A few weeks ago I added a Ruger 1911 Lightweight Commander to my personal collection. I wanted to go back to a lightweight Commander style 1911 as an EDC for some time, for a variety of reasons… Namely style, accuracy, hard first shot hits… and I’ve always been a 1911 guy and it’s been a few years since I really carried one. I really appreciate the narrow profile of a 1911. So I started my shopping process. I wanted to try something a little different. And I’ve been impressed with the quality and value that Ruger has been churning out lately. So I overlooked my normal Go To brands… and I’m glad I did! Continue reading RUGER 1911 Lightweight Commander .45 UPDATED
North Carolina is home to one of the best, most advanced 1911 Custom builders in the world, Carolina Arms Group. You’ve read about them before here, and you might again in the future. The owner if CAG is a fellow I call a friend… so it’s not unlikely.
I’ve watched the growth of CAG go from essentially one man with a file to a full fledged Gun Manufacturer. And along the way, the company has evolved in a way that’s quiet remarkable. The quality control gets tighter and tighter, and the standards get higher and higher. The gun themselves have always been amazing. But now I have to admit, these are the best 1911’s money can buy. Period. Let me show you why… Continue reading Visiting Carolina Arms Group Again
These two were complete and the other two were getting final touches done.
Absolutely flawless. Now, CAG has a lot of very cool new things coming… things that I’m sworn to secrecy on, so I wont tell. Even if the NDA is a Handshake, it’s still an NDA, so I’m not saying anything other than this… Give CAG a Like, follow them on FB. Because you are going to want to keep your eye on them.
There is one new thing about to drop that I CAN talk about.
CAG is going to be releasing Fire Control Parts that you can order to be put into your gun. I’ve examined these… FANTASTIC. You are going to want to put these on your gun. Machined from forged billet stainless and absolutely the top quality you would expect from CAG. Also slides and pretty much everything you need to build your 1911 save for the Frames. And since not all of us are Gunsmiths – you will be able to send in your 1911 and CAG’s own Gunsmiths will give you their FEEL THE DIFFERENCE treatment. All of the services will of course be on a menu for pricing and such. So bookmark this page too:
I stopped into a joint called “Nichole’s Store” in Rockhill, SC and found this little guy sitting there, all alone in a display full of other Ruger 1911’s. This little one was all alone, because he’s a Davidson’s Exclusive. Ruger is the Master of Distributor Exclusives. I didn’t even know this guy existed.
This finish on the slide looks blued, not coated. If it is coated – I don’t know what it is. But it has some color tinge to it, it’s not just black. Depending on how the light hits it, it can look purplish, bluish, or brown – ish. It’s pretty unique and the photo does kinda capture it, but then it really doesn’t. It looks very nice in person.
Like all Ruger 1911’s, the gun feels pretty solid and well made – and smooth. But without feeling tight like a custom. You can tell this is a Working Class Production Gun. With tolerances generous enough for Reliability over Bank Vault Pleasures. One one is going to mistake this for a Nighthawk or a CAG… But no one is going to mistake it for a Rock Island or ATI either.
It has two warts. One you can see… the Novak Rear Sight. Which is The Devil on a gun for this purpose. The purpose being, this is a Defensive Gun. Which means it’s a Fighting Gun. And Novak Sights should not be on any Fighting Gun. Ever. The sights need to be replaced anyway, as they are just white 3 Dot sights… and any defensive pistol NEEDS Tritium. That’s not a point I’ll argue about. That’s God’s Own Truth. This is why He created Tritium. So it can be used on His Saint, John Moses Browning’s handguns. While I’d be getting Tritium sights – I’d just make sure the Rear wasn’t Novak, and that it was a Straight 8 instead of 3 Dot.
The other wart is the Manual Safety… it flicks on with a nice snap. The way it should. But it flicks off, with no click, no snap, no tactile sign, and no audible tell. It just… slides off. Way too easily. Like it was loose or broken. That is a huge turn off to me. Going Off Safe should be Tactile and Deliberate. This feels like it could slide off if you had it in the holster and jumped up and down more than once. This is of course, an easy fix. But it’s a fix that would have to be made before you loaded it.
