Dating a colt 1911
As example in the late 1960's Colt started combining all small "D" frame models like the Detective Special, Cobra, Agent, Diamondback, Viper, Police Positive Special, etc in the same serial number ranges.
Because of Colt's serial number systems it may not be possible to identify what model a Colt is based on just the number.
Since many of these guns used the exact same barrel except for the model name stamped on it, we have situations where an owner is convinced he has a rare, unknown model of aluminum frame Detective Special. What he has is an aluminum frame Cobra someone installed a Detective Special barrel on.
Colt Firearms became a division of Colt Industries in 1964. located in Hartford, CT, and the new company was called Colt's Manufacturing Company, Inc.
The largest portion of Colt Defense's business is now in sporting rifles, a line of business the company got back into during 2011.
Military orders have been on the decline since 2009.
The second question is often "What Colt do I have"? Before you can determine when a Colt was made, you first have to determine WHAT Colt model you have. First, identifying a Colt revolver can be frustrating because beginning in 1840 Colt always started each new model at serial number "1", and progressed upward until the model was discontinued, OR until the mid-1960's when the serial number system changed to meet Federal law.
Since all Colt's started off at number "1" it's possible to have a number of older Colt firearms all with the same serial number. This law mandated that from then on all new firearms had to have a serial number and that number had to be unique.