Fort Knox Colt
Creator(s): Palmer, Alfred T., photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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Creator(s): Palmer, Alfred T., photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Colt pistols are – supposedly – going to be all that the company will be to selling to the public once the current inventory of their AR-platform rifles sells out. 

Granted, it could be that they’re just doing this to stoke demand, which wouldn’t be the first time that a gunmaker — or any manufacturer — has done so. (I have a sneaking suspicion the Browning Hi-Power will be back at some point.) Or maybe they’re serious about not selling AR-15s to civilians anymore, and hey – who could blame them? If they aren’t making a profit, there’s no reason to keep making them. 

But Colt still intends to make handguns for retail sale. If you wanted to get into a Colt pistol, what are some good choices? Here are six excellent options to consider adding to your safe. 

Oh, and if you’re some sort of Tactical Timmy obsessed with plastic pistols and wearing those stupid-looking cool Oakley sunglasses, you better take yourself somewhere else. (Stop wearing tactical pants to the office, get some Ray-Bans like a grown-up and start acting your age.) Since most of their product line is 1911 pistols . . .

Colt Competition 1911

First up is from the lower end of Colt’s 1911 offerings, the Colt Competition 1911. This is the entry-level Colt government model to get, more so than their 1991 (Colt’s GI-style 1911) or Series 70 pistol. 


While some people prefer the GI style 1911 — and hey, Colt is the original, after all — the Competition model costs the same ($900 MSRP for .45 ACP, $850 in 9mm), but comes with more stuff.

An upswept beavertail safety, competition-style thumb safety lever, Novak sights (fiber optic front and ramp rear) and thus Novak sight cuts, G10 grips, their National Match barrel and a crispy Series 70 trigger. If you want to try to tell me some stupid collet bushing is really that important, go right ahead. 




If you want a Colt for concealed carry, one of the best is the Wiley Clapp Lightweight Commander. At $1299 MSRP, the price of entry is a little stiff, but the features list is ample. Series 70 firing system, beavertail grip safety, 25 LPI checkering on the grip and mainspring housing, and Novak sights. The aluminum frame cuts the carry weight by more than half a pound, so it’s easier on the person packing this pistol. It can also be had in .45 ACP. 

Ordinarily, I would have mentioned the regular Colt Lightweight Commander, which actually still has a lot going for it. The regular LWC has many of the same features, but isn’t offered in 9mm any longer and that’s just dumb.

While the traditional LWC also has Colt’s Series 80 system (firing pin block) it still has an excellent trigger…but the lack of a 9mm option is doesn’t make sense in this day and age, so I’m giving the edge to the Wiley Clapp model. 



Speaking of power, Colt was one of the first serious gun maker to have a 10mm pistol available: the Delta Elite. They beat S&W to the punch, and Dornaus and Dixon (back in the day) were basically dead on arrival. They started making them again in 2009, and the one to get is the Delta Elite TT, which stands for Two-Tone. 

Why the TT? It has the same features as the standard Delta Elite – upswept beavertail safety, Novak sights, those cool Delta logo grips – but has a blued slide with the stainless steel frame, so it looks better. It costs the same; MSRP is $1199. That’s not cheap, so why not get the one that looks better?

King Cobra Target Colt
Credit: Colt

The King Cobra Target is the closest most of us will ever get to an actual Python. It has the same full-length underlug ejector rod shroud, the same pull-back cylinder release, and the same logo on the frame, but adds modern touches like a fiber optic front sight to go with the adjustable rear sight. It holds six of .357 Magnum, has a 4.25-inch barrel, and comes with wood grips. 

What’s not to like? It’s a full meal deal .357 Magnum from Colt. They aren’t likely ever going to make the Python again (probably), but this will get you as close as possible. While it’s not cheap (MSRP is $999) actual Colt Pythons often cost a lot more than that. 




Kimber, SIG SAUER, and Springfield Armory make clones of Colt’s micro 1911. Why not get the original?

The Colt Mustang Lite is a micro 1911, just like the aforementioned, and is chambered in .380, just like the aforementioned. It costs about the same (MSRP is $599), but it has a polymer frame, so it’s even easier to carry. The Mustang has comfortable grips and it’s the same small single-action that so many folks are used to.

It even has a rail. Darned if I know why you’d bother, but it does. 

At last we come to the pinnacle of Colt’s lineup, short of having a pistol made by their custom shop.


