It's been almost a year since I bought my Combat Elite and after several rounds through the tube, I thought I'd give a short update.
To date, I have many rounds downrange and only about 3 malfunctions to report. All of these are attributed to the Colt mags that came with the gun and can't be replicated with other quality mags. It would be nice if they offered better magazines with these, but I guess that's a cost thing. It feeds and extracts the dirty steel cased Russian ammo, reloads, SD ammo, and normal Federal target ammo without hesitation. I currently run Winchester PDX1 ammo for carry - it's accurate and reliable and seems to expand well. Accuracy, as I reported when I first got the gun, is exceptional and very predictable. I'm not too keen on the Novak sights, so I swapped out the rear Novak Lo Mount for a 10-8 rear with standard U-notch, electing to keep the white dot up front. The difference is night and day and the 10-8 gives the clearest and fastest sight picture I've ever experienced. I can't recommend it enough. The 10-8 rear drifted right into the dovetail without any fitting necessary. It actually fits better than the Novak that came with it.
I discarded the full length guide rod for an Ed Brown GI rod and plug for ease of takedown. These parts fit perfectly and haven't changed the way the gun handles. It may be lighter up front, but I really can't tell a difference.
My Combat Elite came with a S&A beavertail without the bump/palmswell and I found that sometimes, without a death grip, the safety would not be disengaged. I swapped it with a S&A grip safety with palmswell. Aside from a small amount of fitting/filing on the arm, the safety dropped right in to the existing radius. The new grip safety positively disengages now and perhaps helps keep my hand higher due to the bump.
I bought a Harrison medium solid trigger for this gun mainly because of it's flat face, as my oem trigger would sometimes start to dig at my finger when shooting for extended periods of time. My original was also wobbly with both horizontal and vertical play. After fitting the new trigger and testing it out, I can see why people prefer them. The smooth face makes squeezing the trigger even more enjoyable and the medium length seems more natural for my size hands. The trigger has no wobble and the pull is much more crisp. People that have handled the gun before and after comment on how nice it feels.
My final alteration on this gun was the plastic mainspring housing. I know it's a topic that has been beaten to death, but I still can't see why they're using plastic for this part when the cost is what it is. I wanted something steel ( I like my guns heavy) and something with more grip than the vertical serrations, that to me, offer none. I contemplated using a checkered MSH, but finally decided on the Ed Brown chainlink pattern. It's an interesting design in that it's smooth when you touch it vertically, but very grippy when touched horizontally. I was a little apprehensive at first because it didn't look like it had any bite to it at all. Not so. It's very comfortable to shoot with it and it dropped right in without fitting. I was able to use the guts from the plastic oem without any trouble.
Anyway, I guess that's about it. I think the gun was really nice when I first bought it, and now, with the aforementioned mods, think it's great and really fits me as a shooter. It's my primary carry and I trust it 100%. Anyone looking for a modern workhorse 1911 without ambi safeties and a nice barrel should handle one.
Obligatory crappy photos from after the range and still dirty:
Parts list mentioned:
10-8 Rear sight: http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=26673/Product/1911_AUTO_U_NOTCH_REAR_SIGHT
Harrison Extreme Service trigger: http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=27429/Product/1911_AUTO_EXTREME_SERVICE_TRIGGER
Smith and Alexander grip safety: http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=12747/Product/1911_AUTO__E_Z_FIT_HI_GRIP__SAFETY
Ed Brown GI rod and plug: http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1357/Product/RECOIL_SPRING_PLUGS_for_1911_AUTO
Ed Brown chainlink mainspring housing: http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1335/Product/1911_AUTO_MAINSPRING_HOUSING