S&W SW1911SC E-Series

Commanding round-butt, Scandium frame 1911
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The handsome round-butt Scandium Commander has everything David wants in a 1911 — at any price!

Some of us were carrying slim pistols before slim was cool. Before the S&W Shield, Springfield XD-S, G43 and SIG P365, there was the … dare I say it? The 1911. And, for easier concealment, 1911s with 4-1/4, 4 and even 3″ barrels. It’s true Smith & Wesson came late to the 1911 party (actually, a year shy of 100 years late, since the first S&W 1911s rolled out in 2010) and they got rave reviews.

But — I already had my 1911 bases covered, or so I thought.

It’s funny how a gun can endear itself to you when it wasn’t even on your radar. It was like that for me and the S&W SW1911SC E-Series Round Butt Commander (Okay, it’s a mouthful). After I got mine, I quickly realized if I put in an order for a custom 1911 from any one of America’s greatest (and priciest) gunsmiths, I couldn’t think of anything I’d ask for this production Smith didn’t have.


This 15-yard offhand group with Black Hills ammo is typical. David takes full responsibility for the flyer!

Good Looks Plus …

How a gun looks is always important and this one is a cool combination of black and stainless steel S&W calls “Duo-Tone,” although you can also get them in solid black if you like. The slide has unusual serrations on each side — they’re like fish scales. I found them easy on the hands while providing an excellent purchase for racking the slide or a press check, although on this gun the press check is unnecessary because there’s a view port on top of the slide at the back end of the chamber through which you can see if there’s a round in the chamber.

The ejection port is cut low and beveled. S&W calls it a “Combat Ejection Port.” The right side of the slide has a heavy duty external extractor. The top of the slide is slightly dished out with a series of vertical cuts going almost the full length of the slide. Their purpose is to reduce glare. The back of the slide has horizontal versions of those same glare-reducing cuts.

Trijicon night sights are mounted front and rear — exactly what I’d order on a custom gun. An ambidextrous safety? Yes, and it’s not tiny like a stock 1911 safety but it’s not one of those honking big ones either. To me the size and width is just right and it snaps solidly into place, on or off. The gun comes with beautiful rosewood grips with the same fish scale pattern as on the slide, plus a nice little diamond with the letter “E” to remind us this is an “Enhanced” 1911.

The trigger and hammer are the skeletonized lightweight jobs we all love. The hammer settles nicely into the beavertail when it’s cocked, and the trigger pull is an easy 4.9 lbs. with 0.0125 take-up and a crisp, clean break. The muzzle is recessed and the firing pin is titanium. The trigger must be pulled for the gun to fire — dropping the gun will not make the firing pin go forward to strike a primer.


The S&W SCE Commander (left) is barely wider than a Springfield XD-S .45 (right).

Other Enhancements

S&W opted for an oversized extractor. There’s a memory bump on the grip safety and just below the grip curves into what we typically call a round butt which really does equate to easier carry in IWB mode. I really like checkered front and back straps to help my grip and this model comes with 17 LPI on both. Coupled with those attractive fish scale rosewood panels, the security of my grip on the gun is superb.

The “SC” in the model name stands for Scandium, a very lightweight but extremely strong alloy combined with aluminum in the frame to lighten the load while maintaining durability. Unloaded, the gun weighs 28.8 oz. It comes with one 7-round magazine and one slightly extended eight rounder. I elected to replace them both with Colt 8-round magazines so I always have nine rounds on board, with nothing extending from the butt of the gun.


No Widebodies Here

Since slim is in, I decided to compare the S&W SCE Commander to one of my favorite carry guns, the Springfield XD-S .45 ACP. Would you believe the body width of both guns is the same at 0.91″? At their widest point there is a 0.30″ difference. The total width — including the ambidextrous safeties on the Smith is 1.35, whereas the width of the XD-S at its widest point is 1.05. This makes no noticeable difference inside the holster.

I can’t afford one of those $3,000 to $6,000 (or more) custom guns but I feel like I got one with the S&W 1911SCE Commander. One trip to the range was all it took for me to put it into my “carry rotation.” At the range I compared it to other 1911 Commanders from Colt, Ruger, SIG and Springfield, and it held its own. Several times since I’ve used the S&W to test various types of ammo, including the newer, lightweight fluted rounds from Inceptor and Lehigh. It’s as accurate as any of the other guns and more accurate than most and I’ve never had any kind of failure to feed or extract. It’s a delight to shoot.

Smith and Wesson catalogs them at an MSRP of around $1,500, which should probably make the street price somewhere around $1,250.


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