The 1911 Colt pistol has been one of the most popular guns of all time, being continuously sold since the year of 1912. Although there have been some changes and different model variations, the basic design of the pistol has remained the same during this entire time. The last major changes were made in 1983, when the Colt company decided to implement some new technologies and safety mechanism options that would improve the safety of the gun. Before this time, the version of the gun was considered to be Colt Series 70. All versions appearing after these changes are known as Colt Series 80.

With the Colt Series 80, a new firing pin system was introduced that added more protection to the gun user. In previous models, dropping the gun on a hard surface could result in an accidental discharge of the weapon. However, with the new safety mechanism found in the Series 80 pistols, this became less likely to happen. Since 1983, the same firing pin system has been used and the number of accidental discharges has decreased considerably, thus making the safety mechanism a success. As the 1911 Colt is used in various iterations by home users as well as law enforcement officials, this change has made a difference in gun control.

In time, the Colt Series 80 pistols have also undergone some aesthetic changes. Much of this is due to the increased competition from other firearm manufacturing companies and a need to provide a product that offers value to consumers. Several new versions of the 1911 Colt are decorated with a stainless steel construction that is both durable and attractive. Other additions that add to the appearance of the gun include wooden handles as well as blue steel versions that often command a higher price on the market.