3" 1911 question

This is a discussion on 3" 1911 question within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Okay, please forgive any mis-namings now. My question is to the 1911 community that own and carry 3" 1911's. As I've been reading, I've noticed ...

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Thread: 3" 1911 question

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array GlockJS's Avatar
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    3" 1911 question

    Okay, please forgive any mis-namings now.

    My question is to the 1911 community that own and carry 3" 1911's. As I've been reading, I've noticed a need to "break in" your weapon for X amount of rounds to insure reliability. Some where around 200-500 rounds. I've also read how the 3" 1911's like the Colt Defender have a certain number count on the effective use of its inner spring assemblies. Some where around 1000-1200 rounds.

    Now to the question. Once you've gotten past your reliability count, does that mean you must keep track of your rounds from that point on to ensure you don't get close or go over your effective round count?

    Also, does it also mean that you must do another 200-500 round count reliability check with the next spring assembly you purchase?

    I'm curious about these questions because I've been thinking about my next gun purchase being a 3" 1911.

    Thanks for the input.
    Glock 26 9mm, Ruger LCR .357mag

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    Member Array YFZsandrider's Avatar
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    I own and carry a 3" Kimber Ultra... and I will say that, if you are a Glock guy, and you have reliability concerns about a 1911 to begin with... you may never get over those.

    I had several 1911s before slowly coming over to the Glock side. I still carry my Ultra, and although I'm not a huge fan of Kimber, mine has run about 800 rounds without a single issue. I absolutely love the profile and ease of carry in the platform. Where else will you conceal 8 rounds of .45acp within 26 ounces, thinner and with a nice SAO trigger?!


    If I remember correctly, Kimber recommends replacement of the captured recoil assemble every 1800 rounds. By nature, a 1911 is going to require a little more attention to issues of reliability than, say, a glock. There's no reason that one can't run perfectly reliably, but there is simply less room for error. Literally.
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    Senior Member Array CDW4ME's Avatar
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    I have two Kimber Ultra Carry II. I like the little 3'' 1911 because I can "appendix" carry it whereas a longer barrel just won't work in that location. If I hadn't had trouble with the "factory" magazine failing to feed the last round, the pistols would have not had any issues (I did have to file down the slide stop on one). I bought a Tripp magazine(s), which feeds 100%

    Although it might have been premature (I tend to be picky about pistols) I replaced the recoil spring assembly at about 600 rounds. Both pistols were running fine when I pulled the original assembly. Installed new assembly and checked function. I did not like having to worry about how close I was to whatever round count. I kept the original assemblies and I'm going to replace the springs on them (you can take it apart, carefully) with some from Wolff, then I'll have a spare or replacement when the time comes. I don't shoot that much or often once the pistol is broken in and reliable so the next 600 rounds could take a while, not worried about it. (For example, I might shoot 50 rounds every 2-3 months, or about 300 rounds per year, so replace the spring after 2 years, no worries.)

    IME these 3'' 1911 pistols are not Glocks (I carried a Glock prior) where you have the majority of them work 100% straight out of the box with zero issues, but they can.
    No internal lock or magazine disconnect on my pistols!

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Comparison, 3 inch 1911 vs. alternative Sig P245

    I've had a Colt Defender for several years and have put about 1000 rounds through it without a problem, changing the recoil spring once. The only two things about the gun that concern me a bit are the cocked and locked carry aspect (afraid I'll forget to release the safety under stress) and the lower muzzle velocity due to the short 3 inch barrel.

    Recently I acquired another 6+1 capacity .45 that overcomes these two concerns, a Sig P245. The Sig has a 3.9 inch barrel for greater muzzle velocity and a DA/SA trigger style with no manual safety. It has a short grip like the Defender so it conceals well, and its slide thickness is 1.00 inches compared to 0.90 inches for the Defender. The Sig weighs about 5 ounces more than the Defender so it handles recoil better but is not excessively heavy for carry.

    I believe the Sig P245 is a little more accurate for me than the Colt.



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    Member Array stumpjumper's Avatar
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    I have a Colt Defender Plus that I carry some times.It has the same capacity as my M&P 45c, seems lighter, and definitely thinner. I going to order a set of springs to have on hand- not sure on round count.

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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    If your interested in a small carry .45 but the potential finickiness of a officers 1911 worries you take a look at a Glock 36.
    -It is a seriously scary thought that there are subsets of American society that think being intellectual is a BAD thing...

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    I suspect that I'm in the same boat w/you, GlockJS. Until now, my mantra has been 'no safeties' on my CC, and they've mostly been Glock. However, the allure of 7+1 of .45 in such a thin and compact package has me in the process of breaking in a 3" 1911 with the intention of carrying it. It's done well so far, so another 150 rds or so, and I'll give it a whirl.

