Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Colt 1991A1


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This blog entry contains some unfavorable comments about Colt Manufacturing Company, as I perceived them to be in the early 1990’s. Frankly, back then they pissed me off with three of their pistols that I purchased. How do I feel about Colt pistols today? IMHO, they are much improved.

Eighty years following the creation of the 1911 pistol, Colt introduced the Series 80 1991A1 as its entry into the low-end government-model pistol market. As incentives, the 1991A1 came with enhancements such as larger sights, a lowered ejection port, beveled magazine well, and they returned to the long trigger and straight mainspring housing. Supposedly, according to the gun periodicals of the day, Colt made refinements to the feed-ramp and barrel-throat to provide for reliable use of hollowpoint ammunition.

I bought this pistol new in November of 1992. As far as feeding hollowpoints, this pistol was a failure; initially it would not even feed ball ammo reliably. I’m not talking about a rare and random mal-feed or jam; there was a problem with each magazine of ammo. Colt’s customer support gave the same answer to each of my inquiries, “Just keep shooting it, it just needs breaking-in.” Yeah, right. Out of frustration, two months later I bought the first of my Springfield Armory 1911 pistols (for $100 less than I paid for the Colt) which proved to be 100% reliable with ball ammo right out of the box, and, at least in my unsophisticated hand, seemed to be more accurate than the Colt.

I persevered with the Colt 1991A1. Swapping out the recoil spring to 18.5 lbs and settling on Bill Wilson’s seven-round magazines finally made the pistol reliable enough for me to burn through enough ammo to break in the pistol (afterwards, it still occasionally would mal-feed ball ammo when used with quality eight-round magazines). The only hollowpoint ammunition that I found to feed 100% of the time was Winchester’s Black Talon (with quality seven-round magazines).

This pistol rarely sees use anymore; I have not fired it in over five years. It is not one of my favorites. If I ever choose to own another Wilson Combat wonder-gun, I’ll ship this one off for them to use as a platform to build on.

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18 comments:

Jason said...

I hear ya brother! I have hod some good Colts and some bad ones and the bad ones are either collecting dust or long gone. I traded for a Les Baer Thunder Ranch a while back and haven't looked back. Goes bang every time and shoots like a rifle.

Good to hear that Colt quality has gotten better though. My favorite Colt is a Series 70 Combat Elite my dad gave me years ago and it will just go and go and go.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Jason, it always is a pleasure to have you stop in. I'm envious about the Les Baer and the Series 70 that you mentioned; those are fine pistols. Sure wish my gun buying days were not over... just not enough cash for me (probably most of us) to indulge anymore... but it is sure nice to dream!

Warmest regards,

Zack

Tom said...

It sounds like lots of patience and determination to live with a Colt.

I'm wondering if I should get a Colt in the near future?

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hey there Tom, thanks for stopping in.

Don't pay too much attention to my sour grapes with Colt from so long ago; I'm an amateur compared to most gunslingers. However, those knowing much more than I ever will seem to agree that (back then) Colt's quality and customer service literally gave away the 1911 market to others.

I like the Colt 1911A1 Series 80 .38 Super that I bought last year. If it represents Colt's quality today, I would offer that Colt is back and well worth a look.

Take care,

Zack

Anonymous said...

I bought a M1991A1 Stainless Gov.Model new in 1998. I had maybe 2 jams out of the first 100 rounds, and I think they were caused by bad magazines that I bought used at a gun show. I also have a 8 rnd. clip that will cause problems, I bought it new.
As long as I use the clip that came with the gun, or another colt 7 rnd.clip, I can feed this gun HP's or ball and never have a problem. There's no telling how many rnds. have been fired through it in the last 12 years. I just bought 200 more. It has held up well, and shows very little wear.
Just my experiance with my Colt. Thanks form Daniel

Anonymous said...

I must have got a good one, 1991A1, never had a problem, even shooting Blaser ammo!

Anonymous said...

