Available reference material and other useful information for new collectors
Books and written works:
Collectors Guide to Colt .45 Service Pistols, Models of 1911 and 1911A1 Enlarged and revised edition 2003 By Charles W. Clawson. This book is the required text for any serious collectors of M1911/M1911A1 pistols, and is a subset of the larger more comprehensive text below, but contains most of the information needed to become an instant expert on these fine pistols. This book is now out of print but can often be found online (eBay, Amazon, etc.).
Colt .45 Service Pistols, Models of 1911 and 1911A1 There are two printings of this book, 1991 and the updated 1993 By Charles W. Clawson. This book is the required text for any serious collectors of M1911/M1911A1 pistols, and contains most of the information needed to become an expert on these fine pistols. This book is out of print, however it is occasionally found on some of the On-Line Auctions. It also might be found through some of the Out of Print book sellers.
Colt .45 Government Models, Commercial Series 1996 By Charles W. Clawson. This book is the required text for any serious collectors of Government Models This book is out of print, however it is occasionally found on some of the On-Line Auctions. It also might be found through some of the Out of Print book sellers.
U.S. Military Automatic Pistols, 1894 - 1920 by Edward S. Meadows. This excellent book covers only the M1911 pistol. No substantial information or data is presented about the M1911A1, yet the quality of presentation and new information provided on the M1911 makes this book indispensable to the collector. It is written in a different format than the books by Clawson, but presents most of the relevant information contained in Clawson's books on the M1911. This book is out of print, however it is occasionally found on some of the On-Line Auctions. It also might be found through some of the Out of Print book sellers.
The Government Models by William H.D. Goddard. This book contains a number of excellent pictures as well as a fairly extensive list of selected shipping records. The information and data presented in this book is otherwise rather thin, sparse, and rather dated. In print.
The Model 1911 and Model 1911A1 Military and Commercial Pistols by Joe Poyer, published by North Cape Publications (www.northcapepubs.com). A thick soft-cover collector's guide covering most military and commercial variations of the Colt 1911-type pistol, with primary focus being on the USGI guns. In print.
The Standard Catalog of Military Firearms 2nd edition - 2004
Published by Krause Publications - Ned Schwing, 2002
ISBN 0-87341-997-9 The Standard Catalog of Military Firearms is a yearly price guide loaded with tons of useful information on everything from Model 1911s used by the U.S. and foreign armies to fully automatic machine guns. This publication covers arms produced as early as 1870 to present and represents arms from most major countries. The book is published by Krause Publications, is softbound, and has over 340 pages of information, prices, and photos. The model M1911 and M1911A1 section is edited by Karl Karash, well known collector and historian on the subject. You can order this book by following this link. MSRP $24.95 on sale at $17.49 save 30%
There are also two documents written by Karl Karash that can be downloaded off the "Collectors Guide" page on my site that are good reading for the beginner.
Ty Moore's excellent reference site, featuring a gallery of pistols from different eras as well as identification of parts and markings.
Oliver De Gravelle's site which deals specifically with WW2-era M1911A1 pistols, featuring ID of magazines and grips.
Scott Gahimer's new website which goes into much greater detail than the two websites above, and includes a resource to help with buying and selling. Membership required to activate all features.
Sam Lisker's site which deals with classic Colt automatic pistols of the 20th Century, including the 1911/1911A1 and commercial models.
Hope this helps.
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1946 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
Last edited by dsk; 02-05-2015 at 10:14 PM.