3" Barreled 1911's ?

This is a discussion on 3" Barreled 1911's ? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Been looking to get a new carry 1911 and I have been looking at those 3 inch barreled 1911's in .45. I have been doing ...

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Thread: 3" Barreled 1911's ?

  1. #1
    Member Array Bender's Avatar
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    Question 3" Barreled 1911's ?

    Been looking to get a new carry 1911 and I have been looking at those 3 inch barreled 1911's in .45. I have been doing a little bit of research and I see that Wilson Combat doesn't make anything shorter than 3 1/2 inches due to reliability issues. I know my current 3 inch Para's performance has been less than stellar.

    Anyone have any experience with 3 inch barreled 1911's? Kimber? Springfield? Para? etc.

    Thanks...
    Ahhh, what an awful dream. Ones and zeros everywhere... and I thought I saw a two.


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  3. #2
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    Can't help you with personal experience, but when I was looking at smaller 1911's I also kept running across reliability issue comments on both the 3.5 and 3" models. The majority being hits on the 3" guns. I ended up buying the SIG 1911 RCS, 4.25" barrel, came with factory night sights, fully dehorned and 7+1 mags. I have not regretted it.
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    Member Array rmhz1979's Avatar
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    I use to have a Kimber Ultra Carry II (stupid me sold it UGH). It was a great little pistol. I never had a ftf or fte. It worked flawlessly and pointed very nice for me. I would definently recommend one.
    "No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson

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    My RIA 3.5 inch eats everything I throw down it.
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    Springfield Compact Loaded .45...had to have a 250 round in 1 hour session to break it in but since then it has been awesome, eats anything including cheap range reloads. Scary accurate, tucks easily and I almost forget it is there.
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    I have a 3" Kimber Ultra CDP (pre series II) and it operates just fine.

    My warning to people who start lumping any "type" of gun into a category (such as the category of "Three Inch 1911s are Unreliable") need to dig a little deeper.

    Which 3" 1911s are unreliable? Para? Kimber? Springfield?

    By unreliable, what do they mean? FTF? FTE? What?

    Is it just that one model or all models?

    Which ones seems to do it right?

    What would your criteria be for reliability? 100 rounds without any failure? 200? 300? 2000?

    Etc.....

    Saying 3" 1911s are unreliable is like saying dogs are violent.

    While that may be the case some of the time there are exceptions and even whole instances where the opposite is true.

    Do your research (as it seems you are) and find out who did them wrong and who did them right. Then make your decision.

    If the instances of error are too much for you then don't get one. If not, enjoy your 3" 1911 as I have.

  8. #7
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Took the same path and agree with Limatunes completely. Seems someone comes up with a piece of internet wisdome and it get's a life of it's own, or one expert says it and everyone hooks wagons.

    From my research I concluded that the 3" 1911 design is a bit more demanding than a 5" but I also determined that modern producers are up to the task.

    Then something else that kept coming up over and over again was the Colt Defender as one of the statistically more reliable short 1911's. So...

    At the end of the day I settled on a Colt New Agent. I liked the looks better and the color. It's basically the Defender reconfigured. Mine has been very reliable but can be finickey with a few different JHP's I tried but that's the case with many 1911's including full size and high dollar custom jobs. But it does like Golden Sabre jhp's

    Another conventional internet wisdom you'll hear is that carrying a 5" or 4" 1911 is just as easy as a 3". May be so for many but for shorter and/or thinner people, the extra inch or two does make a difference in carry. I carried a 5" SA Mil-Spec IWB for a while and I could conceal it but it was uncomfortable and the barrel poked out in back. My 3" Colt New Agent conceals almost as good as my J frame; actually it's more comfortable.

    The trench sites on my Colt make me very nervous at first but now I prefer them for a purely defensive pistol. The trench lines you up horizontally on target far faster than any traditional sight I've ever used. Then with the natural pointability of the 1911 you're already good but if you want to, you can sight on the trench and be very very accurate. Recoil in the Colt New Agent is not any different than what I noticed with my 5" Springfield. In fact, I believe it's a bit better. Can't say why but it is.

