The new Colt Lightweight Commander features the same elegant lines as the original.

The Four C’s of an All-Business Pistol: Classic

Classic begins with an overall appearance that is professional but functional. The Colt Lightweight Commander’s rich, reddish-brown rosewood stocks offset it’s otherwise understated gunmetal gray coloring. An upswept beavertail grip safety and slide cocking serration along with low profile Novak sights present a familiar and trusted look. Yet every good-looking feature is entirely functional. The brushed aluminum alloy frame yields a lighter overall weight.

The stocks provide excellent purchase and, in their 118-degree angle, offer natural pointability. The grip safety allows a shooter to safely hold the Colt in the web of the hand, maintain a solid grip, and in conjunction with the stocks, quickly bring the muzzle back on target when shooting. Other pistols offer better ergonomics or stocks with greater purchase. Other pistols allow a barrel to sit lower in the hand. Very few pistols; however, combine all of these functional elements like a 1911. These elements have changed very little.

Wilson Combat 1911 mags work great in the Colt Lightweight Commander.Capable

Generally firearms only become classics if they prove themselves to be capable. The Colt Lightweight Commander is indeed a capable shooter, meaning it is easy and intuitive to aim and squeeze the trigger. It accurately delivers .45 ACP bullets to point of aim, without fuss. Yes, with a 1911 you have to master squeezing a grip safety, disengaging a manual safety, and squeezing a single-action trigger. Mastery of these and other elements demands practice, practice, practice.

Of course, safe, regular, consistent practice provides the means to mastering any handgun, not just 1911’s. But once a 1911 shooter masters these movements, the act of safely aiming and accurately firing becomes second nature. Some firearms experts recommend double-action revolvers or double-action-only semiautomatic pistols for new shooters or for those who cannot put in the practice required to master the more complex action of a 1911.

“Simpler” handguns may indeed be “easier” to fire as they may have no manual safety and may offer a long, smooth trigger stroke. All firearm safety and engagement rules accounted for, if a shooter is at the point of squeezing a trigger to fire a handgun, it is hard to beat the easy, short, glass rod snap of a 1911 trigger.


The Colt Lightweight Commander, even with its 4.25-inch barrel, is easy to conceal with the right holsters. Much credit goes the thin slide – well under one inch in most variations. Eminently concealable in an inside-the-waistband holster, the Colt Lightweight Commander can disappear under just a T-shirt and shorts.

That’s because thin and flat is actually easier to hide than small and chunky. Granted, other handguns exist that are thinner and flatter than the 1911. At some point, however, too much reduction in size negatively affects a pistol’s capability. In other words, if you can’t shoot a small pistol well, then what’s the point of carrying it concealed for self-protection? The Colt Lightweight Commander weighs in at 27 ounces (unloaded) but its excellent concealability is more a function of its thin and flat design.