Colt Lightweight Commander Review Part 2 The Accuracy Test



I know it seems like it’s been forever ago since I  did the first part of this review , but a lot has happened.  Sorry about the delay for those of you waiting on this.

In the time between these sections I have had a lot of time with this gun. It has taken over duties as my every day CCW piece, replacing the XSE Gov model I carried for the last 11 years.  That is how much I have grown to love it and trust it.   Believe me, replacing the Colt XSE was not an easy thing to do. Besides the quality and accuracy of that gun, there was a lot of memories and sentimental value that went with it.    Maybe that  was the final reasons I did put it in semi retirement as a constant carry  gun.

While shooting it these months I really appreciate the new dual recoil spring system colt has started using in all of their pistols.  No, it’s not some complicated thing if that’s what you are thinking, just a spring in a spring that can be easily taken out for cleaning just like normal. Its the same setup in the M45A1 and Delta Elites.   It does really well softening recoil on hotter rounds like the 10mm, and on the light weight frame commander it helps a lot with hot rounds I like to use for carry like the Corbon +P  solid copper hollow points.

I fired all my stand by accuracy loads in the commander to test it for groups and one ball round loading just to see,

Groups were fired from a bench with bags, slow fire as is my usual method.    I fired five rounds groups other than the 10 round group in upper right using ball. Only did this cause I had a wilson 10 round mag loaded with ball in my pocket when i went to do this. The ranger T load is upper left

These three groups are my carry load in upper left, my back up carry load upper right, which is the winchester DPX .  Bottom group is the excellently accurate hornady 185 match semi wadcutters.  A load me and a friend have been using for years for the most accurate handload we can come up with.


As requested recently, I have started shooting extended ranges ( for handguns) as part of my standard test and review.   This request was made by a reader curious to see what modern handguns could do if needed to shoot beyond distances most think of as normal handgun  ranges in the event of active shooter or terrorist attack. The idea being you HAVE TO made a longer shot for some reason, Maybe because the nut bag is wearing a vest that may explode and kill you if you are too close or the bad guy has a rifle and has ballistic advantage over you.   Either way, the testing has led to some pretty surprising results.   I may be paranoid and crazy but this has made me think it would be wise to start integrating longer shots into regular training  to prepare for that potential since modern handguns and ammo are up to the task with a shooter who can milk it.

First I need to say I did shoot at a man shaped paper target at 75 and 100 yards and  thought I took pictures of it.  Apparently I didn’t because I am an idiot.   Even more so because I burned the paper targets to clean up the area at the strip job we shoot longer ranges at.   So , trying not to litter means I can’t even go back and get the target.

I did take pictures of the 200 yard target.  Luckily.    The groups at 100 were so encouraging it made me try 200.  Bare in mind, it took me  20 or more rounds to get the right hold on the target, I didn’t just walk back 200 and fire for record.  It took some  careful hold and fire and see,kinda thing.   It is doable though and once I had the hold over figured out, it was repeatable. I used a steel gong to get the range down and after the record target we all took turns hitting the gong at 200.   This was a real revelation to a couple of the guy who thought a 45 ACP round  from a pistol wouldn’t even travel that far.

I used a 200 yard NRS bullseye rifle target.  Twenty rounds were fired and I got 8 rounds in the black. I only managed 14 hits total on the paper in the black and white.   Still pretty good I think if I do have to say so myself.

Obviously all shots were from a bench and bags not off hand.  But with enough practice I’m sure a man sized target could be hit with a pistol off hand or from some kind of support like using a car hood or truck bed.

Selection of round used would make it harder or easier as well.  A hotter and lighter  165 or 185 would shoot flatter than a 230 grain bullet fired from a walmart plinking loading.

Making these longer range testings part of the review process has really got me thinking though.  I  have in mind to try some 9mm handguns with some of the hotter self defense loads to see what can be done I think the lighter faster round may show some impressive results  and a future article will definitely be a test of various handguns and rounds at 100 yards and beyond to see the absolute limit to what you may be able to hit if you really need to.

To wrap up,  Colt LWT Commander is super  nice and as I said is now my standard carry gun.  It’s weight and handling make it a real joy and it’s got all the accuracy I need.  It has had 1876 rounds through it this summer of all kinds  of ammo with no problems.   It has lived up to be everything I asked out of it and more.





  1. Hey Shawn…thanks for the insights on the long range results. I really appreciate it.

    I’ve always been a rifleman, and have know a lot of guys who say “A handgun is useless beyond 50 feet”. It ain’t so!! Well made modern handguns are far more accurate than a lot of people think, if the shooter has the skill. Just look at what Hickok45 does regularly on his videos.

    You have to fight with what you have at the time, and if the fight is at long range and you only have a handgun, it’s better to know you have a chance, rather than giving up and being killed because you don’t know the capabilities of your weapon in the first place.

    I alway shoot out to 50m with my pistols, and under competition conditions (not a gunfight, but still stressful) I can put 10 rounds into a man size target no problems, and I have the skills to make headshots st that range in competition.

