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Colt Lightweight Commander mfg date confusion

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by Henry's Dad, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Henry's Dad

    Henry's Dad woof, woof

    Likes Received:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Upriver of 3 Mile Island
    Hi all,

    I have (what I thought was) a Colt Lightweight Commander (CLWxxxxxx serial #).

    Colt's website lookup service tells me it is a "1969 COMMANDER." Not lightweight commander, just commander.

    Yet my understanding is that Colt "Commanders" were made until 1969, then they split into "Combat Commanders" and "Lightweight Commanders" beginning in 1970.

    I assumed the "CLW" prefix was specifically for Colt Lightweight Commander, so I'm confused that Colt's site would tell me the gun was from 1969.

    Was "CLW" used in pre-1969 Commander serial #s? If so, I guess this gun would be a last-year production of the "Commander" before they made the model differentiation.

    I can see how a "1970 model-year" gun could be made in 1969 (and then retailed in 1970 as the first year of sales), but if that's the case, what do I call my gun, a 1969 or a 1970 production?

    Is it date of production or date of hitting the market that matters?

  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    Likes Received:
    Jul 10, 2001
    Going by the Shooter's Bible, as late as 1974 they were still listing the original Commander as such alongside the steel framed Combat Commander.
    By 1978 they had gone to Lightweight Commander and Combat Commander designations. I do not have books for the intervening years.

    Looks to me like it took them a while to realize they were going to have to explain things to their customers, not an immediate shift as soon as the Combat Commander came out.