Tag Archives: handguns

Pocket Pistol Week — Beretta Tomcat


Original “thin-slide” Beretta 3032 Tomcat from 1997 — second year of production

No discussion of pocket pistols is complete without bringing up Beretta. And no discussion of Beretta pocket pistols is complete without reference to Beretta’s famous tip-barrel designs. Beretta’s most famous pocket pistol was the Model 418, which began life shortly after World War I as the Beretta Model 1920. The Model 418 is a blow-back design chambered in .25 ACP/6.35x16mmSR (SR = Semi-Rimmed cartridge). This pistol was discontinued in the mid-1950s, with production running concurrently for a few years with its successor, the Beretta Model 950 Jetfire introduced in 1952.

The Model 950 offered several improvements and features unavailable in the Model 418. The most obvious of these design changes was the implementation of a tip-barrel. The semiautomatic pistol could still be loaded using the standard method of inserting a loaded magazine, racking the slide to chamber a round, then removing the magazine to top it off before reinserting it back into the magazine well. Or, you could now insert a fully loaded magazine, push forward on the side-mounted thumb lever, which released the barrel and allowed it pivot upward from the muzzle end.  This presented the exposed breech to the shooter. With the breech tipped up, the shooter simply drops in a cartridge, then, pushes down on the rear of the barrel until it locks back into place.

Barrel tipped for breech loading

Why a tipping barrel? It can be a trial to rack the slide of small semiautomatics because of their limited grip surface. Additionally, people with weak hands may not be able to overcome the tension of the recoil and hammer/striker springs to chamber a round from a magazine. The Model 950 addressed these obstacles by borrowing the tip-barrel design from an earlier pistol, the Steyr Pieper Model 1908. With the advent of the Model 950 almost anyone could now operate a semiautomatic pistol, although in a caliber that left much to be desired. As for the 950’s trigger, it’s single-action and the weapon has no safety. That means that the hammer must be manually cocked before the gun can fire. This can be done from a half-cocked safety position.

Alas, because of its small size the Model 950 was banned from importation into the U.S. following passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act, and no one in the U.S made anything comparable until Beretta began producing the Beretta Model 20 from 1983 until 1985 at a Maryland-based manufacturing facility. The Model 20 is a refinement of the Model 950. While the Model 20 retained the tip-up barrel, the trigger was now double-action/single-action and the pistol came with a manual safety that allowed the Model 20 to be carried cocked-and-locked. Want to decock the weapon . . . safely? Tilt up the barrel to get the loaded cartridge away from any potential firing pin contact, placed your thumb on the hammer spur, pull the trigger, and gently ride the hammer to the decocked position.

3032 Tomcat cocked-and-locked

3032 Tomcat in double-action, safety off

After only two years of U.S. production the Model 21A Bobcat replaced the Model 20 in 1985. The Model 21A was available in both .25 ACP/6.35x16mmSR and .22 LR/5.6x15mmR (R = Rimmed cartridge). Some differences between the Model 21A and its predecessor:

  • An increase in grip length and girth
  • Increase in weight
  • Improved manual safety
  • Addition of a half-cock position
  • Matte finish replacing the previous high-gloss bluing
  • Stainless “INOX” version

However, if you thought .380 ACP/9mm kurz was a hard self-defense sell in the 1980s at around 200 ft. lbs./270 joules of muzzle energy, just imagine trying to convince buyers that 65 ft. lbs./88 joules is somehow adequate. The .22 LR/5.6mm was great for cheap range enjoyment, but not many people consider .25 ACP/6.35mm much more than an expensive novelty. And while Beretta had once produced a tip-barrel .380 ACP/9mm kurz version of the Cheetah designated the Model 86 (see: Shooting a Pair of Cheetahs — Comparing the Beretta 84FS and 85FS), it was several inches longer and taller, much wider, and over twice as heavy than the diminutive Bobcat.

If .25 ACP doesn’t sell, and a weapon designed for .380 ACP is too large for the intended tip-barrel pocket pistol market, what’s the solution? How about a cartridge that fits nicely between the two — the .32 ACP/7.65x17mmSR Browning at 130 ft. lbs./176 joules. This would place into the Bobcat design the cartridge for which the Walther PP and PPK were originally designed (see: The Perfect Fashion Accessory—Walther PPK in .32 ACP), and in a package much smaller and at almost half the weight of the Walther. The slide mass was increased. The frame was strengthened by making the trigger guard a thicker, molded part of the frame rather than the Bobcat’s separate, thin piece of metal that also acted as a spring to automatically rotate the barrel upward upon release. The total weight from the Bobcat increased approximately 1.5 ounces/43 grams, but the Bobcat’s length, width, and height were retained in a pistol with a new name and model number.

