Springfield's GI 45
I was one of the first people to place an order, and I received one of the first 300 pistols. When my GI style pistol arrived, it came in an olive drab cardboard box with a dry parkerized finish. The first grips were black plastic, and the frame was one of the previous blocky frames. Springfield had rushed to get these guns to salivating shooters in time. Springfield later shipped free brown plastic GI style grips to those who bought first and received guns with black plastic grips.
The lack of historical accuracy did not bother me much. The ejection port was high like it should be, the slide serrations were vertical, and the sights were military. As a bonus, the barrel was blued rather than polished as some had feared. After the initial offerings, the internet reviews were favorable. Others were similarly pleased, comparing it to late-war Ithaca M1911A1 pistols. The gun buying masses came clamoring for this basic 1911 pistol.
Like all Springfield 1911s the pistol had the integrated locking system in the mainspring housing. That was the first item to go on mine. The ILS mainspring housing was traded for a serrated GI unit with a lanyard loop. Next, the serrated trigger was swapped out for a GI trigger, and the thumb safety exchanged for a GI unit. A wide spur hammer found it's way on the back of the gun, just because I liked them. I found that an oversized Ed Brown checkered slide stop helped tighten things up a bit, so I left it in place rather than the original serrated slide stop.
I treated the dry porous parkerized finish to prevent rusting and enhance the wear properties. As a result, the pistol's finish started to look a bit more "GI." Finally, after five years of wearing walnut double diamonds, I opted to screw some genuine Keyes Fiber Co. USGI grips to the Springfield.
As can be seen in the advertisement, the original MSRP for this gun (PW9108L) was $467. I paid an even $400 for mine new in the Spring of 2003. A few folks saved even more with prices between $360 and $400. Today, this pistol typically sells for between $450 and $500. Now known as the "GI45" to prevent confusion with the "Mil-Spec," the simple, basic GI style pistol remains a top seller for Springfield five years later.