Overall. I love this gun. Well done, Ruger.
COLT. One of the most famous names in the firearms industry. And one of the most poorly managed companies, with some of the most lack luster products for some of the highest dollars. Colt is one of the least impressive companies still in business. They think their name still holds currency in the market, and for a small, dwindling market segment, they do. But that base is shrinking. Colt may be coming out of bankrupcy again – but if they don’t change, they are going to go right back into it.
Any Colt firearm only looks good if you don’t look at any of the competition’s products.
From these images it looks like Colt is making some fine weapons.
And really, they are. But there’s a problem. They are over priced. Somewhere about 200 dollars over priced. At the same time they are not up to snuff, compared to the competition.
Let’s look at the Mustang. The competition is the SIG 238 and the Kimber Micro. All three of these pistols are subcompact .380 Autos, all similar design and function. And all taken from the original Colt Mustang, that Colt killed, SIG resurrected, and then Kimber and Colt came on with the Me Too theme.
Of the three, the Colt is the most expensive, and as you can see, the least desirable. It’s the worst finished, with the worst sights.
The other Colt guns leave me a bit unimpressed. The slides are alright, but the frames all feel like they are unfinished sand-castings. Of course, they are not… they are Media Blast finished… but they feel… sandy. Rough. Sets my teeth on edge like fingernails on a chalkboard.
SIG’s 238 set the bar for what this sort of pistol needs to be like. And Kimber took that challenge and came in with a tie score.
The Kimber – being not a favorite brand of mine by any means… has a strong game in the Micro. Making the Colt look like the Ugly Step Sister… which it is.
Other than the finish, the Colt’s molded in front sight is just flat out unacceptable. The others have dove-tails with high viz sights. The Colt’s is No-Viz.
You can see, of the Three Amigo’s, the Colt is one no one wants. It’s clearly the worst of the three, and yet carries the higher price tag for no reason. (The Kimber in the photo is wearing the Crimson Trace Grips, which makes it more expensive than the standard Micro.)
Here’s the Cold Railed pistol. A Tactical pistol with an all the bells and whistles price take, but has no bells and no whistles. It’s pretty much at the same level as a Springfield Loaded Model, being simply a railed 1911… but has a premium price tag only because it bears the Colt name. Rough finished frame, notchy feeling action, and a trigger that feels like you are dragging a piano over a gravel road. This is not a good gun for the money.
If you get one, you are going to need to an action job, trigger job, new sights, and you are going to want to get that frame cerakoted or something. So about 500 dollars worth to put this gun where it needs to be.
While I do like the look of it in the photos I took… yes, it looks nice. It just doesn’t feel anywhere near as good as it looks. Honestly, for less money, you could buy a Springfield MC Operator or a SIG 1911 TacOps, and have a better gun right out of the box, and save enough money for some spare mags and a case of ammunition.
What does Colt need to do to fix these? Well, finish them for one thing. Everyone else is throwing on some checkering or a nicer finish, and coming in at less cost. Let’s start with that. If Colt can step up to that level… That would be nice. A move in the right direction.
We don’t even need to talk about the Reliability issues. The Defender model of 1911 is one of their most popular models. It’s also the most unreliable 1911 I’ve ever seen next to any Kimber Ultra pistol. I saw one guy that had bought two of them. Both of them didn’t work. Both went back to the factory. Once returned, one of them still had the reliability of a 4 year old. And the one that “Worked” had the most sporadic ejection I’ve ever seen on any gun. It was more like an open pan of popcorn… it could spit cases out in any direction. Including into my forehead and teeth. Some directions seemed physically impossible. And that’s just the guns from one customer. One man. There have been others. Many others. In fact, of all the Colt Defenders I’ve seen sold or have sold myself. Well, I don’t know of any that didn’t cause the owner some sort of grief. I do know a couple guys that have them and say they have no problem with them. But these guys don’t actually fire the guns. If you don’t actually shoot it – of course it’s not going to cause you any problems. Problems are only going to pop up when you pop rounds. So these guys are saying that the guns don’t spontaneously self destruct, I guess. Grips don’t suddenly spring off the gun and fly across the room… No problems then.
