June 16, 2022
By Garry James
Question: Enclosed are pictures of a Colt M1911 I bought from an estate sale almost 20 years ago. It has been a prized possession of mine for years, and I have only shot it once. Not too long ago, I saw Mr. Philip Schreier do a piece on “American Rifleman TV” about NRA 1911s. He stated that NRA 1911s were very rare and there were only five known Colt NRA 1911s. I would be interested in learning how rare my 1911 is, and what value you would place on it. As you can see, it is in excellent condition. Paperwork and manuals I bought with the pistol indicate the original owner was in the U.S. Army, shot with a shooting team and was an NRA lifetime member.
-D.J.S. via Email
Answer: A very interesting pistol, indeed! If correct, it certainly is a rare bird. Some reproductions are known. I checked with my colleague and good friend Phil Schreier, Director of the National Firearms Museum, who, as you note is something of an authority on NRA Colts. Here are his thoughts: “According to Scott Meadows book ‘U.S. Military Automatic Pistols: Volume I 1894-1920,’ on page 148 he writes that in 1915 a number of Colt and Springfield Armory 1911s were made available to NRA members and marked under the serial number as illustrated in the photo that you sent. The known numbers range from 122279 to 164124 and represent 1915 to 1917 production dates. It is thought that only 100 to 200 Springfield-manufactured pistols were so marked and sold. Only 50 Colt guns are thought to have been marked and sold. This gun is in amazingly good condition and would need to be handled by an expert to determine its authenticity. If real, it would be one of the rarest Colts known, worth tens of thousands of dollars."
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