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  #1  
Old 08-01-2019, 11:51 AM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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IMG_0747 by Dandy Randy, on Flickr

Commander refers to all Colt 1911s with a barrel of about 4.25 inches and has a shorter slide to accommodate that barrel. Now a days Commander refers to most any 1911 pistol with that same Colt configuration or close to it. They all have roughly the same barrel length. Colt is usually the standard reference for all 1911 pistols.

All I can say is Im a big fan of the Commander size 1911s. Im going to be reviewing some Commander size 1911s here in the near future and starting things out I have a pair of Commanders. One is a Colt and the other is a Desert Eagle. One is an 80 series and the other is a 70 series. Another Colt reference that usually designates whether or not the gun has a firing pin safety or not. I would like to talk about that next.

It has been said that the 70 series is the more desirable since it has the best trigger and ease of disassembly and re assembly. The Desert Eagle Commander shown above would be considered
a 70 series since its lacking a firing pin safety. The Colt has an original 80 series Colt design firing pin safety. I have heard that this 80 series is the undesirable system of the two but I dont see that as the case. So far I dont see or feel any real difference in the two triggers. I also dont have any real problem reassembling any of these pistols regardless of the firing pin safety or not.

Theres also the argument that the extra firing pin safety "gizmos" is just another thing that will break and its one of those consistent themes Ive heard in the 1911 community. To me the 1911 is just another pistol just like any other pistol. There is other styles that incorporate all types of different features, some features better than others, but nonetheless most of these guns function well. So why the big stink with 1911s? I personally dont get it and it should just be buyers choice. The problem is once it becomes a common themed "misconception" in the firearms world that this is the "go to type of thing" and "avoid that at all costs" when it really dosent amount to anything real. I personally dont see any "striking" difference or an issue in the two "none firing pin safety" and "firing pin safety" style 1911s. That includes some of the other styles of firing pin safeties like in the Kimber brand. Ive also never had one of these "safeties" fail on me ever. Not saying it cant happen but if we are going that route while your concerned of shooting your 80 series style pistol you could be squashed by a stripped and winged meteor from space shaped like a 57 Chevy Bel Air...
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:43 PM
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I like the Commanders myself...
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:15 PM
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I’ve primarily owned the 5” 1911’s but bought a Kimber TLE II Pro 45 last summer. I have to say it’s very accurate, functioned perfectly from the first shot and is a real pleasure to shoot. Also the trigger is excellent.

I since have added a Colt xse 38 Super LW Commander and really enjoy it.
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:24 PM
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I got one! A Lightweight.
Along with a 50 foot group using cast 200 grain SWC's and Unique.
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:42 PM
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One of my top five must have handguns...
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .38SuperMan View Post
I’ve primarily owned the 5” 1911’s but bought a Kimber TLE II Pro 45 last summer. I have to say it’s very accurate, functioned perfectly from the first shot and is a real pleasure to shoot. Also the trigger is excellent.

I since have added a Colt xse 38 Super LW Commander and really enjoy it.
Ive been looking at that Kimber TLE II hard and I really like the looks and features of the gun. Really nothing bad to say except the price of it. The gun is close to the same price as the Colt Commander. I went to a local gun store to get the Colt and there was an endless sea of Kimbers at the counter. The clerk insisted on me getting the Kimber even though I was there to specifically get the Colt. Also the Dan Wesson Commander was a couple hundred more than the Kimber and the DW is a much more superior gun to me than the Kimber. Just my opinion of course.. HA!
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:37 PM
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I'm going to do a drive-by here. There are no Series '70 Commanders.

Original Series '70 pistols ran from 1970 to 1983. After 1969 Colt used the Accurizer barrel and collet bushing, (aka the Series '70 bushing) in Government and Gold Cup models. The Commander used a different bushing and never went to the Accurizer barrel/bushing. In 1983 Colt pistols became '80 Series pistols with the solid bushing, as always, and the firing pin safety.

