U.S. Switch & Signal M1911A1 Pistol…
…The Range Classic of the Week
The Union Switch & Signal company of Swissvale Pennsylvania, primarily made
railroad signaling equipment but received a contract on May 5, 1942 for the
manufacture of M1911A1 pistols. The first pistols were accepted by Ordnance
inspectors in January 1943, but the company received word that their contract would
be canceled. Within a month U.S.&S. had signed a contract to supply carbine parts.
On March 8, 1943 the company was officially notified that their contract had been
cut back from 200,000 pistols to 30,000 pistols. However, on June 26th, when the
contract was nearly complete, and many of the workers had been transferred to
Carbine operations, the company received a letter of intent to purchase an
additional 25,000 pistols. The last of the pistols was shipped on November 27, 1943.
55,000 Union Switch and Signal pistols were delivered serial numbered from 1041405
to 1096404. U.S.&S. pistols are the second rarest of the M1911A1s (55,000 produced),
only the Singer is rarer (500 produced). None of the Union Switch & Signal 1911A1s have
the crossed cannons ordnance stamp. We are told these were issued to the Army Air
Corps during the war.