War Dogs – The Colt Model 1911A1

War Dogs – The Colt Model 1911A1 Part 2

Recreating the Remington version WWII 1911A1 in .177 caliber

By Dennis Adler

Remington manufactured the Model 1911 and the 1911A1 under their owe name to supply the U.S. military with addition guns during WWI and WWII. These are rarer today than many WWII Model 1911s, not as rare as a Singer M1911A1, but still rare. The .177 caliber Remington 1911 RAC looks right at hone on this WWII officer’s jacket and J T & L Model 1942 1911A1 holster. (Reproduction holster courtesy World War Supply, jacket courtesy Allegheny Trade Co. collection)

Remington manufactured the 1911 and 1911A1 under their own name to supply the U.S. military with additional guns during WWI and WWII. These are rarer today than many WWII Colt Model 1911s, not as rare as a Singer M1911A1, but still rare. The .177 caliber Remington 1911 RAC looks right at home with this WWII officer’s jacket and J T & L Model 1942 1911A1 holster. (Holster courtesy World War Supply, jacket courtesy Allegheny Trade Co.)

Two World Wars increased demand for the Model 1911A1 beyond Colt’s production capacity requiring the company to license other manufacturers to produce guns to meet military quotas. The first request came in 1914 (three years before the U.S. entered WWI) with approximately 30,000 guns being produced at the Springfield Armory through 1915. In 1918-1919 Remington-UMC manufactured over 21,500 Model 1911s. An additional 100 were produced by North American Arms Co. in Quebec, Canada, in 1918.

Pictured is an original WWII era Remington 1911A1. Notice the grips and screws, which have been faithfully reproduced on the 1911 RAC. (WWII Remington courtesy Allegheny Trade Co.)

Pictured is an original WWII era Remington 1911A1. Notice the grips and screws, which have been faithfully reproduced on the 1911 RAC. (WWII Remington courtesy Allegheny Trade Co.)

The military demands of World War II completely outstripped Colt’s capacity, and guns were made from 1943 to 1945 by the Ithaca Gun Co. and Remington Rand. The combined total of 1911A1 models produced outside of Colt by these two manufacturers was over 1.3 million. In 1942 Singer (the sewing machine people) began manufacturing the 1911A1 as well but only produced about 500 guns, and in 1943, US & S Co. (Union Switch & Signal Co.) produced as many as 400,000 additional 1911A1 models for the war effort. These guns all bear their maker’s name and markings. Wartime Colt’s also bear special stampings including United States Property and specific branches of service stamped on the right side of the slide: Model of 1911 U.S. Army; Model of 1911 U.S. Navy; and Model of 1911 U.S. Marine Corps.

The Remington 1911RAC

The Remington 1911RAC is a fully licensed Remington Arms Co. product and accurate down to some of the smallest details. Closely duplicating the physical appearance, weight and balance of the cartridge-firing WWII model, the Remington 1911 RAC operates with a single 12 gram CO2 capsule contained within the full 1911-sized, 18-round BB magazine. (Extra magazines are a definite advantage for shooting practice.)

The Remington airguns are in perfect scale to an original 1911A1 model and fit all original and reproduction 1911 holsters, including this copy of the U.S. J T & L 43 M7 shoulder holster. (Holster courtesy World War Supply)

The slide locks back on an empty magazine and has to be racked to chamber the first shot. The 1911 RAC is in perfect scale to original 1911A1 models and fits all 1911 holsters, including this copy of the U.S. J T & L 43 M7 shoulder holster from World War Supply.

As with all blowback action air pistols, the CO2 cartridge performs two functions, propelling the .177 caliber steel BB down range at an average velocity of 325 fps (feet per second) and making sure the slide recoils with each shot to re-cock the hammer and stage the next BB for firing. The Remington 1911 RAC’s all-metal construction (including the magazine) provides a hefty feel in the hand (34 oz. loaded) approximating a real 1911. The air pistol also has a correct early style 1911 hammer and trigger, early-style front and rear sights, and checkered plastic wood-finish grips with the correct checkering pattern.

The slide locks back on an empty magazine and has to be racked to chamber the first shot. The Remington has two aesthetically annoying features; too much graphics on the slide (and unfortunately on the left side instead of the right where this usually ends up on semi-auto air pistols) and the unnecessary white letter S and F, plus an arrow, to show how the safety works.

The Remington has two aesthetically annoying features; too many graphics on the slide (and unfortunately on the left side instead of the right where this usually ends up on semi-auto air pistols) and the unnecessary white letter S and F, plus an arrow, to show how the safety works. This is also found on the Umarex Colt Commander 1911A1. 

The Remington 1911 RAC uses a self contained CO2 BB magazine with an 18-round capacity. The interchangeable magazines give the air pistol a more authentic feel then some 1911 copies that use stick magazines. The Remington magazines also make for quick and realistic feeling reloads.

The Remington 1911 RAC uses a self contained CO2 BB magazine with an 18-round capacity. The interchangeable magazines give the air pistol a more authentic feel than some 1911 copies that use stick magazines. The Remington magazines also allow quick and realistic reloading.

During WWI and WWII Remington manufactured Colt-model 1911s under license to meet U.S. military demands and today Remington manufactures its own .45 ACP R1 series 1911 models, as well as lending its famous name to the air pistol version. Both models have a military tether ring at the bottom of the backstrap.

After more than a century the Colt Model 1911 is still one of the most significant firearms designs of all time with dozens of manufacturers today, including Colt, and there is no sign that this handgun will ever go out of style, in any caliber! That is the ultimate definition of success.

Saturday in Part 3 it’s time to lock and load and put the Remington 1911 RAC and Tanfoglio Witness 1911 in a head-to-head shootout.

3 thoughts on “War Dogs – The Colt Model 1911A1

  1. I have the Remington ,and I wish they would do it right and lose the big letters and make it as close to a military pistol as possible. It otherwise looks and feels like a military pistol circa WW2. They could continue the present model for those who like the look , but a WW2 version in military box , would be a winner.


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