COLT 1991 COMMANDER, RIGHT SIDE, FULL VIEW, c Jerry Catania

Why do governments always have to screw things up? Take the US Army’s attitude towards our service pistol used successfully through two world wars, for example. After WWII, some desk-pogue decided that the 1911 in .45 ACP had to go; it wasn’t “continental” enough, I guess. The first time the US Army tried to get rid of the 1911 Government model in .45 ACP was in 1949. Back then, US Government requirements were issued stating that the new pistol had to be chambered in 9mm parabellum (Latin is even neater than French) and couldn’t exceed seven inches in length or weigh more than 25 ounces. Colt’s entry –a shortened 1911 with an aluminum frame (called Coltalloy) wasn’t adopted (neither was the Smith and Wesson M39). So in 1950, Colt started producing their version for the retail market, calling it the Commander. Colt wisely brought it out in .45 ACP as well as 9mm and also in the red-headed stepchild, .38 Super. In 1970, Colt began making the Commander with a steel frame, calling it the “Combat Commander” and it’s still produced today. . .

Perhaps it’s like superposition, existing only in the mind of the observer, but some people (like me) believe that to be a real 1911 (small, medium, or large) it must say COLT’S on it. Today’s version is built on the Series 80 platform, utilizing a firing pin block that (in theory, at least) prevents an accidental discharge if the pistol is dropped on its muzzle from a height of six feet onto a concrete surface. Lord knows we need that. The safety makes it harder to get a really nice, safe 3.5 to 4 pound trigger pull, at least according to most gunsmiths who specialize in such things. And most of us don’t drop our pistols.

COLT 1991 COMMANDER, LEFT SIDE, FULL VIEW, c Jerry Catania

My sample did not say “Combat” on the slide; just Commander, but the workmanship was first rate. Metal-to-Metal fittings were tight and smooth working. Machine marks were noticeably absent. Blue finishes were as you would expect from Colt: Deep and Excellent. The pistol had the “Standard” grip safety (according to Colt), but some Geezers like me refer to it as a Rat-Tail grip safety. It’s thin but covers the round, trademark Commander hammer nicely to prevent “bite”. The thumb safety is the standard job; the one everybody wants to replace right away. Maybe that’s the idea. 1911’s are the most customized pistols ever made. The thumb and grip safeties are usually the first things that go. The trigger is the long, solid aluminum model (in black); which I dislike. I much prefer the short white aluminum jobs, whether adjustable or not.

THE COMPLETELY STRIPPED COLT COMMANDER; TAKEDOWN AND ASSEMBLY IS VERY SIMPLE, c Jerry Catania

The all-steel frame and slide upped the weight to 33 ounces, making the Colt less pleasant to carry, but nicer to shoot. The now de rigueur three dot sights were easy to see and perfectly regulated for 230 grain loads right out of the box. The ejection port is slightly lowered, but not flared. The recoil spring assembly is the tried-and-true (so-called) GI system. This is the one John M. Browning invented and nobody has improved upon; instead they are now making take-down and re-assembly more difficult with the “sound good” –but less reliable- Full length guide rod.

CLOSE-UP OF THE COLT’S STAINLESS STEEL BARREL AND LACK OF A FULL-LENGTH             GUIDE  ROD (THANK GOD !!), c Jerry Catania

I put about three hundred rounds of various description through the Commander, using bullets weighing from 200 to 230 grains; from +P hollow points to standard pressure full metal jacketed. The Colt Commander ate them all without a burp or hiccup. Feeding and ejection were 100% and then some. No empties hit me in the head, landed on my hat, or tried to burn out my eyes; something I really appreciate in any 1911 design. The Commander version just “hangs” better than the Government model; to me, at least. Most disagree (the story of my life). At any rate, it was really easy to place shots in the proper locations, even when trying to do so fast. It’s little wonder the Marines have come full circle from the Beretta Wonder-nine. Their newest CQC pistol is a full-size COLT 1911 in .45 ACP; and it’s just hard to argue with that kind of endorsement.