    Now the only problem I did have with a 3" was the way it poked my hip in the first holster I got for it due to the short barrel lenght, however, that holster maker (Eric Larson of HBE) make a replacement holster for me at no cost that has a closed muzzle and a bit of extra leater past the muzzle and now it's a pure joy to carry.

    And I wouldn't hesitate to try a RIA compact or 3" model if you're on a budget.

    Anyway, good luck with your search!

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    Member Array stargzer's Avatar
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    My Para P-12 has alway worked for me. It eats any and everything I have fed it so far. I agree with limatunes.
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    I have a Colt Defender. Not my daily carry yet as I want to put some more rounds through it and am waiting on my holster, but I am up to 400 rounds now and had 6 ftf's, I have been firing mostly wwb and wolf with the last 50 being corbon SD rounds. Thats it. I will also say that the 6 ftf's were with the same magazine, It was a stock Colt mag. I now use wilson mags and have ZERO problems. The other colt mag works just fine as well. Anyway, I love my mini-1911 and so far have had no problems other than the one mag issue that has since been fixed.
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  11. #10
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    Love my Kimber Ultra Carry...been perfect out of the box, it's a pleasure to shoot, and it's scary accurate.
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    Distinguished Member Array Gunnutty's Avatar
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    I love my Colt Defender. No problems thus far.
    We will be much better off when we learn to deal with things as they really are, instead of how we wish them to be!

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    I've got a Officers (3.5) High Standard. It was the least expensive officer's 1911 I've ever seen- but it isn't a ""cheap gun"". It feeds everything perfectly except Gold-dots. And even with the GD's, it is fairly (maybe 95%) reliable.

    With Winchester Silvertips it has been flawless (but ST's are known to be among the easiest to feed)

    It's not as accurate as my Kimber, but at 1/3 the price, it's worth the money I spent, and I don't have hesitations carrying it.

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  14. #13
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    Thanks for all the replies...

    I have a Para PDA .45 with 3 inch barrel and Saturday at the range I got at least one FTF for every magazine I own. I have about 550 rounds through it and that was the worst day ever. Needless to say I have returned it to Para for them to take a look at it.

    I was thinking about a replacement for it and I have seen some nice 3 inchers out there. We will see if a replacement is in order after it gets back from Para.

    After a bit of internet research about 3 inch 1911's, I just wanted to get some feedback from you guys. Like I stated above, Wilson Combat doesn't make a 1911 barrel shorter than 3.5 inches... they are the experts IMO. I would get a Wilson if I could afford it.

    Thanks...
    Ahhh, what an awful dream. Ones and zeros everywhere... and I thought I saw a two.


  15. #14
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bender View Post
    Thanks for all the replies...

    I have a Para PDA .45 with 3 inch barrel and Saturday at the range I got at least one FTF for every magazine I own. I have about 550 rounds through it and that was the worst day ever. Needless to say I have returned it to Para for them to take a look at it.

    I was thinking about a replacement for it and I have seen some nice 3 inchers out there. We will see if a replacement is in order after it gets back from Para.

    After a bit of internet research about 3 inch 1911's, I just wanted to get some feedback from you guys. Like I stated above, Wilson Combat doesn't make a 1911 barrel shorter than 3.5 inches... they are the experts IMO. I would get a Wilson if I could afford it.

    Thanks...
    What kind of magazine? How many different magazines are giving you the problem? I'd suggest buying a couple more mags of a different type before ditching the gun.

    Is it the fist, middle, or last round giving you issues or a mix of all three? If it's getting worse re: "this was the worse day ever" I'm betting that there's something not quite right with the gun.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
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    I have the Springfield micro. It's a great gun. Reliable, conceals well, not too heavy. Pretty strong recoil spring, so it may be tough for a woman to cycle.
    Seems like it is particular about magazines, and it likes the Springfield ones. Not the Wilson Combat. After that it is 100% reliable.

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