The centennial celebration for the 1911 pistol’s 100th birthday recognizes one of the most important firearm designs of all time and the genius of it’s creator John Browning. The m1911 was granted US Patent 984519 on February 14th, 1911 “Valentine’s Day”. This link between Valentine’s Day and the 1911 is ironic since it’s responsible for possibly the greatest firearm love affair. A lot of people say that no gun collection is complete without at least one 1911.
Samuel Colt was granted US Patent 9430X on February 25, 1836 for the revolving cylinder pistol, or simply put, the Revolver. This design by Colt helped usher in the era of the multi-shot pistol, effectively replacing the single shot devices of the day. It marked the transition from single and double barrel flintlock pistols to a multiple shot pistol.
This patent gave us the famous saying: “God made man, but Samuel Colt made man equal”
John Browning’s design of the Colt Model 1905, M1905 or Military Model, Pistol brings us one step closer to the mega popular 1911. The M1905 was Browning’s first pistol designed to use the .45 ACP, making it the predecessor to the 1911. With a quick glance at the Colt Model 1905 you may see similarities to the 1911, but upon closer examination you will be able to pick out quite a few differences.
The Colt Model 1905 Slide:
-Starting with the M1905’s slide you will notice it has a uniform height from the muzzle back to the hammer, whereas the 1911’s slide descends down towards the lower frame and out towards the muzzle.
-There is also a noticeable difference in the location of the ejection port. The M1905 ejection port works horizontally, while the 1911 is more vertical.
-Continuing with the ejection port, the M1905 uses an external extractor where as the 1911 has only acquired an external extractor in later versions.
-You will also notice that the M1911 uses a barrel bushing. Instead of needing a bushing, the Colt Model 1905 uses a very interesting barrel feature.
The Colt Model 1905 Barrel and Recoil Operation:
-The M1905 and M1911 both use a short recoil operation where the slide and barrel move back together a few millimeters before the barrel disengages from the slide. It is the short recoil operation of the M1905 that exposes the barrel’s interesting feature. Unlike the single swinging link on the breech of the M1911’s barrel, the M1905 uses a link at the breech end of the barrel and another at the muzzle end of the barrel. Instead of the short recoil action we have become accustomed to in handguns like the 1911 and Glock where the muzzle rises, the Colt Model 1905’s barrel remains parallel. If you closely inspect the patent drawings below you will see that parallel motion of the barrel.
-Since this was John Browning’s first endeavor into the realm of the .45 ACP he had to design a locking lug that would handle the increased power. To do this the Colt Model 1905 utilized three locking lugs on the barrel that lock into the frame as the barrel and slide recoil. If John Browning did not use the locking lug design the M1905 would have seen continued and catastrophic failure of the two barrel links.
The Colt Model 1905 Frame:
-As we just discussed, the M1905’s frame features three cut outs that match up with the barrel’s locking lugs.
-As the recoil action continues, after the final round, the slide stop is engaged. The slide stop on the Model 1905 is relatively small and only performs that action. On the other hand, the slide stop on the 1911 takes on an additional role as the connection point of the barrel link.
-Moving away from the action of the M1905 you will notice that it does not have a mag release positioned next to the trigger guard like the 1911, instead the mag release is located at the base of the grip. It is a pivot release similar to that of an AK47 (I only use the AK as an example here because most everyone has seen it’s mag release).
-Two additional differences are the safeties, or lack thereof. The Colt Model 1905 did not have a rear grip safety, nor did it have the external thumb safety. Those safeties were added with the M1911 design.
-The final characteristic of note is the grip angle. Unfortunately the M1905 did not introduce the popular M1911 grip angle.
Even though the M1905 was missing quite a few of the M1911 features it is important to know the history of John Browning’s designs.
The M1905 was granted US Patent 808003 on December 19th, 1905. John Browning had applied for this Patent on May 25th, 1905.
