Colt New Agent
I first reviewed this New Agent early 2007, shortly after they were introduced. I felt it would be prudent to repost it on rangehot.com for a few reasons. First of all it is a pretty innovative design, has become very popular, is still on the market, and the test sample has been through hell and back and is still running like a sewing machine.
The bluing was nicely done and, as I picked it up and admired the fit, I felt a smile creep across my face. When I checked out the trench sight I will admit this was the first time I had seen this in person. I wondered how effective it would be.
I personally like the cut of the slide serrations at the muzzle. I am not sure if they serve any purpose other than aesthetics but I have used them to cock the slide from the muzzle similar to forward cocking serrations but less chance of a snag.
The mainspring housing was fitted well to the receiver. The grip safety is also well fitted and disengaged positively.
The front strap is serrarated to aid in purchase.
The wooden stocks and thumb safety are reminiscent of earlier Colt Government Models.
far as the bang button, it is an aluminum-three hole design.
The whole pistol looked to be well thought out, and to fill somewhat of a market void for Colt as a dedicated carry pistol. I am not unfamiliar with small Government Model styled pistols but I am by no means an expert so I anticipated that there would be somewhat of a learning experience for me.
This pistol uses a bushingless system with a bull barrel, as the slide is too short to accommodate a barrel bushing.
Comparison to a few other Colts
Here are a few pictures of the New Agent among a few of my beloved Colts just as to compare it in size.
Colt Gold Cup Trophy, Compact, New Agent, Mustang Plus II, and Detective Special.
The New Agent detail strips a little different than the standard Government Model. It is similar to the Colt Defender, for those who may be familiar with that pistol. For those who are not, I will give you a quick rundown.
With the full length guide rod and reverse recoil spring plug set up I would remove the slide as an assembly .The guide rod and dual recoil spring assembly can then be removed from the rear of the slide, followed by the barrel. The rest is pretty much a standard Series 80 slide strip. and begin dissembling the receiver the same as any other Series 80 Government Model.
The guide rod keeps steady pressure on the link, so when the slide stop is removed the link is pressed backwards. This can make reinserting the slide stop a little troublesome. A trick I used was to take the pressure off the recoil spring from the muzzle end by using a tool. That allows the link to swing freely, easing slide stop insertion.
You can see with the pressure off the dual recoil spring the link swings freely and can be aligned with the receiver to install the slide stop. You can also use an alignment tool to line up the link but I found this method easier.
Initial Range Trip
I woke up early Sunday morning with a case of the butterflies. I had stayed up late loading some 200gr lead semi-wadcutters and gathering the test ammunition together for the impending test. Knowing this was somewhat of a new design I had wondered how the little Colt would wring out but, honestly, I was optimistic. Still, the proof would be at the impact berm after the smoke cleared.
I started off the day setting up my CED chronograph about ten feet from my position and about fifteen feet from my target. I sprayed the New Agent with a shot of CLP on both sides and worked the slide a few times. Since this is a defensive pistol I though I might as well start off with a defensive round and see where we stood when the slide locked back. I loaded a magazine with 230gr Federal Hydra- Shoks and went to work. Next up was Federal 185gr JHP, which is one of the most aggressive hollow points I have seen, function was flawless with both defensive rounds.
The ammunition lineup for the first range trip was two types of Federal defensive rounds, Federal 185gr Gold Match SWC, Speer 185gr Gold Dot JHPs, Winchester 230gr FMJ, Armscor 230gr FMJ, and my home-cast 200gr LSWC; all were run through the supplied Colt seven-round, smooth follower magazines and Colt six-round dimpled follower magazines that I have on hand. I fired 200 rounds of a representative selection of these and experienced no pistol failures.
Everything worked, as it should, though perceived recoil was greater than with a full-size Government model, and the sight trench was different enough to require a little getting used to.
My range partner, Clint, ran a few magazines through the New Agent with 230gr FMJ and 200gr LSWC, sharing the load of the test. His opinion was “Colt reliability in a pocket sized .45 Auto, nice pistol.” We agreed that this pistol filled a market void for a reliable, compact pistol chambered in .45 Auto from Colt.
Click on the graph for a larger version.
Second Range Trip
I got up early one pretty Sunday morning and headed out to the range to give the little Colt another work out. I stopped by and picked up my buddy, Jamie Dawson (from the Kickin Grass bluegrass band), and figured I would get his opinion on the New Agent. Jamie has been looking for a new carry pistol and was interested in shooting the New Agent to get an idea of how it would act. I loaded up a few magazine of my home-cast 200gr lead semi-wadcutters and turned the New Agent over to him. Well, I am sad to say right off the bat he out-shot my best target so far with the little Colt. I believe it is due to his mandolin skills that he was able to do so well. (I cannot admit being bested without a good excuse)
We took turns with the New Agent, putting a total of 143 rounds through her that day with no pistol failures. The rounds were 230gr Winchester full metal jacket, my home-cast 200gr LSWC, and Hornady Tap 200gr +P jacketed hollow points. After the smoke cleared I believe Jamie liked the little Colt, and I expect him to show up with one of his own.
