Talk about a "chance in the force" for a country, after issuing the Nagant revolver for many years, Norway adopted the Colt Model 1911 in 1914. But with a twist or two. In addition to the United States, many other countries around the world adopted the Model of 1911 pistol. One of the first happened to be Norway. Having adopted the 7.5mm Nagant revolver in 1883, Norway used this and the model 1893 Nagant for some 30 years until it was replaced by the .45 ACP caliber Colt Model of 1911. Indeed, the first of these pistols were purchased from Colt.
Small arms genius John Browning designed pistols for both Colt and Fabrique National (F.N.), of Belgium. It was agreed that Colt owned the patents on pistols that Browning designed for Colt, and that Fabrique National owned the patents on Browning-designed F.N. pistols. It was also agreed each company had exclusive right, license and privilege to manufacture, or have manufactured, automatic pistols containing Browning patents. Each company could exercise these rights in their own territory without interference from the other company.
Norway began testing automatic pistols in 1909, and through 1912 a Board of Officers continually reviewed all native or foreign pistols submitted to it. Prior to 1910, Colt submitted both the .38 and .45 Military Models with the .45 Military Model being most favorably received. During 1909 and 1910, this pistol was used as the standard against which all others were judged.
Late in 1911, Colt submitted what may have been a pre-production sample of the .45 Military Model of 1911 that was even better received by the Norwegian Military Board. By 1912, the pistol was approved and adopted into Norwegian Service with a nomenclature: COLT AUTOMATISK PISTOL MODEL 1912.
A New Legend?
Colt was given an order for 400 .45 ACP caliber Government Model pistols to be delivered as soon as possible. These pistols were taken from commercial production sometime in the latter part of 1913, or during the first months of 1914. Commercial serial numbering was used with the standard "C" prefix, and while serial numbers are unrecorded, they are believed to have been in the 10,000 range. It's reported this entire order was issued to the Norwegian Navy.
Norway contemplated placing larger orders for the pistol when World War I began, and may actually have purchased another 300 guns, but before negotiations could begin for additional orders, the United States had entered the war and all of Colt's production was taken by the U.S. Government. This prompted the Norwegians to manufacture their own version of the pistol. However, licensing Norway to make the Browning-designed Model of 1911 pistol required the approval of Fabrique National, because Norway was in its territory.
In January, 1915, negotiations between the Norwegian Government, Fabrique National and Colt resulted in a license agreement permitting Norway to manufacture the Colt Government Model (1911) pistol for issuance to Norwegian Military Forces. Designated as the Model 1914, the pistol was produced at Norway's Kongsberg Vapenfabrikk in Kongsberg, Norway. Some of the Government Model pistols Norway had purchased from Colt were probably used as models during production startup. What royalty arrangements were agreed upon for Norwegian production is unknown.
Production of the Norwegian Model 1914 pistol began at Kongsberg in the summer of 1917, and the first pistols were assembled and tested in December of that year. Made in .45 ACP caliber, the designation was in millimeters as 11.25mm. The original nomenclature of "COLT AUT. PISTOL M/1912," was stamped on the left side of the slide. Between July, 1917 and June, 1919, a total of 500 pistols were fabricated at the Kongsberg factory. Beginning at #1, the serial numbers ran to 500, and the year of manufacture was also included.Serial 1 is in Bady's book " Gouvernment Models", its whereabouts today is unknown, and serial number 2 was stolen from the The Norwegian Armed Troops Museum in 1978.
They really want that gun back!
These pistols were identical to the Colt Model of 1911, except for a minor detail in the hammer checkering. During the two year period required to produce the first 500 pistols, a complete mass production tooling took place. By 1919, the Kongsberg Arsenal was ready to begin high speed quantity production of the pistol.
The final production pistol exhibited certain design changes from the original 500 pistols. In this version, the slide stop is extended down and back, assuming a tail-like shape to make it easier to operate. This change required a cut-out in the left stock. Although this was the only significant change to the pistol throughout its production, the new version also had a new designation. The left side of the slide is stamped "11.25 m/m AUT. PISTOL M/1914."
The first specimens of the Norwegian M/1914 pistol numbered from 501 on. Initially finished in blue, the M/1914 pistol was equipped with hardwood grips checkered in the large diamond pattern found on the original Colt Model of 1911. How many pistols used grips made of walnut is not known, but at some point, the hardwood used was light in color, and the grips were blackened using a paint-like stain. There was no lanyard loop on the M/1914 pistol.
Manufacture of the M/1914 continued periodically through 1941. During the German occupation of Norway, manufacture of the pistol was continued, and specimens produced under German control have Waffenampt acceptance marks, and are quite rare since most did not survive the war.The fraction of pistols produced and their affirmation varied greatly from month to month. This was because the workers at Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk, most against the German occupation, rarely worked at full capacity. This was done as a silent challenge against the Germans. Often the pistols and other weapons produced were of poor quality, this also due to the protest.
Some of the most rare are the "Matpakke-Colt" (lunch box Colt) that were made out of parts smuggled out during WW2 by workers and passed down by resistance forces.
These have usually no serial markings or acceptance marks and the finish is usually not completed.
After the war, limited production continued for about a year. This run of M/1914 pistols was identical to those made during the war, but without the Waffenampt markings. By 1946 a total of some 33,000 Norwegian 1911-type pistols had been made by Kongsberg Arsenal.
At some time during its production, the M/1914 pistol was changed from a blued to a Parkerized finish, and during this time its exterior became less refined than previous pistols. Nevertheless, all major and many minor parts are stamped either with the pistol's entire serial number or the last three digits preceded by a period. All M/1914 pistols were made in the 1911 configuration with none of the improvements found in the Model 1911A1 pistol. Disassembly is identical to the Colt.
Values of unaltered Norwegian M/1914 pistols vary with age and condition, and there are at least five variations for the collector, with each of them commanding their own price. The few M/1914 pistols made after NAZI occupation are relatively unknown.
The Kongsberg Colt was phased out of use in the 80's.
What price can you really put on this kind of history? I wonder how many were "converted" by unknowing pistol-smiths over the years and now tote adjustable sights and speed safties?
I know that it exists a wery good book about the Kongsberg Colt.
Karl Egil Hanevik
Sadly, it is on norwegian only.
Before the Kongsberg Colt was phased out, some of them was checked for fatigue cracks. A lot of them had fatigue cracks in the frame, barrel lugs, top of cartridge chamber and around the cartridge chamber. They was then deemed to "be unsafe in a peace situation".
So, if you have a orginal Kongsberg Colt and is planning to fire it.. Have it checked by a competent gunsmith!
Kontrollofiserer= officer of approval and control.
The * star symbol was used on parts that had minor faults, but was still accepted.
How .45 acp is was measured in "norwegian".
Any comments ?