Gun Review: Colt New Agent

 

There comes a time in every man’s life when he longs for the exquisite prancing pony to grace his favorite gun; whether it’s an AR-15, a 1911 or for the lucky, blessed wealthy few, a Python. I’m on a never-ending mission to find the perfect carry gun for the hot weather months. Since moving from the frigid north to the southeastern coast, I have found that a full-sized combat piece prints worse than the National Enquirer when you’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans. These two semi-tangential obsessions of mine collided one day while I was flipping through a gun rag atop the porcelain throne.

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The Colt New Agent piqued my interest with its aptly named ‘trench sights.’ They’re just what they sound like — a gently tapering gutter running the length of the slide. Just the kind of sight to prevent the gun from snagging on clothing or holsters. And I was smitten with the idea of a 3” 1911 platform that draws easily from concealment. The sights are unconventional and frankly not suitable for anything much past about 15 yards, but they’re faster than greased lightning when all you need is to get a general sight picture.

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When that distinctive blue box arrived at my FFL, I was taken aback by its size. Was I one of the lucky ones? Had Colt mistakenly sent me a Python or an AMT Hardballer? Nope, it was just an unusually big box for the size of the pistol inside. But I was happy to see a beautifully blued compact 1911 and two 6-round magazines. I dashed home with the little heavy hitter to give it some oil and familiarize myself with its internals.

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It doesn’t matter what 1911 you own, breaking one down is basically the usual SOP. When it comes to field stripping the New Agent, it’s mostly the same song and dance with just a couple of added twists. Chief amongst them are the captive recoil spring, the lack of a barrel bushing and a flared barrel. The bonus: no bushing means no bushing wrench required to take her down.

Begin, as always, by removing the magazine and pulling back the slide while pointed in a safe direction to ensure the gun is unloaded. Check again. Then pull the slide about 60% back and line it up with the disassembly notch located behind the slide stop notch. Push the slide stop from the right side to pop it out. Then pull the entire slide forward and free it from the frame and Bob’s your uncle.

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As a man who owns an ever revolving collection of 1911’s, I wondered how the New Agent would handle different magazines and ammunition types. I tested the gun with four types of ammo that, in my opinion, run the gamut of .45ACP one might encounter.

Low Grade – Tula
Mid Grade – Remington UMC
High Grade – Federal Hydrashok’s
Ultra-High Grade – Match Grade Olympic Reloads

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For magazines I tested Tripp Research’s Cobra Mags, McCormick’s Power Mags in 7, 8, and 10 round varieties, a WWII surplus mag, a series 80 Colt Commander mag, and new production Colt mags. The gun ran 100% with all ammo types and all magazines brands that were tested and pictured above.

Note that a Commander magazine only barely protrudes from the base of the New Agent’s grip, making it ideal for upping your round capacity to 7+1. The other magazines stuck out at least an inch, so you’ll add bulk and printability for extra rounds.

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I initially set up a dueling tree at 15 yards but quickly discovered that the Colt’s sights just aren’t suited to fast precision work at that distance. This is a close-in, CQB defensive gun. After a few moments of aggravation reflection I decided that 3 steel torso silhouettes set up in an “El Presidente” configuration would be a much more suitable test of the pocket-cannon.

Quick drawing and neutralizing 3 targets utilizing two full mags is a good assessment of how the gun does in a concealed carry personal defense situation. I ran the gun alongside its big brother, the Colt Government Model MK IV Series 70.

Basically you sacrifice some controllability when rapid firing due to the New Agent’s shorter barrel and reduced mass. You also give up a certain amount of precision thanks to the trench and shorter sight radius. And Colt’s inclusion of a Series 80 firing pin safety adds a tad of extra creep to the trigger pull, though it’s almost unnoticeable unless you adjust your tigger pull weight to 4 lbs. or less. Not something I’d advise in a carry gun for practical and legal reasons.

If you’re someone who figures adequate self defense doesn’t really begin until your rounds start with a 4, you’ll enjoy having a New Agent inside your waistband. If you think that any pistol worth carrying should be made of metal, you’ll love that it has plenty of fantastic without any of the plastic. If you don’t mind toting an extra quarter pound around (compared to a Glock 30 SF) and find that flipping the frame safety off comes as naturally as breathing, shut your computer down right now, run out and buy one. Assuming you can find one.

Specifications:

Caliber: .45 ACP
Capacity: 6+1 rounds
Weight: 24.5 oz(695 g)
Length: 6.7″(171 mm)
Height: 5.0″(127 mm)
Width: 1.26″(32 mm)
Barrel Length: 3.0″(76 mm)
Action: Single Action Only (SAO)
Frame: Aluminum alloy
Slide: Carbon steel
Finish: Blued
Grip: checkered rosewood
Sights: Snag-free trench style
Safety: Frame-mounted manual safety, Grip safety, firing pin safety
MSRP: $995.00

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * *  ½
With those sights, I can’t give the Colt a perfect score. Make no mistake, the firearm is extremely accurate. However, the average shooter will have a difficult time squeezing every last drop of precision out of the gun with its trench sights — a necessary sacrifice to maintain the New Agent’s sleek lines.

Ergonomics * * * * *
Anyone who has ever handled a 1911 knows the gun truly shines in this department; it’s one of the few guns that’s absolutely comfortable to shoot one-handed.

Fit & Finish * * * * *
Beautiful deep blue finish. Flawless checkering on the grips. Smooth, solid lock-up. Buttery trigger-pull and safety manipulation. It’s a Colt — you get what you pay for.

Accessories * * * 
While a myriad of grips and non OEM magazines exist, you’re stuck with the existing sights unless you have a smith carve up that slide. I couldn’t find an officer’s length laser guide rod but Crimson Trace makes lasergrips for the gun.

Value * * * * *
A quick Googling of New Agent for sale shows a street price well under a grand. That’s pretty reasonable for a genuine Colt 1911. And I’ve never met a Colt firearm that depreciated in value.

Overall * * * * *
The New Agent is a niche piece. It’s not something you’d bring to the range to for precision practice, but it’s mighty fun to shoot. It’s a purpose-built concealed carry handgun that shoots a big slow projectile with a proven history as a man-stopper.