By Lars Dalseide | March 30 2011 14:36

National Firearms Museum launches 100 Years of the Model 1911 on NRAblog

The NRA National Firearms Museum's Wendy Cunningham sets the stage for the Museum's new 100 Years of the Model 1911 exhibit:

The year was 1911.

With Howard Taft in the second year of his Presidency, the Mexican Revolution in full bore, and Pancho Villa preparing to attack government troops in Ciudad Juárez, John Moses Browning was finishing his design on the gun which on March 29, 1911 would officially be adopted by US Army Ordnance. That firearm would serve as the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 until 1985. That day, the U.S. pistol Model 1911 was born.

The National Firearms Museum is extremely proud to present its newest exhibit, 100 Years of the Model 1911. The display debuted yesterday, March 29th at Gunsite, a premiere firearms training facility located in Paulden, Arizona.

"We are very pleased to be celebrating this special time in history with Gunsite," said National Firearms Museum Director Jim Supica. "They have a wonderful operation and a true dedication to the shooting sports."

Gunsite's display not only features the finest pieces from the Museum’s collection, but also guns from the Military Pistol Trials of 1901 through 1911 as well as pistols from notable individuals such as past NRA President Joe Foss (Medal of Honor recipient, Governor of South Dakota, Commissioner of the American Football League) and Admiral Willis Lee (winner of five Olympic gold medals and recipient of the Navy Cross.)

The M1911, specifically the Colt, is one of the world's most widely copied pistols. Surviving years of trials – which included design changes to the magazine, grip safeties, grip sights, and other small components – the Colt M1911 out-performed it’s competitors (including the Savage) round after round. As Supica pointed out, “A hundred years later, Browning’s design remains immensely popular for military, police, self defense, and competition shooting. It is considered by many to be the finest combat pistol ever produced.”

The National Firearms Museum is excited to display so many historically significant M1911 pistols side-by-side; including the serial number 4 Colt which was assembled in December of that year. That pistol and more will be on display for all to view once the exhibit returns to Fairfax, Virgina next week. But it won't stop there. After fielding several requests, 100 Years of the Model 1911 is also scheduled to travel to Camp Perry over the summer and to the Colt Collectors Association Annual Meeting in Kansas City this September.

For more information on the NRA National Firearms Museum, visit their website at


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