Colt Mark IV Series 70 Review

Colt Mark IV Series 70 Review (2024 Update)

The Colt 1911 is perhaps the one handgun that needs no introduction. This pistol is one of the most influential handguns ever made, a more than proven tool for self-defense, and essentially a part of American culture all at the same time.

Colt Mark IV Series 70 Review

The Colt Mark IV Series 70 is a very close reproduction of the Colt M1911A1 pistol, which served in the holsters and hands of American soldiers from World War II to Vietnam and beyond. 

To that end, it lacks several of the features that you may find on a more ‘modernized’ 1911, but to me, that’s hardly a bad thing. We’ll get to what these are later in this article. 

My personal Mark IV Series 70 has a blued finish, rosewood grips, and minimalistic sights. It’s a beautiful weapon, and also dead reliable (except for aluminum steel-cased cartridges, but we’ll get to that in a bit as well) and accurate.

If you want a classic Colt 1911 that’s every bit as ‘cool-looking’ as a dependable self-defense tool,  the Series 70 will be right up your alley. And keep reading this Colt Mark IV Series 70 review to see how it differs from modern-day 1911’s…

Enter The Series 70 from Colt

As stated above, the Mark IV Series 70 is a very close reproduction of the M1911A1 pistol…but not quite. If anything, the Series 70 was a further development of the M1911A1. 

The M1911A1 was adopted in the early 1920s as an improvement over the original Colt M1911 that had served in World War I. The M1911 was a very reliable gun that served America well in the trenches of France. During testing before its adoption, it was able to fire more than six thousand rounds of hardball .45 ACP ammunition without a single malfunction. 

But the M1911 could still be improved, and that’s why Colt improved the sights and hammer, added an arched mainspring housing on the back of the grip, and shortened the trigger. The result was the M1911A1. 

Nowadays, many 1911s closely follow the original M1911 design with a longer trigger and flat mainspring housing, and the M1911A1 design with the shorter trigger and arched mainspring housing is not as widely used. 

Enter The Series 70 

Which one is superior is entirely personal preference, but I’m definitely partial to the arched mainspring housing and shorter trigger pull of the M1911A1. I was drawn to the Mark IV Series 70 in that regard because it follows the basic design of the M1911A1. 

A few years after the Second World War, Colt decided to upgrade the M1911A1 for the civilian market. The term ‘Government Model’ was used for Colt 1911s that were produced for the civilian market. Colt improved the M1911A1 specifically by tightening the barrel to the slide.

The result was the ‘Government Model Mark IV Series 70’. That’s definitely a bit of a mouthful to say over simply “Colt 1911’ but that’s Colt chose to name the gun. 

In 1983, Colt introduced the Mark IV Series 80, which came with a firing pin block to act as a drop safety. Some liked this feature because it reduced the chances of an accidental discharge, but others disliked it because it added more components into the gun and also made the trigger pull a little less light than on the Series 70. 

Most 1911s today across other manufacturers as well follow the Series 80 firing pin safety design, and also utilize the longer trigger and flat mainspring housing that the Series 80 went back to as well. Which one you prefer is up to you, but as for me, I prefer the Series 70. 

The Series 70 was discontinued a few years after release of the Series 80. However, in 2001, Colt reintroduced the pistol and has been producing it alongside the Series 80 ever since.

I purchased my Series 70 in the summer of 2018 and it has served as my faithful companion ever since. It’s my favorite pistol, and perhaps the one gun I would have if I could only have one. 

Packing the Series 70

I don’t carry the Series 70 for concealed carry. I’ve done it before, but I have other guns that fulfill the role of a CCW pistol. 

Rather, the Series 70 fits the role of remaining close to my hip while I’m hiking or hunting out in the woods. I have to say, there’s just something special about carrying a 1911 in the woods. I would rather carry a revolver or a metal-framed pistol rather than a polymer-framed pistol while out in the forest, I guess because I’m just more ‘old school’ in that regard.

