Home - Volume 3 (2008) - Issue 4 (Fall '08) - Pistol Review: Colt Model O1918

An Old Warhorse is Revived.

A Gun Test by Hunter Lee Elliott (Hunter, )

The generosity of the M1911.ORG members never ceases to amaze me. I received an email from Jon (aka Cleveland on the M1911.org forum) asking me if I was interested in reviewing his brand new Colt Model O1918. I am not so crazy as to turn down the opportunity to shoot one of Colt's new models. Jon had bought the pistol brand new and had yet to fire it when it was boxed up and whisked away to North Carolina. The new O1918 arrived at Jim's Guns in Raleigh NC the day Jon promised it would. When I opened the blue custom shop box it was evident the pistol had yet to be tried by anyone other than Colt.

The pistol itself is intended to be a reproduction of the 1918 Colt 1911. The 1911 finish began to change at the request of the military, which was looking for a less reflective option. In mid-1918, in order to expedite production of the pistols the last few finishing steps were left out and the bluing took place while the finish was in the rough stage. This resulted in the bluing to take on an almost black finish. This is where the collectors' term "Black Army" originated.

To me this is an attractive and very utilitarian method. I believe Colt has done a nice job in reproducing the Black Army finish as well as the O1918 itself. I am no expert on World War I era Colts but, as I understand it, the O1918 is a very close reproduction of its predecessor. I began to look the pistol over closely when I got home. As I set it up for the ezine photo shoot jealousy began to set in.

The left and right sides of the slide with the reproduced rollmarks.

The WW1 thumb safety with the stamped Rampant Colt.

The smooth, straight mainspring housing has a military correct lanyard loop (I love lanyard loops).

A close up of the magazine well.

The gorgeous double diamond checkered stocks.

The plain, solid, long steel trigger

The top of the slide, with the markings on the barrel hood.

The adequate military sights.

The spur hammer and old style grip safety.

The muzzle of the impressive .45.

The bottom of the dust cover.

The reproduced approval stamp of Major John M. Gilbert, Army Inspector of Ordnance: August 10th 1917 through March 29th 1918.

The smooth front strap.

Straight cocking serrations.

The markings on the firing pin stop.

A close-up of the feed ramp and breech face.

The disconnector rail.

The factory magazines and reproduced take down tool.

Detail Strip

This pistol detail strips as any traditional Government Model.

The Rampant Colt on the left side of the receiver.

The markings on the barrel.

Initial Range Trip

I will admit I felt a touch of guilt being the first one to shoot Jon's new pistol. If it were mine I am not sure I would even shoot this beauty but I was under strict orders to wring out this Colt and see if it worked as well as it looked.

My guilt was not bad enough to keep me from the firing line, so early one Sunday morning my friend, Jamie, and I headed out to the range to try the new Colt out.

I did lock the slide back and hit the good spots with CLP.

My first mission was to get the seventy-five foot groups. The pistol functioned flawlessly but I will admit the military spec sights were a little lacking for long distance shooting. They did their job and my groups were not bad, but they are not as precise as the Bo Mar sights on the Special Combat Government. With that said, the O1918 is not a bullseye pistol but a replica of a military weapon designed as a combat side arm. I believe pistols are tools and are built for a task. The O1918 is up to its intended task.

My next step was to record the velocities. Jamie was good enough to set up some new paper while I looked for the sensors to my CED chronograph. The new paper was ready but I was still looking for the sensors. Well even though I believe I suffer from sort of OCD and I am usually studious about double-checking my range bag twice I had left the sensors at home.

I threw a little fit and got on with test.

The velocity numbers would have to wait. I moved on to just trying it out at thirty feet. I ran a few magazines through the Colt and, so far, function was 100% with the factory magazines, and Check-Mate seven- and eight-round, dimpled-follower, hybrid-lip magazines. Jamie took his turn with the pistol and ran several magazines dry (it is so nice when someone else is responsible for the ammunition). The Colt went back and forth between us until about 200 rounds were down range for the day.

I liked the pistol so far, as did Jamie.

A few of my friends showed up and checked out the O1918. They liked the way it looked but wanted to try it out as well. Unfortunately, I was out of .45 Automatic. I reckon it is true "the early bird gets the worm".

