Colt "Wiley Clapp" Stainless Steel Commander 45 ACP Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

August 1st, 2016



Colt "Wiley Clapp" CCO 45 ACP Lightweight Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

April 7th, 2015


Click pictures for a larger version.







Colt CCO has an excellent set of windage-adjustable sights.







Beavertail grip safety.







Slide lock (top), manual safety (center), magazine release (bottom).







TALO is a wholesale buying group made up of several firearms distributors who join together to make special purchases and to have special edition firearms built for distribution by the group. Now honchoed by Bob Coyle, TALO is in its fiftieth year, and as in the past, TALO continues to introduce special versions of some of the best firearms currently being manufactured.

The pistol shown here is a collaboration of the minds at TALO, Colt Firearms, and Wiley Clapp. Mr. Clapp draws upon his experience as a US Marine in Vietnam, a career in law enforcement, and his many years of writing for leading gun magazines and also in writing books on the subject of fighting with handguns. He is currently Field Editor for The American Rifleman magazine, and contributor to other magazines as well, if I am not mistaken. Anyway, Mr. Clapp is influential enough in the industry that this Colt which bears his name is built with the features that many knowledgeable firearms users consider essential in a fighting pistol.

The Colt Wiley Clapp CCO is built upon, thankfully, a lightweight aluminum frame. Commonly referred to as an "Officers" frame, the butt of the frame is shortened to aid in the easy concealment of the weapon. Also thankfully, the slide is of the Commander length, housing a four and one-quarter inch barrel, to take advantage of the power of the 45 ACP cartridge. For a fighting pistol which is to be carried concealed, there is no need to neuter the pistol by shortening the barrel. The butt of the pistol is the part that is hard to conceal, and the shortened butt with standard Commander-length slide allows a pistol that is very effective, yet still easy to carry concealed.

The Colt Wiley Clapp CCO uses the pre-Series 80 fire control parts, meaning it has no firing pin safety, and none is needed. The 1911 design, upon which the CCO is based, is one of the most mechanically safe pistol designs ever developed. Before the weapon will fire, a cartridge has to be chambered, the grip safety deactivated, the manual thumb safety switched off, and the trigger pressed. The weapon is designed to be carried with a cartridge chambered and the hammer cocked. As the weapon is brought to bear, the strong hand grasps the pistol, depressing the grip safety, the thumb sweeps to "off" the manual safety, and, if necessary, the trigger is pressed. The main safety lies between the shooter's ears. The CCO has a superb trigger pull, releasing crisply with three and one-quarter pounds of resistance on the sample pistol shown here. Perfect.

The grip panels, front strap, and mainspring are finely-checkered for a positive grip without being abrasive to the hand. The thumb safety is of the low-profile design, and is left-side-only, for use by right-handed shooters. Us southpaws will need to fit an ambidextrous safety, which is not difficult to do at all. The grip safety is of the upswept beavertail design, and is very comfortable in use, and also guides the hand into proper position as the weapon is drawn from the holster. The sights are of excellent configuration, and the wide notch on the Novak rear matches wonderfully with the brass bead on the front post for a quick sight acquisition. On many pistols, the rear sight notch is too narrow, but it is just right on this CCO.

The gray laminate wood grips are rounded on all edges, resulting in a very comfortable grip that abrades neither the hand nor clothing. The long trigger is a comfortable reach, and is, thankfully, made of aluminum. The barrel is well-throated and polished for reliable feeding of most any style of bullet, and this pistol proved to be a reliable weapon. The pistol ships with two seven-round magazines which do not protrude beyond the butt of the weapon. The guide rod is of the original short style. There is no extended guide rod, and none is needed. The butt of the frame is slightly rounded, as is the mainspring housing, for a comfortable grip while firing the pistol. I have large hands, but can still get a full grip on the weapon. The standard magazine release is easy to reach, and pressing it ejects the magazine reliably. The overall appearance of the CCO is very good; well-finished in a matte black with satin-polished sides on slide. Good-looking pistol.

