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  1. #1
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    Default For 1911 enthusiasts: Colt Commander or S&W E series?

    I'm a 1911 guy (and revolver guy). I own a Colt 1991A1, blued government model .45 auto. In my mind it's the classic quintessential 1911.

    I'm looking to get a commander model. I've owned a stainless Colt combat commander (steel frame), and it was nice. Like an idiot I sold it at some point. I like the Colts, they seem to work right from the box without any tweaking needed. I'm also interested in the S&W 1911 (either the E series or the Performance Center Commanders with the Scandium alloy frame)

    I know the S&W 1911's do the external extractor. I've heard good reviews of their external extractors (needing less maintenance than the classic internal one).

    Does anyone have a recommendation on which one I should go with? Pros and Cons of these two? Are the S&W Commanders as reliable as the Colts? It will be a carry pistol.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: For 1911 enthusiasts: Colt Commander or S&W E series?

    Can't speak towards the S & W but I have been carrying the same Colt Combat Commander since 1977 with thousands of rounds through it and it looks and shoots as well as the day it was born.
    Classic carry piece for the 1911 crowd.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: For 1911 enthusiasts: Colt Commander or S&W E series?

    Can't help you because I am also curious about the external extractor 1911's.

    I don't own any but wouldn't imagine they would have any issues.

    How many pistols have external extractors in them?

    Is there anything inherent to the 1911 design or function, that would make an external extractor not work well?

    I would tend to think not, but I'm curious what the .45 gurus and former 2111's think.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: For 1911 enthusiasts: Colt Commander or S&W E series?

    Quote Originally Posted by RockIsland View Post
    Can't help you because I am also curious about the external extractor 1911's.

    I don't own any but wouldn't imagine they would have any issues.

    How many pistols have external extractors in them?

    Is there anything inherent to the 1911 design or function, that would make an external extractor not work well?

    I would tend to think not, but I'm curious what the .45 gurus and former 2111's think.
    Well , external extractors don't require tweeking or tuning , and don't bend if you drop the slide on a chambered round.

    The Browning Hi-Power went to an external extractor and it hasn't affected it reliability.

    Can't think of any other pistols with the Browning-type internal extractor since the HP.
    I don't speak English , I talk American!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: For 1911 enthusiasts: Colt Commander or S&W E series?

    Quote Originally Posted by abner13 View Post
    Well , external extractors don't require tweeking or tuning , and don't bend if you drop the slide on a chambered round.

    The Browning Hi-Power went to an external extractor and it hasn't affected it reliability.

    Can't think of any other pistols with the Browning-type internal extractor since the HP.

    That's what I'm saying.

    Would it be blasphemous to even hint that it could even be a possible design improvement?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: For 1911 enthusiasts: Colt Commander or S&W E series?

    Quote Originally Posted by RockIsland View Post
    That's what I'm saying.

    Would it be blasphemous to even hint that it could even be a possible design improvement?
    I've never had one (S&W or Sig) apart ,but as long as ya have enough steel in the hook and enough spring behind it , it should be good to go. Haven't heard of any failures.

    A really strong design is used on the Star 28/30/31. It doesn't use a pivot pin.
    I don't speak English , I talk American!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: For 1911 enthusiasts: Colt Commander or S&W E series?

    Quote Originally Posted by abner13 View Post
    Well , external extractors don't require tweeking or tuning , and don't bend if you drop the slide on a chambered round.

    The Browning Hi-Power went to an external extractor and it hasn't affected it reliability.

    Can't think of any other pistols with the Browning-type internal extractor since the HP.
    FTW. But that design would not make me select a S&W over a Colt. Now a Hi-Power... But it's a heavy pistol to lug around.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: For 1911 enthusiasts: Colt Commander or S&W E series?

    I've never handled a S&W 1911, but my brother has a Colt Commander CCO Talo edition. Alloy officers frame, commander slide I believe. It is a great shooting pistol. Very accurate. Has liked all ammo including our reloads..

  9. #9
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    Default Re: For 1911 enthusiasts: Colt Commander or S&W E series?

    I settled on one of these, a CZ/Dan Wesson Valor V-BOB after handling and shooting one belonging to a friend:



    The slide ran as smooth as if on ball bearings, and the slide to frame fit was astounding. Trigger pull out of the box was 4.3 lbs consistently. No creep, no stacking, just a glass-rod break.
    Reliability with anything I've loaded in a mag has been 100%. I tried an old trick a marksmanship unit Gunny taught me to evaluate extractor tuning -- load a mag with new unfired or resized cases and see if the piece will chamber empties most of the time. My DW Valor V-Bob does.

    Accuracy? 1.5" or better, using two-hand non-rested hold on a 50 ft target at 30 ft (10 yds). That's ORH for 7-shot groups.

    Pricey? Yes, but you get what you pay for with a DW; forged frame and slide, no MIM parts at all, and everything precisely hand fitted. I cheerfully saved up for a couple of months and sold a couple of unused and uninspiring pieces to fund the purchase which a semi-local funshop owner put on layaway for me.

    My heirs will have to deal with this one.

    Noah
    I dream of an America where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: For 1911 enthusiasts: Colt Commander or S&W E series?

    Regarding extractors, internal vs external, IMO and experience (as a civilian shooter and former USMC/USMCR 2111 from '73 to '86) the external extractors are more forgiving and more "user friendly" for a shooter who is not an amateur gunsmith or has no practical skills.

    The only things that "go wrong" with external extractors are: 1) extractor hook breakage, 2) extractor spring breakage, 3) burrs in the extractor slot in the slide causing friction, and 4) dirt/crud buildup under the extractor causing friction.

    Internal extractors, when set up and adjusted properly, are IMO and experience just as reliable and don't have failure modes 2, 3, and 4 described above. They do require some finesse by a 1911-experienced 'smith who knows how to adjust tension and hook geometry, and firing pin stop/ extractor hook fitment so that the extractor does not rotate. The latter requires an extractor that's been quality manufactured in the first place, not some $10 "USGI surplus" gun show part of questionable pedigree. The biggest threat to internal extractor health and well-being is repeated dropping of the slide on a chambered round. Even once can mess up the tuning of a particular internal extractor, but it will still function, usually. However, even dropping once on a chambered round can still chip an extractor claw. So don't do it. That said, I have / had 1911s with internal extractors which I've personally adjusted that fired actually 1000s of rounds without issue, and those that I kept continue to do so.

    If a 1911 with internal extractor has problems chambering a round with the round getting stuck on the feed ramp with the bullet in the chamber and the cartridge pointing upward at a 35 degree angle, OR it deposits empties on or head, in your face, or down your shirt, the extractor needs tuned. If it drops the empties in a nice 2-foot diameter pile at your 4-5 o'clock, it's tuned correctly. If your gun will feed new or resized empty cases from a magazine, the extractor is super-tuned.

    Noah
    I dream of an America where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned.

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