3 inch 1911?

This is a discussion on 3 inch 1911? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've found myself caught in a quest for a better carry gun. Currently, my primary carry gun is a Sig P938 and while I absolutely ...

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    New Member Array film_god's Avatar
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    3 inch 1911?

    I've found myself caught in a quest for a better carry gun. Currently, my primary carry gun is a Sig P938 and while I absolutely love the little guy, I feel like it's time for an upgrade. An all metal gun chambered in .45 is ideal so of course I'm looking mainly at the 1911 but then there is the issue of me needing to conceal the gun and with my height and build, a full size gun isn't exactly ideal. I carried a Taurus PT99 for a while and it was a decent gun, boy was it a pain to carry.

    Anyway, I've had my eye on the Colt Defender and the Kimber Ultra Carry II but after talking to several people who's opinions I trust, I've heard (and read) that shorter barrel 1911's can be a bit unreliable. Of course, I can't afford to spend $1000+ on a gun I'm going to trust with my life and end up running into problems when I need it most.

    My question is this- Are shorter barrel 1911's really THAT bad and if so, what the heck else should I get considering I'm not at all interested in anything polymer or double stacked.
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    VIP Member Array Gene83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by film_god View Post
    I've found myself caught in a quest for a better carry gun. Currently, my primary carry gun is a Sig P938 and while I absolutely love the little guy, I feel like it's time for an upgrade. An all metal gun chambered in .45 is ideal so of course I'm looking mainly at the 1911 but then there is the issue of me needing to conceal the gun and with my height and build, a full size gun isn't exactly ideal. I carried a Taurus PT99 for a while and it was a decent gun, boy was it a pain to carry.

    Anyway, I've had my eye on the Colt Defender and the Kimber Ultra Carry II but after talking to several people who's opinions I trust, I've heard (and read) that shorter barrel 1911's can be a bit unreliable. Of course, I can't afford to spend $1000+ on a gun I'm going to trust with my life and end up running into problems when I need it most.

    My question is this- Are shorter barrel 1911's really THAT bad and if so, what the heck else should I get considering I'm not at all interested in anything polymer or double stacked.
    I've got two pistols chambered in .45 ACP. One is a Kimber Ultra Raptor II. The other is a Sig 220 Carry Elite Stainless. I bought both of them new and the Kimber has seen nothing but Winchester white box or Speer Gold dots. The Sig is more accurate, less finicky, and more reliable. It's also DA/SA and has no safety to worry with.

    The drawback is that the Sig is larger and heavier, but still if my life depended on it, I would grab the Sig first.
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    Distinguished Member Array svgheartland's Avatar
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    I own, and carry from time to time, a Para LDA PDA in 3". It's a sweet heart and has been absolutely reliable for me. It's a great shooter and carries very comfortably in a Minotaur MTAC. It was manufactured in NC, after the company relocated from Canada. They had quality issues after the move which is typical and unacceptable IMO. In any case, I've have a couple of small blems on the finish that I attribute to quality issues. Mechanically, it's been very sound. I don't know if I got a "good one" or if mine is typical. I know that their is a fair sized anti-Para following out there. My only issue has been light primer strikes that a new main spring fixed right up.

    All that said, Para is not in the mainstream and I suppose that there may be reasons for that.
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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    Svgheartland, had two paras quite awhile back both were reliable just a little heavy for me, I tend to stick to snubs but would not be afraid of paras.
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    I don't think the 3" are less reliable, just that the shorter barrel tends to magnify any mistakes a shooter might make. It isn't as forgiving as a full size gun. You might want to look into a commander size (4-4.25") gun.
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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    I've been carrying a Colt New Agent for a couple of years now; besides it being a little picky on what JHP's it likes, it's been very reliable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    I don't think the 3" are less reliable, just that the shorter barrel tends to magnify any mistakes a shooter might make. It isn't as forgiving as a full size gun. You might want to look into a commander size (4-4.25") gun.

    Agreed. The XDS , 3.3 " barrel, magnifies my incompetence. That said, the RIA Compact and the Colt Defenders seem to do very well from what I have observed.
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    VIP Member Array Gene83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    I don't think the 3" are less reliable, just that the shorter barrel tends to magnify any mistakes a shooter might make. It isn't as forgiving as a full size gun. You might want to look into a commander size (4-4.25") gun.
    You may be right. I wouldn't call my Kimber unreliable. I had a couple of failures to feed early on. Other than that, everything has been good. The larger and heavier Sig has just been a workhorse though and that's the reason it gets the nod from me. For sheer pizzaz though, the Kimber looks awfully good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by svgheartland View Post
    ...I don't know if I got a "good one" or if mine is typical...
    This is my main concern. From what I'm hearing, short barrel 1911's are hit or miss when it comes to getting a "good one". I know that Colt nor Kimber are in the business of making crap but the idea that I could pay a ton of money for a "maybe" concerns me. I've also looked at the Sig Sauer 1911 Ultra and the Smith & Wesson Model SW1911 (3") with the S&W being the best feeling of all of the firearms I'm considering. That being said, just because it feels nice in my hands doesn't mean it's going to perform when I need it most and in my line of work in the city I live in, I can't afford a maybe. I considered the PARA Executive carry but like you said, PARA isn't exactly mainstream.

