1911 Review: Colt Lightweight Commander

1911 Review: Colt Lightweight Commander

Colt Lightweight Commander Review.

The new Colt Lightweight Commander is an accurate, fast-shooting pistol perfect for everyday carry.

Given its slim frame and single-stack magazine, the 1911 pistol has always been a popular choice for concealed carry. This became especially true around the mid-20th century when Colt introduced the first-ever Commander-style 1911. Because of its lighter weight and more concealable overall length, many shooters preferred carrying the Commander to its larger Government model counterpart.

For 2016, Colt is continuing its development of the Commander platform by offering a new lightweight version specifically designed for those who carry. The new pistol will be offered in .45 ACP and 9mm variants.

The Lightweight Commander® features an aluminum alloy frame, reducing weight and making it perfect for everyday carry at just under 30 ounces.
The Lightweight Commander® features an aluminum alloy frame, reducing weight and making it perfect for everyday carry at just under 30 ounces.

The all-new Colt Lightweight Commander® features a lightweight aluminum alloy frame that results in a reduced weight, making it well suited for all-day carry. The light, yet durable, frame comes with a subdued black anodized finish that doesn’t draw attention or reflect a lot of light, while the slide is made from rugged carbon steel and wears a classy blued finish. The pistol itself weights a relatively slight 29.4 ounces.

The Lightweight Commander® also comes equipped with a Commander-length Colt Dual Spring Recoil System™ similar to the one found on Colt’s M45A1 designed for the U.S. Marine Corps, which is present on many of Colt’s new pistols. The Colt Dual Spring Recoil System™ is designed to reduce the recoil felt by the shooter and to extend recoil spring life.

The system succeeds in both of these intents. Recoil spring life is dramatically improved at between 15,000 and 20,000 rounds, and felt recoil is noticeably reduced, especially with the 9mm model, which is remarkably easy to keep on target during rapid firing.

The sights on the new Lightweight Commander® are practical and efficient. The front is a simple Novak white dot, while the rear is a Novak Low Mount Carry notch sight. Target acquisition with the sights is quick and reliable, exactly what a shooter needs to feel confident in his or her carry choice.
The Lightweight Commander® uses a slightly shorter 4.25-inch, stainless steel barrel with 1:16-inch rifling and a polished finish. The quality barrel combined with a smooth and crisp 4.5- to 6-pound three-hole aluminum, single-action trigger results in a pistol capable of remarkable accuracy in spite of its reduced barrel length.

Additionally, the Lightweight Commander® is very well designed from an ergonomics standpoint. An extended thumb safety allows for quick and easy on-and-off activation for right-handed shooters, an essential for those drawing from concealment. There are easy-to-grip cocking serrations near the rear of the slide, and the pistol features elegant but functional Black Cherry G10 checkered grips. Other comfortable elements include an upswept Beavertail grip safety and an undercut trigger guard for proper hand placement.

With an overall length of 7.75 inches, an overall height of 5.5 inches and an overall width of 1.25 inches, the Lightweight Commander® tucks away easily but also isn’t so small that it becomes uncomfortable to shoot or inaccurate, as some firearms designed for carry tend to. In addition, the magazine capacity is more than adequate with magazines holding 8+1 rounds in the .45 ACP version and 9+1 rounds in the 9mm model.

Each pistol ships with two magazines. Both models of the new Colt Lightweight Commander® are available for $949.

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Colt Lightweight Commander®
Type    Semi-auto
Caliber    .45 ACP or 9mm
Barrel    4.25-in., stainless steel, polished
Overall Length    7.75 in.
Overall Height    5.5 in.
Overall Width    1.25 in.
Slide    Carbon steel
Frame    Aluminum alloy
Weight    29.4 oz.
Trigger    3-hole aluminum 4.5 to 6.0 lbs.
Sights    3-dot, Novak White Dot front, Novak Low Mount Carry rear notch
Finish    Blued (slide), black anodized (frame)
Grips    G10 checkered Black Cherry
Magazine Capacity    8+1 (.45 ACP), 9+1 (9mm)
MSRP    $949
Manufacturer    Colt.com

This review appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Modern Shooter Magazine.


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  1. I wish that Colt would acknowledge that there are a LOT of left-handed shooters and would offer an ambidextrous thumb safety on this.

  2. Lets hope this new spring system solves the “Original Commanders” problem of cracked aluminum frames in the .45acp caliber. Of course as far as I know Colt is still using MIM cast parts while other 1911 companies like Detonics flat out refuse to use them. Which gun would you trust your life too. The answer is obvious isn’t it. Of course if you like Colt like I do there is another option if you do not mind voiding your warranty and that is to throw the MIM cast parts down the sewer and replace them with bar stock parts which can get very expensive. I wish the “original 9mm Commander” was not so scarce as I would buy that one in a minute over the new model for obvious reasons.


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