1911 Commander -- the new range length?


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mbruce
January 14, 2013, 11:54 PM
I'm looking at either a 5" or 4.25" steel frame 1911 in. 45acp.

Based on forum(s) posts a lot of shooters are enjoying the commander size at the range

Is the perceived recoil from a steel 4.25" really that much more noticeable than a 5"?

Is the 0.75" shortened sight radius on a 4.25" really negatively going to affect a majority of hobby shooters who just like to hear steel?

A lot of posts lose perspective regarding accuracy and perceived recoil and fail to define/quantify what less accurate is and the significance of the amount of recoil on average

I figure you can't go wrong with either one so I'll be happy with whichever...I'm thinking the 4.25 steel but I dunno...I live in a small town and will purely decide on forum input and pics..lol

I guess by design the commander is talked mostly from a concealment view...but can a commander like the V-bob be a fun range gun as well?

and I searched the forum on this heavily covered topic...but like I mentioned accuracy and recoil are never defined or put into perspective for a weekend shooter's skillsets

Thanks!

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TimboKhan
January 15, 2013, 12:27 AM
No reason a commander can't be a fun range gun, and recoil being subjective, I don't find them unpleasant to shoot. If your concerned about recoil, look at owning a commander-sized 1911 chambered in 9mm. Cheaper to shoot, less recoil, lots of fun.

Honestly, I prefer the Commander-sized guns over the regular service models, and that tends to be true whether it is a 1911 or not, and regardless of chambering.

tarosean
January 15, 2013, 01:57 AM
I prefer the commander sized. I own them in 5", 4.25" and 4".
The only thing I can really differentiate recoil on is my Lightweight Commander vs a Government. otherwise its slight if at all.
The bob'd versions feel odd in my hands, same with arched MSH's, they both look awesome but I just cannot get over the void feel.

Stringfellow
January 15, 2013, 03:03 AM
Directly shooting one after the other, the 5" was more controllable for me. The Commander was by no means uncomfortable, but it had noticeably more muzzle flip for me.

Jed Carter
January 15, 2013, 05:00 AM
Noticable recoil/muzzle rise difference, yes, uncomfortable, no. One of my favorite range and steel plate rack pistols is a CCO sized SIG RCS 1911. But my favorite period is a Government sized STI 9mm.

Hacker15E
January 15, 2013, 07:02 AM
The difference in recoil is noticeable if you shoot the 5" and 4.25" back to back, but that's about it.

I much prefer the look and feel of Commander-length 1911s.

mbruce
January 15, 2013, 07:15 AM
that's pretty cool. I have pretty good muzzle control and enjoy shooting a 10mm (outdoors) and I have a polymer .45acp...and I shoot light reloads too so that will reduce perceived recoil . I guess for me it was a question based on will it kick like a donkey such as Keltec PF-9 or will it be more in line with a Kahr PM-9 which is a super fun range gun and handles so smoothly.

had I not shot a Keltec PF-9 and Kahr PM-9 then I wouldn't be hesitant dropping $$ on a good steel commander. I just didn't want to be surprised by the unpleasantness recoil such as the donkey stomping of a keltec pf-9--- of what will be the most expensive pistols my wife and I will own.

I bought her a DW Guardian 9mm. I was wanting to stick with the DW theme (these r gifts to each other) and get either the valor or v-bob. And i know a store that has 1 of each in stock. funny thing I almost got her a Trojan....then it dawned on me that wouldn't have gone over so well. It's bad enough to have Guardian stamped on the slide but that's not near as awful as having Trojan on the slide.

My friend loads hot .45LC and they are awesome to shoot so its not ab handling the recoil as much as it I don't want to spend ~$1,400ish on a donkey kicker.

mbruce
January 15, 2013, 07:24 AM
I'm really leaning towards the 4.25"...its just a weird feeling of "pick that one"...probably because my wife and I have 5.25" polymers with extended barrels mimicking a redneck makeshift race gun

I think it would be fun and nice to pull out a 4.25" and have some fun.

As always, thanks for the input and replies.

btw: I called Dan Wesson Customer Service to get their input and was told kinda what I was thinking... perceived recoil is relative to what else you're shooting that day but support guy said he personally can't tell the difference or its not enough for him to notice or pay attention and that the accuracy will be the same for 99% of weekend shooters, especially non-bullseye shooters -- then again maybe he thinks I'm shooting 4x8 steel sheets from 25 yards.

