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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over 40 years ago I was advised by a grizzled old very experienced cop/Army veteran that the best 1911 to get was a .45acp Colt Commander (lightweight) and have a good set of high visibility sights installed and "good" trigger job of between 4-5 lbs. Wouldn't hurt to get the barrel "massaged" as he put it, to reliably feed the hollowpoints of the day. I should mention by this time I had been recreationally shooting a 1911 for over 10 years.

When my budget allowed I did just that. I also acquired some full size 1911s; stock, mildly modified and a full custom competition gun for "combat" events as they were called.

The phrase "for social work" was common and that type of Colt seemed to be what everyone I knew that carried for work or personal defense used.

At the time Colt was pretty much it. Fast forward to the modern world of today and the options are obviously almost unlimited.

I've joined this wonderful place because of the affinity for the 1911 we share. The 9mm version has become much more common and for some it's the preferred chambering.

Is the Commander size gun (lightweight frame) in .45 still what the cognoscenti stand by or has it become replaced? It used to be described as a gun carried a lot and shot a little.

I recently turned 63, in pretty decent shape if I say so myself lol, and have become quite fond of the 4.25"/full size frame pistol in 9mm. I agree with those that say the advances in ammo choices are arguably the bigger advantages in making the difference more negligible than way back then.

I enjoy longer range sessions with the 9 (currently in a Dan Wesson Vigil Commander), much the same for shooting more .38spl than .357 magnum in my revolvers. Similar in a way to me enjoying riding my modified Sportster more than the Road King.

I find myself leaning towards getting a lightweight .45 but as retirement is sooo much closer now that saving will take a bit longer and I'm not sure it's worth doing or not. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to the thoughts and opinions.
 

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While I’m personally a fan of steel-frame Government Models, the lightweight Commander variant that gets my attention is the Dan Wesson Vigil that you mention. I’ve come close a time or three to snagging one of those. They are nicely-priced and we’ve had at least a couple come through the Classifieds here that were tempting.

I’m also interested in exploring a 9mm 1911 option. I’m not sure at the moment whose offering I’d go with. To my mind, you may have hit 9mm 1911 perfection with that Vigil Commander.

For now, the Government Model in .45 just continues to exert its appeal to me haha...
 

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Hey Doc,
I'm not trying to make a sale to you but take a look at the DW TCP that I have in the classifieds. I have this new one I'm selling and one that's a shooter. The DW TCP & ECP are both just amazing firearms. Duty Treat finish, aluminum frames, super reliable, very thin, and a modest 32 ounces, what's not to like. I've been trying to tell guys that if you handle one & shoot one, you'll own one!

I've put a case of FMJ AE through mine, a .45acp, and just finished running a case of Remington 185 grain Golden Sabers through it without one malfunction and that's using the 2 factory mags & 2 WC's. The 45 TCP's recoil with the 185's is no more recoil than 9mm HST+P's.

The TCP & ECP both are fine firearms but I like the TCP better because of no bob-tail & it comes with a fit magwell already on it. And the last thing I'll say is on both firearms the action is very slick and the triggers are as good as any NH'S that I own, and that's saying a lot!

Jim D.
 

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The one you shoot best and can conceal... for me it was a STI guardian. There's lots of love here for the 45, in any configuration. However, those who follow the trends will concede that 9mm has largely "taken over the world" when it come to "social work" primarily when paired with a LW (often polymer) high capacity pistol.
 

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I have double the number of 9mm's compared to 45's. I love the 9mm, it's great. But for me, in short barreled guns & especially winter time when dealing with heavier clothing, I'd have to go with 45's.

A 9 is just so easy to shoot for an old man like me. I'm afraid in a couple more years it will be the end of my 45 days. And when you like to shoot as much as me, cost of ammo can be a huge factor.
 

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A lightweight Commander in .45 is a terrific carry gun and pretty much a must have. Just as you likened shooting a 9mm 1911 to shooting .38s out of a .357 while you would carry that gun with .357mags in it, you can practice with the 9mms while keeping/carrying the .45 "for social work".

And, IMO, all these 9mm 1911 variations are just an example of the wussification of America. We're raising a generation that will be afraid of the big .45 after a lifetime of being told that the little 9mms is adequate. Guys are going to be some disappointed in 20 years when everyone is shooting 9mms except tough guys and movie heroes and their wives and girlfriends come home telling them that they heard that the big .45s fit better in 1911s, and they feed better, and they hit harder, and that back in the day all real men carried .45s or Magnums until the evil governments all switched to 9mms and convinced a gullible majority of the populace that 9mms were enough for all their needs. Then he finds out that she's been stepping out to the range with another guy, a real rebel - no beard, no tattoos - and he's been letting her shoot his .45.... and she likes it.... A lot.;) She likes the big push of the recoil, and the boom of the report, the big holes in the targets, and the way that 230gr slug rings steel and knocks down poppers with authority. And then she leaves him for the guy with the .45.:jawdrop: While he's standing in the driveway in the rain, holding his little 9mm, wondering what just happened.:bawl:I:cry:

Don't contribute to that hellish future, Doc45. Buy the .45 Commander, you know you want it. And you won't have to change your name to Doc9mm.:D
 

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However, those who follow the trends will concede that 9mm has largely "taken over the world" when it come to "social work" primarily when paired with a LW (often polymer) high capacity pistol.
That doesn't make it right.:D
 

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These can be found quite affordably these days. Find pre-2017 manufactured guns for compatibility with Ed Brown's mainspring housing replacement options.

