Looking for a Lightweight Commander or Smaller, I think?

Looking for a Lightweight Commander or Smaller, I think?

This is a discussion on Looking for a Lightweight Commander or Smaller, I think? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have been looking at the lightweight Colt's, Commanders (XSC I think they are) and really want one. I held a 4" Kimber Raptor over ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array harley2007's Avatar
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    Looking for a Lightweight Commander or Smaller, I think?

    I have been looking at the lightweight Colt's, Commanders (XSC I think they are) and really want one. I held a 4" Kimber Raptor over the weekend that was just beautiful, but not lightweight.

    I "think" I want a Commander size or at least 4" to avoid the problems I have heard about with shorter 1911's but what I like the most is the smaller framed aluminum models. So I get confused when I try to juggle between going for a smaller model with reported reliability issues to a larger but not full size model.

    I am most interested in what I am missing, I know their are some nice Springers and some people love their Kimbers, and a Colt, is well, a Colt, a great piece of history.....so I am curious if I am missing the boat on an obvious other 1911 to consider.


    So, here is my criteria (again, I think!):
    • 1911 platform in 45 ACP
    • Lightweight to carry if I like, although I have a Glock 30 for that main purpose
    • Want a full grip of the gun, no pinkie dangling, I have medium hands
    • Want something well made and reliable without spending more than say $1,300 or so


    I wish Kimbers didnt scare me (from the bad rap's I have read, to the MIM quality complaints) because the Stainless Raptor I held was a work of art!

    Thanks in advance for your help and thoughts.
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!" - Dorothy Parker


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Sportsterguy's Avatar
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    I'd personally stick wirh the original 5" barrel length for the following reasons:

    * Less chance of a malfunction due to the faster cycle time of the slide.

    * Higher velocities = better ballistics

    * Longer sight radius for more accurate shooting

    * Just as easy to conceal as a Commander length pistol with a quality holster and belt. Carried my Springer Standard almost everyday for 19 years and was never made.

    * No full length guide rod!!!!

    I personally owned a SA Champion that made 5 trips to the factory before it would run. Never trusted it again and sold it off.

    Have personally seen numerous chopped .45's give their owners fits more than full length size 1911's and Kimbers were the most troublesome of them all.

    Now on a positive note I would only own a Colt Commander if I was to go back to packing a 1911 with a short barrel. Have shot quite a few of them and not one bobbled on me. I do want a Commander as a range / fun gun as I do think they are one classy looking pistol!

    Having said that I'll stick with my 5" Springer as my bedside weapon. I trust it!

    JMHO
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Kimber Pro CDP meets your spec...

    I only own one 4 inch Kimber so I can't claim expert status, but the one I have, a CDP Pro, has worked perfectly for about 5 years and several thousand rounds. It is well suited to carry, with a lightweight aluminum frame, melted slide, night sights and checkered front strap. I have added slim grip panels and a single side safety to replace the original ambi safety. I trust the gun.



    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array jhh3rd's Avatar
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    I shot my Colt New Agent today for the first time. Very reliable, no problems and no sights. Very nice gun. I had a Colt Defender that I sold at a good price to a friend . It, too, was utterly reliable. Check out Colt's offerings, they make a good product and the unique way they throat the barrel chamber seems to really work as far as feeding goes. Good luck and if you have any questions about either of these models, I will be glad to help. I can't post pictures though. john

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array harley2007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhh3rd View Post
    I shot my Colt New Agent today for the first time. Very reliable, no problems and no sights. Very nice gun. I had a Colt Defender that I sold at a good price to a friend . It, too, was utterly reliable. Check out Colt's offerings, they make a good product and the unique way they throat the barrel chamber seems to really work as far as feeding goes. Good luck and if you have any questions about either of these models, I will be glad to help. I can't post pictures though. john
    Thanks John, and I appreciate the offer for more questions. I was seriously considering a small (like 3") 45 but from all that I have read, was turned off a bit for fear of poor reliability. I have a custom built full size 1911 (Safari arms frame, Colt upper) that I have has since 1989...and no other 1911's and now have the itch...really wanted a small one but feel that a Cammander is the smallest I should go.

    So my Q to you is, have you, in your experiences, found the small Defender models to be as reliable as larger 1911's? I love the Talo Night Defender, or the regular Defender. Also, why did you go with the New Agent after owning the regular defender?
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!" - Dorothy Parker

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array harley2007's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=pogo2;1451540]I only own one 4 inch Kimber so I can't claim expert status, but the one I have, a CDP Pro, has worked perfectly for about 5 years and several thousand rounds. It is well suited to carry, with a lightweight aluminum frame, melted slide, night sights and checkered front strap. I have added slim grip panels and a single side safety to replace the original ambi safety. I trust the gun.

    The Kimbers scare me from what I have "read"...but I love them in the hand.....
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!" - Dorothy Parker

  7. #7
    Member Array bradktn's Avatar
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    Smith and Wesson 1911PD; Regular barrel bushing, I changed out the full-length guide rod for a GI rod and plug ($20). Readily available, $900-$1000, exc. customer service. True commander length, 4.25 inches.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Colt Defender comment

    Quote Originally Posted by harley2007 View Post
    So my Q to you is, have you, in your experiences, found the small Defender models to be as reliable as larger 1911's? I love the Talo Night Defender, or the regular Defender.
    If you are considering the Colt Defender, I would comment that I have had one for about 3 years and have put roughly 1000 rounds through it with no problems. I think the "dimpled barrel" used by Colt ensures smooth feeding in these small guns. It certainly does conceal easily because of the shorter grip and barrel.



