The 1911 In HISTORY


Probably the most famous and ingenious gun designer the world has ever known, John Moses Browning was born on January 23, 1855, in a little town called Ogden in Utah. His father, Jonathan Browning was a gunsmith who spent his time repairing firearms. John Moses was much more interested in designing and building new, firearms. If it was to be said of John Moses in summary, “by today’s standards he had the ability to think out of the box”.

The first gun he made by himself, was a single shot rifle built for his brother at the age of 14. It is Gun History after that. Many of the Winchester’s were Browning, namely the, Model 1886 Lever Action Repeating Rifle, the Model 1887 Lever Action Repeating Shotgun, the Model 1897 Pump Action Shotgun, the Model 1894 Lever Action Repeating Rifle and the Model 1895 Lever Action Repeating Rifle.

One of his ideas was to use the gas vented by a fired shell, to re-cock the gun and make it ready for the next shot. His machine-guns, the first fully automatic guns, were later sold to Colt and the U.S. Government and served the U.S. Armed Forces through three wars. One was the famous BAR. Browning’s BAR and other Browning machine guns are still used by by some armies around the world. John Browning’s most famous pistol designs are the Colt M-1911 Government Model, in .45 ACP and the Browning High-Power P-35 Model, in 9mm. John Moses Browning passed away in 1926, in Belgium.

March 29th, 1911

The 1911 Colt was selected as the official sidearm of the Armed Forces of U.S.A., and named the Model 1911. It is almost identical to the pistols available on today’s market from over ten different firms. I always wondered why it was never called the 1911 Browning.

Early 1920’S

When the flat mainspring housing was replaced with an arched one a shorter hammer spur was used, a short trigger was made standard as well as a longer grip safety and named the Colt 1911 A1 Version Government.

World War II

Colt maintained this model until WW II, when military volume needs were met by production of M-1911 by others contracted manufacturers such as Ithaca, Remington Rand, Union Switch and a few others. Thousands of this firearm were produced during the war period.

Post War

Soon after the war, Colt introduced a new gun, based on the M-1911 A1 full size Government which was a shortened version with a 4.25″ barrel, 3/4 of an inch shorter than the Government barrel. It had an aluminum frame. The gun was called the “Commander”. Later, Colt also produced the same pistol but with a steel frame, named the Combat Commander and the term ” Lightweight Commander” then applied to the aluminum version.

The Last Major Change

Colt introduced a pistol with an even shorter barrel (3.75″), targeting the concealed carry users, called the “Officers Model” which also had a shorter frame, 6 round magazines of very potent .45.

The 1980’S

Colt introduced a new series of all their models, the MK IV-series 80 a firing pin safety, which didn’t allow the pistol to fire if the trigger wasn’t pulled to the end of its travel. This safety system which was designed to offset lawsuits really effected the trigger pull. The competition shooters despised it and many removed it from their weapons.

The 1990’S

Colt announced their 1911 with Enhanced features like from the factory. They consisted of a modified beavertail grip safety, beveled magazine well, flared ejection port, and a reduction under the rear of the trigger guard, which allowed the pistol to sit lower in the grip of the hand.
Today the firearm is referred to as the 1911 Series Style and commonly made by several firms.


Accurate Plating & Weaponry, Inc. offers one of the most extensive lines of Custom 1911 Firearms Gunsmithing available in the world under one roof.

We have been involved in the evolution of this pistol literally from the beginning.

This custom work is done under the name of “Cogan Custom” by AP &W. The integrity of my name is very important to me; therefore, I stand-behind my work and endeavor to deal with each customer’s gun as if it were my own. To my knowledge, we are the only company in the world that can do the custom gunsmithing and refinishing under one roof AND offer all the modifications and variety of finishes available.

The Colt 1911 has been easily adapted for Target, Carry, Personal Defense, War, Plinking, Hunting, Critter Ridder, Presentation, Collecting, and just plain Adoration. The picture above shows an older Gold Cup after an upgrade. Larger mag well, improved fiber-optic sights, trigger modifications, hand-cut checkering on the front and rear straps, competition hammer, beavertail, in age she’s got years, in looks and performance she’ll outrun the young-guns….

