Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What do these 3 things have in common?

The United States Marines

The Edmund Fitzgerald

The Colt .45 Special Army Model of 1910

And the answer is ... November 10th!

Today is the 235th anniversary of the founding of the USMC, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank 35 years ago, and 100 years ago, the Ordnance Officers’ Board began testing John M. Browning’s (PBUH) Colt .45 Special Army Model of 1910 against the Savage Arms .45 caliber Model H.

In the end, the Colt weapon proved more easily field stripped, more accurate, and more reliable, with 12 malfunctions requiring replacement of 4 components, while the Savage had 43 malfunctions requiring replacement of 13 components.

Go get your gun geek* on and read the whole thing.
* Speaking of gun geek, Shorter Half added:
Wikipedia (in case you haven't already checked it out) is here.
US Army started testing Browning (PBUH) semiauto pistols, starting with this .38ACP (NOT .380ACP!!! – the .380ACP is a later, smaller, cartridge) in 1899. By 1906, the poor performance of the (then brand new) .38 Long Colt revolvers against Muslim fanatics in the Philippines made the Army insist on going back to a .45 caliber pistol. (A typical instance occurred in 1905 and was later recounted by Col. Louis A. LaGarde: "Antonio Caspi, a prisoner on the island of Samar, P.I. attempted escape on Oct. 26, 1905. He was shot four times at close range in a hand-to-hand encounter by a .38 Colt's revolver loaded with U.S. Army regulation ammunition. He was finally stunned by a blow on the forehead from the butt end of a Springfield carbine." Col. LaGarde noted Caspi's wounds were fairly well-placed: three .38 bullets entered the chest, perforating the lungs. One passed through the body, one lodged near the back and the other lodged in subcutaneous tissue. The fourth round went though the right hand and exited through the forearm. Wikipedia, .38 Long Colt – COL LaGarde is a big name in the .45 world, and this incident is well-attributed, even if I did swipe it from Rumorpedia.)

The 1907 version was the first to do away with the original “parallel rule” operating system (swinging links at both ends of the barrel, vs, the single link at the back of the 1907, 1909, 1910, and 1911). The 1910 version was modified to give the pistol the grip angle 1911 shooters adore.

The 1910 model you illustrated was the beginning of the first really “modern” .45 we all know and love. The real difference between the two is that the 1910 Colt is a developmental version, and the Army officially adopted it in 1911, with some VERY minor suggested changes.

Trial History is here.

THREE DAYS after the 1910 test reports were written up, the Colt Special Army Model 1910 pistol was adopted by the US Army as the Model 1911 pistol.


  1. And then, in the 80's, they decided to go back to little bullets. And then, when confronted by more Islamic fanatics, they started going back.

    Okay, that was a gross simplification, but I still like to shake my head at it all.

  2. Ah the good old days of fighting Islamic fundamentalist to stabilize a third world country.......Wait a minute, aren't we doing that......Never mind........

    Remember what the troops said about the Moros in the Philippines, "Civilize them with a Krag!!!!

  3. is it sad that this post brought a little tear to my eye and made me squee like a school girl??

    Hell no. Best....Pistol.....EVER.