TYPICAL RAPID-FIRE TARGET AT A REALISTIC COMBAT DISTANCE, c Jerry Catania

FINAL RATING: * * * *

THE GOOD: Easy to shoot and completely reliable. Great looking gun, too.
THE BAD: Two things detracted from the Commander being all it could be. The first was the thumb safety. It was very (that’s very) hard to engage (two thumbs helped), and even harder to disengage. The other is the price. Even if it is a genuine Colt, the price is too high. FOUR STARS; and that’s just being mean.
THE UGLY: Nothing comes to mind. Despite the tight thumb safety, I can recommend the Commander without reservation. After all, it said COLT right on it.

SPEC BOX
Model: Colt 1991® Commander—04691
Material: Carbon steel Frame and slide, Blue
OAL: 7.75 inches
Barrel: 4.25 inches
Weight: 33 ounces
Sights: 3-Dot, White
Caliber: .45 ACP
Capacity: 7+1 rounds
Retail Price: +/- $885.00

SOURCES
www. coltsmfg.com
www. Winchester.com
www. Blackhawk.com

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69 Responses to Gun Review: Colt Combat Commander

  1. My first 1911 is currently being shipped to my FFL. While not a true Colt, I’m looking forward to having Ruger’s version of the 1911 Commander.

    Regardless of a person’s views or preferences for a defensive pistol’s style, brand or caliber; I feel every handgun enthusiasts should have some variant of a 45ACP 1911 in their collection. Just for the fun of it, if for nothing else.

    (and no, this will not be a carry gun for me, those roles are covered by another style, brand & caliber)

    • The apprehension of starting another 1911 vs Glock discussion in your post is almost palpable…. lol.

      Rest assured though, some of us around here still believe different flavors suit different people. I’ll carry a 1911, CZ40p, 92fs, a Rossi revolver and from time to time a derringer(weddings/funerals) depending on my mood or what I’m wearing.

      • There is no debate…. have both. Do you only own one pair of shoes? A brown paid of loafers do not go with those black dress pants nor would you wear some heavy boots to the beach. You have to have variety.

        • Absolutely, it just so happens that Glocks and 1911s are my two favorite semi-autos. Its basically all I shoot, at least in centerfire. Its tough to beat a Les Baer Premier II for what it is, just as its tough to beat a Glock 34.

          Don

    • By no means am I trying to start a debate, ShaunL. I would much rather be around someone who carries a 1911 all day everyday and knows how to use it, versus someone who carries something else (and doesn’t train with it) because they saw some guy in a YouTube video telling them its the best. Carry what you have and are good with. Brand, style & caliber really don’t matter much.

      BTW, where did you see that I mentioned Glock in the above comment?

      • I like the commander. I like the 38 super. The lock time is so fast the recoil is non existent
        Shot recovery is fast. The thing has an alloy frame it is the right size for ccw.
        The 1911 type Colt is easy to maintain and get parts for.
        What you decide to carry should be easy to carry and shoot.
        You have different things because every one is different and choose different weapons.

        • Your post makes no sense at all. Zero, Nada, None.

          Lock time and recoil have absolutely no relationship to one another at all.

          The gun also has a steel frame, not an alloy frame.

          Did you even graduate high school??

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  2. “The pistol had the “Standard” grip safety”

    You’ll likely want to swap out the safety for a rounded beaver tail if you plan on shooting any quantity or using this as an EDC. The sharp edges on the safety seems to rub my hand raw where it contacts during extended range sessions and the “point” at the end of the safety will dig into my side if I sit down just right(or wrong).

    I have 1911s in both styles and have only had those problems with the G.I. style safety.

    • I’ll second that, those things are darn uncomfortable after a while. I’ve got them on my Colt delta elite and I can really feel it digging in after a couple mags of full power 10mm.

    • One way of dealing with this–and something they really should be doing at the factory with these grip safeties–is to detail strip the pistol, then take a needle file and then fine sandpaper to radius the lower edges and corners on that portion of the grip safety that projects beyond the tangs on the frame. Many Colt grip safeties come entirely too sharp at those points. Some people like the “beavertail” type but it really isn’t necessary, so long as you do something about those sharp edges and corners.

