Series 70 Vs Series 80 1911 Handguns : Which Should I Get
Alien Gear Holsters Sam Hoober lays out the differences, positives and negatives of the Series 70 vs Series 80 1911 pistol designs.
USA — The 1911 platform is one of the most versatile and widely available pistol designs on the market today. It might seem that everyone and their brother makes one, and they practically do.
Todays gun buyer can find a 1911 pistol to fit virtually any need, including discreet compacts for concealed carry all the way up to intricately ornamented safe queens that are purely for use as a barbecue gun meant to be carried to show it off and all points in between.
A few people might have noticed some 1911s are labeled Series 70 and some are Series 80, and wonder just what the difference is.
The differences between the two are not insignificant nut it is something to bear in mind while 1911 shopping.
Bone Up On Legendary Colt Firearms
Subsequently, Colt produced the same pistol with a steel frame and named this more traditional model a Combat Commander. Ever since, the term Commander has been used to designate 1911s that have 4.25-inch barrels.
Not long afterward, Colt introduced a pistol with a 3.5-inch barrel, looking to develop a firearm that would satisfy the concealed carry market. Colt called this gun the Officers Model. It had a shorter length overall frame and used lightweight six-round magazines. This model name is used today to denote the smallest versions of particular models, versions with shorter barrels and frames.
In the 1970s, the MK IV Series 70 Government Model superseded the standard Government Model. The main modifications in the new model were a slightly heavier slide and a slotted collet barrel bushing.
In 1983 Colt introduced its MK IV Series 80 models, which had an additional passive firing pin safety lock that did not allow the pistol to fire if the trigger was not pulled to the end of its travel. Although some people feel that the change had a negative effect on trigger pull, it is probably a necessary evil in a highly litigious world. Still, it has not been completely accepted by higher level competition shooters who want a decent trigger pull on their firearms. At this time, the half-cock notch was also redesigned.
The 1911 Has Come A Long Way Since Colt’s Original 1911 Government Model
The differences between Colt 1911 Models in .45 ACP:
- Government: 5-inch barrel, 8+1 capacity .
- Commander: 4.25-inch barrel, 8+1 capacity.
- Officer: 3.5-inch barrel, 6 and 7+1 capacity.
- Defender: 3-inch barrel, 7+1 capacity.
The venerable Model 1911A1 was manufactured by Colt until 1971. Shortly after the war, Colt introduced a new gun, the Commander, which was based on the Colt 1911 Government design. This gun was essentially a shortened version of the A1 and was manufactured with a 4.25-inch barrel. Formerly, a 5-inch barrel had been the standard for full size semi-autos. The new gun was the first to feature an aluminum frame. It was a startling innovation at the time because the handgun mindset was mostly limited to steel. Nevertheless, the shooting public readily accepted the Commander.
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Colt Government Model 1911 45 Acp Series 80 ** Mfg 2002** Sold
Seller:Company:Member Since:Return Policy:Payment Methods: Colt Government Model 1911 .45 A.C.P. Series 80 ** MFG. 2002** SOLD Description:PRICE: We are Antique & Modern Firearms in Lexington, KY, dealer of fine firearms since 1974. PH. 859-276-1419 We Buy, Sell and Trade Firearms & Knives. Have a Individual Firearm, Firearms Collection, or Firearms Estate to sell, let us know, we can buy or consignment sell it for you.SOLDReturn Policy:Payment Methods: Colt Government Model 1911 .45 A.C.P. Series 80 ** MFG. 2002** SOLD Description:PRICE: We are Antique & Modern Firearms in Lexington, KY, dealer of fine firearms since 1974. PH. 859-276-1419 We Buy, Sell and Trade Firearms & Knives. Have a Individual Firearm, Firearms Collection, or Firearms Estate to sell, let us know, we can buy or consignment sell it for you.SOLDReturn Policy:Payment Methods: Colt Government Model 1911 .45 A.C.P. Series 80 ** MFG. 2002** SOLD Description:PRICE: We are Antique & Modern Firearms in Lexington, KY, dealer of fine firearms since 1974. PH. 859-276-1419 We Buy, Sell and Trade Firearms & Knives. Have a Individual Firearm, Firearms Collection, or Firearms Estate to sell, let us know, we can buy or consignment sell it for you.SOLD
The Series 80 1911 Pistol
So, what IS a series 80 1911 pistol?
The Series 80 is/was the term used to refer to a number of modifications made to the firing mechanism of the Colt 1911 pistol. These updates were added in 1983 and were dubbed the “Series 80” since the previous revision to the base model gun was similarly dubbed the Series 70.
What were the differences between the Series 70 vs Series 80?
One of the first revisions was the half-cock notch, which was changed to allow the user to pull the trigger at half cock and drop the hammer, though without firing the pistol. The previous pistol had a hook notch that totally captured the sear, preventing the hammer from being released at half-cock.
The base model pistol of the Series 80 also no longer had the arched mainspring housing that the M1911A1 and Series 70 pistols did. The first edition dropped in 1983, and a further revision occurred in 1988, when the collette bushing of the Series 70 was dropped in favor of the traditional solid bushing.
