Designed by John Browning—a weapons genius who constructed his first firearm at the age of thirteen, and patented his first weapon at twenty-four—the M1911 Colt Government pistol served as the standard-issue sidearm for the US armed forces for over seventy years. During its service life, the US developed about three million 1911s, some of which are still in service today, in modern derivations, by the Navy and Special Forces. The pistol’s short-recoil operation system was widely copied, becoming the pre-eminent design for pistols in the twentieth century, and paving the way for the advent of nearly all modern centerfire pistols.

As a class of firearm mechanism, recoil operation means that the discharge of the firearm causes a portion of the firearm’s machinery to recoil, while inertia holds the rest of the firearm in place, relative to the mass of the shooter. A spring absorbs recoil energy, compressing as the machinery moves, then expanding, and providing energy for the rest of the operating cycle. Because recoil operation depends upon physical momentum to achieve movement of the bolt, firearms that use recoil operation work best with a cartridge optimized for that particular weapon. In the case of the M1911, the spring is optimized for a 230-grain bullet.

Short recoil operation, in particular, refers to the fact that, in the M1911, the barrel and bolt recoil only a short distance before separating. The barrel stops as the bolt continues to recoil, compressing the recoil spring that allows for the automated extraction of the spent cartridge, and the feed of the new bullet into the chamber. The M1911 uses a swinging link to pivot the barrel down, stopping it against the lower barrel lugs, as the bolt continues. A claw extractor removes the casing from the firing chamber, as the slide is propelled forward by the spring, stripping a cartridge from the magazine and feeding it into the firing chamber. The slide then locks into the barrel, and the pistol is again ready to fire.

The M1911 was formally adopted into the Army in 1911, and saw its first real combat in World War I, where the need for a reliable semi-automatic pistol saw the M1911 being manufactured in Colt, Remington, and North American Arms factories. After the signing of the armistice, some small external changes were made to the M1911. The trigger was shortened, a longer grip safety spur was added, as well as a wider front sight, and simplified grip checkering. These changes were largely intended to make the pistol easier to shoot for someone with small hands.

World War II saw another boost in the production of the M1911. About two million units were procured by the US government through companies such as Colt, Remington, Ithaca Gun Co. and Singer. So many M1911 pistols were produced during the war years that the government cancelled all post-war contracts, preferring instead to rebuild their pistols with new parts. These rebuilds consisted of anything from minor emendations to complete overhauls. After World War II, the M1911 continued to be used during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, as well as during Operation Desert Storm in specialized Army units. Today, many military and law enforcement organizations continue to use the M1911, including the LAPD, and FBI SWAT teams. The M1911 is also popular among the general public, especially as a concealed carry weapon, in part thanks to the weapon’s thinness.

At Sarco Inc., we sell 1911 Build Kits. All of our 1911 Build Kits use M1911 series 70 parts. The M1911 series 70 was developed during the final decade of the M1911’s ubiquity in the US Armed forces. All of our parts are blued, meaning that they have undergone a process by which their steel is protected against rust by an electrochemical conversion coating that results from an oxidizing chemical reaction on the metal’s surface.

Using our 1911 build kits you can build your own Government sidearm, or otherwise maintain your weapon. There are no fasteners of any type in the M1911 design, excepting the grip screws. The main components of 1911 are held in place by the recoil spring. The pistol can be stripped by retracting the slide, removing the slide stop, and removing the barrel.

Sarco, Inc. is your stop for 1911 Build Kits. We began life in the attic of a small apartment, and have since expanded into arguably the largest dealer in surplus war material in the country. Check out our inventory online or give us a call today. Currently, we manage our sales through three avenues: the web, phone, and our showroom. Located at 50 Hilton St, in Easton, PA, our 7,000 square foot showroom stocks over 2,000 firearms—products ranging from original militaria to new commercial tactical accessories. We provide retail and wholesale product on both the domestic and international levels. Contact us today at (610) 250-3960 to get started with your Sarco Inc. experience.

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