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Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

Overview
Testers

Doug Wall
Stephen Archer

Caliber

.177 BB

Model Number

2254028

Test Date

April 20, 2018

Serial Numbers

17J11589

Source of Supply

Supplied by Umarex USA

Condition

New

We Like

Long, powerful blowback.
Good shot count.
Outstanding realism.

We Don't Like

Low FPS.
Gas leak from blowback.
Wrong BB loading instructions.

HAM Rating
Value for Money
100%
Comparison to Makers Claims
100%
Consistency
100%
Appearance and Finish
100%
Buying and Owning
90%
Realism, Looks Feel
100%
Realism - Trigger, Action
100%
Accuracy and Point of Aim
80%
Shot Count
70%
Muzzle Velocity
60%
Hard Air Magazine Test Conclusions

The Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol is all about blowback!

This gun gives one of the strongest blowback actions we've tested at HAM. The slide travel is very long and realistic and the shot count good. But it's purchased at the cost of a relatively low FPS and a lot of CO2 leakage.

This is a highly-realistic replica of the Colt 1911A1 firearm. As such it will be an ideal training and practice tool for owners of the firearm. It's also great fun for plinking at soda cans at ranges of 6 Feet or so.

The Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol gains a coveted HAM Gold Award for its performance in this test.

93%
HAM Rating
You have rated this
Full Review

VALUE FOR MONEY

The Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol is a fully-functional replica of the 1911 pistol. It combines a strong blowback action and fair shot count with outstanding realism.

With a current Street Price of $109.99, the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol is up against many other high quality replica BB pistols at a similar price. In this market, the standards are amazingly high for such low prices. Yet the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol still offers great value for anyone wanting a 1911-type firearms replica air pistol.

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Colt Commander CO2 Pistol
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Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

HAM Test Rating93%
Value For MoneyGreat blowback action, very realistic
Firearm it CopiesColt 1911
Best BB TestedCrosman Copperhead BBs
Street Price at Time of Test$109.99.
Ammo Type.177 caliber steel BBs.
Power Source1 x 12 Gram CO2 cartridge.
Useful Shots per FillAbout 64.

 

REALISM – LOOKS AND FEEL

The level of realism displayed by the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol is truly exceptional. Looks, weight, handling and feel are all identical to a 1911A1 firearm. Operation is also identical, with functional slide release, manual safety, grip safety and magazine release.

One valuable feature that’s by no means universal on CO2-powered blowback pistols is that the slide locks back when the magazine is empty. Again, exactly like the firearms original, of course.

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

This is an all metal gun, only the grips are plastic. It certainly feels very good in the hand, handling and pointing just like the firearm.

To be very picky, the black grips of the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol  are not commonly seen on black frame 1911s. Wood-effect, or at least brown grips would be closer to the “real thing”.

While the trigger and hammer are exactly as found on the Colt Commander firearm, the overall length of the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol is not the same as the Commander firearm. This BB pistol is 8 1/2-inches long – that’s the same as the regular Government Model. The firearm Colt Commander is 7 3/4-inches long.

So the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol  is not really correctly named. And the silver printing on the slide and frame stand out too much – as they do with just about all BB-firing replica air pistols. But that’s a fairly small price to pay given the outstanding overall realism in looks and feel demonstrated by this air pistol.

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

The CO2-tightening screw is also very well concealed in the base of the drop-free magazine, even if it does require an Allen (hex) wrench to open it.

Umarex does not claim that the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol is field-strippable. However, it certainly looks like it should be and other products from the same manufacturer certainly are. But when Stephen Archer tried, he could not rotate the barrel bushing far enough clockwise to release the recoil spring – as would be the case with a 1911 firearm. Maybe this is just technique, maybe there’s an issue with this gun, or maybe he just needs to try an alternative technique….

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

 

ACCURACY AND POINT OF IMPACT

Accuracy of the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM was generally “minute of soda can” good, at 6 yards. As the test targets below show, the pistol fired reasonably close to the point of aim. This is important as the sights are non-adjustable.

The point of impact was slightly to the right of dead center with most of the pellets tested. It was rather higher with most of the pellets, however.

Best accuracy was demonstrated using Crosman Copperhead BBs in the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM. However, the accuracy at 10 yards sadly fell outside the soda can, as you can see.

Overall, accuracy was not the best we have tested in a BB pistol. It is, however, good enough for use in its intended purpose of training, practice and plinking.

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

 

BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Copperhead .177 Cal, 5.1 Grains, BBs, 2500ct
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Crosman Copperhead BBs, 2,500 Ct

 

COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS

Maximum Muzzle Velocity for the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM was an average of 283 FPS over 10 shots with Daisy Avanti BBs. As this testing was undertaken at a fairly cool 60 degrees F temperature, the FPS is lower than might be expected.

Extensive HAM testing has shown that FPS with CO2-powered guns increases by 2 FPS per degree F, this means that the Muzzle Velocity of the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol will match the manufacturer’s claim of 325 FPS at 84 Degrees Farenheit.

As mentioned above, the claimed name is not a correct match for the Colt Commander firearm. However, most owners will probably not care about this.

 

CONSISTENCY

The Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM demonstrated good consistency. The trigger pull weight varied by a maximum of only 3 Ounces either side of the 4 Lbs 8 Oz average figure.

Muzzle Velocity was also consistent in the 275 – 285 FPS range at 60 degrees F, irrespective of the BBs fired. And Standard Deviation – the statistical measurement of FPS variability in a string – was also very consistent at just 6 FPS. That’s a figure that many regulated PCP air rifles would be proud of!

