SOLD FOR: $2,275
Make: Colt, Customized by Armand Swenson
Model: Commander Model
Serial Number: 70BS1590
Year of Manufacture: 1970 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Automatic with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “COMMANDER / *MODEL*”, “COLT”, “AUTOMATIC / CALIBER .45”, with a Rampant Colt logo and “A.D. SWENSON / GARDENA, CALIF”. The right side of the slide is marked “COLT’S COMMANDER MODEL”. The right side of the frame is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A.”, “A.D. SWENSON / GARDENA, CALIF.” and with the serial number. The barrel at the port is marked “COLT .45 AUTO”. The left-rear of the trigger guard is marked with “VP” in a triangle, the left-front “3”. The right front of the trigger guard is marked “Z”. The rear sight base has a small round medallion marked “P” (see Our Assessment).
Barrel Length: 4 ¼”
Sights / Optics: The sights are re-purposed S&W revolver sights. The front sight is a serrated, ramped blade set in-line to the front of the slide. The rear of the blade has a line of white paint about mid-way through the serrations. The rear sight is a square notch, micrometer-click adjustable for windage and elevation in a base slotted and screw-secured to the rear of the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece smooth wood panels with silver-colored Colt medallions. The frontstrap has been finely checkered for additional grip. The grips have light handling wear, most notable a patch of light marring at the top of the right panel. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Refinished at the time of Swenson’s custom build.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 95% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at some edges, most notable on the extended thumb safety. There is minor handling and operational wear. There are a few scattered light scuffs and scratches, including a scratch under the slide stop. The barrel at the chamber has some discoloration from oxidation. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in about Fine condition as customized.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The slide has barely perceptible play to the frame. The trigger is crisp. We did not fire this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a single blued 7-round magazine with black rubber Pachmayr basepad and a letter from the consignor detailing the history of this pistol. The magazine has light operational wear, intact feed lips and a strong spring, in about Very Good condition.
Our Assessment: Introduced by Colt as a lighter-weight version of the 1911, the smaller size of the Commander was popular and soon they were offered in a number of variations including different frame materials and calibers. While the original development centered on an aluminum-frame 9mm as a candidate for US Military post-war officer’s pistols, the steel frame .45 Commanders such as this one are what most people think of when they think of “The Commander”. This example has been customized by one of the finest 1911 pistol smiths ever, Armand Swenson. It has had Smith & Wesson sights installed on the slide, fine checkering cut into the frontstrap, extended thumb safety, flat mainspring housing with lanyard ring and parts hand-fit to bring superior reliability and accuracy to this pistol. According to our consignor, this pistol was bought new directly from Swenson and remained in his family every since, with a “P” medallion on the rear sight for the consignor’s family name, “Peters”. You will be hard pressed to find a higher quality custom .45 Commander today, more than 50 years after this pistol was crafted by Swenson. Please see our photos and good luck!