Bill

Last edited by CA Escapee; 08-01-2019 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:51 PM
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Yes, I read Colt found that the collet bushing didn't work with the shorter barrel.
Strictly speaking, the Colt Commander, introduced in 1950, had an aluminum frame, in 1970 they introduced the Combat Commander with a steel frame.
I have a satin finish Combat Commander, when I was in the National Guard an NCO had a Commander. We let people fire both, everyone said they liked mine better.
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Old 08-01-2019, 03:12 PM
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I like Colt Commanders and carry one regularly.

On that I had Bobbed

The Commander!-dsc_0039_zpsfeq1hr2i-jpg

And a 'new-to-me' Super 38

The Commander!-img_9934-jpg
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Old 08-01-2019, 03:18 PM
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I have always loved the Commander. I can not recall when I got my first one

I even have one that is my BBQ gun



The Blue Colt Gold Cup Commander with it's Ivory grips has been taken to numerous weddings, funerals and even two inaugurations over the decades that I have owned it. Since this one is carried in a horizontal Galco Windsor shoulder holster system, that shorter slide does help

I have it's stainless steel brother that gets most of the ammunition fired through it



I also have some Commander pattern auto loaders from other manufacturers. Several are from Kimber but the last one is a Les Baer









I have a few other Commanders that I need to photograph. One is a Colt that is getting it's tail bobbed at the moment while another is an AMT Skipper
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:31 PM
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I think XFUZZ will remember this. The department we worked for had a tradition of requiring new officers to carry revolvers for their 6 month probationary period. In the 70's when the crooks started getting better weapons, the guys I worked with started carrying Browning High Powers and Colt 1911's. I carried a Colt LW Commander with a good trigger, good sights and would feed an empty case. I ended up with several LW Commanders and if I was called back to service, I would feel very comfortable with one of them. Of course, I would always have my S&W 37 as backup!
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:33 PM
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Have a 1968 mfg LW Commander myself...carried it a long time ago.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:41 AM
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Here's my Commander. In .38 Super. It is lightweight, but is just called "Commander". When they first came out, all Commanders were lightweight. Later, a steel version was added, called the "Combat Commander". Then later, to confuse everyone, the original Commanders were called "Lightweigt Commanders". Very confusing. At least that's how I remember the chronology.

But I love theirs and feel of this one in the hand.



Best Regards, Les
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA Escapee View Post
I'm going to do a drive-by here. There are no Series '70 Commanders.

Original Series '70 pistols ran from 1970 to 1983. After 1969 Colt used the Accurizer barrel and collet bushing, (aka the Series '70 bushing) in Government and Gold Cup models. The Commander used a different bushing and never went to the Accurizer barrel/bushing. In 1983 Colt pistols became '80 Series pistols with the solid bushing, as always, and the firing pin safety.

Bill
Maybe I'm misunderstanding your comment here. I used to own a Series 70 Combat Commander in satin nickel finish. Bought it new in the late '70s. It had a solid bushing, not the collet, as you noted. I sold it off after not too long because it was inaccurate as heck and I was really young (21-22), so didn't know about customizing back then.
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:51 AM
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While not technically a Commander, my EDC 1911 is Commander size. It's an Officers Model with a carry comp that makes the overall length the same as a Commander. But that probably doesn't count, since it's still a 3.5-inch barrel.
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Old 08-02-2019, 03:39 AM
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I have owned several Colt Commanders in the past, but do not now. For concealed carry, I like the Officers size pistols, as long as they are reliable. For range and field carry, I like the full size pistols, as weight and concealability are not issues.

That said, I recently purchased a Kimber Commander length 1911 in .45 acp. It has a round butt grip, steel frame, and a slide mounted optic. No firing pin safety in this model. It is quickly becoming a real favorite, as it feels great in the hand, is very accurate, reliable, and pretty soft shooting compared to an aluminum frame gun. Not really a primary CCW, but could be if you wanted.

