First, if you encounter an M1911A1 - identified by the finger cutouts and/or the M1911A1 markings on the frame - and it has a slide made by Remington-UMC, Springfield or Savage, you know the slide is not original to the gun since the first two manufacturers only made M1911 pistols during WWI, and the latter only made M1911 slides. Since the slide is the only part actually marked with the manufacturer's name, you can see the problem that arises. Karwan in the 3/1/95 issue of Classic Firearms will shed some light. The guns themselves can help you reveal which company made the pistol's frame.As example you may have a model of revolver made in .22 and in .38 Special, with the .22 revolver serial numbers mixed with a different model Colt, and the .38 caliber version of that model in yet a different model range.
Most people were happy to get their gun repaired and since the barrel was entirely usable, most people didn't care that the gun was one model but the barrel was marked as something else.
The second question is often "What Colt do I have"? Before you can determine when a Colt was made, you first have to determine WHAT Colt model you have. First, identifying a Colt revolver can be frustrating because beginning in 1840 Colt always started each new model at serial number "1", and progressed upward until the model was discontinued, OR until the mid-1960's when the serial number system changed to meet Federal law.
Since all Colt's started off at number "1" it's possible to have a number of older Colt firearms all with the same serial number. This law mandated that from then on all new firearms had to have a serial number and that number had to be unique.
" Good question since the frame usually just says "GOVERNMENT MODEL" or "UNITED STATES PROPERTY M 1911 A1 U. World War I production: Four (4) manufacturers made M1911 pistols that actually saw use during the war years: * Colt * Remington-UMC * Springfield Armory (U. Government owned & operated) * North American Arms Co. These are replacement slides made long after WWII by Colt and San Col Mar.
of Quebec (just a VERY FEW) Seven (7) manufacturers were tooling up to produce M1911 pistols but the Armistice stopped it all and program was cancelled: * National Cash Register Co. The same is true if the slide is marked Drake - the company that built National Match slides for the government.