The amazing little Colt Defender


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Marko Kloos
August 26, 2004, 07:50 AM
The common wisdom among 1911 gurus is to avoid sub-4" 1911s, since they tend to have spotty reliability.

I must have lucked out with my latest addition, because I just got a LNIB Colt Defender that runs like a sewing machine.

We took it in on trade at the shop, and I caught myself playing with it during our idle times. I didn't want to like it, since all the warnings about the super-mini 1911s were echoing in my head. Every time I picked it up, however, I found myself thinking, "Wow...this is neat. This would make a great carry gun if it actually works."

Well, my recent desire for a 1911 with the prancing pony on the side finally caused me to throw caution to the wind and claim the little Defender. I was able to test it before I dropped the money on it, and it ate a mixed bag of FMJs and JHPs without a hiccup. The mags were filled with FMJ, SWC, and different JHP loads...everything from Remington Golden Saber to Federal HydraShok.

The ugly Hogue wraparounds have been replaced with McCormick rosewood grips already. I have a couple of good spare mags and a nice Galco SSS for it on order, and this weekend it'll be fitted with a new set of night sights. After that, it'll start sharing carry duties with the Kimber Compact.

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mini14jac
August 26, 2004, 01:02 PM
I had one for a while that was stone cold reliable.

I just never adjusted to cocked-and-locked.
I think Glocks have ruined me forever! :D

I heard lots of bad stuff about sub-4" 1911s too, but that little Defender proved to be a real gem, and it was easy to carry.

Enjoy your new pony.

shoobe01
August 26, 2004, 02:16 PM
I have just recently shot a lot out of a stack of pistols, including 4 4-5" 1911s, a Defender and a Kimber ... CarrySomething (the Kimber names never stick in my head). The Kimber and Defender were basically identical in size.

Both guns sure do run, but my vote would have to go for the Kimber. While the Kimber is not exactly a melt-job, its smooth enough, but the Defender is razor sharp. It actually damages holsters! For a tiny gun, intended to be a carry piece, this seems sorta unacceptable to me.

But regardless, people sure seem to have figured out how to get tiny guns generally reliable. If you /do/ have a stoppage, you might be screwed, however. The reduced slide stroke can complicate things. This (http://66.142.56.8/~shoobe01/gun_photos/293.html) is a slide at maximum rear position. It took some work to get that out of there.


P.S. I have never understood "runs like a sewing machine." Sewing machines suck. They blow out of alignment just sitting there. I have to take ours in for service every year at least, and its not even that heavily used... :rolleyes:

Wildalaska
August 26, 2004, 02:51 PM
As long as my Defender is lubed and not limped, it is excrutiaitingly reliable.

I do have a steel feed ramp installed, which to me is an absolute requirement in an carry aluminum 1911 pistol.

WildlittleponyAlaska

magsnubby
August 26, 2004, 03:02 PM
Place the gun back in the display case. Back away slowly.

Oops. Looks like it's to late for you. You are addicted. Now you'll have to buy it a playmate.

Missouri Mule
August 26, 2004, 09:38 PM
I owned an officers for years. I loved it!
However, I traded it for a Kimber compact. All in all they are pretty equal except for that damndable external extractor of the Kimber.
It's looking like the latest version of that has this otherwise gret little pistol up to snuff.

As for the Defender....I wish I had some tradin fodder or the cash.

I have shot one or two... with a couple of exceptions they are awesome little pistols. My main gripe is the sharp edges then the goofy rear sight.

Boht of those are easy enough to remedy.

Basically if I were to buy another carry gun it would probably be a defender.

Marko Kloos
August 26, 2004, 09:52 PM
This one is going to the gunsmith on Saturday. The shopping list includes a full dehorning, night sight installation, and a replacement trigger. That should make it just about perfect for a lightweight alternate carry to my Kimber Compact.

Wildalaska
August 26, 2004, 10:20 PM
The older Defenders had the funky sights, the new ones have the regular rear..

