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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all, I was hoping to get a bit of group think on my newest Colt, since I am somewhat new to the 1911 game and Colts in general. I have been looking for a Commander sized and picked this one up in trade. I had planned on doing the usual for a daily carry piece from a good gunsmith (flared/lowered, reliability package, new sights, etc) but now that I actually have this one, I am wondering if I should put it in the safe and get another one to go to town on.

It has checkered wood grips with the gold medallion (they look almost plastic) and seem to have a plastic trigger and MSH. This gun is barely shot and is super tight. No rattle or barrel wiggle at all. It also has a type of finish I have not encountered before, and to me what are rather odd sights. It just has a different "feel" to it than a lot of newer Commanders I have seen, so I wanted to make sure I was not making a mistake shooting it and turning it into a daily carry.

Any thoughts on that, overall value, and collectibility are greatly appreciated!
 

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Looks like a typical mid-to-late 1970s Combat Commander in satin nickel. Someone has replaced the trigger and grip screws, as the originals were also nickel plated out-of-box. The grips look stock wood to my eye.

It isn't terribly rare, despite what some gun values books have said in the past. There are a good number of threads on these guns on the forums. I have owned several, and they are my favorite 1911 for a lot of reasons, mostly being that they are a great pistol that a lot of folks find ugly because of the finish, and can be had at a comparatively reasonable price. The nickel can get dingy/dark looking quite easily especially if you carry, so be ready for that. I've seen a lot of folks describe the nickel finish as "wearing easily", but to be honest I've never seen one that has worn through the nickel to the copper below or the raw steel below that.

Value is probably $800-$900+, although I don't know how prices are there in Virginia. You will definitely not be destroying a rare piece if you choose to have it modified for carry by a good 1911-smith.
 

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I would have picked up that gun in a heartbeat with intentions of carrying. As mentioned, it's not rare, not worth a ton of money. Looks like it's in pretty good shape. I picked up a blued, 1984 MKIV S80 CC not long ago. Your commander is in better cosmetic condition. I replaced the sights because I just couldn't see those speed bumps. Did some trigger work (trigger, hammer, sear, disco ...), replaced grip safety ("broken"), barrel bushing, springs and good to go. It's in rotation with my alloy framed DW Guardian. But that said, it functioned reliably in the condition that I bought it. It's not a great sample and it's not a bullseye gun but it's accurate, feeds anything and it's reliable and it's a good shooter.

I'm no Colt expert, but that commander you have makes a great carry gun, IMHO of course. Since it's not a valuable rarity, I say shoot it, make sure it's reliable then have the work done to it if / that you desire.
 

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I bought one new in 1978. Trigger and grip screws looked like they have been changed. The grips might have been changed out. They came with grips like on the pre 80 Series 1981 below which is under the 2007 I carry, but it could be variations in manufacturing or lighting when the picture was taken.



The 1978 looked cute as a kitten in the sales case but showed wear quickly, and you just had to love the tiny silver sights as for me they were pretty worthless. I shot mine a little and traded it for a Detonics in 1984. I found most gunsmiths did not want to touch it, but maybe that has changed.
 

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As the others mentioned, it's not really that rare, but I also would've picked that up lickity split...nice find! I would shoot it and see how it works for you. You may find it runs great without any mods. But, you don't have to worry about its value too much if you do customize it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks so much for the advice everyone. I was not sure how rare a 70 series in nickle was, and some of the gun guides I saw made me a little worried about making it a daily carry. I will likely send it off to Alchemy for the serious work and will be sure to post some pics when it comes back.
 

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Thanks so much for the advice everyone. I was not sure how rare a 70 series in nickle was, and some of the gun guides I saw made me a little worried about making it a daily carry. I will likely send it off to Alchemy for the serious work and will be sure to post some pics when it comes back.
I just bought a new Commander for my EDC and shot it Sunday...80 Series of course although it does not say it on the Roll Stamps...At any rate I see now why Bill Wilson carries a Commander size...I used Kimber mags even though the followers on the 7 shot mags it comes with seem to behave much better than Colts 8 shot. I won't use 'em, I like my feed ramp as it is.

