Those who have been paying attention will have noticed a major resurgence at Colt over the past several years. Far from the earlier malaise of a few decades ago, Colt has come back with a vengeance, producing some of the best-quality M1911s it’s ever made: we’ve seen production guns shoot groups as small as 1.5 inches at 25 yards.
Increasingly attuned to the market, the introduction of Colt’s eponymous Rail Gun a few years ago earned them the coveted Marine Corps contract for the first time in nearly thirty years — and that’s Colt, not competitor Springfield Armory, who showed its similar-appearing but misleadingly-named “Marine Corps Operator” this year at SHOT.
This year, Colt’s Rail Gun is also comes with an alloy frame and in a shorter-barreled Commander variant.
Further evidence of how closely Colt is tracking the market is the introduction of several of its M1911 models in 9mm Parabellum. This includes both full-size Government Model XSE pistols as well as Commanders with both steel and alloy frames, and Colt’s more basic M1991 line (now the 01992).
Although some Colt models have been available in 9mm intermittently for many years, the sweeping introduction across the product line closely tracks the trend we’re seeing of M1911s in the smaller caliber. Attributable to a mix of factors including less recoil (an important selling point for some shooters, including many females), cheaper ammunition, and the still-contentious belief that the stopping characteristics of modern 9mm ammunition have improved to adequate levels, many of the better makers are now showing the M1911 in the lighter caliber.