M1911

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Perhaps the most iconic American firearm, the M1911 served the Marine Corps well on foreign battlefields across the globe during the 20th Century. The combination of clean lines, crisp bluing, and contrasting diamond cut wooden grips made the M1911 one of the most aesthetic pistols our military has ever fielded, and at the time of its implementation a very capable sidearm. The Marine Corps would receive their first allotment of 300 M1911s in 1912, and by 1918 would have at least 5,500 M1911s in their possession.

The M1911 would be adopted by the Marine Corps not long after production, and would be very well received (documents: Tim Plowman/NARA).

Distribution policy for the M1911 in 1913 (documents: Tim Plowman/NARA).

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The biggest problem with M1911s wasn’t performance related, but due to servicemen “acquiring” them as souvenirs, often sending them home in the mail (documents: Tim Plowman/NARA).

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