National Firearms Museum to Display 1911 Centennial Collection at Camp Perry

National Firearms Museum to Display 1911 Centennial Collection at Camp Perry

100 Years of the 1911
National Firearms Museum to display 1911 Centennial Collection at Camp Perry
National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association

FAIRFAX, Va. –-( In celebration of 100 years of the Model 1911, the National Firearms Museum will have a special display at the National Rifle & Pistol Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio from July 14-17.

The commemorative exhibit, located in Building 950, will feature pistols that illustrate the path to the very first Model 1911’s and showcase the evolution of the classic design which would change the history of American military handguns.

“The Colt Model 1911 is an important part of American military history and the history of the National Matches at Camp Perry. Each year, more than 2,000 NRA and Civilian Marksmanship Program competitors bring their Model 1911’s to shoot the NRA National Outdoor Conventional Pistol Championships and the CMP Trophy Pistol Matches,” said Mike Krei, Director of NRA’s Competitive Shooting Division.

The Model 1911, commonly referred to as the M1911, was created out of necessity following the carnage of the Philippine-American War. The American military recognized the need to upgrade from the standard military issue revolver to a more powerful service sidearm that could deliver the necessary stopping power to prevent lethal encounters at close range.

Five of the pistols in the display were part of the U.S. Service Pistol Trials that paved the way for the military’s adoption of the M1911. The first is a Luger 1901, one of one thousand 7.65 mm purchased for initial testing by the U.S. Cavalry in 1901. There will also be three 1907 models chambered in .45 caliber in the display, including the Grant-Hammond 1907 Trials Pistol bearing serial number one, a Colt Model 1907 Trials Pistol, and the prototype Savage Model 1907, also serial number one. The final pistol, critical to the early stages of the M1911, is the Early Colt M1911 with serial number 4. This pistol was part of the first group of Colt-manufactured M1911’s shipped in January 1912.

After the adoption of the M1911 by the U.S. military, Colt began initial production along with Springfield Armory, Remington, and Canada’s North American Arms as America entered World War I. The demand for the powerful and reliable pistol grew when World War II loomed and an updated pistol, the M1911A1, was developed. During the first and second World Wars, over 2.5 million M1911’s and M1911A1’s were ordered by the United States and continued in service through the Vietnam War.

Three historical M1911’s used in war will be featured in the display including WWII Marine Aviator, Medal of Honor recipient and former NRA President Joe Foss’ Colt M1911, issued to him in 1943 at Guadalcanal. The next is a Colt M1911 ordered by Admiral Willis August Lee, a Navy Cross recipient and five-time gold medalist shooter at the 1920 Olympic Games. The final of these historic pistols on display is a Colt M1911recovered from a fallen American serviceman who escaped the Japanese bombardment of Corregidor with 17 others in a small boat that traveled 29 days and over 2,000 miles to Australia.

In addition to these eight firearms, two beautifully engraved M1911’s from the Robert E. Petersen Gallery at the National Firearms Museum will be on display.

To receive up to the minute reports, photos, and results during the Championships, check To learn more about the National Firearms Museum, visit or call 703-267-1600. For more on the National Rifle & Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, or other competitive shooting events or programs, visit or call 1-877-672-6282.