Thus, eleven years after the Bobcat debuted, the beefed up .32 ACP Beretta 3032 Tomcat arrived. Too bad all that engineering didn’t work.

While the mass of the slide was increased to handle a cartridge with twice the power of the .25 ACP, and the frame strengthened with the revised trigger guard, these modifications still weren’t enough for the frame to reliably handle the battering from the slide. Internal cracking of the frame just above the trigger began showing up in many of the original Tomcats. These cracks were in a non-structural portion of the frame, but that did nothing to alleviate concerns from unhappy owners; and if the cracked metal displaced upward even slightly, the damaged frame would rub against the slide preventing proper cycling and causing jams.

Quick and easy disassembly

The solution was to increase the slide mass even more to further reduce slide velocity. The result was the Beretta 3032 “wide slide” Tomcat. But not only was the slide widened, now matching the width of the grips, the side rails of the slide were also raised. The raised rail on the right side of the pistol is lowered forward of the breech face to accommodate ejection of the spent casing. If you happen upon a used Tomcat and want to know if it is an early version or a later wide-slide variant, just look for this area on the right side (see the photos below). On an original 3032 the right-side rail will have a uniform height the entire length. The wide-slide right rail will be lowered forward of the breech face.

Original “thin-slide” and newer “wide-slide”

Slide-by-slide comparison

Thin-slide Tomcat left; wide-slide Tomcat right

Now for some interesting design notes and observations:

  1. The Tomcat is a true blow back design, clear down to case ejection. Look at the tipped-up barrel and you’ll notice something is missing. There’s no extractor. The spent case is blown out of the barrel rather than being pulled out at the end of an extractor hook
  2. The closed barrel is under tension from a leaf spring in the frame, so when the barrel release lever is pushed the barrel pivots upward with enough velocity to toss a loaded cartridge right out of the chamber. Considering that a standard “tap-rack-bang” drill won’t work in a gun that lacks an extractor, this is a rather ingenious solution to quickly removing a dud cartridge.
  3. The Tomcat lacks a decock, but that’s not a problem. If you want to safely decock the loaded weapon, just tilt the barrel, pull the trigger, and gently lower the hammer with your thumb (Beretta recommends against dry fire, so don’t let the hammer just fall). Using this procedure, it’s not even necessary to remove a loaded magazine to safely decock the weapon. Once the Tomcat is decocked, just push the barrel with the chambered round back into place.
  4. One other “missing” piece. Below is an image of the exposed frame and the underside of the slide. Notice that there is no recoil spring? Actually, there are two of them, but they are hidden behind the grips. When the slide travels rearward, two slots on the underneath sides of the slide engage levers on either side of the frame above the grips.  These levers compress the hidden recoil springs downward.

Under side of slide; exposed frame

The Tomcat has quickly become one of my favorite weapons, but it isn’t without at least two glaring drawbacks:

  1. Once again, we get from the manufacturer a pistol with only one magazine. That, in my view, is totally unacceptable. Minimum should be three (thank you, FN and SIG), even though the industry standard appears to be two (just about everyone else, including Colt with their 1911/1991 models and Beretta on most of their other pistols). On the plus side, unlike the Colt Mustang shown Monday (see: Pocket Pistol Week — Colt Mustang), the sole magazine included with the Tomcat actually worked.

    One magazine? Are you kidding me?

  2. As with the Colt Mustang, the sights on the Tomcat are terrible. On the early Tomcat I fired for this article, the black-on-black front/rear sight combination is terrible. The stainless-on-black front/rear combination on the INOX wide-slides are better, but not by much. Like the Colt, the front sights on these Tomcats will at some point receive a higher visibility paint treatment. Too bad Beretta have discontinued the Alley Cat night-sighted version of the Tomcat.

    Not bad considering the dismal sights

I think I just heard a collective gasp. Many of you are probably under the impression that Beretta quit making the Tomcat. Not true. Refer to the photo below. The matte black original is from the second year of production, 1997. The INOX all-natural finish Tomcat is from 2016. The INOX two-tone variant comes from this year’s batch. Apparently, Beretta U.S. still manufacture these wonderful little packages of unique shooting pleasure in small runs about once or so a year. The same is true of the .22 LR and .25 ACP Bobcat. If you want either, make sure you tell your favorite local gun store to reserve one for you when they come out. All three of the 2017 Tomcats and the single .22 LR Bobcat received by my favorite store (Collector’s Gun Exchange) went in less than a week, and another store I routinely patronize hasn’t been able to obtain any.