      • This is one of my personal beefs with Colt. They want a minimum $800 for a pistol but don’t radius any of the sharp edges. I love Colts but they are like carrying a block of rough forged steel in the sharp edges department. I get that a $400 RIA isn’t beveled but come on Colt! The new XEs or whatever they are called are super sexy though even if they will take off flesh with dust cover.

  3. Great Article. TY…..I recently read on Wikipedia about the M1911 and the development phase of a requested sidearm that would STOP the enemy. During the ‘Spanish American War’ 1898 rebels in the Philippines would take very strong pain killer and it took a few .38 cal rounds to stop them (dangerous). At the time, smokeless powder was just beginning to be developed and the .38 cal used did not have the modern power. BUT, the soldier felt the .38 AKA 9mm measurement of a round was not sufficient. Does anyone know if the current bad guys use opiates? ( Like ISIS) or (Others) ( In that AREA)

    • Legend has it that that Muslim rebels in the Philippines would wrap wet rawhide around their testicles and, when it dried and shrank, the resulting pain would make them unaware of being hit by .38 caliber slugs. How true this may be is debatable, but it was a good tale.

    • I haven’t ever seen any field reports of the Moro Rebellion that prove any of this. I have heard other anecdotal tales of .45s hitting someone in the arm and spinning them around and knocking them off horses and other nonsense. This is all bullcrap because if a .45 fmj could do that it would also do it to the shooter(ye olde Newtonian physics). A .45 fmj makes a slightly bigger hole than a 9mm fmj. It isn’t inherently more powerful. In the Horn of Africa they take a drug called kat or khat or something that apparently gets them high. Talis might get high on heroine before a battle, but they aren’t known for their machete charges like the Moros so I don’t see where it would really benefit in the same way.

  4. I purchased the government model blued 1991 when I graduated college. I agree that the model is a great representation of St. John’s design and worth owning.

    And I cringe every time I see the price of a Colt now.

  5. Yeah, what is it with the price of 1911’s?
    For the price of one common production S&W 1911 you can have two AR’s.
    It’s like everybody making them thinks they’re Ed Brown.

    • Ya got me! There are a couple custom shops I’ll pay out for. But for production models? Those stock pieces suit me just fine!

  6. I would seriously love for Colt to bring out something in between their Commander XSE, and Series 70.

    Series 70 no firing pin block, steel frame, 4.25in barre, original style guide rod/spring, lose the front serrations, add a short beavertail (like Wilson Combat CCW) grip safety, less abrasive front strap, and offer in blued or stainless. For near the same price as the XSE.

    I would buy that 1911 in a heartbeat.

  7. The Commander is the penultimate 1911. Sadly, I’ve never owned one. Love my Officer’s and my “Gummint”, but still want a genuine Colt Commander. But then there’s the CCO……

    • Not to be a douche, but you realize that “penultimate” means “second to last” right? I used to use it like you’re using it until I was made to look foolish for doing so. Hopefully in a pseudo-anonymous comment section of a gun blog it will be less painful than in person.

  8. I have owned,carried and shot my Colt Series 80 Commander for many years. With a few modest adjustments and tuning I can’t help but say I love this gun. It just jumps into my hand when I want it, points exactly to where I am looking and never lets me down. Used to be the only gun I carried until I added a Kimber Super Carry Pro. Now I have to decide which gets to go out and play.

    • I am looking at the Wilsons combat style pistol.
      They are pricey. I have been looking for a used commander in 38 super and they are pricey. The parts to get the way I want are extensive. The only place that I can save is the labor of the fitting and tuning.

  9. The M1911 is a fine pistol, but there are simply better available now. The safety is not up to par, and the double action is a good feature to have. And how many people have had their M1911 not fire because the grip safety wasn’t properly engaged? Sure, it’s a training issue, but one that is easily avoided.

    The M9 is superior in every way I can think of, except maybe in caliber, but not by much. I’ll take the M9 over the M1911 any day for a combat pistol.