This John Browning design was produced as the Colt Model 1903 and by Fabrique Nationale as the Browning M1903. The Colt Model 1903 was offered in two versions, which actually used different calibers. The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless was chambered in .32 ACP, while the Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer was chambered in .38 ACP.
John Browning was granted US Patent 747585 on December 22nd, 1903. He applied for this patent on April 3rd, 1902.
John Browning Patent 747585, Colt Model 1903 and FN Browning M1903 Drawings:
It’s back! Colt has reintroduced the .380 Mustang Pocketlite with numerous improvements that spell out one heck of an accurate pocket pistol. Yes, a 2.75 inch barrel pocket pistol firing .380 ACP is accurate, very accurate. This comes thanks in large part to a fully machined receiver, slide and barrel.
In addition to the solid bar CNC machined parts, the Colt Mustang Pocketlite benefits from high profile sights that make target acquisition much easier.
Colt also used a solid aluminum trigger similar to that of a 1911. Depending on the .380 ACP Pocket Pistol that you have experience with, you will find this trigger to be either exceptional or beyond exceptional.
Speaking of a 1911 style trigger, the entire Colt Mustang resembles a 1911. Even though it may be a baby 1911, the grip angle and grip size fit the hand extremely well.
Outside of all the features that make this a great shooting gun, there is also a standard safety which many people are looking for in a pocket pistol. With a trigger like the Ruger LCP you would not need a safety, but with this finely tuned pistol a external safety is a plus.
A few other notable features:
-Alluminum Alloy Receiver with E
-Stainless Steel Slide and Barrel
-5.5 inches total length
-Single Action Trigger
-Commander Style Hammer
-Lowered Ejection Port
Add all these things up and still this feature packed Mustang weighs in at just 12.5 ounces, making it an ideal choice for Concealed Carry.
During the SHOT Show Media Day many products impressed me. It would be impossible for me to pick the most impressive without putting 3-5 names in a hat and picking one. However, the new Colt Mustang Pocketlite was at the very top of the list and would surely be tossed in the hat for best in show.
In the video below you will see that we were shooting at around 20 yards and I managed to hit 10 of 10 with very little effort. I promise my LCP wouldn’t pull that off.
This Patent was the final of four semi-auto pistol designs that were granted consecutive US Patent Numbers. This particular design was granted US Patent 580926 on April 20th, 1897. John Moses Browning had applied for this patent on October 31st, 1896. Patent 580926 utilized the .32 caliber round with a semi-auto blowback action.
Here we see the introduction of the popular grip safety that has found its way into many pistol designs since 1897. John Browning utilized the .38 ACP caliber round again for this semi-auto pistol. Another feature that was introduced with this patent was a locking recoil system. A quick glance at the patent drawing and you will notice this design stands out compared to his other designs. Colt purchased this design and tested it, but never moved forward on production. The design earned John Moses Browning US Patent 580925 on April 20th, 1897. He had applied for this patent on October 31st, 1896.
This design became the Colt M1900 or Model 1900 and later with very minor modifications the Model 1902. It was the first self loading semi-auto pistol manufactured by Colt and would become the foundation for most of the Colt auto loading pistols. It was actually the second semi-automatic pistol designed by Browning and purchased by Colt, but the previous patent never hit production. The Colt M1900 also marked the introduction of the .38 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) caliber round. In addition to the introduction of the .38 ACP, this design stood out because it was the first with a full length slide.
All of these features are seen in the Patent Drawings. This US Patent was granted to John Browning on April 20th, 1897 under the Patent Number 580924. John Browning had applied for this patent on October 31st, 1896.
This was the first semi-automatic pistol that John Browning designed. It used a .38 caliber round with a single stack magazine. That remained the standard magazine design until the John Browning Designed Hi-Power (Patent 1618510), which used a double stack magazine. He was granted US Patent 580923 for this design on April 20th, 1897. Browning had applied for this Patent almost two years earlier, on September 14th, 1895. Patent 580923 was sold to Colt, but Colt never manufactured this particular design.