Colt New Agent: Range Report
It took me several days to decide to purchase Colt's dedicated carry gun, even after I had found a nicely priced example at a gun show. When I finally realized the price was the same as a used Lightweight Commander, I broke down and purchased my first new gun in several years.
The Colt New Agent is an Officer's ACP sized pistol with an aluminum alloy frame. The barrel length is three inches, and it carries 7+1 rounds of 45ACP. The pistol has a blued slide atop an anodized frame. The black color is all business. The grips are slim grips, with a double diamond pattern that is pressed rather than sharply cut. The thumb safety is the same little nub as was present on the M1911. The mainspring housing is plastic and the frontstrap is serrated. The New Agent is a Series 90 pistol, incorporating Colt's patented firing pin safety. It comes with two magazines.
What makes the pistol unique in Colt's line-up is the sights. The New Agent lacks conventional sights, relying on a 2mm channel cut along the top of the slide. The idea behind the "gutter sight" is a snag free, quick to acquire sighting system. The trough is not meant for accuracy so much as it is meant for speed.
Once I had my New Agent home, I cleaned and properly lubricated it. Then I spent some time dry firing and trying to get used to the sighting system. The trigger was crisp and about four pounds. There was no creep, and no overtravel screw to adjust. For a defensive weapon, the lack of that trigger overtravel screw is a blessing.
I gathered up some ammunition, stuffed my Colt Compact in my holster, and took the New Agent to the range. I planned to shoot a variety of hardball, along with some Gold Dots and HydraShoks. I brought my Colt Compact along for comparison.
I started off with my usual drill, making certain the light weight Colt, even though new, was safe to fire. After a few single shots, I progressed up to a full magazine. then I tried to make the pistol jam. I limp wristed it. I fired it sideways, upside down. I let my thumb ride the slide. The New Agent was boringly reliable. The modified Colt Compact had a definite edge on shooting comfort though. The Ed Brown grip safety, the polished frame, and the additional weight all combined to make the Colt Compact a relative pleasure to shoot and the New Agent a handful by comparison.
In addition, the Teflon coated Colt Compact was quicker out of the holster. I was using a hand made IWB holster similar to a Summer Special. I swapped over to a Don Hume JIT, and I experienced the same results. Perhaps as the New Agent is used a while, it will rival the Compact in ease of presentation. Time will tell.
The Colt Compact also ate the New Agent's lunch on accuracy, not surprising since it has sights. The New Agent did not come to sights for me quicker than the Compact. If anything, the sighted pistol had the edge in speed. Perhaps that was due to my unfamiliarity with the gutter sight, but those were my results. On the Colt Compact I have a Ted Yost retro rear sight paired with the stock Colt front sight. I had a dentist friend press some gold filling stuff in the recess of the Compact's front sight. The result is an accurate pistol with quick sights. Plus, I'm used to it. The lack of contrast in the gutter sight was detrimental. Perhaps I will paint the channel
I continued to blast lead down range with the New Colt. The pistol seemed to be grouping low and to the left for me. I wondered what could be causing that, and then I noticed my finger placement on the trigger. I was over reaching the trigger, and shoving the muzzle over with the trigger stroke. Once I corrected my finger placement, the gun got in the black. I wondered, though, why that had happened. Then I realized.....The slim grips had changed the profile of the gun, as well as my grip on it. The screws and bushings were too short to try alternatives. I adjusted my grip, and the problem evaporated.
The New Agent had shot 300 rounds without a failure, so I loaded the magazine with HydraShoks, charged the chamber, locked the hammer, and put the pistol in my holster. My jacket draped over it, concealing it completely. I loaded my gear back in my range bag and went on about my day. I thought about going back to the gun show, but I had shopping and chores to do. I went to Wal-Mart and the hardware store, and then I continued about my business at home. I forgot the New Agent was on my hip. In the Don Hume JIT, on a good gun belt at 4:00, it carried that well. No, the unprotected thumb safety did not disengage. It is my hope that the pistol will slick up some coming out of the holster. I also hope that highlighting the gutter sight with paint will have a positive effect. If so, the Colt New Agent will be a welcome addition to my choices for carry.
The New Agent passed my carry gun qualification test......500 rounds with no failures, 100 of which are carry ammunition, and it has earned a place on my hip. It carries like a dream. In a OWB holster supported by a gun belt from The Belt Man, I forget the pistol is even there. It is still chilly out, and I frequently use a sweatshirt as a cover garment. The pistol carries just as well underneath a sportscoat. These are my two preferred modes of carry.
When it warms up, I may swap back to my old Model 38 slid inside a Uncle Mikes #3 and stuffed into the front pocket of my khakis. For now though, having 6+1 rounds of 45ACP on tap if needed gives me an extra pocket, and I can't tell the difference in the effort it takes to pack it.
More on the Colt New Agent
New Agent recoil springs from Wolff