Original Tomcat, 1997; Two-tone INOX, 2017; All-natural INOX, 2016

By now you’re asking how the Tomcat shoots. Like a dream. Recoil is incredibly light. Reacquisition of target is quick and easy, despite the rather lacking sights. The heavier Walther PPK in .32 ACP might win in a direct comparison of these two factors, but not by much; and the Walther certainly loses out to the Tomcat in size, weight, and concealability. I’ve yet to test the slightly heavier wide-slides, but even with the 14.38-ounce/408-gram original version Tomcat absolutely no problems staying on paper. And that slide cracking issue on the originals? This 1997 showed no signs of having this problem. Beretta’s manual recommends that ammunition for the Tomcat be restricted to no more than 130 ft. lbs. /176 joules of energy, so that’s what I used with no ill effects on the weapon. On Friday I’ll be comparing the double-action/single-action trigger of the Tomcat to the single-action only trigger of the Colt Mustang.

For someone who lacks the strength or grip to manipulate the slide of a semiautomatic, yet doesn’t want the wide bulk and low capacity of a five-round revolver, the Tomcat offers a perfect solution — the tip-up barrel with breech loading. Capacity is adequate at 7+1, and certainly more than adequate when carrying a spare magazine or two. Some will criticize the .32 ACP for being a “mouse gun” caliber, but that’s simply ignorance speaking. European police and military forces used the .32 ACP with quite satisfactory results for the better part of a century.

A quick word about .32 ACP “rim lock”: The .32 ACP/7.65x17mmSR, as noted above, is a semi-rimmed cartridge. Being semi-rimmed, it is possible to insert cartridges into a magazine in such a manner that an upper cartridge seats behind the cartridge below it. In this case, the rim of the upper cartridge would not smoothly glide over the lower cartridge and into the chamber, but rather “lock” rims and jam the magazine solid. This is known as “rim lock”. Below are two photos of stacked .32 ACP cartridges. The top photo shows the cartridges in proper alignment as they would be if correctly loaded into a magazine. The second photo shows a “rim lock” configuration, in which the top cartridge would be prevented from passing over the lower one on its way to being stripped from the magazine and loaded into the chamber. In my opinion this is not likely to occur in the Tomcat, as the angle of the magazine should be more than enough to prevent this during loading. I suppose given a sufficiently short bullet, as with some hollow-point profiles, that a lower cartridge in the stack could conceivably get ahead of the one above it, but I doubt it. At any rate, care should be taken during loading a magazine designed for any semi-rimmed cartridge, which besides .32 ACP also includes .25 ACP, .38 ACP, and .38 Super.

Proper alignment

Rim lock alignment

Will the Tomcat replace as my primary carry choice the 9mm Walther P99c AS (see: When Fashion Goes Macho—Walther P99c AS in 9mm)? No. Will it replace as my P99c AS alternative, more concealable backups, the .32 ACP Walther PPK and .380 ACP Walther PPK/S? Will the Colt Mustang win out over both Walthers and the Beretta? Tune in Friday for the answer to that question.

Beretta 3032 Tomcat specifications:

  • Trigger: Double-action/single-action; cocked-and-locked capable
  • Caliber: .32 ACP/7.65 mm
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • Steel slide, alloy frame
  • Length: 4.92 inches/125 millimeters
  • Width: 1.1 inches/28 mm
  • Height: 3.7 inches/94 mm
  • Weight with empty 7-round magazine (as measured by the author):
    • Early thin-slide Tomcat 14.38 ounces/408 grams
    • Later wide-slide Tomcat 15.72 ounces/446 grams
  • Barrel length: 2.4 inches/61 mm

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Pocket Pistol Week — Colt Mustang


What’s in the Box: Colt Mustang Lite .380 ACP/9mm kurz, one magazine, safety lock, and a nice zippered gun pouch

This is Pocket Pistol Week. I’ll return to travel and photography next Monday, but today we’re taking an in-depth look at the latest iteration of the Colt Mustang. Wednesday’s mystery pocket pistol is going to be a bit of a surprise, especially if you’re one of the many people who believe that Wednesday’s pistol is no longer in production. And on Fun Firearms Friday both pistols are going head-to-head on the range for a direct comparison, as well as a size comparison to the most famous and probably the most prolific pocket pistols ever made, the Walther PPK and PPK/S (see: The Perfect Fashion Accessory—Walther PPK in .32 ACP).