The Classic Gold Cup in High Polish or Bright Finish is the most popular gift aka Military or Police Retirement, Corporate Presentations etc. (see picture at top of page)

We are a custom shop! If “IT” can be done, we can do “IT” If you have an idea and don’t see it listed in our price list, please call. My staff and I will see if it is feasible and safe, those are the guiding parameters quality gunsmithing abides by.

Custom Firearms Smithing revolves around three premises, accuracy, reliability, and beautification. Quality gunsmithing attempts to find a happy medium between them. With firearms, and their primary intention, form has to follow function or form is pointless.

The pictures you see on this page, the Gold Cups done in High Polish, Two Tone, High Target Mount Sights, or Fiber-Optics are merely variants on theme. You would not believe how many different things can be done to the 1911 style firearm.


The Army and the Air Force were the first two organizations to Modify the Colt 1911.

They were accurized to perform better for the teams using them in competition. Almost all work today stems from these first attempts at making the 1911 more reliable and accurate.

Several of the more popular variants are shown here before we get to the trendy stuff.

Statement: This has two prongs, mechanical accuracy and making the firearm shooter friendly. A mechanically accurate firearm that is difficult for the owner to shoot will never shoot to its potential in that shooter’s hands. Consequently, the first phase of customizing should address these problems.

  • Firearms must have sights that allow for a good repeatable sight picture.

  • Trigger pulls cannot be so heavy that the sight jumps off the point of aim when the shooter squeezes the round off.

  • The basic ergonomics of the firearm should not increase shooter fatigue or cause pain to the shooter when firing the weapon.

  • There are standard modifications available for most popular firearms that address these problems, and we are quite expert at tailoring them to our client’s needs.

  • For years the Bulls-eye Gun (click- shown at right) was the winner on the target boards with the solid elongated sight picture and accurization.


The “Bells & Whistles” seen in magazines can be added. But they fall into two categories: They are either integral or made part of like on steel framed guns checkering, or stippling. Or added on like rubber grips. -But- sometimes the rubber grips may add to much to the grip and not help a small handed shooter.
(click-shown at left)

Mechanical accuracy is really a much simpler concept. Within the realm of allowing the firearms to properly function, we must attempt to make it shoot from the same place, mechanically, each time the shooter squeezes the trigger. If we assure that our barrel is not damaged, this is the least complicated aspect of accurizing.

Over time better sights evolved, better triggers, better barrel lock up systems and much of this drizzled down today in the carry guns being miniature versions of the full size 1911 custom gun.(click-shown at right)

Simply put. Accuracy is doing the same thing every time and accurizing a firearm is making it do that so we can limit the anomalies down to the human kind. then and only then do we have one problem to solve in making a better shooter.


For the past three decades, we have done almost everything that has been done to the basic 1911. That’s the original model that still seems to both function as well as it did back in 1911 and every so often one of the older models comes in for a plating or bluing. Nothing fancy, just a good cleanup and polish job just like you take care of your favorite car.

But it’s evolution not revolution that changes the industry. New C & C machines, new alloys, better optics, electronics and finishes really have changed the way we do things. And it’s a competitive game, the shooting disciplines have grown up too and now are major televised events.

Competition breeds innovation. and the basic 1911 is still one of the contenders though it looks more like something from Star Wars or Riddick’s Chronicles.

That’s why we separated the two 1911 categories. In this section we have examples of the street and carry 1911’s and in Custom 1911 Configurations, a few examples of a few you need a comped holster for. You would have a problem stuffing one of these in your waistband.

Another change to the .45 thats becoming very popular evolves around the finishes. Digitized finishes and colors like the Desert Sand make the .45 blend well with the terrain.


And more good news for the .45. Recently the Marine Corps ordered 12,000 new 45’s for their frontline units. It’s simple, a 9mm may need several rounds to do the job. Confined combat spaces need for things to be over rapidly, one .45 round can change the oppositions thinking…