Springfield Champions versus Ultra Compacts

This is a discussion on Springfield Champions versus Ultra Compacts within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Need some help and input. I want to buy a compact .40 or .45 in the 1911 format for carry. I've held dozens and like ...

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Thread: Springfield Champions versus Ultra Compacts

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Springfield Champions versus Ultra Compacts

    Need some help and input. I want to buy a compact .40 or .45 in the 1911 format for carry. I've held dozens and like the Springfield Micro Compact the best so far but I am concerned about reliablity issues with the small barrel lenght. I've tried to figure our SA's frame size and it seems the frame size is the same all the way down to the Micro Compact and the Ultra Compact, and between those two, it the only difference seems to be a half inch difference between barrels. Will that the difference between a 3" and a 3.5" barrel really make much of a difference?

    Also, in my local gun shop they have an SA micro compact bi-tone in .40. Am I correct to assume it'll have slightly less recoil than the .45? Would that hurt reliability any?

    Does anyone out there have the SA Ultra Compact in a parkarized or blued version?

    Finally, I hear some of you talking about your SA Champions. It seems like their frame is just one step up from the ultra compact but one step down from their full size frame. Is it?

    A lot of questions but I'm looking to buy one last weapon for carry. I'd like the .40 or .45 and I love the 1911 platform. I need it to be light weight and a smaller frame to fit my small hands. I've tried the Kimber Ultra Carry and love how it looks but it doesn't fit my hand nearly as well as the SA. I know ExSoldier doesn't care for the shorter 1911's and I respect his opinion but I'm willing to work with SA to get one to the level of reliability I need. This would be my large carry gun leaving my Kahr P9 for lighter duty.

    I don't plan on buying anymore after this because it makes me feel to guilty with the family and I don't need them as much as I just want them but this will round out my carry selection.

    I'm thinking of using a McDaniel's IWB from Andrews Leather to carry it when I get it.

    I'm also thinking of trading in my SA Mil-Spec to offset some of the cost. I love my Mil-Spec but now I really wish I'd just bought one of their loaded models. I've researched having it upgraded but by the time your done you've spent way more than you would have just buying one new, unless of course you do the work yourself (something I just don't have the skill or time for).

    How much should I expect to get for a trade in on a Mil-Spec in excellent condition?

    Anyway, hope you're all having a good day out there!

    God Bless

    Gideon

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  3. #2
    Member Array DirksterG30's Avatar
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    Gideon,

    I have a Springfield Champion. It is considered a commander-sized 1911 - that is a 4" barrel (approx., if memory serves, I think the Champion has a 3.78" barrel) with a full-sized grip. So it is a little shorter than a 5" 1911, but just as tall.

    I can't speak for the Officers-sized 1911s (Micro Compact/Ultra Compact), but my Champion has been flawless since I broke it in, with over 1200 rounds through it.

  4. #3
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    Lots of issues from folks here with micro 1911's.I considered a micro but after resarching it decided on a 4". The only 3" I would consider is the Colt Defender. I have not seen any bad reviews on it yet. that said , I love my champ. but did have to get a new slide release. The .40 may actually have worse FELT recoil, as the .40 is a snappy recoil to it. I have no problems firing my Champ. in .45 , even with the lightweight frame.

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    VIP Member Array maclean3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky
    Lots of issues from folks here with micro 1911's. I considered a micro but after resarching it decided on a 4". The only 3" I would consider is the Colt Defender. I have not seen any bad reviews on it yet.
    Same here. I had an SA Ultra Compact Hicap that was nothing but trouble - never again. Colt seems to be having success with their Defender but IIRC that has a redesigned recoil system. Others report great reliability with their sub 4" 1911s and I'm happy for them, I'm simply not willing to risk the expense and aggrevation again. FWIW, the Springfields I've handled and owned have all had a much tighter slide to frame fit than my Colts - it may just be that mine required more breaking in or needed some extra lapping to be perfect.


    Quote Originally Posted by rocky
    The .40 may actually have worse FELT recoil, as the .40 is a snappy recoil to it. I have no problems firing my Champ. in .45 , even with the lightweight frame.
    Pretty much my experience as well.

    As far as slide and frame dimensions, here's a basic layout:
    Colt Gov't - 5" bbl, fullsize frame
    Colt Commander - 4.25" bbl, fullsize frame
    Colt Defender ~ 3" bbl on Officer's/compact frame (or there about)

    SA Fullsize - 5" bbl, fullsize frame
    SA Champion - 4" bbl, fullsize frame
    SA Ultra Compact - 3.5" bbl, Officer's/compact frame
    SA MIcro Compact - 3" bbl, Officer's/compact frame.

