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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All of the 1911s I currently own are 5 inch guns.
I have a couple revolvers that shoot .45 ACP as well, but their barrels are even longer.

I have been considering buying a 1911 in a Combat Commander configuration or perhaps something with a barrel even slightly shorter (Kimber Pro series with a 4 inch barrel).
What I have been seeing in discussions is that the loss of one inch of barrel length is apparently quite a serious loss in ballistic performance in this caliber. I have also heard that spring life is pretty drastically reduced as the guns get shorter.
The purpose of the Commander would be as a curiosity and a bit of a contrast to the full size 1911s in order to learn more about these guns.

Can anyone recommend any good candidates in a Commander sized stainless steel gun?

Thanks.
- Ivan.
 

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So far all of my 1911s are Government length with exception of the one I built most recently. I've only put 50 rounds through it so far, but losing 3/4 inch of barrel length hasn't changed a lot on my end. Then again, I did 'cheat' and put a threaded barrel in it so that regains about a half inch. Of course the sight radius is still gonna be a tick short.

I think it's a good compromise between a short 3 inch gun and a full size 5 inch model though. You might lose a tiny bit of accuracy, but I would still feel confident taking a 25 yard plus shot with a 4-4.25" gun. Not so much with a 3 inch pistol.

I can't really offer much with respect to brands. As I see it, if they make a good GI size pistol their Commander length ought to be of equal quality. So if you have a favorite, maybe look at them?
 

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I actuallly prefer the 4" and Commander length guns. They feel better in hand to me and I think they balance better. I don't think the loss in ballistic performance is dramatic at all- depending on the barrel and load you might see a reduction in velocity by as little as 20fps or as much as 50 fps.

You will need a chrongraph to see that difference... and then it still won't matter unless you are already at the power factor floor in some competition.
Springs are cheap and the intervals not that much different.

Outline a set of specs you want and then make a list of guns available with them. I doubt you'll need much help deciding!
 

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I have everything from a Light Weight Officers to a 7" long-slide. A 6" long-slide is one of my favorite handguns but normally I carry two 1911s, mostly these days my BUG is a LW Commander or a S&W Scandium Commander with a 5" as my "primary" - but I'm retired, I'm likely to carry about anything (during the winter the BUG is often a .45 or .44 Revolver).

The Officers shot OK for me but I just don't have any use for one, if you do that is fine. Some people like to use lighter weight bullets in the shortest .45 barrels in hopes of getting expansion - that is fine too if you like it, but I've fiddled with light bullets in .45s and never had good results on game.

For a stainless Combat Commander type pistol Colt still makes them, and Dan Wesson has a nice Valor version in a 4 3/4" - either should be nice. I'm not sure TSIAS makes a stainless version but I've seen regular steel and they look like they are well made. The DW Valor has a checkered front strap which I like, though it might not suit the taste of some.

There are likely a lot of other makes out there, which I am overlooking.

Riposte
 

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I don't have a chronograph to test it, but I don't believe you lose very much velocity with a 4.25" barrel. Bear in mind that the powders used for .45acp are generally pretty fast. As far as reliability, my 4.25" guns have been just as dependable as my 5", with the possible exception of a 9mm Range Officer Compact. And I think that a lot of the problems I had with it were magazine related.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The general claim is about 50 FPS loss for standard velocity (GI Ball) ammunition and about 100 FPS for the +P stuff.
I never shoot +P ammunition anyway, so that is not really an issue.
The particular gun that got my attention recently was a Kimber Pro Raptor II. It is a bit more aggressive in checkering than I happen to like and the barrel is only 4 inches. I do think it is pretty but that is not enough reason for me to buy a new gun. The gun I actually looked at was the full size version which seemed like a very tight and well made gun. These guns are supposed to come from their custom shop. Not sure how bad the Swartz will affect things.
 

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lw commander is my edc. i have 5" in the truck, with the carbine. i can shoot the lw commander much faster than the 5". i don't use +p. and i don't own a 9mm 1911. as the good col. said, why shoot twice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have a 4" Kimber Commander and 4.25" Dan Wesson Commander. The 1/4" difference is not noticeable to me.
Have you ever chronographed them in comparison to a 5 inch gun.
My concern is that even though I have no intention of using them as carry guns, I don't want to get a gun that gives up too much in the way of ballistics especially in a round that isn't really moving all that fast to begin with.
 

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Have you ever chronographed them in comparison to a 5 inch gun.
My concern is that even though I have no intention of using them as carry guns, I don't want to get a gun that gives up too much in the way of ballistics especially in a round that isn't really moving all that fast to begin with.
I don't have a chronograph. I tried carrying a 5" for a while and didn't care for it. As far giving up on ballistics I can pretty much match anything out there with my reloads.
 

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I have been contemplating this very same purchase. My requirements may be a little restrictive. I admit I have not checked Dan Wesson yet. I want stainless steel frame, barrel and slide. I don't care about the weight, I use tools that weigh more every day. Tritium sights are a must. Full size 1911 mags. The Kimber Pro Raptor II checks all the boxes. I did not see Kimbers Stainless TLE II in a commander length. I am going to look around for another week or so before buying anything. When I do, I'll run a chronograph comparison so I know the effects of the shorter barrel. My TLE II really likes 230 grain bullets at 850 fps. Very accurate. It will take a little bit of working up to see just what a 4" likes. With luck, my existing load will be fine. Really not terribly interested in a $3000 pistol but I am going to weigh all options. Any suggestions are welcome. Prefer not to have to add sights after purchase but if it comes to that, it is what it is.
 

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The Pro Raptor was by far my most loved Raptor. But I bough it in stainless and found that although I thought it looked cool, I’m just a blued gun guy. Sold it to a contractor that was remodeling my kitchen. I think we were both happy with the deal. The price of the kitchen remodel was high and so was my price on the Raptor. We both did okay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have been contemplating this very same purchase. My requirements may be a little restrictive. I admit I have not checked Dan Wesson yet. I want stainless steel frame, barrel and slide. I don't care about the weight, I use tools that weigh more every day. Tritium sights are a must. Full size 1911 mags. The Kimber Pro Raptor II checks all the boxes. I did not see Kimbers Stainless TLE II in a commander length. I am going to look around for another week or so before buying anything. When I do, I'll run a chronograph comparison so I know the effects of the shorter barrel. My TLE II really likes 230 grain bullets at 850 fps. Very accurate. It will take a little bit of working up to see just what a 4" likes. With luck, my existing load will be fine. Really not terribly interested in a $3000 pistol but I am going to weigh all options. Any suggestions are welcome. Prefer not to have to add sights after purchase but if it comes to that, it is what it is.
I believe we have quite a similar outlook except that I have no intention of carrying a 1911. I have used the 1911 for open carry, but for me, it is too big of a gun to carry concealed. If concealment were not an issue, I would be carrying a 4 inch .357 revolver.
My typical loads are also in the 850 FPS range for 230 Grain bullets using W231 powder.
Although one can load anything in theory, I don't want to need to load anything special or buy any special ammunition for ONE brand new gun when everything else eats the same stuff.

For now, this is a question of what I would be giving up in going down to a 4 inch barrel from 5 inch guns. Convenience in carrying the gun doesn't enter into consideration at all.
 
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