Rare Colt Combat Commander in the Wild

A curious reader sent these photographs in, of what appears to be a very limited edition Colt Combat Commander. Limited edition due to the suppressor sights, threaded barrel, and front picatinny rail section. The current and original version of the Combat Commander does not come with these three features and more or less represents a standard compact 1911. Manufacturing ceased several decades ago after the handgun went a long period of acclaim, beginning in the Second World War with the introduction of the Officer’s Model. Colt re-introduced the Commander in 2017 for the 1911 enthusiast who would also want to conceal carry a compact 1911.

Current offering from Colt with a $949 MSRP.

Upon further inquiry, it appears that the plot thickens with this particular example. The lot this handgun comes from was never supposed to leave the Colt factory. Apparently it was going to be offered as a variant with the additional features but was decided against. This must not have made its way through the Colt admin ranks and the guns slipped out, probably listed as any other Colt Combat Commander. We also have this quote from a thread on 1911Forum from a member that appears to be working at the Colt Custom Shop

Just made a run of 100 custom railed commanders for a distributor. This is the same specs as the RGZ. Another 100 happening this month….. with a threaded barrel….

From a source with information regarding this particular lot-

That is a custom shop railed Commander. The decision to make them suppressed ready was changed and a few got out with the threaded barrel

In addition we have some commentary on the handgun from renowned firearms historian Daniel Watters-

“Note the Wilson Combat thumb safety and possibly an EGW/JEM grip safety instead of the Colt OEM parts. The front strap and mainspring housing are checkered. I don’t know if the custom shop farms all of their checkering out to gunsmith Pete Single, or if that is just for the Wiley Clapp special editions. The Novak rear sight appears to be the adjustable variant. Note the slight semi-circular cut on the front angle of the sight. The fixed Novak variants don’t show this.
The fact that it had two different magazines is interesting as well. The mag inserted in the pistol appears to be a Wilson Combat with a low-profile base plate, while the Colt-marked model appears to be one of the Metalform-produced tubes from their Pro or Elite series. Metalform is the OEM manufacturer for most of Colt’s pistol magazines.
The frame probably started life as one of the full-size Rail Gun frames, which then had the dust cover and internal recoil shoulder machined back to match the Commander slide’s dimensions. Note that they scalloped the dust cover to maintain the original length of accessory rail. length.”

Apart from the photos emailed, a similarly featured Combat Commander appeared on Gunbroker, listed for an astounding $2,795.95 as the Buy Now price. Tombstone Tactical in Arizona is offering one without the threaded barrel for $2483.95.

Much thanks to Tombstone Tactical, Daniel Watters, and Shawn from Looserounds.com for contributing to the making of this post!


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Nice, and still less expensive than a “Limited Edition That Comes Out Every Month Wilson Combat”.

    • Blake

      Even though I’ll never own a Wilson Combat pistol, I still like seeing the great work they do and am subscribed to their newsletter. I can’t freaking stand the constant “updating” of their product line. I swear every single day I get an email that says “Check out our newest addition! Gun X with a .2″ longer barrel!!” or “Our newest addition, Gun Y now has left diagonal checkering instead of right diagonal checkering!” It’s now to the point where I just delete WC emails the second I see that it’s them.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Yeah, I understand they are nice weapons and would very much like to own one but I find it hard to believe WC is discovering some major new innovation every 48 hrs.

  • Spencerhut

    . . . and unless it is a Series 70 . . . fail . . .

  • Patrick K Martin

    I guess I will have to wait till I inherit my father’s Colt ‘Zepher’ Commander (which is what they called them before they just said ‘Lightweight’

  • 2805662

    “..is the OEM manufacturer..”

  • It is an open secret that “BJT72” is Brent Turchi – the director of Colt’s Custom Shop & Consumer Services.

