The Colt Combat Elite is a close cousin to the Colt XSE series of 1911 pistols. The Combat Elite, though, goes much further in providing match shooters with one of the best combat 1911 pistols ever made.
The Combat Elite starts with a stainless slide. The standard beaver tail safety has been upgraded to a Smith and Alexander model with an up-swept beaver tail that's so pronounced it might remind you of the "whale tail" Porsche 911. The thumb safety is ambidextrous, and the levers have been extended to give you faster access in match shooting.
The grips are unique to the Combat Elite. They're half checkered, half smooth rosewood with the Colt name embossed in them. The half-and-half smooth and checkered pattern isn't just for looks, though: the checkering is on the area grasped by your fingers, where checkering is needed. The smooth portion is more comfortable where it meets the palm of your hand.
The trigger is a 3 hole aluminum match trigger, tuned to give you a clean, crisp break.
The slide is matte blued forged steel, adding to the pistol's distinctive look. The slide sports Novak white dot combat sights for quick target pick-up under fast shooting conditions.
The barrel is forged stainless steel, and has been hand-fitted for maximum performance.
Colt has spared no expense with the Combat Elite. Other manufacturers use MIM ("metal injected molding") for parts like safeties and slide stops. Colt uses forged stainless steel.
If you're serious about combat shooting and want the best, here it is.
For a bit of history on the Combat Elite, click here.
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As mentioned above, the Combat Elite is a close cousin of the XSE series of 1911 pistols. In the early 1990's, Colt had decided to produce the pistols that had made the company famous, and largely concentrated on various replicas of the original 1911A1. By 2000, though, Colt realized that they needed to address the needs of competition shooters, and so the XSE series was produced.
The XSE models offered a more contemporary 1911, with front and rear slide serrations, ambidextrous safeties, match triggers, low profile combat sights, and other extras that were sought by match shooters.
A few years later, Colt took the XSE design and added even more features to it, resulting in the Combat Elite.
However, the Combat Elite actually predates the XSE. In the 1970's, Colt produced the Combat Government, a 1911 pistol with features designed to appeal to match shooters, just as the Combat Elite does today. The first Combat Government was the Series 70 MKIV Combat Government, which was produced from 1970 until 1983. (See photo for example).
The Combat Government was popular enough that it was continued when Colt came out with the Series 80 pistols. It was dropped from Colt's line in 1990, when Colt turned to making "nostalgia" 1911's.
The Combat Elite marks the return of the Combat Government, but with far more features.