The Colt Gold Cup has, for decades, been the standard by which competition 1911’s are judged. And it’s still a darned fine pistol. 

National match barrel, a crisp Series 70 trigger, beavertail grip safety, skeleton trigger and hammer, competition style thumb safety, G10 grips and a target sight set with an adjustable Bomar rear and Novak fiber optic front. 

The base model (the Gold Cup SS) has a stainless steel (which is why it’s called the SS) finish, and is offered in 9mm, .45 ACP and .38 Super. You can upgrade to the Trophy model, which adds 25 lpi checkering and a beveled mag well, or change lanes to the Gold Cup National Match – essentially the original Gold Cup – which has a blued finish though omits the beavertail grip safety and skeleton hammer and changes the front sight to a black steel blade. 

Price of entry starts at $1299 MSRP for the NM and SS models, but goes up to $1699 for the Gold Cup Trophy

What do you think? Outraged that I didn’t mention the SAA? That was intentional…it’s overpriced. Get a Ruger Vaquero instead. Think nobody should bother with Colt? Just came here to rant, regardless of the topic? Sound off in the comments. 

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  1. I have a new version of the Colt Cobra that I picked up used and I really like it. It has a nice trigger in my opinion anyway and that’s all that counts since I’m the one using it.

      • They did, sort of. 2015 shot show Colt announced they teamed up with U.S. Armament Corp to produce the 1903 pocket hammerless in .32acp. Some blued and some parkerized. It was still offered on Colt’s website last I looked.

    • The mustang is easier to conceal than just about anything out there. Not sure what you are talking about. If 13 ounces is heavy that maybe it’s time to hit the weight room.
      Also, has been extremely reliable.

  2. Those Browning Hi-Powers are selling for a bunch used at my LCS. Geez, I’ve seen them for $1500.

    • Browning discontinued the hi-point. I was just out in my field today putting my regent (tisas) hi point clone I got this winter through it’s paces. 500 rounds of reloads and not a hiccup, very accurate. It’s a great $500 copy if you don’t want to pay up for a NOS browning.

      I wish colt would leverage their name into making some of their old guns. Don’t get me wrong, I like my ruger Blackhawk .45/.45ACP but it would be nice to have a SAA.

      I’ve never shot a python, but the way folks go on about them it’s something I’d like to check out.

      I actually own 2 colt 6920s from the OEM 1 & 2 so I guess I would pay up for the logo and name. I hear people running them down, but they were/are good quality rifles that got me into my MSR addiction so they aren’t all bad.

      • One of the local gun shops near me recently had, of all things, a FEG-made Hi Power. Price was very reasonable, but I’m not sure how close to a “true” Hi-Power the Hungarian ones are, or if they use nonstandard parts. Passed on it.

        • they were about $250 new. they made a true clone (the slide has a slight barel shroud, and the frame safety hole diameter is smaller) that is over 90% interchangeable. some were designated pjk-hp9; these were kbi imports (“pamela jean kassner”, the owners daughters or wife’s initials). the hungarians also futzed with a second version hybridizing the p35 and the s&w 59 lockwork, being da/ sa. others are close but have different slide stop cuts.
          “decoding the feg hi power” was once a free website; it has since gone to ebook form for a nominal fee.

      • The Hi Power and Hi Point are not the same,yes they are both firearms but at opposite ends of the scale.

  3. I just don’t see the “intrinsic value” is equal to the cost. The difference being what you are paying for the newer Colt name but not getting the old Colt name and quality.

  4. F cku Colt. Overpriced guns that long ago quit being the top tier guns worthy of paying a little extra.

    • Colt is only a shadow of a once Great Co……Now I wouldn’t want one or would I consider ever buying one!

      • The Colt brand may be a shadow of it’s former self but the value of it’s products for a variety reasons continues to maintain over the years and will probably be that way for the significant future.

  5. With all the quality control problems I remember seeing from Colt in the past, I would NEVER buy anything that company has made for the civilian market. Unless of course it was the personal revolver of someone like Wyatt Earp or Bat Masterson or General Patton and I could get it really cheap.

  6. No new Colt semiautomatic pistols are for sale in California, and even before they stopped selling them five years ago, no 70 series pistols could be sold new. Only revolvers, and damned few of those, I’ll skip the Vaquero, however; all of my SAAs are Piettas.