Before the Mustang there was the Colt MK IV Series 80 Government Model 380, which first came to market in 1984.  This pistol was, not surprisingly considering the name, chambered in .380 ACP/9mm kurz. The Colt Government 380 was a scaled-down version of Colt’s famous M1911 design, but without the grip safety. Alas, the Colt Government wasn’t much of an improvement in either size or weight over other .380 ACP/9mm kurz pistols long established in this market segment. The competition included such .380 ACP stalwarts as Walther’s PPK and PPK/S, SIG’s P230/232 line, and Beretta’s slightly larger but elegantly satisfying Cheetah series. The milder recoil of the Colt’s locked breech design was nice, but not enough to become a serious contender in the .380 ACP market.

So, two years later Colt’s Government 380 underwent further reduction in both size and weight, but at the cost of losing one round of capacity in the process. The smaller pistol’s design was also simplified with the elimination of the barrel bushing and other changes. Thus was born a true “pocket pistol”, the lightweight Colt Mustang. But as interest in the .380 ACP/9mm kurz waned in the 1990s, so too did the fortunes of the Mustang. Add to this some serious quality control issues and a bad reputation for reliability, and the Mustang was discontinued without much remorse in the mid to late 1990s.

Under side of the slide; exposed frame

But a funny thing happened to the .380 ACP on the way toward obsolescence. Not only did older .380 ACP designs such as the Walther PPK/S and the SIG P230/232 continue somewhat steady sales, but by now Bersa’s Thunder had entered the market and began posing a serious, low-cost alternative to both Walther and SIG. Then, in 2003, a new pocket pistol was introduced that really ramped up the resurgence of the .380 ACP. That weapon was the Kel-Tec P-3AT double-action only pocket pistol. Whereas the PPK/S and Thunder were recoil unfriendly blow back-design beasts in .380 ACP, the P-3AT had a very controllable locked breach design that proved that the .380 ACP could be tamed to the point of pleasantness, reliable in a locked breach weapon, and much more easily concealed than its larger, heavier blow back cousins. The explosion in states allowing for concealed carry also paved the way for this resurgence, as many people simply don’t want conceal much larger weapons in the more powerful 9mm Parabellum cartridge.

Disassembled Mustang Lite — breakdown and reassembly are a snap

To add even further insult to Colt, another manufacturer took that old Colt Mustang design and got it to work quite reliably. The SIG P238, an almost direct steal of the Mustang, made its debut in 2009. Like the Mustang that preceded it, the P238 was based on Colt’s 1911 and sported the same recoil-reducing locked breach design. The P238 even kept the Mustang’s original 6+1 capacity. Sales took off, enough so that SIG discontinued the previously popular P232 in 2015. The recoil from the .380 ACP in an 18.5-ounce/520-gram blow back P232 was simply no competition for the much softer recoil from the much lighter 15.2-ounce/430-gram SIG P238 and its locked breach design. The SIG P238 became an instant hit.

With the sudden popularity in SIG’s version of the old Mustang, Colt reintroduced their pistol in 2011. And Colt learned from their past mistakes, actually making a reliable version this time around using advanced CNC machining while instituting much better quality control over the final product.

Factory 6+1 magazine and after-market 7+1 magazine

Not happy with merely improving the quality of the reintroduced Mustang, Colt now turned their attention to actually improving the design as well. Within two years Colt introduced a polymer framed Mustang called the Mustang XSP and sold it alongside the one-ounce/28-gram heavier alloy framed Mustang Pocketlite version.

The Mustang XSP is no more, but the polymer framed Mustang still exists today as the Mustang Lite. And since the Lite frame has steel rail inserts, the pistol should be more durable than the alloy frame Mustang Pocketlite despite the fact that the Lite is an ounce lighter.

