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Thread: Best 3" 1911

  1. #1
    SGTRick1775's Avatar
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    Best 3" 1911

    Well I just got back from Iraq as a defense contractor and bought the lady a s&w airweight revolver and now shes hooked on shooting. (Best investment I've ever made!!!) We're both getting our ccw in the near future and I am in the market for a compact 1911. I cant get myself to go to the polymer world and need the most reliable accurate 3" 1911 money can buy. These are the models I've been looking over:

    Kimber Ultra CDP
    S.A. Ultra compact
    Para PDA
    Para PXT
    Para Warthog
    Colt Defender
    Springfield Micro Compact
    Colt New Agent
    STI Rouge
    STI Escort

    I'm looking for the perect combo of carry-ability and tight groups. I like the Para Pda for the spurless hammer. I want +P capability with tritium sights. Weight is a factor.

    If there is a model that you all have had a good/bad experience with let me know. I realize the model I carry is the one that could make the difference between life and death.

    Thanks fellas'

  2. #2
    Dsig1's Avatar
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    I recently went through this very decision process. After shooting and handling many of the guns on your list, I chose to go with Kimber. I already had a full sized Kimber TLE II so I figured the trigger on another Kimber would be very similar. I went to pick up an Ultra Carry II but a guy had just traded a lightly used CDP II that day so I bought it. It has NOT disappointed!!! Great to carry and shoot. For IWB comfort, I added a pair of flat Alumagrips which work well and make the grip 3/8" thinner. You won't be disappointed with this gun. Good luck with your search and let us know how it turns out.


  3. #3
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    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    Do you want it in a .45?

    I am no expert in 3" 1911's by far but I have read that the Springfield 3" EMP is 9mm is pretty good and they are even making it now in .40.

    If it were me i'd get a glock 26 (9mm) or 27(.40) or 36(.45) or
    a springfield XD3" 9mm but to each his own.

  4. #4
    SGTRick1775's Avatar
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    DSig: I havnt seen the TLE, good looking piece there... Does the Beaver Tail affect your comfort at all in a IWB carry? And hows the wieght fully loaded? I spend a lot of my time on two wheels and comfort is a major factor. I really do like the break on a kimbers trigger too.

    HideIt: The .45 caliber saved my grandfathers life from three armed robbers in his house in South Carolina and I would choose no other caliber to defend my family. But as you stated, to each his own.

  5. #5
    Baldy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    The wife just traded for a Kimber CDP II Ultra carry in .45ACP. She shot a 92 with it the first time out of the bag with it. Not bad for a little pistol shooting from 20' to 50'. So far no FTF or FTE, now we only got less than 500rds through it. So far it's a little shooter.


  6. #6
    submoa is offline Member
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    First. all 1911s are maintenance queens (ie. new recoil springs every 2,000 rds per Wilson Combat vs. 10,000+ for SIG, Glock, Walther, etc.). They run great but demand you treat them right for reliable service.

    Kimber Series II Swartz Safety relies on a MIM pin that can easily break when removing slide and depressing grip safety. As Kimbers age, grip safety alignment becomes important for releasing the Swartz otherwise FBP will not disengage. Kimber MIM parts have also been known to fail, i.e. do a google on "kimber MIM broke."

    Para and Colt use Series 80 firing pin blocks. Series 80 triggers are mushy. Again, don't rely on some "I'm an expert" claim, do a google on "Series 80 trigger" and read for yourself.

    Springfield and STI would be your best bet of the list but still have MIM parts. My personal preference in small 1911 is Detonics Combatmaster that has no MIM.


  7. #7
    Dsig1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SGTRick1775 View Post
    DSig: I havnt seen the TLE, good looking piece there... Does the Beaver Tail affect your comfort at all in a IWB carry? And hows the wieght fully loaded? I spend a lot of my time on two wheels and comfort is a major factor. I really do like the break on a kimbers trigger too.