Mine will see absolutely no modification except for grip panels...it does not need it. I shot 5 different magazines from 3 Mfg's and 100 rds of ammo from 4 Mfg's. It shot point of aim and I'm talking Med bottles and small spice bottles at 20-25 yrds...2nd shot got a pop can at 35 yrds. I have been shooting 1911's for 45 years but never owned a Commander and to be honest I didn't expect such good reliability or accuracy, makes my 1980CM kinda boring (not really, I love a slide that feels like it's on ball bearings and a 2.5# trigger)...it carries just as good as a 3 inch Defender but 35 yards is a long shot or a non shot for a Defender.

I can't speak for Collectability of a Commander...seems most are Government models. I have always had the concern over legal issues on Mod's to a EDC if you ever went to court with it...I can see it now...this Gun was modified because you left your house today looking for trouble, not even Police Officers modify their Sidearms...yada yada yada...

My new Commander set me back a model 617 Smith and 1000rds of 22LR ammo, worth every penny to me. (I think I came out on the high end of that one cause I have had that ammo....maybe $75 in it.). New Colts seem better right now than they ever have been. I have bought (or traded for) 3 NIB in the last week and they are all Jewels...I am gonna get a pic tonight and post up on 'em
 

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I was not sure how rare a 70 series in nickle was, and some of the gun guides I saw
I'm not sure where the thought originated that the 1970s nickel CCs were rare, but it has been in the "gun values" books since the 1980s at least.

Maybe there's some basis in numbers produced by Colt for that statement, but in practice for me over the last two decades or so, it is much easier to find/purchase a nickel 1970s CC than it is to find a blued one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I'm not sure where the thought originated that the 1970s nickel CCs were rare, but it has been in the "gun values" books since the 1980s at least.
Two places really. The first is in the latest issue of the Blue Book for gun values which specifically notes that the satin nickel finish Combat Commanders were scarce guns. I was not sure if I had the satin finish though. The other was that I had never seen one before. Colts are not super common in my area, and mostly what I do see are Government models. I have seen shiny Colts, which I guess is either the stainless or the regular nickel, but had no experience with the "satin" finish that almost looks yellow or gold under some light.

Thanks again for the education in Colts! The help and advice are much appreciated. I hope to make it out to the range this week, and that it shoots as good as it looks.
 

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If you want to sell any of the parts that might get taken off (sights, hammer, thumb safety, grip safety, mainspring housing), I'd be interested. I've got one I picked up with some holsters wear on the controls and hammer. I'd like to put it back stock, if I can find the parts. If not, I'll do what your doing down the road.
 

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Two places really. The first is in the latest issue of the Blue Book for gun values which specifically notes that the satin nickel finish Combat Commanders were scarce guns. I was not sure if I had the satin finish though. The other was that I had never seen one before.
My statement was really wondering how the "Blue Book" you mention (and other sources I've seen, too) made that decision...because the real world certainly doesn't show that they are rare in any way.
 

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Nice! The satin nickel finish is probably my favorite Commander. I had one many years ago. The one I had wore sandblasted finish smooth grips. I saw a couple at the latest big gun show in Reno. They were pretty ragged and north of $1K in price.
 

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Congrats.....work it over, carry it and shoot it. Tracy
 

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In my experience , those 'frosted' nickeled Commanders don't seem to fetch the same prices that blued or bright nickeled guns do. They do make for a good carry finish though.

Buy it , carry it , shoot it , enjoy it.
 

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Mine, at least, is a very fragile finish. As are most of the others I've seen. The one in question here appears to be in very good shape.
Good luck with your decisions. If not for sights, I'd shoot it as is
 
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