1911 CCW Question - 3" or 4"?

1911 CCW Question - 3" or 4"?

This is a discussion on 1911 CCW Question - 3" or 4"? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; For whatever reason I have been bitten with the 1911 bug. I have only been a member of the CC community for less than a ...

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Thread: 1911 CCW Question - 3" or 4"?

  1. #1
    Member Array Mr. Clean's Avatar
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    Feb 2006

    1911 CCW Question - 3" or 4"?

    For whatever reason I have been bitten with the 1911 bug. I have only been a member of the CC community for less than a year and so far have only two CCW's (XD40-SC & Thunder .380). But something about the 1911 has grabbed me. My questions are:

    1 - Since I carry my XD most of the time IWB, is there much difference between the 3" and 4" 1911 and my Springfield?

    2 - I know this is a loaded question but with all the manufacturers out there, where do I start? Sad to say but in my area there isn't a range that allows you to take guns out for a "test drive".

    3 - I (as anyone) appreciate a good value but am always weary of the cheapest product. So although cost is always a concern, I know that you get what you pay for.

    Give me your input and recommendations....please.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Array elkhunter's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    I'm not much for comparison here cuz I only carry a 3" Kimber IWB.
    But I have to say that I LOVE it. I have had it to the range and put several hundered rounds through it now and love how it shoots and feels.
    It’s so much easier now days, to "Love and honor" my wife, when she is armed, and shoots a better group than I do. (Till death do us part, eh?)

    “The way you get shot by a concealed weapons permit holder is, you point a gun at him,” the Sheriff said.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Away - Health Problems
    I don't Care for the 3" guns and like springfields myself .. Though Im looking at a couple of kimber models myself

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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    I carry a full size 1911(5") I have a Kimber compact(4") that I carry at sometimes, I also have a Colt Defender that is about a 3". I have found that the shorter the barrel the more topheavy it seems when carrying IWB. this is because there is less barrel under the belt. Even though the full size is heavier it is more comfortable to carry all the time and it also has a longer sight radius and is easier to shoot,plus the weight helps tame recoil.

    I use the Colt defender as a BG and carry it in the left Pocket of my vest.

  6. #5
    Member Array gunfighter48's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Mill Creek, WA


    I carry a Kimber Pro Carry II, 4". I'm short waisted and the 4" is much easier for me to draw from my IWB holster. I like the full size grip on the Pro Carry, it gives me much better control of the pistol. YMMV
    gunfighter 48
    A 45 may not expand but it will never be smaller than .45!!!
    NRA Life Member

  7. #6
    Member Array Kid1911's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Central, PA
    I really can't say anything in ref to a 3 or 4" 1911 as I've only ever had full size ones. My current carry 1911 is a Kimber Custom TLE II which is carried OWB. I love my Kimber and it has been flawless with over 1000 rnds through it. IMO Kimber is the way to go, but Springfield makes some nice 1911's and I know a few guys who have and carry them to include LEO's. If your looking to spend less then a thousand bucks I would look at Kimber and Springfield.

  8. #7
    Member Array merlin45k's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    I just picked up a Kimber Ultra carry on the 15th of this month so I am a new owner of a 1911.I love the gun but want to change the sights on .I would post pics but I don't own a digital camera yet but I am working on it. merlin45kout

  9. #8
    Member Array DaveT's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    My carry and personal preference is a Kimber Ultra Carry II. Have not had it that long, but I like the 3 inch barrel and the way the gun shoots and feels. I was carrying either a Glock 30 or 23 before that, the Kimber sure feels smaller and lighter on my waist.

    Merlin, I sent my slide to Kimber's custom shop for the installation of glow in the dark night sights, total cost was $125.00 and the turnaround time was 10 days.

  10. #9
    Member Array Bline's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    I had the same dilemma. That said, I now carry a Kimber Pro Carry II and love it. I carry IWB and the 4" model is very comfortable. A 3" would be easier to conceal but I would sacrifice 1 round, and inch of brl/sight radius, and some controllability due to the smaller grip. I am 6'1, 155lbs and I have no problem concealing the 4" under a T-shirt. I carry in a crossbreed IWB and it works great. Get to a shop that carries some good quality 1911s(i.e. Kimber, Springfield, Colt...) and see what you like. There are 3", 3.5", 4" with an Officer frame, and
    4", and 4.25"(Commander)... As you can see there are a lot of options. I settled on a 4" as a result of price, brand, and a "let's see if I can hide this thing" mentality. Personally I want the biggest thing I can hide well.
    In God we trust, everyone else keep your hands where I can see them.

    Rights are like muscles: If you don't excersise them they slowly disappear.