  7. Bought one of the new King Cobras last June, the only Colt firearm I’ve owned so far. DA trigger is so good I don’t even care to shoot it in SA. I expected quite a kick shooting 357 but it’s manageable for how light it is. Yeah I know it’s not a pocket pistol that uses a 75 round single stack flush fit G43 or P365 magazine, but it is still up there among my most satisfying gun purchases.

    I’ve owned a few DA revolvers. The Ruger GP100 and SP101 are great weapons that I’m sure anyone with some revolver skill and a couple speedloaders would feel good with almost anywhere. The S&W 19 (I had a 6 inch -5) helped me understand why classic S&W revolvers are highly praised. But the Colt King Cobra imho is something special.

    • Please let us know it the hammer breaks where the spring meets it, or the firing pin breaks. i have read enough forum posts from owners of the new Cobra (.38) to think Colt has a real problem with their MIM internals on the new revolvers. One guy reported the replacement hammer he got from Colt after they had his gun for a month broke after another couple hundred rounds. So he will be on his third hammer after replacement. I was ready to buy one until I started researching problems. Hopefully your King Cobra version has stronger internal parts than the .38 version.

  8. See I thought Colt only dropped rifles for a pure financial stand point. The AR market is just too competitive. Either way I’m thinking I’ll pick up one of the new Cobra’s.

  9. I have a police positive, single action army both inherited and awesome. I recently bought a series 80 and it’s been a great gun, factory mags are just okay though. I’ve shot an original gold cup, and while better, it’s not worth the price difference better.

  10. Maybe it’s just because I’m an old fart who has mistakenly outlived his teeth, but there is no way of Justifying those prices, when there is at least one reliable source for half the price. Rock Island 1911’s from Cheaper Than Dirt or Bud’s will do the same job. I want reliability first, accuracy, second, safe when dropped, or, mishandled third. I’m going out on a limb here but, Colt should be all three, I don’t own one so I going by word of mouth. I do own a Rock Island 45 it’s the tact 2 ms, ms being mid-sized has Novac sights, all the whistle and bells. I really like it. Still have not reached the break in period of 500 rounds but I’m close. It’s my fun gun. Or when we go out at night.

    • I’ve rented a RIA 1911 at my local range a few times. I like it a lot. A reliable, sturdy “working man’s” 1911.

  11. Colt and Smith & Wesson are not making anything I would buy today. The Colt 1911 guns use MIM cast parts and plastic parts which blasphemes the very name of Colt. Smith now uses MIM cast parts as well. Both companies are running on their old past glories and sell only to the people who are not aware of how much they have cheapened their guns and kept on raising their prices.

    The Browning High Power is done forever, do not look for FN to ever make them again. There are some clones out their but they will never have the resale value and prestige of the original classic FN guns. The High Power for me is the King of all high capacity 9mm’s past and present. For low capacity the original Sig Neuhausen P210 is the Rolls Royce of 9mm guns and I do not include the present piece of cast iron junk they are making today.

    • Of course you’re entitled to think that way, and in some respects I agree with you and even have very dear relative who would agree 100%. And I’m going to tell you the same thing I told him. Either be rich, or never buy another firearm. Knock yourself out.

    • @Rubiconcrossed:

      Pray tell, what is wrong with MIM parts? My SP101 has a HAMMER that looks like it might be an MIM part, albeit with a lot of machining done to it afterwards. Seems to work okay, and it looks good.

  12. well I have a Colt 1911 series 80 SS gold cup national match and it is one fine shooting gun has fed and shot everything run thru it different types reloads including hand pored 230-grain lead rounds dang sure would not take what I paid for it about 5 or six years ago

  13. I love my 2 Colt 1911 45 ACP pistols. One is a vintage one custom modified by my grandfather from an original Colt Government for competition that I inherited from him. Extra long barrel, extra long and extra heavy slide with adjustable sights, custom competition trigger job, etc. All of the gunsmithing was done by my grandfather himself, a former Olympic sharpshooter and a former naval dentist. My other Colt is a modern series 70 that I bought for many reasons, but, being a scientist happening to stumble across nearly a spare grand of cash one day, primarily for no other reason than to compare my grandfather’s vintage custom “pimped” up Colt to a recently made standard issue Government series 70 (I would not touch a series 80 with a ten foot pole). I see the differences, I see why Colt is looking at a dark future. There is nothing wrong with my modern 1911, the workmanship and quality is excellent and better than other modern pistols, but it is not the same as the vintage Colt. Colt is a company that saw bankruptcy from nearly its earliest days and still manages to rise up like a Phoenix from the ashes every time. I hope that old Sam Colt’s spirit is still there somewhere.
    Otherwise, like many fountain pen companies that were the best in their day, many extinct companies are recently being resurrected by collectors and fans. Their modern products do not compare to the vintage products, but are eons beyond the last products made by the failing original companies breathing their last struggled breath. (See Waterman, Parker, Conklin, etc.)

