Savage 1907 .45ACP

In the first years of the 20th century, the US military was looking for a new standard sidearm in a .45-caliber cartridge, and set up a series of trials to choose one. The entrants to the 1907 pistol trials included many of the prominent semiauto pistols of the day, like the Parabellum (aka Luger), John Browning's design that would become the Model 1911, the Bergmann-Bayard, and the Webley-Fosbery. Among these submissions was a design form the Savage Arms Company; basically a version of their .32ACP model 1907 pistol scaled up to .45ACP.

In the initial testing, the Savage did fairly well, although it did suffer a few dozen various malfunctions over the course of 913 rounds. It was recommended for further field trials by the testing board, along with the Colt/Browning pistol. The result of these extended trials was the selection of the Colt/Browning, as it proved a more durable and reliable design than the Savage.

Having now had the opportunity to fire the Savage, I would concur with the Army decision to choose the Colt over the Savage. The Savage is a decent pistol, but inferior to the Colt 1911 in a number of ways. It has more felt recoil, it is physically larger and bulkier,and its controls are more difficult to operate. Granted, many of these things could be fixed with further refinement (as has been done with the 1911 in 106 years since the trials). As it stood in 1907, the Savage had a surprisingly stiff trigger and tiny sights, which made it difficult to shoot accurately. The magazine release was a bit awkward to use, and the slide lock was both very small and not conveniently positioned. The grip was generally good, although designed at too close to a right angle to the bore (a bit like holding a TT33 Tokarev).