American Rifleman - June/July 2021 - 92

I HAVE THIS OLD GUN ...

GUN: COMMERCIAL MODEL
MANUFACTURER: COLT'S MFG. CO.
CHAMBERING: .45 ACP
SERIAL NO.: C93XXX
MANUFACTURED: 1917
CONDITION: NRA VERY GOOD (MODERN GUN STANDARDS)
VALUE: $2,000 TO $2,250

T

COLT COMMERCIAL MODEL

hrough the years, countless articles have been written
heralding the many attributes of the U.S. Model of
1911 pistol. But the focus has mainly been on military
versions of this slab-sided warhorse. There was also a civilian counterpart to the M1911, and, while not as widely
produced, it represents an important variation. In fact,
slightly more than 336,000 were made before the advent
of the Model 70 (compared to the 2.7 million M1911s made
for Uncle Sam).
Referred to as both the " Commercial Model " -or in Colt's
catalogs as the " Government Model " -the civilian version
of the M1911 was introduced in 1912 with a run of 1,899
guns. By 1916 the yearly production of Commercial Models
had jumped to 47,400, a clear indication of the pistol's
non-military popularity for home defense and recreational
shooting. The Commercial Model also found favor with various law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Rangers
and the U.S. Border Patrol.
Unlike the coarser bluing of the military M1911s
(changed to Parkerizing during World War II), the civilian
versions sported a highly polished, lustrous blue. Of course,
when the M1911A1 introduced new features in 1924, those
changes also migrated to the Commercial Model. In addition,
until 1950-around Serial No. 240,000-civilian model serial
numbers had a " C " prefix. In 1950, around Serial No. 240288,
the " C " became a suffix until 1970 when it was dropped

altogether, with the start of the " 70 Series " 1911A1s.
There was no " United States Property " stamped on the
Commercial guns, which instead were initially stamped
" Government Model " on the right side of the frame above
the serial number. After 1938 this stamping was moved to
the slide. By comparison, the military guns were stamped
" Model of 1911 U.S. Army " on the right side of the slide.
Commercial guns simply had " Colt Automatic, Calibre 45 "
in that area. The left side of the slide on early military and
civilian versions was stamped with a two-line patent date.
During World War I, a number of Commercial Models
were purchased by officers and NCOs of the American
Expeditionary Force to offset shortages of military M1911s.
In addition, during this period, approximately 5,000
Commercial guns were shipped to Canada. Commercial
Model production was halted from 1943 through 1945 due
to World War II, but interestingly, a number of Commercial
Models were re-stamped with military markings to help fill
the military's sidearm needs.
This Commercial Model was one of 50 guns shipped
to Baker, Hamilton & Pacific Co. in San Francisco, Calif.,
in 1917. Although it doesn't have its original diamondcheckered stocks, it retains its two-tone magazine, the
markings are crisp, and, in 75 percent condition, it is
worth $2,000 to $2,250.
-RICK HACKER, FIELD EDITOR

American Rifleman does NOT accept submissions for the I Have This Old Gun column. Topics are assigned to Field Editors in advance. Due to the volume
of mail received, our writers are not able to answer individual questions. Please consider instead sending your correspondence and questions through our
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92

JUNE/JULY 2021

AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

Photos by author



American Rifleman - June/July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - June/July 2021

Contents
American Rifleman - June/July 2021 - Cover1
American Rifleman - June/July 2021 - Cover2
American Rifleman - June/July 2021 - 1
American Rifleman - June/July 2021 - Contents
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American Rifleman - June/July 2021 - Cover3
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