For 2017, Browning is offering both full-sized and compact variants of the new 1911-22 Black Label Medallion. These .22 LR pistols are scaled-down versions of the classic 1911 in .45 ACP—they’re approximately 85-percent smaller—with matte black finishes, 4.25- or 3.63-inch barrels, steel three-dot sights, 10-round magazines, ambidextrous thumb safeties, skeletonized hammers and checkered rosewood grips featuring Browning’s gold Buckmark inlay.
This is a pure custom build from the shop of Joe Chambers, and it’s as much a work of art as it is a reliable weapon. The gun is built on a Caspian frame and features a tri-cut slide with custom cocking serrations. But the gun shoots better than it looks. When asked just how accurate the Black Knight is, Joe answered, “This gun created 10-shot groups at 50 yards out of a Ransom rest that averaged 1.25 inches. The worst target for 10 shots was just under 1.4 inches, and the best was just over 1.15 inches.” While not for everyone’s pocketbook, the Black Knight is an incredible gun.
Christensen Arms has long been known for building exceptional weapons, and this year the company has expanded its 1911 line to include aluminum-framed models. The 4-inch-barreled A4 and 5-inch-barreled A5 and A5-TR (with a threaded barrel) are currently available in 9mm with premium components, including a tunable match-grade trigger. These guns feature flattop, stainless steel slides that are hand-fitted for a perfectly smooth and highly accurate handgun—they’re guaranteed to produce five-shot, 2-inch groups at 25 yards.
Building on the incredible success of the Colt Competition pistol, Colt has expanded the line by offering the same great feature set in a stainless steel model. The stainless steel Colt Competition pistol features Colt’s innovative Dual Spring Recoil System, which reduces felt recoil and helps keep shots on target at critical moments. Other features include a Novak adjustable rear sight and fiber-optic front sight, an undercut triggerguard, a high-swept beavertail grip safety and a National Match barrel.
Colt has been one of the most prolific 1911 builders in history, and that tradition continues in 2017. This year the company is releasing the newly updated Combat Commander. Designed for the 1911 enthusiast who wants something more compact for concealed carry, the Combat Commander now features the same upgraded ergonomics as the Colt Lightweight Commander and Colt Competition. The new Combat Commander features an upswept beavertail grip safety and undercut triggerguard to allow users to get good purchase on the grip. The gun also has Colt’s Dual Spring Recoil System.
In some circles, Colt is seen as the company that saved the 10mm round from obscurity, and now Colt is offering yet another model in that powerful chambering with the new Delta Elite Rail Gun. Aimed toward the outdoorsman who requires a sidearm stout enough for midsized game and prefers the proven 1911 platform, the Delta Elite has always been a top choice. With its recent redesign, it didn’t seem that the model could get any better, but Colt found a way to improve upon it again by offering the Delta Elite with an accessory rail.
Rock Island Armory has expanded its GI-series pistol line by adding a new gun in 10mm. While many of the new 10mm 1911s sport 6-inch barrels, this all-steel gun has a 5-inch barrel and overall dimensions very similar to other 5-inch-barreled 1911s. The pistol’s design is a combination of features from the 1911 and 1911A1, with a short trigger and a flat mainspring housing.
For the “have it your way” crowd, there’s a new custom gun maker on the block—Iverson Arms—which is led by industry veteran Eric Iverson. Iverson Arms’ goal is to design and build the best custom and production weapons systems and accessories in the world. Iverson’s initial offering is a 1911-style handgun, with the slide and frame made from aerospace/military-grade materials with precision fitting for each piece. Some options currently available include 4- and 5-inch barrels, bobtail or full frames, tactical rails, and squared or rounded triggerguards. Initial offerings will be chambered in 9mm and .45 ACP.
