Though it's almost identical to the legendary Colt 1911 pistol, several features set the Colt 1991 apart.
The semi-automatic Colt Model 1911 pistol has served with the American military for well over 100 years. Known for their power, accuracy and reliability, M1911s are quite popular in the civilian shooting community in the United States. For this reason, many companies like Kimber, Remington, Rock Island, Sig Sauer and Springfield Armory currently produce versions of the 1911. Indeed, Colt also continues to manufacture several variants of the legendary handgun. Of these, the Colt 1991 is one of the most popular.
Officially named the Model 1991 Government (SKU O1991), the Colt 1991 looks virtually identical to the Colt M1911, but incorporates a few new features.
First, we'll start with the traits the Colt 1991 and the Colt 1911 have in common. Both are are single-action, semi-auto pistols chambered in .45 ACP. They each have a 5-inch barrel, a seven-round, single-stack magazine and a steel frame. They both also have a grip safety and frame mounted thumb safety.
Heck, the two handguns even have very similar names. After all, the Model 1911 and Model 1991 have three out of four digits in common. Colt did indeed introduce the newer model in 1991, so that was a combination of good fortune and clever marketing.
However, there are a couple of features that set the Colt 1991 apart. First, it has an extended tang on the grip safety to protect the shooter's hand from "hammer bite." It also has an enlarged and lowered ejection port and taller white-dot sights for more reliable functioning and faster, more precise aiming.
The Colt 1991 also has what Colt has dubbed their Series 80 firing system. Essentially, this means the Colt 1991 has a trigger-activated firing pin safety that prevents an accidental discharge from occurring in the event the gun is dropped. The older M1911 and M1911A1 models originally issued to the U.S. Military do not have this firing system.
Some shooters do not like the Series 80 system because it adversely impacted the trigger pull characteristics of the handgun. However, it was a relatively minor change and many shooters can't tell the difference.
Colt has also produced two different versions of the Model 1991. The first production run (1991-2001) had a parkerized finish and a "M1991A1" roll mark on the slide. Current production (2001-Present) Model 1991 pistols have a blued finish and a "Colt's Government Model" roll mark on the slide.
All things considered, the Colt 1991 is a very high-quality, economical and utilitarian handgun that shows off the military roots of the pistol. So, if you've always wanted a reasonably priced 1911 with a couple of modern safety and reliability modifications that otherwise looks like it could have been carried by a soldier in the Army during World War II, get yourself a Model 1991.
If that's not your cup of tea, then maybe you're better off with a Heckler & Koch, a Glock, or a Beretta instead.