Second Range Trip

It was one of those Saturdays that is was so beautiful I could not stay inside. I called my close friend Terry (who has a nice horse ranch not far from me) and asked him what he was up to. He had planned on going horseback riding that afternoon and invited me along (as he has done many times in the past). Terry also said "bring along that new Colt you are testing and let me have a go at it". Terry is no stranger to a handgun so I thought this would be a great time to finish my test, get the velocities, and log in some more saddle time.

I got to the Iron T ranch about lunch and we started right off with the test. I set up the CED chronograph (had all the parts this time) and got the numbers. Terry ran a few magazines through the Colt, as well, and we both spent a while rounding out the test. With about 150 rounds at the Iron T ranch that put the total rounds around 350 rounds downrange without a pistol failure.

My opinion of the pistol had not changed, and Terry liked it.

Now the test was over we spent the rest of the day on horseback-not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Ammo donated by:


Sellier & Bellot


Hornady


Armscor

Conclusions

The O1918 is about as close as you can get to a new M1911 today. The term "1911" gets thrown around a lot and I believe the meaning has become diluted. The original military designation, however was "Model of 1911" which was abbreviated as "M1911". Of the myriad pistols being built and sold today as "1911s", most have strayed far enough from the original, military design and specifications that they are 1911s only in general form.

The M1911 is a pistol designed by John Moses Browning in 1910 and manufactured by Colt for military use. Later completed M1911s were delivered by Remington UMC (not the same as Remington-Rand, which manufactured M1911A1 pistols during World War II) and Springfield Armory. In 1924 the M1911 was altered in response to suggestions from the military, and subsequently designated the M1911A1. So, in the truest sense, unless it was made by one of those three companies before 1924 it is not an M1911. I understand 1911 has become an accepted term of a variation of the model but I still believe a better term would suffice.

The Colt O1918 is a fine reproduction of a "Black Army" Colt M1911 that works as it should. Though this pistol performed great at the range without any problems, I could see it also as a safe queen for collectors.

For whichever reason you would choose, this pistol would fit the bill nicely.

Specifications

Model Colt O1918
Weight: 2 pounds
Barrel length: 5"
Trigger pull: 4 pounds
Magazine capacity: 7
Twist: 1 turn in 16 inches.
MSRP: $990

Acknowledgments

Jon for so generously letting me shoot his new Colt
I would like to thank my friend Terry for letting me use his shooting facilities at the Iron T ranch.
Hornady
Jamie
Dan (OD) for his technical assistance
Rich at Colt
Jim, owner of Jim's Guns in Raleigh NC
Sellier & Bellot
Federal
Armscor

You may discuss about this pistol, ask questions or in general discuss about this review, in this thread in our Forums Site:

http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=60145


SOURCES

Pistol:

Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC
P.O. Box 1868
Hartford, CT, 06144-1868
USA

Phone: (860) 236-6311
Customer Service: 1-800-962-COLT
Fax: (860) 244-1449

Web site: http://www.coltsmfg.com


Ammunition

Sellier & Bellot, U.S.A.
P.O. Box 7307
Shawnee Mission, KS 66207
USA

Phone: (913) 664-5933
Fax: (913) 664-5938

Email: ceg@sb-usa.com
Web Site: http://www.sb-usa.com/
Web Site: http://www.sellier-bellot.cz/


Armscor Ammo

Advanced Tactical Firearms
150 N. Smart Way
Pahrump, NV 89060
USA

Phone: 775-537-1444
Fax: 775-537-1446
Web Site: http://www.advancedtactical.com


Hornady Ammo

Hornady Mfg. Co
P.O. Box 1848,
Grand Island, NE 68802-1848
USA

Phone: 1-800-338-3220
Fax: (1) 308-382-5761

Email: webmaster@hornady.comm
Web site: http://www.hornady.com



Chronograph

Competitive Edge Dynamics USA
P.O. Box 486,
Orefield, PA 18069-0486
USA

Orders: (1) 888-628-3233
Phone: (1) 610-366-9752
Fax: (1) 610-366-9680

Email: info@CEDhk.com
Web site: http://www.CEDhk.com


Home - Volume 3 (2008) - Issue 4 (Fall '08) - Pistol Review: Colt Model O1918