Many years ago, my dad gave me his Army sidearm, a Colt .45 Commander. What a gift! I had no idea at the time that this represents a piece of history as far as weaponry goes, but I recently had occasion to do a little research on this gun’s legacy especially as it relates to the Army.
The Colt .45 Commander was considered as a possible replacement for the Colt M1911A1, and the Commander was intended to fill a military need for a lighter handgun for issue to officers. Ultimately, this weapon was not chosen; however, Colt went ahead with production of what turned out to be a very popular design. The Colt Manufacturing Company has a legacy of producing weapons of interest to the military.
One of the more famous colt products is the Walker Colt, used by the United States Mounted Rifles in the Mexican-American War. By placing a huge order for these guns, this group of pre-Texas Rangers assured the financial viability of the Colt Manufacturing Company. The first of four Colt .45 models was the Single Action Army, also known as the Peacemaker that debuted in 1873. The Peacemaker was the most popular firearm of the Old West, and Colt still produces this gun.
The Colt .45 model of 1878 was bought by the US Army and issued to the Philippine Constabulary Corps and also used by US troops in Alaska. Later, the Model 1909 became the new service revolver to be adopted by the US military. It had faster loading, a new method of ejecting cartridges and an improved trigger as compared to the Model 1878. The fourth Colt .45, the M1911 (designed by John Browning) was the standard issue military sidearm from 1911 until 1985.
The rich history of the Colt .45 and the US Army was previously unknown to me, but I’m glad to have discovered it. This little gem of a sidearm that my dad handed down to me will remain with me for as long as I can foresee. Sure, she has some issues of weightiness that make it hard for a small woman like myself to handle, but I plan to take it out every now and then and remember…