The M1917 Revolver refers to two .45 ACP revolvers with the same designation used by the United States during World War I. During World War I, the official sidearm of American forces was the M1911 Government .45 Automatic, however supply shortages forced the U.S. Army to ask two major gun manufacturers, Colt and Smith & Wesson, to each update their existing commercial heavy frame revolvers and build a version that could be fielded as a supplement to the standard M1911.
Colt already had an offering to the military, their M1909 heavy revolver, but it was chambered for the antiquated .45 Long Colt round. They re-chambered the revolver for the newly adopted .45 ACP round (calling the commercial variant "the Colt New Service Revolver"). Smith & Wesson re-chambered their own Second Model .44 Hand Ejector revolver as well. Thus there are two versions of the Model 1917 revolver that are externally very similar, one built by Colt and one built by Smith & Wesson.
Smith & Wesson continued the M1917 with the Model of 1950, later renamed Smith & Wesson Model 22 and Smith & Wesson Model 25.
The .45 ACP was a rimless round, and thus the revolvers required half (or full) moon clips to load the cartridges.
The M1917 Revolver and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:
- Weight: 2.5 lb (1.1 kg) (Colt)
- 2.25 lb (1 kg) (S&W)
- Length: 10.8 in (274 mm)
- Barrel length: 5.5 in (140 mm)
- Cartridge: .45 ACP, .45 Auto Rim
- Action: double action, solid frame with swing-out cylinder
- Muzzle velocity: 760 ft/s ( 231.7 m/s)
- Feed system: six-round cylinder, loaded singly (.45 Auto Rim) or with two three-round half-moon clips (.45 ACP)
- Sights: blade front sight, notched rear sight
Smith & Wesson M1917 Revolver
Smith & Wesson M1917 Revolver (Military issue with lanyard ring) - .45 ACP. Note the ejector-rod socket, common of a S&W revolver. Also note the S&W style cylinder release latch and half-moon front sight. These are the most easily distinguishable external differences between the Colt and S&W versions.
Colt M1917 Revolver
Colt M1917 Revolver (Military issue with lanyard ring) - .45 ACP. Note the unsupported ejector rod - common of Colt revolvers of the period, as well as the Colt-style cylinder release latch and blade front sight. Smooth walnut grips were used on all WWI issue Model 1917 specimens