    • What about the 1911’s safeties is “not up to par?”

      Let’s compare it to what is all the rage today, the polymer striker pistols with nothing but a trigger interlock. Sure, the canonical modern striker pistol has the drop safety – as does a Series 80. What I’d like to know is this: How many instances of a 1911 Series 70 or GI discharging from a drop to concrete are there? Not many. All US military rifles since the Garand have had floating firing pins. How many discharges due to muzzle-down drops? Again not many. The Series 80 firing pin block was a feature conceived by lawyers, not gun makers or engineers.

      How many instances of are there of cops or others red-legging themselves (or someone else) with a Glock or similar pistol? Quite a few. Why? Because (IMO) the Glock lacks one of two important features: Either the decocker+DA trigger of the M9 (which I will agree is a good feature on a combat pistol), or the grip+thumb safety of the 1911.

      They’re two different ways of approaching the same requirements: make the pistol safe in the holster.

      The Glock ignores all of these ideas and relies on mass marketing.

      • I have never shot a glock, not inclined to try and I won’t defend or malign them.

        But the M9 is a pistol I have a lot of experience with, followed closely by the M1911. I have had a Marine shoot himself in the foot with an M1911, which is merely anecdotal and is not proof of anything.

        But I don’t trust the safety of the M1911. It is too easy to bump the safety on a pistol, happens to my M9 all the time, and then all you have left is a squirrelly grip safety and a light trigger. I prefer the M9 with the firing pin block and a very long, strong stroke on the double action trigger.

        I also like having the ability to flick the safety and shoot double action in an emergency.

        I’m not alone in this analysis. It’s basically the reason the military switched to the M9 in the first place. I think they are sound reasons. Opinions vary, but the people whose opinion counts for procurement sided with my arguments, and I think they are very persuasive.

        • The reason the US Military went to a 9MM was to comply with STENAG NATO requirements. The last production batch of 1911A1’s were manufactured in 1945 and were showing their age, and the US had been dragging their feet on an agreement they made with NATO after WWII to convert to the 9MM.

          The M-9 came in second place to the SIG entry in the trials, but was cheaper and so chosen.

          A couple of beefs I have about the M-9. For a 9MM, the darned thing is HUGE! One of the alleged reasons for switching weapons platforms was to make it easier for small handed people to shoot it. In my experience, the reach from the grip to the trigger is a lot farther than any 1911A1 I ever handled in the military.

          The locking block system of lockup is far inferior to the swinging link design of the 1911. Beretta says their pistol will last 30,000 rounds between parts failures. Wow. I have an early Series 80 Colt Government Model that has gone over 250,000 rounds and has yet to have a parts failure. The only parts I have had to change is the recoil spring. Granted, mine is a commercial model which has a hardened frame and slide-a lot of the military issue pistols weren’t hardened, but that was easily corrected in manufacture. The commercial models have used properly heat treated parts for many decades.

          As I understand it, one of the tests done by armorers is to tap the slide of a field stripped M-9 and listen to it. If it “rings”, then its okay. If it makes a dull thump, the slide is cracked and has to be replaced. I never had to do that test on a 1911.

          As to the safety of a properly set up 1911, there are many. And they work. The thumb safety is only engaged on a cocked pistol and positively locks the sear into the hammer. Never heard of a government grade sear having a catastrophic failure. Never had a grip safety get in the way in the 45 years I have carried one, which has been every day I have carried a pistol.

          Caliber. When you are limited to ball ammo, the only thing you can do to make a bullet more effective is to increase its diameter and/or speed. In the Thompson/LaGaarde tests done at the turn of the last century, done with ball ammo quite similar to what is carried today, the 9MM P failed as compared to the 45 ACP.
          But, politics being what they are, the military is stuck, at least for now with the 9. The M-11 SIG in my opinion is a superior weapon to the M-9, given what the military is restricted to. Smaller, more robust, and has the single/double action feature which the modern military seems to demand.

        • The best carry gun is the one you shoot best and are most familiar.

