The TALO Wiley Clapp Edition Colt Lightweight Commander 1911 lives up to the motto, "Everything you need, nothing you don't."
||MFG Model #:
|Lipsey's Model #:
||Still in Production
|Series 70 Semi-Auto
|4.25" Commander Slide
||Tactical Oval Grips
|Blue Steel Slide
|Novak Rear Sight
|Novak Brass Bead Front Sight
||Wiley Clapp Edition
The Birth of the Wiley Clapp Colt Commander .45
I introduce Wiley as the dean of Americaʼs gun writers. Iʼve known him casually for a number of years, maybe sent him 3 or 4 guns to review and Iʼve called him a few times to ask his opinion. Heʼs always been extremely generous and brutally honest. About a year ago we started to talk seriously about his ideas for the design of firearms. TALO Distributors has had some success producing limited edition guns in recent history and could provide a good vehicle for the right gun. Wiley has some very serious ideas about what constitutes the right gun. Once we decided we would work together I asked him for a bio to help introduce the partnership. After some time, he sent me the following:
“......For a quarter century, Clapp has written for one or more gun magazines, most often on the subject of the handgun, its ammunition, accessories and use. Daily work with just about every handgun make and model gives him great insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the various types. Clapp also has practical experience in using the gun---he is a retired Deputy Sheriff with near two decades of experience. Earlier, he was a US Marine with a long tour of infantry experience in Vietnam. Since childhood, Clapp has been deeply interested in the onehanded gun. As he came of age, he began to compete in various handgun disciplines, all of which added to his growing fund of knowledge. He is uniquely qualified to write the specifications for a new series of TALO exclusive models designed for use by America's working shooters. You'll not find anything impractical, unnecessary, of superfluous on a “WC” brand handgun. They're shooters---and so is he.”
So WC’s a big guy, now a senior citizen but not one that you would give any lip to. He’s an English major from VMI, with a real sense of humor and a wealth of experience. What Wiley brought to our partnership were his ideas and his good friends, two of which were instrumental to the development of this Colt. Wayne Novak is one of Wiley’s good buddies. Wayne’s gun sights & gunsmithing are some of the finest in the industry. He is a .45 fanatic. He & Wiley came up with the sight system: an extra wide rear adjustable and a brass bead front, so that you can acquire the target quickly in low light situations.
Then Wiley introduced me to Pete Single.
Wiley insisted that the Colt’s front strap be precision checkered. I agreed but I knew there were a few ways to skin that cat. We sent frames out to 4 vendors and got back 4 results. Pete’s were by far the finest and most expensive. I tried to reason with Wiley. Pete is the pistolsmith to the stars. Only the most serious and well heeled shooters can afford his work. We had some very nice alternatives. Wiley thought otherwise. My job is to provide a heathy balance to this mix. I don’t want to design the most magnificent one of a kind handgun in America. I want to end up with a pistol that TALO dealers can proudly sell to their best customers at a price that represents a value. In the end,Wiley wouldn’t budge but Pete compromised on his price in order to be part of the deal.
Wiley had a specific grip design that he wanted to see and we worked hard with Merlin Enright of Altamont to achieve his specific demands on shape & design. Merlin, despite his youth came through in spades. The grip is very unusual, practical and good looking.
Finally, The folks at Colt finished the job. Greg Rozum, Coltʼs design engineer, helped with parts like specifying a Gold Cup barrel for this light weight Commander. This was a working professional pistol. It is the first series 70 style light weight commander that Colt has built in over 20 years. Joyce Rubino, Coltʼs CFO shepherded the whole project so it came together on time and budget. I am sure that it did not hurt that General Keys, Coltʼs President, had the utmost respect for his fellow marine, Clapp and was proud to have Colt produce his first gun.
So after about 9 months, this baby was born. Wiley set up shop in Coltʼs booth at the SHOT show and the NRA show and explained his reasoning to countless dealers, shooters and press. About 300 guns have been shipped so far by TALO wholesalers to dealers across the country. Reports are starting to come back in from the shooters. They like it. For me, the project was extremely satisfying. Iʼm going to take mine up to Gunsite in Prescot Az. (another of Wileyʼs buddies) and learn to shoot it like it deserves to be shot.
Executive Director of Talo