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Question about slide hardening

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It is evident in this picture that Colt hardened the front of this 1943 dated USGI slide as well as the area around the slide stop, but my question is why didn't they go ahead and harden the entire slide while they were at it? I assume it was some type of production shortcut during wartime, but would have taken significantly more effort to do the whole thing?

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The technology to fully harden a finish-machined slide without warping it had not been perfected yet. Austempering was developed during WW2 but wasn't fully implemented until after the war with Colt's commercial production. There were some Austempered slides made during WW2 but they were still being tested by the Ordnance Department when the war ended.
 

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Sometimes, but not always.
 
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