  11. #10
    Member Array sarhog's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Northwest Florida
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Clean
    I know this is a loaded question but with all the manufacturers out there, where do I start? Sad to say but in my area there isn't a range that allows you to take guns out for a "test drive".


    Where do you shoot? If you come to the Escambia River Muzzle Loaders range and shoot IDPA or USPSA with Northwest Florida Defensive Pistol Shooters, you can test drive one of my "Pro Carry" sized Kimbers.
    Match fees are $12 or $15 dollars and new shooters are always welcome.
    Details should be on the websites listed above, or you can PM me about it.
    Good luck.
    NRA Life Member
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  12. #11
    Member Array badgerw's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    San Antonio, TX
    My EDC gun is a Kimber Ultra Carry in .45ACP with the 3" barrel. Shoots great, totally reliable if I do my part. I find it quite controllable. I carry it about 12-16 hours per day in a Tucker Gunleather "The Answer" leather/Kydex hybrid holster supported by a Liger gunbelt.

    Here's a picture. As you can see, my hand is small enough to get all three fingers on the grip.

    Last week I purchased a Kimber Pro Carry II in 9mmP as a practice / training gun. It has a 4" barrel and is only slightly heavier. It had less than 100 rounds thru it from its first owner.

    I'm taking it back today for work. It fails to extract about one round out of every five or six. In order to clear the jam, I have to:

    1. Lock the slide open.

    2. Eject the magazine.

    3. Release the slide so that it closes.

    4. Rack the slide to eject the spent casing.

    5. Insert the magazine.

    6. Rack the slide to chamber a fresh round.

    My guess is that the extractor isn't properly adjusted and/or the chamber is too tight.

    YMMV one hell of a lot.


  13. #12
    Senior Member Array SOLOLUCKY's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    I have and mostly carry a Springfield micro-compact (3").
    it is kinda top heavy when i carry it IWB which is always.
    but it carries fine and i have no complaints.
    a lotta people won't go any less than a 4" in a 1911.
    i had some bugs in mine when i first got it (FTE's, FTF's) but sent it back to springfield and it came back in about 15 days and has been flawless.

    i also have a S.S. springfield 5" and plan on carrying that more when my maxcon holster arrives from gary brommeland next month. again a flawless gun but its a 5" model.
    both guns are the GI models as for me they are point-shoot guns. so big sights weren't a huge issue. the 1911 is a natural pointer for me. ergonomically perfect in my opinion.

    This is mine. That is yours.

    Lets keep it that way.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Ease of carry and concealment - shorter barrels, aluminum frames

    I have been a 1911 fan for a long time and have guns in 3,4, 4.25 and 5 inch barrels. They are mostly Colts with one Kimber in the group.

    For use at the range or home defense I like the all steel, 5 inch barrel standard 1911 configuration. The bigger, heavier guns are easier to shoot quickly and accurately.

    But for concealed carry I find the full size 1911, which weighs about 38 ounces empty, too heavy for comfort and too large for easy concealment. After several hours of carrying one, I really start to notice it. So I have two aluminum frame 1911s that I have used for concealed carry - a 4 inch barrel Kimber CDP Pro and a 3 inch barrel Colt Defender. The Kimber is about 28 ounces empty, and the Defender is about 24 ounces empty.

    Both the Kimber Pro and the Colt Defender have run very reliably, and I trust them to work if they are needed. I use high ride OWB holsters with each, and have thinline Alumagrips on them to keep the profile thin. They are easy to conceal under a loose fitting, dark colored shirt worn with the tail out, or a jacket. I avoid IWB carry because it makes my pants fit too tightly and I don't want to buy a new wardrobe.

    Both guns seem to be equally accurate, and the smaller Defender has slightly more felt recoil. The 7+1 round capacity of the Defender seems adequate to me (Wilson Combat magazines), and is only slightly less than the 8+1 round capacity of the 1911s with the full grip size. So I alternate between these two depending upon time of year and mode of dress.

    So I guess you can put me down as a strong advocate of 3 to 4 inch 1911s with aluminum frames for carry.

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Currently i dont have a 1911 to carry Long story but i got into a wild azzed guntrade and the only 1911 pattern pistol i have left is my wife's Detonics . Next 1911 i am seriously considering one of the scand. smiths tho ( full size ) since the only complaint i have ever had on ol slabsides is the weight .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array snowdoctor's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    i have carried a Kimber Ultra Carry II 3'' for over a year now. About the last six months in an IWB Max Con V. I love the set up and the gun. It has run absolutely flawless with all ammo and is accurate for only a 3'' barrel. I would totally recommend this firearm to you, Kimber makes a reliable 3'' 1911.
    that 1911 bug bites hard. I have been 'infected' for years.

    --people ask why I carry, and I show them this picture. I think it says it all.--

    NRA Certified Instructor--many disciplines

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