3" 1911 Opinions


October 31, 2007, 06:31 AM
Ok guys-

I decided on a 3" 1911 for concealed carry, I will carry it IWB, I would also consider a CCO 1911.

So I am looking to gather opinions on who you think makes the best 3" 1911, price should also be an important consideration.

So lets see some pictures and hear some opinions.


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October 31, 2007, 06:56 AM
Also if you could include pictures of your IWB carry of a 1911 include those also, as I am researching this carry option.

Ala Dan
October 31, 2007, 07:48 AM
I carry a 3" Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry .45 ACP. In over a year and a half of
ownership, it has been 100%; with NO malfunctions of any kind, even during
the so called "break in perio". I would not hesitate to reccomend this firearm
to anyone~! :scrutiny: ;)

October 31, 2007, 08:45 AM
I've got a 1st Gen Ultra Carry that has been 100% reliable. Not too heavy and a reasonable size.

Mad Magyar
October 31, 2007, 08:52 AM
Before someone brings the Colt Officer's model up in this discussion, by manual & measurement: it's 3 5/8" not 3 or 3 1/2...:)
Those Colt Commander disciples with their arbitrary 4 1/4" as the cut-off for slide-cycle efficiency is more than I can take....:D
Just kidding TUNER & Old-Fuff...;)
However, when we get by all that nonsense, for your consideration...My new winter shoulder carry...

October 31, 2007, 11:11 AM
Kimber Ultra CDP II :)

Like Ala Dan's experience with his 3" Kimber. - 100% reliability so far. Mine has about 4 or 5 hundred rounds through it, including 150 or so 200 Gr. Gold Dots I reloaded to duplicate what I carry in it. 200 Gr. +P Gold Dots.

Old Fuff
October 31, 2007, 11:23 AM
The Old Fuff will again point out that when you cut two inches off of the front end the slide becomes much lighter, and therefore moves faster - sometimes much faster. This upsets the critical timing that Browning built into the full-sized pistol, and accounts for its reputation for reliability under all circumstances (at least in older guns).

At the same time shorting the slide reduces the length of the recoil spring tunnel, and requires some innovative (?) recoil spring systems. This requires more frequent spring(s) replacement.

At the back, run-up (the distance from the slide's most rearward travel to the back of the magazine) is shortened. This makes magazine spring tension critical, because if the slide picks up the cartridge too high on the rim the round may nosedive too low on the feed ramp, and you'll end up with a vertical jam.

Now this doesn't happen all of the time, but it does happen enough to make the Old Fuff a bit leery when such a contraption is carried as a personal weapon. I believe that Tuner, who has forgot more about the mechanics of the 1911 platform then the rest of us know, thinks the same way, for the same reasons. It's not so much a matter of some guns that do work, but rather then number that don't seem to. The Old Fuff has been around long enough to figure it isn't too bright to take any chances on a weapon system that might - just might - be questionable.

In my opinion the CCO is a good compromise. You have the Officers Model's short butt (which is usually what you are trying to conceal) with the longer slide, barrel and recoil spring tunnel found on the Commander. Those that review past threads on this and other forums will soon discover there a far fewer complaints about the reliability of Commanders over the ones that are shorter.

Of course my technical discussion isn't likely to change the minds of those who find the little pistols to be so cool - not to mention easy to carry. But again the Fuff discovered long ago that "cool" and "easy" are seldom the best reasons to pick something for a personal neck-saver.

October 31, 2007, 11:34 AM
I have a Kimber Ultra Raptor II. I like the Kimber Ultra Series of guns.

October 31, 2007, 11:39 AM
The Old Fuff will again point out...

Wow, good stuff there OF. When I decided to come back to the 1911 design I thought about the short and shorter barrel lengths, but decided to go with the full length barrel for most of what you’re saying there. I figure the .45 is slow enough (FPS) already; I didn’t want to slow it down even more with a short barrel. The design of the pistol was, as mentioned, deliberate- but so was the .45 ACP round itself. Now, where I live open carry is legal, so I don’t need to worry much about printing. I can remove my jacket when I enter a building and not worry that I’m no longer concealing either. So in this case, my ‘wants’ and my ‘needs’ came together nicely.

The design being what it is, you have to give up something (reliability or ballistic performance) to get something (concealment).

October 31, 2007, 11:51 AM
What about one of the new Para's with the double stack mag same great 1911 more ammo.

October 31, 2007, 12:22 PM
I carry the little Para C-645. They are a little on the pricey side but nice little carry guns, good weight balance and good accuracy. For a holster I use a High Noon open top holster. I like to carry SOB with shirt untucked. It gives me easy access and fast draw.

October 31, 2007, 02:42 PM
I'm done with 3" barrel 1911s.

My Ultra CDP II was a nightmarish contraption that had issues that could not be solely layed at the doorstep of the barrel length, but the barrel length now suffers from "guilt by association" in my personal perception of "weapons" vs. "range toys".

