Review: Colt 1911 Combat Commander

Being a revolver guy, I never thought I could be turned into a 1911 guy. And, here we are. Today I will review the Colt Combat Commander in 45 ACP, first impressions, first 100 rounds, the Urban Carry Lock Leather IWB holster, and the Underwood Ammo .45 ACP +P 230gr. Jacketed Hollow Point Hunting & Self Defense Ammo.


I am not going to go through the history of a gun as iconic as the 1911, if you care, you already know, and if you don’t, what’s the point? But I will make a note on how/why it began because it will tie in later to the ammo choice.

The 1911 came to be as a result of the problems given to U.S. troops in the Philippines by the Moros. The Moros were a band of resistance to the Spanish, and then later the Americans. They were doing heavy damage and causing many casualties with their Kris blades. The Americans were using .38 double action revolvers as their handgun and they were just not stopping the Moros. In the end, the troops were sent Colt .45 revolvers that were in storage since the end of the Plains Indian War. These proved to have the stopping power that was missing in the .38. The military then requested submissions for trial of a handgun chambered in .45 caliber, enter John Moses Browning, yadda yadda yadda, the 1911 won that, plus two world wars.

First Impressions

This is the Colt 1911 Combat Commander. Out of the box it is a beautiful gun. Everything was tight, no rattle to anything. No wiggle to the slide, none of the telltale signs of poor quality. This is a superbly crafted firearm. The finish is beautiful, the factory grips look good and feel great. This one is worth the investment. For those who might not already know, the Commander model of the 1911 means full size grip, shorter barrel. This one has a 4.25 inch barrel, whereas the Government model has a five inch barrel.

First 100

When I go to the range, I use the cheapest ammo I can find. I know this isn’t good, especially when I see…like…sand and spiders and shrapnel coming out of the barrel. But I go that road to shoot more, and I clean my guns religiously, so leave me alone.

When I took it to the range, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have fired semiautomatic handguns before, but that was a vastly different experience. The design, the ergonomics of this gun are insanely perfect. The 45 ACP should have kicked much harder than the 9 mil (which was the limit of my semiauto experience), but it didn’t. I went in expecting my wrists to take a beating, but they didn’t. I expected to need a moment to get back on target after the muzzle flip, but this Gun put itself back on target. Unlike my tactical tupperware, the 1911 doesn’t have a high bore axis adding to the muzzle flip, and the steel slide of the 1911 has enough weight to put the gun back where it belongs. And the trigger! It breaks like glass! No take up, just a little pressure, then BOOM! Maybe two pounds of pressure. After years of the long, heavy trigger pull of double action revolvers, the was a massive and welcomed change. Hands down, the most accurate gun out of the box I have ever experienced.

Urban Carry Lock Leather Holster

Cocked and locked

The 1911 is designed to be carried “cocked and locked”. Unlike many of the modern designs, the 1911 has two safeties. When properly engaged, you will not end up as one of the people who shot themselves while trying to holster their weapon. Some of the modern designs will fire if something catches the trigger while returning the gun into the holster. BAM! A hole in your leg (or worse), more problems for you.

For carry purposes, we have the Urban Carry Lock Leather IWB holster. It is far and away the most comfortable holster I have used. It does not have a retention lock, as in a button or lever needs to be engaged before the weapon can be drawn. But it does a good job of keeping the gun from falling out of the holster. Very high quality construction, much thicker leather than I expected, and worth every penny. I will do a follow up on it near the end of 2022 to see how it held up after a year. But, first impressions, the best I’ve owned.

Underwood Ammo .45 ACP +P

The carry ammo is from Underwood Ammo, 45 ACP +P, 230 grain defensive ammo. While I was at the range I ran a few rounds of this as well because I heard a lot about how 1911s can be finicky when it comes to cycling different rounds. You have to be sure, I was told, that your carry ammo will function in your gun. Well, so far zero malfunctions. The +P round is much louder, and has the added bonus of a visible fireball coming out of the barrel and ejection port (which was really cool). Colt advises against frequent use of +P ammo but I shot enough to know it will cycle and that was what I really needed to know. I don’t need to use it frequently, I found out what I needed to know.

Mine is chambered in. 45 ACP. Remember, the .45 is what stopped the Morros. You want stopping power for defense. And .45 ACP, the Lord’s cartridge, has stopping power.

So, there it is. The icon, the legend, the 1911. I give the Colt Combat Commander my full and complete recommendation, as well as an initial recommendation for the Urban Carry Lock Leather holster, and will follow up once I learn more about the long term durability of the product. And Underwood Ammo is what I trust with my life.

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