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I know that the Woodsman and Police positive models were manufactured in 1946. Were there any other Colt models manufactured in 1946? I am asking because I am looking for some model Colt that will letter to 1946, a special gift. Thanks.
 

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It appears that Colt was attempting to reconvert from war time military production back to commercial production and most commercial guns made then were more then likely actually assembled from pre-war parts.

This is why the early post-war Colt revolvers had pre-war features and over several years had a mix of pre and post war type parts until they got their production capacity fully converted and started using all newly made parts.
 

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The Government Models were made almost entirely from left over parts from the 1911A1 contract. Production on the Government Models started up again in October of 1946.
 

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Was Colt selling guns for regular commercial sale during WWII or was all production directed to military and law enforcement sales ?
 

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The Government Models were made almost entirely from left over parts from the 1911A1 contract. Production on the Government Models started up again in October of 1946.
Here's an example of an early post-war (1946) Government Model that Johnny P described. These early commercial pistols (C220001 to about C222000) are easily recognized by the Rampant Colt on both sides of the slide.
 

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As Colt was inundated with military production of handguns, machine guns as well as providing technical assistance to other 1911 contractors I doubt if Colt could direct any production to commercial channels. Colt had contracts running beyond their capacity and was often behind in production schedules. I'm sure law enforcement sales were filled...maybe not on time...but if they could find time for any commercial products it was as already said, done with pre-war parts to save production capacity which was already strained.
 

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I'm sure the wartime history is well documented. There's no reason to guess. And the advertisements of 1946 would similarly show what they had managed to get back into the commercial market.

If the Proofhouse serial numbers are accurate, there were even a few Detective Specials made in 1946:
1945480000
1946481000
 

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I don't think any commercial sales took place other then sales to police departments and defense plant guards.
In fact, I'm not sure commercial sales were even "legal" since the government ordered and controlled all production of most industries.

The Colt Commando revolver was the intended model for these sales, but Official Police models were made for police sales.
Apparently most police departments insisted on the Official Police with the blued finish and checkered walnut grips rather then the parkerized and plastic gripped Commando model.
I'd imagine that the number of Official Police models produced during the war was not high, since most departments had to make do with the number of cops already on the job, everyone else getting drafted or enlisting. The cops still on the job already had guns so the need for new ones probably wasn't that high.

Other commercial type guns like the .22 Woodsman were produced but only for government use.
Detective Specials were assembled using pre-war Police Positive Special parts, complete with the PPS square butt instead of the Detective Special's normal round butt, again only for government use.

I've never heard a verified case of any gun company selling a commercial gun to an ordinary citizen during the war.
 

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...

I've never heard a verified case of any gun company selling a commercial gun to an ordinary citizen during the war.
At points in the war some did, early and late. Mossberg sold some of theirs early on, before the wartime production took over. Other non-gun companies I know still made a few civilian models (like Coleman lanterns). But I know the government contracts turned off like a light switch at the end of the war. Many contracts were already winding down after VE day. All the others just cancelled, by Aug 1945. I find it hard to believe companies that were already thinking about how to make profit when the gov contracts were over (their profit was strictly controlled during the war) would just sit on their hands all of the fall and winter of 1945, then all of 1946, just "waiting to see" what they could make.

When the war was over - it was over fast in America. Britain took many years to get their economy going again. But we had all our servicemen coming home to GI Bill college, starting families, and ready to outfit their homes and hobbies with American goods.

We have the Colt Archivist here as a member. Couldn't he just crack the books (I know they're mostly digitized now) for 1946 and tell US?
 

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We have the Colt Archivist here as a member. Couldn't he just crack the books (I know they're mostly digitized now) for 1946 and tell US?
Why do you think the Colt records are "mostly digitized now". I imagine you'd be surprised. Besides, Paul gets paid to research the records. I'm not interested in doing my work for free...are you?
 

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Because he said they were. The work I'm talking about is answering larger, historically significant questions like the ones posed here (Did Colt make any commercial guns during WWII? How fast did the commercial models start up after the war?). One day Colt may be gone, and it would be good to know their late war, early recovery history before it's lost. Archivists in important libraries and companies I know get a salary. I doubt he is only paid commission when someone pays for a Colt letter. But yes, I've done demonstrations and written articles for free before.

To me, the goal of archiving is to study and document history. The enterprise (library, museum, etc) should be non-profit and public. Hundreds of Colt museum items were absconded and traded by their famous dealer/appraiser 30 years ago who used their treasured guns for his own private gains. History can be lost. I like to think our history of WWII recovery is something that everyone should know. The people that ran the mills are now dying off, the only "proof" of what we did is now in manufacturing records. Maybe someone already went to Colt, and paid, or was given free access, to answer the WWII questions. Perhaps to write a book. But if not, do we really know about the commercial recovery? Or do we keep guessing based on anecdotes like "I've never seen one?" For example, this picture and it's information is free: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/94506157/ "Women grinding barrels of automatic 45s, in Colt's Paten Fire Arms Plant, Hartford, Conn."



Machine gun production operators, July 1942. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/oem2002004616/PP/

 

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A couple more WWII gun manufacturing pictures from the Library of Congress. Fascinating images that could really help answer many different questions. What tools did they use, was walnut or birch wood used in 1942? Did the Ingersoll Rand company ever make barrels?....etc.
Women in war. Machine gun production. With swift, deft movements, this young worker, one of 2,000 women employed in a Midwest war plant, assembles barrel carriers of machine guns. It's a job requiring constant attention, speed and judgement;


One of the girls of Vilter [Manufacturing] Co. filing small gun parts, Milwaukee, Wisc. One brother in Coast Guard, one going to Army.
 
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