Recently I had the opportunity to spend a dayattherange with possibly one of the best carry 1911′s on the market. Colt’s Wiley Clapp Light Weight Commander Talo Exclusive. Upon original examination I realized three things. One it is an aesthetically pleasing pistol, two Colt’s original 1950′s design was spot on and three, I now understood why this pistol carries the moniker “Everything you need, with nothing you don’t.”
By Mark Singer
Pistol Instructor at Safe Direction Firearms
Website Address: safedirection.org
Some firearms are iconic in the American Culture. One would have to be the Thompson SMG as it conjures up memories of the gangsters of the Prohibition era. Another would be the M1 Garand, Called “the greatest battle implement ever devised” by General George S. Patton.1 And arguably the most iconic semi-automatic pistol in the American culture is the Colt M1911 pistol conceived of by a brilliant firearms designer John Moses Browning. The M1911 served as the standard issue handgun for the U.S. Armed Forces from 1911 to 1985 and is still in select use today.2
With the popularity of the 1911 pistol within the Armed Forces, it is no surprise that the civilian population took a liking to the design as well; with numerous manufacturers making their own versions of the Colt original. SIG Arms famous for their traditional double action line of pistols, most notably the P226, joined the 1911 market in 2004 with their own take on the 1911. They took some poetic license and created a 1911 with what has been described by gun owners as a “SIG profile” slide. The SIG profile slide adds a bit of mass and squares off the rounded traditional lines of the venerable 1911 pistol. SIG entered the 1911 market with their new SIG GSR 1911, with GSR meaning Granite Series Rail3. It was released in a Commander length barrel of 4.25” which SIG calls the “Carry” frame size and a Government length barrel of 5” which SIG simply refers to as the “Full” size frame. While the pistol was well received, it received criticism from fans of the 1911. Not only was the criticism aimed at the slide’s shape and appearance but due to the unique profile of the slide finding a holster became that much harder. Well, SIG was listening.
In 2011 –100 years after the introduction of the 1911, Ruger entered the 1911 market of which many believed already to be saturated. Ruger proved there was still room for another mass produced 1911 on the market with great sales of it’s SR1911 which I previously reviewed http://www.dayattherange.com/?p=1612 and conducted Ransom Rest test http://www.dayattherange.com/?p=1660
Two years later Ruger again surprised us by entering the 1911 Commander market. This 65 years after the Government conducted testing to issue military officers a lightweight combat pistol. The original offering had the frame made of hardened aluminum of which Colt built in 3 calibers 9mm, 38Super and 45ACP. Ruger in it’s offering remained with the 45ACP cartridge. Call me old fashion but Ruger also stuck with good old American steel for the frame which makes it a bit heavier than the original Colt offering, but there’s magic when holding cold steel in 1911 ergonomics. The frame made of 415 Steel investment casting and the slide from 415 CNC machined bar stock is a perfect match, to form the beautiful Ruger Commander 1911.