In the early 90s, the gun world was about as stable as dating a dancer named Tiffany you met at the gentleman’s club on a Tuesday night. In short, it was a roller coaster time for the industry and times were slowly changing. Colt was trying to keep up with the times and as a result, the Colt Double Eagle series was created. Colt started producing the Double Eagle series from 1989 until 1997 when they shut down the line due to falling sales.
Modernizing the 1911
When they first started the project Colt’s main goal with the Double Eagle was to bring the 1911 into the 21st century and beyond. It was an ambitious project, changing the frame and controls while keeping the classic 1911 look. Colt really did try to revolutionize the 1911 platform with the Double Eagle, keeping the classic slide and creating a frame that works similarly to a SIG Sauer P220 or P226. The trigger system was a DA/SA system rather than the classic single action only. Colt also decided to put in a decocker with no manual safety. Colt still kept the beavertail safety but made it so small it’s almost unnoticeable.
I think the Colt was definitely before its time and if it was released today, I think it would have done better as an alternative 2011 design. There were even a few years when Colt made the Double Eagle in 9x19mm and the ultra-popular .40 S&W which was the greatest thing since sliced bread in the 90s. Colt made the full-size variants in 10mm as well along with .45 ACP and .40 S&W briefly in 1992. The Double Eagle wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was a real effort by Colt to create something new. Colt also made the other variations of the gun with Commander and Officer models with shorter barrels for concealed carry.
My Personal Double Eagle
I have a special place in my heart for the Double Eagle. As a kid, I can still remember my mom throwing the Officer model into her leather holster or purse and conceal carrying it when going out. It was one of the first guns I spent time behind consistently when I wasn’t shooting a 2nd generation Glock 17. I still have that exact Double Eagle today, and honestly, I’m rather sentimental about the gun. My Mom died of lung cancer about five years ago, so I love the fact I still have her gun and conceal carry it myself on occasion.
My Officer model runs like a top and will feed anything I put into it, whether its FMJ or hollow point rounds. One of my favorite aspects of the Double Eagle is that it uses standard 1911 magazines. You can use a flush fitting 7 round magazine or extended if you’re practicing at the range without having to track down specialty magazines.
Disadvantages of The Double Eagle
I enjoy shooting my small Double Eagle but I will admit it’s not perfect by any means. The gun does jump around quite a bit with such a short barrel and isn’t quick when trying to do follow up shots. Weight is another thing to consider when looking at carry options in today’s market. I know some people still carry their Double Eagle religiously, but its all steel and feels very heavy compared to other guns today. Unloaded, the Double Eagle Officer is almost exactly 40 oz which is equivalent to most 1911s. My trigger linkage also broke after years of use, but I wouldn’t say that’s a mark against the gun. I sent it into Colt and after paying a good amount of money, they returned it with new parts and a great DA/SA trigger installed.
Another thing I get often when showing the Double Eagle to other shooters is how the gun looks. Most people I have talked with over the years say the gun looks odd, but most can’t say why exactly. I wouldn’t call it ugly by any means but it is a bit different looking from most pistols. I compare the Double Eagle to a strong shot of whiskey, the first shot is a kick in the teeth and sometimes off putting but the more you drink the better it is.
At the end of the day, I love my Double Eagle and will probably never sell it for my sentimental reasons. It’s not an amazing revolution in pistol design and honestly, it wasn’t very popular when it came out. Despite all this, the gun feels special to me and I think its definitely worth owning at the end of the day. If you see one in the used counter at a gun shop, I would say its quirkiness and uniqueness is worth the price. Let me know if you guys own a Double Eagle or if you have any experience with the gun. If you have questions about the gun, reach out to me on my Instagram page @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.
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