Colt Government Model 01911C-SS 45 ACP


Here, we face off three Government Model 1911 45 ACP handguns — a durable choice for home defense or concealed carry. But by no means are they tiny 9mms like we have tested recently. Instead, all three of these big bores have steel slides, and two have steel frames. Two have improved sights and controls, and one is a modest update of the GI gun.

Our first test gun was the Colt Government Model O1911C-SS 45 ACP, $1008. We found the Colt for sale in blued finish for $866, but we purchased the stainless version at the advice of a senior rater. He maintains that stainless-steel Colts are generally fitted better than their blued-steel variants. This may be true. We also could have purchased an XSE version with Novak sights and forward cocking serrations for $10 more. Just the same, this is a traditional Colt that fills many needs well, and many experienced shooters will prefer the Colt nameplate for its investment value as well as its shooting value. 

As with the others, the EAA-Girsan MC1911S XLV 393060 45 ACP, $570, features a 5-inch Government Model-length barrel. Rather than the common target-style trigger found on the Colt and other 1911 handguns, the trigger on this one is solid. In common with the other pistols, the Girsan features a flat magazine housing.

The Colt’s disassembly isn’t difficult. Note the grip safety (arrow) isn’t a custom-type beavertail.

If a pistol is manufactured of good material and functions properly at a fair price, it should sell well, and this is the niche the Tisas-SDS Imports 1911 Duty Stainless Steel Pistol 1911DSS45 45 ACP, $582, wants to fill. It featured both a forged slide and a forged frame in common with the Colt pistol. Longevity should not be a problem. The Tisas Service Duty pistol — the Service Duty Enhanced is a rail gun — is delivered in a hard-plastic case with a single magazine. The polish isn’t quite up to the Colt pistol, but it is far ahead of the Girsan.

We treated all three pistols to the same evaluation. We cleaned out excess packing grease first and then lubricated the barrel hoods, barrel bushings, cocking locks, and slide rails. To check universal function with existing magazines, we used one of the rater’s boxes of proven magazines. Of course, we used the new magazines included with the handguns. There were 42 all told. We broke open 300 rounds of 45 ACP full-metal-jacket ammunition, which were an even mix of Remington 230-grain and Federal American Eagle 230-grain ball. We loaded the seven- and eight-round magazines and Wilson Combat and Chip McCormick 10-round magazines and ran 100 rounds through each pistol. We also fired modern hollowpoint loads to judge accuracy, including Speer 200-grain Gold Dot +P and Federal 230-grain HST cartridges. Here’s what we found when we took these three 45 ACP-chambered handguns to the range. 

Colt Government Model O1911C-SS 45 ACP,



The Colt did not have the features of the other handguns; however, the Colt is the best fitted and finished pistol in the test.


Action Type Semi-auto, single action, Series 70,short recoil-operated locked breech
Overall Length 8.5 in.
Overall Height 5.5 in.
Maximum Width 1.25 in.
Weight Unloaded 39.0 oz.
Weight Loaded 44.0 oz.
Slide Material Forged stainless steel
Slide Retraction Effort 18.0 lbs.
Receiver Brushed stainless steel
Front Strap Height 2.6 in.
Back Strap Height 3.2 in.
Barrel Length 5.0 in.
Grip Thickness Maximum 1.25 in.
Grip Circumference 5.2 in.
Magazines Two 8-round
Rear Sight Drift adjustable U notch
Front Sight Post
Sight Radius 6.4 in.
Trigger Pull Weight 4.5 lbs.
Trigger Span 2.8 in.
Safeties Slide lock, grip
Warranty 1 year
Telephone (800) 962-COLT
Made In USA

This is a Series 70 pistol. In common with the other handguns, there is no firing-pin block or drop safety. The pistol is drop safe with a heavy firing-pin safety. The Colt features good sights, but they are not Novak types. They are simply taller sights, easier to pick up than GI-type sights. They are actually useful compared to embryonic GI sights.

The slide and frame are forged steel. The fit and finish of the pistol are good to excellent. The slide is smooth to operate. The slide-lock safety indents properly. This isn’t an ambidextrous safety, and the grip safety isn’t a custom-type beavertail. It is well fitted, releasing its hold on the trigger halfway into compression. The mainspring housing is grooved. There is no front-strap checkering. The slide lock and magazine release are properly adjusted.

Fit of the barrel to the slide is good. The barrel bushing is snug, not tight. The barrel fits into the upper locking lugs as designed. The feed ramps are nicely finished. The best thing about the Colt is the trigger compression. The trigger breaks at a clean 4.5 pounds after modest take up. Reset is sharp. The Colt trigger is, by any standard, the best of the test. The Colt does not have the ambi safety levers of the other pistols, nor does it have a beavertail grip safety. The grips are the best here, much superior to the cheap plastic grips of the two Turkish guns. The nicely checkered and finished Colt wood grips are well cut and offer good purchase on the gun. 

Firing the Colt 1911 Government Model was uneventful. The pistol came out of the box running. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. Combat shooting groups were noticeably tighter than the other pistols. While the Tisas did well, the Colt bored in on the X ring, providing good rapid-fire results. Firing for accuracy, we did not find the Colt’s sights to be an impediment to accuracy. The Colt’s smallest 25-yard group was 1.85 inches, best of the test.

Our Team Said: The Colt is a sterling pistol, exhibiting good performance. But it lacks an ambi safety, beavertail grip safety, and high-visibility sights. Still, we would buy the Colt and trust our life to this handgun. 

Both the Tisas and the Girsan feature a well-designed ambidextrous safety lever. This leaves the Colt out of the running. As a result, a left-handed shooter should not buy the Colt, firmly establishing the Tisas as the Best Buy.

45 ACP Range Data
Speer Gold Dot Carry Gun 200-grain +P 24258 EAA-Girsan MC1911S XLVColt Gov’t Model O1911C-SS Tisas-SDS 1911 Duty Stainless
Average Velocity NA* 1050 fps 1079 fps
Muzzle Energy NA 490 ft.-lbs. 517 ft.-lbs.
Small Group NA1.8 in. 2.2 in.
Average Group NA 2.4 in. 3.0 in.
Federal American Eagle 230-grain FMJ EAA-Girsan MC1911S XLV Colt Gov’t Model O1911C-SS Tisas-SDS 1911 Duty Stainless
Average Velocity 855 fps 844 fps 860 fps
Muzzle Energy 373 ft.-lbs. 364 ft.-lbs. 378 ft.-lbs.
Small Group 3.6 in. 2.0 in. 2.4 in.
Average Group 4.0 in. 2.5 in. 2.7 in.
Federal Premium HST 230-grain HST JHP P45HST25 EAA-Girsan MC1911S XLV Colt Gov’t Model O1911C-SS Tisas-SDS 1911 Duty Stainless
Average Velocity NA* 847 fps 835 fps
Muzzle Energy NA 366 ft.-lbs. 356 ft.-lbs.
Small Group NA 1.8 in. 2.4 in.
Large Group NA 2.3 in. 2.75 in.

We fired groups at 25 yards from a benchrest position using an MTM Case-Gard K-Zone Shooting Rest. We used a Competition Electronics Pro Chrony to measure muzzle velocities. *The Girsan was not fully tested because of malfunctions.

Written and photographed by Gun Tests Staff, using evaluations from Gun Tests Team members. GT



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