Colt Government Model (civilian, 1911)

Catalogue number
  • FIR 3681
  • whole: L: 22cms BL: 5ins Calibre: .45 ACP
Alternative names
  • full name: Colt Government Model (civilian, 1911)
  • simple name: pistol, short recoil, replaceable box magazine
Weapons and ammunition

© IWM (FIR 3681)


The Colt Government Model (or Model 1911) pistol was designed by John M Browning, in response to a US Army requirement for a large-calibre self-loading pistol. The M1911 operated on the short-recoil principle and was chambered for a .45 inch cartridge. It was an immensely successful design and, with small alterations, remained in service with US Forces until the 1980s. In addition it was purchased by many other armies and private individuals. Copies of the design were also produced in a number of countries. This particular pistol was purchased in 1915 by Winston Churchill. He carried it while serving on the Western Front as Commanding Officer of 6th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers (January to May 1916). It is reputed to have been one of his favourite guns and bears obvious signs of frequent use. The right side of the slide is engraved 'WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL'.

Physical description

pistol & magazine (7) blueing on slide well worn

History note

Carried by Churchill during his service on the Western Front with 6th Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers.

1. stamped on left of slide 2. stamped on left rear of slide 3. stamped on right of slide 4. stamped on right of frame 5. stamped on barrel, frame and slide 6. engraved on right of slide

1. PATENTED APR.20.1897.SEPT 9.1902 DEC.19, 1905.FEB.14,1911.AUG.19,1913 COLT'S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A. 2. Colt prancing horse trademark 3. COLT AUTOMATIC CALIBRE 45 4. GOVERNMENT MODEL 5. London proofs 6. WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL

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