          Shoot a custom 1911 such as the LES Baer Premier ll and there is no going back. If you can’t afford custom, that is a different story,

          The military went with the Berreta so we could get a middle site in Italy. Always political.

      • There is a Glock with a grip safety. It’s called a Springfield XD

        And it is a lot easier to inadvertently engage the safety on an M-9 than a 1911. That is was the reasons the Army wants to get a new pistol. We bought from Beretta because they were the low bidder in a pistol that met the Army’s requirements. I have nothing against them except that the safety goes the wrong way. I like the way it shoots but I remain a JMB kind of guy. My wife’s go to gun is an M-9

        • Yea, I’ve noticed that. Sadly, there is an example of a grip safety that isn’t wholly to my taste. I want it to be bigger. That’s just me, tho.

      • I had the displeasure of witnessing a muzzle down discharge when one of my sergeants bent down to give first aid and had his rifle in front of him on a sling. Muzzle hit concrete, m4 go bang. I love ARs but they are one of the easiest weapons to make go bang by accident.

  10. For those who haven’t seen a Series 80 split to its guts before, the Series 80 firing pin block parts that hamper the refinement of the trigger are the two wee little bits of metal in the third picture from the top, below the trigger and hammer/strut assembly.

    Then there will be a plunger in the slide, with a spring under it, that blocks the firing pin until the plunger is pushed up by the interaction of the two pivoting bits of metal I pointed out in the above paragraph.

    When you’re an experienced 1911 aficionado, you can tell a Series 80 pistol by merely picking it up, racking the slide and then testing the trigger pull. The pull on a S-80 pistol has this extra “mush” in the travel, and that’s the mechanism pushing that spring force of the firing pin block out of the way. It’s really annoying.

    re: the full length guide rod obsession today: The FLGR issue arose as a result of some IPSC shooters having springs kink or break. The solution was the FLGR. For a self-defense, collectable or plain all-round gun, I won’t have a FLGR on one of my 1911’s, but then I don’t shoot IPSC any longer.

    1911’s are like many other guns – they need their springs replaced upon occasion. Some people think that springs last forever – and this isn’t true. How much of the spring breakage on some 1911’s is due to old springs? Probably a bit. How much of that spring breakage is solved by a FLGR? Well, the spring will continue to sort-of function with a FLGR, but you’ll pay more money for the FLGR and it complicates disassembly a bit. So if you’re a competitor, hey, knock yourself out and trick up your 1911 with FLGR’s and the like. For people carrying or using their pistol for social engagements? JMB’s design was more than sufficient for social engagements.

    The beavertail grip safety issue: For guys with meatier hands, it is a Real Big Deal. Guys who have really meaty hands can sometimes get a bit of “bite” from their flesh wrapping around the tang of the grip safety and then getting pinched by the hammer cocking to the rear. This was especially true with the GI spur-style hammer. The beavertail solves this issue quite well.

    • The spring that that should be replaced is the sear spring. The bottom tab brakes causing accidental discharge when they are broken.

    • No. “Pogue” is correct. You have a fallacious construction made to fit the sound of a word already in existence.

      From Wikipedia:

      History and etymology[edit]
      It has been used in the United States Navy and Marine Corps since before World War II, entering Army usage around the time of the Vietnam War.[2] In the Canadian Forces a pogue is referred to as a WOG, short for “without guns” or “without guts”.

      Originally, the term was a sexual insult in early twentieth century gay culture, as “pogue” was slang for a young male who submitted to sexual advances.[3]

      Also referred to boys that were kidnapped by press gangs and brought onto ships during the 1700s, that were then raped by the crew and forced to do other menial labor.

      Due to having lost contact with its linguistic source, the modern military vernacular has turned “pogue” into a retronym/backronym. “Pogue” is now sometimes described as the pronunciation of the acronym POG, or Person Other than Grunt, or Posted On Garrison.[2] It is also sometimes retronymed out to “Person On Ground with Unused Equipment” (hence the spelling). Sometimes used as “People Of Good Use Elsewhere.”