The 7+1 adds an inch in height

I’ve not fired the Pocketlite, but I can tell you that the Lite is so tame and easily controlled that I don’t see the need for that extra ounce of weight. Let’s make a direct comparison with an earlier, heavier, blow back design. I have almost 35 years of experience shooting the .380 ACP version of the Walther PPK/S, which at 23.6 ounces/670 grams is almost twice the weight of the Mustang Lite’s 12.58 ounces/357 grams total weight including an empty magazine. The PPK/S has far more snap, demonstrates much more muzzle rise, and takes longer to reacquire the target for a follow-up shot than does the Mustang Lite. The PPK/S becomes a chore to shoot after only a few magazines. Although the long-tang redesign of the discontinued Smith & Wesson PPK/S variant helped immensely in this area, even that variation can become painful much over fifty rounds. Not so with the Mustang. This is an all-day shooter. There is simply no comparison. Not only is the Mustang smaller, lighter, and easier to conceal, it’s also a better shooter. Look for a description of the trigger performance on Friday’s comparison with Wednesday’s mystery gun.

Alas, all is not peaches-‘n’-cream. Every gun has a downside, and the Mustang has several.

First, the sights are horrendous. They are small and ridiculously difficult to see even under the best of lighting, and they’re certainly not adequate for anything beyond perhaps 21 feet/6.4 meters, the standard self-defense training distance. The front sight on my Mustang Lite is going to receive some high-visibility paint in the very near future, but for now I rate the sights as barely above worthless. Here you can see what I mean with my test target from the range:

All over the place, but still on paper

Second is a problem with Colt’s Manufacturing. The Mustang only ships with one magazine, and the included six-round magazine didn’t even work. The top cartridge consistently nose-dived into the feed ramp, making chambering even one round impossible. Fortunately, I had ordered several after-market seven-round magazines from Metalform. Had those aftermarket magazines not arrived in time for my range trip comparison between the Mustang and Wednesday’s mystery pistol, the Colt would have received a failing grade by default. Colt was contacted almost seven weeks ago and said they would ship a replacement, but that shipment would be delayed awaiting availability. Here it is almost two months later and I’m still waiting. I’m glad I didn’t wait to acquire those three Metalform magazines ($18.99 through CDNNSports.com), or this firearm would be nothing more than an overpriced paperweight.

One magazine just doesn’t cut it, especially when it doesn’t work

A word about Metalform’s magazines: CDNNSports lists these magazines as “Original Equipment”, which leads me to suspect that Metalform may be the OEM supplier to Colt. The followers on the Metalforms appear identical to the magazine supplied by Colt, so that is a distinct possibility. Unfortunately, the 7+1 Metalforms come with a ridiculously long finger rest that adds an inch to the overall height of the weapon.

Mustang Lite specifications:

  • Trigger: Single-action
  • Caliber: .380 ACP/9mm kurz
  • Capacity: 6+1 (factory-included magazine)
  • Stainless steel slide, polymer frame
  • Length: 5.5 inches/140 millimeters
  • Width: 1.06 inches/27 mm
  • Height with flat-based 6-round magazine: 3.9 inches/99 mm
  • Weight with empty 6-round magazine (as measured by the author): 12.58 ounces/357 grams
  • Barrel length: 2.75 inches/70 mm

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Colt’s Series 70 Trigger Put to the Test — Series 70 vs. Series 80


Colt's Custom Shop Mk. IV Series 70 in stainless

Colt’s Custom Shop Mk. IV Series 70 in stainless

On Monday I posted an initial look at the Colt Mk. IV Series 70 — a current version from Colt’s Custom Shop.  In that article I explained how the Series 70 came about, how the Series 70 firing system differs from the Series 80 system used in Colt M1911 pistols since 1983, and why Colt reintroduced the Series 70 in limited runs beginning in 2001.

Colt M1991A1 (blue, top); Colt Mk. IV Series 70 (stainless, bottom)

Colt Mk. IV Series 70 (stainless); Colt M1991A1 (blue)

In the M1911 world, there is a persistent, often repeated claim that the Series 70 firing system results in a superior trigger to the much maligned Series 80 system.  But does this claim hold validity when put to the test?

Mk. IV Series 70 versus M1991A1 Series 80

Mk. IV Series 70 versus M1991A1 Series 80

To find out I took a new, fresh from the box Colt Mk. IV Series 70 .45 ACP and directly compared the trigger to three Series 80 pistols.  The video below shows how the Series 70 stacked up against a blued, 2014-vintage Colt M1991A1 Series 80 .45 ACP.  Not in the video — but also used in comparison — were two unfired Colt M1991A1 Series 80 pistols.  One is another blued .45 ACP identical to the test pistol but of slightly later vintage; the other is stainless and chambered in .38 Super +P (see: Stainless Colt .38 Super +P M1991A1 — How do you go bankrupt making something this good?).  Here are all four Colts posing for a family portrait:

