Russian World War 1 Contract Colt 1911

During World War One, the Russian Government purchased some 51,000 Colt 1911 pistols. These were standard commercial production guns, chambered for .45 ACP, and were shipped in 1916 and 1917, with JP Morgan acting as purchasing agent. They have serial numbers between about C21,000 and C89,000. The only distinctive markings are on guns above about C50,000, which were marked “Engl. Order” in Cyrillic. 


  1. While we are on the subject of 1911’s in service outside the USA I wonder if anyone here has access to some history of Austrian Army use of 1911’s in perhaps the 1950s?

    These are marked on the left side of frame forward of takedown/slide release: an eagle stamp followed by “BH”, probably Austrian army: Bundesheer

    I’m looking for any historical info about the program(s) under which these went to the Austrian army, and how and when they went out of service to the civilian market.

    You can see an example of this marking and some comments at:

    • According to the book “Die Bewaffnung des österreichischen Bundesheeres 1918-1990” by Wolf M. Urrisk, the 1680 pistols, called 11.43 mm P.11 in Austria, came from the U.S. Military Assistance Program (MAP) and as such were given back to the U.S. Your assumption that BH stands for Bundesheer is correct.

  2. Was it usual for russian arms purchased from “abroad” to NOT have manufacturers names & markings in most or all cases. Seems the communist claim to “inventing” the machine gun was based on the purchase of a few Gatlings which were then marked “GORLOFF” (or something similar) who was the “purchasing agent” for the russian Govt. . The history of this weird marking “system” could be a basis for an article!.. If you ever get down to NZ (New Zealand) we have a few bits of interesting stuff down here, Worlds best complete “Dissappearing Gun” Naval artillery piece it pops UP fires & drops back down! may be another in Canada @ 1880 date. REALLY appreciate your presentations!

  3. Possibly two of these were used in the killing of the Tsar, his family, and servants. One, C7195, is still in Russia but the other one, who knows? It’s not impossible that one day one will be matched to Ipatiev house bullets.

    • I have seen several movies that had that murder scene in them. I always watch the guns used in movies to see if I can spot any errors. The shooters were shown using Nagants. Had the killers been shown using 1911s I would have fallen off my couch laughing.

        • I was not aware of the forensic evidence until now. Knowing that there were 1911’s in circulation in Russia at the time makes a lot of difference. I wonder how easy it was to get .45 ammo in Siberia. You could not just go to the nearest Basski Proski store and pick up a couple of boxes.

  4. The House of Morgan….It’s everywhere! It’s everywhere! Makes you half believe those conspiracy legends about Wall Street and the Gnomes of Zurich

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