    BTW, the grip frames of 1911s are relatively the same width. What you're experiencing in the SA "fitting your hand" better is most likely due to the length of the trigger bow they use. SA uses a short trigger as does Colt's Series 70, Colt's Series 80 (MKIV Series 80, 1991, etc.) uses a long trigger bow - can't say offhand what Kimber uses but it may be the long trigger. A good 'smith can change out the trigger for you on any 1911 and get you the configuration you're looking for.

    Hope this helps!
    Jack
    Last edited by maclean3; February 9th, 2006 at 02:23 PM. Reason: added trigger info.

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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Good info already! I've been afraid of hearing more about problems with short barrel lenghts in 1911s. I don't think SA makes one with a 4" barrel on the officers'/compact frame, or do they? If not, does anyone know of someone who does besides colt?

    Anyone out there found their experience with the micro to be different? I'm hoping, common, please help me rationlise my hearts desire!

    Seriously, I appreciate the advise. I love the .45 and the 1911 but need the smaller size and weight to make it practical for me to handle and carry. It'll become the top end of my carry weapons.

    Thanks All!!!

    And God Bless

    Gideon

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    Senior Member Array David III's Avatar
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    I've had a 3 1/2" barrel Springfield and it ran great. Only thing it wouldn't feed was steel-case Wolf ammo, which was fine with me, since I hadn't planned on running it. I have a 3 1/2" Colt and it runs fine also. The only thing shorter that I have any experience with is my 3" Colt Defender. I had read that it's the one short gun that runs good (again, I don't know about Springfield personally with their 3") - and I like Colts so bought the Defender. Not a single problem in hundreds and hundreds of rounds. I carry it every day.
    I'd like to get a 3" Springfield just to see how it does. As others have said, when the barrel gets shorter, 1911s tend to get a lot more particular. I'm a little person, so the little guns fit me and my hands better.

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    los
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    Here's a photo of my Kimber UCI. The SA Micro will be identical in size. I've read nothing but good things about the Micro. If it's reliabilty and accuracy is only half of that of my UC,.....you'll be very happy!!


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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    David and LOS; how is the recoil in your mico's? And do they feel top heavy in your hoster since there seems to be a lot more "butt" than barrel?

    Thanks for the inputs, you'll all convince me to buy that springfield micro yet

    Gideon

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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Another question for those who have stainless SA's; do you like the stainless? I mean some stainless is bright, others more of a dull matte finish. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I'm not sure how I'd like the stainless. SA offers a Ultra Compact with a 3.5" barrel but only in Stainless w/hogue wrap around grips. I really like the darker colored guns and especially SA's Army Kote finish.

    Opinions?

    Gideon

  11. #10
    los
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gideon
    David and LOS; how is the recoil in your mico's? And do they feel top heavy in your hoster since there seems to be a lot more "butt" than barrel?
    Honestly, the recoil is no more than that of my full size Gov. Although you (I) do start noticing a major difference when firing +P loads. But as far as 230 Ball or JHPs... or 185 Wads, there is no major difference in recoil.

    As far as "top heavy" feel or discomfort,...It might become an issue if you don't utilize a good belt and/or a well made/boned holster with proper cant.

    I personally do not have, nor have I ever had, any carry discomfort issues with my UC and my rig!!

  12. #11
    Lead Moderator
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    Sounds like you are set on a micro. Try searching on info for owners. AR15.com, 1911 forums ect.

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    los
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky
    Sounds like you are set on a micro. Try searching on info for owners. AR15.com, 1911 forums ect.
    +1. Both Forums have SA specific topics.

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    Administrative Ban Array Bruces45's Avatar
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    Her eis 1 more vote for the Colt Defender. I have found that the balance of the Commander size is great, compacts just don't seem to "fit" right.

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    VIP Member Array maclean3's Avatar
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    I'm sure the Springfield Custom Shop could apply whatever finish you wanted, not sure what that might cost though. Shoot them an email and ask about different options and costs: Bead blasted, Armory coat, etc.. Can't get more accurate info then from them.
    Jack

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    Senior Member Array David III's Avatar
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    No problem with top-heavy. I use double thick belts and Milt Sparks or Alessi IWB holsters (and I choose those that tend to hold the gun lower than say the original Summer Special). Gary Brommeland's Max-Con III would be another great choice and probably my next IWB purchase.
    Recoil is quicker than with a Government, I think, but I don't really notice it. But, I shoot a lot of 44 Magnums so I am used to a big shove. Honestly, I don't think the 1911 platform kicks very much regardless of caliber. An old Walther PPK with that narrow steel back on the frame hurts my hand worse than any 1911 45 ACP.

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