WildscrubbinbubblesAlaska

mrstang01
August 26, 2004, 11:38 PM
Mine runs great Marko, you'll love it. It's pretty much eliminated any need for a 9mm, as the Keltec is really to big to pocket carry, and if I have to have a belt holster, I can carry .45.

zeke
August 27, 2004, 07:59 AM
Have the first model of the Defender. The most reliable 45 acp owned, being extremely tolerant of different bullets and COL. Edges were very sharp, not hard to fix on a stainless slide.

mini14jac
August 27, 2004, 08:42 AM
I did have to spend some time with some stones doing some dehorning.
The good news was, if you got stuck out over night, you could shave with it. ;)

Hey Marko, when I saw that you were in Knoxville, and had a Defender with rosewood grips, I thought "He bought my old gun!".
But then I remembered, I put the Hogues back on it for the trade, and sold the rosewoods on here.
But, if you had gotten my old gun, you'd have an accurate reliable shooter.

Surprisingly, Colt was the cost/value leader in <4" aluminum .45s, when I was looking for one.
The Kimber, S.A., etc started about $200 more and went up.

Who'd thunk it?

andrew17
August 27, 2004, 09:11 AM
Now, Ya'll got to stop all this talk about reliable sub 4inchers, You're making me start to want one, and everybody knows that the officers size isnt reliable :p

farscott
August 27, 2004, 04:37 PM
I am a bit curious if any of the Defender owners have an issue with needing to replace the recoil spring assembly quite often. I had one of the older (XS sights and thumb safety) that needed recoil spring replacement every 500 to 1500 rounds. This meant I was changing springs every five to fifteen weeks. Normally, this would not have been an issue, but the Defender has a captive spring assembly. Colt sold new assemblies, but they were/are close to $30.00. I could tell when the spring needed replacement when I would start to get failures to feed.

I was told that one could make a new assembly by buying a Wolff spring for a Kimber three-inch pistol and a new J-clip from a hardware store and using the rest of the Colt guts, but I sold mine before I tried the trick.

bradvanhorn
August 27, 2004, 08:03 PM
My story...

Earlier this year I decided I wanted a 3" 1911; I don't know why, but I just did. I really like my full-size Kimber Custom CDP, so I found and bought a used Kimber Ultra CDP to go alongside. Unfortunately the little Ultra didn't function reliably, and rather than try to fix it I simply sold it.

Now, just a month or so ago I decided I wanted to return to the 3" 1911, and so I started looking for reviews on them. It seemed like all the reviews of the Colt Defender were positive, whereas the Springfield and Kimber reviews were much more mixed good/bad. So, one day at the range/store a few weeks ago I pulled out my checkbook and brought home my new Colt.

My experience with my Kimber Ultra was not very good, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I tested my Colt Defender, and have yet to see a single malfunction. FMJ, JHP, Colt mags, Wilson mags, and so on, and not a single problem. The little Colt has now become my new favorite compact handgun.

Marko Kloos
August 27, 2004, 08:24 PM
Hey Marko, when I saw that you were in Knoxville, and had a Defender with rosewood grips, I thought "He bought my old gun!".
But then I remembered, I put the Hogues back on it for the trade, and sold the rosewoods on here.

It had the Hogues on it when it was traded to our place. You didn't happen to trade it to a Knoxville LE shop for a Glock 23 LE, did you?

tex_n_cal
August 28, 2004, 01:36 AM
I have the first model Defender. My biggest gripe with mine is that it would drill my forehead with the empties, with certain types of ammo (Federal Hydra Shocks and Corbons). Shortening the ejector a few thousandths cured that problem.

It is a nifty little pistol, and the buzz on them is very good.

I also want to grab one of those .40 cal Defenders. Just a few turns of a reamer and its a 10mm :evil:

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
August 28, 2004, 05:42 PM
My brother has one of the .40 Defenders. He attests that he likes it, but to my knowledge he hasn't fired it. I'll see what I can do about changing that one of these weekends.

