1962 Gold Cup

1911   •    Semi-Automatic    •    1962
History of the Colt Gold Cup National Match

Greg | 22 March 2024

The Colt Gold Cup National Match is a legendary handgun that epitomizes precision, reliability, and the rich history of American firearms manufacturing. Designed as a premier competition pistol, the Gold Cup has become a symbol of excellence in shooting sports, cherished by collectors and competitors alike. This article delves into the history, design, and legacy of the Colt Gold Cup National Match, tracing its origins from the early 20th century to its current status as a revered classic.

Origins and Development

The Colt Gold Cup's story begins in the aftermath of World War I, a period marked by a surge in interest in competitive shooting. The National Matches at Camp Perry, which started in 1907, gained popularity, and there was a growing demand for a commercial pistol that could meet the rigorous standards of competitive marksmanship. Recognizing this demand, Colt introduced the National Match model in 1932, which was based on the M1911A1 platform but with significant enhancements to cater to target shooters.

The National Match pistols featured hand-fitted parts, a match-grade barrel, and a finely tuned trigger, offering superior accuracy and performance. These modifications set the stage for what would eventually evolve into the Gold Cup series.
1962 Colt Gold Cup National Match pistol

The Birth of the Gold Cup

In 1957, Colt launched the Gold Cup National Match, further refining the National Match's design. The Gold Cup featured an adjustable trigger stop, a wider grooved trigger, and a fully adjustable Bomar rear sight, setting new standards for accuracy and precision in handguns. The slide was also lightened to reduce recoil, enhancing the shooter's ability to maintain accuracy over rapid sequences of fire.

Over the years, the Gold Cup underwent several iterations, including the introduction of the Series 70 in 1970, which introduced a collet bushing to improve barrel-to-slide fit. The Series 80, introduced in the 1980s, added a firing pin safety, reflecting Colt's commitment to both performance and safety.

1962 Colt Gold Cup
Legacy and Modern Variants

The Gold Cup's legacy is not just in its innovative design but also in its contribution to the sport of shooting. It has been the choice of champions in countless competitions, cementing its place in the pantheon of great American firearms. Today, the Gold Cup is available in various models, including the Series 70 and Series 80 configurations, and in calibers like .45 ACP and 9mm, catering to a new generation of shooters while retaining the classic qualities that made it famous.

Collectors and enthusiasts treasure vintage Gold Cup pistols for their craftsmanship, historical significance, and the stories they tell of American ingenuity and sportsmanship. Meanwhile, modern iterations continue to offer unmatched accuracy and reliability, embodying Colt's enduring legacy in the competitive shooting world.

1962 Colt Gold Cup


The Colt Gold Cup National Match is more than just a handgun; it's a testament to the pursuit of perfection. From its early days as the National Match to its current status as a revered classic, the Gold Cup represents the pinnacle of precision shooting. Its rich history and continued relevance in competitive shooting underscore its significance not only as a piece of firearms heritage but also as a beacon of excellence in design and performance.

According to the Colt Archive, this gun was shipped on February 4, 1963 as part of a 3 gun shipment to John Jovino Gun Shop of New York City.

My Favorite Semi-Automatic Handgun is the Colt Model 1911...

For the past year I have searched for a 1960 Gold Cup National Match. When this 1962 gun came up for auction, I jumped at the chance.

There will be a trip to the indoor gun range and I will report back on the performance of this gun.

The gun has fiber on it from someone using the wrong cloth to clean the gun. I just could not wait to take a few photos and get my article written. However, I will clean the gun properly this weekend.

This one will not be a safe queen. Visit the photo gallery.

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