    A basic Commander Rail Gun model (O4012RG) was shown at SHOT Show 2015, and was even briefly advertised. However, it never came to market. The Custom Shop variant first appeared publicly at the 2016 NRA Show. For what its worth, factory letters indicate that the thumb safety is a Novak, not Wilson Combat. The 25 LPI checkering was outsourced to Pete Single. The thick beveled barrel bushing is also an EGW product.

  • William M Durham

    Its strange but I have never seen a colt commander in the military, are they just a civilian pistol or what.I do not think any were ever government issue, just personal purchase

  • Uniform223


    • Mazryonh

      Nice reference, but I don’t think this gun has ever been wielded by a Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series.

      • Uniform223

        Snake aka Big Boss of Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater


        Solid Snake Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots


        • Mazryonh

          If the shorter-than-full-size barrel of the Commander is what makes it a Commander, than no Snake used one of those. The times that Big Boss and Solid Snake used M1911s, they were full-size.

  • roguetechie

    I’d actually break my self imposed Colt boycott and spend the $3000 I’m certain it would take if Colt were to put out a run of their OWS entry for the SEAL combat pistol competition…

    FWIW my boycott of Colt stems from them killing the Medusa revolver.

    • Pistolero

      Help me out here. Everything I have read about the Medusa says that it was produced by an independent company in Conroe, Texas. How was Colt involved in that?

      • RetiredSOFguy

        I’m interested as well, since I always thought the Medusa made tremendous sense and should have bought one when I could (or at least the conversion cylinder for a 686). It only took relearning that lesson once or twice to change my gun-buying habits… 🙂

  • Colin Keating

    i love my colt combat commander 80 series its my favorite gun
    and if i remember correctly it was
    one of the side arms they used in wwII

    • Ranger Rick

      The 1911A1 (Government Model)) is the WW II service pistol. But a series 80 Commander is an excellent carry pistol.

      • Colin Keating

        thank you i was trying to remember what one was the military issue

        • Ranger Rick

          You’re welcome ?

  • USMC03Vet

    Springfield did it better.

    Come at me, Colt.

    • iksnilol

      RIA did it even better, come at me, bruh.

      • Zachary marrs

        Glock did it better than all.

        Get on my level holmes.

        • Tinkerer

          Pfft, all you need is a Hi-Point.
          Bring it!

  • Too bad Colt’s rails are thicker than a standard railed 1911, meaning you can’t use just any holster with it.

  • Bill

    Why take a downsized, non-LW pistol and add all the full-sized stuff to it? I loves me some Commander, but this is a little nutty. If I want a light and a can, I can live with the 3/4 inch longer GM.

    • Lee M Attinger

      Conversely, what does 5″ afford you that 4.25″ doesn’t?

      • Bill

        3/4 inch sight radius, which with my eyes I appreciate. Plus a boatload of holsters. Don’t get me wrong, I love Commanders in their LW guise, but prefer my smaller, lighter, sleeker guns to remain so.

  • Ranger Rick

    So once again when both custom shops and manufacturers are offering suppressor ready pistols to a buying public, Colt decides to buck the trend and miss out on sales?

    When have I seen this story before?

    • PersonCommenting

      The problem is , is that colt sells their ad ons for too high when someone could piece it out for a bout the same maybe 100 more and make it their own.

  • Lee M Attinger

    Can you use a government frame with a commander slide?

    • You have to set back the Government Model’s frame shoulder and the dust cover to match the Commander slide.

  • DennisBechtel

    have a special combat full sized 1911 colt that has a rail and threaded barrel ,bought for about 895 in 96 polished blued and with high sights ,3, 8 rnd mags ,never got around to shooting it ,hmmm wipe with oil put back into blue bag and return to main safe…2k more than I paid for it wow’

  • By Jonathan Phillips’ own admission, they only made around 500 Medusa between 1996 and 2001. Colt was in dire straits when they dropped their revolver and compact pistol lines in October 1999. The Clinton Administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had entered the existing lawsuit frenzy against the gun industry. This is the same reason that S&W caved and signed the infamous settlement agreement with HUD.

    P&R would have been screwed either way.