The NRA celebrates the spirit of the holiday season in our 12 Days of Firearms series! To kick off the month of December, we’ve handpicked 12 legendary firearms found in the galleries of the NRA Museums, showcasing one each day for 12 days.
This historic Colt M1911A1 pistol is associated with Operation Torch, the combined effort between the U.S. and the British to invade French North Africa in World War II designed to weaken or eliminate Axis control of the region.
In early November 1942, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower gave this pistol to his British counterpart, Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, as he prepared for the combined American-British invasion of North Africa. More than 107,000 ground troops supported by 350 warships and 500 transports were to achieve victory, clearing the Axis from North Africa and improving Allied naval control in the Mediterranean. Operation Torch paved the way for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe in June of 1944.
The M1911 is the legendary single-action pistol that served as the standard-issue sidearm for U.S. forces from 1911 to 1986. Chambered in the .45 ACP cartridge, more the 2.7 million M1911 and M1911A1 pistols were built for the military during its service tenure, and the 1911 design remains an American firearms icon to this day.