      • as to being shanghaied into duty of that sort, i’ve heard reference to the term “pegboy”. perhaps in reference to a special sitting place.

    • Pogue / box-kicker / in the rear with the gear / etc. have been in the military for a long time, and as far from the front lines as possible.

  11. A Colt Defender is my EDC piece. I love the feel, the accuracy, the quality. It gives me confidence which makes me a better shooter and gives me comfort. Quite a lot for about $900.

  12. About the “deep blue” finish: It looks, in the two photos, like a black nitride finish. No? Perhaps it’s the treatment of the metal before bluing that causes me to think that?

    • I’m not sure what method they use today to give it the color but it is actually a glossy blue finish on a polished carbon steel flat. I believe DG mentioned in one of his articles that in days gone by they used a specific piece of leather and sperm whale oil which gave it a very deep royal blue.

      Oiled properly it can almost be a mirror shine and truly something to see. First time I saw it I actually thought it had a thin coat of oil that needed to be wiped off. Unfortunately, because it isn’t a powder coat it isn’t the most durable finish and you actually have to apply oil to keep the rust off.

      An unlined leather holster can actually wear down the finish pretty quickly.

      • The steel doesn’t look like it has been polished so much as tho any machining marks were removed, then the surface was possibly blasted with a fine powder, resulting in a fine matte finish. I’ve seen finishes that were blasted with something like baking soda that produced a very fine matte finish like that.

        A polished finish would appear to have more sheen in the pictures. Here’s an example of a high-gloss blued 1911:

        http://www.collectorsfirearms.com/colt-super-38-38-super-c9983/#.VDdp-b5zBK4

        That’s a Super .38, but you can see the sheen coming off that finish. That’s been polished to at least a 400 grit, perhaps higher. And that pre-war blue job is not the best that Colt had to offer. That’s merely their “good” level of finish.

        Blueing can be taken off by holster wear. I can see evidence of the blueing coming off the gun in the above photos at various wear points. One of the reasons why this happens on matte finishes is that the metal has high points and low points, and the holster will wear the blueing off the high points on the steel first (obviously) and your blueing starts to look “light” in areas where the blueing persists in only the low areas. You’d see what is happening if you use perhaps a 25X magnifier to look at the surface closely.

        The reason why no one wants blued guns any more is that no one (except custom gun makers) do a good polishing job (to a 400 or 600 grit finish), which requires lots of hand attention and skilled craftsmanship. After the polishing, the pieces have to be cleaned, de-greased and then blued.

        A very high quality blue job requires a very high quality polishing job before the gun is blued. There’s no way around it, and there’s no way to automate the polishing of an entire gun. It has to be done by hand, by skilled hands. There are some parts of the gun which cannot be done on a buffing wheel; they have to be done by skilled hands with polishing sticks, polishing paper, bits of leather impregnated with grit, etc.

        There are several methods of blueing, all of which are basically “black rusting” of the surface of the steel. The most popular today is “hot salt” blueing, and while it is fast, it isn’t the best. Lots of people think it is the best because they have only two options in front of them: hot salt blueing or cold blueing juice. Cold blues are mostly crap. A skilled ‘smith can make a fair purse out of the sow’s ear that is cold blueing solution, but it is never idea.

        Hot blueing salts are OK. Their one overriding advantage is that you can blue lots of steel very quickly in a hot salt tank. It takes only about an hour to shove a piece of steel all the way through the process, from rough cleaning, through the degreasing tank, a rinse tank, then the hot salt tank for about 20+ minutes, then a rinse/inspection, then a boil-out tank to get rid of the salts, then a dunk in water-displacing oil for a couple hours. If you have a controller automating the addition of water to the hot salt tank, you can pretty much automate most of the actual process.

        But the best blueing jobs are no longer done on a large scale. Guns used to be rust-blued, fume blued, carbona oil blued, etc. Slow rust blueing or fume blueing can result in some of the most durable blueing finishes out there, and that’s what custom gunmakers use on high-dollar guns. When I refinish my own rifles, polish them by hand, then I slow rust blue them. I use rust blueing on all double guns and O/U shotgun barrel sets, especially the older guns with vent holes in the bottom rib.

