Skip to main content

Model 1917 Colt New Service

Model 1917 Colt New Service

The Great War was an interesting mixture of the old and the new, and it was the proving ground for new small arms such as the automatic pistol, but because so many men were being put into the field so rapidly, lots older military firearms were dragged out of storage in arsenals, and many civilian guns were being enlisted for the duration. A good case in point is the Colt Model 1917 New Service revolver.

The standard issue pistol for U.S. forces was the M1911 Colt automatic, but there were not enough of them, so Colt and Smith & Wesson were contracted to manufacture additional arms.

Smith & Wesson devised a method to allow that company's Second Model Hand Ejector and Colt's New Service revolvers to handle the rimless .45 ACP cartridge used in the 199 Government Model auto through the use of half-moon clips.


Colt's New Service revolver proved to be a particularly apt choice for this. The large-frame six-shooter was the company's most robust double-action design to date. Initially offered in 1898, the New Service featured a swing-out cylinder that was opened by means of a catch on the left side of the frame that was pulled to the rear to unlock it. The revolver, chambered in .45 Long Colt, saw U.S. military service as early as 1909 during the Philippine Campaign.


To turn the basic New Service into a Model 1917, the rubber grips were replaced with wood, a lanyard ring was added and the cylinder was modified to handle the half-moon clips.

The initial 50,000 1917s were made with straight chambers, but later guns had stepped chambers, so that in a pinch .45s could be loaded without their clips. In that instance, cases would have to be poked out one at a time with a stick or rod.

By the end of the war, more than 150,000 Model 1917 New Services had been manufactured. Eventually they were removed from service and put into storage, but with the start of the Second World War they were again issued to U.S. forces; the Army and Marines used them in both Europe and the Pacific.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Handguns editor Scott Rupp fires some Federal Punch .380 defensive handgun ammo into ballistics gel the range for a performance test run.

KelTec CMR30 22WMR Review - Compact, Versatile & Fun to Shoot

KelTec CMR30 22WMR Review - Compact, Versatile & Fun to Shoot

Designed for lightweight, low recoil accuracy, the CMR30 .22 WMR features a nice, single-action trigger, ambidextrous dual non-reciprocating operating handles, ambidextrous safety and heel catch magazine release. The KelTec CMR30 is a .22 Magnum carbine that holds 30 rounds in each of its two flush-fit magazines. That's a lot of firepower for a 3.8-pound, semi-auto, collapsible truck gun. It comes out of the box as you see it, including Magpul sights and ambidextrous, non-reciprocating dual operating handles. She's a straight blow-back tack driver that delivers a ton of fun.

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these two models – the KelTec PF9 9mm and the Ruger LCP II .22LR – are no exceptions. They are effective for personal protection but only if you put in the time to practice.

Pistol Skills Drills - Hardball

Pistol Skills Drills - Hardball's Headache

The Hardball's Headache pistol drill is very similar to the El Presidente drill with a higher level of difficulty due to two added twists.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

A look at eight optics-ready pistols for just about any application or budget, including offerings from CZ-USA, Springfield, Smith & Wesson and more.8 Great Red-Dot-Ready Pistols Sights

8 Great Red-Dot-Ready Pistols

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 01, 2020

A look at eight optics-ready pistols for just about any application or budget, including...

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these two models – the KelTec PF9 9mm and the Ruger LCP II .22LR – are no exceptions. They are effective for personal protection but only if you put in the time to practice.Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice Training

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Handguns Staff - August 14, 2020

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these...

The defensive handgun market is ripe with affordable, accurate and dependable choices, but these six compact high-capacity 9mm pistols stand out from the rest of the field.6 Best Compact High-Capacity 9mm Handguns Compact

6 Best Compact High-Capacity 9mm Handguns

Jeff John - July 08, 2020

The defensive handgun market is ripe with affordable, accurate and dependable choices, but...

With the introduction of the XD-M Elite line of pistols, Springfield Armory one-ups itself.Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Precision Review Reviews

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Precision Review

James Tarr - August 21, 2020

With the introduction of the XD-M Elite line of pistols, Springfield Armory one-ups itself.

See More Trending Articles

More Revolvers

The Heritage Rough Rider revolver is the perfect vehicle for teaching, small game hunting and, of course, plinking.Heritage Rough Rider American Flag Revolver – Beauty Shot Revolvers

Heritage Rough Rider American Flag Revolver – Beauty Shot

Stan Trzoniec - March 24, 2020

The Heritage Rough Rider revolver is the perfect vehicle for teaching, small game hunting and,...

The Colt Single Action Army, adopted by the military in 1873, is without doubt one of the most iconic firearms in U.S. history.A Relatively Affordable and Working 2nd Gen Colt SAA Revolvers

A Relatively Affordable and Working 2nd Gen Colt SAA

Bob Campbell - February 04, 2019

The Colt Single Action Army, adopted by the military in 1873, is without doubt one of the most...

This big double-action revolver/cartridge combination is a great blend of power and shootability.Ruger Super Redhawk .480 Revolvers

Ruger Super Redhawk .480

J. Scott Rupp - October 08, 2019

This big double-action revolver/cartridge combination is a great blend of power and...

Ed Head reviews the Colt King Cobra Revolver.Review: Colt King Cobra Revolver Revolvers

Review: Colt King Cobra Revolver

Ed Head - March 26, 2019

Ed Head reviews the Colt King Cobra Revolver.

See More Revolvers

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Handguns App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now