    Naturally, I'll carry it cocked and locked. Yes, it's an extra step to push the safety off, but honestly I think I'm over that concern.

    Am I going to worry about when to replace the springs? Not really. Like every other gun that I've carried, I'll shoot it regularly and pay attention to how it performs. 'Hope you find something that you're comfortable with.
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    Senior Member Array JohnLeVick's Avatar
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    To address the original concerns: My most frequent carry gun is a Kimber Ultra Aegis, converted to 9x23. It needed no break-in before the conversion and none afterward to insure reliability. It has never hiccuped. I have a couple of .45 Ultra Carry Kimbers, and have worked on several others belonging to students. I have yet to find one that needed a break-in period. Now, shooting enough rounds to make the owner/carrier feel comfortable that the gun works is another issue, and is a very personal matter.

    As to recoil spring life, I've seen 3" guns go 1000 rounds or more between spring replacements and do fine, but I usually recommend replacing recoil springs on 3" 1911-types at 500-750 round intervals. Springs are cheap. Get ISMI or Wolff springs. If you install an EGW flat-bottom firing pin stop and use heavy-duty magazine springs and a full-power mainspring, you will extend the life of your recoil springs somewhat.

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    Member Array Coltman 77's Avatar
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    I've been very pleased with my Colt New Agent. It's very accurate and super reliable.
    Great size for concealed carry.

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    Member Array txshooter's Avatar
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    I have 3 1911 in 3" barrel lengths. None of them really required a 'breakin' period. They shot well right out of the box including the Springfield 9mm EMP and the Colt Defender. I did have to clean and grease the Springfield Micro .45 after the first time out on the range. The action was extremely stiff and I had some failures to feed and eject at first. After the initial cleaning and greasing, the next couple of trips to the range have been flawless.

    As far as spring replacement, I guess I haven't hit that magic number yet. I would estimate that I am coming up on 1000 rounds on the Defender and the EMP. I'll just have to wait and see.

    I did purchase a Paraordnance Hawg 9 that definitely required a breakin period per the manufacturer's recommendation. I found that the manual meant what it said about 300 rounds breakin period. You shoot 100 rounds, clean and lube, fire 100 more rounds then clean and lube again. You do this 3 time obviously. I found that the FTF/FTE problems got better after each 100 round period. Now after about a 1000 rounds, I have not had any problems since the initial breakin period. The Hawg 9 is a double stack (shown in the Avatar). I have found after carrying this for a while that I like the single stack better, even though I give up some in the round count, for conceal carry. Much more comfortable.
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    Senior Member Array GlockJS's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments!

    Rollo, I've been chewing over the Glock 36 as well. I just wanted to see from carriers if the 3" 1911's were worth the price and maintenance.
    Glock 26 9mm, Ruger LCR .357mag

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    Senior Member Array GlockJS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogo2 View Post
    I've had a Colt Defender for several years and have put about 1000 rounds through it without a problem, changing the recoil spring once. The only two things about the gun that concern me a bit are the cocked and locked carry aspect (afraid I'll forget to release the safety under stress) and the lower muzzle velocity due to the short 3 inch barrel.

    Recently I acquired another 6+1 capacity .45 that overcomes these two concerns, a Sig P245. The Sig has a 3.9 inch barrel for greater muzzle velocity and a DA/SA trigger style with no manual safety. It has a short grip like the Defender so it conceals well, and its slide thickness is 1.00 inches compared to 0.90 inches for the Defender. The Sig weighs about 5 ounces more than the Defender so it handles recoil better but is not excessively heavy for carry.

    I believe the Sig P245 is a little more accurate for me than the Colt.



    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the 245 discontinued? But that is a nice pistol!
    Glock 26 9mm, Ruger LCR .357mag

    "Protect yourself at all times."

    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."-Clint Smith

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    Member Array javahawk's Avatar
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    Ive put 400 rounds through my kimber ultra carry 2. Ive also had 2 failures, factory. Thats over 99%, and that's all I can really ask for. I've very pleased with my purchase.

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlockJS View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the 245 discontinued? But that is a nice pistol!
    You're right, the P245 is discontinued. I got mine in slightly used condition from the original owner. Sig has replaced it with the P220 compact model, which differs mainly in having a "beavertail" below the hammer, and a machined stainless slide like many other new Sigs, as opposed to the folded carbon steel slide of the P245.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
    If you're interested in a small carry .45 but the potential finickiness of a officers 1911 worries you take a look at a Glock 36.
    I love my Kimbers, and I have never had problems with either of my CDP's (Ultra and a Compact), but I have put them both in the safe for my Glock-36...what a gun!
    Last edited by RETSUPT99; October 31st, 2010 at 10:53 AM.
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