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  #1  
Old 04-25-2008, 09:02 PM
Watarski Watarski is offline
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Looking at a Colt 1991A1 compact - good buy?




I've been researching 1911's in the hope of purchasing my first in the near future. I had been leaning towards a full size SA, or S&W. However, I stopped by my FFL this evening and he had his personal Colt 1991A1 compact for sale. It is in fantastic condition, and he has only put 40 rounds through it. He's the 2nd owner and has replaced the bushing, and the mainspring housing with a metal maxi-well. It comes with 3 chip mccormack mags, all for ~$600.

I had not considered a Colt or a smaller sized 1911, but it's in great shape. What little I have read about them, it seems reliability is not an issue. Does anyone have any experience this pistol, or advice on a purchase?

Thanks for helping a 1911 noob
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  #2  
Old 04-25-2008, 09:40 PM
shift shift is offline
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compact

My springfield ultra compact has never malfunctioned, but I have probably only put 20 shells through it. I don't think you could go wrong with a colt or a springfield.
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  #3  
Old 04-25-2008, 10:49 PM
DHRoss DHRoss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watarski View Post
Does anyone have any experience this pistol, or advice on a purchase?
I owned one for many years. Compacts are good solid guns however designed for concealed carry, not regular range use in my opinion. Therefore it's a radical departure from the full-size 1911 you were originally seeking.
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  #4  
Old 04-25-2008, 10:56 PM
ghost rider 88 ghost rider 88 is offline
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Saw one a few weeks ago at charlotte show lots of holster wear for $650 if its in that good condition probaly a good deal.
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  #5  
Old 04-25-2008, 11:53 PM
Watarski Watarski is offline
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Is the recoil that much different between this 3.5" compact and a 5" full-size?
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  #6  
Old 04-26-2008, 12:39 AM
ACP.45.45.45 ACP.45.45.45 is offline
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The all steel is a little more, but the lightweight is definitely more. I don't mind the extra recoil but the added muzzle jump and reduced sight radius makes it less of an ideal range gun. Of corse it is designed for CC not paper punching. That is why I own seven Colt 1911's.
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  #7  
Old 04-26-2008, 12:45 AM
Str8_Shot Str8_Shot is offline
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Watarski

Yes, recoil will be noticeably different from a Government Model and even a Commander. In a full size pistol the recoil is more of a big push. In the Compact, since the slide and frame are shorter the recoil tends to have quite a bit more snap and twist to it.

Though having said this, unless you have bone or joint issues that cause you pain now, the recoil from shooting one round from a Compact won't bother you. You may notice a slight discomfort in your wrist or elbow joints after shooting several boxes. With my Officer's ACP, my right elbow will let me know it is there after about 150 rounds. But it won't kill your hand like a light weight (Titanium) J-Frame in .357 magnum will.

As a general rule I recommend that a person's first or only 1911 should be a full size pistol made from steel. This is the original size, they are easiest to learn to shoot well, and they are generally the most reliable.
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  #8  
Old 04-26-2008, 07:38 AM
DHRoss DHRoss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Str8_Shot View Post
Yes, recoil will be noticeably different from a....
That's an excellent explanation of the difference between Compact (or OACP) and full-size GM by Str8_Shot. The only thing I could add is... the shortened grip of the Compact provides the shooter less leverage making the gun harder to control. So speed and accuracy of follow-up shots is compromised.

The whole story with my Compact model, Watarski, is this. I bought it many years ago. Took it to the range and practiced with it one time, fired maybe 100 rounds for functionality/reliability check and to become familar with its shooting characteristics. Afterward it was relegated strictly to CCW for a couple years... then became a safe queen for several more. Last year I turned it over to John Harrison who used the frame as a platform for building a custom (steel-framed) version of a CCO by combining the Compact frame with a Commander slide. So my Compact really is no more.