I saw that guy on youtube hit a large steel plate at 80 yards...and he was nailing decent sized steel at 50-70 yards... so accuracy must not be that bad if you're not expecting to take out the red star and win a stuffed animal $55 later.

Sam1911
January 15, 2013, 08:57 AM
Commanders are just COOL! :)

I shoot a lot of different guns so my perception of relative recoil is probably "insensitive," but I don't notice any appreciable difference. Yeah, for competition and dedicated range use I probably would pick a Gov't model just because of the longer sight radius, but even that's not a huge difference. But a Commander just has a lot of class and is arguably even better to carry than a 5"...if such a thing is possible. :)

bannockburn
January 15, 2013, 09:58 AM
I have always been a big fan of both the Combat Commander and the Lightweight Commander. The Combat Commander is great for the range and the Lightweight Commander is fine for CCW where a little less weight is a good thing when carrying. If recoil is a problem then consider one in 9mm. or .38 Super instead.

Ankeny
January 15, 2013, 11:13 AM
...but can a commander like the V-bob be a fun range gun as well? I have a V-Bob and I like it a bunch. The only time a casual observer can tell much of a difference in how I shoot the V-Bob vs. a Les Baer PII is when the timer and/or score sheets come out of hiding.

mbruce
January 15, 2013, 11:18 AM
I have a V-Bob and I like it a bunch. The only time a casual observer can tell much of a difference in how I shoot the V-Bob vs. a Les Baer PII is when the timer and/or score sheets come out of hiding.
haha -- gotta claim windage, angled elevation where you were precisely standing, and u stepped in an ant bed.

Dryft
January 15, 2013, 02:58 PM
I'm going to second Timbo on this one and recommend a commander length 1911 chambered in 9mm - it is positively the bee's knees.

Even better? Get one with a bull barrel and ditch that *&^%$#@ bushing.

STI Spartan IV. Check it out.

mbruce
January 15, 2013, 03:39 PM
guess there's the steel vs aluminum vs scandium too...

mach1.3
January 15, 2013, 06:12 PM
I'll start off by saying I'm not a 1911 expert but an enthusiast. I own 8 1911s now in bbl lengths of 3" through 6". I have found in my limited experience that the mechanics of the 1911 function best with the 5" bbl. I seem to be more accurate on average with the 5" and the 5" seems to be slightly more reliable. This isn't but my personal experience. All my 1911s have been .45acp. I've owned Kimbers, Colts, Sig, Nighthawk Custom, Wilson Combat and Ed Brown. I think that's a wide range of makers and types. I've been hesitant to buy economy 1911s for fear that they won't be reliable esp. considering their competition. I understand that some economy models are fine shooters. I have shot most types of 1911s, some with stainless, some with alloy frames and some all steel guns. STI is one I haven't shot and understand it to be an outstanding weapon. I've had several old, old timers tell me it's not really a 1911 if it's 9mm or even 10mm. I just like the .45acp.
Whatever you buy, beware, you'll love the feel of the 1911 and like many of the rest of us you'll buy another and maybe another---it gets expensive but it's fun.

alde
January 15, 2013, 06:31 PM
Commander length 1911s are great. Of the 8 1911s I have the 4" bobtailed Kimber Pro Carry is my most accurate. It's an alloy frame but still fun to shoot. I would go with a steel frame for a first 1911 though.

Batty67
January 15, 2013, 06:35 PM
I just got my first 1911: a sig fastback carry with 4.2" barrel. Fired wonderfully yeserday (150 rds to star break-in process), much less snappy than my CZ RAMI in 9mm with a 3" barrel or the Sig 229 in 40S&W I sold last year.

The commander length truly seems to be a very satisfying compromise between the full length and officer-length (3") pistols.

420Stainless
January 15, 2013, 06:48 PM
Combat Commander is my favorite. Its not enough of a difference from 5" that I notice anything performance wise, just saves a little space and weight. The reverse is also true - I don't find the difference in going up to 5" to be any significant hinderance, I just have a personal preference that skews toward smaller.

mbruce
January 15, 2013, 07:53 PM
k so -- dont want anyone taking offense if I didn't go their suggested route --

I got the V-Bob in black to match my wife's Guardian. Although I prefer matte stainless... I'll look into taking it from dark to light one day or some form of a cool visual effect that doesn't decrease the value.

If SW would have made a 1911SC-E in 9mm then I would have chosen that in a 9mm/45acp pair...they are super slick looking and are getting rave internet reviews.

