Colt's XSE Series pistols were a response for the demand for custom pistol features on production pistols. The XSE Commander was a response to the demand for a carry-size pistol with all of the features of the full-size XSE.
These features include slide serrations on the front and rear for easy racking of the slide with either hand. The XSE stainless Commander also has an ambidextrous safety, 3-hole lightened trigger, white dot combat sights, double diamond checkered rosewood grips and more.
It also weighs two ounces less than the full size stainless XSE, and is 3/4" shorter, making it a more suitable choice for carry. For a little history about the Commander 1911, click here.
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Following World War II, the US military sought to replace the standard issue M1911A1 with a smaller and lighter sidearm for issue to officers. The requirements were that the pistol not be longer than seven inches, nor weigh more than 25 ounces.
There were five pistols submitted to the military for consideration in 1949: a lightweight Colt Commander, which Colt had produced specifically for this test; the Smith and Wesson Model 39; the Inglis Hi Power, an FN Hi Power, and a T3. All were chambered in 9 mm, making this the first time that Colt had produced a 1911 specifically designed for the 9 mm cartridge.
None of the pistols were selected from this round of tests. Nevertheless, Colt had invested a lot of time and expense into developing the lightweight Commander. It was the first production pistol to use aluminum as a frame material. Colt decided to produce the lightweight Commander for the commercial market, and it was an instant success.
Since then, Colt has produced a Commander version of just about every 1911 model it has designed. In 1970 Colt produced a steel-framed version of the Commander, called the "Combat Commander". Today, Colt offers most models of its 1911 pistols in both the Lightweight as well as Combat Commander configurations.