    And as for the terrorists, recent attacks in London and Barcelona had the arseholes wearing fake bomb vests to throw off the shooting of the responders, but they could have been genuine. Anybody engaging a muslim has to consider the possibility that he might detonate in place if hit, so long range shooting skill development is essential.

    Cheers from Oz!

    • Yea I agree with you 100 percent man. Like you, I’ve always tried to push what I could do with a pistol when out practicing or training. I just .. I don’t know why it never dawned on me to include it here. I guess maybe fear everyone would say I was full of shit, or like the 5.56 at 1000 yards, everyone would say “oh what the hell do you think a pistol would do that far anyway?” I think I have always considered myself a rifleman too but seems that early on in my shooting like I had a more natural ability( if there is such a ting) for handguns. The 1911 e=in particular. Some of my friends think I am some kind of trick shot with a pistol like a movie cowboy and thats just not even close to true. I just spent over 30 years shooting the 1911 virtually exclusively. I can say I doubt I have fired more than 1000 rounds though any other model pistol in my entire life. and mostly for tests done for this website. I try to tell people its the simple fact that the gov model is so familiar to me it seems its some super skill when its just I’ve spent so many years with it in my hand. I have to work much harder than the vast majority of experienced shooters to shoot most other pistols to the same level. If I ever had to be in a gun fight with a glock or something I’d be in big trouble! Anyhoo, I’m really appreciative that you brought it up. I regret that I wasn’t already doing it.
      I meant to ask you a month or so ago before I got sick. I been asking a few of the old crew if they would like to write their thoughts on the US Army’s recent push to field 7.62 rifles to all troops. They are testing them out I think as I type this, And they are going to push it through sure as shit
      I think its a terrible idea myself, But thats just me, I been trying to make a post out of the comments and thoughts of you guys combined with mine and Howard’s. Would you care, or like to write some thoughts? short or long as you like, and email them to me for the post? You can email to me directly in this case. If you don’t want to or don’t have anything really to say on it that’s fine too. But I wanted to offer. I’d like to get all you guys more involved here at a level higher than the comment section even the comments alone are much appreciated and valued.

  2. I’d be very interested in a long-range pistol shootout. Count me as another member of the “pistols will shoot farther than most people think” club.

    I forget where I read this, but I think it’s an old Elmer Keith trick: Perch your front sight high in the rear notch. I believe Keith had a “graduated” front sight, with lines on it at various heights that he could use at different ranges. The rest of us can stick the front sight up halfway out of the notch or all the way or whatever.

    When my Glock 20 sported a Patridge rear sight, I could make hits at 2-300 yards by sticking the front sight blade clear above the rear sight notch and making my rear sights level with the top of the slide. If I recall correctly, I still had to hold over at 300 yards, but I didn’t have to hold over by 20 feet or whatever.

    I think the rise of the RMR sight is going to grow the practice of long-range pistol shooting. Patridge sights have always been a crummy compromise, they’ve just been the best of the crummy compromises we’ve had available to us.

    -John M.

    • I had not considered the red dot on pistols maybe encourage the longer range shots. Thats an interesting thought experiment. Some could even have a couple dots, one for normal ranges, one for hold over. Of course that would be for hunting only since it would be too much to deal with in fast combat shooting,

      John did I already invite you to submit your thinking on the US Army’s push to adopt a new 762 rifle to issue? If not, if you want to I am collecting thoughts from the old weaponsman crew to put together in an upcoming post. If I can get enough of the fellows to speak up.
      You can email them to me or type them some where here.

      • Shawn,

        One could do some interesting stuff with an RMR, like preset adjustable elevation (e.g. have a 15 yard combat zero set at 15 yards or so, and at the press of a button, go out to a 100 or 150 yard zero).

        I have very little hands-on experience with the RMRs, but I think they are going places, and from what I’ve read, they make accurate shots at distance a much better probability.

        I appreciate the offer on the 7.62 article. I never served, and I’m more of a pistol guy, so my opinions on the subject would be more like uninformed speculation/prejudice than anything worthwhile. I think I’ll stay in my lane. 🙂

        -John M.

        • It would be simpler and quicker to just know your 100yard hold over. Since it is a dot and not a front sight, you don’t have to worry about obscuring your target while holding over.
          Also the problem with having multiple sight settings is that you risk being on the wrong one when it is most critical. Best to keep fighting hand guns simple.

          • Howard,

            I think you’re probably right about that.

            There may be utility for it on a range use or hunting red dot, though. Pistol ballistics usually have the bullet dropping fast between 100 and 150 yards, so being off in your range estimation by 20 yards could mean the difference between a hit or a miss, or between a humane kill and a gut shot you have to track for 8 hours.

            Something like a Burris Eliminator with a laser rangefinder and an automatic sight adjustment would be awesome. Obviously that’s a lot to pack into an RMR in 2017, but maybe not so much in 2035.

            -John M.

    • I will do my best to get a long range pistol shoot out comparison thing going. I personally own and use ( not testing for the website) 1911s exclusively so I will have to dig and bum around for a few weeks to come up with enough to make it interesting

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