In March of 1911, Colt and Savage had emerged as the top two contenders for the next sidearm to be issued to United States soldiers. Each company submitted a gun for a 6,000-round torture test. They were the Colt with serial number 5 fired by E.G. Reising, and the Savage with serial number 4 fired by Charles Nelson.
When the dust settled, Colt appeared to be victorious. The final verdict, though, would not arrive until the end of the month.
On March 29, 1911, official notice was sent to Colt informing them that their design had “passed the prescribed tests and has been adopted” as the new military sidearm.
Colt was instructed to reply with a quote for an order of 30,262 pistols, along with “spare parts and screwdrivers” to be sent to Springfield Armory ASAP.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Logan Metesh is the firearms specialist for the NRA’s three museums in Virginia, Missouri, and New Mexico.