Help me understand COLT nomenclature


March 29, 2003, 08:59 PM
I am interested in a Colt Defender, however, I am confused by the different nomenclature that I see out there. For instance; SERIES 70, 80, 90, etc and the Defender PLUS and the Defender Lightweight. Please, can someone give me a list of explainations of what is out there (new or "older models") so that I can make an informed decision.

ALSO, as long as we are clarifying, could someone also explain the main differences between the Defender, Commander, Government, etc models. I know that the Defender is the smallest, Commander is the middle one and the Government is the largest, buty I am unsure of EXACTLY what that means and why one is more preferrable than they other.

I am looking at trading (or selling) my Kahr K9 Elite and getting the Colt Defender. I shot it last week and shot the thing like a dream...bifference in DAO and 1911 I guess.

Thank you for your help.

Oh yeah - one more thing; what changes would you make to any of the Defenders (based on how they come STOCK and the particluar series that you have experience with.)

Thanks folks!

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March 30, 2003, 09:04 AM
"Where's this hole go?"
"Doesn't matter."

March 30, 2003, 09:49 AM
That wasn't very nice WES.

Anyways, I can only help you with the size difference. Bigger pistols of the same caliber tend to kick less. Well, I should say heavier I suppose. Anyways, the less weight the more recoil you will feel. This could make follow-up shots harder, depending on how much you train. However, if you are going to carry the gun concealed then a small on is what you want. If you want to carry concealed and don't want a "footprint" (that is, a show-through or an image of the gun" then go for the smallest. If you don't care about CC, there is really no reason not to go bigger.

Also, although I have no experiance here, I have heard many people say NOT to modify your Colt beyond the trigger. Makes it less reliable, supposedly. I say better safe than sorry.

By no means am I an expert, so check around.

March 30, 2003, 10:00 AM
Fea, it was a joke (reality-based, you know, like Survivor).

Does Colt offer a brochure they can send you?

March 30, 2003, 11:01 AM
I cannot answer all of your questions, but I can answer a few.

The original 1911 has a 5" barrel with a full-size grip. This pistol is also called the Government Model. After WWII, Colt introduced a pistol with a 4.25" barrel with the same size grip, but the frame was made from aluminum alloy; this pistol is the Commander. The Commander was a success; however, there was a demand for the same size pistol with a steel frame, the Combat Commander. The Officer's ACP model was reduced in both grip size and barrel size. The Defender is a similar pistol to the Officer's ACP with an even shorter barrel and a different recoil spring set-up. The Defender Plus uses the Defender slide with a full-size gripframe. Colt has swapped nomenclature, and the term Commander now refers to steel-framed version, and the Lightweight Commander refers to the aluminum-framed version.

When the 1911 was introduced, there was no firing pin safety and the barrel bushing was solid. In 1971, Colt introduced the Series 70, which replaced the standard barrel bushing with a spring steel collet finger bushing that is supposed to provide tighter and more consistent barrel lock-up. The system works very well as long as the collet bushing is properly sized to the barrel and slide; however, some bushings failed. In 1983, Colt introduced the Series 80 with the trigger-activated firing pin safety, and later the Series 80's were made with the standard bushing (the collet bushing was retired since manufacturing advances allowed a tight fit to be made without the collet bushing). The original Series 90 pistol was the Colt Double Eagle, with its double-action system; however, the Defender is labeled as a Series 90 even though it has the Series 80 firing-pin safety and is not a double-action pistol.

It should be noted that a lot of people use the term Series 70 to denote the absence of a firing pin safety; however, a true Series 70, as denoted by Colt, only dealt with the collet bushing. The Series 80 pistols always have the firing pin safety and may also have the Series 70 collet bushing.

I hope this helps. For more information, I suggest checking out the Colt section of the 1911 Forum. The link is

March 30, 2003, 12:03 PM
I guess I missed your joke. Sorry. :confused:

Thank you for your responses. I understand the concept of smaller/lighter will give you more FELT recoil and I undestand the concept of footprinting. Thank you for the clarification though.

The Colt Website does not address the "SERIES" question that I asked and I was not aware of the differecnes inthe Colt Defender and Defender PLUS...last I checked, they did not have info on the Defender, just the Defender Plus. Maybe I missed the info, I will look again.

Any thoughts on size comaprison of the Defender and Commander compared to the Kahr K9? Please advise and pics would be great!!


March 30, 2003, 12:14 PM
Go to the 1911 forum. There is a specific COLT section that you can do a search on that should answer all your questions. If not, someone there will be able to. I have Colts but no Defenders so I can't help you out much. About the only thing I know is that the Defender Plus has a longer grip than the Defender.

March 30, 2003, 01:43 PM
In the past Colt pistols were not the most finely 'blueprinted' 1911, hence the ascension of other 1911 manufacturers like Baer, Clark, Wilson, and, of course, Kimber.

So the joke was about Colt manufacturing processes; that's why Colt fanatics perhaps will take offense.

I have a great sense of humor.

March 30, 2003, 04:17 PM THAT joke I get. Sometimes alittle slow, but love to laugh.


March 30, 2003, 06:22 PM
Go here and click on Colt...


April 1, 2003, 05:18 AM
Glad you liked it; I'm still laughing.
(Wonder if there's union joke-busters?)


Eagle Scout
Class of Cenozonic Era

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