AI4FR Virtual Militaria Items Tour 

United States Items


This M1911A1 was manufactured by the Ithaca Gun Company in late 1943 according to historical records. The M1911A1 is a recoil operated, self-loading, semi-automatic pistol that has been chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. The pistol has been designed to operate as a single action firearm that utilizes an external hammer. The steel frame has a grey parkerized finish. The sight system includes a square blade front sight that is milled as part of the slide, and a square notch rear sight that is housed in a dovetail slot and drift adjustable for windage only. This pistol is fed by a single column 7 round detachable box magazine. The pistol utilizes a push button magazine release that is located on the frame at the bottom rear corner of the trigger guard. An empty magazine will easily eject from the pistol under its own weight. The pistol also features a thumb safety located at the rear of the frame behind the left grip panel. This sidearm weighs in at just about 2 1/2 pounds and has an overall length of 8.25 inches and a barrel length of 5.03 inches. This weapon does employ a slide hold open mechanism to inform the operator that the last round has been fired. The checkered grip panels are made of plastic and were manufactured by the Keyes Fiber Co.

John M. Browning came up with this pistol design which was formally adopted by the U. S. Army on March 29, 1911 and has been the standard issue side arm for the United States armed forces until 1985. Although the M1911A1 style of pistol is still being carried by some U.S. forces to this day.

When Ithaca started manufacturing the M1911A1 in December of 1942 the only other firm to be doing so at the time was Colt. Ithaca produced a total of about 382,000 pistols during WWII. When production started in 1942, the Ithaca company did not have the equipment to manufacturer many of the smaller parts for this pistol. As a result,  they ended up receiving parts from other suppliers that included 6,200 WWI Colt receivers that Springfield Arms still had in storage along with numerous small components. 

During the manufacturing process, a gentleman by the name of Harry Howland whom was employed by the Ithaca company designed a stamped trigger assembly which was later approved by the Ordnance Department. This stamped trigger assembly became known as the Yawman Trigger due to the fact that it was fabricated by the Yawman Metal Products Co. of Rochester N.Y. During any conflict and especially during a world war every one involved tries to produce weapons as fast as possible and as cheap as possible. This Yawman Trigger was said to reduce the cost of the 1911A1 by 5 percent. Maybe Ithaca had these measures in mind as the pistols that they produced had the roughest finish of any of the 1911A1's produced during the war even though the company manufactured fine shotguns before WWII.


The photograph on the left shows the inscription that is found on the right side of the the frame. This inscription reads as follows, " M 1911 A1  U.S. Army ". This marking indicates that the model of the pistol is 1911A1 and that it is a United States Army issue side arm.

The photograph on the right is of the slide legend that is found on the left side of the slide. The top line reads as follows, "ITHACA GUN CO., INC" and then underneath that is "ITHACA, NY.". The top line of this inscription indicates that the pistol was manufactured by the Ithaca Gun Company Incorporated. The bottom line identifies the location of the manufacturer as being in the city of Ithaca in the state of New York which is located in the United States of America.  

The 1911A1 incorporates a number of safety features. A manual safety located on the left side of the frame which can only be engaged when the hammer is cocked. A grip safety that is located at the rear of the backstrap prevents the gun from firing unless the handle is firmly grasped and the grip safety pushed in. Another safety device involves the way the pistol is constructed. Unless the slide and barrel are in their forward position and the action fully closed the weapon will not fire. Finally, to keep the pistol from firing should the full cock break or fail to engage the sear, a half cock notch was employed.

The photograph on the left is a picture of the crossed cannons final inspection mark. This inspection mark is added after the finish has been applied to the pistol.

The picture on the right is of the FJA inspection stamp which stands for Frank J. Atwood. Like the crossed cannons final inspection mark in the picture on the left, the FJA inspection stamp is added after the finish has been applied.

Col. Frank J. Atwood was the commanding officer of the Rochester Ordnance District; he personally did not inspect each and every item, but as the commanding officer he was responsible for all of the ordnance material that was accepted by the U.S. Army from that district. His initials will also be found on rifles and shotguns made by Remington, the 1911A1's made by Remington Rand and military vehicles.

The 1911A1 Ithaca pictured on this webpage is one of the 30,000 pistols that was produced in late 1943 in it's serial number range. It has a "HS" or High Standard stamped barrel.


The photograph on the left is of the back rear of the slide top. Here we can see the rear sight as well as the proof mark "P" stamping. The "P" proof mark indicates that this pistol has been fired with an overloaded "proof" cartridge and did not fail. This proof mark is found on both the slide as seen in the picture and on the frame of the pistol.

The photograph on the right is of the underside of the plastic grip panels. The grip panels have been identified as being manufactured by the Keyes Fiber Company due to the star with the letter K marking that is found on the underside of each grip panel. The small inset picture is a close up of the molded manufacturers marking that is found on the underside of each grip panel. These grips also have the reinforced grip screw holes.




These next two photographs are of the Enger Kress shoulder holster that came with the pistol above. The holster has a date of 1944 on it which makes it a nice match for the late 1943 produced Ithaca M1911A1 pistol on this page.




Instruction manual

Ithaca website located at:

The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 by Patrick Sweeney

The Colt .45 Automatic by Jerry Kuhnhausen  

      AI4FR                                                                                                                                                                                                  AI4FR                                                                                                       AI4FR

Copyright © John Whitt 2017 All rights reserved.