As I live this life full of marvelous intrigue-laden adventure, I like to have something formidable to carry. Not too heavy, not too hard kicking, but just right. (Perhaps it is more of a serene bucolic rural life — just the same — it is best to be prepared.)
My expectations of life are rosy, and I enjoy my daily routine. Handguns are part of my life but not the only part. Just the same, it is madness not to be concerned or prepared. To make it even worse, some are afraid of the things going on around them with no attempt to resolve the issues.
There isn’t anything new in the world, just the same monsters on two legs we have always had. It is simply the devil in a new dress. My choices and my training regimen are based on decades of experience. I understand that new shooters don’t have that time.
However, they have realized they need something to even the odds and defend themselves. They need something now. Some have the time and money to attend an immersion class and get up to speed on the handgun. Most do not. My time training and experience has led me to the 1911 handgun and the .45 ACP caliber. I have other types, but this is my favorite for most uses.
I don’t like to use the term carry rotation, but just the same, it fits. I don’t like to promote changing the carry gun for a frivolous reason or just because we can. My guns are not changed on a whim but rather on the weather and circumstance. Living in a true four-season climate, I may conceal a larger handgun at times, and others demand more discretion and an inside-the-waistband holster beneath a light covering garment.
So, I don’t go along with any wind that blows, but I carefully consider my choices. This may mean a packable .357 Magnum when hiking and a Commander .45 during the summer months.
A full-size, steel-frame Government Model .45 is easily the best shooting 1911 handgun. The rub is that this size pistol isn’t practical all the time. A lighter handgun is a compromise on most counts, but allows the shooter to carry a formidable, if lightweight, handgun. For many of us this means a Commander-length .45.
A Commander is a 1911 handgun with a shortened slide and barrel. Instead of a 5-inch Government Model, the Commander is shortened to a 4.25-inch barrel. This type retains the original barrel bushing, albeit in shortened form. The grip frame is the same. The dust cover is shorter.
The original Commander-size pistol features an aluminum frame reducing the weight from 38 to 28 ounces. The steel-frame Commander came along later. The steel-frame Commander also features a shortened slide but weighs around 34 ounces. Many find the steel-frame handgun a good compromise.
Ruger offers its excellent SR1911 in both steel and LW aluminum-frame versions. My example is a LW frame Commander with nicely finished stainless-steel slide and anodized aluminum frame. The slide lock safety is crisp in operation. An extended type of the safety is easily manipulated.
The beavertail-type memory groove grip safety properly releases its hold on the trigger about halfway into compression. The pistol is properly carried hammer-to-the-rear and safety on — cocked and locked. The grips are nicely checkered. Either cocobolo or rosewood they are well done.
The pistol features Novak Lo Mount sights. These are still the world standard with a non-snag profile and good sight picture. Trigger compression is smooth at 6.0 pounds without creep or backlash.
The SR1911 is available in both 9mm Luger and .45 ACP. I prefer the .45 ACP. While the 9mm has been improved using modern expanding bullets, so has the .45 ACP. Modern loads offer excellent performance.
The .45 ACP has utility in outdoors use for protection against dangerous animals. A combination of low operating pressure, a full powder burn, limited muzzle signature, and excellent wound ballistics made the .45 ACP an excellent choice. Recoil is a factor in the LW frame pistol. I would not criticize anyone for choosing the steel-frame gun.
At the Range
Before testing the newest Ruger SR1911 Commander, I broke out a half-dozen Wilson Combat magazines. These are the premier 1911 feeding device with excellent design, execution, and reputation. I had on hand a good supply of handloads using the Magnus cast 200-grain SWC bullet over enough Titegroup powder for 879 fps. This load feeds, chambers, fires, and ejects with reliability.
The SR1911 Commander proved controllable for those who have practiced with good practical combat ability. I fired more than 200 rounds during the first range session. I was rubbing my wrists afterward as the LW Commander has some recoil. Recoil is straight-to-the-rear, and the pistol has little muzzle flip but must be controlled. This means a tight grip and attention to detail.
I also fired two of my favorite handloads. One is the Hornady 185-grain XTP over enough Titegroup powder for 890 fps. This is a target-grade loading with excellent accuracy potential. Next up is the Hornady 200-grain XTP and a stiff charge of Unique powder for 920 fps. This is a formidable loading with much to recommend.
Accuracy potential is excellent with each load. I proofed the pistol with Hornady’s factory 200-grain XTP as well. This load sent five shots into 2.0 inches at 15 yards from a solid benchrest. The Ruger SR1911 Commander is good to ride with.
For concealed carry, an inside-the-waistband holster is a good choice. The body of the handgun is concealed in the pants. This means the holster isn’t visible below the belt line. A modest length covering garment will conceal this handgun. The thin 1911 is a good choice for this carry mode. Galco’s Summer Comfort offers good design and construction, dual belt loops, and a reinforced holstering welt. This is a great combination for concealed carry for the shooter willing to put time and effort into the system. The LW 1911 isn’t for everyone, but it is an option worth some thought.