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Colt Tag

The “Delta Elite” 10mm Colt 1911

The story is well documented by now, but it’s worth repeating. After the 1986 FBI Shootout in Miami, the FBI started to believe that their .38 revolvers were out of date. In 1989 the 10mm Auto round was selected by the FBI for its superior penetration, but the round’s snappy recoil proved too much for some, and the milder .40 S&W round was adopted as a compromise. .40 S&W has waxed and waned in popularity (and seems to be waning at the moment, making .40 handguns a potentially good buy), but the 10mm Auto round maintained a small but steady band of followers. This Colt Delta Elite dates to 1989, and while it’s got a bit of wear and tear on it, the gun’s heft does a surprisingly good job of managing the recoil.

Colt’s Model 1908 “Vest Pocket”

Launched in 1908 and in production for forty years, over 400,000 of these tiny Colt semi-automatic pistols came out of the Hartford factory. I decided to put a few hundred rounds through one at the range to see how it stacks up to the myriad of pocket pistols that are being sold over a century after this gun’s introduction. This particular gun shipped from the Colt factory in June of 1930 to a dealer in Chicago, and it’s not bad looking for pushing 90 years old.

Colt Lightweight Commander

I rarely set out to buy a particular gun; my preference is to wait for a deal to pop up. Such was the case with the Colt Lightweight Commander I’m reviewing today, which most people would understandably look past. In short: the “Lightweight” designation means that the frame is made of an aluminum, which is going to absorb far less of the considerable recoil that the .45 ACP round can generate. And the “Commander” size means that there’s less barrel and less slide to absorb that recoil. And this gun is still a good bit larger than the pocket-sized polymers that dominate the compact market now, which leaves the Lightweight Commander in a strange middle-space. But one man’s odd duck is this man’s bargain, and when it was offered to me for a good bit below dealer cost (translation: “we’ve had this thing in the case for well over two years and we need to make space for more Glocks and Springfields”), I decided to give it a shot. Can’t go wrong with a pony gun, right?

Mr. Gibson’s 1849 Pocket Colt

An inevitable question that every gun collector asks is, “who owned this gun?” It’s a question whose answer is usually lost to history, since the idea of keeping records about who bought what gun is, in the United States, a relatively modern phenomenon, and an incomplete one at that. But a gun occasionally tantalizes the interested historian with clues about its first owner, as this particular gun demonstrates.

Colt’s Revolving Pocket Pistol, known to collectors as the “Model of 1849,” put Samuel Colt on the map as a firearms manufacturing empire. There wee over 300,000 of these guns produced during its 26 year production run, and the seemingly endless varieties and permutations of caliber, barrel length, cylinder capacity and accouterments make this gun a collector’s favorite; so much so that there’s an entire book dedicated to it.