American Rifleman - April 2011 - 94

the greAtest pistol in the world
continued from p. 61

82 A

pril

2011

www.AmericAnriflemAn.org

Both of the companies availed themselves of the opportunity offered by
the Department to alter their weapons, to remove the defects which use
by troops had disclosed. These alterations both companies undertook
and more and other trials took place.
Thereafter and continuously the Ordnance Dept. conducted other
tests both formal and informal of each of the pistols. Both of the manufacturers as a result of these various tests, from the knowledge gained
thereby, continued to improve their weapons. As the pistols were made
better the requirements of the Department, grew more difficult to fulfill.
The pistol, which at the end of 1910 seemed not wholly satisfactory,
would probably have been considered a magnificent if not an almost
perfect pistol in 1908.
However that may be the result of experiments, tests, and improvements and trials is the evolution of two of the finest military hand arms
which have ever been made. For, pay particular attention to this: It is not
enough to say that the Colt's pistol was found to the be the better of the
two and therefore chosen as the military hand arm of the United States,
it must also be remembered that in the report of the board which finally
tested these weapons these words are used:
"As a result of the test both pistols are thought by the board to be of
suitable balance weight, caliber, energy, accuracy, simplicity and safety
for use in the military service.
"The Savage pistol fulfills the requirements originally imposed as
vitally essential for military hand arm but in the language of board, 'Of
the two pistols the Colt's is superior because it is more reliable, the more
enduring, the more easily disassembled when there are broken parts to
be replaced and the more accurate.'"
To quote further from the report, speaking of the Colt's Automatic .45,
the Board remarked:
"It equals in these qualities the Colt caliber .45 revolver, Model 1909,
while being superior to that arm in balance, safety and rapidity and
accuracy of fire and interchangeability.
"The Colt's pistol embodies all the features considered essential,
desirable and preferable, by the Board of Officers convened by Special
Order 305, War Department, Washington, D.C. December 28, 1906, except
that there is no automatic indicator showing that the pistol is loaded
or indicator showing the number of cartridges remaining in the magazine. There are however, a few riveted parts, and the Board is uncertain
whether the pistol would function properly with non-jacketed bullets."
The final recommendation of the Board summing up its conclusions is this:
"The Board therefore recommends that the Colt caliber .45 automatic
pistol of the design submitted to the board for test be adopted for use by
foot and mounted troops in the military service in the consequence of its
marked superiority to the present service revolver and to any other know
pistols, of its extreme reliability and endurance and of its fulfillment of all
essential requirements."
The action taken by the Secretary of War has of course the effect of making
the .45 Colt's Automatic the service arm. It takes the place of the Colt's .38 caliber revolver as the authorized weapon for the Army and the National Guard.
Issues of the new pistols in place of the revolver will be made to the
Army as fast and as soon as the manufacturers can supply them. When the
Army is furnished and a sufficient reserve accomplished to comply with
the law, issue will be made to the Organized Militia of all of the States.
The adoption of the pistol as it was presented two years, or a year
ago, would have given us a weapon far less satisfactory than the present
one. We can now feel assured that until someone has invented a newer
and better thing, or until improvements now unmade are accomplished
on existing weapons, the United States has for its official hand arm "The
Greatest Pistol in the World."


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American Rifleman - April 2011

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