    HideIt: The .45 caliber saved my grandfathers life from three armed robbers in his house in South Carolina and I would choose no other caliber to defend my family. But as you stated, to each his own.
    The picture in my first post is of my CDP with Alumagrips. The picture below is my TLE. No problems at all with the beaver tail. Fully loaded is is similar in weight to my 9mm XD SC to carry. I'd say in the 30 ounce range. I also agree that .45 is what I'd like to defend myself and family with so I moved from the 9mm to the 45. I've not had any issues with my 45's and consider them 100% reliable. I go to the range at least once a week and clean every other month. Neither of my Kimbers has proven to be a "maintenance queen" at all.



  8. #8
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    The best 3" 1911 is a 4" 1911!

    I highly recommend you look into a longer barrel for increased reliability and bullet velocity. The grip size is going to be the same if you buy a CCO type pistol and the 4" will conceal just as well IWB and almost as well out side on the belt.

    If I can't convince you to look at a longer barrel like the STI Guardian, I will suggest the Escort. We have sold quite a few and the problems have been minimal compared to others on your list.

  9. #9
    SGTRick1775's Avatar
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    thanks talon I will look into the 4 inch barrels. Im looking for the perfect combonation of compact carry and tight groups. Thinking I might need "two" guns to achieve this....

  10. #10
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TalonArms_R View Post
    The best 3" 1911 is a 4" 1911!

    I highly recommend you look into a longer barrel for increased reliability and bullet velocity. The grip size is going to be the same if you buy a CCO type pistol and the 4" will conceal just as well IWB and almost as well out side on the belt.

    If I can't convince you to look at a longer barrel like the STI Guardian, I will suggest the Escort. We have sold quite a few and the problems have been minimal compared to others on your list.
    I have a Colt Officers but I tend to carry my Para Ord LTC that's a commander size 3.25 bbl. It just seems to shoot a little better and carrying in a Gould IWB is no difference between the two at all.

    I would like to shoot one of the EMP Springers though. It looks like a really nice. I've shot the Para Ordnance Blackwatch and I really like those in a 3.5"

  11. #11
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    You'd have to go a long ways to find someone who knows LESS about 1911s than I do, but having said that, I had a chance to shoot the Springfield EMP in 9mm a couple of weeks ago. Very sweet gun. The 9mm round was a good match for the small frame. My wife and I both shot the center out of targets with the first magazine. If I was in the market, I'd buy one in a second.

    Defining what is "carry" size is certainly a personal choice, but if you like 1911 guns and want it small, the EMP is a legitimate (if a little unusual) option.

  12. #12
    Cool Hand is offline Junior Member
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    Have you decided? I am in same boat

    SGT,

    Have you made your decision yet?

    I have been shooting anything I can get my hands on over the past few months and keep getting close to making a decision but keep getting more information that makes it tougher to purchase just one...

    I have tried the full size SA 1911, many polymers in .40, .45, and 357 Sig, but the one that keeps coming back to the top is the Para Warthog... was the first 1911 style handgun that I had shot in over 4 years and from the first clip at 25 yards had a tight accurate group and felt perfect for my hand. I am debating the extra rounds of the double stack versus the comfort of the slim single stack choices. But was amazed at the accuracy and comfort that the Para provided, but have read about some FTF problems, but did not experience any in the 50 round I put through my friends.

    Any thoughts on this?

  13. #13
    SGTRick1775's Avatar
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    I went with a Kimber Pro Tactical II. I traded a good friend of mine my RIA and four hundred bucks for his Kimber. I absolutly love it!!! I shoot great groups, nice crisp trigger break. Fits perfectly in my hands and I cannot stop holding it and admiring the craftsmanship.

    Cool hand, I did look into the warthog, I read a lot of good reviews on them and Para has great extractors. Look into the Kimbers, they are a little pricey but nothing beats the feel of a well crafted 1911. Polymers just feel fake in my hands. Plus the history and versatility of the 1911 is like owning a piece of history.

  14. #14
    Slowfire is offline Junior Member
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    IMHO a Colt Officer's Model (if you can find one). Barring that, a Kimber Ultra CDP. if I'm allowed a 4" ... Les Baer Stinger.

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    Kimber Ultra CDP II

  16. #16
    lovain1932 is offline Junior Member
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    I wanted to buy a 3 inch 45 but I did a lot of research and came to fined out from several Master gunsmiths one of which was Jim Garthwaite that the 3 inch requires a lot of attention and has to be tuned up quite frequently you might consider the colt commander which is a 4 inch

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