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.”
Colt Wiley Clapp LW Commander Features
- Series ’70 style action with no firing pin safety and improved trigger pull
- Alloy receiver for a light pistol that carries easy
- Original style small safety, slide lock and magazine catch, no extensions
- Front & rear slide serrations
- Long black trigger, flat S&A mainspring housing
- Colt’s new beavertail grip safety for comfort in long shooting sessions
- Special Novak sights – extra-wide notch and bead front for any-light shooting
- Tactical Oval grips with forward taper and fingerprint checkering
- Pete Single 25 lpi checkering on the pistol’s front-strap
- Special factory serial number run
Examining the feature list this pistol has all the features I need in a carry 1911. Every feature was about light weight carry with a few customizations. For example the slide has front and rear serrations.
The mainspring housing is from Smith & Alexander. Colt’s new beavertail grip safety is on this gun and sports the “memory bump” to ensure positive engagement. The safety is the original 1911 style short extension and the safety itself is serrated on the top. Though a short safety it is still easy to engage and has the added feature of not rubbing in your side while carrying. The stocks are Tactical Ovals, they are designed to be narrower in the front and wider in the rear appearing to possibly improve on what I considered to be the best feel and ergonomic pistol made to date. The front of the frame is checkered to 25lpi, making for a positive grip for those quick double tap follow up shots.
The sights are Wayne Novak’s low mount. The cut characteristics of these sites are to Mr. Clapps specifications, with the extra-wide notch in the rear. This feature gives plenty of daylight on either side of the front sight allowing for easier and quicker front sight alignment. The front sight sports a brass bead. This combination along with the lightweight frame and other features screamed “concealed carry fighting pistol”
As to be expected from Colt the frame to slide fit was tight and topped off with a Colt national match barrel made this pistol plenty accurate.
I did fire my reloads across the chronograph to see how the shorter commander barrel would perform with them. Loaded on a Hornady LnL Progressive press — W231 5.5gr Berry 230gr Round Ball.
Shot 1 — 800fps, Shot 2 — 871fps, Shot 3 — 794fps, Shot 4 — 822fps, Shot 5 — 780fps — Hi Shot 871, Low Shot 780, Average 813, Extreme Spread — 91fps, Standard Deviation 35.
You lose nothing and gain everything — additional comfort, carry and concealment ability over the standard government model 1911 with the longer barrel, the feet per second from these rounds performed the same as compared between the two.
The trigger is of the long solid design and came in at about 5 pounds, again for me just about perfect for carry pistol.
Just about on every review I have written I conducted 25yard accuracy testing, but after examining this pistol my mind was keenly sharp on carry, reliability and fighting pistol. There was something about this pistol where I just desired running rounds through it at a fast combat style pace. My rule of thumb is to not carry a pistol which has not had 300 to 500 rounds of flawless firing through it first. Needless to say, I also must be confident that I can hit what I intend to with it. Though I would not fire that many rounds through it today, this pistol is a loaner and has been to my knowledge flawless up to this point. I can say the rounds I put through it were all flawless and smooth. I ran a number of combat/engagement simulations, firing 7 shots as fast I my trigger finger would work, way slower than Mr. Miculek, quick reload with the second magazine and repeating the first drill. I also performed a number of double tap drills all within 7 to 10 yards.
7 Shots fired as fast as possible — 7 to 10 Yards
7 Shots fired double tap style as fast as possible — 7 to 10 Yards
Having a light weight frame I could not believe how the front sight barely moved off target. With such a tight group with double taps at a rapid paste I had to give this another go, the pistol made this seem all to easy.
The team of Colt and Mr. Clapp have truly produced a fine fighting pistol. Though when you first crack open the box you could almost convince yourself to make this a safe queen for you viewing pleasure or even placing it in a shadow box for display above the mantel for all to see and enjoy. Pick this pistol up and all bet’s are off guaranteed you will want to be out putting rounds down range. You may even find yourself signing up for one of those pistol combat tactical response courses like that offered by Gunsite.
Steve thank you for allowing me to review such a fine piece of American Made Craftsmanship. What a great dayattherange it was.