Available in .45 ACP, .38 Superb, and 9mm, they should check off all your boxes.

Gun Firearm Trigger White Line


Paint Metal Material property Office supplies Cylinder


Brown Leather Tan Liver Everyday carry
 

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A lightweight Commander in .45 is a terrific carry gun and pretty much a must have. Just as you likened shooting a 9mm 1911 to shooting .38s out of a .357 while you would carry that gun with .357mags in it, you can practice with the 9mms while keeping/carrying the .45 "for social work".

And, IMO, all these 9mm 1911 variations are just an example of the wussification of America. We're raising a generation that will be afraid of the big .45 after a lifetime of being told that the little 9mms is adequate. Guys are going to be some disappointed in 20 years when everyone is shooting 9mms except tough guys and movie heroes and their wives and girlfriends come home telling them that they heard that the big .45s fit better in 1911s, and they feed better, and they hit harder, and that back in the day all real men carried .45s or Magnums until the evil governments all switched to 9mms and convinced a gullible majority of the populace that 9mms were enough for all their needs. Then he finds out that she's been stepping out to the range with another guy, a real rebel - no beard, no tattoos - and he's been letting her shoot his .45.... and she likes it.... A lot.;) She likes the big push of the recoil, and the boom of the report, the big holes in the targets, and the way that 230gr slug rings steel and knocks down poppers with authority. And then she leaves him for the guy with the .45.:jawdrop: While he's standing in the driveway in the rain, holding his little 9mm, wondering what just happened.:bawl:I:cry:

Don't contribute to that hellish future, Doc45. Buy the .45 Commander, you know you want it. And you won't have to change your name to Doc9mm.:D
I want a signed first copy of your book. And you know I have no beard or tattoos. Though I can make a woman enjoy a large caliber weapon while she is stepping out on her 9mm soi boi.
 

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I resist the trend for more 9s and less 45s. I read many comments of folks changing to 9s over 45s as they age, wanting less recoil. I'm 66 and have not reached that point. Yes, the recoil pulse is different but I don't consider the 45 as "more". I guess it depends if you like fast and snappy or big and slow. The only advantage I see in carry 1911s 9mm is getting that extra round. Not an issue for me, give me the big round with one less. By the way, I agree with BCD45 that the DW EPCs and TCPs are sweet carry guns. They don't seem to be as popular as other DW models but really have some nice carry features. Not sure I've ever handled a commander that balances in the hand better than an ECP.
 

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A LW .45 (4.25 commander) is a sweet carry piece, For longer range sessions the .45 can be tiring in a lightweight frame, but that should not be the deal breaker.
Especially If you have others to shoot. Starting a range session with a few mags of 45 in a LW frame and switching over to a similar like pistol in 9mm May be the way to go.
If you have the means the addition of a LW .45 is a very good thing, I’d say Go for it.
My go to CCW currently is a LW Colt Commander in.45, This has replaced a Steel Government 45 For the time being.
I’m retired and work part time as an RSO, I usually go to work a tad early on my scheduled days and shoot 3-4 mags of .45 not a long session but enough to stay proficient and familiar with my CCW, a long session with said pistol would be 75 or so rounds. For longer range sessions a 5” government (Steel) or a milder 9mm gets the call
 

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The best?

As others have said, the best is the one you shoot the best and have on you.

Personally I love commanders and CCO's, I have them in both 9mm and .45 because well why not and with advances in technology / manufacturing 9mm rounds designed for social work today are effective.

I don't find a huge difference in weight or size when it comes to carrying & for me I dont find a noticeable difference in how I shoot one size over the other. I was hitting steel at 140 yards with a Commander (.45) two weeks ago.

At some point I may get old enough that I have to switch to 9 but for now having 9mm 1911's is a matter of choice or greed depending on POV and gives me the ability to shoot more / more cheaply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
To clarify I’m quite a fan of the lightweight commander model. The CCO version is just too short in the grip.
I have two 9mm pistols currently-the Vigil Commander and a Gen 5 Glock 19.

The last LW I had was a Colt from the late 70s that I sent to Novak around 1994. I shot it enough to be comfortable with it’s reliability and accuracy with my carry ammo. Truth be told it was a gun that got carried much more than shot.

I have more fun shooting my 5” steel 1911s more than any other but for carry I like the lightweight.

Great comments, keep ‘em coming and stay safe.
 

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To clarify I’m quite a fan of the lightweight commander model. The CCO version is just too short in the grip.
I have two 9mm pistols currently-the Vigil Commander and a Gen 5 Glock 19.

The last LW I had was a Colt from the late 70s that I sent to Novak around 1994. I shot it enough to be comfortable with it’s reliability and accuracy with my carry ammo. Truth be told it was a gun that got carried much more than shot.

I have more fun shooting my 5” steel 1911s more than any other but for carry I like the lightweight.

Great comments, keep ‘em coming and stay safe.
At the moment I have two Commanders, a Krebs ORM 1991A1 and a Clevinger LW Wiley Clapp. The LW Clapp Commander is a great carry gun right out of the box, even better worked over. If you're accustomed to carrying a steel Government or Commander the weight difference makes carrying a LW Commander, or even a LW Gov't is a completely different experience.
 

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Is the Commander size gun (lightweight frame) in .45 still what the cognoscenti stand by or has it become replaced? It used to be described as a gun carried a lot and shot a little.
I have trusted a Colt 45acp LW Commander since 1986 & still do. Shoot it as often as 1 or 2 times a month. It's light accurate & super reliable, it has my vote.
 
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