Ruger’s newest 1911 is a stainless steel pistol with a low-glare finish, a 5-inch barrel, an ambidextrous thumb safety and a BoMar-style adjustable rear sight. For enhanced accuracy, the stainless steel barrel and bushing are produced from the same bar stock on the same machine. The pistol uses a Series 70 trigger system, a skeletonized hammer and checkered G10 grip panels. The frontstrap is smooth, but the mainspring housing is skillfully checkered.
The new EMP 4″ Concealed Carry Contour (CCC) from Springfield is a new version of the 9mm EMP with a 4-inch, match-grade bull barrel, a satin-finished stainless steel slide and a black hardcoat anodized frame. More enhancements include G10 grip panels with aggressive Posi-Lock texturing for a non-slip hold, a red fiber-optic front sight and a snag-free, two-dot rear sight. The pistol earns its name thanks to its bobtail-style frame, which helps prevent printing.
Due to the popularity of the company’s rifles and shotguns, Standard Manufacturing is producing a 1911 pistol machined from carbon-steel forgings with modern CNC machinery. Standard Manufacturing’s 1911s are available with blued or color-casehardened finishes, and engraving is also an option. These .45 ACP guns feature 5-inch, stainless steel, match-grade barrels, low-mount tactical sights, match-grade triggers and double-diamond-checkered rosewood grip panels. The 1911s also ship with two 8-round magazines and a durable, lockable, polymer storage case.
STI recently released its HEX Tactical 3.0, a shorter, more compact version of the popular HEX Tactical 4.0 and 5.0. This 3.7-inch-barreled version sports a Cerakote finish and unique Hex serrations on the slide for easy racking from any angle. Both single-stack (SS) and double-stack (DS) versions in 9mm are available, and the latter offers a whopping 15+1 capacity.
Wilson Combat has redefined the defensive handgun with the EDC X9, a modern hybrid of the company’s EDC 9 slide assembly mated with the all-new, higher-capacity X-frame. Designed by Bill Wilson and Wilson Combat engineers, the X-frame holds a 15-round magazine (designed with help from MEC-GAR) while still being similar in size to a traditional compact, single-stack 1911. The X-frame is machined from 7075-T6 aluminum with a bobtail-style cut for easier concealment.
Enhanced by Wilson Combat gunsmiths for daily carry and hard-use training, the X-TAC Elite is a unique choice for shooters looking for a practical 1911-style pistol that comes standard with several cutting-edge performance options. The gun is built on a full-sized, carbon-steel frame and has great features like unique X-TAC serrations on the slide, frontstrap and mainspring housing, a Bullet Proof magazine well and a match-grade, 5-inch, stainless steel barrel and bushing. The gun is also available with a number different Armor-Tuff finish options.
In a world where manufacturers are constantly developing new firearms and products, it is refreshing to see just what is still being done to the venerable 1911. A variety of 1911 builders are showing that this old workhorse is still capable of evolution and improvement. In an almost cryptic way, 1911 pistols are the same but different. The body and soul of Mr. Browning’s work remains, but the fine tuning and improvements continue. While the market seems to be favoring polymer-framed, striker-fired guns, the 1911 has proven that it will always be around. Here is a brief look at some of the new products and developments in the 1911 world for 2017.
- RELATED STORY: 3 Reasons Why the 1911 Pistol Continues to Endure
- RELATED STORY: 7 Simple Steps to Learn How to Shoot a 1911 Pistol
For more information about the 1911 pistols featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
Browning 1911-22 Black Label Medallion
Chambers Custom Black Knight
Christensen Arms A-Series 1911s
Colt Competition Stainless
Colt Combat Commander
Colt Delta Elite Rail Gun
Iverson Custom Carry
Rock Island Armory G1 10mm
Ruger SR1911 Target
Springfield Armory EMP 4“ CCC
Standard Manufacturing 1911s
STI HEX Tactical 3.0
Wilson Combat EDC X9
Wilson Combat X-TAC Elite
This article was originally published in “America’s Handgun Model 1911” 2017. To order a copy, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
Ideal for carry without breaking the bank, the Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Commander, now available...
by Todd Burgreen / Jul 17, 2017