None the less I'm pumped about the Guardian 9mm and V-Bob Black. If she doesn't like it we'll sell them and get Rugers -- apparently Ruger is the cool thing to have these days. ha

Sam1911
January 15, 2013, 10:31 PM
Sweet! Range report and pics once you've got some soot on 'er! :D

RSR
January 16, 2013, 01:14 AM
I own a DW V-Bob, and a LB CVII, both "commander/commanche" sizes, respectively. I was digging through my bullets, wanting to reload some 230's, which do snap a little compared to a 5" 1911, and I found some 185gr flat nose match bullets. All I can say is wow.:evil: I used 5.2 gr of HP-38 and this combination made a magnificent target load. It's honestly like shooting a 9mm given the weight of the 42oz 1911 frame.

BCRider
January 16, 2013, 03:14 AM
For "proper" .45ACP guns I prefer the 5 inch models.

But I lust over the idea of a nice 9mm Commander length after some time with an STI Ranger II. That was a really superb combination of cartridge and platform.

1911Tuner
January 16, 2013, 05:32 AM
I shoot a lot of different guns so my perception of relative recoil is probably "insensitive," but I don't notice any appreciable difference.

Assuming that both have steel frames, with equal springs, you won't notice any difference, and...if you've got a good hand...you may notice a little less with the Commander, muzzle flip being the main factor that we think of when we talk about recoil...which isn't recoil at all. By the time muzzle flip occurs, the bullet is about 20 yards downrange...and recoil is long since over.

And...

Because by the time our brains have time to process an actual recoil impulse...acceleration...what we perceive as recoil...movement of the gun...is actually momentum.

With an autopistol...and particularly with a locked breech pistol...we don't get a lot in the way of recoil from the action/reaction event that comes with firing the cartridge. It comes mainly from slide to frame impact, but the compressing spring is also in play. The stiffer the spring, the sharper the felt recoil.

Any difference in the impact energy...which isn't much by the way...is more than compensated for by the lower slide mass and momentum on impact.

The question of slide impact energies came up during one of my 1911 Function/Facts vs Fiction workshops...I was privileged to have a bright young lad in attendance who had a fresh mechanical engineering degree under his belt. Of course a debate ensued when I made my points, so he whipped out a pencil and went to cipherin'. Without factoring in any outside forces from recoil spring, mainspring, and hammer mass...he concluded that the difference in impact energy was something like 27 pounds/feet, and he reckoned that adding equal springs and hammer mass would bring that to below 20.

Then he went on to concur with my points:

Physics 101:

The higher the velocity of an object, the faster its rate of deceleration when it encounters a given outside force.

The lower the mass of an object at a given velocity, the faster its rate of deceleration when it encounters a given outside force.

The Commander's shorter barrel produces less velocity with a given lot of ammunition...and because momentum is a function of Mass X Velocity...the slide's momentum can't be greater than the bullet's. It can be less, due to unequal outside forces...but it can't be greater.

Hence...assuming equal outside forces...springs/hammer mass...the lower mass Commander slide not only starts out with less momentum with a given round of ammunition...the slide decelerates at a faster rate...and impact momentum is lower than that with a 5-inch slide.

In reality, there isn't enough difference to flip a coin for.

Dryft
January 16, 2013, 09:02 AM
Gotta love physics!

Thanks Tuner, that's pretty cool.

Cocked & Locked
January 16, 2013, 09:40 AM
At least one picture needed in this thread :uhoh:

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/9381895/402425553.jpg

CPshooter
January 16, 2013, 04:08 PM
About time C&L! Thanks for saving the thread!

Cocked & Locked
January 16, 2013, 04:18 PM
No problem! Some threads need saving.

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/9381895/398719871.jpg

mbruce
January 16, 2013, 04:38 PM
did you carve those grips from that cut tree branch?

Speaking of grips -- I have to get some flashier ones for the Guardian and make it more chick...its for her not me. VZ makes some cool looking ones.

Sergei Mosin
January 16, 2013, 08:34 PM
Friend of mine while bought a nice stainless Colt Commander yesterday. Have to admit I am tempted by Commanders at times myself...

Cocked & Locked
January 16, 2013, 11:19 PM
did you carve those grips from that cut tree branch?

Nope...the grips are made from antler.

mbruce
January 17, 2013, 01:14 PM
Nope...the grips are made from antler.
I was just joking with you.

I ordered a pair of the VZ ETC Zebra G10 Slim for her Guardian 9mm. Of course I had to order some for my V-bob..predator green.

