The 1907 US Pistol & Revolver Trials is a weapon trial that eventually led to the adoption of the M1911 pistol.


At the close of the 19th century, the US was using a .38 caliber revolver as a service pistol; this was found to be insufficient, and so a program for the adoption of a .45 caliber pistol was started. A small group of designers later assembled on January and March 1907 to test out a variety of pistols and revolvers from various manufacturers, including Colt, Savage and Bergmann for the trials. The pistols were put through a variety of tests, including firing, endurance and rust tests. The rust test was taken very seriously, as quoted: "The mechanism will be thoroughly cleansed of grease by boiling in a solution of soda, the ends of the barrel tightly corked, and the pistol then placed in a saturated solution of sal-ammoniac for five minutes." At the end of the tests, the Colt design was chosen as the winner and ended up being developed as the M1911 pistol.


Bergmann Model 1906

A pistol submitted to the trials, but was rejected due to the weapon's failing hammer which always resulted in light strikes of the primer.

Colt M1907

The overall winner of the trials. Heavily based on the Colt M1905 with a few refinements and originally plagued with reliability problems and lots of prejudice, Colt took these pistols back and refined them even more, which led this design to victory. 185 of the original 200 pistols would later end up being sold to civilians by The Bannerman Company.

Colt New Double-Action Revolver

Acted as a control group. Would eventually be adopted in 1909 as the Colt M1909 as a stopgap before the M1911 would be adopted.

Knoble automatic pistol

Designed by William B. Knoble, this pistol was submitted to the trials in 1907; Knoble himself was not present at said trials and instead, an expert armorer from the Springfield Armory was there to represent him. The weapon was rejected and set aside after the weapon was found to be very crudely made and "smooth working being impossible".

Luger .45 ACP variant

Despite being one of the better designs, the Luger ended up being rejected due to there being various problems with commercial ammunition with the pistol, and that the primer powder required for the Luger was unavailable in the US.

Savage automatic pistol

Designed by Elbert Searle, the Model 1907 was one of two finalists of the competition. Despite being one of two finalists, the Savage ultimately lost out to the Colt as the Colt held up better in most conditions; 181 of the 200 made were sold to civilians after the tests. The Savage would later be developed into the commercially successful Savage Model 1907.

Smith & Wesson Double-Action Revolver

Acted as a control group, like the Colt revolver.


Designed by Major George Fosbery, this revolver was submitted to the trials in 1907. The Webley-Fosbery was deemed too complicated without any significant advantages over normal semi-automatic pistols, with the addition of a few cons, such as a time-consuming reload and a shallow capacity of six rounds, and as such, was rejected.

White-Merrill 1907

Designed by Joseph Chester White and Samuel Merrill, the White-Merrill was submitted to trials in 1907. While it looked promising, it failed to perform well due to many different malfunctions and was eventually dropped from the tests, though the board did remark that the inclusion of a device to cock the weapon with one hand was commendable. White and Merrill would later attempt to get the Ordnance Department to test out their new pistol in 1911, but various complications and the adoption of the M1911 pistol caused all this to fall through.

Gallery of contendersEdit

External linksEdit