View Full Version : Colt Defender .45
26th December 2010, 16:16
I have been watching this site for years trying to gain knowledge. And I have learned a lot. I'm interested in purchasing a Colt Defender and have read only good about them as compared to other brands. One of my concerns was the alloy frame wearing out before it's time. They look great and feel right. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks, Jim.
26th December 2010, 16:32
To be fully informed, read about the reliability issues short 1911's have due to changes in function. It is commonly noted that they will not be as reliable as a full size 1911.
Reliability should be your primary concern for a carry pistol, more so that small size and whether they "feel right" or not.
Reliability is more important than "feeling right." "Functioning right" is a better thing to evaluate than "feel."
26th December 2010, 17:37
The defender is a great little pistol. Your concern about the alloy frame not being as durable as a steel frame is a valid one. While not a Colt I have had one frame crack on an alloy 3" 1911 after 6000 rounds and several years. I wouldn't worry about reliability. I rather doubt the manufacturer had anything to do with the the frame cracking. If you'd like to know more about that; pm me. I'd rather not mention the brand here as I don't really want to contribute to turning your thread into a brand a vs brand b thread. Now to address what has been mentioned about reliability. 1944Colt is correct. There is plenty of documentation of the sub 4.25" pistols not being as reliable. All of that documentation is on the error net though. You have to understand what you'll read is am mixture of lies and truth. Some people just make up stories to stir other people up too. I've owned several 3" pistols including a Colt New Agent (same as a defender) all have been as reliable as you could possibly want. I had a both 4.25" and 5" pistols that gave me more trouble. Having said that, I no longer own any 3" or alloy 1911's but that is for different reasons all together; it has nothing to do with reliability or alloy durability. I think you would be happy with a Defender. If is should crack (not likely) Colt will replace it as the other manufacturer did with mine. Good luck.
26th December 2010, 18:24
I own 2 three inch bbl .45 cals. One HK USPcT and the Colt Defender.
The colt is a great shooter and a great carry 1911.
I've only got about 1K rds down the tube but there have been no issues with it so far.
I had a trigger job done on it and it breaks clean at 3.5 lbs.
26th December 2010, 18:32
My experience is that 3" 1911s are finicky. The shortest I'd go is 3.5 as in Officers. I have 2 Colt Officers, I carry a 4.25 Colt Commander. My 2 cents.
26th December 2010, 21:09
I would hope you could shoot a couple before you buy. A 3.x inch any 45 ACP is not a good gun as a first gun IMHO.
26th December 2010, 21:46
The original question only applies to the durability of the frame not whether a defender is reliable or if he should get one? What makes anyone think this is the original posters first hand gun? My first 1911 style pistol was a 3" pistol. I'm just saying.
26th December 2010, 22:03
While it is generally accepted lore that short 1911s are "finicky," the Colt Defender in general seems to be about the least finicky of the lot -- perhaps because Colt has been building 1911s (including short 1911s) longer than anyone else. As for myself, while I don't own a Defender I do own a para Slim Hawg, which is also a 3" model on an alloy frame. It has been 100 percent reliable with any ammunition I feed it.
As to the durability of an alloy frame compared to steel -- no, it's not as durable. But a 3" Defender is not a range blaster, it's a carry pistol. This type of pistol is (again, in general) intended to be carried much and shot seldom. So if the life expectancy is 50,000 rounds instead of 150,000 rounds ... how long will it take you to put 50,000 rounds through it?
The important thing with an alloy frame (IMHO) is to keep the slide rails well-lubed, and not shoot a lot of +P ammo through it. Carry +P if you wish ... but practice with standard power ammo.
Better yet, use one of the new "short barrel" loads that are designed specifically for this type of application.
I would have no hesitation whatsoever about buying a Defender.
27th December 2010, 05:58
and let's not forget the caveat not to use magazines with a Devel type follower.
to prevent possible scoring of the feedramp from follower tilt...
shown here in the bottom right hand corner as a McCormick.
27th December 2010, 16:54
I've owned 2 Defenders and felt that they were reliable and quite accurate for a smaller gun. I'd buy another one for sure.
The alloy frame really is a long term issue, and as has been posted use only the newer magazines with the improved follower or the flat follower.
