American Rifleman - April 2021 - 61

Illustration courtesy of Dave Albert

The M1917 revolvers were carried in the same
pattern of leather holsters as the Model 1909
revolvers, and new holsters manufactured during
World War I retained the Model 1909 nomenclature. The gun was positioned in the holster
with the butt forward, as was the preference of
cavalry troopers. Canvas pouches were fabricated
that could be fastened to the standard pistol belt
and would accommodate three sets of two " halfmoon " clips (total of 18 rounds).
Smith & Wesson delivered the first M1917
revolvers the first week of September 1917, and
the Colt guns followed on Oct. 24, 1917. The
book America's Munitions-1917-1918, authored
by Assistant Secretary of War Benedict Crowell,
indicates that S&W manufactured 153,111 M1917s
and Colt made 151,700 for a total of 304,811.
However, these numbers do not include revolvers manufactured after Dec. 31, 1918. As was the
case with many other World War I government
contracts, the manufacturers were permitted to
remain in production into early 1919 so as to
utilize existing raw materials previously ordered.
This helped mitigate the financial hardships that
would have resulted from an abrupt cut-off of
the contracts. Most of the contracts contained
a provision that the manufacturers would be
reimbursed for any arms " in process " at the
time of cancellation, thus it made sense for the
manufacturers to complete them rather than for
the government to pay for half-finished guns. A
post-World War I Ordnance document dated

This illustraJan. 5, 1924, indicates that the total production
tion of the Colt
of M1917 revolvers was 318,432, which includes
1917 shows the
the guns produced into early 1919.
" half-moon " clip.
The M1917s provided yeoman-like service durCanvas pouches
ing the war and proved to be reliable and effecfor the clips were
tive military handguns. Following the Armistice,
issued during
the M1911 remained the standardized U.S.
World War I.
military sidearm, but M1917s continued to play a
(below).
supporting role between the wars.
Due to the fact that many of the M1917
revolvers saw extensive use in World War I, a
number required re-building and refurbishment. It is reported that the Augusta Arsenal
(Georgia) re-built 1,000 S&W revolvers in
1919-1920. Other ordnance facilities, including
Rock Island Arsenal, also re-built some of these
revolvers, but most of the overhaul work was
done by Springfield Armory.
Due to the corrosive-primed ammunition
of the period, the most common repair to
Model 1917 revolvers was barrel replacements.
Springfield Armory actually went into production of new barrels for Colt M1917 revolvers for
a period of time. Typically, when a pistol or
revolver, indeed almost any gun, was re-built
by the military, the initials of the facility were
stamped on the gun after the work was completed. The most commonly seen markings of
this type found on the M1917 revolvers
re-built after World War I were " SA " (for
Springfield Armory), " RIA " (Rock Island
Photo by Hayes Otoupalik
Arsenal) and " AA " (Augusta Arsenal).

americanrifleman.org

April 2021

61


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American Rifleman - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - April 2021

Contents
American Rifleman - April 2021 - Cover1
American Rifleman - April 2021 - Cover2
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 1
American Rifleman - April 2021 - Contents
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 3
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 4
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 5
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 6
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 7
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 8
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 9
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 10
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 11
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 12
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 13
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 14
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 15
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 16
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 17
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 18
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 19
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 20
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 21
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 22
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 23
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 24
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 25
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 26
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 27
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 28
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 29
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 30
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 31
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 32
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 33
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 34
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 35
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 36
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 37
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 38
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 39
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 40
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 41
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 42
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 43
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American Rifleman - April 2021 - 46
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American Rifleman - April 2021 - 80
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American Rifleman - April 2021 - Cover4
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