VZ has some awesome customer service

Cocked & Locked
January 17, 2013, 02:39 PM
OK, you got me! :o

Claude Clay
January 17, 2013, 02:43 PM
my Sig C-3 has 4.2" bbl and is as fun at the range as any of my full size 1911's. the difference in perceived re-coil is hardly noticeable. it is accurate and a reliable carry gun.

1911Tuner
January 17, 2013, 05:42 PM
Not sure how much difference the sight radius would make for action-type shoots, but I can't tell any difference in ringing steel and knocking down falling plates in a hurry.

For street/SD use, the Commander holds one slight advantage over its 5-inch cousin by being a shade quicker out of the leather due to its shorter slide and 3.5 ounce less weight for the Combat Commander...and 12 ounces for the LW Model. Although those differences aren't great...when the game is real and the winners and losers are often decided in fractions of seconds...it could make all the difference in the world.

Ankeny
January 17, 2013, 11:14 PM
For me, the longer sight radius of the 5 inch is advantageous across the board. FWIW, there is no difference in my draw times with a Commander vs. a full size.

1911Tuner
January 18, 2013, 09:28 AM
FWIW, there is no difference in my draw times with a Commander vs. a full size.

Whether or not it speeds our draw times is irrelevant. It clears the leather quicker. What we do after it clears determines the time to the first shot.

mbruce
January 18, 2013, 09:56 AM
For me, the longer sight radius of the 5 inch is advantageous across the board..

I'm sure i'll get a 5" or 6" in a 9mm one day. I'm not much of a traditionalist who thinks a platform is defined by its caliber like some of the .45acp studs. :-)

Something was just slick about the commander size. Probably b\c we already own longer slides in polymer and a lot of times I think how cool it would be to shoot something shorter.

For me -- I'm always looking to keep things in perspective of reality. We shoot 5,6,8" steel reactive targets for fun on the weekends without worry if we hit or miss -- seeing dirt fly can be funny. My reloads tailored to that 4.25" commander will group more consistently than any factory ammo bought off the shelf and shot from a 5".

Interacting on the forum, reading countless reviews and posts about a 5" and a 4.25", and speaking with 1911 pistolsmiths reminded me of one thing -- Is the 5" slide going to beneift or add enjoyment to my style and critiques of my shooting -- and the overwhelming answer for me was no b\c i just like to hear ping or dig for worms.

My main issue was -- is this thing gonna kick like a donkey. Not because I'm a wuss but because who wants to invest that kind of money in a compact range gun if it's not pleasant. then I started looking into well Aluminim vs Steel... Ended up steel with me and alumimum for my wifes 9mm.

All in all -- after intense reading, researching, and questioning it reminded me to always keep things in perspective.

P.S. - I had to google to see what FWIW meant. lol.

Ankeny
January 18, 2013, 07:31 PM
What we do after it clears determines the time to the first shot. Let me rephrase. There is no difference in time for me to the first shot between a Commander and a 5 inch shooting drills on a square range. Guess I am just all thumbs.

1858
January 19, 2013, 05:35 PM
I got the V-Bob in black to match my wife's Guardian. Although I prefer matte stainless... I'll look into taking it from dark to light one day or some form of a cool visual effect that doesn't decrease the value.

I have a V-Bob (and Valor) and they're really nice pistols with just about every feature one could want, and the DWs are extremely accurate. I had some issues with both of mine but I was able to resolve just about all of them but I'm still working on the rear Heinie sight on the V-Bob. I certainly wouldn't mess with the finish. You had to pay extra to get that salt nitride treatment which is probably one of the best 1911 finishes available.

I have 5", 4.25" and 4" 1911s and don't find appreciable differences between them in terms of felt recoil.

Here's my V-Bob with VZ grips.

http://thr.mcmxi.org/pistols/dan_wesson/v_bob/photos/dw_vbob_01.jpg

1858
January 19, 2013, 05:42 PM
Assuming that both have steel frames, with equal springs, you won't notice any difference,

From Ed Brown's FAQ (http://www.edbrown.com/FAQ.htm#aam)

How often should the recoil spring be replaced? What recoil spring is used in the Ed Brown 1911's?

We recommend replacing the recoil spring every 3000 rounds. Our 5" models are equipped with an 16.5# recoil spring as standard, while the 18# is generally preferred for heavier loads. Our 4.25" models are equipped with a 20# spring.

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