How are the 3" 1911s?

How are the 3" 1911s?

This is a discussion on How are the 3" 1911s? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Does anybody here own/shoot a 3" 1911, and if so what do you feed it? I've been told they are picky about their ammo. Any ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array Dusty Miller's Avatar
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    How are the 3" 1911s?

    Does anybody here own/shoot a 3" 1911, and if so what do you feed it? I've been told they are picky about their ammo. Any info?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array slimjim's Avatar
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    I previously owned a Colt Defender, had jams with various ammo (WWB, Ranger T, Federal Tactical, Corbon, Federal FMJ, etc.) using different mags. Had problems even after sending back to Colt. Wound up getting rid of it.
    Recently picked up a Kimber Ultra Carry. After couple hundred round breakin, it has been reliable with WWB and my carry ammo Corbon DPX 160gr.
    In my experience, these 3" 1911's can be picky with ammo and mags. One just has to try and see what works best in their individual gun.

  3. #3
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    Seems a lot depends on the individual gun. I have seem reports of good and bad with Colt, Kimber and Springfield in a 3" 1911. Colt seems to be the most reliable with the Defender.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Rustynuts's Avatar
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    50-50 for me so far. Kimber UC CDP II has been flawless in about 400-rds. SA Micro has been a steaming pile of excrement. FTF with both JHP and FMJ! Mostly JHP though. At least one per mag on average. Had one clean 50-rd box one day at that was it. It's in for work right now.

    The failures were shooting side-by-side with the Kimber with same ammo and same mags (Wilson Combat & stock Kimber), so I'm pretty sure it's not the ammo, mags, or me!

    PS I've heard all 1911's can be picky with JHP, not just the 3". The short barrel might magnify issues though with the stout recoil.

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    I have a new Defender, out of the first 100 rds it fired every one of them just fine. Though I did have one empty hit me between the eyes. I might have limp-wristed a bit on that shot, or it might need more breaking in, otherwise I've had no problems at all. I like the gun it's great. I did change the Hogue rubber grips, though I liked them, the rubber tended to cling/hang on my shirt, so I changed to the slicker rosewood grips.
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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    test and breakin

    I have a Colt Defender which has worked very well, and have spoken with other people owning 3 inch 1911s - generally their experience has been good. You will find that some people on gun chat sites like this one will criticize these guns as unreliable, based on some experience they have had. But the majority of owners appear to be satisfied with their 3 inch 1911s, I believe.

    The Colt Defender has been on the market for about 10 years, and it seems to be selling well. Colt has had some time to work out any bugs, and I think their use of the "dimpled barrel" on the current production has enhanced feeding of rounds into the chamber.

    I would recommend that anyone buying one of these 3 inch guns should run several hundred rounds of ammo through it for test purposes and breakin. This would include the proposed carry ammo. If it passes this test, the gun can be trusted for defensive use.

    This is my Defender, which I have modified a bit since I bought it. I trust it for personal defense, and sometimes carry it.


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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    My son has a Defender and has never had a problem. I run a SA GI Micro that feeds everything from hollow points to round nose lead reloads, except +P. The manual says no +P. It loves factory mags and dislikes Wilsons. I have over 4,000 rounds through it and love it.

    As an additional item I know of several dozen people who have 3" 1911's and none have had problems after break in and using standard pressure ammo.
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    Yep, the dimpled barrel chamber throat is a help in feeding because it drops the bullet nose down a bit lower as it enters the chamber and so cartridges are much less likely to hang up on the feed cycle.
    The reduced (slightly less steep) feed angle also makes it easier for the rear of the cartridge to ride up into the extractor hook.
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    Senior Member Array rhinokrk's Avatar
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    I've had a SA Mil-Spec Micro since late '03. other than a FTFeed in the first 50 rds, no problems at all. All I shoot is 230gr WWB and 230gr Gold Dot, 2000+ rds. I only run Wilson Combat Mags.
    Last edited by rhinokrk; November 12th, 2007 at 07:28 PM. Reason: Adding mags
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  10. #10
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    I have a Kimber Ultra CDP II that has had about 1200 rounds through it. It has been problem free. Altogether, counting odds and ends friends chipped in, it's had about a dozen different types of ammo with no problems. I'm using 185 grain Silver Tips for carry even though Kimber recommends 230 grain ammo.

    Note: this pistol is a II with the external extractor and firing pin block; so much for Kimbers being hopelessly flawed. I trust it and consider it my primary carry pistol.

  11. #11
    Member Array CT Kid's Avatar
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    I own a Kimber Ultra Carry, bought it used. I have fired over 1000 rounds using reloads and various commercial rounds all LRN or JHP. I mixed them in my mags to try and get it to "choke". I read articles about the kimber mag not working but did not experience any difficulties. Who can figure out why some people have problems and others don't. Its not as accurate as my Pointman 7 but is not fussy about what it shoots either.

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    I have the Kimber Ultra Carry II stainless. Its probably had about 500 rounds through it and to date it hasn’t choked. Although some people go on and on about how unreliable the 3” 1911 style pistols are so far I’m pleased with this one. A word of caution however, I do believe these guns are a lot more sensitive to maintenance issues than a fullsize 1911. You definitely are going to need to change recoil springs more often and pay more attention to your mags and ammo selection. They are a nice sized handgun and probably would conceal really well (maybe I’ll find out one of these days).

    My Kimber is very accurate, a slight bit tougher to shoot than my full size due to muzzle flip but controllable
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Ride4TheBrand's Avatar
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    My EDC is a Kimber Ultra Carry II. It has been flawless with any type of ammo I have fed it... And going on 1500 rounds.
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  14. #14
    Member Array Hume's Avatar
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    I had an early Series 80 Officer's Model from Colt and a Series I Ultra Carry from Kimber. They both were reliable. People often say how unreliable the 3" 1911s are. It has not been so with me. I just do not like shooting them, that is all.

    To someone getting one, I would say shoot it a lot, know it well, find the right magazines for it, and keep some good grease on the rails. Any problems with it will occur while practicing and can be addressed as needed. If you are committed to the pistol, it will serve you well. Any good SD ammo should work in a modern production pistol.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array tegemu's Avatar
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    Once I got my Kimber Ultra Carry II broken in, it has been utterly reliable no matter what I feed it.
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