However, the chief modification was the addition of a firing pin block safety. On the Series 80, a pivoting link is actuated by the trigger pull, pushing the firing pin block up and unblocking the firing pin. Thus, the firing pin can only move IF the trigger is pulled.
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Sowhy Should I Get A Series 80
So, whether a Series 80 1911 is a good buy…well, that sort of depends on what you’re looking for.
One thing to know is that most 1911 pistols you’ll find in stores aren’t made by Colt. Almost all of them will have a firing pin block, which is the hallmark of the Series 80 system.
How can I tell if I have a Series 80 1911? Field strip it. You’ll see the firing pin block lever ahead and to right of the trigger. Look on the bottom of the slide and you’ll see the firing pin block plunger. If those things aren’t there, you have something else.
Okay, so whether to get one or not now that you know what you’re looking at. If you’re getting a carry gun…it’s a better idea. A trigger job will cure the creep if it’s just too much for your delicate sensibilities and you don’t have to worry about the slam fire issue.
Why get a Series 70 or older version? First, these are the basis of a LOT of competition guns, where a hair trigger is necessary. In fact, Colt’s Competition series of guns don’t have the Series 80 firing system but their Government model do, so that tells you something.
Then there’s the nostalgia angle. Today’s Series 70 Government is as close as you get to a real GI pistol, but with better fitment. If that’s your deal, then it fills the bill.
Tl DR as the kids say: Get Series 70 for a safe queen or competition gun. Series 80 everywhere else. Either way, you get a 1911, one of the best shootin’ irons ever invented.
Early History And Adaptations
The M1911 pistol originated in the late 1890s as the result of a search for a suitable self-loading pistol to replace the variety of revolvers then in service. The United States was adopting new firearms at a phenomenal rate several new pistols and two all-new service rifles , as well as a series of revolvers by Colt and Smith & Wesson for the Army and Navy, were adopted just in that decade. The next decade would see a similar pace, including the adoption of several more revolvers and an intensive search for a self-loading pistol that would culminate in the official adoption of the M1911 after the turn of the decade.
Hiram S. Maxim had designed a self-loading rifle in the 1880s, but was preoccupied with machine guns. Nevertheless, the application of his principle of using cartridge energy to reload led to several self-loading pistols in 1896. The designs caught the attention of various militaries, each of which began programs to find a suitable one for their forces. In the U.S., such a program would lead to a formal test at the turn of the 20th century.
During the end of 1899 and start of 1900, a test of self-loading pistols, including entries from Mauser , Mannlicher , and Colt , was conducted.
What Is A Colt 70 Series Government Model Pistol Worth
A COLT 70 SERIES GOVERNMENT MODEL pistol is currently worth an average price of $1,304.54 new and $1,248.76 used . The 12 month average price is $1,304.54 new and $1,242.70 used.
The new value of a COLT 70 SERIES GOVERNMENT MODEL pistol has risen $58.30 dollars over the past 12 months to a price of$1,304.54 . The used value of a COLT 70 SERIES GOVERNMENT MODEL pistol has risen $104.63 dollars over the past 12 months to a price of$1,248.76 .
The demand of new COLT 70 SERIES GOVERNMENT MODEL pistol’s has fallen 11 units over the past 12 months. The demand of used COLT 70 SERIES GOVERNMENT MODEL pistol’s has fallen 1 units over the past 12 months.
Series 70 Vs 80 The Difference Is More Than You Think
Series 70 vs 80, the difference is more than you think.
I see a lot of use and misuse of the terms Series 70 and Series 80 when talking about Government Model and Commander pistols so I thought I would lay it out for you all. Once again I am not trying to upset anyone but just providing some correct information for you to do as you will.
In 1970 Colt changed a few things on their Government Model denoting it as Series 70 by adding a collet barrel bushing and accursizer barrel. The theory behind that was to improve accuracy with a tighter fit barrel bushing to the barrels muzzle without having to hand fit a standard solid barrel bushing. Now this worked pretty well but on occasion one of the fingers of the collet barrel bushing could bend or break.
As for Commanders and OACP pistols, they have always used solid barrel bushings so there is no such thing as a Series 70 Commander or OACP. They have been offered with the Series 80 firing pin safety so you have the option of Pre-Series 70 or Series 80.
Colt did reintroduce the Series 70 pistol in 2001 and in 2002 introduced a stainless steel version, now original Series 70 Colts were never built with stainless steel and these new Series 70 reissue also incorporated a solid barrel bushing. Bear in mind these are not exact copies of the Series 70 but a reissue.
So, there you go.
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Current Users In The Us
Many military and law enforcement organizations in the U.S. and other countries continue to use M1911A1 pistols including Los Angeles Police DepartmentSWAT and S.I.S., the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, FBI regional SWAT teams, and 1st Special Forces Operational DetachmentDelta .