By this point I had fired a total of 343 rounds with no pistol failures.
Third Range Trip
This was to be the last time out and the last chance to fail. I received a few boxes of defensive ammunition from a local dealer and, since this pistol was built primarily as a defensive weapon, I wanted to run a large cross-section of defensive rounds through it to see how reliability measured up. The ammunition for the day consisted of Winchester Ranger 230gr +P JHP, Remington Golden Saber 185gr, and Cor-Bon 185gr +P JHP.
The New Agent had passed my LSWC litmus test so I was confident in its reliability. There was another reason for a third range trip, as well, this go-around I brought one more person to run a few rounds through the Colt and get one more opinion: my mother. I gave her a brief instruction on the trench sight and a full magazine and awaited her thoughts. She ran a magazine of Winchester 230gr FMJ and then my home-cast 200gr LSWC. My mother is a small woman-about 5 feet tall and about 100 pounds-and she was able to control the pistol well and did manage to get the rounds on target. I believe if limp wristing had been an issue it would have been prevalent here, especially with the LSWCs. We rounded out the test with 62 rounds down range, putting the total count at 405 rounds with no pistol failures and no cleaning. The little Colt was plenty dirty by now.
We ran the seven round magazines with the slick follower as well as the six round magazines with the dimpled follower that came with the Colt Compact. No issues with either magazine.
The first point I want to make clear is that this not an ideal IDPA/IPSC/Competition pistol. I have heard some complaints about the New Agent not having sights. That is not entirely true; the sight trench works well but it does take a little practice to use effectively. It may not be as precise as the adjustable Bomars found on top of the Special Combat Government, but it is plenty good for the intended usage of this pistol.
The little Colt cleared leather quick and with the enhanced frame causing it to sit low in my hand it pointed nicely. The New Agent is definitely more than a sum of it’s parts.
This pistol fills a niche for a small carry pistol without sacrificing stopping power. I am not looking to get into the whole 9mm Luger vs .45 Auto debate. Lord knows that has been discussed more times than semi-auto vs. revolver. I know the 9mm Luger is accepted as a defensive round and I agree it can do the job. I also agree the revolver is a viable option as a carry pistol. I am just referring to those who prefer a small semi-auto chambered in .45 Auto as a carry pistol, which I believe is a large demograph.
Now that I have got the disclaimers out of the way so my inbox does not fill up with hate mail, I can say that I am impressed with the New Agent. With the +P loads recoil was sharp but manageable. Pistol function was flawless with both dimpled and smooth followers through the charted rounds. While I was testing this pistol I made it a point to carry it often. Logic would dictate that comfort is almost as important as reliability in a dedicated carry pistol. I carried it mostly in a Wild Bill’s Speed Scabbard but also in my front pocket. Though pocket carry was not as comfortable and was prone to some printing, it was very convenient. A few times out wearing a tucked-in dress shirt, I was able to carry the New Agent in my front pocket without notice. Though inside the waistband would work also, the front pocket was more accessible. I am glad to see Colt making the effort to come out with new models and I believe they hit a home run with this one.
Something else I would like to point out. I am disappointed in many of the gun “rags”- especially those that covered the SHOT show-which no mention was made of the introduction of this pistol. We continue to hear the same old internet rhetoric that Colt has gone out of business, has been sold, does not sell to civilians, or has been abducted by aliens all the time. Here was a great chance for the gun magazines to show that Colt is still in the game and trying new things but, instead, the New Agent was ignored. The fact it has been left out leads me to believe advertising dollars are more of a concern for many magazines than complete coverage, something you will never see here.
Weight: 1 pound 2 ounces
Overall Length: 5.72″
Barrel length: 3″
Width of slide: .910″
Width of grip (including stocks at magazine well): 1.135″
Trigger pull: 4 pounds
Magazine capacity (.45 Automatic): 7 rounds
Twist: 1 turn in 16 inches.
Tom Beliveau, Gunsmith in Wendell North Carolina.
Barbara Elliott (my mother)
It was almost eight years ago when I first reviewed the Colt New Agent and it was a fine pistol. I made arrangements to hang onto the test sample and have really put the heat to the little Colt over the years. I shot a few local back up gun matches with it and shot it from time to time. I actually transferred it to Jamie for a year or so and he used it as his every day carry. He shot it often and about a year ago I transferred it back to me. I have had it out since rangehot.com has gotten off the ground and have used it to test factory ammunition as well as bullet molds and my own .45 Auto reloading experiments. It is a little worse for wear, a few more scratches but still without a failure. Now I have not kept exact track of how many more rounds I have shot through the New Agent since the review but I can safely say it is better than 2000. It is still in my carry rotation and I use it for pistol classes demonstrating how a small Government Model shoots and to prove a three inch pistol can indeed, be reliable. I am glad to see this pistol is still in Colt’s line up.