Since its debut in 1911, what is indisputably the greatest semi-automatic pistol the world has ever seen has been praised and castigated, imitated and modified, chopped and channeled, loosened and tightened, lengthened and shortened, miniaturized and supersized, added to and detracted from, simplified and complicated. It’s been adopted for the range, the battlefield and the purse and its been chambered in just about every caliber imaginable. Over the past 100 years, a birthday it will see at year’s end, the Colt Model 1911 has defined the handgun.
So how does Colt plan to celebrate the centennial of its most enduring flagship product? Start spitting out spiffy looking commemorative models? Play off the momentum of the approaching landmark to boost sales? Yeah, they’re doing all that, but they’re also doing something completely different by introducing the Colt New Agent calibered in classic .45 ACP.
In response to their increasing demands for concealed carry handguns, consumers have witnessed a groundswell of products introduced to the market in the pocket pistol genre in recent years. Colt is definitely putting in its two-cents with the New Agent, leading us to believe that even with a milestone approaching its still business as usual in Connecticut.
Back in 1927, Colt brought us one of the first truly modern pocket revolvers, the ever-popular Detective Special .38. By the 50s the Detective Special received an alloy frame and was going by the name the Cobra and by 1955 the Cobra got some points shaved off the butt, now calling itself the Agent. All of these pocket revolvers vanished from Colt’s catalogue by the 1980s, which was coincidently right around the same time the CCW crowd started taking its first steps.
Following its noble lineage, The New Agent is from tip to tail a true pocket pistol with the feel of a full grown 1911, ironic since nobody has messed with this iconic platform less than Colt. The pistol is “just small enough” small: 4″ tall, 6″ long and 13⁄16″ thick and tipping the scales at 24 oz when unloaded. Fitting 7+1, it’s curiously a pure double-action pistol (you can’t even cock the hammer because it’s flush with the back of the slide) with a heavy 12-pound trigger pull. This “double action-ness” however fits into what we see as Colt’s overall theme with the New Agent: a snag-free, quick draw pistol. The whole affair from the frame to the butt is one piece with no beavertail grip safety or any protrusions to catch on clothing.
And to this effect, the boldest statement is in Colt’s choice surrounding the gun’s sights. Sights, traditionally the nemesis of engineers trying to design the perfect pocket friendly pistol, have been thrown out entirely. Instead a rounded channel about an eighth of inch wide runs the length of the slide and serves as your only reference point when looking down range. Nowhere else doe the New Agent scream its intentions louder—this isn’t for hunting or target shooting, this gun is for serious personal protection. Period.