This prototype pistol has been developed during early nineties under the US SOCOM OHWS - Offensive Handgun Weapon System program. It combined features from several other Colt designs, such as M1911 (manual safety), Double Eagle (double action trigger with decocker) and All American 2000 (rotating barrel locking). There also were few indigenous features, but overall weapon was heavy and bulky, and it eventually lost to the other OHWS candidate, HK Mk.23 mod.0 from the German company Heckler & Koch.
One interesting feature of Colt OHWS was the usage of various muzzle attachments (including the silencer, as required by OHWS documents, and muzzle compensator) through the frame mountings. As the rotating barrel action is quite sensitive to the weight of the moving parts, Colt engineers decided to attach heavy parts like silencer to the frame instead of the moving barrel. For this reason the frame under the barrel has been fitted with special rails, which could accept a special mount for muzzle compensator of silencer; in turn, the bottom of this mount has been provided with its own mounting points to attach tactical lights or laser aiming modules.
Colt OHWS is short recoil operated, locked breech pistol made almost entirely from stainless steel. It uses the rotating barrel locking, similar to that found in All American 2000 pistol described above. Trigger is of double action type, with exposed hammer and separate manual safety and decoking levers. Sights were fixed, with the rear sight dovetailed into the slide and front sight mounted on the muzzle device, which was attached to the frame. Magazines were single stack, and as required minimum magazine capacity was 10 rounds, the grip length was significant to say the least. Magazine release button was located at the base of the trigger guard.