Special thanks to Harwood W. Loomis at The M1911 Pistols Organization (www.M1911.org).
The new Colt/Umarex Commander 1911 model is a CO2-powered, (simulated) blowback version of the M1911A1. This is the most accurate reproduction of an M1911A1 I have ever seen in a BB gun. It looks and feels real, and it acts real. The experience of shooting this pistol is amazing – and I shot 1911s when I was in the Army.
The level of authenticity is astonishing. One of my pet peeves is fake 1911 air pistols that have swinging triggers. In this one, the trigger slides straight back, just like it should. The slide stop works. It not only swings up and down, it also locks the slide back after the last shot has been fired. The grip safety not only moves, it also functions as it should.
The thumb safety is functional. Like on a real 1911, it can’t be raised unless the hammer is cocked. As is common on air guns, it has markings for “SAFE” and “FIRE” positions. I can live with that if it gets us a properly functional thumb safety.
The barrel is smooth-bore. A smooth-bore barrel simply can’t produce the accuracy of a rifled barrel. But this is a plinking handgun, so accuracy isn’t critical. The advantage is that it shoots readily-available, steel BBs.
The specifications list the barrel length as 4.50 inches, yet the pistol is the size of a 5-inch M1911A1. This is because the muzzle of the .177-inch barrel is set back a half inch from the apparent muzzle at the front of the slide, for a .45 caliber barrel effect. The “muzzle” even has six ribs on the inside to look like the rifling in a real gun barrel.
What makes the new Colt/Umarex Commander an excellent training aid is that so much of the real 1911 manual of arms remains the same on this reproduction. The Commander is loaded using a magazine that occupies the full magazine well in the frame. The CO2 cartridge is loaded into the magazine, with the BBs, and the pistol is loaded by inserting the magazine and racking the slide. Just like in real life.
The pistol is made of metal, so its weight and balance are very close to those of a real 1911.
The trigger was light, with a bit of creep. The Commander uses some of the gas energy to cycle the slide, resulting in a CO2 air pistol that feels more like shooting a .22 caliber rimfire pistol than it does an air gun.
Airgun hunting is probably allowed in your state. However, you will need to check on restrictions and allowances with your state’s game and fish authority. This article provides guidance on general airgun hunting rules at the time of writing. Because regulations change frequently, check with your game and fish authority each season before you go airgun hunting.
Airgun Hunting Overview
After Rossi Morreale‘s recent turkey hunting trip in California with American Airgunner TV, we have been receiving a lot of questions. The biggest question is can I hunt with airguns in my state? This changes from state to state. Most states will only allow small game to be taken with air rifles. While a few others will allow larger game, such as Whitetail Deer, to be taken. Some states, such as Arkansas, don’t specifically allow airgun hunting. However, they do allow airguns to be used to “hunt” pest animals such as the crow, rabbit, and squirrel. As of right now, only two states do not allow airgun hunting of any kind: New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. There are only four states that specifically allow airgun hunting for turkey: California, Maryland, Michigan, and Virginia.
Airgun Hunting Map
This map is based on interpretation of existing regulations. Do not depend on this map for airgun hunting laws. Always check local regulations with your state’s game and fish group before hunting. The states marked in yellow have special rules for airguns which are explained below the map.
For information purposes only. Regulations will change over time. Remember to check your game and fish group every season for updates.
Arizona: Must use a .22 or larger for fur bearers.
Hawaii: Can only hunt with airguns on private property with permission from the owner.
Illinois: Can only hunt with airguns on private property with permission from the owner.
Kansas: Cannot use airguns to hunt bullfrogs or turtles.
New Jersey: Must use an airgun that is at least .177 but no larger than .22. Velocity must be at least 600 FPS.
New York: Must use an airgun that is .177 or larger. Velocity must be at least 600 FPS.
*North Carolina: According to the North Carolina Wildlife website, air rifles fall in the rifle category. All restrictions that apply to rifles apply to air rifles.
Rhode Island: Must use an airgun that is at least .177 but no larger than .22. Velocity of at least 750 FPS and pellets 7.5 grains or larger.
South Dakota: Must use an airgun with a velocity of at least 1,000 FPS. Only hunting pellets are permitted. Read page 41 of the SD Hunting Handbook for legal game.
Texas: Must use an airgun that is at least .177 with a velocity of at least 600 FPS when hunting squirrels.