View Full Version : Did the military have a 1911 style .22?

March 11, 2009, 10:28 PM
I ask because my daughters pitching coach told me his dad got this gun in 1958 from a sailor. Did Colt make some .22s for training? If you know where I can learn it's value that info would also be appreciated. Thanks

March 11, 2009, 11:19 PM
Not a military pistol, but Colt made a pistol called the Ace, which was a 22LR version of the Government Model. THere are also adapters that will replace the barrel and slide and allow firing 22LR in a Government Model.

March 12, 2009, 08:40 AM
Yea, you need to see if it says ACE on the slide, or if it is a regular .45 converted with a .22 kit. In either case, being an old Colt it is worth some money. If it is a GI .45 with a conversion kit, it can be changed back to fire regular .45 ammo with the proper parts. I don't know if the ACE can be converted back, but I think it might not. As far as I know the military taught trainees to shoot .45's with .45 ammo, period. Ace was a commercial gun.

March 12, 2009, 08:45 AM
I shot a converted 1911 during qualifications in boot camp.

March 12, 2009, 10:26 AM
Conversion Units will have a modified Ace logo on the slide and have "Conversion Unit .22-.45" Marked underneath. A wealth of information can be found at www.coltautos.com.

March 12, 2009, 10:28 AM
There were three 1911-style Colt .22's - none of them a conversion as we know it, but made as .22's.

One was meant to be as close to GI as possible, including recoil - the original Service Ace, with the floating chamber & parkerized or blue finish, made 1935-45 ("SM" prefix serial to about 13,900).
Some of these may have been (GI) issued, as specimens have been seen with "USCG" & "U.S,PROP'Y" marks and/or a gov't inspector's mark, like "RS".

There was also the commercial Ace, (ser #1 - 10,935) made 1931-41 & in 1947; and the post-war Service Ace, made by the Colt Custom Shop 1978-82 in blue or electroless nickle (Serial # has either "SM" prefix or B70 suffix).

There was a non-firearm .45ACP-to-.22LR conversion unit made/sold commercially, consisting of slide/barrel/spring/guide/magazine, from 1938-1954, some of which have been documented as issued to USMC - copied by other companies today, such as Ceiner, Kimber, etc.


March 12, 2009, 11:14 AM
As usual, you are a wealth of information.
Thanks for the history and info!

James K
March 12, 2009, 02:38 PM
The original Ace was developed by Colt in response to an Army request for a .22 version of the M1911A1. It did not have a floating chamber; it was a straight blowback with a special slide, downsized and cut out inside to reduce weight. Many were used by National Guard and reserve units for indoor firing.

The frame was the same as the 1911, but had no ejector installed; the Ace slide has no ejector cut and cannot be used with the standard M1911A1 frame unless the ejector is removed.

The Ace is sometimes called the "civilian model" (in contrast to the "Service Model Ace") but both guns were sold on the commercial market as well as to the military.

As you can gather, the Ace was a nice gun, with negligible recoil. But the Army wanted more of a "big gun" feel, so the Service Model Ace was developed by Colt. It used a floating chamber to increase the recoil and make the pistol feel more like the .45 pistol. It was not a conversion, but there was sold a .45-.22 Conversion Unit (Colt put the numbers "backward", I didn't) to change the SM Ace to the .45 caliber should that be required on mobilization.

The original (or "real" Ace) was discontinued in 1941, though a few were assembled from parts and sold in 1947. The Service Model Ace was discontinued as a gun in 1945, then briefly revived in the late 1970's. Colt made the .22-45 conversion kit into the 1980's. Ciener and others make the same kit today.

The services have also used other .22 pistols, including the Colt Woodsman, various High-Standard models, and the Ruger Mk I target pistol.