Looking for info on Colt Commander Series 80

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John Wayne

Dec 11, 2007
Local store has one in the case I'm sort of interested in. Shot 1911's but never owned one.

It's a Combat Commander, Series 80 in .45 ACP. Original blue finish (85-90%, wear but not rust), Hogue rubber grips, no box, and two mags. Asking price is a firm $600.

Is this a good starter 1911? It would be carried occasionally, so it'd have to be reliable without the addition of aftermarket parts or custom work. I have always wanted to own a Colt and a 1911, but is the series 80 a good representation of either, or is this around the time Colt went to the MIM parts and crappy QC?

Any info much appreciated.
It is probably a pretty good choice. Even now, Colt uses very few MIM parts. Probably the fewest of any production 1911.

The difference with Series 80 Colt's is the firing pin safety. Many complain about bad triggers, or potential for those small parts to fail as reasons to avoid the Series 80 Colt's. That hasn't been my experience. The Series 80 firing pin system has been around for over 20 years and has proven to be very reliable. I wouldn't be concerned about it.

I have a Series 80 Colt, a Combat Elite from 1990. It has been consistently good. My only problems occurred when trying to find a "better" magazine than the factory pair with failure to feed issues. I'm still trying to figure out if it is a spring or feed lip problem with those magazines. I've had no problems with it feeding ball or any style of hollow point from 165 grain to 230 grains with the factory magazines. I admit I've not tried semi-wadcutters.

New blue Colt Commanders (model #04691) go for around $800ish give or take.
An 85% gun means 15% of the original finish is gone. Is it really that bad? Below is a gun professionally graded at 80% finish by Kull & Supica, just a little below your 85% estimate. Is it really this worn?

Other than that, They are great guns. Models made since 1999 have Colt's newer grooved barrel which greatly enhances reliability. If it is in good shape, $600 is a pretty fair price and it would take great luck and hunting to find one cheaper.

is this around the time Colt went to the MIM parts and crappy QC?

Colt never went to lots of MIM parts, so I think you may be thinking of another maker. Colt uses only thee MIM parts on its 1911 guns and none of them in critical places. They also still use forged parts in critical places, like the slide stop, that other makers have been using lesser quality parts on for a long time. My 2007 vintage 1991 Combat Commander is an excellent carry gun and I it carries fine with no modifications or any need for any. As to time, these have been in continuous production for a quarter century; from 1983 until now. Without more information we have no idea when the one you are talking about was made. And none of them had "crappy QC."

This is an 80% gun, for example:
No, it's not nearly that bad. Maybe crappy QC was the wrong term to use, but you always hear how old Smiths and Colts are supposed to be much better than the new offerings; my point in asking was that I didn't want to buy a gun that was made in an "off year."

From the replies, it seems like the series 80 refers to specific features, rather than a date of manufacture. I was under the impression that "series 80" simply meant it was made in the 1980's, as there have been series 70's, 80's, the 1991, and so on. I've never really been in the 1911 market before so I was curious as to whether this would be a good starting place.

I'd like to own a Colt 1911 at some point, and like the Commander size. Don't often see a good "shooter" around here, it's usually a $1200 Python or some beat-up rusted piece of junk.
"Series 80" means it has a plunger-activated firing pin safety. Current guns are "Series '80" and it started in 1983. "1991" doesn't really mean anything; it was really just a marketing name for their base models starting that time. Here's a good primer on Colt's (somewhat confusing in my book) terminology:


$600 is a good price to pay for a high-condition Commander if it's in good shape. The early (1983 to 1990) models had really nice roll marking and bluing; much better than following 1991/80 models. There really is no "bad" year or period; you just need to examine each gun and you can google some 1911 buying guides/check out guides so you can feel comfortable.
600 in my area be good I would ditch the grips and install wood I have several Commanders and never had any trouble from them I perfer the Commander for carry That 3/4 inch makes a difference when I sit.
$600 is about average price for a nice 80 Series Commander. COLTs don't really lose that much value, unless... Just make sure some moron has been "polishing" the feed ramp or hacked it up to fit some ill fitting "drop in" parts....

A brand new one can be had for around $750 and its a darn nice pistol for the $$$.

I bought this one at the beggining of this year for $735 out the door. One of the new CNC prouduced guns and worth every penny.


I have the same Colt as Rkless. It had one hiccup in the first mag. Other than that flawlesss. Love mine.
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