Larry
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:49 AM
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Although most of my 1911 style pistols are Government Model length, I do have one Commander length pistol that I assembled from parts and pieces. I do find it to be a quicker handling and better balanced pistol.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:04 AM
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I don't have any pictures on my phone, but the first handgun I bought when I turned 21 in 1990 was a brand new stainless Colt series 80 combat commander. I still have it too. There is something about a stainless commander that just looks right. The only thing that I ever did to it is polish the ramp and put an extended Wilson safety on it.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:05 AM
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Well, you’re wrong about the 1911 being like any other pistol, at least to some of us.

I do tend to agree that in anything except a very finely tuned target trigger, a properly functioning Series 80 safety is not a great hardship. On the other hand, I do think the Series 80 parts are a reliability risk. For that reason, I’d rather have the standard design, not because it actually affects the trigger pull all that much. Conversely, I am not one of those who shrieks in horror when they see the dreaded... “external” extractor. S&W’s seem to work very well.

As Les notes, Colt, like S&W, these days seem to be inhabited by employees who don’t know or care about their own history. Commanders are aluminum-frame guns with 4.25” barrels. Period. Other versions that look like a Commander are correctly called something else. They’re not true Commanders. I am only interested in Commanders. If I want a gun with a steel-frame, I’d prefer to just have the regular 5-inch gun. All this just my own very humble opinion, of course.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:26 AM
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I have a Rock Island GI 1911 with the 4.25 barrel and GI hammer and the gun is much easier to cock one handed but I do like the looks of the original commander hammer better. I don't care for the skelton or target hammers. I visited the Texas Rangers museum in Waco a couple weeks ago and the place was filled with Ranger duty 1911s from the last hundred years and many were engraved and/or had fancy grips and about half of them were Commanders. Almost every gun was a .45 but there were a few .38 Supers and there were several matching pairs of 1911s with ornately carved "two pistol gun belts".

Last edited by Farmer17; 08-02-2019 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:42 AM
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Not long ago I bought a used Dan Wesson Vigil Commander in 9mm. It has an aluminum frame. It is the entry level gun from DW. Cost me less than a Colt or Kimber. It is a great gun. My second Dan Wesson.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:46 AM
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I have a satin nickel steel frame Commander that I have had for a number of years. I sent it to King's and had the King-Tappan sights installed. I wish they were still in business and I would sent them some more 1911's for these sights.

I had a light weight years ago, but my bil said he needed it for undercover work. I still miss it.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:48 AM
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Here's another Commander, this one is 9mm from 1968 and have added Ivory since this photo...
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:46 AM
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usmc2427765 View Post
I think XFUZZ will remember this. The department we worked for had a tradition of requiring new officers to carry revolvers for their 6 month probationary period.
Many "Old Heads" packed the 1911. 9-20-1972
The first Hi Power I ever saw was carried by a veteran
officer in a cigar box on the front seat.

I bought my first Commander at Glen Slades Sporting Goods
on the Gulf Freeway two days before graduation from the academy.
I was in my khaki's and was given a discount.
I got change back from a $100 bill.

Bought my first Government model from a copper that was somewhat
of a rounder.
His wife, chip, truck and boat note were all a month late.
As new 70's series in nickel.....$100.00.

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Old 08-02-2019, 10:52 AM
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I didn’t have time yesterday to post a photo, but here are my Commanders.

The Commander!-4da286a3-2213-42c2-a761-a2a5cad1af8b-jpg

The Combat Commander in the upper left is an ‘82 in 9 minimeter, all the rest are .45’s. The one in the upper right is a Lightweight Commander where Colt Cerakoted the frame in a “nickel” color.

I can carry a Commander all day, but a 5” Government model starts to grind my upper leg bone. That extra 3/4” makes all the difference. Shooting wise, I can’t tell any difference in recoil between a Commander and a 5” full size model.

