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A Sign of the [Sad] Times at Colt's

7643 Views 72 Replies 40 Participants Last post by  hiker
As the proud owner of two Colt products, a 1973-purchased Series 70 Government Model (since worked on by Jim Stroh of Alpha Precision) and a Ted Yost Signature Grade LW Commander, I have great affection and reverence for the guns of the rampant stallion. Come to think of it, I have an LE6920 carbine, too, but I digress....

While attending the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army in Washington, DC, this morning, I wandered into the Colt exhibit. Their booth was, as you might expect, heavy on long arms, but they also had a couple of displays of pistols, including a lovely nickel-plated SAA, and six or eight 1911s.

I was handling the CCO Gunsite pistol, a design I've always admired, and looked at the tag that had been printed, laminated, and attached to it, with key features, suggested retail price, etc.

To my dismay, it proclaimed the model I was holding to be the "Gunsight" model. :( The fact that the pistol was pretty roughly put together with a clunky trigger didn't do much for my morale, either.

OK, it's a small thing, but you know, to me it speaks volumes about Colt's lack of engagement in the marketplace. I wish like hell that Colt's would return the brand to what many of us would like to think of as its rightful place in the market, which it long ago ceded to Kimber, Springfield, et. al.

That would be something we could all be happy about.
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a great discussion and sharing going on this one....really enjoying.

as a potential new COLT buyer the thing that bugged me was that fact that i had heard such good/great things about COLT's (particularly the older series 70) from the guys at the range and then when i picked up the gun i was looking at (a new MK IV Series 70 Gov) it looked like two different people put it together one working on the left side and one working on the right. not horrendous, but definately visible. now, i know that it is supposed to be a original spec thougher than mud looser gun (don't have a problem with that) and she was nice in terms of slide cycle and trigger but my concern was "if the outside was somewhat jacked what the heck might they have done on the inside" where i could not get to or see before purchasing. also on this one something really funky was going on with the pin that put pressure on the slide stop.

in the end probably nothing really major would be wrong inside that gun but for the bucks, once i owned it it was then mine to deal with for good or bad so still weighing whether to pop for a COLT some time down the line as i would love own a gun with such a link to so much of 1911 history.

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
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I'm not a Colt basher by any means (really!). As a 1911 buyer not placing a premium on "heritage" or brand, I just don't see what they offer at the moment that isn't done as well or better by others. The current (new) Colt 1911's don't seem to deliver the best accuracy, fit and finish, availability and service reputation, or feeding of lots of different ammo types. Not saying they are hugely deficient in any of those areas, but not tops either. That isn't the legacy the company built over the years, nor is it the executional excellence that made guns like the Gold Cup and Python clearly stand out vs. the competition in their day.

In a blind test (without logos or other ID, no horsie) I think their current guns would be grouped with low-end Kimbers, stock SW1911's and Springers, with perhaps some low marks for fit and finish/cosmetics.

For me, that just isn't much to get excited about. Their guns seem like middle-of-the-pack performers in a market they ought to (and used to) own. Colt Mfg. appears to be standing still, and as has been well documented, the company seems fine with that, at least for the consumer market anyway. I don't judge success by sales, but the reality is that Colt market share is at an all-time low, dealer loyalty and morale have vanished, and while the gun industry doesn't advance as quickly as computers or other high-tech, advancements have been happening, innovation does take place, and Colt isn't doing any of it.

If they don't put some more wood behind the consumer market arrow, they will be selling their wares to the C&R market almost exclusively.
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Sundance... would you mind telling us how many new Colts you have bought in the last three or four years?

How many new Kimbers in the same time period? Springfields?

Why do I ask? Because I've bought dozens of them! And ya know what? The Colts are the ones that run right straight out of the box. The Kimbers and Springfields have given me the most trouble and been the least reliable. And even though Springfield's parts quality is not great, I'd take a new Springfield over a new Kimber without any hesitation. Kimber's focus is making lots of new models with a lot of fru-fru, doo dads, and gizmos.... while at the same time, their parts breakages, reliability problems, and failures to correct problems are rampant. Spend some time in the Kimber forum and you'll find more problems than you would ever find in the Colt forum.

Of course not all Colts are perfect, but neither is ANYthing else. But Colts at least are typically perfectly reliable with most any magazine brand, any ammo brand, any ammo type (haven't tried SWC's, nor do I have any interest in SWC's) in my experience.

What sets Colt apart from the other production brands? Reliability and better quality parts. That's pretty simple to me. Beyond that, most of them are beautifully made... with the exceptions (as all brands these days have).

How many new Colts, Kimbers, and Springfields have you bought in the last few years?
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Well, I have a NRM Colt S80 that locks up so tight and has such a sweet trigger that it makes my C-series Gov't. Model cry like a girl at night in the safe.

In the last three years I have bought four new Colts, a steel Commander, a LW Comander, a Govt. size Gunsite and a Commander Gunsite. I have shot thousands of rounds combined in the four. I have NEVER had a malfunction and they are all accurate. After I got my govy. Gunsite I sold my Baer TR; the Gunsite felt better and shot just as well, and I didn't need a tool box to clean it. Others may not have been so lucky. I have had a number of 1911's, and now have two Springfields, a GI and a loader. No complaints there. But Kimber? Another storey for another time.

I see a lot of comments in this thread complaining about Colt pistols.
I see a lot of comments in this thread raving about Colt pistols.

Guess which camp, consistently, OWNS a Colt pistol?

That's right, the second group.