Critical specifications for the Colt Wiley Clapp CCO are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear measurements in inches. The grip and frame widths were measured at their widest points. The maximum width is measured across the grips. The height includes the sights. The trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance. The weight includes the empty seven-round magazine. Length is measured from the muzzle to the tip of the beavertail grip safety.

Weight 28.6 ounces
Height 5.12 inches
Length 7.87 inches
Slide Width 0.92 inch
Maximum Grip Width 1.25 inches
Frame Width 0.76 inches
Maximum Width 1.25 inches
Trigger Pull 3.25 pounds
Trigger Reach 2.8 inches
Barrel Length 4.28 inches
Magazine Capacity 7 rounds
Magazines Supplied 2
Firing Pin Safety No
Magazine Disconnect Safety No
MSRP as of April 2015 $1329.00 US

I tested for velocity with my chronograph set at ten feet from the muzzle, and an air temperature of fifty-seven degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of fifty-nine  percent. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of approximately 541 feet above sea level. Velocities are listed in the chart below, and are listed in feet-per-second (fps). FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint. DPX and TAC-XP are Barnes homogenous copper hollowpoint bullets. PB is Pow’RBall. LWSC is a cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. UHD is Remington Ultimate Home Defense hollowpoint ammunition. HCL is a hard-cast lead bullet. LR is a Low-Recoil load from Buffalo Bore. Lehigh Penetrator is a homogenous copper bullet. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Cor-Bon JHP 200 1065
Cor-Bon JHP 165 1101
Cor-Bon JHP 230 875
Cor-Bon DPX 185 1059
Cor-Bon PB 165 1109
Lehigh Penetrator 200 1018
Sig Sauer JHP 200 897
Buffalo Bore HCL 255 943
Buffalo Bore JHP 230 1001
Buffalo Bore FMJ 230 977
Buffalo Bore JHP 185 1147
Buffalo Bore LR TAC-XP 160 919
Buffalo Bore FMJ 185 826
Atomic HP 185 1102
Remington FMJ 230 791
Remington UHD 230 817
Handload LSWC 200 1009
WCC 1911 Ball FMJ 230 779

Every type of ammunition listed in the velocity chart above fed from the magazines into the chamber reliably. From the lightweight 160 TAC-XP to the heavy cast-lead 255 flatpoint, everything fed smoothly. Every cartridge fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. There were no failures nor malfunctions of any kind. This proves that a 1911, built correctly, can be as reliable as a machine can be, and also indicates the reason that the 1911 design is still the choice of many professionals who depend upon a sidearm to keep them alive every day. Accuracy was also very good with most every type of ammo tested. Some of the high performance stuff can vary widely in velocity from shot to shot, and that affects target accuracy, but does not hinder its usefulness in a fight at all. Reliability is paramount, and accuracy secondary, but this Wiley Clapp CCO proved to be plenty accurate at twenty-five yards, to the point of turning in match-grade performance with some ammunition. Five-shot group sizes, fired from a Ransom Master Series machine rest, measured from just under two inches up to three and one-half inches, and again, depended upon the quality and consistency of the ammunition.

The Colt Wiley Clapp CCO is a dandy pistol. It carries and conceals easily, yet has enough heft and size to feel like a real pistol is the hands, and brings to the fight the reliability, accuracy, and power of the 45 ACP in the 1911 design, in a package that has, in the words of Mr. Clapp, "Everything you need, and nothing you don't."

Check out the extensive line of Colt firearms and accessories online at

For the location of a Colt dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order the Wiley Clapp Colt CCO pistol online, click on the Gun Genie at

For a look at other TALO limited-edition firearms, go to

To order quality 45 ACP ammunition, go to,,,, and

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



Colt CCO comes with hard case, instructions, lock, and two seven-round steel magazines.



Lehigh Defense Xtreme Penetrator 45 ACP ammunition.





Combat accuracy: groups fired offhand at seven yards. Target from Trigger Happy Target Co.



Colt CCO rides very comfortably in a Ted Blocker inside leather holster.