I’ve never seen a reliable Colt Defender. Ever. I’ve never seen a reliable Kimber Ultra either, but you can get an Ultra for a lot cheaper than a Defender, and any of the Ultra series guns are probably better guns than the Defender. Maybe even more reliable. Maybe.
If Colt is going to really make a come back with the American Gun Owner – Colt is really going to have to step up.
Carolina Arms Group is located not very far away from me at all. About 45 minutes up I-77 and I’m pulling into their parking lot. So I’ve come to know the owner and I’ve met most everyone working at CAG. CAG has made some very nice 1911’s… and some of the the best 1911’s I’ve ever handled. That was the Trenton Series, a family of 1911’s named after the Battle of Trenton. But now CAG has a new series of pistols. Meet the PRIVATEER.
I’m going to say this… and I don’t say this lightly. In fact, I’ve considered this for some time and I keep coming back to the same conclusion. This is the best 1911 I’ve ever seen. Let me say this again…
THIS IS THE BEST 1911 I HAVE EVER SEEN.
I’ve been into 1911’s since I was 16 and the father of a girlfriend introduced me to them. His name was Dave and he was awesome. I don’t even remember his daughter anymore… but I remember Dave. Dave taught me the Tao of Browning. He taught me how the gun works, inside and out, and how to shoot it.
Dave literally saved my life because of this… because the Army gave me Zero training when they issued me a 1911 and it was a 1911 that I used to save my life when someone was intent on ending it. I’ve always loved the 1911 since those rather exciting days. And I’ve always taken them seriously because of it.
I’ve tested and reviewed some of the best 1911’s on the planet, and have owned 1911’s from the likes of Terry Tussy and other high end custom gunsmiths… And let me tell you… The CAG PRIVATEER 1911 is the finest example of the 1911 Pistol. Period. Saint John Moses Browning himself smiles upon the CAG Privateer and is well pleased.
Differences from the Trenton series have the Privateer using a regular, fine, checkering on the frame and the inclusion of an accessory rail. Up top it’s wearing Tritium Night Sights instead of fiber optics. As all serious use handguns should. The grips are a slim profile, which makes the gun more narrower in the hand, which is great when wearing gloves… and even better when the gun is tight against your side when it’s riding in a holster.
The whole gun, including the barrel, is finished with a gorgeous DLC finish. Diamond Like Coating. The DLC Finish is incredibly strong, resistant, and smooth. The gun looks amazing. The laser engraving really pops and looks clean unlike anything coated in Cerakote or other finishes. The Fit and Finish are – FLAWLESS – to the point that no photo will ever do these guns justice. You have to see these guns in person. You have to feel them in your hands. You have to feel the slide’s action. You have to feel the trigger. You have to feel the difference between these guns and every other 1911 out there.
One day, I’m going to own a CAG Privateer in a Commander length.
I paid a visit to Carolina Arms Group today… The makers of very desirable things. I got a peek at a new model, the Veteran Carry… which is an insanely smooth Bobtail Commander. It’s fantastic. Save your Pennies. And they are going to be rolling out some knives with carbon fiber scales, and matching carbon fiber grips for the pistol. VERY nice. Impressive. Mark threw some laser engraving on my knife… Thanks, Mark! If you guys need anything lasered – contact CAG and talk to them about it. Their laser system is fast and precise… sharpest looking laser work out there.
The new Veteran Carry – that’s the one to get!
Sneak Peek at the new Veteran Carry pistol. It’s not even finished and it’s gorgeous as hell. The Want is strong with this one.
Taking the time to fit it right. By hand.
The little details are the important ones. It has to be perfect.
What goes good with a high quality gun? A high quality blade.
You’ll be able to order a Carolina Arms Group accessory kit with your pistol… Which includes the holster, knife, and matching grips.
I was asked about my ideal 1911 Configuration… The Ogre Edition 1911, if you will. My dream 1911.
