Colt Model 1911A1 Transition Model - Serial number
709427. On June 12, 1923, Colt's was awarded the contract to manufacture
10,000 "Improved Automatic Pistols" to include the modifications that were
approved on April 20, 1923. These pistols were numbered from serial
number 700001 to 710000. In this range, 709001 to 710000 were reserved
for National Match use.
Alan J. Van den Berg
Alexandria, Virginia Gazette Obituary - June 2000
Fairfax County, Virginia resident and community leader for over 50 years,
Alan J. Van den Berg was a remarkable man: a scholar, nuclear engineer,
septuagenarian, emergency medical technician, Red Cross volunteer, father
He loved to learn and apply his knowledge. “He was always looking for
creative solutions to problems,” recalls his son, Joe. “He loved
challengers.” To the nuclear engineers at Fort Belvoir, he was the one who
ran the test nuclear power plant or was sent to fix nuclear problems in
Greenland. To the teenagers that flooded his Mt. Vernon home in the 1950s
and 1960s, he was a good pizza cook and willing listener, who relished the
activity in the home he shared with his wife, Jean.
To the doctors who credited him with twice saving his own life he was a
medical diagnostician. To the EMT squad he joined in his 70s he was a man
of enormous vitality with an amazing medical knowledge. To the Red Cross
patients he ferried around or helped after a 3AM fire when he was in his
80s, he was a saint. To his wife, family and friends, he was Van.
Van was born June 1, 1910 in the Gramercy Park area of New York City,
where he graduated at 15 from DeWitt Clinton High School. After studying
at Brown University, he transferred to the University of Virginia, where
he was a varsity swimmer and in 1931 received his undergraduate degree in
chemistry. He then enrolled in medical school at Columbia University,
withdrawing two years later after his father’s death to pursue a career in
He received his degree in electrical engineering at New York University,
where he also took courses in business administration. He later studied
nuclear science and nuclear engineering at Pennsylvania State University.
He studied at the Massachusetts Institutes of Technology, where he also
Van served in the Army during World War II, attaining the rank of major,
and subsequently worked as a civilian licensed engineer for the Army Corps
of Engineers until 1980, the last seven following the partial removal of
his larynx because of cancer. From his medical school experience, he
detected a flow in the suturing following surgery and communicated this to
the surgeon, a correction that probably saved his life, according to his
son. Although he learned to talk again, he was forced to give up his hobby
as a barbershop quartet singer and his active role in the Fort Belvoir
Toastmasters Club, where he served as an officer.
He wrote extensively about aspects of nuclear technology in professional
journals and operated a test model 10-megawatt nuclear power plant at Fort
Belvoir. There he worked on a process for using nuclear waster to purify
water, but it was never developed commercially after discontinuation of
the reprocessing of nuclear waste in the 1970s.
After retiring at age 70 from the Corps of Engineers, Van studied at
Northern Virginia Community College and received his certificate as a
certified emergency medical technician (EMT). He worked 10 years as a
volunteer for the Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad, retiring when he was 80.
He remained active as a Red Cross volunteer and in numerous activities in
the Episcopal Church.
MODIFICATIONS ADOPTED FOR THE AUTOMATIC PISTOL,
CALIBER .45 M1911
A - Tang of Grip Safety Extended.
B - Clearance Cut Made on Receiver.
C - Mainspring Housing Knurled and Raised.
D - Face of Trigger Knurled and Cut Back.
E - Width of Front Sight Increased.
Image from ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT. AUTOMATIC PISTOL, CALIBER .45,
MODEL OF 1911.
Training Regulations 320-15. (1-2), War Department, Washington, March 3,
Close-up of serial number and United
States Property mark on the right side of the frame.
Colt assembler's mark on upper right flat of the trigger
Right profile minus grips. Note "MODEL OF 1911 U.S. ARMY"
marking on the right side of the slide.
Left profile of serial number 709427
with fully checkered walnut grips (28 rows +/- 1 between screw holes)
Left profile minus grips.
WTG inspector's mark enclosed
within a double circle are the initials of Captain Walter T. Gorton,
Inspector of Ordnance from December 5, 1921 to March 3, 1926. H
and G on top of frame, 20 on right trigger guard, H above firing pin stop
plate, G inside slide. Only 10,000 pistols were made in 1924.
Small "P" on upper left flat of the trigger guard. This
mark is not present on the earliest Transition examples but is also
present on 1937, 1938 and 1939 contract pistols.
Front of slide, profile of barrel bushing.
Grip screw bushing.
"H" on rear of slide above firing pin stop (with serifs).
"H" 12 o'clock position from disconnector hole (with
serifs). "G" at 5 o'clock position from disconnector hole.
"G" mark on bottom of slide.
Disconnector recess in the slide.
New style arched mainspring housing - knurled and raised.
Model 1924 slide stop.
COLT 45 AUTO and P marked barrel.
Colt small "G" barrel.