I bought a 19911A1 in 1993 and found it to be a real turkey. Workmanship and finish was sub-par, no make that lousy, for a fine old high quality gun maker like Colt to put out. I never got around to firing it and soon sold it for just about what I paid for it. I ordered it from a dealer sight unseen and paid up front for what I thought at the time was a very good price. It might have functioned OK if I had tried it out at the range, but I was so disappointed with the fit and finish that I didn't want to keep it even if it worked OK. The Colts I see and examine in gun stores nowadays appear to be light years ahead of those built in the 1980'a and early 1990s, at least in finish and fit of parts, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if I had an actual need for another .45acp pistol. But I now have a reliable and accurate Argentine Sistema .45 plus several Colt and S&W revolvers, and I can't afford spending $1000+ just for the pleasure of owning another genuine Colt.

Viktor said...

awesome i am holdin my 1991 a1 right now ;)
I waither to long to have it

Viktor said...

Awesome I´m holdin my own Colt 1991 A1 right now
I wait to long to have it

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Great news, Viktor! It is a good pistol and will serve you well.

Thanks for stopping by!

Zack

Anonymous said...

This was the first handgun I purchased in 1993, when I turned 21. It was $425 NIB and that was more than I could afford then. In the first year I had issues with 1 brand of ball ammo, don't remember the name. Other than that, I've had no problems with cheap target ammo, decent ball ammo, hollow points and reloads - and its been accurate enough for me. I can't even say how many rounds I've run through it since I've had it. I'd go to the range every 2-3 weeks and shoot 250+ and when I started reloading, I'd take 500+. This went on for several years before trickling off with other responsibilities. Because of so much use, the grip safety is worn to bare metal. As well as there are now almost bare metal stripes where my fingers wrap around the front. Other than that the finish is pretty much as good as when I bought it. Been a great gun for me. Scott

Frank said...

I bought my M1991A1 around 1999 or 2000 and has performed nearly flawlessly (sorry no spell check here). It's my full time CCW.

kirk.heideman said...

i bought a used 1991a1 a few years back and i've owned many different guns in my life and this one is my all time favorite im an avid shooter and have not had a problem one with the gun,I upgraded a few things on it through the years,but all in all its the same gun and never had a jam or stove pipe one.i had a desert eagle .50 paid 3x as much and had nothing but problems with thing ended up trading it for an o/u ithica. i highly recommend the 1991 a1 works great and you can cutomize it with out decreasing the value.

Anonymous said...

Just picked up a 1991A1 early production. Compensator installed. I sold a Sig P220(Tysons Corner) and a Browning BDA 45.. Both beautiful guns.

I will say that the 1991A1 feels great in my hand. I got it today and just finished a complete dissassembly and inspection. clean and ready to go to the range tomorrow... :)

Deadeye said...

I bought a 1991-A1 Compact...(officers) in 1993....this gun shoots very well...feeds anything I put through it...only thing I did to it was replaced the flat mainspring to a Wilson Combat...changed the grip to a rubber type so as to be able to hold on to the thing...it will even feed snake shot loads by cci...

Anonymous said...

I'm always amused at peoples so-called lemon guns. I own 2-Colt ORM 1991a1s, both were bought used dirt cheap as gun shop trade-ins for newer trendy name 1911s. Both run every type of ammo you can throw at them with both G.I. and aftermarket mags. They will actually run ammo that high end 1911s of my friends choke on. Plus they are made from forged components, something becoming more rare in this age of quick cheap cast parts. Best buys I ever made.

shelby said...

I like forged stuff(expensive though). I also like Colts(nostalgia) However Bill Ruger proved that casting does not always equal bad. Nearly everything Ruger makes is cast, and I've never heard of a cast Ruger part breaking. Cast does not equal pigiron, nor does forged equal cold hammer forged. Break a kimber safety without repeated pounding, or shatter an engine block on a well maintained motor, and the casting argument will have more weight. That said, I love my 1991.

Anonymous said...

My friend is selling a 1991A1. The description he gave me over the phone led me to believe it was a 1911. When I got to his house I seen it was very similar but not a 1911. Its in good operating order and looks well taken care of... Missing the magazine never the less.. But for 350.00 I figured I couldn't go wrong. As long as the magazine is easy to find... And if the 1911 mag will interchange??