Colt Defender (pros and cons)

This is a discussion on Colt Defender (pros and cons) within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My wife and I were at the range yesterday and she wanted to try out the Colt Defender they had in the rental case. She ...

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Thread: Colt Defender (pros and cons)

  1. #1
    Member Array Cosmo's Avatar
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    Colt Defender (pros and cons)

    My wife and I were at the range yesterday and she wanted to try out the Colt Defender they had in the rental case. She shot it, decided she didn't like it all that much. I shot it, and loved it. When I picked it up and shot the first 5 rounds through it, they were all touching right across the X at 10 yds. Of course now I think I want one. So, let's hear the good, the bad, and the ugly about this gun.

    Thanks.
    NRA Member

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  3. #2
    JD
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    The good: it's light weight and shoots 6 or 7.45ACPs, and is easy to conceal with it's 3" bbl and short grip.

    The bad: it's light weight which makes recoil a little more "felt" and shoots 6 or 7.45ACPs, as opposed to 8, 9, or 13, and with it's 3" bbl. it's not as accurate as longer barreled pistols.

    It all depends on what side of the fence you want to sit on, the pros and cons are almost identical, it just depends pn what's important to you.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Pretty good gun

    I've had a Colt Defender for about one year, and am quite positive on the gun. I like 1911s and have several of them, including Colts and Kimbers, and the Defender is the smallest one I have.

    On the plus side, my Defender has been completely reliable through about 600 rounds of mixed ammo I have fired, always feeding and ejecting properly. It has been surprisingly accurate for a short barrel gun, and it is very concealable with the thin grip panels I use, being about 0.90 inches thick in the slide and 1.05 inches thick in the grip. I use Wilson 7 round magazines so my capacity is 7+1 or 8 rounds, which seems adequate to me for a CCW in .45 caliber. I also use the higher velocity 185 grain ammo (Remington Golden Sabers for now) which give good muzzle velocity and expansion in the short barrel, according to test data I have seen.

    On the negative side, the gun has some sharp corners (I just had a gunsmith dehorn it but the photo below was taken before that.) It also has a healthy recoil because it only weighs 25 ounces or so. This doesn't bother me after years of shooting large calibers, but might concern some people. I also replaced some original parts to "improve" the gun, including grip safety, mainspring housing, grip panels and trigger, and this cost me a few dollars.

    But now that I have it like I want it, I will definitely keep it and carry it, alternating with a larger Kimber Pro I have.


  5. #4
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    I've had my Defender going on 3 yrs. now and I love it.

    In my hands and others who can handle as much it's plenty accurate enough out to tool applicable distances.
    It's definitely not accurate like a 5" but then that's not what it is either. :)
    I've shot IDPA with it though and done fine.

    My own list of pro and con items matches that of those stated by JD and Pogo both.
    I'd only add in my case I carry with it Wilson 7 rd. magazines as well as McCormick and Novak/ACT 8 rd. mags and thus far it's had _zero_ problems running on those at all. It just works, like a Swingline stapler. I'd been told and have read from others that the captured spring setup is good for only ~500 rds. before requiring replacement or otherwise it'll malfunction/cycle incorrectly.
    That is bunk in my own experience. I have shot the hell out of mine and as it's one of my two carry guns I train with it regularly and have been for years. As well I use it as the bottom end toward my .22 LR conversion which I also shoot alot of and to date I have yet to change the stock springs.
    I shot side by side the defender of a guy I know and his was softer than mine on newer springs but as far as functionality goes, it's been Timex reliable for me. I've probably jinxed myself now by saying this. :\

    The one thing though where I differ is that it is heavy for what it's relative size.
    It's heavier in hand and on the belt than my other CCW which is a SA 'Lightweight Compact' commander length 1911. It too has an officer length aluminum frame and is noticeably lighter than the Defender when empty with no mag.