        This is why I say that American gun buyers are getting short-changed by the gun companies. You used to get top-shelf blue jobs from Winchester, Colt, Remington, S&W, etc. Look at the finish on a pre-war Winchester Model 70, or Model 94, or 52. You used to be able to get polished, blued guns from Remington. Look at 870 shotguns from the early 60’s.

        Today, everything is bead blasted, hiding a multitude of sins. Feh.

  13. I will not argue the merits of the 1911. It was JMB’s brainchild. It works. I just don’t care for it. Personal taste. Oddly enough, I like the Hi Power. And the 1903 .32. Auto5. M2. Just not the 1911. Go figure.

  14. I carried a Colt combat commander for a long time. It does carry a bit easier than the full size and it has a nice balance in hand, but I have come to the conclusion that it does not match the full size for performance. I find that extra 3/4 inch of steel and spring greatly reduces recoil and the full size gun snaps back on target like nothing else. In my experience the commander can be reliable but requires a bit more maintenance than the full size, seems a bit more magazine sensative as well.

  15. I don’t own a 1911 yet but I am surprised that the “cco” style never caught on to be as popular as the colt commander. It has a shorter grip but can still fit 3 fingers on the grip for most people, and a 4″ or 4.25″ barrel. It always struck me as the “glock 19” of 1911s; not too big and not too small.

  16. just picked up a xse version. Love it except for the thumb safety. Stiff, hard to use and overall something I would expect on a cheap import. After owning and shooting 2000 + thru her my final thoughts are;
    great quality, reliable as my Glock 19, hate the thumb safety, IMO over priced. But it is only money…

    • The thumb safety can be easily fixed(lightened) by a competent gunsmith.

      IMO, it shouldn’t be necessary but rarely are mechanical things perfect when mass produced.

  17. Serious questions:

    What ammo was tried in the gun, and were any groups shot with it at 25 yards from the bench?

    What magazines were used in the testing? This is particularly important because Commanders, with their shorter, lighter slides and heavier recoil springs, cycle much faster than a 5″ 1911s. The longer relief cut in the top of the frame to allow rearward travel for the slide was added to slow down the cycling a bit and give the magazine spring a few more milliseconds to push the top round into feeding position before the slide comes forward again to strip off the top round. Commanders have a reputation for being VERY finicky about magazines, especially with eight-round 1911 mags, and for having a narrower window of acceptable extractor tension for reliable feeding and extraction.

    Thanks.

  18. If you ever wanted a Colt Government Model, Commander or National Match, now is the time to step up. I see internet prices of blued Government models a touch above $700 and for Commanders not much more.
    Whatever Colt has done to their production line-I suspect a massive infusion of CNC machining, they have tightened them up considerably from years past.

    I was given a Government model last June for Fathers Day, the slide to frame fit is very close-not tight as some of the custom models, but close and smooth. The barrel bushing to slide and barrel tolerance is .005″ total. The trigger press is nice brand new and will smooth out with use.

    The hated Series 80 firing pin safety system is not a bother, and I really don’t understand all the complaining about it. Remove the parts, order a $7 part from Brownell’s and remove the thing if that’s what you must do. For me, it simply does not get in the way of accurate shooting.

    The thumb safety works as it should, with a bit of resistance going in either direction, but its function is also smooth and positive. Both supplied magazines, a 7 round and 8 round work correctly with factory ball, hollow point, and some lead semi wad cutter ammo from my reloading bench without a hitch. So far, I have over 2000 rounds through the pistol and it has been perfectly reliable.

    I don’t care for ambi safeties, full length guide rods, beavertail safeties, thumb safeties with a pad large enough to be a brake pedal on an old Dodge Power Wagon, gills on the front of the slide, funky looking hammers or any of that.

    What I wanted was a good quality basic no frills works every time Colt, and I have it, for a good price.

