Thursday, February 22, 2007

Colt Commander .45 ACP Light Weight

Based on the venerable 1911A1 the Commander is one of the smallest of that family with a 4.5 inch barrel. As with the entire family it is a recoil operated auto-loader and is single action. This is the Light Weight Model, little known and somewhat dismissed as weak in the frame due to its alloy composition. This prejudice prevented the pistol from gaining wide acceptance and over time has proved fallacious. Continuous firing of hot heavy loads will cause frame wear eventually, but failures due to such loads have had no press. This pistol has fired thousands of rounds of target loads, 230gr hardballs with 4.5 gr Bullseye and several hundred heavy load 200gr JHP (jacketed hollow point) with 7.2 gr Unique. A 30 yd shot just behind the heart killed a 150 lb field dressed mule deer. While it did not pass through it broke a large rib and shredded the lungs. I no longer hunt with this pistol because the lack of through and through made tracking very difficult.


The magazine shown is an eight shot magazine, in carry configuration - one in the chamber, full mag, cocked and locked you have 9 rounds, the 200gr JHP are very serious self-defense rounds. While the alloy frame cuts weight that many rounds are not light. This pistol can be easily aimed by a smaller woman but the recoil with those rounds is significant and compounded by the inertia of the slide.

The bluing on this pistol is quite worn from holster carry and use and while not nearly as pretty as new, its functions are unimpaired. It is accurate, quick to point, and with proper rounds never mis-feeds. I have never been able to use wad cutters with any reliability, but it happily feeds hardballs and hollow points.

Other than plinking or competitions involving this weapon type; this gun's duty is self-defense. This pistol meets and exceeds the demands of self-defense, especially in safety mechanisms. For those unfamiliar with this family of pistols these are the safeties: grip safety below hammer must be depressed by the hand, safety lock at left rear of slide-locks trigger, half cock hammer position, slide in any back position trigger lock. This pistol does not have a transfer bar and it is therefor unsafe with hammer down on a loaded chamber. The pistol's ease of use and intimidation factor are huge pluses, it looks exactly like what it is and each trigger pull fires a shot without the trigger drag of double action revolvers and there are nine of them. The rounds it fires are of some consideration, the heavy bullets will penetrate thick clothing and break large bones, but the lack of velocity reduces the chances of over penetration - shooting through a body and then through other things not desired or with a miss of shooting through several walls and so on. These are very realistic considerations for a self-defense weapon and of real importance in the horrid conditions involved in an actual use.

The disassembled picture is field stripped condition, all that is required for a complete cleaning and a basic inspection. Field stripping is easily accomplished in one minute with a little practice. The eight round magazine is Colt manufactured after market.

I've had a love affair with Colt autos for most of my life, for some reason, and this was the first pistol I purchased. I've put a lot of miles on this gun, but I still enjoy the heck out of shooting it. I have more powerful revolvers that are more accurate that are very nice shooters but this remains my favorite.

Right click pictures for full size.

45 comments:

mark said...

This prejudice prevented the pistol from gaining wide acceptance and over time has proved fallacious. Continuous firing of hot heavy loads will cause frame wear eventually, but failures due to such loads have had no press. This pistol has fired thousands of rounds of target loads, 230gr hardballs with 4.5 gr Bullseye and several hundred heavy load 200gr JHP (jacketed hollow point) with 7.2 gr Unique. A 30 yd shot just behind the heart killed a 150 lb field dressed mule deer. While it did not pass through it broke a large rib and shredded the lungs. I no longer hunt with this pistol because the lack of through and through made tracking very difficult. and more more information self defense training.to the following web site

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KISS said...

Me too. I shot on the base team...never the A team, was an alternate. I shot many many rounds from an Accurised 45 Colt. Yesterday I commented your rifle might be a fine hunting weapon. I don't reload any longer, [ I just got old} therefore I don't have ballistic book to show muzzle velocity or foot/pound energy of the rifle. I did figure the long barrel would give much more velocity than the pistol. When I learned to shoot it was profile one handed method. The target was measured in inches away and looked at about 25-30 feet, I'm guessing. I later have owned many 45's from Colt to Spanish and Italian manufactures, The Llama was perhaps the best made. You are right about limited penetration, it was designed for knock down. I wish I could have shot a Luger to see the difference, same caliber, of course. Always fun to converse with a gun fancier.

Chuck Butcher said...

The velocity gain is significant in terms of the round, but that rifle is built for Black Powder 45 Colt (Long Colt), over 750 fps in 250 gr cast flat nose would be asking for trouble with smokeless.

There are autos that'll handle bigger loads than I put in the Commander, I just don't see the point, a revolver built to take hot rounds is a heck of a lot easier on the wrist and a bunch more power and really needless for self-defense.

For example the 200 gr ACP 7.2 Unique load makes about 1000fps, standard Long Colt 250 gr make about 900 fps, 300 gr LC P++ make 1200fps, I have load data for 360gr LC at 1250fps. Other than standard those .45 Colt (long colt) are for TCs & Ruger big frames only.

I watched my buddy's daughter shoot my Bisley Vaquero with the 300 P++, she's not a little woman and she handled it all right, but that level of recoil leads to recoil anticipation and accuracy problems. I shoot nail guns all the time so I don't fight recoil.

I prefer to shoot single handed, also. Since all my pistols are single action I have no pulling problems from trigger. Those big loads in the Bisley do make it a hand cannon, though.

Bil said...

The first pistol I ever owned and still my favorite house gun. Right next to my bible on the nightstand.
Wonderful piece. Added safety at home by tipping the clip slightly out.

45superman said...

Not only a gun lover with a real reverence for freedom, but a 1911 man, too. You and I will get along just fine.

Chuck Butcher said...

Cool

Terry Sullivan said...

I just inherited a Commander from my Dad. He bought it in 1952 for 62.50 and carried it on combat missions in Korea. I will pass it onto my son some day.
I have only fired one clip so far. I had a little trouble getting the first round to load, but then it rocked my world. I also have a Browning 9mm and a few Barettas.
terryas@att.net

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