I agree with Str8_Shot... your first 1911 should be a 5". Furthermore, your first 5" should be a Colt in my opinion. [Just had to throw that in. After all... this is the "Colt" forum]
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  #9  
Old 04-26-2008, 10:33 AM
RKJ RKJ is offline
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I don't notice anymore recoil from a 3.5 platform than I do from a 4" or 5". As someone else already said, it sounds like pretty good deal for $600.
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  #10  
Old 04-26-2008, 07:11 PM
Shorts Shorts is offline
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$600 is a good price. I want to get my hands on another Oacp, I miss it.

Recoil was addressed above, and I would agree with it, except my perceived recoil for the three guns is different (5", 4.25" and 3.5"). The 5" is a big thud/push, like most feel. However, I find that my Oacp was easier to handle than the Commander....I know, odd. The Commander actually feels to have a more snappy recoil than the Oacp. I don't know why. Maybe I can chalk it up to the very slight differences in the gun grips. The Oacp w/King's BT and undercut trigger guard so my hand was very snug. Compared to Commander with the standard frame and standard grip safety.

But the above is just my experience. Everyone has a different mitt. If you like the gun, give it whirl.
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  #11  
Old 04-28-2008, 04:44 PM
dakota1911 dakota1911 is online now
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Sounds like a good deal for the money, and, as mentioned, grips can make a big difference in felt recoil. Another thought is that with some ammo all the powder may not burn in the shorter barrel. Also the shorter sight radius makes smaller pistols harder to shoot well.
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2008, 08:31 PM
GunPlay GunPlay is offline
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I don't know, 'ski____ I owned a Compact for a while, eventually grew to dislike it and ultimately sold it. And that comes from a hard-core Colt addict. You need to ask yourself if you plan to shoot your 1911 a lot or just carry it for defense. If the answer is "yes, I plan to shoot it a lot"____ then my vote would be pass up the Compact and keep looking for a 5" Colt or a Commander. You can always circle back later and pick up a Defender or New Agent for carry after you've become proficient with the 1911 platform.
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  #13  
Old 04-29-2008, 03:25 PM
drill sergeant drill sergeant is offline
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I'd vote to stick with the Government or Commander size. I have one of each and they are great guns. The Defender has been a very poor investment for me. I cannot get mine to work reliably. It remains an expensive paperweight.

I purchased the Defender for the CCW. I live in AZ where it is very warm and I thought that it would be easier to conceal in the summertime. It is; but since I can only throw it so far, it is releagetd to the safe. Bummer!

Good luck!
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2008, 10:20 PM
Sunset_Va Sunset_Va is offline
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1991A1 Compact

A local gun shop had one about 6 months ago, excellent condition for $450

Wish I had purchased it, it didnt stay long. I always leave that gun shop wishing I had bought a particular gun, when I call back and want him to set it aside for me to purchase , its gone.

I had a LWT Series 80 Officers Model I sold to a good friend. He lets me see it and weep from time to time.

I had the frame hard chromed on that Officers and finished it in flat black Moly Resin. It never gave me the first problem, and was a good shooter.
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  #15  
Old 04-29-2008, 10:21 PM
Sunset_Va Sunset_Va is offline
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1991A1 Compact

A local gun shop had one about 6 months ago, excellent condition for $450

Wish I had purchased it, it didnt stay long. I always leave that gun shop wishing I had bought a particular gun, when I call back and want him to set it aside for me to purchase , its gone.

I had a LWT Series 80 Officers Model I sold to a good friend. He lets me see it and weep from time to time.

I had the frame hard chromed on that Officers and finished it in flat black Moly Resin. It never gave me the first problem, and was a good shooter.

