Who made it?

   by Robert Gibson (RGIBSON@ua1vm.ua.edu).
   Several have posted over last couple of months asking how to ID the
   M1911A1 Govt 45 Auto, as in "I've got one, who made the darn thing?"
   Good question since the frame usually just says "GOVERNMENT MODEL" or
   "UNITED STATES PROPERTY M 1911 A1 U.S.ARMY"...or some such.
   I'm certainly no Govt 45 expert but I dug up some info, maybe it will
   help....but first a bit of history.

   World War I production: Four (4) manufacturers made M1911 pistols that
   actually saw use during the war years:

     * Colt
     * Remington-UMC
     * Springfield Armory (U.S. Government owned & operated)
     * North American Arms Co. of Quebec (just a VERY FEW)
   Seven (7) manufacturers were tooling up to produce M1911 pistols but
   the Armistice stopped it all and program was cancelled:

     * National Cash Register Co.
     * Savage Arms Co.
     * Caron Bros. of Montreal
     * Burroughs Adding Machine Co.
     * Winchester Repeating Arms Co.
     * Lanston Monotype Co.
     * Savage Munitions Co.
   World War II production: five (5) manufacturers made the M1911A1

     * Colt
     * Ithaca
     * Remington-Rand
     * Union Switch & Signal
     * Singer Sewing Machine Co. (approx. 500)
   The problem with ID'ing M1911A1's is that parts are totally
   interchange- able, and during the lives of many examples their slides
   were many times switched or replaced. Since the slide is the only part
   actually marked with the manufacturer's name, you can see the problem
   that arises.
   The following taken from an article by Charles W. Karwan in the 3/1/95
   issue of Classic Firearms will shed some light.
     "All is not lost, however. The guns themselves can help you reveal
     which company made the pistol's frame. First, if you encounter an
     M1911A1 - identified by the finger cutouts and/or the M1911A1
     markings on the frame - and it has a slide made by Remington-UMC,
     Springfield or Savage, you know the slide is not original to the
     gun since the first two manufacturers only made M1911 pistols
     during WWI, and the latter only made M1911 slides.
     The slide is also not original if it has a drawing number on the
     side, usually 7790314. These are replacement slides made long after
     WWII by Colt and SanColMar. The same is true if the slide is marked
     Drake - the company that built National Match slides for the
     Looking at the pistol's frame, here are some rules to help you
     identify its maker:
    1. The presence of VP proofmark in a triangle at the left front of
       the triggerguard; a GHD inspector marking or an M1911A1 marking
       with- out any spaces between the figures indicates an M1911A1
       manufactured by Colt.

    2. A serial number preceded by an "S" indicates an M1911A1 manufact-
       ured by Singer _(not many of these around - an understatement)_

    3. A serial number preceded by a "NO" instead of a "No" indicates
       manufacture by Remington-Rand.

    4. An RCD inspector mark or double spacing between the M and 1911A1
       indicates manufacture by Union Switch and Signal.

    5. A geometric-shape proofmark, like a triangle, arrowhead or such,
       on the front left of triggerguard indicates an M1911A1 made by

    6. An "X" prefix to the serial number indicates a gun that has been
       re-serial numbered by ordnance, and the maker is neither
       identifiable or relevant.
     These rules will not allow you to identify every single frame you
     en- counter, but the will suffice for 99 percent of them."
   BTW, when M1911A1 pistols were rebuilt a military facility they were
   rebuilt without any regard to the maker of the frame, slide or other
   parts...mix 'n match, first in - last out, whatever was expedient to
   get the pistol in and out was the rule of thumb. Any such rebuilds
   will normally be stamped with a code indicating the facility that did
   the work. It might be any of the following (and there may have been
   others not shown):
   AAA - Anniston Army Depot AA - Augusta Arsenal
   OG - Ogden Arsenal MR - Mt. Rainier Ordnance Depot
   RA - Raritan Arsenal RR - Red River Arsenal
   RIA - Rock Island Arsenal SAA - San Antonio Arsenal
   SA - Springfield Armory BA - Benecia Arsenal

   Anyway, hope some of this is of help to someone out there.
   Robert Gibson

The above was found at http://gopher.saf.org/pub/rkba/mirror/flubber/FAQ/IIIC2a4.txt