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View Full Version : 1911 Fullsize, commander size and compact?


supermario
09-06-2010, 4:36 PM
Does the reliability decrease as the size gets smaller? I really love the commander size and been thinking about buying one since I shot a friends and it felt perfect in my small hands. I also held a compact Kimber and it also
felt great. I never owned a 1911 but after shooting a Colt 70 series i kinda fell in love. Anyhow, are the compact and midsize less reliable or does it not matter? Are there some parts interchangeable? Thanks, any info would be helpful, i know nothing about 1911's.

By the way, anybody know where Rock Island 1911 in stock or on sale?
I did do a search and learned some but hopefully you can still answer these questions. thanks

Cyc Wid It
09-06-2010, 4:38 PM
Government is the most reliable. Smaller than Commander requires a lot of attention (in general). They will use different strength springs, different barrels etc.

BigDogatPlay
09-06-2010, 4:46 PM
Both the Government and Commander length share the same level of reliability. As above, when you start getting into compacts they become more specialized and will vary greatly in how the front end is set up from manufacturer to manufacturer. From the trigger guard back, most are mechanically identical.

I own a 1977 vintage satin nickel Combat Commander and it is, IMO, pretty near optimum for a fighting semi-auto. It is the only 1911 I've owned in many years and I don't really have the need or desire for another one. Giving up the 3/4 of an inch of barrel is not that big a deal to me, it's a compact, but handfilling package and takes GI mags all day long. Good for both concealed carry and for working holster carry.

Once in a while I toy with the idea of picking up a Springfield GI or Rock Island and building a race gun, but I just don't ever seem to get around to doing it.

ir0nclash86
09-06-2010, 4:50 PM
Ammo Brothers in Cerritos has Rock Island 1911 on sale for $399

redcliff
09-06-2010, 5:09 PM
It's generally accepted that the shorter 1911's are slightly less reliable than the government model type 1911's, and that the reliability goes down as you decrease the length of the slide.

This is not to say that Commander's and Officer's can't be reliable, just that they will show problems earlier as parts or magazines wear out of spec. The Commander slide has .200 less travel than a Gov. slide which effects timing issues in the feeding and ejection phases of firing.

Personally the Commander size is one of my favorites, but be aware everything needs to be kept "right" with extractor tension, spring replacement, magazines and ammo selection.

supermario
09-06-2010, 5:10 PM
Thanks for the info, thats what i figured. Im thinking of getting a Rock Island commander size. That way i dont care if i beat it up. But the compact models are pretty cool and lightweight.

Ironclash86, would you happen to remember the model of RIA that was on sale at Ammo Bros? Thanks

supermario
09-06-2010, 5:13 PM
Just curious but I always thought that the older style guns like 1911's tend to have reliabilitly issues becus most people nowadays use hollowpoint ammo and back in the day, they only used ball ammo? So in a sense, if i only used ball ammo, wouldnt the reliability increase?

ir0nclash86
09-06-2010, 5:21 PM
Yeah It was the GI version. I believe they had a 4 and 5 inch. They also had a Springfield 1911 Milspec for $$580 although I talked the owner down to $530 for the spriingfield.

Sam
09-06-2010, 6:32 PM
With a modern made 1911, hollowpoint rounds shouldn't be an issue.

Black Majik
09-06-2010, 8:06 PM
Government and true Commander size 1911s generally don't have any issues. Once you go below 4.25" is when reliability tends to be hit or miss due to it being more difficult to time correctly.

So, make sure the barrel length is 4.25" or more, and not a 4" "Commander."

FWIW, YMMV, JMHNSO.

Mute
09-06-2010, 8:08 PM
Government and true Commander size 1911s generally don't have any issues. Once you go below 4.25" is when reliability tends to be hit or miss due to it being more difficult to time correctly.

So, make sure the barrel length is 4.25" or more, and not a 4" "Commander."

FWIW, YMMV, JMHNSO.

Completely agree. That's been my experience as well.

Sure Shot 45
09-06-2010, 8:15 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I had the Springfield Micro Compact Mil. Spec model, it was destroyed by Sprringfield. I had so many problems with it FTF, FTE, stove pipes and all the rest of it. Also it was the most inaccurate gun I have ever shot. I sent the weapon in for repair three times, over the years. They could never get it right, the best it ever did was 2 FTE's out of 100 rounds. The last time I sent the weapon in Springfield deemed it unrepairable. They told me I could pick from any 1911 except the Trophy Match,TRP,or Professional at no cost for my replacement pistol. So I got the MC Operator for $650.00 out the door thats what I paid for the Micro. The MC Operator has about 350-400 rounds through it so far with zero malfunctions of any kind what so ever. It is also very accurate. So I would say SAI rocks, and dont get the Micro. I had to have the gun store FFL do the transfer, pay the dros fee. and wait the ten days. After waiting a few months for the pistol to come from SAI. No they could not use the same serial number I asked about that. It was a long and time consuming process, but in the end I was very happy.

