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Compared a repro M1911A1 and a M1991A1 today

2305 Views 22 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  emmo
Today at Wade's in Bellevue I asked the gent to take both the repro M1911A1 they had and a new M1991A1 out of the case so I could compare them. I hate to say this, but the $550 '91 was better built than the $950 repro.

The first thing I noticed was the slide on the '11A1 had poor machining of the slide top radius. It actually drooped on one side as it reached the muzzle, so that when you looked from the front you could see one side was higher than the other.

And yes, I know the military guns often looked like that...

But then I noticed that the '91 had a better fitting slide anf frame, with a perfectly centered dust cover. The '11A1 was a bit off to one side.

And yes, I know the military guns often looked like that too...

And then I finally noticed that Colt's prestigious Custom Shop had managed to put several healthy scratches in the finish of the '11A1. By contrast the '91 still had no marks on it aside from an abraded rubber grip panel.

And yes, I know the military guns often looked like that as well. My only beef is that the military guns only cost the government about $25 a pistol. For $550 vs. $950 I can't believe the Custom Shop offering had the worse quality control. Maybe the flaws were meant to enhance the look, but sheesh!

D. Kamm
USGI M1911/M1911A1 Pistols Website
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I suppose "Col. Colt" and other COLT apologists will soon be attacking
you for your review/observations concerning the most recent POS from

Suffice to say they are all FOS.

You, sir, are correct. The new M1911A1 repop is a POS (scratched finish,
cast parts, plastic parts, ad nauseum).

the M1911A1 repop I ordered and bought (and owned for less than 24 hrs).

THANK GOD I got my money back and there were many others like "Col. Colt"
waiting in line to buy this latest POS from Hartford.

Anyway, thanks DSK for your "brutal" honesty. Like *&*, COLT is dead.


PS: I bought my SS and TRS at Wade's.
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well, first i have to say that i haven't seen a 1911A1 repo yet, i will judge for myself when i see one. i have two colt 1991A1's that function flawless and i rather like them, plastic peices and all. at least they don't put the plastic where it effects the use of the weapon. i think that i am going to wait and just buy an old 1911A1 at a gunshow because i can't afford the price on the new one.

Now, i respect DSk's post, and can find nothing in it that is disrespectful to colt or any other member, however, Four2Niner, i don't think it was cool of you at all to start mentioning Col Colt on your post. i think its rude and uncalled for. i come to this board to learn about 1911's and so far most of the people here are good people to talk to and learn from. I have never seen Col Colt say anything mean, i may not agree with everything he says but he always gets my respect as most of the other people here do. i don't think we at the board need this kind of slagging on this forum.

sorry admin's but i had to post my opinion before the thread gets closed, i hope it gets deleted. this was a good post to reply to, but the first reply has ruined it because its at the cost of a fellow member.

p.s if you don't like colt, don't buy it, its just more for us, i like 'em.

russel the cop


[This message has been edited by RUSSEL213 (edited 08-12-2001).]
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Four2Niner I think Russel213 got the point across. Feel free to disagree to your hearts content but please refrain from the name calling and other derogatory comments.

Russel213,,Thank you, no apology necessary.
I certainly hope that the reproduction model you handled was just a fluke that slipped through the cracks. This thing is supposed to be from the Custom Shop.
As some of the others have brought up in other posts, for that much money I'd prefer a GI issue gun with some history behind it.

A Remington Rand or similar would be a nice addition to my collection. Just my opinion.

Wow! I must be lucky, no sarcasm meant either. I purchased my 1911A1 repro three weeks ago. It is very well made and does not exhibit any of the above mentioned problems except one. Mine is one of the earlier ones in the serial number range so perhaps Colt's quality dropped later in the manufacture of them. I'm sorry your examples were disappointing. Inconsistency seems to be common among the manufacturers anymore.

The fit and machining of mine is on par with any of the 1991s currently being made by Colt. It is tight too.

The one point where mine shares similarity to the examples mentioned above is that it has a slight finish mar on the right side of the slide. It also has a very slight place on the top of the slide at the front where the parkerizing failed to adhere (or was rubbed off). I agree that a custom shop offering should be void of this. Yet, it looks better finished than any of the 1991s, black or stainless, that I've examined recently. All of the 1991s I saw had numerous scratches. Frustratingly, I have yet to see any new Colt that was comestically perfect.

I really like the new Colt, but there are two things I wish they would have done differently. The barrel and the magazine are current production components. Other than that it is a nice gun.

