They're identical except for 3/4" at the front end. To me, that balances a little better, points a little easier, and clears holster a little faster. In all of those, however, the difference is minimal. The trade is the 4-1/4" commander length is the minimum the 1911 design will function using a bushing, so you've reduced the reliability threshold slightly.
I have both, have come to prefer a Commander for general carry, a little shorter, a little faster out of the holster, a little more comfortable when sitting in the car. But, most of my 1911s are Gov'ts, some of them also get carried, depending on the circumstances, and I usually us a 5" in competition. You have to try them all and figure out what works best for you.
Really its what you like most. Personally, pretty much everything I own (1911 or not) is commander length because I want the option of carrying them all! And yes, you can carry a Gov sized 1911 just fine, I just prefer the look, feel and balance of a commmander.
I like the government for either shooting or carry. Your size will play into that a bit. I am 6'4" and the commander just feels small when I have messed with them. Of course, I also like having magwells on my guns for the added heft.
I'm a little more accurate with a 5" gun but my favorite shooter is a Ruger CMD. For carry a lightweight Commander. The lightweight is a little snappy in .45 but manageable. I have a new 9MM Valkyrie Commander, it may become my favorite shooter, we'll see.
The Commander is faster out of the holster, I really like the CMD.
I have a new found love affair with my Ruger LW CMD and have an all stainless Ruger CMD on the way. I like the feel and weight better than the full size. To me, 3/4" can be felt and does make a difference.
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