mud and some more tests would then be conducted.
Browning's pistols passed the whole test series with flying colors. It was the first firearm to undergo such a test, firing continuously 6000 cartridges, a record broken only in 1917 when Browning's recoil operated machine gun fired a 40000 rounds test.
The report of the evaluation committee released on the 20th of March 1911 stated:
"Of the two pistols, the board was of the opinion that the Colt is superior, because it is more reliable, more enduring, more easily disassembled when there are broken parts to be replaced, and more accurate."
On March 29th, 1911, the Browning designed, Colt produced .45 Automatic pistol, was selected as the official sidearm of the Armed Forces of U.S.A., and named Model 1911.
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