Gun Digest

First Look: Colt Combat Commander

Colt Combat Commander mainIn the years following World War Two, there was a desire to move away from the classic M1911 pistol. The standard 1911 was heavy and slightly unwieldy to some, and the government was looking for something lighter, smaller and, perhaps most importantly, something chambered in the NATO standard 9mm. The Commander was Colt's answer for a more compact, lightweight 1911 when it introduced the original model back in the '50s. In the many years since, the company has only continued to improve upon and upgrade that initial concept.

The American manufacturer introduced several different variants of the Commander model, including the Combat Commander in 1970. This was an all-steel version of the typical aluminum-framed Commander, which was re-named the Lightweight Commander.

This past year, Colt brought out a new, modernized version of the Lightweight Commander, incorporating the company's excellent Dual Spring Recoil system, genuine Novak sights and other upgraded features. This year, Colt is giving its Combat Commander a similar treatment to bring it up to date.

Officially announced just ahead of the 2017 SHOT Show, the new Colt Combat Commander made its big debut at Industry Day at the Range and on the floor of the show itself. However, I was lucky enough to be among the media who got to see the gun early at Colt's Media Day event at Gunsite back in November of last year.

The newly redesigned Combat Commander features a blued carbon steel frame and slide, as well as a 4.25-inch polished, stainless steel barrel. The shorter barrel contributes to an overall length of 7.75 inches, or .75 inches less than a full-size 1911, which makes it a decent option for those who carry.

As with Colt's Competition pistol and Lightweight Commander introduced in 2016, this new Combat Commander utilizes the manufacturer's impressive Dual Spring Recoil system, which helps reduce felt recoil, improve control and increase recoil spring life. Having shot most of the pistols in Colt's recent lineup – which incorporate the Dual Spring system – I can say it does feel like there's a noticeable difference in recoil when compared to other 1911s I've shot. This seems particularly true with new Colt pistols chambered in 9mm, which would kick politely anyway, but seem even more tamed with the Dual Spring Recoil system.

Other ergonomic improvements to the redesigned Combat Commander include an upswept beavertail grip safety, undercut trigger guard and custom Colt G10 checkered black cherry grips. The upswept beavertail and undercut trigger guard help ensure a solid purchase on the gun, further improving control and accuracy. Although my time with the Combat Commander was fairly limited at the range, I felt that the gun was very comfortable in the hands, and my hold on the pistol never felt unsteady in any form.

The sights on the new Colt Combat Commander, like the rest of the new Colt 1911 pistols, are genuine Novak sights, and are quite good. Up front is a Novak white dot, while the rear is the company's excellent Low Mount Carry. These sights, paired with a pretty solid 4.5- to 6-pound three-hole aluminum trigger make for a pistol capable of fairly good accuracy if the shooter does his part.

The newly redesigned Combat Commander is available in 9mm or .45 ACP, with the 9mm model carrying 9+1 rounds and the .45 packing 8+1. Unloaded weight on both models is 33 ounces, and each gun ships with two magazines.

A quality option for those who carry concealed, the Combat Commander is available for $949 in both models, placing it about 50 bucks less than Colt's Lightweight Commander.

For more information, check out the specifications below, or visit the Colt website.


Colt Combat Commander
Type: Semi-auto, single action
Caliber: 9mm, .45 ACP
Barrel: 4.25 in., polished stainless steel
Overall Length: 7.75 in.
Height: 5.5 in.
Width: 1.25 in.
Weight: 33 oz. (unloaded)
Frame: Blued carbon steel
Slide: Blued carbon steel
Trigger: 4.5-6 lbs., three-hole aluminum
Sights: Novak white dot front, Novak Low Mount Carry rear
Grips: G10 checkered black cherry
Capacity: 9+1 (9mm), 8+1 (.45 ACP)
Price: $949
Manufacturer: Colt

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