December 17, 2012

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.

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Courtesy, Gun Tests

The Colt Black Army is among the nicest-finished and -fitted pistols we have ever tested. Setting expense aside, in our opinion it is the first choice as an authentic Wild Bunch pistol.

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.

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Courtesy, Gun Tests

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 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.

Comments (30)

These early Colt copies, as well as the originals, just have something that the guns built post-1923 just don't have. Call it character, personality, whatever, if you ever own one, you'll know what I mean immediately. I have a 1915 Commercial that I bought out of a hock shop, that is 100% correct except for the slide, which was swapped out at some time for a WWII Remington-Rand slide, and I've been hunting a 1912-1917 slide for this thing everywhere, at a reasonable price-doesn't even have to be a Commercial-could be a military-I'm just trying to make it period-correct, not trying to counterfeit anything. The radii at the front narrowed area of the slide where the recoil spring plug resides, are a much smaller radius than the 1918-forward guns. If anyone has any ideas, please post here. This ole gun is my favorite carry piece, I have a fairly soft hollow point load I put together especially for it, and it will still hold 2-2 1/2 at 25.

Posted by: Emiliano | December 25, 2012 4:18 PM    Report this comment

It all depends on the shape of your hand...

Merry Christmas guys!

Posted by: PVB | December 25, 2012 4:00 PM    Report this comment

Whatever the reasoning might be, for the return of the flat mainspring housing, it definitely has made a strong comeback. From what I can see, virtually all of the custom and competition 1911s are equipped with it. I have to admit, that of the three 1911s I have, two (Colt Government Model and GI Colt US Army Property) have the arched housing, while my Para Ordnance P12-45 has the flat housing. It is interesting to note that the full size 1911s feel fine with the arched housing, and the abbreviated hand grip of the P12-45, with its more rotund grip frame, feels great with the flat housing. Go figure..... And Merry Christmas to all!

Posted by: canovack | December 25, 2012 2:17 PM    Report this comment

I may be dillusional, but I believe the flat MSH may add a little bit to the control of upward directed recoil(rotational force) by positioning your hand deeper around the handle, which may be another aspect of PVB's comment.

Posted by: Anishinabi | December 25, 2012 1:33 PM    Report this comment

Exactly my point - Browning's design was modified to the arch, which slightly raises the natural point of aim for an average sized hand; and that was great until the '80's, when the girth of gunwriters began increasing and ham hands needed the flat housing...

Posted by: PVB | December 23, 2012 7:13 PM    Report this comment

I am a 160 lb "skinny" man who likes the way the arched MSH positions my finger with regard to the trigger. All hands are great as long as they work correctly and allow you to load and lock and hit the target.

Posted by: Anishinabi | December 23, 2012 6:51 PM    Report this comment

In my opinion, the arched mainspring housing has gone the way of the skinny man, because flat ones fit big, meaty hands better.

Merry Christmas all!

Posted by: PVB | December 23, 2012 3:51 PM    Report this comment

Airborne! First Soldier!

Posted by: mossman67 | December 21, 2012 9:44 PM    Report this comment

Sheriff#61: I believe it would be very difficult to confiscate any variant of the M1911. It is an American Icon, much like the Single Action Army. The recent revival of interest in the 1911, which I did not foresee in the tail end of the last century would make that politically impossible for the foreseeable future. I hesitate to speculate what my personal reaction would be in print.

Posted by: Anishinabi | December 21, 2012 5:39 PM    Report this comment

Hey, bear1, it's nice to hear from you again. It's been awhile. I join with my old friend in wishing all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May reason and logic prevail as we move forth.....

Posted by: canovack | December 21, 2012 11:32 AM    Report this comment

Merry Christmas to ALL God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future. Keepng to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry. Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | December 20, 2012 9:35 PM    Report this comment

I have 2 original 1911/1918 pistols,1 is unissued and 1 is 97% and they are 2 of my favorite firearms. I will not give them up,Joe, no matter what kind of new laws you nuts may anti-gun morons come up with!

Posted by: Sheriff#61 | December 20, 2012 6:37 PM    Report this comment

Bought two of the Colt WWI commemoratives, both with the original carbona blue finish (pre-black finish). Gave one to my son upon his return from his first tour in Iraq back in 2008. I regularly shoot the other one. It is the most fun 1911 to shoot that I own (I own 4 other models). I've considered using it in Wild Bunch matches, but haven't shot in any CAS matches in some time.

Posted by: KertP | December 20, 2012 4:35 PM    Report this comment

Gunlover, if you go to the Walther website, you may be able to download an owners' manual for the P-22. If you can't download it, perhaps you can request one, and they will send it to you. I have had very good responses from several manufacturers of firearms by just checking their websites. CZ-USA sent me a manual for my CZ-75, and the Remington website has down-loadable manuals for almost every firearm they have made. Springfield even sent me parts for my M1A.....at no charge, and so did Golani when I needed a new front sight assembly for my Galil.

