I'm no stranger to 1911s, but I've never owned one of my own... until now!
I've been looking for a stainless XSE Government locally (didn't want to buy a 1911 sight unseen) for a long time, and after 18 months of looking, finally found one! Stainless Rail Guns and blued XSEs are relatively plentiful, but for some reason, this configuration never turns up around here. It's a Colt Model #01070XSE.
I didn't come to this decision lightly, and looked at Springfield Loadeds, SIGs, Kimber Custom IIs, SW1911s, and Ruger SR1911s (which despite supposedly being made of unobtanium, turn up regularly at gun shows around here). What I really wanted was a U.S.-made 1911 with forged slide and frame (and I like the looks of an internal extractor), and the more I researched and thought about it, the more I wanted the Colt pony.
My first impression was that this thing is tight
! I thought all Colts were supposed to be "rattle traps" (and many that I've handled are), but there is no
perceptible movement between the slide and frame. The fitment at the back of the slide to the frame looks very nice as well. The fitment and finish of all other parts looks very nice as well, with one major exception - the ambi thumb safety (I'll get to this more later). The mix of the matte finish with the brushed finish of the flats looks amazing as well, but I do wonder how it's going to hold up.
Anyway, my first outing shooting yielded decidedly mixed (but mostly positive) results. I only had time to fire 150 rounds (all el-cheapo Blazer Brass, since I was mainly just testing function), and reliability was 100%. This is very important to me, since my brother has recently gone through a long ordeal trying to get his S&W SW1911 to function reliably. After 2 trips back to S&W, and numerous parts replaced, he still gets one or two failures to return-to-battery, every hundred rounds or so. Not so with the Colt. It just runs and runs. The slide movement is slick and satisfying. I thought the tight fit of the slide might be a problem, but it definitely is not.
And now to the not-so positive stuff. The trigger. It is TERRIBLE. I haven't taken a trigger scale to it yet, but I get a feeling that the weight is somewhere in the 8 lb. range. The take-up feels inconsistent and "clunky" for lack of a better term, and the break is not very crisp. I never bought into the Series 70 versus Series 80 hype, but maybe there something to it after all. My brother's SW1911 (whose firing pin safety is activated by the grip safety) may be unreliable, but it had a crisp trigger out of the box, and was a tack-driver from day one. I get a feeling that this Colt is very accurate mechanically, but it's hard to extract the accuracy from it due to the trigger (and probably the cheap ammo as well). The trigger pad itself is very sharp as well. By the end of my first range session, it had stripped a layer of skin off my forefinger. I know the XSE is known for its sharp edges, but seriously?
The other big issue with this pistol of the crude-looking and poorly-fitted thumb safety. It is very difficult to fully engage (and super easy to disengage). It seems to be poorly fitted to the frame. I can already see scratches forming on both sides of the frame and the plunger tube from its movement. The safety levers themselves are ugly, with very pronounced casting lines. Now I know this isn't a super-high-end custom pistol, but dang - Colt can do better than this on a $1000+ firearm. Especially when the rest of the gun looks so beautiful.
All that said, I am going to give the trigger and the thumb safety more time to break in, and I truly hope they get better. I have read the horror stories regarding the turnaround time from Colt's customer service, and I am not willing to wait 3 months to get back a firearm I just spent a year-and-a-half looking for.
I know I might sound harsh, but I really do like this pistol. Reliability is my top priority, and I have a good feeling this Colt is going to deliver. Nothing is more frustrating that a semi-auto pistol that won't cycle. I also feel that the other problems with the gun are surmountable. I also look forward to working it out with a wider variety of ammo, including JHP.
-Excellent slide-to-frame fit.
-Great sights. I am a big fan of three-dot ramped sights in general, and the sight picture is excellent.
-Beautiful finish on slide and frame.
-Mechanical accuracy (?)
-Unacceptable and inconsistent trigger feel. I really hope it breaks in and feels markedly better.
-Shoddy quality of ambi thumb safety.
-Razor-sharp trigger pad.
Anyway, on to the pics!
Note the rather tight (for a production-line gun) tolerances between the rear of the slide and the frame:
Here is my best target of the day. This was shot at 10 yards. On almost every magazine, I was putting the first shot way low and to the left. As I began to compensate for and adjust to the stiff trigger, my groupings got better.