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Thread: Colt weird models by ... John

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    Join Date
    29th May 2004
    Athens, Greece, Earth
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    Colt weird models by ... John

    I have said it before, I'll repeat it again.

    The people who do the marketing for the well-known airsoft manufacturers have probably no idea what the market wants. Or to put it more softly, they have a very limited imagination.

    Take for example Western Arms. You need an expert to differentiate between the five or six different models they make (or have made) for the Colt 1911A1 pistol. Other companies do the same with Berettas, about 10 different models.

    That, in itself, won't be a serious problem, if they were also producing some other, very popular models that people may want. Nope, they do not care, "if the 5" 1911 is good, more of the same should be better", is their way of thinking.

    Using again Western Arms as an example, they have only produced one single model of the Colt Commander, and it definitely was not one of their best pistols. Colt has been making Combat Commanders for years, and they sell as many as they can make, but Western Arms never bothered to come up with a more recent Combat Commander. They also produce an Officers model, which is relatively decent and that's about it.

    Now most of you should know by now, that I am a lover of Commanders. I also love the Officers. But the Commander is my true love. I also like very much the Colt CCO (a Commander-length slide matted to an Officers frame) but also the Colt Commanding Officers (an Officers slide matted to a Commander frame). Nobody, but nobody makes those less popular models in the airsoft world, while it wouldn't be too difficult to do so. Western Arms has Commander slides and they also have Officers frames. What is stopping them from matting the two together and coming up with a CCO? Or use the Commander frame they already have and matte it with the Officers slide they also already have? If it is not poor marketing, then it is poor imagination.

    Well, as you probably guessed, I had to do something about this problem, in order to add those interesting 1911s in my collection.

    Thank God, my friend Mike of Elite Shooting Center is a very accomodating person and he loves when I place more orders with him. This time, I placed an order for another Western Arms Officers pistol (I already have one, that I reviewed here and which I've customized with a metal frame/slide kit). I also had a Commander frame from the dreadful Western Arms Novak Next pistol (that pistol was a joke) and I also had a Commander slide from the Colt Commander (I had replaced the original with a metal slide), so I was determined to combine all these come up with a CCO and a Commanding Officers models for my collection. At the same time, I asked Mike for some parts, which would allow me to update my Colt Commander to the more contemporary Combat Commander configuration.

    As it usually happens, Mike obliged and soon I got the package with all the goodies. After some mixing and matching, three different pistols emerged on my kitchen table.

    First of all, my Colt Combat Commander.

    Here is the pistol, as it comes from Western Arms.

    As you can see, the pistol comes with the short GI style sights and the short grip safety, which had a tendency to pinch the web of my hand when the pistol is fired. Well, all these are now changed.

    The pistol is totally rebuild. The grip safety is now the scalloped Commander grip safety.

    The sights have been replaced by the Colt High-Profile ones.

    One issue remaining to be solved was that of the pistol's weight. The original Western Arms pistol weighted something like 770 gr, which is OK for a Lightweight Commander but not very good for a Combat Commander. I had to add some more weight in it, and the only way to do it was to add some weights in the grips. Unfortunately, the nice Colt wooden grips (with golden medallions) I had on this pistol had to go. I replaced them with a set of Tokyo Marui 1911A1 grips. Both the grips and the weights inside them required modifications, in order to fit this pistol, but the increase in weight was quite significant, now the Commander weights nearly 980 gr, which is much closer to the real gun's weight. The downside is that the TM grips are so simple compared to the nice Colt ones I had on the pistol, that ... I do not like them very much. Some more work will be needed in that department.

    This pistol was rebuild using its original frame, slide (the plastic one) and internals. The taller sights and the scalloped grip safety were send to me by Mike. Actually the grip safety was produced by scalloping a GI-style, spur grip safety.

    Overall, I am quite satisfied with the way this pistol ended up. It looks like a contemporary Combat Commander, weights almost the same as one and shoots (BBs) just fine.

    The second pistol that emerged from this mix-and-match, was a Colt CCO, in other words a Commander slide matted to an Officers frame. You can see it here, compared to a Government model.

    The pistol was produced using the Officers frame from the pistol Mike send me, and the metallic Commander slide I already had.

    A side effect of this marriage is the fact that the pistol has the lowish sights.

    But the rest of the pistol is exactly the way I like it. Scalloped grip safety, a very nice set of grips, a round Commander hammer, the tear-drop thumb safety and the weight is very close to the real gun one. Just the way I like it. Someday, I'll have my gunsmith machine the aluminum slide and install a set of real High Profile sights on it.

    Finally, the third pistol that I made was the Colt Commanding Officers. The Commanding Officers uses a full-size frame (Commander) matted to an Officers length slide.

    For this pistol, I used the Commander frame I had from the Novak Next pistol, and matted it to the Officers slide. The frame is much heavier than the Commander frame (I do not know why), so a set of nice Colt grips with small weights inside, were fitted to the pistol and they brought its weight to a very acceptable 970 gr.

    The rear sight came from the Colt CQB reviewed here.

    A beavertail grip safety and a main spring housing came from the parts box. I believe that a flat main spring housing is more suitable for this pistol, but I do not have one right now. The thumb safety is a Wilson one (airsoft), and it suits this pistol fine.

    Well, there you have it. I now have a Combat Commander the way I want it, a Colt CCO and a Colt Commanding Officers. None of them came from the factory as they are now, but they accurately represent some additional Colt models and are proudly shown in my airsoft display shelf. They also provide me with some hours of fun, when I shoot them in the garden (someone has to do something about all those BBs in my garden, the leaves vacuum thing I have isn't picking them up, without drawing a ton of dust too).

    I hope you like my airsoft gunsmithing adventure.
    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    Last edited by John; 22nd December 2008 at 05:19.

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