Colt is one of the most trusted names in the gun industry, especially when it comes to pistols and other handguns, and they have come by this trust the old-fashioned way. They established a reputation of being reliable and efficient in the gun-making industry, so when buying a weapon or weapon blueprint of a Colt the gunsmith knows that quality and reliability are implied.
That is not to say that the builder will not make mistakes, but that the blueprint itself is trustworthy and accurate. Colt is divided into two specific groups, one focusing on weapons for the average Joe (Colt Manufacturing Company, LLC) and one that services the military/law enforcement faction (Colt Defense), including private security companies as well.
A History of the Colt Name and Legacy
Colt’s Manufacturing Company, LLC was founded nearly 200 years ago by Samuel Colt, and the company is well known for innovative engineering, efficient production, and successful marketing of weapons since its inception. Especially during the late 1800s and 1900s, the Colt Company became synonymous with quality, and even though another individuals invented and patented the revolver, Mr. Colt’s company made it better, smarter, and far more successful. A few different models became available after the invention of the revolver, including some models that are still well known today.
Some examples include:
- Peacemaker (Single Action Army)
- Colt Python
- Colt Walker
- Colt Commando (M16 carbines)
The Colt Company (before the split) had opportunities to become the military’s standard issue weapon or replace a weapon that was standard issue, but various problems kept cropping up in those situations. For instance, the Colt OHWS competed with several weapons, but due to performance issues the H&K outdid Colt’s weapon and became the MK23 SOCOM.
Popular Civilian Models vs. Law Enforcement/Military Models
There are many different handgun models associated with Colt, depending on whether the gunsmith is hoping to build something from the civilian side or the military faction of this company. Some models are appropriate for gunsmiths of any skill level, while others require a lot of finesse, expertise, or special equipment that the beginner may or may not possess. In most cases, the designer of the blueprint will offer some advice on this topic (Caution: This blueprint is not intended for a beginner!), but if there is any doubt it is far better to err on the side of caution and seek the advice of an expert gunsmith prior to beginning the project.
Most people choose Colt pistols when seeking blueprint designs, so the following ideas and options are based on that premise. There are other options available on the Internet and in some gun shops, but it depends on the gunsmith and his/her needs.
- Colt’s M1911A1 is one of the more popular designs from the military faction, and considered one of the easier weapons to build from blueprint to showcase status. It is one of the most commonly copied weapons when it comes to single-action, semi-automatic pistols.
- The M1917 revolver is another common military blueprint, and another option that is fairly easy to design and build from scratch. It was a secondary weapon for U.S. military troops many years ago, and it is still a reliable option for collectors of all ages.
- The Colt .45 revolver is an old gun that is still popular among history buffs and historic weapons enthusiasts. It is sometimes called the Model P, M1873, single-action Army, Peacemaker, and SAA.
Finding the Necessary Tools and Parts
Building a Colt from a blueprint is not a matter of walking to Wal-Mart or a hardware store and making a few random purchases, hoping everything turns out for the best in the long run. Specific parts and tools are needed in order to complete the build, depending on what type of weapon is being built and the skill level of the gunsmith. For instance, if a commercially-made barrel is not available, the builder will need to have the tools and skills necessary for machining a barrel from scratch.
The specific tools and materials can normally be found by reading the blueprint carefully, but those with questions can check online forums and parts websites for more information usually. Never attempt to build a gun without being familiar with what is necessary to make it as successful as possible. There are literally dozens of websites that offer parts, tools, kits, and resources for building a Colt or similar pistol from scratch.
Legality of Building a Colt from Blueprints
Like many other weapons, one cannot simply choose to make a gun and do so without the proper licensure from the ATF/BATF. There are laws and regulations associated with building a weapon at home and these should be carefully researched prior to starting the project. Failure to do so can result in monetary fines, jail time, and weapon confiscation, and not just the weapon in question either.
It can also result in loss of ability to own a gun in the United States legally, which would eliminate future opportunities to do things the right way as well.