You'll likely be as happy as campers get if you get one that works and the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor of this happening. However, if you draw the short straw, you'll find that Kimber won't talk to you until after a 500 round break-in even if the malf rate is well beyond anything conceivably associated with "break-in".

Your odds improve with 4" and improve again with 5". All sizes have winners - some have more than others. You pay your money and roll the dice.

Ghost Tracker
October 31, 2007, 02:55 PM
I have to agree with Hawk. After making a gallant (and expensive) excursion through the multi-brand world of 3" 1911 designs, I will no longer consider a slide of less than Commander length viable for CCW. Amen

And I won't even mention (okay, maybe I will) my total aversion to SOB holsters.

October 31, 2007, 04:33 PM
Springfield EMP! I had a Micro Compact in .45 and had reliability problems. I have close to 1000 rounds through the EMP, and no issues. It is a fantastic gun. Carries well, shoots great. I love it.

M2 Carbine
October 31, 2007, 04:52 PM
I decided on a 3" 1911 for concealed carry, I will carry it IWB, I would also consider a CCO 1911.
I can't say anything about IWB. I never carry like that.

So I am looking to gather opinions on who you think makes the best 3" 1911, price should also be an important consideration.
I have 5 Kimbers, 4 are (3 inch) Ultras. Friends have several more Kimber Ultras.
I hear about trouble with the short barrel 1911 pistols, and I'm sure it happens, but have never personally seen it with a Kimber.
In an emergency I wouldn't think twice about grabbing ANY of the short barrel Kimbers that friends and I have.

Recently I bought a Kimber Ultra Covert II.
Checked the barrel and started shooting it.
Totally reliable and Kimber accurate.

The upper end Kimbers, like the Covert, will eat up about $1,200 but honestly my expensive Covert won't do a thing that my $600 Plain Jane Kimber Ultra Carry can't do. I carry either one.

So lets see some pictures and hear some opinions.

Ultra Covert II.

Tactical Ultra II.
I think this is the best looking pistol that Kimber has made.

Plane Jane Ultra Carry with Crimson Trace Laser Grips.

October 31, 2007, 08:06 PM

October 31, 2007, 08:30 PM
My Kimber Ultra CDP II was an unreliable POS for 1100 rounds, at that point Kimber issued a call tag and it was repaired and returned in nine days. 1400 errorfree rounds later, it is the perfect carry gun that I spent $1000 on. If some asked if I would go through that again, the answer is NO. Mike

October 31, 2007, 09:09 PM

Yep, be it Kimber or Colt Defender, they're point and shoot tack drivers.. up close or at max range, 63ft, at my indoor range.

Keep-em clean, including magazines, and WET/well lubed on the rail and guides, along with the "right type ammo" and you're good to go, everytime.

Lovin mine..



Oops, wrong gun.. lol

here she is, to your left:


The Lone Haranguer
October 31, 2007, 10:21 PM
Only one gun, of unknown make, fired by someone else, is not a great representative sampling, I know. ;) However, I once observed a shooter in the adjacent lane firing a mini-1911 that literally would not fire two consecutive shots. He put it away and started shooting something else.

November 1, 2007, 07:30 AM
All this talk of 3" 1911 not working has me worried, who makes a CCO (officer frame, commander slide) type 1911 for a reasonable price? Does Kimber? Springfield Armory? Opinions and prices of these is greatly appreciated.

November 1, 2007, 08:08 AM
lots of luck.
I had a TERRIBLE time with a KIMBER.

Old Fuff
November 1, 2007, 08:12 AM
It is not so much a matter of some guns working (which they do), or can be kept working by tinkering around (also happens), or simply refuse to work at all (which seems to happen too often), but rather that is no way to be sure before you puchase one.

So you take your chances - which is sort of an expensive way too go. :uhoh:

November 1, 2007, 08:23 AM
I have three ultras and a spriger micro, no problems here at all I love them

November 1, 2007, 08:47 AM
I picked up an SA Micro Compact last year on Auction Arms for $500. Parkerized finish. Shoots extremely well, no failures of any kind in it. I've added ambi safety, but that's it. Recoil is controllable with no problems.


November 1, 2007, 08:50 AM
I have a Springfield Micro Compact that works just fine. Eats Hornday Tap 230 gr HP with no problems. Some Of my reloads were a bit long for the chamber, but that's easily fixed. :D Night sights, nice and compact, and easy to conceal. Oh yeah, and it's a 45ACP and not a 9mm. :neener:

November 1, 2007, 03:53 PM
I have a Defender. (This sounds like the beginning of a meeting ... :D)

After several bouts of working on it, it has variously been: a) a gun safe weight; b) an excellent lightweight base for a Kimber .22 conversion; c) a renewed, fanatical, maniacal, obsessive project; and now, d) a reliably functioning .45. I can't print the vocabulary involved in all of these phases.

