Most reliable and accurate small 1911?


March 19, 2006, 12:26 AM
OK I've been thinking about adding one of these for way too long so it's time to get it done.

Let's say you have $1000 to spend on a micro sized 1911. The prime considerations are reliability, accuracy and concealibility in that order.

The Kimber CDP Ultra, the Colt Defender and the SA Micro Loaded are up there on my list, but more than willing to consider others.

1911 variants only, with 3" or similar barrels. Which should i go for and why?


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March 19, 2006, 12:54 AM
Colt Defender Why it works, Their all about same in accuracy And its a Colt.

March 19, 2006, 01:07 AM
I know you said 3" barrel, but have you considered the CCO sized guns (officer frame with commander slide). I went with a Kimber compact when I was looking for a small 1911, and it conceals and shoots very well.

March 19, 2006, 10:05 AM
+1 on the Colt Defender. IMO best of the breed.


March 19, 2006, 10:31 AM
I have had uniformly bad results with 3 inch 1911s. You might get a good one, I guess, some people claim their 3 inchers have been reliable anyway. But I have owned three of them over the years, and none have worked for me.

March 19, 2006, 11:06 AM
Original Detonics, hands down. :)

Old Fuff
March 19, 2006, 11:10 AM
John Browning designed and developed the 1911 platform to be a military service pistol with a 5" barrel and matching slide. When it is manufactured using the original dimensions and materials it has an excellent reputation for reliability and accuracy.

But when you shorten it by removing 1 1/2 to 2 inches some obvious problems are caused. The barrel tilts at a sharper angle, the slide velocity is higher beause of its lighter weight, and when the recoil spring tunnel is shortened there is less room for an effective recoil spring or spring system.

All of this can have a negative effect on reliability, and on an individual basis makes finding a reliable gun a crap-shoot at best.

But buyers keep buying them because they like the concept, and they are totally ignorent of the engineering issues involved. Put bluntly, they don't have the slightest idea about why or how the gun works.

Going back to a Commander length (4 1/4" barrel with bushing) or 4" barrel without a bushing, usually functions as well as a currently manufactured, compromised filled, pistol can be expected to do.

After that the smallest, reliable gun on a consistant basis is likely to be a revolver. There is no feeding issues with them. :scrutiny:

March 19, 2006, 11:50 AM
If you have to have a Micro 1911, the Colt Defender is the only way to fly.

Both the Kimber and the Springer Micro 1911s get a lot of curses while the Colt basks in praise.

March 19, 2006, 12:47 PM
Good thoughts all.

I'm no expert in how 1911s work for sure, but I have the basics down and am certainly aware of the reliability issues of the micro format. That's why reliability is high on my list.

I have examples - and good examples for the most part - of all the larger variants including the CCO (some FTE issues there but back at DW for repair right now) so I am looking for a Defender size to "complete the set" as it were - really just so I would be able to have a range of 1911 platforms to play with :D I doubt I would carry the micro even if it did prove reliable. I don't really carry any of my 1911s - that's what the Glocks and Kahr are for - so non-reliability would be an annoyance rather than a life-threatening failure. It's an annoyance I would obviously prefer to avoid though!

Right now I am still torn between the CDP and the Colt mostly - the former for its features and the latter because it would be nice to have at least one Colt as a 1911 fan even though I'm no nostalgia maven. Whenever I've read anything about micro 1911 reliability it seems to get mentioned as the better option just like it did here. I will have to find a way to take a good look at both and then decide.

Car Knocker
March 19, 2006, 12:54 PM
I've put a couple of thousand rounds (ball, HP and SWC, store-bought and reloads) through my Kimber Ultra Carry without so much as a hiccup. Comfortable to shoot and surprisingly accurate. Can't say whether it's the most reliable or the most accurate. I'm happy with it and have no reason not to trust it.

March 19, 2006, 01:46 PM
My Colt Officers ACP has always functioned flawlessly.

March 19, 2006, 02:02 PM
I had a Colt Defender - that thing had edges on it you could shave with. Sharp sharp sharp! Colt's version of a multi-purpose weapon, I guess. If you shot it dry and still faced an opponent, you could slash 'em to pieces with the damn thing. :mad:

After getting rid of my razor gun, I then got a Kimber Ultra - way nicer, in my opinion. Accurate, reliable and a joy to shoot.

March 19, 2006, 05:59 PM
I have a little Para Ordnance C-645 that is my daily carry gun, I like the LDA trigger. They advertize it as the smallest 1911 in the world. It can be picky about ammo but shoots very reliably with Federal Premium Hydra-Shock ammo.

March 19, 2006, 06:01 PM
My Kimber Ultra CDP II runs like a swiss watch and is mind blowing accurate out to 15 yards. There's very few that I will take to the grave and this is one.

March 19, 2006, 06:15 PM
My Springfield Ultra Compact has been reliable, but ONLY with a full length guide rod (FLGR). The bushingless design also seems to work well, with acceptable accuracy.

March 19, 2006, 07:01 PM
If you can find one this is it.


March 19, 2006, 07:09 PM
I would vote for a 4" or better just due to balistics. Gas can't expand as much the shorter your barrel is. Don't get me wrong though. I want a warthawg but I keep talking myself out of going to the gunshop. Someing about 10 rounds of .45 in such a small pistol. But what good are those rounds if they want travel down the barrel. So I am leaning toward a Kimber Eclipse or SA champion right now. (Sure wish they would sell that warthawg so I can go inside the gunstore)

March 19, 2006, 07:09 PM
Sorry double post

March 19, 2006, 07:18 PM
I did the same reasearch a few months ago when I saw a Colt Defender that I thought I would pick up. Inter-w3b wisdom seemed to say that for reliability, first was Colt, then was Kimber, then SA, then the rest. Above all for reliabillity was an all-steel 5" version, followed by commander length guns, followed by the 3 inchers.

I knew when I bought my Defender for carry it was a risk, but it has proved to be 100% reliable so far.

Now of course, I'm going up to a Commander length colt and will be searching/posting an advice thread later. :p

March 19, 2006, 10:25 PM
here is my experience:

I have a Kimber CDP Compact. It has been 99.9% reliable. I think during the break in period it had a few mishaps. I can't remember the last failure it had but I am sure it has had atleast 1 or 2. It is a great gun and I am pretty accurate with it. It has the 4" barrel but the shorter length grip. I recommend this gun to anyone looking for a 1911 to carry concelaed.

I used to have a Kimber Tactical with the 3" bbl. I had good luck with it. It was a reliable gun. I heard the stories about the 3" bbl. 1911's and all the problems but I never encountered them with this gun. Like the CDP I think I may have had a couple failures in the first 100-200 rounds but that was it. The gun would run all day.
My problem was that for one reason or another I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it. I let the gunsmith at the range look at it and he shot it fine. I guess it was the difference of the shorter sight radius. I am sure with alot more practice I would have improved.
I traded it off for another Kahr PM9. I now own 2 and am very accurate with them even though it also has the short 3"bbl. Go figure.
So basically, could you have reliability issues with a 3"bbl 1911? Sure. You can get that from any gun. Maybe the smaller 1911's are more notorius for it. I didn't have that problem with mine though.

My suggestion is, if you want a smaller 1911 get one from a manufacturer that is known for having great customer service.

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