Colt’s Wiley Clapp 21st Century LW Commander Talo Exclusive

| April 13, 2014 | 7 Comments

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a dayattherange with possibly one of the best carry 1911’s on the market. Colt’s Wiley Clapp Light Weight Commander Talo Exclusive. Upon original examination I realized three things. One it is an aesthetically pleasing pistol, two Colt’s original 1950’s design was spot on and three, I now understood why this pistol carries the moniker “Everything you need, with nothing you don’t.”


Colt Wiley Clapp LW Commander Features

  • Series ’70 style action with no firing pin safety and improved trigger pull
  • Alloy receiver for a light pistol that carries easy
  • Original style small safety, slide lock and magazine catch, no extensions
  • Front & rear slide serrations
  • Long black trigger, flat S&A mainspring housing
  • Colt’s new beavertail grip safety for comfort in long shooting sessions
  • Special Novak sights ? extra-wide notch and bead front for any-light shooting
  • Tactical Oval grips with forward taper and fingerprint checkering
  • Pete Single 25 lpi checkering on the pistol’s front-strap
  • Special factory serial number run

Examining the feature list this pistol has all the features I need in a carry 1911.? Every feature was about light weight carry with a few customizations. For example the slide has front and rear serrations.


The mainspring housing is from Smith & Alexander. Colt’s new beavertail grip safety is on this gun and sports?the “memory bump” to ensure positive engagement. The safety is the original 1911 style short extension and the safety itself is?serrated on the top. Though a short safety it is still easy to engage and has the added feature of not rubbing in your side while carrying. The stocks are Tactical Ovals, they are designed to be narrower in the front and wider in the rear appearing to?possibly improve on what I considered to be the best feel and ergonomic pistol made to date. The front of the frame is checkered to 25lpi, making for a positive grip for those quick double tap follow up shots.

The sights are Wayne Novak’s low mount. The cut characteristics of these sites are?to Mr. Clapps specifications, with the extra-wide notch in the rear. This feature gives plenty of daylight on either side of the front sight allowing for easier and quicker front sight alignment. The front sight sports?a brass bead. This combination along with the lightweight frame and other features screamed “concealed carry fighting pistol”

As to be expected from Colt the frame to slide fit was tight and topped off with a Colt national match barrel made this pistol plenty accurate.

I did fire my reloads across the chronograph to see how the shorter commander barrel would perform with them. Loaded on a Hornady LnL Progressive press — W231 5.5gr Berry 230gr Round Ball.

Shot 1 — 800fps, Shot 2 — 871fps, Shot 3 — 794fps,?Shot 4 — 822fps,?Shot 5 — 780fps — Hi Shot 871, Low Shot 780, Average 813, Extreme Spread — 91fps, Standard Deviation 35.

You lose nothing and gain everything — additional comfort, carry and concealment ability over the standard government model 1911 with the longer barrel, the feet per second from these rounds performed the same as compared between the two.

The trigger is of the long solid design and came in at about 5 pounds, again for me just about perfect for carry pistol.


Just about on every review I have written I conducted 25yard accuracy testing, but after examining this pistol my mind was keenly sharp on carry, reliability and fighting pistol. There was something about this pistol where I just desired running rounds through it at a fast combat style pace. My rule of thumb is to not carry a pistol which has not had 300 to 500 rounds of flawless firing through it first. Needless to say, I also must be confident that I can hit what I intend to with it. Though I would not fire that many rounds through it today, this pistol is a loaner and has been to my knowledge flawless up to this point.?I can say the rounds I put through it were all flawless and smooth. I ran a number of combat/engagement simulations, firing 7 shots as fast I my trigger finger would work, way slower than Mr. Miculek, quick reload with the second magazine and repeating the first drill. I also performed a number of double tap drills all within 7 to 10 yards.?Having a?light weight frame I could not believe how the front sight barely moved off target. With such a tight group ?on the 1st string of double taps at a rapid paste I had to give this another go, the pistol made this seem all to easy.


The team of Colt and Mr. Clapp have truly produced a fine fighting pistol. Though when you first crack open the box you could almost convince yourself to make this a safe queen?for?you?viewing pleasure or even placing it in a shadow box for display above the mantel for all to see and enjoy. Pick this pistol up and all bet’s are off guaranteed you will want to be out putting rounds down range. You may even find yourself?signing up for one of those pistol combat tactical response courses like that offered by Gunsite.

Steve thank you for allowing me to review such a fine piece of American Made Craftsmanship. What a great dayattherange it was.

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7 Comments on "Colt’s Wiley Clapp 21st Century LW Commander Talo Exclusive"

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  1. John Bernard Books says:

    My decision was nearly the same. Another TALO LW Commander, but in 38 Super. With the right mags you get 10+1 rounds of near .357 Magnum performance in a great carry pistol.

    No wrong answers here.

  2. Impressive LW commander in 38 Super nice. You reload for it I take it as around these neck of the woods I hardly ever see 38 Super on any shelves.

  3. Emo says:

    Sign me up for a .38 Super version as well. Talk about an underrated round…have been finding Winchester Silvertips lately at gun shows but mama…the cost! I guess that’s what I get for not reloading-

  4. Mark says:

    Very very nice! I really like the front sight. Good shooting too

  5. Skiper says:

    I have one very nice indeed. Just can’t for the life of me forgive oit why they used slim grip bushings?

  6. Robert DeLong says:

    I like this review. It immediately addressed my main concern: what is the reliability of the gun. Also, this did not get washed up in detail. It told me other things that I wanted to know such as accuracy, trigger pull, etc. I gave you nine stars!

  7. W.P. Zeller says:

    A 1965 version of this gun spends every single day in my old leather IWB holster.
    Not long ago I forgot to bring my “real” single-stack gun to a USPSA match and wound up shooting the Commander… finished second in division in a 190-round match, 94% of the winner (who’s young enough to be my son). Maybe I should park the Government Model.
    A good Commander is still the best choice in the unfortunate event you actually have to shoot something.

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