A Bloody and Productive Year

As anyone with even a cursory knowledge of WWII can tell you, the year 1943 was a momentous one. If any of the war years could classify as a “turning point,” 1943 would’ve been it. It saw the victorious resolution of the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Guadalcanal, Sicilian and Tunisian campaigns. It also encompassed the production run of Union Switch and Signal 1911A1s (SN 1041405 to 1096404). And it also matched the actual “1943” headstamp on the cartridges.

Even being a relatively modest player in the 1911A1 sweepstakes was no small undertaking. Around 600 different machining operations on US&S pistol parts required 658 different machines, 421 types of cutting and drilling tools and 447 different gauges. Each pistol had 4/5ths of its original weight machined from the original forging during the course of 106 operations.

Cosmetically, our US&S specimen was typical — Parkerized finish, signature arched mainspring housing and those cool brown plastic checkered grip panels. They rated highly as far as fit, finish and parts interchangeability goes. The grip panels, incidentally, were made by separate contractors for all 1911A1 producers.