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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the countries that adopted the 1911 back in the early days of the twentieth century was Argentina. Initially they bought 1911's from Colt and later they licensed the design from Colt and produced their own domestically manufactured 1911A1, the Sistema Modelo 1927.

The Ballester–Molina was designed to offer the Argentine police and military a cheaper alternative to the Sistema Colt Modelo 1927. Production of the Ballester–Molina began in 1938 and ceased in 1953. The Sistema Colt 1927 was manufactured until 1966, outliving its intended successor by more than two decades.

The company's history dates back to 1929, when two Spanish entrepreneurs, Arturo Ballester and Eugenio Molina, established a branch of Hispano-Suiza in Buenos Aires. Years later, HAFDASA (Hispano Argentina Fábrica de Automóviles SA) hired two engineers, Frenchman Rorice Rigaud and Carlos Ballester–Molina, a relative of the founders. Rigaud became the chief designer of the firm, while Ballester–Molina was appointed chief executive officer.

As the Ballester–Molina was designed to serve alongside the Modelo 1927 that was currently in Argentine service, it bears a striking resemblance to the Colt M1911A1. The Ballester–Molina and the M1911 share an identical seven-round magazine, barrel, recoil spring, and barrel bushing. Although many other parts appear identical at first glance, they are not; only the barrel and magazine are interchangeable. Their operating system is a hybrid of the Browning designed 1911 barrel locking system and the Spanish Ruby trigger mechanism.

The British purchased over 10,000 Ballester-Molina's during WWII for issue to the SOE.

While they are very well made, for many years they were looked down on here in the US as somehow being a substandard 1911. I find them interesting as they were issued to many different armed branches of the Argentine government.

I have been looking for a reasonably priced B-M for a while now and up untill recently all those I have encountered have either had the finish beat to death and were, IMO, overpriced, or were better cosmetically and even more ridiculously overpriced.

A few days ago I was browsing on Gonebroker and came upon this Argentine Navy issued Ballester-Molina that had a hour to go on the auction with a starting bid that was tolerable with no bids. I bid in at the starting price and much to my surprise, I won it.

This has matching serial numbers on the frame, slide and barrel, but while the magazine is a HAFDASA manufactured item, the serial number doesn't match the rest of the gun. It was made in 1941.







Shown with my 1951 vintage Sistema Modelo 1927.


 

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I am one of those dolts who got brain washed into thinking any gun made in south america was junk. As usual, as the prices went up, I realized I was wrong.
 

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Nice pistols, thanks for sharing the pics! Particularly like the black-on-black of the DGFM Sistema Colt - way cool!

I am with fourbore: I could have picked up Ballester-Molina 45s for peanuts from Woolworth in the late 1970s but I figured they were low quality Colt M1911 knock-offs. Boy was I wrong! I did manage to score a well used but matching CFS (Consejo Federal de Seguridad or Federal Security Council) crested Ballester-Molina recently. It was made in the early 1950s for Juan Peron's short-lived policing force and has seen some heavy use but still functions perfectly, a testament in itself to the quality of the construction.

Lesson learned here about buying surplus arms - even if you mistrust the quality or condition of a milsurp, do some homework and verify what is fact versus what you think you know. In short: Mistrust but Verify!
 

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GONRA gotta Ballester-Molina when they were first imported by
Interarmco or its successor Interarms, (Can't remember.)
Looked brand new in the box to me?
Assumed the Brits never got around to issuing it in WW II.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The British Ballester-Molina’s are identified by a number stamped on the right side of the frame where the serial number would be on a Colt, proceeded by a “B”.
 

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I have seen a few British contract "SOE" Ballester Molina that have showed up in France and Italy, and most show wear from heavy use, so it appears at least some were issued to agents or resistance organizations on the European continent. The majority of those I've seen in the US have been in VG to excellent condition, and don't appear to have seen much if any use prior to imprtation to the US.
I was able to snag one of the British contract off GB a few months ago for a reasonable price. Absolutely love it. I think once I return to the US I'll try to snag a few Argentinian used ones too, even though they are a bit outside my scope of collection
 

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yeah, I remember these "Ballerina Molester" ‎were everywhere at the gun shows in the late 90s for around 200 bucks, b‎et you paid a WHOLE LOT more for them


I didn't buy one because although it may look like a 1911 .45, parts are not interchangeable with a 1911
 

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I am one of those dolts who got brain washed into thinking any gun made in south america was junk. As usual, as the prices went up, I realized I was wrong.
people said the same about the NORINCO M1911s also, they were junk. the smart ones bought them to make a very affordable "race gun"
 
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