Two things that might be happening:

1) the Colt owners could be defending / rationalizing their purchase
2) the non-Colt owners could be defending / rationalizing their non-purchase

My opinion? I believe that I discern a genuine, honest passion in posts from DSK and DHart and other Colt owners tells me that the Colt owners are truly happy with their Colt pistols.

Which is why I ordered one.

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I've got to say that your post was probably the most rational of this thread. I couldn't agree more. And yesw, I've probably got as much experience with Colt's as 95% of the posters here. On the average they are good guns. Just, in my opinion, grossly overpriced and have all needed quite a bit of work to get them up to the standards that I expect from guns in this price range and a company with Colts HERITAGE.
gpo1956 said:
I've got to say that your post was probably the most rational of this thread. I couldn't agree more. And yesw, I've probably got as much experience with Colt's as 95% of the posters here. On the average they are good guns. Just, in my opinion, grossly overpriced and have all needed quite a bit of work to get them up to the standards that I expect from guns in this price range and a company with Colts HERITAGE.
You know...its funny that you speak of Colts being grossly overpriced....I feel exactly the same about Kimber with all the MIM parts and cheap spray on finish. As I said before, my Colts have run circles over ALL the other 1911s I USED to own.....just my own experiences though!
our own expereinces.......isn't that a lot of the issue here.

my experience with two basic kimbers, one basic S&W and one basic springer has been one of 100% satisfaction with fit, finish, reliability and accuracy through 1000's of rounds. others have had totally different experiences all along the spectrum.

now some might say i am just a doof who doesn't know squat about fit, finish, reliability and accuracy but the guys i shoot with know exactly how picky i am and would heartily disagree.

some have had great experiences with COLT (old and new) and some not so great, particularly with the newer ones. two of the older COLT die hards (and good friends) at the range looked at the one that i was looking at and both just shook their heads as to QC issues compared to what they knew and expected.....but both said she should function fine no matter what it looked like........so.......


let us know how the new COLT is....honest and straight up.

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
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Don't get me wrong, Colt is an excellent gun to learn on. If you want to learn to de-horn, there are none with sharper edges If you want to learn to bevel a magwell, again Colt is the way to go. They do 3 sides and you only have to do one. Want to learn trigger jobs? If you can learn to do a decent series 80 trigger, a series 70 will be a snap. Since Colt is the only gun left in this price range that still stakes on the front sight, if you want to change you can order the tool and learn to do it yourself(or send it off and pay to have it done). How about beavertails? Get a NRM with standard tangs and learn the whole process or spring for the XSE which already has a half-assed beavertail on it. And lastly, how about re-contouring. If you get the stainless XSE you can learn to recontour the rediculous cut inder the trigger gaurd. Or, if that doesn't bother you, you can probably practice on recontouring the overhanging rear of slide/frame. Again, I think colts are pretty good guns and I think everyone should own at least one Colt 1911. But top of the line or a good value they're not! Sorry.
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DHart said:
Unfortunately, ALL the makers, including the semi-custom makes are producing lemons these days. It seems like much of the time Kimber seems to make no effort to fix their lemons... even with multiple "attempts"... :rolleyes: Spend some time in the Kimber forum... there are LOTS of problems with them. :scratch:
I simply will not buy a new Kimber. I especially liked reading the thread about the SWAT team that's been having numerous problems with their TLE/RL pistols. Kimber made a huge SNAFU when they went to the external extractor. The firing pin safety was bad enough, but at least I had discovered a way to fix that (a "way" that Kimber still will not do). Any company like Kimber that tells me I don't know what I'm doing when I complain about a problem certainly doesn't need my business.
Dhart and others, I'm glad your Colts work so well for you, and as I stated, I'm not bashing Colt. My points were 1) I don't see an area where they excel compared to everyone else, 2) there is no innovation coming from the company, and 3) Colt doesn't seem to mind that they have ceded the surging 1911 market to other companies, who have caught up, and in many ways surpassed what Colt currently offers. The market is leaving them and they show no evidence of wanting to stay in the fight.

What drove my initial post was my impression of the Colts I handled (and yes, shot) this year. I didn't say bad things about them, I just said they didn't stand out in any way. I *wanted* to buy one (I've sold my Springer and am going to be selling my Kimber), but was unimpressed by the assembly quality, accuracy and fit & finish of the nearly dozen new Colts I've looked at (some of which I was able to shoot).

I think Springfield makes a solid product at a fair price, I don't care for some of Kimber's newfangled designs and bling, though my Eclipse has been accurate and trobule-free except for some FTF's when brand new. It sounds like Kimber has some problems (extractors and MIM parts) that I don't really know enough to comment on, and it definitely gives me pause before I would buy another.

I am looking for something exceptional, and if Colt Custom Shop guns were sold in Kalifornia, I might *still* be tempted to get one, but as it is I am probably going to move upmarket and get a semi-custom, either a Nighthawk Talon or Ed Brown Elite.
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Colt and what people would like...

Bulldog, I agree with your comments. Though, as a musician, I've noted that artists who travel/play a complimentary, new instrument on tour - they rep. a sponsor, the maker of their saxophone. The horn seems to always be tricked up, or customized for their preferences. Can't fault the better paid musicians for wanting to customize an already 'pro' instrument.

Seems like Colt would do the same thing (check for burrs, and go over the quality) for a pistol to be handled at a show/shown by reps., or it would seem, pull a 'sample' gun which 'we would hope' will be representative of the quality that we would like to see from Colt in 2006, eh? A pro carrying a Colt at National Matches would settle for no less than a gun that appears to be the best example out there? A gun expo. sales rep. should display a great version of the product!

Dear Colt National Sales Director, Write that down!

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