SHOT Show Range Day

Law Officer Columnists Jeff Chudwin & Kim Heath are covering the SHOT Show for Law Officer.  Here is their report from the Range Day held on Monday.

Range day on Monday for media and industry was held at the Boulder (City Nevada) Rifle and Pistol Club. So much firearms and gear to report on, not enough time.  Having used a 1911 pistol for many years in competition and carrying one for my law enforcement work, I first went to Colt to see what they were working on. Good news to report.

Courtesy: Jeff Chudwin

Credit: Kim Heath

Colt displayed a number of 1911 Government models that included the light rail version built for the Marine Corps with an Ion Bond (PVD) finish that replaces the original Cerakote, a blue finish competition model in both 9m/m and .45 with a fiber optic front sight, under cut trigger guard, Novak adjustable rear sight, beaver tail grip safety,  ambidexterous thumb safety, match barrel, and custom Colt logo G-10 grips, a  blue finish Combat Unit Rail model in .45 similar to the competition model upgrades but with 25 line per inch checkered front strap, light rail, custom Colt grips, and a  fixed Novak rear sight, a pair of Commanders with the enhanced frames and slides including a blue finish Lightweight Commander in 9 m/m, and a stainless .45 Commander with 25 lpi checkering named after noted writer Wiley Clapp.

With the limited shooting opportunity I was able to shoot the rail gun and the 9 m/m competition model. With production features mirroring what used to be expensive custom modifications, handling and feel was very good. Both pistols were accurate on the steel targets out to 25 yards but the real answer will have to wait until I can get a chance to run the pistol through a far more extensive set of tests.

Courtesy: Jeff Chudwin

Credit: Kim Heath

Handling qualities and looks wise, these are very nice pistols. As indicated in the sales sheet below, Colt is obviously working hard to bring the costs down on the 1911’s yet give you an out of the box pistol ready for hard service.
My only suggestion to Colt is make these pistols in a slim line version using the VZ thin grips and a short trigger. This simple change truly enhances the feel and shootability of the 1911 platform for smaller hand / shorter finger shooters who make up a good part of the market.

Colt also has a new econo model AR carbine. The Expanse M-4 has all the Colt features minus a dust cover, forward assist, and lacks the chrome lined barrel. For those who will not be in extreme conditions where salt water and rust are a concern, I am not worried about the lack of the chromed chamber and bore. The other rifles we have used since we started shooting do not have this feature and have held up just fine. The dust cover and forward assist are obviously preferred but again, not truly needed.

All said, if you want a Colt, the price is right at just under $700 MSRP.


Jeff Chudwin is the Law Officer Tactical Ops columnist. He’s also the 2009 Law Officer Trainer of the Year.  He served 38 years and retired as the Chief of Police for the Village of Olympia Fields. A former Assistant States Attorney, he continues to  provided training to police officers and agencies on legal and practical issues of police use of force, tactical firearms training and employment, and officer survival and success at conferences throughout the country.

 Chief Chudwin is a founding member and serves as the current president of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association (ITOA).

SHOT Show: Day 4


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