2 thoughts on “Photo of the day: Colt Delta Elite”

  1. And now that gun is in my safe. I need to get a 610 revolver to keep it company now.

  2. I had a Delta Elite. It was the greatest gun that I ever I had been shooting bowling pins with a USP9F, when I purchased a Springfield Armory “worked on” by a local gunsmith. I had always been interested in the 10mm, nad had begun dreaming of a 10mm 1911

    In late 2004 I wandered into one of my local gun shops and found a pre-Enhanced blued Delta Elite. I admired the pre-Enhanced models the most because they seemed to offer the cleanest canvas for pistolsmiths who enjoyed the art of the 1911. I liked the blued steel guns best, and I was overcome with desire for the pistol. It had only the slightest bit of finish wear at the right-hand “strong-side” near the muzzle. It was $600, and this, for me, was at the edge of what I could afford. I pressed the trigger, and I was completely sold on the pistol. Caleb, I have always had a great appreciation for the information that you’ve presented, and when you describe setting up your 1911s for the longer, “rolling” style of trigger break, I felt that trigger when I dry-fired that Delta. I put in on layaway, and went out with my friends to celebrate.

    As a poor, broke grad student, I could not afford a full custom job to be performed on the gun, knew that it needed work to be a bowling pin gun, and helped me to understand how I wanted my 1911s. I had always thought that the arched mainspring housing was more beautiful than the straight, but holding that gun, and comparing it to my Springfield Armory proved to me that I need and wanted straight mainspring housings. I also knew that the small, narrow beavertail grip safety on the “as-factory” gun would be insufficient for the bowling-pin future that I intended for the gun.

    My Springfield Armory had a S&A magwell that was indifferently fitted to the gun. Time with the stock Delta taught me that I would want a mag well in addition to the bigger beavertail and thumb safety that I wanted for the gun. I had a wide Ed Brown thumb safety, Wilson “drop-in” grip safety for factory guns, Wilson add-on mag well, and a “longer-but-still-Limited” mag release fitted to the gun by a local “gunsmith”. None of these mods prevented me from returning the gun to its original configuration, and by corollary, none prevented me from getting the gun totally reworked later down the line. Based on the online writings that I had encountered, I had an EGW square-bottomed firing pin stop, extra-strength mainspring housing, and GI-style recoil spring plug with a 20lb variable-rate spring fitted to the gun. I would soot the gun, and then bring it back to the smith to show where it had been beating into my hand, to have surfaces smoothed and blended. The final exercise was a Steel Challenge shoot down in Thibodeaux.

    That summer, I was at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and had the wonderful people at Coal Creek Armory re-fit all of the previous work. I made the best single pistol shot of my life with that gun, after months and months of dry firing. I knew that with that gun, any miss was entirely my own fault. I got magazines from CCA, and in a way, I wish that I had sold that gun to the friendly person behind the counter. When I laid it on the counter and asked for pistolsmith work, she offered to buy the gun off of me. At the time, that gun was so precious to me that I couldn’t imagine ever letting it go, and it was such a good gun, even with the limited work that I was able to afford, that it was the last gun of mine that I could ever imagine selling.

    I loved that gun, even more than I had ever loved any of my guns before. I would pull out my Springfield Armory and the Delta Elite, and marvel how lucky I was to be able to own both pistols. Bowling pin shoots in Lafayette were over before I got back from my summer at Oak Ridge, and in the fall of 2006, my home was broken into and the majority of my guns were stolen, including the Delta. I’ll never forget that gun. I hope that one day the police will find that gun, like they found that USP9F. If that ever happens, I will get that gun sent to one of the pistolsmiths who deals in Art, and that’ll be wonderful. As much as I hate that guns current location and situation, it gave me a handgun experience that is unique, that I could never hope for again.

    The plastic guns work, and work better than 1911s in many different ways. The Delta moved me, in ways that were beyond practical, and it is the one gun that I miss the most.

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