In any case, the Series 70 is a worthwhile companion to have on you while trekking through the forest, and the .45 ACP cartridge will do its job to stop any dangerous animals from attacking you (thankfully, I’ve never had to use it for that purpose yet). 

Packing the Series 70 

I’ve purchased and used a variety of holsters for the Series 70, ranging from duty police-style holsters to Yaqui holsters that Jeff Cooper preferred to and others. I’ve come to settle on the Triple K Lightning black leather holster like you see in the above photo. 

The Triple K Lightning is a very high quality holster that covers the trigger of the Series 70 while also allowing you to get a full firing grip over the pistol before withdrawing it from the holster. The thumbsnap holds the weapon very securely into the holster like a glove. 

Before heading out into the woods, I’ll often strap the Triple K Lightning with the Series 70 in it to my hip. If it’s not the Series 70 I carry in the woods, it will be my Ruger GP100 .357 Magnum revolver, but that’s a story for another day. 

Shooting the Series 70 

The 1911 has always been known for being a soft-shooter, which is one reason why it’s so popular. The Series 70 is no exception. 

My Series 70 has functioned flawlessly with all brass I’ve ever shot out of it, including FMJ, flat-nosed, and jacketed hollow point ammo. It also feeds and fires modern-day +P self-defense nickel-plated ammunition without fail as well. 

The only ammunition that has ever given me grief in the Series 70 is aluminum steel cased ammo, and the few failures to feed I’ve encountered with the Series 70 have always been when firing aluminum ammo. To be fair, as I understand 1911s were never intended to shoot this kind of ammunition either, but I stick to shooting brass out of my Series 70 and it’s dead reliable every time. 

Features of the the Series 70

Like I alluded to above, the Series 70 is a more traditional 1911 in the vein of the M1911A1. Modern day 1911s offer features such as improved combat sights, forward slide serrations, extended frame mounted safeties, and extended beavertail grip safeties. 

Features of the the Series 70 

These are all features that you won’t find on the Series 70, which is exactly why I’ve been so drawn to it over the years. To me, the original M1911A1 design is more elegant in its simplicity, and I’ve always preferred its design over the more modern 1911 designs. 

As an example, the Colt XSE 1911 (like you see in the above photos) comes with many modern-day 1911 features. I like both pistols a lot, but given the choice, the Series 70 will always be my preference. I admit there may be no real advantage to the Series 70’s simpler features, but again, I guess I’m just old-school.

Conclusion: Colt Mark IV Series 70 Review


The Colt Mark IV Series 70 is one of the finest pistols I’ve ever had the privilege of being able to use.

If you’re looking for a 1911 that closely follows the look and feel of the original M1911A1 design (like American soldiers packed in the battlefields of World War II), the Series 70 is the gun you’re looking for. 


What Year Did Colt Series 70 Come Out?

The Colt Series 70 was introduced in 1970. It was hailed for its reintroduction of the classic 1911 design, incorporating minor updates to improve the pistol’s reliability and performance. The Series 70 quickly became popular among firearms enthusiasts for its quality craftsmanship and iconic design.

When Did Colt Stop Making Series 70?

Colt ceased production of the original Series 70 in 1983. This decision was influenced by the introduction of the Series 80, which included new safety features like a firing pin block. However, the Series 70 was later reintroduced to cater to the demand for the classic, simpler 1911 design.

Is the Colt Series 70 a Good Gun?

The Colt Series 70 is highly regarded for its quality and performance. Its craftsmanship, accuracy, and the classic 1911 design make it a favored choice among enthusiasts and collectors. The pistol’s enduring popularity attests to its reputation as a reliable and well-constructed firearm.

What Does Colt Mk IV Mean?

Colt Mk IV designates a series of handguns that were a significant part of Colt’s modern lineup, including models like Series 70 and Series 80. The term “Mk IV” denotes the fourth generation of Colt’s designs, highlighting improvements and modifications that elevated the performance and safety of their iconic pistols.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *