An Old Warhorse is Revived.
The pistol itself is intended to be a reproduction of the 1918 Colt 1911. The 1911 finish began to change at the request of the military, which was looking for a less reflective option. In mid-1918, in order to expedite production of the pistols the last few finishing steps were left out and the bluing took place while the finish was in the rough stage. This resulted in the bluing to take on an almost black finish. This is where the collectors’ term “Black Army” originated.
To me this is an attractive and very utilitarian finish. I believe Colt has done a nice job in reproducing the Black Army finish as well as the O1918 itself. I am no expert on World War I era Colts but, as I have been told by experts, the O1918 is a very close reproduction of its predecessor. I began to look the pistol over closely when I got home.
It comes packaged in the famous Colt Custom Shop blue box along with the plain cardboard box, wrapped in wax paper.
The left and right sides of the slide with the reproduced rollmarks.
The WW1 thumb safety with the stamped Rampant Colt.
The smooth, straight mainspring housing has a military correct lanyard loop (I favor lanyard loops on defensive sidearms). keep in mind when the pistol was designed Army Calvary was still mounted on horseback, so a lanyard loop on a sidearm to mounted Calvary is a solid design
A close up of the magazine well.
The gorgeous double diamond checkered stocks.
The plain, solid, long steel trigger breaking cleanly at 4 pounds with very little take up and almost no over travel. The reproduced approval stamp of Major John M. Gilbert, Army Inspector of Ordnance: August 10th 1917 through March 29th 1918. The magazine release button was nicely checkered.
The adequate military sights.
The spur hammer and old style grip safety.
The smooth front strap.
Straight cocking serrations.
The markings on the firing pin stop.
The factory magazines and reproduced take down tool.
This pistol detail strips as any traditional Government Model.
The Rampant Colt on the left side of the receiver.
The markings on the barrel.
Initial Range Trip
It was with a great deal of excitement I broke the seal on the o1918 test sample. My father’s every day carry gun for most of my life was an original Colt 01918. As I reviewed this pistol I often thought of the times he and I shot that old Colt.
At the firing line, early one Sunday morning my friend, Jamie, and I headed out to the range to try the new Colt out.
My first mission was to get the twenty-five groups and then velocities. The pistol functioned flawlessly but I will admit the military spec sights were a little lacking for long distance shooting. I can understand why they were improved in 1924 on the m1911A1. They did their job just fine and my groups were not that bad once I got the sight picture like I liked. They are not as precise as the Bo Mar sights on the Special Combat Government but more robust. The O1918 is not a bullseye pistol but a replica of a military weapon designed as a combat side arm. I believe pistols are tools and are built for a task. The O1918 is up to its intended task.
After the data was recorded, I moved on to just trying it out at thirty feet. I ran a few magazines through the Colt and, so far, function was 100% with the factory magazines, and Check-Mate seven- and eight-round, dimpled-follower, hybrid-lip magazines. Jamie took his turn with the pistol and ran several magazines dry The Colt went back and forth between us until about 200 rounds were down range for the day.
I liked the pistol right much, as did Jamie.
Second Range Trip
It was one of those Saturdays that is was so beautiful I could not stay inside. I called my friend Terry (who has a nice horse ranch not far from me) and asked him if he wanted in on wrapping up the Colt review. He was planned on going horseback riding that afternoon so we decided, shooting in the morning and horseback riding that afternoon. This seemed like a perfect day to wrap up the review and get some saddle time.
I got to the Iron T ranch about lunch and we started right off with the test. Terry and I ran a several boxes of ammunition through the Colt, rounding out the test. With about 150 rounds at the Iron T ranch that put the total rounds around 350 rounds downrange without a pistol failure.
I was growing even fonder of the o1918, and Terry enjoyed shooting it.
Now the test was over we spent the rest of the day on horseback-not a bad way to spend a Saturday.
The O1918 is about as close as you can get to a new M1911 today. The term “1911” gets thrown around a lot and I believe the meaning has become diluted. The original military designation, however was “Model of 1911” which was abbreviated as “M1911”. Of the myriad pistols being built and sold today as “1911s”, most have strayed far enough from the original, military design and specifications that they are 1911s only in general form.
The M1911 is a pistol designed by John Moses Browning in 1910 and manufactured by Colt for military use. Later completed M1911s were delivered by Remington UMC (not the same as Remington-Rand, which manufactured M1911A1 pistols during World War II) and Springfield Armory. In 1924 the M1911 was altered in response to suggestions from the military, and subsequently designated the M1911A1. So, in the truest sense, unless it was made by one of those three companies before 1924 it is not an M1911. I understand 1911 has become an accepted term of a variation of the model but I still believe a better term would suffice.
The Colt O1918 is a fine reproduction of a “Black Army” Colt M1911 that works as it should. Though this pistol performed great at the range without any problems, I could see it also as a safe queen for collectors.
For whichever reason you would choose, this pistol would fit the bill nicely.
Model Colt O1918
Weight: 2 pounds
Barrel length: 5″
Trigger pull: 4 pounds
Magazine capacity: 7
Twist: 1 turn in 16 inches.