Springfield Armory's 1911 serial number prefix

Blackbeard

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Springfield Armory has been known to cause a bit of confusion, around the pieces they produce. One of the most controversial and often misunderstood is the "NM" prefix on the serial numbers. Normally this prefix stands for "National Match". In this case is does not stand for that.
IMBEL forgings located in Brazil stamp a frame that has more than 50% worth of the work done in Brazil with the a prefix designation of "N". This is often confusing as the GI models are also made in Brazil and the a prefix of "WW". Even the mil-spec models produced by Springfield Armory can come with either a "N" or "NM" designation but more commonly found is the "N".


Springfield Armory's Loaded models can come with either the "NM" or the "N" designation. It's important to note that the "N" prefix are imported completed with the exception of the sight, and beavertail grip safety cuts. The finishing touches are actually completed at their main plant in Illinois. The difference with the "NM" models have majority of internal cuts done, but the rail cuts are performed in the US. The final machining is performed by CNC again, in Illinois.


Here is a quote from an email exchange with Deb from the Springfield Armory Custom Shop
Springfield uses the prefixes of "N" and "NM" to designate 1911-A1 type pistols, just as we used "AM" as the prefix for the P9 series of pistols. The only pistols which use the national match frames are the complete custom pistols built through our custom shop. These pistols have "Springfield Custom" etched on the slide, and will have the "NM" prefix to the serial number.

Deb, Custom Shop Coordinator
Springfield Custom
Springfield Inc.
If you are looking for a Springfield Armory piece made from the Illinois factory look for a serial number consisting of the following:
LW
EMP
TGO-2
TGO-3


If it's a true Springfield Armory Custom Shop piece it will have this in the serial number:
CRG
FBI
DEA
TGO-1


So many of you will simply ask, is the build quality any different? I personally own the NM models, compared to the N model I thought the slide and frame work better together.


I hope this helps you identify your Springfield Armory pieces. Like many of you, I'm a fan of this brand, despite their recent run ins with politics and foot insertions.

If you have any other questions related to this please feel free to post them in our Springfield Armory section.
 

Shadetree

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Thanks for this info, my Mil-Spec has the NM prefix, was wondering if it meant 'National Match' and it was good to find out the real meaning
 

SLAM37

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Thanks Blackbeard. Regarding this part of your post:

"If it's a true Springfield Armory Custom Shop piece it will have this in the serial number:
CRG
FBI
DEA
TGO-1"


I am certain some pieces carrying an “NM” prefix in the serial number also belong on this list of full/true SACS builds…as is the case with the Custom Carry model (and other SACS offerings). Such a build is done by SACS on a National Match frame according to SA’s website: (https://www.springfield-armory.com/custom/). In Deb’s email she even states: “The only pistols which use the national match frames are the complete custom pistols built through our custom shop. These pistols have "Springfield Custom" etched on the slide, and will have the "NM"p refix to the serial number.”

Also … I think the “TGO-1/2/3” pistols have an “RL” prefix – not "TGO-1/2/3" in the serial number.

My SACS Custom Carry with a custom shop certificate dated 8/29/06 carries a NM prefix and is built on a National Match frame. It is one heck of a pistol.

SACS1.jpg
 

dakota1911

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I have wondered about the numbers the are under the slide and grips of many models. Here one a RO I bought new in Jan 2015. It is nice to note the last three digits of the serial number are hand engraved under the slide, a serial number which starts with NM by the way, as it makes one think the slide and frame are kept together during assembly even on this cheaper model. I assume the stamped number is a manufacturing control number by whoever made the slide.



And on the frame under the stocks is a different number, again not related to the serial number.

 

HRColey

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I have wondered about the numbers the are under the slide and grips of many models. Here one a RO I bought new in Jan 2015. It is nice to note the last three digits of the serial number are hand engraved under the slide, a serial number which starts with NM by the way, as it makes one think the slide and frame are kept together during assembly even on this cheaper model. I assume the stamped number is a manufacturing control number by whoever made the slide.



And on the frame under the stocks is a different number, again not related to the serial number.

September of 2018 I retired after thirty years of working closely to the military supply system. The numbers you are seeing are most likely part numbers and have nothing to do with the weapon’s serial number. Hope this helps.
 

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