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Just picked up this made in 1968 Colt Lightweight Commander. It's scratched up and has junky plastic grips on it. It functions/runs great with ball ammo, haven't tried hollow points yet. I got it from a friend for almost nothing and saw online that in decent shape they go for pretty good money.
My dilemma is what to do with it. I was thinking of sending it off and having the slide milled and putting some Henie sights on it and maybe getting the action looked at/worked on. In all honesty it has great trigger. The safety seems smooth but goes down slightly past the point of disengagement almost like a third notch.
If I do the sights will it ruin any value it might have as an original older LW Commander? Should I refinish it or leave as is? I am ordering some new grips, planning on a dark wood (will look at a few different ones).
Open to all opinions and ideas from all the 1911 aficionados here.

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Posts: 164 | Location: South Florida | Registered: December 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hmmmm. Did you acquire it for “investment value”?
It looks pretty much shooter grade to me so I’d fix it up the way I’d like it. I like your choice of sights, I put exactly those on my Dan Wesson!
Someone may be along to advise you to change the hammer and/or the grip safety to avoid hammer bite….. if it doesn’t bite, don’t change them.
Do you ride the thumb safety when you shoot? They’re not difficult to replace and it sounds like that one is worn or poorly fitted. I like the Harrison design ones. Since it was a good deal and considering the cosmetics, I’d merely make it fit me and use it w/ abandon! Have fun.

(I have a circa 80’s Gold Cup that is cosmetically challenged. A large part of it’s appeal to me is I don’t have to baby it so I use it a lot)
 
Posts: 45 | Location: NEPA | Registered: February 28, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I sent a 1991 commander I picked up cheap to Colts custom shop for their model O package a while back. While there they upgraded to Novak style sights, steel trigger and msh and gold cup style front grip serrations. Also added a national match factory barrel and part of the package was slight mag bevel and ejection port clean up and tuning of the extractor. Cost less than $1k then and included a bright blue factory re blue upgrade from the crappy parkerised like finish. Just wanted to keep it all colt. They also sold me a new slide with old style roll marks and sent the old slide back. Only took about 9 months of wait. This would early 20-teens. Haven’t priced their work lately. Back then they had an a-La cart style checklist you could choose from
 
Posts: 4239 | Location: Florida Panhandle  | Registered: November 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I should add that I bought it to shoot and sometimes carry.I will look into the Colt Custom shop and have been looking at what other gunsmiths and shops offer. I am partial to the Heinie straight eight sights. I have them on my duty gun and guns I carry the most frequently (other than my j frame).
 
Posts: 164 | Location: South Florida | Registered: December 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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IMO, give it a total strip down and cleaning, respring it and put a set of period factory stocks on it and leave it be.
 
Posts: 788 | Location: Midwest | Registered: April 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Alyron - Hi. If you want a modern 1911, buy a modern 1911. Any permanent modifications made to your 1968 Colt will reduce the pistol's current value. Adding insult to injury, should you ever decided to sell you likely wouldn't even recoup the cost of the modifications. From a reliability standpoint, a 1968 model may or may not digest HP's making it less than ideal for even casual carry. Unless you know your way around the 1911, you could easily find yourself investing a pile of money chasing function and reliability.
 
Posts: 3313 | Location: Western PA | Registered: July 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Congrats on that 1911!

How many rounds have you put through it? I’d suggest at least 200 (honestly, more like 500 but I know that’s a pile of brass and cash these days) before doing anything to it beyond changing the grips. Do see how it runs with some JHPs if that’s what you’d plan to carry in it defensively.



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Posts: 6526 | Registered: September 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just bought a Lightweight Commander Series 80. Previous owner gun plumbered it up and removed the Series 80 drop safety system. But it shoots great! Mine looks similar to yours. I Novaks on it and plan to leave it as is.


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Posts: 14226 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That honestly doesn't look that bad. I would not refinish it...just give it a good cleaning and lube and put some nice grip panels on it.

I would definitely replace the safety...it sounds like it's not right, and I'm not a huge fan of those tiny levers anyway. You have a huge variety of options to pick from to suit your preference. Plus, you can keep the original and include it with the gun or pop it back in if you ever decide to sell.