The M1911A1 is popular among the general public in the U.S. for practical and recreational purposes. The pistol is commonly used for concealed carry thanks in part to a single-stack magazine , personal defense, target shooting, and competition as well as collections. Numerous aftermarket accessories allow users to customize the pistol to their liking. There are a growing number of manufacturers of M1911-type pistols and the model continues to be quite popular for its reliability, simplicity, and patriotic appeal. Various tactical, target and compact models are available. Price ranges from a low end of around $400 for basic pistols imported from the Philippines or Turkey ” rel=”nofollow”> Armscor, Tisas, Rock Island Armory, Girsan, STI Spartan, Seraphim Armoury) to more than $4,000 for the best competition or tactical versions .
The Springfield Custom Professional Model 1911A1 pistol is produced under contract by Springfield Armory for the FBI regional SWAT teams and the Hostage Rescue Team. This pistol is made in batches on a regular basis by the Springfield Custom Shop, and a few examples from most runs are made available for sale to the general public at a selling price of approximately US$2,700 each.
What Is A Colt Government Model Mk Iv Series 80 Pistol Worth
A COLT GOVERNMENT MODEL MK IV SERIES 80 pistol is currently worth an average price of $999.08 used . The 12 month average price is $999.08 used.
The used value of a COLT GOVERNMENT MODEL MK IV SERIES 80 pistol has risen $175.80 dollars over the past 12 months to a price of$999.08 .
The demand of new COLT GOVERNMENT MODEL MK IV SERIES 80 pistol’s has not changed over the past 12 months. The demand of used COLT GOVERNMENT MODEL MK IV SERIES 80 pistol’s has risen 3 units over the past 12 months.
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What Is A Colt Government Model Mkiv Series 80 Pistol Worth
A COLT GOVERNMENT MODEL MKIV SERIES 80 pistol is currently worth an average price of $999.08 used . The 12 month average price is $999.08 used.
The used value of a COLT GOVERNMENT MODEL MKIV SERIES 80 pistol has risen $175.80 dollars over the past 12 months to a price of$999.08 .
The demand of new COLT GOVERNMENT MODEL MKIV SERIES 80 pistol’s has not changed over the past 12 months. The demand of used COLT GOVERNMENT MODEL MKIV SERIES 80 pistol’s has risen 3 units over the past 12 months.
What Series 70 And Series 80 Really Means When 1911 Shopping
The thing is that none of the Colt 1911 designs in the Officer or Commander frames received the collet bushing of the Series 70 it was for Government frames only. So, if you notice a compact 1911 thats billed as Series 70it actually isnt. Whats meant by that is the pistol lacks the firing pin block. The half-cock hook is also a common feature, though it was standard on previous generations of the pistol as well.
The defining characteristic of an actual Series 70 is the collet bushing, which is only offered by Colt on the Colt Series 70 pistol that they sell right now.
However, Series 80 1911s are another matter. A number of companies sell the Series 80 design as well that feature the firing pin block as well as the half-cock shelf.
The difference between the two? One has a firing pin block, the other doesnt, and one has a slightly different half-cock notch than the other. Some people complain about the Series 80 trigger, that its harder to get a crisp, light pull with compared to the Series 70, but the truth is that any decent gunsmith can easily accomplish the task.
About Sam Hoober
Sam Hoober is a contributing editor at aliengearholsters.com, as well as for Bigfoot Gun Belts. He also writes weekly columns for Daily Caller and USA Carry
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The superior Colt was found to be, more reliable, more durable, more easily disassembled, less fatiguing and more accurate. The O1991 model features a Series 70 firing system.
***the Official Colt Frequently Asked Questions Thread***
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Series 70 vs. Series 80Historical background:technicallygoodcan’tAvoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-new 1911 just to make it “better”. Know what you’re changing out and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren’t broken to begin with. Shoot at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don’t like and want to improve.1991 vs. 1911Enhanced, XS, XSE ModelsRegarding break-in and factory tolerancesThe 10mm frame modificationAvoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-new 1911 just to make it “better”. Know what you’re changing out and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren’t broken to begin with. Shoot at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don’t like and want to improve.
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Colt Mkiv Series 80 Government Model 1911
The 1911 is generally viewed as one of the finest combat pistols ever designed and the first successful self-loading pistol. The 1911 was designed by American firearms inventor John Browning and is the oldest service pistol in the world, still used in over 25 nations for over 100 years it has proven itself to be one of the most popular and timeless handguns ever made. The 1911 has inspired countless copies and similar designs, including the TT-33, SIG-Sauer P226, Browning Hi-Power, and CZ-75.
Then next major design came in 1983 with the Colt Mark IV Series 80. On this model, Colt added a safety feature in the form of a firing pin block system that made it impossible for the weapon to discharge if dropped or thrown on a hard surface. The new Colt Series 80 also incorporated the new barrel bushing of the Series 70, while being more reminiscent of the original M1911 by having a long trigger and flat mainspring housing.
The Series 80 was a monstrous success on both the commercial and military/law enforcement markets and promptly replaced the Series 70. The design spread to virtually every other manufacturer of 1911 as well, until almost all of the 1911s being sold on the market, regardless of manufacturer, could trace themselves to a Series 80 design. Even today whilst the Series 70 has been making a comeback, the overwhelming majority of 1911s sold are a Series 80 variant.
Year Manufactured: 1988