  19. I just purchased a 1974 combat commander second hand from a local gun store, I can’t wait to actually get it!

    • You’re gonna love it Kyle. Being that the pistol is used and hopefully, Bubba didn’t pull a frontal assault on it with a dremel tool, buy some fresh springs for it along with some good magazines, oil it up and shoot the wheee out of it!
      Some don’t, but I personally like the older model Commander hammer and grip safety.

  20. Just purchased a Colt Commander, can’t wait to send it to Turnbull restoration, or volkmann precision for case hardening and polishing.. oh yeah…..! Got to rob my piggy bank for this one.. gonna be my bbq ,going to church, relaxing on my porch gun…. when she’s done ,it’s going to be a beauty… all probably have on my nightstand every night.. by the way the 1911 has seen more combat, than any other pistol…! Has definitely proven itself above and beyond.. there hasn’t been any recent war conflicts, that even compare to ww1 or ww2. vietnam…

  21. I agree that Colts are very good factory 1911’s but they definitely need some improvements before I would say they are excellent weapons. I own 2 personally, a Colt Gov’t in .38 Super, and a Combat Commander in 9mm. I changed the triggers, grip safeties, thumb safeties, all the springs with Wolff spring packs, hammers, and had both guns given carry de horns and both redone with Cerakote finishes, among a few other small things. Now they are both awesome 1911’s that I really love to shoot!

    On another note, as of early to mid 2015 Colt has lowered the MSRP’s on almost all of their weapons between 100-300.00. Also as for the Marines using the Colt comment in the article, they ended up not liking the weapon (these Colts went to MARSOC) and stopped the purchase after the initial 1,200 units (I am not 100% on the number). The Marines have now authorized the use and issue of the Glock 17 and I believe the Glock 19 in place of the 1911, and or the Beretta M9A1, because most MARSOC operators already carried Glocks and liked them a lot better than the Colt.

  22. Compared with the Kimber Stainless Pro TLE RLII I was a little disappointed with the quality of the Colt Commander because the safety on the back of the grip rattles. Also, you have to depress the clip release to slide the clip in. On the Kimber the clip just glides in and locks. I paid almost double for the Kimber but you get what you pay for. The finish on the Kimber clip is soft as satin whereas the Colt black oxide finish has texture. I do like the classic look of the Colt Commander, the smaller format and the rosewood handles. Very comfy in the hand and a nice feel overall.

  23. I bought my one and only 1911 about a year ago; it is the same Series 80 Commander. From day one this was my favorite handgun and my EDC. I’m not sure about the thumb safety complaint as mine had no such problem. I did have an issue with the slide stop until I realized it’s best not to try and lock the slide with an empty magazine in the well. I made two mechanical upgrades (or changes). First after doing a little polishing on the internals, I cut the piston spring for the firing pin black just long enough to keep the plunger supported. I’m curious that this is not common on a 1911, as it mitigates most of the squishy trigger take up from the firing pin block and also reduces the trigger pull by a pound (really it does). I also had my LGS install a Wilson Combat Concealment beavertail and hammer. This upgrade really works well and looks phenomenal. Anyway the gun is every bit as good as this article says it is, and at $700 from Bud’s it a good deal on a Colt. It’s also the only Colt pistol that remains on the CA Handgun Roster for 2016.

  24. I have bought Colt auto pistols for 30 years. Currently carry a vintage mustang lightweight. In the late ’80s I sold a gov.model that I bought new and always regretted selling. Same with a Colt .22 single action new frontier . Anyway the point I wanted to raise was the authors statement in the article about the nice finish. I would have to disagree there. I’ve looked at the new Colt auto pistols and they have nothing on the older manufactured pistols.I’m talking the blue finish. The only color gun I’d buy. I’m looking to purchase a lightweight Commander and the slides on these and other .45 autos made by Colt have horizontal scratch marks that look like crap. For the prices being charged Colt could at least spend a little time hand polishing the slide if not the entire gun before bluing.

  25. Re: 1911’s……..There is the original Colt, all the rest are copies.
    Mr. Browning knows his weapons !

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