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I have just acquired the above 1911A1 s/n 1055XXX in very nice condition. I do have the original sights. Should I put them back or shoot it as is. Also I have done the usual read up where roughly 55 000 thousand were made. This does not have the P proof marks because of the S/N range. It has a set of adjustable “Micro” on currently, as it was accurized for dominating Camp Perry National Match competition. Can anyone add any more history about these? Thanks

 

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Union Switch & Signal company of Swissvale Pennsylvania, primarily made railroad signaling equipment but received a contract on May 5, 1942 for the manufacture of 200,000 M1911A1 pistols.
The first pistols were accepted by Ordnance inspectors in January 1943, but the company received word that their contract would be canceled, due to a severe drop in requirements for the pistol. Within a month U.S.&S. had signed a contract to supply carbine parts. On March 8, 1943 the company was officially notified that their contract had been cut back from 200,000 pistols to 30,000 pistols. However on June 26[SUP]th[/SUP], when the contract was nearly complete, and many of the workers had been transferred to Carbine operations, the company received a letter of intent to purchase an additional 25,000 pistols. The last of the pistols was shipped on November 27, 1943. 55,000 Union Switch and Signal pistols were delivered serial numbered from 1041405 to 1096404 with peak production reaching 650 pistols a day.


U.S.&S. pistols are the second rarest of the M1911A1s (55,000 produced), only the Singer is rarer (500 produced). None of the Union Switch & Signal 1911A1s have the crossed cannons ordnance stamp even thought the practice was standardized in late 1942. Also most of the early pistols up through about serial 1060100 received no “P” proof on the slide and frame. From about 1060100 to about 1082000, the “P” proof was applied, but at the Left edge of the slide where the curved part meets the flat. This was due to a poorly drawn ordnance drawing showing the placement of the proof. From about 1082000 to the end of production, the “P” was placed in its normal location on the top of the slide (center in front of rear sight). When the "P" proof mark is found it will be on both the slide and receiver and be of the same size. Notice the "P" proof stamp is smaller then Colts but still an uppercase letter. The number of different machining operations performed by US&S on the parts for the pistol, was 600. These required the services of 658 different machines; 421 types of cutting and drilling tools; 239 different fixtures, and 447 different gages. While the Government owned the machines, gages and fixtures, US&S provided its own perishable tools. The receiver for each pistol underwent 106 individual operations, during which some four fifths of its weight was machined from the original forging.


Another interesting fact is the development of the US&S firing range, the design of which was later adopted by various pistol manufacturers including Colt. On the range each of the 55,000 pistols produced was test fired 21 times. Not a single pistol manufactured and assembled by US&S was rejected by the resident ordnance department inspector, of the 55,000 pistols fired by the US&S inspector before being passed to the Government Inspector, only two failed in one test. They were found to be completely automatic in action, firing seven shots with one trigger pull. US&S was consistently rated high in tests for Interchangeability of parts. The test was conducted once a month, the four producers of the pistol being required to send six pistols each to the key inspectors of the small arms pistol industry integration committee. The pistols were taken apart, the parts scrambled, and the 24 pistols re-assembled.


It is reported that Union Switch & Signal produced high quality pistols and did not experience the extreme production problems that Remington Rand and Ithaca had. The ordinance department reported the Union Switch & Signal pistols had a superior finish and consistently rated high in the interchangeability tests. According to the Springfield Research database a lot of these pistols were shipped to the Navy and the OSS.

My own went to a B29 Group Commander based on Tinian.

He greased it and wrapped it in 'pliofilm', and stuck it into his holster - never firing it during the War.
 

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Unless you wanted to go for a restoration I would just leave the sights on and shoot it. The original finish was Du-Lite blue over a sandblasted finish, but it has been polished and blued. The polish and blue also indicates it was not a Springfield Armory rebuild for the National Matches, as all theirs were finished in phosphate. Was the acceptance stamp removed during the polish, as the circled RCD was always a shallow stamp.
 

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The above is an excellent example of what they're supposed to look like.

Being refinished, and with aftermarket sights installed for competition makes yours a shooter, but not a collectable in the ordinary sense.

The .45s built for Camp Perry's National Matches were built by both Springfield Armory and Rock Island Armory, and are so-marked - yours was likely done by a shooter or gunsmith perhaps following the instructions as laid out in the 'American Rifleman' or available from the Army's Marksmanship Training Unit.
 

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Awhile back my Uncle had some guns that had belonged to an old timer that was retired US Army and was a shooter. He had the shooting/range box that held the three pistols: .45, .38, & .22.
The .45 was an Ithaca M1911A1 very much like this one, but I believe it had the original finish. I do not remember if this Ithaca had the USGI NM marks on it, or if it was just an armorers rework.

The pistol had the Micro sight just like this US & S, but the slide was pinched just in front of; or at the front of the slide rails to tighten it up. My Uncle had thought I would be interested because I had and still have some desire to acquire an Ithaca M1911A1, but this one could not have been retrofit because of the accurization job.

It was very much in vogue at one time to do this type of modification to the 1911A1/Government Model pistols. Those Micro sights were still available from Sarco for quite a few years afterwards.
 

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Yup - it's been buffed, and the 'softening' of the serial number shows this.

I'm sorry.

What you have is a nice shooter, so enjoy it for that - or let the piece go, if you're looking for a 'straight' GI pistol.

The lower pistol would benefit from a proper cleaning with a well-oiled 'Big .45 Frontier Metal Cleaner' pad and the addition of a kinda beat-up M1916 hip holster.

That's what so many looked like after their service time, and had the lower one stayed in service, it'd've been shipped to a Depot for 'Clean and Repair', and would've been refinished, and so-marked.

To a collector - 'that' would be preferable to one that's been monkeyed with, but that's because there were 'so' many that got reblued, with new sights and 'work' being done during the late '60's and throughout the '70's that original GI pistols are harder to find.
 

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Bigi, I like your US&S M1911. A lot. Many points can be argued about its condition, modifications, re-work, etc., ad nauseum, but there's no denying that you have one of the more rare M1911s ever made and a true piece of history there. When I commanded an Army unit back in the 80s I had a couple of these in my arms room, including one Singer that we dubbed the "sewing machine pistol." It was a sad day when the Army "traded up" to the M9 Beretta. I wish now I could have gotten my hands on one those before they faded away into history. JM2CW.
 

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... a true piece of history there. When I commanded an Army unit back in the 80s I had a couple of these in my arms room, including one Singer that we dubbed the "sewing machine pistol." It was a sad day when the Army "traded up" to the M9 Beretta. I wish now I could have gotten my hands on one those before they faded away into history. JM2CW.
I was so glad the Navy was slow to replace 1911s. I was not interested in the Beretta at the time, as most shooters thought it was a mistake. We had a few dozen .45s, mostly WWII ones, in our ship's magazines. One in particular was a real Colt, with wooden grips worn so smooth you could barely see remnants of the checkering. When we went to the range to requalify every 6 months, I always moved to the shooting position where that Colt was placed by the gunners mates. I had found out by accident the first time, it was the most accurate .45 on the ship. We were just told to shoot our rounds "center of mass", but this one was so tight I'd shoot head shots at the silhouette, and piss off the GMs!
 
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