The M1911 is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. It served as the standard issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1986. It was first used in later stages of the Philippine-American War, and was widely used in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
The United States procured around 2.7 million M1911 and M1911A1 pistols in military contracts during its service life. Designed by John Browning, the M1911 is the best known of his designs to use the short recoil principle in its basic design. The pistol was widely copied and this operating system rose to become the preeminent type of the 20th century and of nearly all modern center fire pistols. Battlefield experience in the First World War lead to some more small external changes, completed in 1924. The new version received a modified type classification, M1911A1, in 1926.
The M1911A1 changes to the original design consisted of a shorter trigger, cutouts in the frame behind the trigger, an arched mainspring housing, a longer grip safety spur (to prevent hammer bite), a wider front sight, a shortened hammer spur and simplified grip checkering (eliminating the “Double Diamond” reliefs). These changes were subtle and largely intended to make the pistol easier to shoot for those with smaller hands. Many persons unfamiliar with the design are often unable to tell the difference between the two versions at a glance.
During World War II about 1.9 million units were procured by the U.S. Government for all forces, production being undertaken by several manufacturers, including Remington Rand (900,000 produced), Colt (400,000), Ithaca Gun Company (400,00), Union Switch & Signal (50,000), and Singer (500).
An extended history of this handgun can be found at https://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/M1911_pistol.
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