Accuracy was also consistent with around 2-inch, 10-shots groups at 6 Feet – all except for the Crosman Copperheads which gave a tighter result.

 

REALISM – TRIGGER AND ACTION

The trigger has a very similar feel to that of a Colt 1911 firearm. And the pull weight is also just about identical at an average of almost 4 Lbs 8 Oz. The semiautomatic, single action operation is a great replica of the firearm. HAM Tester Doug Wall noted, “The trigger is right on.”

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

But it’s clear that the designers concentrated on making the blowback action the most significant element of realism for this air pistol. They certainly succeeded with that! But let’s talk a little about what they gave up in return…

As CO2-powered air pistols all use a standard 12 Gram CO2 cartridge for their power, they all have the same total amount of power available for use. This might be obvious, but it means that designers make choices about how they use that available power.

That 12 Grams of CO2 has to propel the BB (or pellet) at a claimed maximum FPS, operate the blowback (if fitted) and then give a certain number of shots per fill. This means that non-blowback CO2-powered BB pistols generally have a higher shot count and FPS than blowback models, because there’s no demand for CO2 to operate the blowback action.

There’s no question that the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol has an exceptional blowback. This is a heavy slide and it has a very long travel for maximum realism. Given that the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol has a reasonable shot count for a blowback CO2 pistol, that inevitably means there’s no way the FPS can be high with this gun – particularly as there’s a fair amount of CO2 lost when the blowback operates – you can feel it on your hands and face!

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

Let’s explore this by comparing the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol against two other excellent replica air pistols. The M&P40 comes from the same factory as the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol and has a very similar valve system. The SIG SAUER 1911 is from a different manufacturer, with a different design.

ModelSlide TravelTested Max Muzzle velocityTested Shots/FillCountry of Origin
Colt Commander45 mm283 FPS64Taiwan
SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel32 mm349 FPS70Japan
M&P 4035 mm302 FPS46Taiwan

It’s clear from this comparison that the designers of the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol made different performance choices from those selected by the designers of the SIG SAUER 1911 Max Michel, for example. Gaining an extra 13 mm of travel from that heavy slide cost 66 FPS and 4 shots per fill.

Comparing the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol to the M&P40 from the same factory shows that 10 extra mm of slide travel (against the M&P40’s lighter slide) cost 19 FPS, although they also gained an additional 18 shots per fill.

What’s the best result? That’s entirely your choice as a customer. We just need to recognize that no single CO2-powered replica air pistol is going to have the best blowback, highest shot count and best FPS all in one package. That’s clean against the laws of physics!

 

SHOT COUNT

The Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM gave a total of 64 shots from one 12 Gram CO2 cartridge. This is a decent shot count for a blowback BB pistol, particularly for one so dedicated to realistic blowback operation as this gun is.

Muzzle Velocity was still over 200 FPS – actually 206 FPS – at shot 61. This was down from 280 FPS for the first shot, but dropped off very rapidly after this. So, you’ll probably want to think of changing CO2 after three magazines of 19 BBs each.

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

 

MUZZLE VELOCITY

As discussed, Muzzle Velocity for the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol is fairly low compared to that claimed for other BB-firing blowback pistols. The tested FPS results are shown below, but please also note the low ambient temperature of 60 degrees F and the notes in the Comparison To Makers Claims section above.

BBsAverage Muzzle VelocityAverage Muzzle EnergyAccuracy
Crosman Copperhead 5.13 Grain278 FPS0.88 Ft/LbsVery Good. Best Tested.
Umarex Steel 5.29 Grain274 FPS0.88 Ft/LbsGood.
ASG Blaster 5.32 Grain282 FPS0.94 Ft/LbsGood.
Hornady Black Diamond 5.36 Grain279 FPS0.93 Ft/LbsGood.
Daisy Avanti 5.44 Grain283 FPS0.97 Ft/LbsGood.

As with all CO2-pistols, rapid fire will cause the CO2 to cool and FPS to drop. If you can bring yourself to shoot this Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol fairly slowly, you will be rewarded with more consistent velocities and avoid possible vertical stringing on the target.

 

APPEARANCE AND FINISH

Appearance and finish of the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol is very good indeed. All external parts are perfectly cast and/or machined. As usual with CO2-powered replica pistols, metal finish is by powder-coating rather than bluing. However, this is not a major issue and bluing would almost certainly require a significant increase in the price of the gun.

The barrel has an attractive chrome-effect finish which offsets the overall black color scheme well.

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

 

BUYING AND OWNING

The Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol is readily available from the usual sources including Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot. It is also available at some big box sporting goods retailers, as is apparent from the clam shell plastic packaging.

As usual with Umarex products, the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol has a very short 90-day limited warranty. However, as the valve assembly in built into the drop-free magazine, this means that valve issues – should they occur – can be fixed by buying a replacement spare magazine.

The Umarex Owner’s Operation Manual supplied with the gun give information in English, French and Spanish. It’s clear and well-illustrated. However, it advises that BBs be load through the top of the magazine. HAM found this was only possible if each BB was forced down into the magazine using a screwdriver blade!

The easier way is to pull the BB follower right down, then pour the BBs into the opening created. This is a much quicker and easier method of loading BBs into the Colt Commander CO2 BB pistol.

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

 

SAFETY FIRST. As with all BB-firing airguns, it’s necessary to wear shooting glasses when firing this airgun. Also do not shoot at hard surfaces or water. BBs tend to bounce off these surfaces and may hit you, or something other than what you intended. If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger! Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm.

6 YARD TEST TARGETS

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

10 YARD TEST TARGETS

Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol Review

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Colt Commander CO2 Pistol
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Colt Commander CO2 BB Pistol

This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.