This is a very scarce example of a Savage Model 1907 pistol that was manufactured for the U.S. 1907 military test trials. Based on the poor performance of the Army's .38 caliber revolvers during the Philippine Insurrection, in January 1906 U.S. Army Ordnance Chief B.G. Crozier issued a letter of invitation to the gun manufacturing industry to develop and submit new semi-automatic handguns utilizing the, then-new, .45 ACP cartridge. Eighteen companies initially responded with only eight actually submitting a test sample pistol. Of the competitors, only the offerings of Savage, Colt, and Luger were found to merit additional trials, though Luger would voluntarily withdraw due to concerns that the Americans wouldn't pick a European offering regardless of virtue. The final result, which involved a few rounds of revisions and corrections for each pistol, was the adoption of Colt's Government Model pistol as the Model of 1911, which in turn would be America's sidearm from World War I to the closing days of the Cold War. Estimates on the total number of Model 1907 pistols vary in the 288-290 range, and many of those were destroyed or misplaced during the course of testing. Aside from a small handful earmarked for retention by museums, all the Savage pistols in government stores were released for commercial sale. Between the number destroyed from the stress of government testing, the number "lost" in transit, and additional wear and tear from civilian buyers, good surviving examples are rare in any condition. This example lacks the one-line Savage address but is marked "CAL .45" ahead of the ejector port, and the "FIRE" and "SAFE" markings on the side of the frame. These markings were an addition requested by the Army partway through testing and were added to the pistols already made, as well as applied to those made after. This pistol is listed by serial number on p. 40 of "Colt .45 Service Pistols: Models of 1911 and 1911A1" by Clawson as one of the pistols issued to Troop I, 3rd U.S. Cavalry stationed at Fort Wingate, New Mexico. The slide lacks the barrel address on the rib and shows the signature heavy serrations towards the rear. It has a ribbed hammer and smooth trigger. This example still retains the thin/narrow grip safety that is not integral to the rear of the frame, and it has the improved Model 1909 markings of "FIRE" and "SAFE" at the rear of the frame along with a pair of replacement wider checkered walnut grip panels, the left panel numbered "159". The pistol is numbered "56" with two circled "S" proofs on the underside of the slide. A swiveling lanyard loop is present, which can be folded into the magazine well if not needed, and the magazine is blue finished and has "122" marked on the spine. Provenance: The Gus Cargile Collection
Fine, retains 90% plus of the refinished blue with pitting visible underneath, light edge wear, some scattered light handling marks, and some of the markings weak or absent (barrel address on rib removed) due to prior refinish by Tryon. The grips are very good with a repaired vertical crack running the length of the right panel and otherwise light wear, some scattered minor handling marks, and mostly well-defined checkering. Mechanically fine.
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