  14. A lot of talk here about 380’s , 9mm. , 357 mag , & my fave the 45 , but I’m thinking about a 38 Super, no comments about that cal, guess I’ll do a little more research… still like my 45’s though…

  15. I’ve owned a few Colt handguns over the years. Mostly Government Models, Commanders and the odd Officers. Four Pythons that I can recall off the top of my head and a handful of SAA. Still own a couple of Government Models, a Python and a brace of SAA. Not fond of their new stuff. Buy used. It’s expensive, but worth it. Nothing else has the panache of a real Colt. Same with earlier S&W. And Browning Hi-Powers. Own those too. Looking for more. Anyone selling?

  16. And every variant listed is also made by another company for less money. Hell, buy a competitor and use the savings to get a horse engraved in the side.

  17. Thing is….people aren’t specifically looking for Colt guns to buy. They are looking to buy guns they want.

    My guess is that shooters are staying away in droves from Colt ARs they view as over-priced. My guess is Colt turned that bug into a feature and announced the suspension of consumer AR sales to curry a little favor with law enforcement agencies or entities that thing only cops should have ARs.

    Colt sid seem to be trying to make some decent guns that people want to buy, like the Cobra and King Cobra revolvers.

    Colt Govts are pretty pricey and people spending around 1k will likely head for some other manufacturer. (But I could be wrong).

    Colt might bring back some more guns such as Colt Pony Pocketlite (I liked the original but the recoil spring needed regular replacement). I would certainly consider a re-issue as long as it works and isn’t 600 dollars.

    They also need an airweight 38. The original Cobra was an airweight but the new issue is not (which screws up guns searches on the internet). They could revive the Agent name for an airweight 38 but they did use New Agent for a mini Govt. So instead of being creative with new names (there are other snake species to copy) they fried to rest on the laurels of a recognized name.

    Suggesting that folks who were looking to buy a Colt AR should Colt a solid and buy some other product is just silly. Colt has the chance to build guns that people want and make money or follow previous CEOs lead and go broke……again.

    Up to them.

  18. I don’t know about others, but I will not purchase a gun solely because of the name. Finding a couple of equally good guns, I would lean towards some brands but its an incremental adder. IMHO, Colt has been living on its reputation for many years and I don’t find the new ones all that appealing, the possible exception being the King Cobra. Adding on this that, its clear to me the decision was not just because of thin profit margins on the AR. If they are tooled up to build for the military / leo market then they have the advantage of scale that the little guys don’t. I think they are distancing themselves from legal liability. They have the deep pockets and will be #1 on the lawsuit target list, thus they are running scared. That should concern us all and I will lean towards doing business with companies that are 100% 2A supporters in for the long haul, not the ones looking to run away.

    • @ Grumpy Old Guy from another G.O.G.:

      “They have the deep pockets and will be #1 on the lawsuit target list, thus they are running scared.”

      Deep pockets? Are you kidding? Didn’t they just come out of bankruptcy?

      Maybe they’re running scared of lawsuits because they’re almost broke.

      • Deep pockets includes insurance and non-cash assets, which colt has plenty. Bankruptcy is the result of running out of cash to run the business. In theory the court would not allow reorganization but liquidate if the assets were not in place, factory, ip, long term contracts, inventory, etc…. So yes – they do still have deep pockets.

  19. always wanted a delta. why?
    ‘cuz delta-wye. if you’re single phasing, get a pizza oven on the secondaries or you’ll get ferro.
    when single stacking, your spare mag is the pizza oven.

  20. Colt sold its customers down the river with military sales only for years; now they want too have the people bail their asses out, by selling their over priced Junk, especially the series 80. because of inferiority problems they lost their Gov-ment money maker! JIJO {junk in junk out}

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