The Colt 1911, commonly known as the M1911, was the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Military for over 70 years.
The famous pistol was designed by John Browning, who also designed such renowned firearms, such as the Winchester Model 1886 and the Browning automatic rifle for the United States Army.
While you might think that Browning invented this pistol’s design in 1911, you would be surprised to learn that the iconic design was being developed for a few years before that. The Colt 1911 gets its name from the date the U.S. Army officially adopted the pistol (March 29, 1911). The pistol’s designation was officially “Model of 1911,” which was later changed to “Model 1911” and then shortened to simply “M1911.”
After the Army adopted the Colt 1911, other branches soon followed suit. The Navy and Marine Corps started using the pistol by 1913.
Since the armed forces adopted the pistol in 1911, Browning obviously started designing this semi-automatic classic earlier. This process began in 1906, where Browning’s earlier design advanced through the military’s testing trails. Throughout that process, Browning worked with Colt employees to modify and refine the pistol to improve reliability, accuracy, and ease of maintenance.
The end product of these labors became one of the most trusted and well-known firearms in history, having seen action in numerous conflicts, including both world wars, and used by military and law enforcement agencies around the world.
Countless other manufacturers have created 1911’s for enthusiasts to enjoy, including the Dan Wesson 1911, the Sig Sauer 1911, and the Para-Ordnance 1911. You can find our 1911 gun parts selection here.