    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array jhh3rd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley2007 View Post
    Thanks John, and I appreciate the offer for more questions. I was seriously considering a small (like 3") 45 but from all that I have read, was turned off a bit for fear of poor reliability. I have a custom built full size 1911 (Safari arms frame, Colt upper) that I have has since 1989...and no other 1911's and now have the itch...really wanted a small one but feel that a Cammander is the smallest I should go.

    So my Q to you is, have you, in your experiences, found the small Defender models to be as reliable as larger 1911's? I love the Talo Night Defender, or the regular Defender. Also, why did you go with the New Agent after owning the regular defender?
    My Defender was absolutely 100% stock and 100% feed, function, eject. It was shot by me and several people and everyone reported 100%. I did sell it to a friend who has been good to me over the years and he really wanted mine after he sold his. I bought the New Agent because the Defender was so good and I thought it looked cool too. No problems with the New Agent today. Actually it was part of the Colt recall about the thumb safety. I sent it back last fall before even firing it. EXCELLENT five day turn around by Colt. I have seen and shot several Defenders, even the early ones with different factory sights, and the only problem one was a guy had a .40 caliber model and it was fussy.

    My old Defender and New Agent have been as reliable as any Colt 5-inch or Commander I have owned or now own. Lastly, I saw and handled a Talo Night Defender. Be still my beating heart.... That is one nice Colt! I hope this helps and don't be afraid of Colt's 3-inch guns. They are well made and well timed to operate reliably. The Colt engineers and production staff seem to know how to make these little guns work. I can't speak to other brands as I had any interest in them except for a Kimber Pro Carry I once owned. That gun kept flinging the brass back into my face, the plunger tube broke and it went back to Kimber three times. The %-inch Kimber I had was excellent. Never a problem with it, I just hated the look of the front slide serrations. Silly, yes, but we all have our quirks. john

  10. #10
    Member Array Archie's Avatar
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    I like the Commander.

    By Commander, I mean the Lightweight Commander - I'm an old guy.

    The three-quarters off the barrel length isn't so important, but the twelve ounces of weight differential is serious in concealment factor. Plus, with the full sized grip, recoil is not markedly more severe than the full size gun.

    My Commander is an older pistol, I believe from the '70s and I have no idea what they cost these days. They do show up used from time to time and are usually functional or at least worth replacing a couple parts and a bit of tinkering.
    Anyone Worth Shooting Is Worth Shooting Well
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley2007 View Post
    The Kimbers scare me from what I have "read"...but I love them in the hand.....
    If that's the case, you'd better not buy any handgun, ever again... You can google any brand and read 1000's of horror stories about all of them...

    I quit believing horror stories I read about guns, on the internet, a long time, ago... If I like it, I'll buy it... If it turns out not as expected, I'll get rid of it. In 30 years of shooting, I haven't got rid of one yet, because it didn't function.... I guess I'm just lucky...
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  12. #12
    Member Array noonan's Avatar
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    I have a kimber ultra carry II stainless steel 3 inch barrel no problems as of yet.
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    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
    Kimber ultra carry II stainless steel
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  13. #13
    Member Array NativH's Avatar
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    I'm a stickler for only carrying pistols that have never ever had a single FTF, misfire, stovepipe, etc and out of the 10 semi-auto pistols I own, that group only includes my Glocks (G32 and G36) and my Kimber Tactical Ultra II. I've put plenty of rounds, in excess of 1,500 rounds both practice and SD hollowpoints per gun, through each of my carry guns before they have the chance to become a carry weapon. And the Kimber is right up there with the Glocks from my personal experience. And accuracy is excellent even with the short sight radius. I can't speak for the decrease in velocity from the shorter barrel but I'm fairly confident that a 45 ACP +P TAP or PowerBall round would be sufficient to get the job done.

    Don't discount the Kimbers just because some folks have had problems. Some problems are operator error, bad maintenance, or just that lemon gun which happens with any brand. IMHO Kimber makes a pretty nice pistol for the money. If you want something you can throw down in the mud, drive your truck over it, and then pick it up and engage a target, I'd get a Glock. For a well made 1911 at a reasonable price, I wouldn't pass up that nice Kimber that put a twinkle in your eye.
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  14. #14
    Member Array Phantoms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley2007 View Post
    The Kimbers scare me from what I have "read"...but I love them in the hand.....
    Find a friend that will let you do some shooting with one or a range that will rent one and make up your own mind. I've seen a few post of problem Kimbers, but most posts on Kimbers are nothing but praise. I have a Ultra CDPII and have nothing but praise for it. For a 3inch gun, it's as accurate as any full size 1911 I have ever owned.

    Take everything you read on the net with a grain of salt and get some actual hand time on whatever you plan on purchasing before laying out the money for a purchase. No gun is right for everybody. Different guns behave differently depending on who's handling them. The trick is to find the gun that's right for "you".

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array RebelRabbi's Avatar
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    +1 to the Kimber Family.

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