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Old May 25, 2008, 12:01 AM   #1
vox rationis
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Commander vs Full Size for first 1911?

Does the .75 - 1 inch difference really make a difference either pro or con?

If I get a full size it will be mainly for range work/competition, and perhaps even CCW/CHL.

A Commander is tantalizing in that I suppose it will be easier to conceal, but I can't see the .75 -1 inch reduction making that much difference since the grip height will be the same.

Lastly, since the .45 ACP is "calibrated", if you will, for a 5" barrel, will a 1 inch barrel reduction decrement the velocity to the point where reliable expansion will be undermined? How much less fps should one expect when using a 4 inch barrel?

So for a first 1911, especially if I go big duckets and go custom (I'm seriously looking at Les Baer or Ed Brown now) would you go full size or Commander, all things considered?
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Old May 25, 2008, 12:04 AM   #2
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There will be a small amount of ballistic difference but the Commander is going to be more than adequate. I actually prefer the Commander size myself. I think it looks better, feels better, and conceals better.
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Old May 25, 2008, 12:32 AM   #3
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The ballistic difference between a fullsize and commander, while present, is so small as to be almost insignificant. With standard pressure 230grn .45 ACP ammo, the difference is usually 25-75fps. The biggest advantages of the fullsize is a longer sight radius making it a bit easier to shoot accurately and a bit of extra weight which helps to dampen recoil. The commander on the other hand, is somewhat easier to conceal (though many find the 3/4" difference to not be too much) and, because of it's shorter barrel and slide, is supposed to be slightly faster to draw. I personally like the fullsize better because it seems to balance better in my hand, but that is purely subjective. My advice is to handle and if possible shoot examples of both and go with whichever feels and shoots the best.
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Old May 25, 2008, 12:33 AM   #4
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I carry a full size 1911 and have no trouble concealing it. I wear it strong side, usually with just a loose t-shirt covering the gun. That said, I’m thinking of switching to a commander length for cc; just a little smaller and easier to carry.
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Old May 25, 2008, 01:10 AM   #5
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I have both and the Commander has a better balance to me. I find sitting the 5" just doesn't feel right. But the Commander being 3/4" shorter is fine
Either one will work just depends on which feels better to you.
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Old May 25, 2008, 01:13 AM   #6
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Just give in and get the Commander.

How can you beat one of these???

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Old May 25, 2008, 06:13 AM   #7
mes228
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Commander

I've owned two smaller 1911 pistols. A Les Baer TRS Comanche and a Springfield Champion. I have owned many full size 1911's. I would not go out of my way to purchase another, unless it was a great deal. I prefer a full size for many reasons. Reliability, ease of shooting accurately, longevity, less snappy recoil. A Commander size pistol may run as well as a standard, however I believe most do not. Also I don't find the ease of carry/concealment that much better. Just my opinion and your mileage may vary.
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Old May 25, 2008, 06:19 AM   #8
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I've owned a full sized Colt in the past, and have a Colt Commander now. I don't see a lot of difference. I shoot the Commander as poorly as I did the full sized one. One is as reliable as the other. With the right holster/belt combo you can hide one as easily as the other.

Get the one you like the best.
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Old May 25, 2008, 06:26 AM   #9
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Since it will be the first, it may not matter much if it is full size or commander. Get the other size next.
I own 2 full size 1911s in 9mm and 45. I am dreaming of a bobtail commander or 4 inch in 9mm. I have not shot a commander/4 inch but handling one feels like it balances better for me.

If your plan is for carry, then get the bigger one first. This way, you will have more reason to get the smaller one in the future
If wanting to spend big bucks, I would go with full size.
Maybe it is just me but when I think 1911, it is a full sized 1911.
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Old May 25, 2008, 07:28 AM   #10
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I bought a 1911 at the beginning of the year. I had every intention of buying a Commander size but walked with a full size. Side by side, I just liked the look and feel of the full size better. A full size conceals a lot easier than I thought it would too and it became my full time winter carry.

