Critique of New Colt M1911A1 Reproduction

Colt M1911A1 Reproduction
Colt M1911A1 Reproduction

By Four2Niner

This is a non-shooting (“collector”) review of Colt’s new reproduction of the WWII-era M1911A1. It is a long post, so please forgive and/or bear with me, but I think it worth reading and considering. It is presented largely for the interested and/or prospective buyer of this limited edition (“collector item”) firearm.

As soon as the new M1911A1 was announced (“over there”) by Mark655, et al, I pretty much decided I had to have at least one of them. I followed the postings (here and “there”) on the subject and recently caught word these M1911A1 reproductions were finally on the market.

I immediately notified my local dealer, who found two (2) of them at a large distributor in Reno, NV. I ordered, and committed myself, to purchasing both.

The pair was received by my dealer on 07/16. First thing I noticed upon inspection was that the guns were untouched (original packaging was fully intact) and the pistols were all but swimming in oil. Second thing I noticed was they were shipped with one (1) magazine each in contradiction to the two (2) magazines promised on Colt’s website.

No matter, as I was “hooked” long before I ever saw these two guns. Besides, the guns APPEARED to be otherwise as advertised (parked finish, wide hammer, steel trigger, serrated/arched m/s housing with lanyard loop, Kraft boxes, etc.). So, I purchased both of them (at $949 each, plus tax).

Once at home, I looked both over more carefully and determined one had slightly lesser-quality roll marks than the other, so I decided to strip it down and remove the oil in preparation for burning powder. (I was thinking of saving the other one for posterity, or, possibly, as a base gun for a future full-house custom.)

Detail-stripping and degreasing the “lesser” of this pair of Colt CUSTOM SHOP guns revealed the following:

(1) virtually all small parts (slide stop, thumb and grip safety, magazine catch, disconnector, etc.) are CAST

(2) finish on cast parts does NOT match others (cast parts BLACK, others, such as slide, GREY)

(3) all small parts show numerous surface scratches

(4) both the thumb and grip safeties exhibit visible casting flaws (i.e., cut-thru “bubbles”) on exterior surfaces

(5) the mainspring housing retainer pin (i.e., the part @ bottom of mainspring) is PLASTIC

(6) numerous surface scratches were also evident on major parts (i.e., slide and frame)

(7) the pistol is mounted with 1911-type (not 1911A1-type) sights

(8) the gun was replete with nearly razor-sharp edges (e.g., the rear edges of the slide) — this is not how “originals” were made

IMO, this pistol is hardly worth $500, much less $949 (plus tax).

So, yesterday (07/17), I returned both pistols to my dealer and requested reimbursement. I realize this is just about unheard of, but I am a loyal customer, so I thought it worth a shot.

Luckily, there were (are, at least) two other SUCKERS standing in line for these M1911A1 reproductions, so I got off the hook (minus $25 for the time/paperwork my dealer invested in the transactions).

Bottom Line: If the NEW pistol I detail-stripped and degreased is any indication, these M1911A1 reproductions are not worth serious consideration. I have seen “original” M1911A1 PARTS GUNS that looked better.

As for base guns, I now believe that new Colts are not worthy candidates — not even those that begin life as Colt CUSTOM SHOP pistols.

Finally, let me state that, although I got off easy in this case, I remain sorely disappointed in Colt. I had very high hopes for the M1911A1 reproductions (and even bigger plans), but reality butted in on them.

I also learned an important (if rather late) lesson here. From now on, I will never again buy a gun smothered in oil (whether new or not). Compared even to bead-blasting, copious amounts of oil must surely be the ultimate means of hiding flaws and poor workmanship.

As always, YMMV (but beware, nevertheless).



Comments, suggestions, contributions? Let me know