Colt Mk. IV Series 70 swimming against school of M1991A1

Colt Mk. IV Series 70 swimming against school of M1991A1

This was a pretty simple test of triggers, and admittedly perhaps a bit subjective as I used no measuring equipment in this test.  On each cocked weapon I depressed the grip safety, took up the trigger slack, and then slowly and carefully squeezed the trigger until the sear tripped and the hammer fell.  I took video of the first test, which pitted the Mk. IV Series 70 against the aforementioned M1991A1.  This particular M1991A1 has perhaps 100 rounds of .45 ACP through it, so break-in shouldn’t have been a factor.  The results of this test were thus:

I was pretty shocked at the results of this comparison.  I previously reviewed the M1991A1 used in the above video (see: A 1911 by Any Other Name Would Be . . . an M1991A1 — Shooting Review), so I already knew that the Series 80 trigger is one of the best I’ve ever encountered in a semiautomatic.  In that article I said of the Series 80 firing pin block and the reported effect on the trigger:

That last Series 80 feature is a bit controversial. Some claim that it unnecessarily complicated the original design, degraded the trigger by making it stiffer and adding an almost imperceptible (in my view) amount of trigger creep before the hammer trips, and gunsmiths complained that the new design is more difficult to tune to competition standards. My personal opinion? It’s still one of the best triggers out there, and according to my research any gunsmith worthy of the title will be able to tune your trigger with just a bit more effort. But even out of the box, I’d be hard pressed to understand why anyone would think this weapon needs any tuning whatsoever. If the shooter can’t hold this weapon on target, then it’s the shooter who has a problem rather than the trigger and firing system on this weapon.

Still, after having read so many Colt M1911 purists touting the Series 70’s superiority, I thought there was a chance that this particular M1991A1 was perhaps exceptional.  I was wrong.  Compared to the two additional comparisons I ran on the second and third unfired M1991A1 pistols, the one with some rounds through it wasn’t even quite as good.  Darn close, mind you, but it has just a hint of creep between slack take-up and sear trip.  The other pistols had none . . . at least none that I could feel, and the .38 Super +P was the best of the lot as the trigger was noticeably lighter than either of the other two Series 80 pistols or the Mk. IV Series 70.

Is three against one fair fight? Apparently not!

Is three against one fair fight? Apparently not!

Incredibly, the Mk. IV Series 70 was the worst of the lot.  But even the worst M1911 trigger bests pretty much anything else out there in the semiautomatic world.  From the descriptions I’ve read of the Series 80 trigger I expected all three would in comparison be stiffer, display more creep, and exhibit at least a degree of grittiness.  But this wasn’t the case on two of the Series 80s, and on the third the ever-so-slight trigger creep and any “grittiness” were noticeably less than that of the Series 70.  In quantifiable terms, the Series 70 crept for between ⅛ to ¼ inch (3.2mm to 6.3mm) from slack take-up to sear trip, and there was a faintly detectable grittiness to the feel.  The M1991A1 in the video in comparison had less than ⅛ inch creep (in other words, nearly none), and no grittiness in the feel of the trigger.

The Series 80 Competition

The Series 80 Competition

So, is the Mk. IV Series 70 from Colt’s Custom Shop worth the price premium over a Series 80 M1991A1, or even the slightly more expensive Series 80 M1911A1?  Not if you’re looking for a better out-of-the-box trigger, because this isn’t it.

Is the Mk. IV Series 70 worth the premium to round out a Colt Collection?  Probably.  If you can get the price down from the MSRP.  This is especially the case now that Colt have reduced the MSRP on the M1991A1.  When I first reviewed the M1991A1 the MSRP was $974, and the pistol reviewed was purchased for $950.  Now MSRP on the M1991A1 is $799, and the unfired example in today’s post was snagged for $775.  The somewhat rare stainless chambered in .38 Super +P cost $900 back in June.

In comparison, MSRP for the Mk. IV Series 70 is $979 (at the time of this writing), but it seems prices are falling since the purchase of this example for a buck more than the MSRP (and some $200 less than the gun store was originally asking because of its exclusive, hard-to-get nature).  Probably because of Colt’s recent excursion into bankruptcy, you can find Mk. IV Series 70 pistols at online gun stores for well south of $900, and is some cases even below the $850 mark.  That makes this a good time to add one to the collection, as these pistols were going from several hundreds of dollars more just a few months ago before Colt’s recent bankruptcy announcement.

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