As mentioned earlier, it is not the gun for everyone. If its lack of 100% authenticity disturbs you don't buy it. It's not like it's going to be an ongoing choice. The limited run will be snatched up quickly and you won't have to agonize anymore.
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I certainly wasn't intending this thread to evolve into a flame war either. I was simply expressing my disbelief at seeing a Custom Shop gun more sloppily made than a regular production item. Yes, for some folks the "re-pop" (as I like to call it) Colt is just the thing for them, rather than spending endless weeks looking for a real one only to find they bought a mixmaster. But I still feel for $950 the re-pop should exhibit the same quality found in Colts decades ago, not like 1992!

Anyway, if you decide to get one look it over good. Don't just spcial order it, but expect to be able to examine it first before buying. Leave the sloppy ones to the last-minute rush buyers.

D. Kamm
USGI M1911/M1911A1 Pistols Website
I don't feel flamed. I agree that the 1911A1 could be better, but its appealing factor is that it is as close as you can get to the 1942~43 GI Colt in a new gun. IMHO, a repro needs to be made by Colt, Remington or one of the other two WWII manufacturers. I think it's as close as you can get. I do wish they had made the barrel and magazine more authentic looking. I would love a WWII vintage GI 45 but I'm not sophisticated enough about them to know a 100% authentic one if I could find one.

Ideally, my 1911A1 should be flawless, but of the three I examined, all had minor blemishes. Based upon my recent examinations of Colt 45s I felt it was about as good as could be found so I bought it.

As to Colt custom shop products, my model P had a few blemishes too. Remember when all of Colts products were beautifully crafted? I always like the Colt finishes and the S&W actions. If only the two could have been combined. I'm hoping Colt and S&W can return to their glory days of fine products.
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If one of you could check that mainspring housing pin retainer, I'd like to know. None of the Colt's we've gotten in have had any of those pieces plastic (1991, XSE, Gold Cup, none of them) and I don't see how it would take the stress.
I think people are really thinking of the mainspring cap retaining pin. That's the tiny one at the top of the mainspring housing. I think I've seen plastic ones of those. They are rarely under any stress unless the housing is removed from the gun, as the hammer strut pushes down on the mainspring slightly even when the hammer is at rest.

D. Kamm
USGI M1911/M1911A1 Pistols Website
Ditto what Russell said.

I wonder why we waste our lives here,
when we could run away to paradise.

But I am caught in some invisible vice
and I can't get away.

To live and die in L.A.
I read a review of the new re-pop Smith & Wesson Schofield, written by one J. James. He went down to the dry goods store, and compared his original with the new one. Can you believe it (!), the firing pin of the new gun is in the frame! Anyone even the least bit familiar with the original knows the firing pin should be mounted on the hammer! And, there' some new-fangled device inside that comes between the hammer and the pin! Dag-nabbit, how in tarnation is the gun supposed to fire, iffin' there's a piece of metal between the hammer and the firing pin? Those folks at that Performance Center sure ruined a fine shootin' iron. And the price?!?!? I could buy four of the dead-ringers that Luigi showed me, for what them fellers in Springfield want for theirs! No thanks!
When I first read this post of yours I was waiting for my special ordered M1911A1 reproduction to come in. I'll have to say I was slightly worried. Well that's all over now. I have my repro right here at my side and it is a work of art!

I guess the one you handled was a fluke that slipped through the cracks. While there's no excuse for that kind of crap, I ended up with a good one. I mean a GOOOOOOOOOOOD one! She's a shooter.

Here's my preliminary range report. http://www.1911forum.com/ubb/Forum35/HTML/000133.html

Thanks for the comparison post dsk. Interesting that the big dollar repro is not fitted or finished better than its 91 brother. Oh I guess my 11A1 will have to be a 41 to 45 GI version. Not that I have any lack of love for Hartford Colts. But if the effort is lacking then I will not get one.
I also did a comparison on these two guns at a local shop yesterday. My experience was the opposite of dsk's. The S70 reissue I handled was very-well put together. The barrel fit was tight and the slide to frame fit was snug with just a slight amount of play. Fit and finish were excellent. Trigger pull was just right and very crisp with no creep. This was probably the nicest Colt I've handled in years. The 1991A1 was just OK. Slide to frame fit was looser and the barrel had some play. Thumb safety had a little wobble and the trigger was in need of gunsmith attention. Then there's the whole firing pin safety system that I personally don't care for. Certainly not worth the $600 that they were asking when you can get a Kimber or SA Loaded for around the same. The S70 reissue was $995. For that price, and considering that these are suppopsed to be assembled in the Custom Shop, I would certainly hope that they would all be up to the same standard as the sample I handled, but we all know that doesn't always happen. Colt needs to make a regular production version of this gun using all quality parts and sell it for about $500.
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D.A.Mike you are taking worthy input away from yourself. With the humor of calling a M1911A1 repro a S70 reissue on this station. I do like humor though and, I did read your entire post. I just don't know how to take it. I did'nt think it was very funny.
dsk and friends - My experience mirrored D.A. Mike's - of the four Colt reissue 1911A1 "WWII Reproductions" our shop recieved, none had a single machined line out of place, nor any factory "scratches" on the finish. They were flat pretty - and I doubt if there were ANY wartime guns that were anywhere nearly as nice!

