Compact handguns, especially Commander-length 1911 handguns, can be ideal for many carry applications. Here’s how to work on one from the Philippines.
by RK Campbell
During the course of working with firearms I expect guns coming into the shop to be older, abused, seen hard use or even dropped and broken. I do not expect factory new firearms malfunction and exhibit more than one serious drawback. Such was the case with a handgun I recently examined. The problems were handled in a straight forward manner and the procedure will apply to other handguns of the same type. The rub is that in some particulars the handgun, the Shooters Arms Manufacturing (shootersarms.com.ph) Commodore, had promise.
The SAM Commodore is Commander-length 1911, meaning it has a 4¼-inch barrel and slide compared to the 5-inch Government Model 1911, but with a steel frame. When first introduced, Commanders were aluminum framed weighing about 27 ounces. Today, most 1911 pistols this size are called Commanders and the aluminum frame guns are called LW (Light Weight) Commanders.
The Philippine-made Commodore takes it name from the naval rank Commodore, which outranks a Commander. There must have been some marketing talent involved in selecting the name. The Commodore exhibits good fit and finish. The barrel and the locking lugs seem well fitted. The barrel bushing is finger tight but nice and snug. When the slide is racked the fit of the locking lugs is good and the barrel link seems OK. A different model of 1911 from the same maker tested a few years ago showed indifferent fit, however, it functioned fine except it did not lock on the last shot. This earlier handgun also showed such a loose barrel link fit the link pin fell out when the pistol was field stripped and examined.
The latest pistol was a different matter, I first thought. The Commodore exhibited good fit and finish and the rib along the top of the slide gave it a nice look, akin to a short Gold Cup.
Read more in our May 2014 issue. Back issues are available.