Colt model 1911A1 Ace semi-automatic pistol, signature series (1981), cal. .22LR (long rifle).

Made by Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Co, Hartford, Connecticut, serial number SM36456, 1981.

Shipped by Colt's to Frontier Arms Company, Canberra, 15 July 1981; see Colt Archive Properties authentication letter, dated 22 March 2007.

Physical Description

10 shot magazine located in butt, plain wooden grips with brass 'COLT/ CUSTOM' escutcheon inlaid on both sides. Steel frame and slide in factory blued finish, slide inlaid on both sides with gold scrolls, banner and framed depiction of the dome at Colt's Armoury, Hartford, Connecticut. Front blade sight with rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation, trigger and hammer spur checked.


The original Colt model 1911A1 Ace .22 was introduced to Colt's line-up in 1931 as part of a new range of pistols designed for target shooting and based around the 1911A1 in .45 calibre. The first of these was the National Match, followed by the Ace and then the Service Ace. The Ace was in nearly every respect a .45 with a reduced calibre size, which meant in turn that ammunition costs were reduced. However the smaller .22 did not always have sufficient recoil to force the slide completely back for ejection and picking up the next round, requiring modifications to rectify this fault. David Williams devised a 'floating chamber' which duplicated the .45's recoil with the .22 round and, after being licensed to Colt, the modification appeared as the new variant, the Service Model Ace. Serial numbering started with SM1 and production continued until 1945 at which point numbering had reached approx. 13500. The Ace returned to Colt's line in 1978 and appears to have continued where the serial numbering stopped. In 1981 a signature edition of the Ace was released, and this item is part of that edition..

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