    I like my Defender alot and would buy another as well as have no second thought suggesting same to others, which includes the dude I mentioned who bought his after talking with me about mine.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Senior Member Array slimjim's Avatar
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    I had one last year. Really liked the size and feel of it. Pros & cons as previously stated. Unfortunately, mine was a lemon. Multiple misfeeds of every sort (i.e. jams, double feeds). Even after sending it back to Colt, it still wasn't right. Spent lots of money trying to get that gun to run. Probably close to an additional $400 on different ammo, mags,etc. Wound up trading it in for a G30 which has been perfect. There are some who believe the 3" 1911s generally are more problematic than the Commanders and Fullsize 1911s. I've been thinking about giving the 3" 1911 another shot, probably buy a Kimber this time around. I think you have to be more picky with your carry ammo in such a short barrel 45. Regardless, good luck with yours if you decide to go ahead with the purchase.

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    Senior Member Array jhh3rd's Avatar
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    I love mine. Lightweight, accurate, reliable, and small. Negatives for me were the abominable hogue rubber wrap around grips. Easy replacement with Aluma-grips thin grips. Go for it!

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    I hear they are known to shoot brass straight back at the shooter sometimes (and I have a nice scar between my eyes to prove that at least that reputation was true with at least one Defender, and DANG did it hurt).

    However, all my shots were grouping in the x-ring. If it wasn't for the fact that brass being shot back at me made me see stars and gave me a scar, I would have loved to have bought one.

  9. #8
    OD*
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    I hear they are known to shoot brass straight back at the shooter sometimes
    That's an easy fix.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

  10. #9
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    I have a Colt Officers with a smidge longer barrel at 3.5 inches and for higher capacity I have a Para P-12 with the 12 round mag.

    They are both great guns and I carry them on occasion but since neither have any night sights I don't carry them much. Lately I've been into the polymer guns (Glock & XD) since it cuts a lot of the weight.

    Both my 1911's are steel frame instead of alloy so they can get uncomfortable after 6 or 7 hours.

    I am thinking of investing in some night sights, new springs, maybe a trigger job and more modern holsters for them and possibly start carrying more often soon. I do like the 'ol .45 acp round.
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array imthduke's Avatar
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    Got one and love it.

    What is the fix for the brass to the face ejection?

  12. #11
    OD*
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    This will get you started, it is not all inclusive though.
    If you haven't done it before, you may want to have a spare or have the job preformed by a competent 'smith.

    http://www.m1911.org/technic2.htm
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Mine and dude I know both our Defenders eject high and right like normal and it should.
    I'd send it back to the factory for repair if it were ejecting into my face as that is an operational danger.
    I've heard alot of things/rumor about the Defender but ejecting cases directly rearward that is a first for me.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  14. #13
    OD*
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    I've heard alot of things/rumor about the Defender but ejecting cases directly rearward that is a first for me.
    It isn't an uncommon situation with 1911s and isn't limited to the Defender class pistols. Extractor tension, ejector angle even recoil spring weight can effect case trajectory. Sending it back to Colt, is good advice too.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    I know and am aware of that as a 1911 functional error item.
    I've just not heard of it as being a condition specific to the Defender though in so far as common/normative operation.

    With any 1911 if such a condition were occurring I'd send it back to the mfr. for review, repair, and/or replacement.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  16. #15
    Member Array Ping Ping's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD View Post
    It isn't an uncommon situation with 1911s and isn't limited to the Defender class pistols. Extractor tension, ejector angle even recoil spring weight can effect case trajectory. Sending it back to Colt, is good advice too.
    Nope. Not uncommon at all. The military actually desired the "up and back" trajectory of the brass... but most of us don't wear helmets.

    As OD says, it's nothing to do with the Defender specifically and if the gun is under warranty and you have a backup, by all means, let the mfr mess with it. If not, it's not brain surgery to stone an ejector, nor to tune an extractor. Even a recoil spring swap can change it enough to make it livable.

    But for the difference in purpose, a 1911 is pretty much a Zippo.
    "Happiness, is a warm gun" -St. John of Liverpool

    Proud to be an infidel.

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