Colt Black Army 1918 No. 01018 45 ACP, $1000
The Colt is the most expensive pistol tested at twice the tariff of some GI pistols. Just the same, the pistol could not be excluded on that factor. The Colt Black Army is a close copy of the original as it was manufactured in 1918.
The Black Army was a wartime variant with a finish darker than blue-finish handguns. This was in the days before Parkerized 1911A1 pistols. The Black Army features correct (or nearly so) scroll markings and military acceptance marks. The sights are GI types, although the rear sight is a pleasantly configured U-notch type, which some of the raters found gave excellent results in rapid speed shooting. The Black Army is identical to the original pistols at a glance. However, the dust cover and lockwork are 1911A1. The Black Army does not have the finger grooves, improved hammer and short trigger of the later 1911A1.
In short, we believe this is the only true 1911 currently in production. The pistol comes in a nice royal blue Colt pistol box. Enclosed, in wax paper, is a spare magazine. A reproduction of a period training manual is included. It is a period-correct pistol with great appeal. The finish and fit are flawless, or as one rater put it "spectacular."
One of our raters, a Series 70 fan disappointed in the performance of many of the 1990s-era Colt pistols, noted that "Colt got it right" with the Black Army. The controls feel right and the fit of the barrel is excellent. The three-point pedestal lockup was checked and is equal to the close fit of a Colt Gold Cup also on hand. The pistol may be field-stripped without tools. The only limiting factor in accuracy was the sights. All controls were crisp and positive. Trigger compression was excellent, with a smooth 3.5 pounds required to break the sear and no takeup and no discernable overtravel.
The sights were well regulated in the GI fashion, with the Black Hills 230-grain load landing approximately 2 inches high at 25 yards. Accuracy was good, but we felt that we were not getting all the pistol was capable of due to the sights. Still, the best group was just under 2 inches and the worst, 4 inches.