Bill

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Old 08-02-2019, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LEO918 View Post
Here's another Commander, this one is 9mm from 1968 and have added Ivory since this photo...
Blue Steel and Ivory

What a beautiful combination

Let us see that new photo
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borderboss View Post
Maybe I'm misunderstanding your comment here. I used to own a Series 70 Combat Commander in satin nickel finish. Bought it new in the late '70s. It had a solid bushing, not the collet, as you noted. I sold it off after not too long because it was inaccurate as heck and I was really young (21-22), so didn't know about customizing back then.
The 1911 family of Colt's, and the other brands, were generally classified as Pre-'70, Series '70, or Series '80. Now days people don't differentiate between Pre-'70's or Series '70, it's just Series '70 or Series '80.

From 1911 up to about 1970 the barrels had no flair at the muzzle and a "solid" bushing (Pre-'70). In 1970 Colt came out with the Accurizer barrel and (collet) bushing (Series '70). Then, in 1983 they switched back to a straight barrel and solid bushing and added the firing pin safety (Series '80).

From their introduction in the '50's until today, the Commanders never made the change to the Accurizer barrel/collet bushing. That's why yours didn't have the collet bushing. Colt skipped over the Series '70 changes that made it a Series '70 gun and went to the Series '80.

The good news is the Commanders of today are far tighter and probably more accurate than anything from the 1970's or 1980's.

Bill

Last edited by CA Escapee; 08-02-2019 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:28 PM
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I think what confuses people about "Series 70 Commanders" is that the one made starting in 1970 had a serial # starting with the number 70.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:29 PM
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Here's a 9mm Combat Commander I picked up a couple weeks ago...
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:45 PM
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My latest.
I'm happy with it
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:53 PM
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My first CCW was a satin nickel MK IV series 80 Combat Commander in .45 ACP way back in 1987.
Loved that gun but moved to a nickel Model 59 for the higher magazine capacity.

IMO the Commander length is the best version but didnt it come about with aluminum frame in 9mm to compete in the Army pistol trials of 1954 ?
IIRC its competitor was the Pre Model 39.
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:21 PM
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I've only owned and shot steel 5" 1911s. It's been a while, but from what I can remember the last time I handled a Commander-style 1911 it seemed to feel better balanced than the 5" guns. While I'm not particularly interested in carrying 1911s (never say never, right?), if I were it would probably be some form of Commander, or CCO-style.

While I don't consider myself a 1911 purist (I would actually prefer an external extractor), there are some "traditional" things I prefer, like having a barrel bushing. I probably wouldn't get a Commander-length gun with a bull barrel instead of a bushing.

While I prefer the non-firing-pin-safety models, i.e. "Series 70" guns, I have no problem with a Series 80 firing pin safety. I have one of each, a Series 70 Gold Cup and a Series 80 Government Model. They have different trigger "feels", but neither is bad. Just different. And I can't say if the firing pin safety, or lack thereof, has anything to do with it.
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:48 PM
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I have a serious attraction to S&W semi autos, revolvers too, but I do love 4" 1911's(does that avoid the argument of what is and is not a Commander?). My first is a steel Colt, then a 38 super Colt steel frame, then two Kimber Pro Carry stainless with alloy frame, then a 38 super Colt alloy frame with stainless top, then a S&W alloy frame with a stainless top(probably my favorite and maybe the most accurate), then an S&W with a 6 round alloy frame and 4" stainless top, then a S&W PC that is way cool!

Scored a SIG 4" Nightmare when I was in Tulsa in April. Have not had time to pull the trigger, but expect it to be as fine as all my other SIG's.

I think I have even more 5" 1911's, plus some 3" versions that I played with as carry guns. 4" is my favorite to carry, hands down.

One day I will figure out how to post pictures........
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:11 AM
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Speaking of the CCO, here's a Wilson Combat, the one in front, a great carry gun...
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:26 AM
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I have always preferred the Commander length slide/barrel over the government model. My first ever handgun was an old model Ruger Blackhawk Convertible .45 Colt/.45 ACP. My second handgun not long afterward was an alloy frame Series 70 Commander. I paid $200 out the door for it, new in the box. This was about 1977.

I presently have two commander length 1911s, both Ruger SRs; one is an alloy frame the other is all steel. I like them very well so far.
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:48 AM
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Not a Colt but went with a Commander-length pistol for my first 1911.