Needless to say, I was not one of those blessed with an out-of-the-box raygun. I am also cursed with a stubborn streak matched only by my curiosity. This became my "project gun." Without the usually-suspect THR contributors, it would likely still be popping .22s.

The thing has gone through every tantrum known to firearms. Each one was addressed.

I can say that working on a 3" 1911 appears to be like learning brain surgery while standing on your head, blind, in a sandstorm, after drinking a lot. Once you get the itty bitty teeny weeny aggravating things that accumulate into massive tolerance headaches out of the way, 5" 1911s seem a lot less mystifying.

Would I buy another 3" 1911? Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

But I love this one. Now.

November 1, 2007, 04:09 PM


Perfect ray gun.. :what: I love that.. :D

I would just add this:

IF one is not good with working with small things with one's hands (how rude).. lol, and one Is Not patient, nor has patience, then:

DO NOT get any 1911, 3" or 4" or 5"..

They all demand these skills; learned, acquired, or born with.. IMHO


November 1, 2007, 04:10 PM
Double post.. my bad

Mad Magyar
November 1, 2007, 04:28 PM
DO NOT get any 1911, 3" or 4" or 5"..

They all demand these skills; learned, acquired, or born with.. IMHO

I don't get it? :scrutiny:

November 1, 2007, 04:34 PM

For the very reasons I listed, you must have one of these skills.. That's why you own 1, 2, 3, or more 1911's and love them.

As do I.. ;)


November 1, 2007, 04:58 PM
That's why you own 1, 2, 3, or more 1911's and love them...

Nope. I hate 'em. That's why I only own three ... so far ... :uhoh:

They are just simple enough to easily comprehend ... and subtle enough to constantly bewilder. Very seductive.

This is the reason why XDs* were created ... to give us something to not have to do. :D (* Or Sigs, or Glocks ...)

On the other hand, I've learned more about all of this stuff from this one gun than all the others I've ever owned.

I hate to put it exactly this way, but here goes: Before, one reason I held onto it was because I couldn't in good conscience pass the lil bugger on to some other soul. I actually always liked it tremendously, but it was a baaaad child. Now that it's grown up, it appreciates me more. And, now that it has a useful occupation, it could be passed on to someone else in much better conscience. But not yet, not yet ...

While spooling off about this, I've always wanted to mention something, maybe it should be its own thread??? Favorite parts. I think the 1911 disconnecter is one of the most fascinating gizmos, in form and design --- along with a sear spring that does as many things (almost) as a Swiss Army knife. I look inside my Sig and it looks like a watch. I look inside a 1911 and it's a non-CNC world of human ingenuity.

I've even come to (almost) love --- well, appreciate, then --- the bell-crank and piston mentality of Series 80 & 90 "spare parts."

Of course, to stay sort-of-on-topic --- I look inside a 3" 1911 and I see a dwarf with the heart of a giant, feet too big for its shoes.

November 1, 2007, 05:38 PM
Quote: Nope. I hate 'em. That's why I only own three ... so far ... :uhoh:

As will I buy, and own, a few more 1911's..

But my comment about If one doesn't possess one of these skills, or traits, then don't buy any 1911's was meant solely for the OP, and go Sig, simply because they just perform right out of the box without any need of tune-ups, adjustments, etc.

In, and for, most cases.

Just tryin to fill in any gaps.. lol


November 1, 2007, 09:52 PM
I don't mind something that needs tuning --- as long as I understand how to tune it.

The problem is when something that doesn't "need" tuning suddenly goes BOING, and you have no experience with it.

My next project: to correct the POS that came from SA. A GI that, now that I see more clearly, has had every sloppiness possible. I can elaborate, if anyone needs the pain ...

November 1, 2007, 10:13 PM
Does anyone know what the (ballpark) velocity loss is when going from a 5 barrel to a 3 is?

November 2, 2007, 12:58 AM
I have a Defender, Officer and a Detonics . I carry the Defender the most but all 3 are relieable .

November 2, 2007, 01:45 AM
Quote: Does anyone know what the (ballpark) velocity loss is when going from a 5” barrel to a 3” is?

IIRC, around, give or take, 100ft per sec loss per inch.. with the same weight bullet, such as a 230gr FMJ.

And 51Cards, you're hysterical, you really make me laugh.. thanks! :)


November 2, 2007, 09:30 AM
Have chronoed several Plus p and standard loads from 5 inch and 3 inchers. Generally about 100 fps loss for the 3 inchers.

Bought the first version of the Defender when they came out. Upswept beavertail and orange plastic followers in the mags. It was 100 percent reliable with all loads tried, more so than any other 45 semi owned. Shot it enough the aluminum frame rails started wearing down, and sold it.

If buying one, would have the shrp edges on slide broke over.

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