Of all the somewhat “affordable” Colt 1911s around, my personal favorite is the Gold Cup National Match line. Outside of a 1911a1 vintage war models, which I don’t want to drop the coin on, this series is the one which most retains the classic looks, with modern improvisations that don’t take away from the original spirit of a 1911. All the improvements I want without ruining the classic feel.

“John Moses Browning’s celebrated 1911 design was adopted by the U.S. military just in time for World War I and soon after Colt began to respond to feedback to tweak the gun for further use. In January 1932, Colt responded to the common fine tuning done to service pistols by military marksmen at the National Match competitions in Camp Perry by introducing the National Match series of accurized 1911s that offered upgrades such as hand-fitted internals, match barrels, checked triggers and mainspring housings and adjustable sights. This model proved popular until it was suspended in 1942 due to the pressing needs of World War II.

In 1957, Colt rebooted the concept as the “Gold Cup National Match” line and has retained the terminology ever since. Fundamentally, these guns have been the benchmark for right-out-of-the-box competition pistols for more than a half-decade with Colt long describing them as “the finest shooting semi-automatic in the world.” With that being said, many have also turned to the reliable all-steel longslide for personal protection and in the good old days when the wheel gun was king for law enforcement, it was not uncommon for members of LE shooting teams to carry their otherwise competition NM 1911s for everyday use.

Originally introduced with the square-bladed Colt Accro adjustable rear sight — which was later changed out as the series progressed, the guns featured slanted serrations on the slide as well as a grooved 7/16-inch flat rib in the 12-o’clock position, the latter feature giving the gun a distinctive “flat-top” appearance. Other improvements include a flat mainspring housing, larger ejection port and several minor internal differences from the standard GI 1911.”

I can’t pony up the cash for any of the classic models, but a current production one runs around $1500 out the door. Maybe Santa has one earmarked for me.

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