To me, saying “1911” is like saying “Pickup Truck”. There are many Makes and Models out there, all different, all with different purposes. But they are all 1911’s so they are pretty good and should all pretty much run the same way. But one configuration of 1911 that always makes me drool…
A Lightweight Commander. Specifically a two tone LW Commander. As far as pistols go – these are my Redheads. My Kryponite. My weakness.
This one is very nice… Subdued colors. A big visible dot on the front sight… Very nice indeed. I’m not a huge fan of the ramped rear sight, but I can deal with that. On this gun the higher end red wood grips are a little dressy on the flat finished gun.
This one is nice too… Subdued colors again, but with a set of black grip panels. I like that a bit better due to the fact that it’s more in keeping with the motif. The first one is like having White Wall tires on a Mustang GT. I guess that would be fine if that’s your thing… it’s just not my thing. And if it is your thing… and you like that… Well, “America”. Bully for you!
Here’s one that’s very good. Micarta grips, brushed stainless and a moderate polish on the slide… Not Subdued, but more natural. I really like that. I also like the Bobtail… a lot. But it’s not necessary… Just really really nice. Like Navigation or a Back Up Camera, or XM Radio.
Oh man… Here we go. This is the higher end. We have a high polish on that blued slide and burled walnut grips. This one is so nice that it’s almost too nice. We call guns like this “BBQ Guns”, but it’s what you wear to a BBQ at your friends place… your nicest gun in a nice leather holster. Not something I’d EDC, but wear to special occasions. It would be like having a date with a Super Model… You are not going to take her out on the rounds of your usual haunts, but to some place special. (Unless she asked to go to the regular haunts mind you) So for me, that last one there, the more natural one, that’s the one I’d pick.
What do all these Commanders have in common? Two Tone Finishes, with Dark on top of Light. The current Vogue due to the advent of stainless slides on polymer frames is to have a light colored slide on a dark frame. This I don’t care for. It makes all manner of sense though, sure. It’s PRACTICAL. A stainless slide will show less wear than a blued slide. And frames will typically show less wear than slides… So putting a stainless slide on that black frame makes Reason and Logic smile. But it doesn’t make me necessarily smile, no, just the opposite is true. And let me tell you why.
Growing up reading every gun magazine I could get my hands on as a kid, I stared with wide eyes and great wonder at the custom 1911’s made by true master level gunsmiths… and all of them were two tones with stainless frames and high polished blued slides. That LOOK defined “Custom” for me then and it does so now. So the stainless slides on black frames just look “off” to me. So my ultimate has to have a black slide on light frame. That just visually tastes right to me.