Posted by: canovack | December 20, 2012 11:54 AM    Report this comment

VERY GOOD DISCUSSIONS ON THESE FIREARMS , WILL KEEP IN TOUCH ! THANKS TO ALL VETS OUT THERE !!!!!!!!!!!! SHADETREE

Posted by: SHADETREE | December 20, 2012 11:37 AM    Report this comment

VERY GOOD DISCUSSIONS ON THESE FIREARMS , WILL KEEP IN TOUCH ! THANKS TO ALL VETS OUT THERE !!!!!!!!!!!! SHADETREE

Posted by: SHADETREE | December 20, 2012 11:36 AM    Report this comment

Turnbull manufacturing produces a true 1911. Check that out.

Posted by: 1886 SAA | December 20, 2012 10:38 AM    Report this comment

Anyone know where I can find good information on disassembly /reassembly for a Walther .22cal P-22?

Posted by: gunlover | December 20, 2012 10:24 AM    Report this comment

I like the arched housing. I have a Series 80 stainless and changed it out with a Smith and Alexander arched housing with lanyard to match my Series 70 Govt model. They fit my hands just fine and I can shoot equally well with both. These are all personal preference items. 1911 models are nice because they can so easily be customized.

Posted by: Anishinabi | December 20, 2012 9:42 AM    Report this comment

As one who toted a 1911-A1 for many years of active duty, I still love old "slab sides". The main differences between a 1911 and a 1911-A1 are to be found in external features. The 1911-A1 was supposed to be an improvement over the 1911 because of these changes: 1) The area of the frame behind the trigger was sculpted to provide easier reach for small hands. 2) The teeny weeny sights were made larger to facilitate easier sight alignment. 3) The mainspring housing was arched to accommodate hands that might be too large because of the sculpted area behind the trigger. 4) The grip safety is longer to help avoid "hammer bite".

It is interesting that the arched mainspring housing, on many high dollar custom 1911s is no longer in evidence, apparently giving way to the old straight housing. So, perhaps the arched housing wasn't such a good idea after all.

Posted by: canovack | December 19, 2012 2:56 PM    Report this comment

Hey, You always complain about the small sights on Army .45 1911's. Try this test. get a 5 Gal. plastic bucket, Set it at the 100 Yd. line. Now try the too small sights. They work way better than the big sights you favor. If you remember the sights on the Colt Army Single action was regulated to be on target at 100 Yds., maybe the same Army wanted to hit a man at 100 Yds. with the ACP. Just a thought.

Posted by: NDA | September 14, 2010 6:53 PM    Report this comment

So has anyone out there fired one of these yet? I saw one at a gun show today, was way over-priced, but the gun itself was beautiful.

Posted by: jujonte | September 12, 2010 6:13 PM    Report this comment

dragonchow: The "3 point pedestal Lockup" is some kind of buzz word pertaining to the barrel and link...And they used a flat housing, that is why it is a 1911...Flat with lanyard loop is correct for this vintage..

Posted by: vonmazur | September 10, 2010 12:45 PM    Report this comment

What is "The three-point pedestal lockup"? Also, wasn't the arched style mainspring housing with lanyard loop traditional for the vintage they are re-creating?

Posted by: Dragonchow | September 10, 2010 12:38 PM    Report this comment

Steve - not to nit-pick vonmazur, but he means the recoil spring, which lies directly under the barrel. The mainspring is in the grip and powers the hammer. I hadn't heard the term "dust cover" until fairly recently either.

The Gun Tests article covers all the points mentioned above in full detail for those interested.

Posted by: PVB | September 10, 2010 8:55 AM    Report this comment

Having carried a colt .45 for most of my adult life (retired 1st Sgt U. S. Army) I don't see what the big hoopla is about minute of angle accuracy with the .45. I have always found that if you're close enough to have to use your sidearm MINUTE OF CHEST is perfectly acceptable, I speak from experience.

Posted by: firstsoldier | September 10, 2010 5:02 AM    Report this comment

I am told the pistol contains quite a few junk MIM cast parts not the original bar stock parts found on the military models. Having said that few people know that the original military guns were not heat treated and had very soft slides. We found this out years ago when the guns could be bought for as little as $25.00. The slides were so soft that we had to replace them with hardened national match slides. A lot of money was waisted accurizing these pistols because we got stuck with replacing the soft slides. I might add that workmanship on these guns was almost non-existent with very sloppy tolerances on most of the parts, especially the slide to barrel fit.

Posted by: wild romanian | September 9, 2010 6:24 PM    Report this comment

I am told this pistol is no longer being produced by Colt- it was a limited run of 500o or so.

Posted by: JOHN R | September 9, 2010 5:45 PM    Report this comment

The dust cover is that portion of the frame that goes forward of the trigger guard, to the end, covering the main spring. There is no mechanical difference between the 1911 & 1911A1 lockwork, however the tang on the hammer has a different profile.

Posted by: lotoofla | September 9, 2010 12:50 PM    Report this comment

What is the "dust cover"? and what would be the difference in lockwork between the 1911 and the 1911 A1??

Your style of writing does not make sense, be specific!!

Steve

Posted by: vonmazur | September 9, 2010 10:16 AM    Report this comment

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