Colt SSP Prototype Double Action Semi-Automatic .45 ACP Pistol

Categories: Collectibles, Handguns
Brands: Colt
Caliber: .45 ACP
Model: 1911

This is a Prototype Colt SSP cambered in 45 ACP; the SSP’s journey concluded without mass production, with existing units subjected to extensive testing, gifted to distinguished individuals, or absorbed into the military’s logistical networks. Today, the “COLT’S MODEL S S P/45 ACP” has become rare and is treasured for its historical significance.

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Description

This Colt SSP Prototype was initially conceptualized in the early 1970s as a forward-thinking response to anticipated military needs and represents a remarkable chapter in firearm innovation. With its inception predating official military specifications, this model was Colt’s strategic foray into the burgeoning market of high-capacity 9mm firearms, seeking to rival the emerging trend of the so-called “Wonder Nine.” Despite the .45 ACP’s dedicated following, the allure of standardizing the 9x19mm NATO cartridge—and its enhanced magazine capacity—was undeniable.

Colt’s creation diverged significantly from the iconic 1911A1 design, overhauling both its internal workings and external silhouette. Notably, the pistol boasts a robust slide anchored by comprehensive external frame rails and a sophisticated barrel anchored without the traditional link. Further distinguishing the SSP was its modular “en block” hammer and mainspring assembly, which was ingeniously crafted to allow quick disassembly for upkeep.

A standout feature of the SSP was its adaptability; it was ingeniously engineered to transition between the 9×19 NATO and .45 ACP calibers with minimal component exchanges. Although this versatility was not a requirement for the subsequent XM9/XM10 trials, its inclusion proved prescient, especially considering the eventual military adoption of the modular Sig-Sauer M17/M18, which succeeded where the SSP did not.

The SSP’s journey concluded without mass production, with existing units subjected to extensive testing, gifted to distinguished individuals, or absorbed into the military’s logistical networks. Today, these pistols, especially those marked with “COLT’S MODEL S S P/45 ACP,” have become rarities, treasured for their historical significance and innovative features, including the blade and notch sighting system, ambidextrous safety and a design accommodating right-handed operation.

 

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