Sadly, many of these pistols- the number is reportedly unknown- were destroyed in the early 90s de-mil program under the Clinton administration, along with many other pieces of ordnance including M1 Garands.
This was finally stopped by action in the US Senate undertaken by a senator from Alaska around 1995. My information may be out of date, I do nopt know what the current status is.
A lot of them were worn out, after forty or more years of service. I don't really have a problem with destruction of worn-out military surplus, but a lot of unissued weapons have been cut up for scrap, as well.
Everyone should write their congressmen and women, to lobby for release of M-14 rifles through the CMP program. An ATF-approved method of converting them to semi-auto-only was developed some years ago, and there's no good reason why these rifles shouldn't be returned to the tax-paying public (of course, since we've already paid for them, why does the CMP sell them to us????).
Reportedly at least 10,000 frames are still in cold storage, having been salvaged by the USMC for possible future uses. To give you an idea regarding attrition, nearly 3 million USGI 1911's were made from 1912-1945. When the M9 was adopted in 1984 only about 400,000 1911's remained in military inventory. The rest had been lost, destroyed, included in foreign aid packages, sold through DCM, or "liberated" by other means.
For that matter, where are all the "Commercials"? For such a long production history there are a relative few for sale from what I can see. And when you do find one for sale it is likely to be one from the Eighties or early Nineties. It just seems, on a gut level, that there should be more.
Actually, if you'll look at the production numbers you'd be surprised to learn that Colt didn't sell many commercial 1911s at all, at least up until the Series 70's came out. Revolvers were king for most of the 20th Century, and it was only in the late 60's that auto pistols really became popular. The fact that a new Colt Government Model cost a working man a month's wages during the early years didn't help much either. Those who complain about the high price tag of a new Colt or Kimber apparently aren't aware that they are much cheaper these days once you factor in inflation.
I wrote an article for the Washingon Arms Collectors newsletter, concerning the price of guns in "real terms", corrected for inflation, and the price of a new Government Model is now abut 50% higher than it was fifty years ago. The Norincos, when they could be had for $300, were about the same price as a Colt used to be. Likewise, the $400 Italian peacemakers are about the same price that the Single Action Army was in the '50s. It was in the 1980s that the prices really started to go up, with inflation and increased labor costs. From 1847 until the turn of the century, a new Colt service pistol, of the latest kind, could be purchased for about $20.
The Ruger Blackhawk and Winchester 94 cost about the same as they did when they were introduced. The Ruger Single Six is actually cheaper than it was when it was introduced.
the other poster who indicated the #400,000 gi 1911 in inventory when the m-9 was adopted is accurate-at the time several things happened -many were given to foreign aid programs, also there is an obscure federal program allowing law enforcement agencies to acquire used military weapons/equipemt for the asknig and I'm sure some have been transferred in this manner. Most went into "war contingency stock"- so some where there are probably thousands in large bins to be re-used in some "emergency"
soem are being used for special applications-meusoc type programs and for building into military guns for competiton- I disagree with another post that indicated some still n military inventory at the unit level-this is long gone and would really be unusual- my state headquarters has some gi match 45's for competitive use but that's all -I also recall some statment that so many 45's were so worn that likely 1/2 would not pass a tech inspection and would be worthy of scrap-not at all unlikely considering the youngest one was 40 at the time of the M-9 adoption!
Some are still the armory, and others are in the hands of the operators.
Unfortunately, not enough them. But this is what happens when people who make the decisions are so far removed from the trenches that they cannot even tell you what a trench looks like from the inside.
You can disagree all you like, but its not going to change the fact that ... THERE ARE m1911's AVAILABLE AT THE UNIT LEVEL IN THE U.S ARMY (and the Green-Beanies & D-Boys ain’t the only ones that have them)
to 11 bang bang: are you currently in a military unit? if so which one? just curious -as you would be one of the very few lucky enough to have acess to the 1911's!!! the last unit in my state to get rid of 45's did so around 1996-I have not seen or heard of any in a current unit until your post