Regards,
Rabbit.

mini14jac
August 31, 2004, 08:33 AM
It had the Hogues on it when it was traded to our place. You didn't happen to trade it to a Knoxville LE shop for a Glock 23 LE, did you?

I traded mine to a shop in Calhoun. (About 1 hour south of Knoxville.)
Mine has a very faint "Idiot scratch" below the slide realease.
(I did that before I learned what an Idiot scratch was. Oops!)

The reason I picked the Defender was also the glowing reviews here on the web, vs. other 3" 1911s.

I had one mag start to bind up, and I returned it to Colt.
Had a new one in my mailbox in a couple of weeks.
Other than that it was 100% through 500 rounds.

BJPARKER
August 31, 2004, 12:26 PM
I have the Colt LW Commander XSE, love it, carry it- now I'll simply have to check out the Defender at the next gun show.... it never ends, does it:p

hnm201
September 24, 2004, 12:14 AM
Shoobe, I think that Mr. Kloos mean to say, "runs like a glock" (without the blowed up part). :evil: It seems like I am forever in the footsteps of Mr. Kloos without even really trying. He bought a springer two tone light weight GM and I did the same. I ran out just this morning and traded my Glock 19 for a Colt 1991A1 Compact only to find out that Kloos picked up a Defender.

There is something magical about the prancing pony.

Do the defenders all come with full lenght guide rods? My M1991A1 has the double recoil springs, but they're not captive. They seem a little mushy. I am trying to decided what to replace it with. According to the Big Book of the 1911, "replacing the officer model's recoil springs with a captive system is the sign of a real pistolero" or some such blah, blah. I put about 25 rds of assorted jhps and 100 rds of assorted FMJ through the gun today with no problems of any kind. I guess you really can't believe what you read on the internet, folks. Maybe sub 4" (or is that 5"?) 1911s do in fact work, or at least some of them do.

Marko Kloos
September 24, 2004, 06:44 AM
My respect for the Defender grows every day. I haven't gotten it to fail yet; it even feeds the CCI-cased 200-grain God Dot "Flying Ashtrays".

Here it is with Meprolite night sights and its new Galco Side Snap Scabbard.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=1227516

WhoKnowsWho
September 24, 2004, 07:41 AM
I had remembered reading all the "don't buy sub 4" " 1911s also, but dived into the Para Carry model with 3" barrel and have had no problems with reliability with it. Hollowpoints and FMJ or plated have been perfect. Lead SWC work okay for a while but start jamming when it gets dirty, so I only use lead round nose and those run fine too.

hnm201
September 24, 2004, 09:43 AM
Sixrd or 7rd mags in your defender, Kloos?

If the old adage "no 1911s under 4 inches" has grown stale, then perhaps the same goes for +plus capacity single stack magazines?

Gunmeister
September 24, 2004, 12:29 PM
MINI14JAC---I have never owned a 1911 style pistol. I was not familier with term "Idiot Scratch". I have noticed the scratch you mention on a used Colt Defender I have been eye-balling in our local used gun shop. I also noticed a similar scratch in the same place on a really clean Colt Mustang .380 he had (gone now). I know what the slide release does, but why does it make the scratch and how can it be avoided? It seems Colt should have come up with a way to prevent this scratch.:confused:

BigG
September 24, 2004, 12:51 PM
Congrats on your first Colt. Is that an XS? Cute lil 45. :cool:

Tim L
September 24, 2004, 05:34 PM
Gunmeister, the "scratch" is caused by dragging the slide stop across the frame when installing it after removing the slide for cleaning. I've got several <4" 1911s and have never had a problem that could be associated with the short barrel.

Tim

Marko Kloos
September 24, 2004, 10:51 PM
Sixrd or 7rd mags in your defender, Kloos?

If the old adage "no 1911s under 4 inches" has grown stale, then perhaps the same goes for +plus capacity single stack magazines?

I use the original 7-round Colt mag, and a handful of CMC 7-rounders with Wilson follower and spring kits. All work fine with all kinds of ammo.

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