My advice is simply, if you want the pistol buy it.
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  #16  
Old 04-29-2008, 10:33 PM
GunPlay GunPlay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset_Va View Post
A local gun shop had one about 6 months ago, excellent condition for $450
That's a great price, Sunset.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset_Va View Post
A local gun shop had one about 6 months ago, excellent condition for $450
That's a great price, Sunset.
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  #17  
Old 04-30-2008, 01:27 AM
wetidlerjr wetidlerjr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset_Va
A local gun shop had one about 6 months ago, excellent condition for $450
Quote:
Originally Posted by GunPlay View Post

That's a great price, Sunset.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset_Va
A local gun shop had one about 6 months ago, excellent condition for $450
Quote:
Originally Posted by GunPlay View Post

That's a great price, Sunset.


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  #18  
Old 04-30-2008, 03:54 AM
45caldan 45caldan is offline
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I like mine. Its been 100% reliable....I did upgrade the bushing and recoil plug and made a few other minor changes.
I paid $525 for mine (stock without box).
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  #19  
Old 05-02-2008, 12:21 AM
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uncledub uncledub is offline
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45caldan-
Can you give me any specifics on your upgrades? Your Colt is really nice. I recently bought an ORM compact in mostly original state. I am particularly interested in the bushing and plug. The grips in the photo are great. Thanks
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  #20  
Old 05-02-2008, 05:09 AM
45caldan 45caldan is offline
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Originally Posted by uncledub View Post
45caldan-
Can you give me any specifics on your upgrades? Your Colt is really nice. I recently bought an ORM compact in mostly original state. I am particularly interested in the bushing and plug. The grips in the photo are great. Thanks
Thanks much for the kind words. When I bought this gun it was totally stock and even had a little surface rust here and there.
The first thing I did was to detail strip it and scrub it inside and out with a toothbrush and CLP along with steel wool on some rust spots. All the rust came off and no harm to the finish.

Mods:

1. Hogue grips (only $24!)

2. EGW Melt bushing SS ($20)

3. Para Ordnance recoil spring guide rod and plug for 3.5" 1911s (Brownells). A Clark plug would be fine if you want to stick with the original guide rod and springs. ($26)

4. EGW extractor....the original MAY have been MIM (some of the 1991 Colts were) MIM extractors suck....can't be tuned and may break easier. ($20)

5. Cylinder and Slide smooth Med. trigger (fits me better and I'm not a fan of serrated triggers on any gun...or plastic tiggers ). ($21)

6. Removed series 80 parts and installed the shim (Brownells). ($5)
http://www.brownells.com/aspx/ns/sto...20SLOT%20BLANK

7. Wilson SS hex head screws. ($9)

MY total investment (including gun) is less than $700.

I LIKE the stock grip safety as I've never been bitten by a 1911 but you can get a Wilson drop in BT (Commander style) if you need one.
I also kept the nylon MSH as I've never seen one break and I didn't want to ADD more weight by going to a steel one.
I also have no problem with the stock sights.
If I was to do anything else to this gun, it would be to have it undercut at the trigger guard/frame junction but that won't be any time soon as it would involve time, money and a refinish.

A word about bushings;
If you have a 1911 that has less than steller accuracy, FIT a bushing to the bbl. you will be amazed (most of the time) in the difference it'll make. I have done this to all my 1911s. Production guns (under $1000) do not have fitted bushings! This will do more for accuracy than a tight frame to slide fit will. I highly recommend EGW bushings....they are thicker than any other and come all the way to the muzzle thus providing a little more protection here (the Officers goes PAST the muzzle). I don't get why any auto pistol has a slide that stops short of the muzzle....a flush bbl and slide seem like a better idea to me.
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Last edited by 45caldan; 05-02-2008 at 05:40 AM. Reason: thought of more stuff!
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  #21  
Old 05-02-2008, 09:50 AM
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uncledub uncledub is offline
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Thanks for the info 45caldan. Now I have some work to do to a good gun even better. Watarski, good luck with the compact. I really like mine and the price quoted is very reasonable.
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  #22  
Old 05-02-2008, 12:12 PM
grainfed grainfed is offline
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Here's mine I had Ken Crawley work over. Barsto, internal goodies, and black oxide finish. It is a great compact pistol...Enjoy
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