It’s really simple. We’re going to start with a Lightweight Commander platform, give it a Beavertail and a Commander style hammer. The rear sight will be neither a GI or a Novak, and it wont be adjustable. It has to be able to facilitate one hand slide-racking in an emergency. And it’s going to have the “Bobtail” conversion not just for looks, but for feel and concealability.
The front sight will have either a Trijicon HD, Big Dot, or Gold Dot front sight post for MAX Visibility. NO FIBER OPTIC. The rear will be nice wide notch, sans the 2 rear dots. I don’t like double dot rears.
The overall gun will be slightly “Melted” to soften any hard edges.
Serrations will be simple GI style, with nothing forward.
The grips will be rich Cocobolo wood, thin, and low profile, edges slightly rounded. The front strap of the grip frame will be 30LPI checkered.
The gun can either be all black, or black over a light colored frame.
The Caliber will be 10mm.
This is my ideal 1911. Though no one as of yet makes it.
Ha! Looks like my tastes have not really changed all that much…
Dude – Just shut it. Most modern autopistols all have external extractors. All the guns that are well known for utter reliability have external extractors. John Mosses Browning even put them on the Hi-Power! Glocks. SIG’s. Beretta… very few guns have Internal Extractors and those that do generally are problematic.
I’ve shot a lot of 1911’s. I’ve got a lot of 1911’s. And what I don’t have or have ever shot – was a 1911 with an external extractor that had a problem that was extractor related. Ever. You don’t hear about Glocks and FNS’s with Extractor problems… do you? No! You really don’t! Sure – maybe somewhere out there in the vastness of the internets, under some dark rock in a dark corner – someone had a Glock Extractor problem. But really, on the whole… such problems are pretty much just non-existant.
If you think an external extractor is problem – you really just don’t know what you are talking about.
I’m a 1911 guy. I became a 1911 guy when I was a teenager. My girlfriend’s father, Dave, instructed me on the ways of the Old Slab Sides. I think I was the only guy that dated his daughter that he liked. He was a cool guy too. But he introduced me to the gun and how it operated. Which is good. Because not very long later the US Government put a 1911 in my hand without any instruction. I really liked the 1911. Dave too. Looking back, I liked hanging out with Dave more than his daughter. I’ve had a lot of 1911’s since.
1911’s have developed a reputation for being less than reliable. This is because saying “1911” is like saying “Pickup Truck”. You can’t say all pickup trucks are unreliable. Make, Model, Condition, and Maintenance Records are all important, no? I’ve found 1911’s can be just as reliable as Glocks. Can. Not all. There’s one specific word though that when combined with “1911” that should always be avoided. That word is “Ultra”. Don’t get any “Ultra” 1911. Any 1911 that has the word “Ultra” on it, or even near it – just don’t do it. Also, any barrel length below 4″ is best to be avoided. This goes along the same lines as the word “Ultra”.
The new 1911 Maker in North Carolina is Carolina Arms Group. These guns are legit. I’d put them right up there with Les Baer and Ed Brown.
The actions, triggers, overall fitment – flawless. Very smooth. Great triggers… These are everything you want in a 1911.
Now, CAG is a new company so they don’t have that name and reputation. But if you know 1911’s and how they should be built – and not just Name Dropping and Marketing Buzzwords… and you examine a CAG 1911… You’ll know these are exquisite 1911’s.I took the opportunity to test fire their new Commander Length pistol. It was flawless. Cycled perfectly, and it didn’t just shoot point of aim – point of impact…. It was like it shot to “Point of Will”. It was telekinetic… Exactly like a fine 1911 should be. I wanted to put a round “THERE” and the round went there. You are not just hitting your target… you are placing your shots on the target where you want them to go.
These guns are built with all premium level parts… Everything is forged billet. Nothing even remotely MIM or Cast like how some high level 1911 makers are sneaking into their production… These are true custom built 1911’s.
The Price does reflect that… Around 3 Large. But you really do get what you pay for here. These guns are right up there with the very best.