I think I'd like a Government Model, and probably a Colt, next.
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:21 PM
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We have a Colt and a Kimber . The colt was a real steal thanks to our local shop owner . He found a long misplaced WC lw commander , a 04840wc so its sort of a mix of parts , GI thumb safety safety , brass bead thin front sight novac style rear series 70 trigger group alloy framed blued slide and some grips I do like and I got it out the door for just under a grand . My wife has a Kimber stainless n 9mm that cost719 dollars rom the same dealer but they are 35 to 40 bucks higher today so guys paying higher prices for Kimber wake up , you may be paying for the window dressing . Kimber optic model is also well price or can be bought right as fit & internal parts are the same .

Both pistols have a short ed brown over sized trigger fit to there frame opening with the bow radiused and polished . Moly dry lube as used on the trigger group parts and sear springs tuned for a nice 3.5lb pull . Both are carry guns so minimal take up or over travel does not matter .I have had "1911" guys shot both then ask if they had gunsmith work done , upgraded trigger groups . Nope . Kimbers front sight has a dot of testers met. gold paint on it and thin grips for my wife but that's it . Both are good shooters and dependable . The Kimber still has its safety block trigger but its so smooth supposed high end 1911 guys don't even notice the Swartz system is in the pistol . My wife carrys her Kimber as her EDC and I carry my colt 30% of the time

.

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Old 08-03-2019, 07:27 PM
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I always heard the 70 series guns had the best trigger. The Desert Eagle would be considered a Colt 70 series style but technically the Desert Eagle is its own design. The trigger on that Desert Eagle is SWEET! However the original 80 series Colt Commander pictured above has pretty much the same trigger with very little noticeable difference.

The biggest noticeable difference in the two pistols is that the DE has a bushingless bull barrel and the Colt has a regular bushing barrel. I am going to see if there is any difference in the two barrels comparatively on the shooting range. I heard the bushingless system is more accurate but I have shot the Colt more and its pretty dang accurate so I dont think there is going to be any difference in the two.
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CA Escapee View Post
I didn’t have time yesterday to post a photo, but here are my Commanders.

Attachment 407909

The Combat Commander in the upper left is an ‘82 in 9 minimeter, all the rest are .45’s. The one in the upper right is a Lightweight Commander where Colt Cerakoted the frame in a “nickel” color.

I can carry a Commander all day, but a 5” Government model starts to grind my upper leg bone. That extra 3/4” makes all the difference. Shooting wise, I can’t tell any difference in recoil between a Commander and a 5” full size model.

Bill
I would like to hear more about the Smith and Wesson Commander E Series you have pictured there. Sadly I dont have any S&W 1911s and would like to hear more about peoples experience with them. Ive heard ALL good things so far!
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:04 PM
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Here's another Commander, this one is 9mm from 1968 and have added Ivory since this photo...
Very cool! Alloy frame?? If so how has that alloy frame held up after all these years???
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:45 PM
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IMG_0730 by Dandy Randy, on FlickrBest pistol ever? May look that way...
I would like to touch on the CCO style "Commanders" next. CCO is another 1911 reference the refers to any 1911 that has a "Commander" length barrel and slide paired with a "Officer" size frame. It makes for a more compact lighter weight package while maintaining what I personally refer to as a "combat size barrel length." CCOs are great! They retain all the basic 1911 configurations but have noticeably different "better" features than the full size 1911s. Sadly there is not to many CCO options out there but hopefully more people and manufactures will "see the light!" This Dan Wesson PM-C is slowly starting to work its way to the top as one of my BEST pistols of all time! A "series 70" pistol with all forged steel frame/parts and in 45 acp this pistol would also be considered the "Panzer Tiger Tank" of my 1911 collection.
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:30 PM
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Colt Enhanced Combat Commander with elk stag grips with Buffalo Nickels. And a Buck Custom Shop 110 with Elk Stag.
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:38 PM
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Regarding CCOs, there was one I would've seriously considered as a carry gun if I were to switch to 1911s, the Sig Traditional Compact. It had the standard Commander slide shape as opposed to Sig's proprietary slide shape on their other models (similar to their P-series pistols). It was a true 4.25" barrel length with bushing and the standard recoil spring guide (I'm not a fan of the full-length guide rods), it had an external extractor, Series 80-style firing pin safety, and stainless steel construction. IIRC, the street price was around $1000. It was nearly everything I could want in a carry 1911. Unfortunately, I believe it's been discontinued.

