by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Colt Limited Edition NRA 1911 BB Pistol right
Colt WWII Commemorative looks like it went through the war.

This report covers:

• Everything is in the drop-free magazine
• Loading
• Velocity
• Shot count
• The trigger
• Blowback is very realistic
• Both safeties work
• So far, so good

There was a of of interest in Part 1 of this report. Several of you were pleased to learn the differences between the 1911 and the 1911A1. I neglected to mention that the A1 has a larger ejection port on top of the slide, but it does. And 1911 custom builders have always enlarged that port even more, so the port size is important. It doesn’t show up in photos very well, though, which is why I didn’t mention it.

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Colt WWII Commemorative CO2 pistol, and you know that the Colt Limited Edition NRA 1911 BB Pistol is a version you can purchase right now. The gun in this report was made in a limited edition of 500, and sold out at the 2014 SHOT Show. Pyramyd Air was able to purchase several of them and some lucky folks did manage to get one for themselves; but if you want one now, you’ll have to get the NRA version.

Everything is in the drop-free magazine
As one reader pointed out, this pistol puts both the BBs and the CO2 cartridge in the magazine, with a drop-free design that removes exactly like the firearm mag.

Colt Limited Edition NRA 1911 BB Pistol left
When the magazine is in the gun, the floorplate is flush!

Colt Limited Edition NRA 1911 BB Pistol left
The large Allen wrench tightens the CO2 cartridge screw in the magazine floorplate so it’s flush. The BBs are loaded in this image.

The pistol is loaded one BB at a time through the top of the magazine. Pull the spring-loaded follower all the way down, and it automatically catches. That makes loading easier. Once I got the knack of loading, I found the job went smoothly, but it isn’t fast. I contacted Umarex USA Marketing Manager Justin Biddle and was told that their Universal Speedloader will work, but you don’t use one of the adapters for this gun. You simply hold the speedloader in place as you press the plunger. If you don’t want to use the speedloader, you could buy several extra magazines and have them pre-loaded. Each magazine you use will need its own CO2 cartridge installed.

Let’s test the pistol for velocity. I installed a fresh CO2 cartridge in the gun, and of course there was some Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip to keep the internal seals fresh and tight.

With the magazine loaded, I commenced firing. The first 10 shots averaged 299 f.p.s., with a spread from 291 to 309 f.p.s. I waited a minimum of 10 seconds (and sometimes longer) between shots.

Then, I conducted an experiment by firing 3 shots fast outside the skyscreens and the fourth shot through them. It went 288 f.p.s. Then 2 more quick shots outside, and another one through the screens at 282 f.p.s.

So, this pistol is no magnum, that’s for sure. But that may be good, because when a BB pistol shoots too fast it can start spraying the BBs like an airsoft gun without Hop-up.

Shot count
To get the total number of shots per CO2 cartridge, I installed a fresh cartridge and shot the gun faster than one round per second — not counting the time to reload. I got a total of 68 shots on that cartridge. However, on shot 65, the slide started coming back much slower. It was obvious the gas was running out. After shot 68, there wasn’t enough gas to blow back the slide far enough to hold it open, so I kept on shooting blanks for 5-10 more shots. Then, I stopped and manually lowered the hammer, exhausting the remaining gas.

The trigger
The first shot was through the skyscreens, so I had no idea what to expect from the trigger. I’m happy to report that it’s delightfully light. I was actually surprised when the first shot fired.

This is a 1911A1 pistol, so naturally the trigger is single-action only. The hammer must be cocked for the gun to fire. Because this pistol has blowback, the slide cocks the hammer for every shot after the first, so all you have to do is cock the hammer the first time. After that, you just pull the trigger.

Using the electronic trigger-pull gauge, I measured the trigger’s release at 2 lbs., 10 oz. That’s lighter than the trigger on my Wilson Combat CQB, and it feels lighter, too! Stage 1 is less than a pound and stage 2, while having some feeling of movement, is reasonably crisp. It is not creepy at all.

Blowback is very realistic
Both this pistol and the NRA pistol have blowback action: When the gun fires, the slide comes back in recoil, just as it would on a 1911 firearm. As it comes back, it cocks the hammer, so all you have to do is keep squeezing the trigger for each shot. The slide has some mass; so when it comes back, it imparts a realistic recoil to the pistol, not unlike that of a .22 rimfire firearm. It’s pleasant and also great for training, because a 1911 firearm does have some recoil.

Both safeties work
As I was shooting, I put the pistol on safe when reloading, and the gun could not be fired. I also attempted to fire the pistol with the grip safety not depressed, and it would not fire. So, both safeties work as they should.

So far, so good
This BB pistol is not just realistic-looking. It’s also very realistic to shoot. I hope it turns of to be accurate, as well, because this would be a wonderful trainer for the 1911.