All had excellent, snug barrel fit and good triggers. I didn't take any of them apart to check the provience of the mainspring cap retaining pin - but I suspect they will all uphold the Colt name in fine style anyway. My only real complaint was the substitution of a current Colt blue mag instead of a GI style magazine. (PS - Colt did send us dealers the extra magazine (each gun was to have two) to us last week, and we put them in the with our inventory guns.)

All current production Colt "0" Models, including the basic 1991A1 seem to have very good barrel fit, and I have yet to see any finish damage on the guns I unwrapped - they come well oiled in the factory plastic bag. Gunshop "handling wear" would seem a more likely cause than factory dinged - but it's certainly possible. Our four guns just don't exhibit this. Luck of the draw, perhaps.

Warmly, Col. Colt

"Beware of Counterfeits and Patent Infringements"

PS - I didn't miss the personal slam early in this thread. I can only comment that when someone's alleged "first post" to a Forum is full of angry vitrol for a long term member - that person obviously isn't at all new. They are using a new "handle" to keep their known identity from being recognized. Why would a person do that? To give their rather harsh mudslinging toward Colt and myself some credibility - or because they work for one of Colt's competitors, perhaps. I find it hard to believe the person actually bought and returned a 1911A1 - given the person's visible distaste for Colt. (And if I have worked you up so much in a short time - I must be doing something right.)

I wear my preferences on my sleeve - so everyone knows where I'm coming from. I have my bias, but it's honest - and I don't work for Colt. I'm just glad they are again worthy of our support because of better products - apologies are unnecessary. Just my opinion - and we are all entitled to that. CC
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American Rifleman:
Though only made for two short years, Col.Colt's revolvers as manufactured in London were as fine an example of the gunmaker's art as any of the Hartford-made guns. With their production, Colt forever changed the face of English gunmaking.

Sam Colt always had an affinity for England. He took out his first patent there in 1835 before starting his Paterson,N.J., factory. In 1849, the first year his Hartford factory was up and running, he made the first of several sales trips to England and the Middle East. Colt saw the announcement of an exhibition to be held in London in 1851 as a golden opportunity to promote his products. It was a gateway to Europe and to Britain's vast empire, which extended around the globe.

I never made the connection to Earliest Colt production, Col. Colt.
Dear Col. Colt (and others),

I gather speaking the hard truth is too much for this forum to bear.

Nonetheless, I wish to point out the following:

It was no less than the honourable Col. Colt himself who first threw
mud here by more or less calling me a liar in the following thread:

My original review of the M1911A1 Repop (cited by "Gumby" and groundlessly
refuted by the Colonel in the thread above) appears at:

Now, the Colonel sees fit in his PS in this thread to continue the flame war
that HE started.

So, I will end it with this comment/observation: It is exactly such hollow,
apologetic, and defensive statements as the Colonel's (here and elsewhere)
that allow mfg's such as Colt's (which USED TO BE a respectable name brand)
to continue to foist such products as the M1911A1 Repop onto the uneducated
buyer (or, in this case, the RETAILER).

My unsolicited advice to the masses (including said Colonel/salesman) is to
demand EXACTLY what is advertised and what you pay for -- instead of meekly
and sheepishly accepting what they "give" you

If WE do not do this, then who will?

Regrettably, the patently more obvious question is, who really cares?

Worse yet, is the sorry state WE have allowed Colt, S&W, et al to fall
into by continuing to purchase/support their inferior products.

I, for one, believe it is high time we demanded more for our dollar.

A lot more.


PS: If I am banned from this "flock" for having (and expressing) a strong
opinion, then so be it. That occurrence would merely be more proof of the
inherent "weakness" in numbers (i.e., "herd mentality," or BAA-AAA-AAAAH).

PSS: And, no, I am not trying to make friends (or enemies) here.
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