    At this point, I feel like I'm making this decision more of a headache than it should be. Maybe I should just get the Colt and pray to whatever powers that be that I get a "good one"
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    New Member Array film_god's Avatar
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    I've got a friend in the Swiss Army who absolutely swears by his Sig 220... and for good reason. Hell, if I were a bit taller that'd be at the top of my list for a primary carry weapon. I've shot it many times and I am very comfortable / familiar with the gun but it'd be impractical for me to carry something that big.

    Not too long ago, I was in a situation where I needed to use my P938 in self defense and while it performed flawlessly for what it is, a larger caliber would have certainly worked a bit more in my favor and that is why I'm so adamant about finding the "perfect" carry gun for myself.
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    VIP Member Array Gene83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by film_god View Post
    I've got a friend in the Swiss Army who absolutely swears by his Sig 220... and for good reason. Hell, if I were a bit taller that'd be at the top of my list for a primary carry weapon. I've shot it many times and I am very comfortable / familiar with the gun but it'd be impractical for me to carry something that big.

    Not too long ago, I was in a situation where I needed to use my P938 in self defense and while it performed flawlessly for what it is, a larger caliber would have certainly worked a bit more in my favor and that is why I'm so adamant about finding the "perfect" carry gun for myself.
    That's my problem with it also. I like to carry it in the winter in an OWB holster with a good gun belt when I can use something like a Navy pea coat for a cover garment. It conceals well that way and is comfortable to wear. It works good for a trip to the mall at Christmas time or something. For other occasions, it's just not practical for me to try and conceal and I'd rather not open carry. My favorite concealable for any situation is a little alloy J-frame Smith & Wesson.
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    Quote Originally Posted by film_god View Post
    This is my main concern. From what I'm hearing, short barrel 1911's are hit or miss when it comes to getting a "good one". I know that Colt nor Kimber are in the business of making crap but the idea that I could pay a ton of money for a "maybe" concerns me. I've also looked at the Sig Sauer 1911 Ultra and the Smith & Wesson Model SW1911 (3") with the S&W being the best feeling of all of the firearms I'm considering. That being said, just because it feels nice in my hands doesn't mean it's going to perform when I need it most and in my line of work in the city I live in, I can't afford a maybe. I considered the PARA Executive carry but like you said, PARA isn't exactly mainstream.

    At this point, I feel like I'm making this decision more of a headache than it should be. Maybe I should just get the Colt and pray to whatever powers that be that I get a "good one"
    Usually , one gets what they pay for. I like the Smith, the Sig is a terrific pistol , like the Colts a lot . IF possible, go to a couple of the ranges there in Atlanta and see what they've got. Try them out. If you prefer slightly larger than the 3"-3.5" barrels, an earlier poster suggested a Colt Commander. I've had these before and like them a lot. Stupidity intervened , and that is the sole reason I do not have them anymore. That should change by week's end.

    You have a lot of great choices out there, you'll find what fits you.
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    Senior Member Array 1911er's Avatar
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    Sig Ultra is the only choice, imo. Very few people have reported problems with it. It has a few MIM parts, however. To me, the biggest potential problem was the slide release. So I immediately replaced it.

    SIG 1911 Ultra .45 ACP | Average Joe's Handgun Reviews

    Dislikes:
    0) MIM parts - slide release, mag release, sear, disconnector, thumb safety.
    1) Front stippling at ~25lpi bites a little too much.
    2) Serrated trigger.
    3) Wood stocks too aggressive, too biting. The grips to get are the Pearce OM2 rubber grips or the Alumina thin grips, imo. Both give a much better grip than stock or phenolic, micarta or the fancy tactical grips. ymmv.
    4) 1/4" more height and it would have been perfect, imo. 4.75" is the norm, though. Stock mags are hard to slap in, WC XDs with the slim mag base are much better - easier to slap home and the little added space between the mag base and the frame bottom makes it feel better in the hand. imo.

    The C3 and RCS would also be good considerations, especially the RCS/SAS. Since they have 4.2" barrels, instead of the Ultra's 3.3", the barrel is probably not ramped. SIG 1911 RCS | Average Joe's Handgun Reviews
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    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    I have had a Kimber Raptor Ultra, and it has been very reliable. Although truth be told, I carry my Kimber Commander sized ("Pro") off duty primarily because I like the longer, full-sized grip. About reliability--ANYTHING man-made is subject to failure. If you buy a pistol from a reliable manufacturer and it has some glitches, they will make it right for you.

    Not too long ago, I was staring down a dark alley, with my AR locked and loaded and remember thinking (among other things) "This is no place for shoddy equipment". You have already had to draw and use your Sig. If you are planning on betting your life on your gear, don't buy shoddy gear Just bite the bullet and buy quality.
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    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    I carry a Colt Light Weight Commander XSE. I love it. It is not a 38 oz iron, but it is not that lightweight either. The barrel length is less of a concern IMO for carry than grip length, but I know what your concerns are.

    1.25 extra inches on the barrel wont carry much different, but will function very different. Get a Colt Commander. Well worth the $ and reliability.
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