After all the hoopla last year concerning the 1911, you might have thought someone would have made a pilgrimage to the source to see how the gun was actually made after 100 years. No one has ever accused me of being punctual, so here’s a little behind-the-times, behind-the-scenes tour of the Colt plant and what it takes to make a 45.
Colt is going through some big changes at the moment due to a massive investment in new machinery. Some machine tools have been in almost continuous operation at the plant since they were driven by overhead belts, and many are being replaced by state-of-the-art CNC machining centers, which is good for us consumers, as it usually means increased productivity, shorter lead times, more product choices and better quality. Despite all the changes, JMB himself would feel right at home on the shop floor and maybe just a little proud that his iconic design is still going strong.
- Raw forgings arrive from the foundry, ready for machine operations. There are other ways of making a 1911 frame, but beating red-hot steel with massive hammers has its own set of benefits. Besides, it’s a manly way to make a manly gun.