Colt M1911

guns colt 1911

The Colt M1911, a semiautomatic .45-caliber pistol, served as the standard-issue U.S. Army sidearm for nearly 90 years, starting at the end of the 19th century through the 1980s. It first saw service in the Philippines, immediately following the Spanish-American War. The Army needed a gun with knock-down power, and it picked the .45. In World War I, Sgt. Alvin York won the Medal of Honor for killing 28 German soldiers and capturing 132, primarily with his M1911. The Army continued to use it in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

First published December 8, 2014: 3:07 PM ET

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