The Mama Bear 1911

In the latter 1990s Colt debuted the CCO .45. The letters stand for Concealed Carry Officers, which always struck me as strange since it’s bigger than the Colt Officers, that were intended for … wait for it … concealed carry. This aside, it comprises the 4.25" barrel/slide assembly of the Colt Commander that’s been around since the mid-20th Century with the short butt and aluminum alloy frame of the Lightweight Officers. Six- and seven-round .45 ACP magazines are available for it.

When the CCO first came out, fellow gun writer Ray Ordorica dubbed it the ideal concealed-carry handgun. For a 1911 .45 aficionado, I can’t disagree. I wound up with two of them, one plain and one fancy. When my lower back goes out and sciatica kicks in, one or another becomes my go-to carry .45. I have a steel-frame version by Nighthawk, the T3, too: they all shoot extremely well, and conceal as easily as snub-nose .38s in the right holsters. The shorter butt costs only one round of .45 ACP capacity compared to a full-size version.