As to the sights, that's a harder one as you'd have to make permanent chages to the gun to fit them. I agree with TheFrontRange...I'd shoot it some and see how they worked for me. If they work well, then leave it alone. If they don't work out well, then I'd have to ask the question: do I own this to be an investment that I occasionally take to the range, or am I going to use it a serious tool? If the former, I'd leave them alone and just do my best to tolerate them. If the latter, I'd get that slide cut and put something on there that's a better fit for my intended use.
 
Posts: 6300 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you bought it to carry and shoot, resale value wouldn’t concern me. If it were mine, I’d upgrade the sights, change out the safety (partial to Ed Brown myself), change out the trigger and install fresh springs. Do what works for you!


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Posts: 8648 | Location: UT | Registered: December 05, 1999Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'd send it to Colt for an upgrade and then carry it. After you leave planet Earth let your estate worry about weather it was a good investment.


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Posts: 997 | Registered: June 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don’t think you should refinish it, especially if you’re going to carry it. Definitely have the safety looked at to make sure it’s good to go. As for the sights, if it’s the old style serrated front ramp I would keep as is, but that’s my preference.

In regards to grips, I have two sets of Ahrends double diamond checkered stocks (one in gaboon ebony, the other in walnut). If you would like either, my email is in my profile. Let me know and I can send them out next week.
 
Posts: 143 | Registered: May 16, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Lots of character on that old Colt, personally I wouldn't change anything other than the grips - not a fan.
 
Posts: 2003 | Location: Atlanta, GA | Registered: February 24, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RB211:
Lots of character on that old Colt, personally I wouldn't change anything other than the grips - not a fan.


I agree^
 
Posts: 1067 | Location: Southern Illinois | Registered: November 17, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the advice all-
Bonanacroin-email coming.
I'm going to give it a good cleaning, change the grips and safety (I've done it before and am familiar with fitting them).
Then I'm going to shoot it with a bunch of different ammo (try some defensive/HP rounds).
Then depending on how it goes I will make further decisions about what else to do to it.
HJS- I definitely understand it is not a modern gun and don't plan to turn it into one. I'm the kind of guy that "restomods" stuff. I actually like older things with patina and character but do modernize them for safety and convenience. Drove a 1959 Porsche 356A for a few years that was updated with disc brakes and upgraded tranny but kept the original paint and only fixed up interior to repair upholstery etc.(Kick myself all the time for selling that one)
I will update the thread as I go along if anybody is interested.
 
Posts: 164 | Location: South Florida | Registered: December 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was going to ask and still will, what do you think you will feel about it five years from now? Glad you left it stock to get your money back and move on, or have fixed it up like I did mine and consider it a Keeper?

No matter what, those grips have to go, stock or decorative.
 
Posts: 3114 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not sure how I will feel about it in 5 years but know I will still own it. I'm no youngster and have several guns for well over 20-25 years. My first duty gun from 1991 (I'm a LEO) was a P228. About 3 years in I walked into a friend's gun shop and swapped it for another one in better shape that I then carried another year or so and still have it. I still carry it off duty at times.
Not really worried about getting my money back as I got this 1911 for almost nothing from a friend. Still might throw some money into it depending on how well it shoots with hollow points and if I then find a holster for it that works for me.
I usually don't sell my guns- the only ones I've gotten rid of over the years were ones that I got from friends or acquaintances that were ones I wouldn't normally buy or weren't on "my list" of guns I want. This 1911 Commander was a gun I always wanted but never ended up buying before.
 
Posts: 164 | Location: South Florida | Registered: December 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Shoot it and enjoy it. Gorgeous pistol.


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Posts: 2946 | Registered: February 27, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, then, make it yours. Mine has very minor modifications, bigger sights but fixed in the factory dovetail so I did not have to pay a hundred bucks to have it machined for something fashionable; hammer, trigger, grip safety.
 
Posts: 3114 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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About the only thing I 'might' consider doing to that Colt (beyond a thorough clean/lube and replacing the Grips, Springs, etc) would be to consider bead blasting of the matte parts of the Frame, if it's current condition bothered me.


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Posts: 6434 | Location: New Hampshire | Registered: October 29, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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