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1911 Officer's 3.5 inch barrel

Although Colt is credited with creating the Officers model (a 3.5” 1911), in reality, the first true 3.5” 1911 was created by Rock Island Armory in 1975. This model was developed for “general” military officers as a lightweight alternative to the fullsize 5” 1911 issued to military personnel. This RRA model was only available to the military so it wasn’t released to the general public. Military officers who were issued the "Officers" model reported favorable results compared to the 5" 1911 model.

In 1976, a company called Detonics introduced a 3.5 1911 model called the Combat Master, which mated a 3.5 barrel to a shortened grip frame (reducing the capacity from 7 to 6).

In 1985, Colt finally got on board and introduced the Colt Officers model, which was a 3.5” barrel mounted on a slightly shortened frame. In 1986, they introduced the Lightweight Officers model, which featured an aluminum frame and brought the total overall weight down to 24 ounces.

The Officers model became an instant success as it offered the basic firepower of the Colt 1911 in 45 ACP in a much smaller package that was easier to carry and conceal. The Officers model was without detractors though, including the following complaints:

  • Finicky with ammo
  • Required frequent replacement of the recoil springs
  • Sharper recoil that came with the shorter barrel and lighter weight

Due to problems with the recoil springs and or barrel bushing, coupled with the growing popularity of the 3” Colt Defender model, Colt discontinued production of the Officers model in 1995. The Colt Custom shop would still produce one off models on request, but this stopped in 1997.

Any of the holsters listed below is available in a version to fit the Colt Officers 3.5” 1911 or any other 3.5” 1911 weapon.

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