I'll also admit I've fantasized about having one built from scratch using Caspian Arms components.

Last edited by ContinentalOp; 08-03-2019 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 08-03-2019, 11:51 PM
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I like these:



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Old 08-04-2019, 12:26 AM
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Regarding CCOs, there was one I would've seriously considered as a carry gun if I were to switch to 1911s, the Sig Traditional Compact. It had the standard Commander slide shape as opposed to Sig's proprietary slide shape on their other models (similar to their P-series pistols). It was a true 4.25" barrel length with bushing and the standard recoil spring guide (I'm not a fan of the full-length guide rods), it had an external extractor, Series 80-style firing pin safety, and stainless steel construction. IIRC, the street price was around $1000. It was nearly everything I could want in a carry 1911. Unfortunately, I believe it's been discontinued.

I'll also admit I've fantasized about having one built from scratch using Caspian Arms components.
The Sig line of 1911s is one of the weird ones to me. I too like the Sig line of 1911s and I do like the external extractor on a 1911 like the Sigs and S&Ws. However I have yet to get a Sig 1911 mainly because of one reason that Ive visually seen with some of the model Sig pistols especially in there smaller carry size 1911s . The Sigs seem to be the one of the most unique compared to the other traditional 1911 models out there. A lot of the Sig 1911s look to have wider slides and weird widths in the frame that cause them to not take as many traditional 1911 accessories and parts. They seem to be well designed and functional but they also seem to be more unique to just Sig only.
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Old 08-04-2019, 08:30 AM
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The Sig line of 1911s is one of the weird ones to me. I too like the Sig line of 1911s and I do like the external extractor on a 1911 like the Sigs and S&Ws. However I have yet to get a Sig 1911 mainly because of one reason that Ive visually seen with some of the model Sig pistols especially in there smaller carry size 1911s . The Sigs seem to be the one of the most unique compared to the other traditional 1911 models out there. A lot of the Sig 1911s look to have wider slides and weird widths in the frame that cause them to not take as many traditional 1911 accessories and parts. They seem to be well designed and functional but they also seem to be more unique to just Sig only.
I haven't looked at the Sig lineup in a while, but they had two different lines, the Sig 1911s and the Sig Traditional 1911s. The Sig 1911s had the "unique" Sig slide profile that you described, but the Sig Traditional 1911s had the standard 1911 shape and dimensions so regular 1911 accessories would work with them.
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:37 AM
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Here is my Combat Commander along with my Compact. The Combat Commander was the 2nd 1911 I ever purchased back in the late 70's.
about ten or twelve years ago while on vacation, our house was broken into and it was stolen along with three long guns. Three years later, I received a call and it had been recovered from a raid on a drug house in Detroit. It took about three years for the trial to end and the DPD sent it back to the local Sherriff's Dept. and they returned it to me. no real damage to it and while it was stolen with out a magazine, it came back with a nice 8 round magazine. It has always been a favorite of mine. A sweet shooting 1911 and easy to carry.
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Old 08-04-2019, 09:47 PM
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I still own a Combat Commander in chrome satin;it is a serie 70.To me,the Commander is a little too light and doesn't balance well.But like they say,different strokes for different folks!While I've owned a few 1911,both in the serie 70 and 80,I must say that I couldn't see much difference as far as trigger is concerned.None were great,most are good and a few are bad.I even include the Gold Cup in this appreciation.The 1911 needs custom work to perform well.
My Combat Commander is not an accuracy maniac but it'll put them where it counts(read that a 4 to 6'' group at 25)but will feed anything you feed it with.Love that gun!
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:01 PM
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PC commander....

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