From a reliability standpoint, you are fine to go with either. You'll loose a little ballastically from the shorter barrel but I don't think its enough to worry about.

All things being equal, the full size or Commander really comes down to which one do you like best and what fits and points best for you.
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Old May 25, 2008, 09:56 AM   #11
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Its probably more of a psychological thing, but for me, the Commanders always came up better and more naturally. Other than perceived "feel", I doubt it really matters. It makes absolutely no difference in carrying them.
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Old May 25, 2008, 10:21 AM   #12
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When shooting plates, I seem to do better with my LW Champion (4") than I do with my Springfield Loaded 5" SS. I can draw and get on target faster with the 4". If I could have only one 1911, it would be an all steel "commander" style. The 5" all steel feels muzzle heavy to me.

I'm still fighting the urge to buy a Dan Wesson CBOB in 45

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Old May 25, 2008, 12:02 PM   #13
vox rationis
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Guys, thanks for the brilliant responses!

PlayboyPenguin, that was really hitting below the belt with that Commander Beauty Pinup shot

If I went with only one 1911 I think I'd probably get an all steel Commander.

BUT, After reading your very persuasive comments, both ways, I think that it is obvious that I will eventually have to get both

But for my first, I think I will get a full size, since I'm happy with my current CHL guns, and I want the 1911 more as a collection/competition type pistol.

Does Colt still make their lightweight Commander?

After my full size, I think I will then get a Lightweight Commander of some sort, this way I have, arguably, the best of both worlds and I've covered all of my 1911 bases
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Old May 25, 2008, 01:20 PM   #14
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For concealed carry, unless you get a light weight Commander, you might as well go with a full size. That extra bit of barrel and slide make little difference in how easy it is to conceal.
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Old May 25, 2008, 01:24 PM   #15
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You could get two Rock Island Armory 1911's in both full-size and compact for about half the cost of a Colt.
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Old May 25, 2008, 01:51 PM   #16
vox rationis
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Quote:
You could get two Rock Island Armory 1911's in both full-size and compact for about half the cost of a Colt.
Yikes you'll really think I'm silly 'cause I was thinking of getting a Les Baer or an Ed Brown
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Old May 25, 2008, 02:01 PM   #17
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Small difference. But I just think full Government size looks cooler.
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Old May 25, 2008, 02:35 PM   #18
David the Gnome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Son Of Vlad Tepes
Yikes you'll really think I'm silly 'cause I was thinking of getting a Les Baer or an Ed Brown
Then just get a Dan Wesson Commander Classic Bobtail and be done with it.

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Old May 25, 2008, 03:02 PM   #19
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The Government Model is the proper size.

I prefer wood stocks, solid triggers, flat mainspring housings, Commander hammers, beaver tail grip safeties, good sights, ball cut slides, and no front cocking serrations.

While I'm not much for box-stock 1911's...I certainly don't understand the attraction for stubby 1911's, or those in a caliber other than .45ACP.

YMMV
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Old May 25, 2008, 03:04 PM   #20
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+ 1, dan wesson bobtail commander.
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Old May 25, 2008, 03:10 PM   #21
vox rationis
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That DW Bobtail is really cool indeed.
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Old May 25, 2008, 03:10 PM   #22
varoadking
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Quote:
You could get two Rock Island Armory 1911's in both full-size and compact for about half the cost of a Colt.
I've ever heard a more compelling reason to buy a Colt...
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Old May 25, 2008, 03:50 PM   #23
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If you are like my friend from work you believe that all handguns should have 4" barrels to keep them 'tactical'.
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Old May 25, 2008, 04:10 PM   #24
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I've always leaned toward the Commander. It works better for concealed carry if one drives a lot, particularly if it is carried IWB.
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Old May 25, 2008, 04:13 PM   #25
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FYI

My favorite "commander-ish" 1911 is my Springfield Loaded Champion.

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