9mmepiphany
09-06-2010, 9:11 PM
for reliable function, you'll need to stay with a 5" or 4.25" slide/barrel combo

map
09-06-2010, 9:33 PM
With a modern made 1911, hollowpoint rounds shouldn't be an issue.

I have a champion size Springfield Loaded and the rounds keep getting stuck on the barrel ramp. Despite that issue though, I'm still very happy with my 1911.




WTS: AR15, 12 gauge, .357 magnum
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=338571

Colt
09-06-2010, 9:49 PM
Government and true Commander size 1911s generally don't have any issues. Once you go below 4.25" is when reliability tends to be hit or miss due to it being more difficult to time correctly.

So, make sure the barrel length is 4.25" or more, and not a 4" "Commander."



Absolutely. Too many "Commanders" are 4 inch barrel and not 4.25 inch. The only true "Commander" is a Colt Commander, but Commander has become a generic term these days. Nevertheless, some folks other than Colt make a 4.25 inch 1911.

Good luck.

Mac Attack
09-06-2010, 9:57 PM
As others have stated, stick to a full sized or commander length 1911. Shooting wise, there really is no difference. I have carried both for years and have no problem carrying a full sized 1911. I personally would go with a full sized for your first 1911.

faterikcartman
09-06-2010, 11:43 PM
Does the reliability decrease as the size gets smaller?

Yes, that is my understanding.

OldLincoln
09-07-2010, 3:56 PM
Piecing it together, it looks like you shot a Colt model 70 Commander. Would that be the Lightweight Commander (serial # begins with CLW) with the alloy frame? It is quite a bit lighter (I think about a pound) than the all steel versions so be sure what you like is what you buy.

The alloy frame is a touchy in that it is annodized leaving a very thin hard surface. You should not use +P ammo nor polish the feed ramp.

I have one that I really like and shoots very nicely. I just don't want you to be surprised and disappointed.

M. D. Van Norman
09-07-2010, 4:45 PM
The Colt Commander has the same grip size/length as the Government Model. The overall grip size can also be modified by using different stocks and/or mainspring housings.

Old4eyes
09-07-2010, 5:01 PM
Here is one fellow's view of what a 1911 should be for reliability:
http://www.10-8performance.com/1911_Duty_Use.html

JTROKS
09-07-2010, 5:10 PM
It's generally accepted that the shorter 1911's are slightly less reliable than the government model type 1911's, and that the reliability goes down as you decrease the length of the slide.

This is not to say that Commander's and Officer's can't be reliable, just that they will show problems earlier as parts or magazines wear out of spec. The Commander slide has .200 less travel than a Gov. slide which effects timing issues in the feeding and ejection phases of firing.

Personally the Commander size is one of my favorites, but be aware everything needs to be kept "right" with extractor tension, spring replacement, magazines and ammo selection.

+1 on what redcliff said. The shorter the slide the lighter it becomes, plus the load of the recoil spring(s) is definitely heavier than the Gov't and Commander model so the slide travels faster during recoil and return to battery. The recoil is greater and it will be snappier than its' bigger brothers. An officer's model or even the shorter versions is not a gun you would shoot 200 rounds every weekend unless you're shooting in some subcompact division in a club match. Although my smallest 1911 is a Colt 1991A1 Commander, the officer's and other ultra compact 1911s are still fun to shoot.

mrRv9f8rXNA&NR

supermario
09-07-2010, 9:50 PM
Piecing it together, it looks like you shot a Colt model 70 Commander. Would that be the Lightweight Commander (serial # begins with CLW) with the alloy frame? It is quite a bit lighter (I think about a pound) than the all steel versions so be sure what you like is what you buy.

The alloy frame is a touchy in that it is annodized leaving a very thin hard surface. You should not use +P ammo nor polish the feed ramp.

I have one that I really like and shoots very nicely. I just don't want you to be surprised and disappointed.

Actually i shot a fullsize 70s series Colt. I thought it was very smooth. I probably should buy the fullsize but i really like the commander size for carry.

On a side note, does anybody know if they make the RIA in 2tone/tactical? I have searched online but no luck. It seems the 2tone only comes in fullsize? What do you guys know about those options?