Yes, Virginia, there is a 1911 .45 ACP. With the rush toward 9mm and 10mm cartridges in the tried-and-true 1911 pistol, you could be forgiven if you thought the .45 ACP chambering was becoming a fairy tale. But the cartridge around which the 1911 designed is very much with us, and one of the more recent offerings comes to us from Taurus.
It’s simply called the Commander, which is what it is. The pistol has the shorter 4.2-inch barrel and an overall length of eight inches. The Commander is probably my favorite size next to the Government because it’s more concealable while still being shootable.
The Taurus Commander all black, including the three-hole trigger. “TAURUS Miami FL-USA” is engraved on the left side of the slide, and on the right side you’ll see “Foras Taurus S.A.-Made in Brazil” under the relieved ejection port and “1911 .45 ACP Commander” behind the front slide serrations. The fore and aft serrations are flat-bottomed, and they’re nicely cut for a solid grip. The slide has a rounded top and sports Novak drift-adjustable three-dot sights set in dovetails.
Controls include a beavertail safety with memory bump and an extended, relatively wide single-side thumb safety. Grips are stippled black plastic with double diamonds and the Taurus logo. The frontstrap and flat mainspring housing are checkered at 30 lines per inch.
The Commander incorporates a full-length guide rod. 1911 fans love to debate the merits of a full-length rod versus John Browning’s original short rod. Some claim the full-length rod increases accuracy and reliability, but I don’t think this has ever been proven. It does provide a tiny bit of extra weight out front, although I doubt it’s enough to control muzzle flip.
On the plus side, depending on how your field-strip a 1911, with the full-length rod the top end comes off in one piece you don’t have to hold together once free. On the downside, it requires a bushing wrench to remove the plug, rod, spring and barrel.
The Commander is reasonably accurate, although its six-pound, slightly gritty trigger doesn’t do it any favors. Further, the rear Novak kept wanting to drift to the left, and as near as I could determine the set screw was either buggered beyond recognition or actually missing. Therefore I couldn’t completely secure the sight, so take these accuracy results (averages of four five shot groups at 25 yards from a rest) with a grain of salt.
Taurus Commander 1911 Accuracy Results
- Federal Low Recoil 165-grain JHP, 965 fps: 3.0 inches
- Winchester USA 230-grain JHP, 820 fps: 3.4 inches
- Hornady Critical Defense 185-grain FTX, 953 fps: 2.6 inches
I got this gun for use on the 2019 season of “Handguns & Defensive Weapons,” and the first time I shot the Commander it simply refused to chamber Hornady’s 185-grain XTP load but had no problems with other ammo. It ran flawlessly in our filming sessions, and during the accuracy testing I had one of the Federal rounds fail to fully chamber. Prior to sending the pistol back I tried the Hornady XTPs again, and they chambered just fine.
Both the chamber and the feed ramp are nicely polished, and I wouldn’t anticipate feeding problems to be a recurring thing, although it’s possible you’ll find a load it won’t like. Just be sure the gun is broken in before you can say yea or nay on a particular load.
All in all, I’d say the Taurus Commander delivers. Remember, despite all the hoopla surrounding the 9mm and 10mm, the .45 ACP isn’t any less effective than it’s ever been, and there are still tons of loads out there for defense and recreational shooting. With the Commander you get .45 ACP power in a slightly smaller package, making it a decent option for concealed carry or home defense—and certainly just a fun gun to shoot.
Taurus 1911 Commander Specifications Type
: 1911 w/full-length guide rodCaliber
: .45 ACPCapacity
: 4.2 in.OAL/Height/Width
: 8.0/5.8/1.3 in.Weight
: 38 oz.Construction
: matte black steel slide and frameGrips
: double-diamond black plasticTrigger
: 3 hole; 6 lb., 2 oz. pull (measured)Sights
: Novak drift-adjustable 3-dotSafeties
: extended single-side thumb, grip w/memory bump, firing pinPrice
: Taurus, TaurusUSA.com