FWIW: We acquired my brothers Defender in a trade and the frame was cracked between the mag well and the cut-outs for the do-dads that operate the firing pin safety. COLT did replace this frame, N/C.
27th December 2010, 17:10
That is my defender in 40 cal which is my primary carry weapon. Ive put several thousand rounds of several different brands through it and have never had a reliability issue. Im not sure what folks mean by finicky but personally speaking I know I can count on this when needed and I have proven to myself that I can trust this one.
28th December 2010, 20:50
Thank's everyone for pitching in. I knew I could get answers here. It's not going to be a range blaster, just a lighter carry gun.
29th December 2010, 12:15
I have a Defender Plus and it's one of my most dependable firearms- no issues, but I did change my mags to Kimber pros.
29th December 2010, 21:07
I have a Kimber Ultra carry and out of about 5-600 rounds i have had a couple of issues at most, one jam after i inserted a fresh mag of hydra-shok, the first round hung up, the thing I would DEFINATLY do is buy the kind of defense ammo you want to carry and fire AT LEAST 20-40 rounds and see how it does!!!!!
29th December 2010, 21:25
My Defender is my daily carry. I've had no problems with it in the three to four years I've been carrying it. For gun that gets carried a lot and shot little, I would not worry about the frame cracking. It's one gun I would never get rid of. With Crimson Trace Laser grips on it, it becomes scary accurate. Just my $.02 worth.
29th December 2010, 22:00
I just purchased a new 9mm Defender to add to my collection. Took it to the range yesterday and put 200 rounds through it. It ate everything I fed it. FMJ's, JHP's it didn't matter. It performed flawlessly. I also have two 40 cal and one 45 cal. All are really good guns but I think the 9mm is becoming my favorite.
30th December 2010, 00:10
I had my Defender for a few years and its has never gave me first problem Its a nice carry gun I prefer over my officers . The officer heavy so might as well carry commander only few oz difference.
30th December 2010, 10:06
I want to replace the Houge rubber grips with checkered wood on my Defender. Will the Officer grips fit a Defender
30th December 2010, 10:08
Yep. Grips and mags are the same size for the Officers, Defender, Agent.
30th December 2010, 10:12
n5esj is correct, the Defender and Officers grips are the same. I have a pair of checkered wood Officers grips that I put on my Defender for show. At the range I still like the rubber Hogue that it came with from the factory.
31st December 2010, 14:31
I agree with other posters in saying that while the alloy frame will not last as long as the steel, it will last long enough, considering its purpose. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Defender or New Agent, if I were you.
The New Agent (essentially the defender with a different finish, sights, stocks and slide profile) was my first 1911-style pistol, and I couldn't be more pleased. It's been my daily carry for more than two years now and has been perfectly reliable through nearly 2K rounds. I shot enough +P defense ammo through it to A) determine reliability, and B) choose a round I preferred for carry, and had zero issues (several brands, weights, et cetera, totalling well over a hundred rounds).
I'm curious to know if those who say a 3" barrel 1911-style pistol is finicky and unreliable include the Defender and New Agent in that, and if so, is it based on experience or size specifications alone?
As I've said before, I agree that the reduction in size does make it more challenging to create and produce a reliable pistol, but I think we need to be careful that understanding the engineering challenges of the size reduction doesn't translate into an automatic assumption that it will be unreliable.
The simple fact that mine has been absolutely reliable (as have pretty-much every other New Agent or Defender I've heard of) seems to prove that it can be done -- and done well. It's not the size, but the execution that is the issue. Poor execution from other brands/models has built the reputation, but in my opinion, Colt shatters the conventional wisdom with the Defender and New Agent.
Just my two cents...
31st December 2010, 16:29
I have so unlucky with Defenders. I used to have 2 .45s and 1 .40 S&W. The 2 Defenders were extremely problematic. Every now and then would be failure to feed ball ammo be it WWB, Blazers, Remingtons. They've been in and out of Colts factory in WH, CT. I'm local so I just drop them off. Colt cannot make my Defenders feed ball ammo with no hitch. So now they're history. The .40 S&W was very reliable. I had no issues.
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