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Discussion Starter #1
Saw this at my LGS. When I tried to insert the magazine it stopped 3/4 way in. It wouldn't seat all the way unless I pressed the release button. I didn't think that was normal. Is it? The salesman said some 1911s do that. I've never seen it. It comes with the box and two mags. I'd probably swap out the Houge grips. He's asking $700. Any advice welcome. Thanks.
 

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It is probably being sold because of unreliability and because of the magazine insertion issue. If you do buy it and it malfunctions send it to Fusion Firearms. They will work on 3" 1911's whereas a lot of other gunsmithing houses won't. I was having reliability issues on one and they fixed it. Extractor adjustment I suspect.
 

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I have two Colt Defenders, one in .45 ACP, and the other in 9MM. Both of them are extremely reliable. Did someone replace the original mag release with an extended one? It sounds as if the magazine release just needs a bit more fitting. Takes about a minute with a file to get the magazines to bump past the mag release without the need to press the mag release button.
 

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Defender is an awesome piece for carry. Mine is in the serial number range DR259XX. I prefer to push my magazine release in just a wee bit when I load mags. I do not slam mine past the mag release. But I also do a little filing and polishing of the catch ledge of that mag release for smooth action. Do not let that bother you, all can be fixed or massaged easily enough.
There is a good number of videos on you tube that can show you how to massage the mag release for easier insertion.
 

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The Defender was the first truly reliable 3" 1911, from a factory. Others have copied it, with varied results. Mag releases vary, some are like yours, some are easier, particularly after some use - and as already noted can be massaged or switched out as you prefer.

Reliability in any 1911 can sometimes be spotty with other than Ball ammo until the extractor is adjusted properly, but this is not a particular problem to the Defender - any 1911 with internal extractor can have no tension, or lose tension if abused (don't put a round in the chamber and drop the slide - feed from the magazine ONLY). Extractor tuning should be a skill every 1911 enthusiast knows - and it's easy. Lots of posts here or YouTube. CC
 

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They are nice pistols. I have a 2002 in 45ACP (top) and a 2010 in 9mm. I think 2010 may have been the first year for the "beavertail" grip safety. The 2002 has the "duckbill" which my hand is fine with. Also in 2002 the front sight was a tenon mount. I changed out the Houge wrap around grips for some wood stocks on both pistols although if somebody told me I had to fire several hundred rounds through the 45ACP I would probably put them back on. I keep my eyes open for one of the early ones in 40 S&W although I think Colt only made those about a year or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again for all your advice. It's a.45. I wasn't sold on it at first, but its starting to grow on me. I can hear my wife now, "That's all you need is another pistol!". Dakota 1911, thanks for posting the pics of yours. My plan was to swap out the grips. I'll offer $650 out the door and see what he says.
 

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We’re all the Colts lightweights or did they offer a steel frame version as well? I’ve got a Springfield Micro compact in 45 and I’ve learned to load 185’s for a trip to the range. A lot more enjoyable and less pain for the old bones. I don’t regret buying that one at all.
Good luck, I hope you get it for your price.
 

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We’re all the Colts lightweights or did they offer a steel frame version as well? I’ve got a Springfield Micro compact in 45 and I’ve learned to load 185’s for a trip to the range. A lot more enjoyable and less pain for the old bones. I don’t regret buying that one at all.
Good luck, I hope you get it for your price.
The only steel frame Defender that I know of is the new Combat Elite series. The rest were and are aluminum frame.
 

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I have a duck bill Defender like that one, shoots just fine. Mag catches on the release as it is inserted and could be easily fixed with a little filing. Looks to me like a safe queen, $650 would be a good deal.

Nighthawk makes a beaver tail for Colts that you can order if you call them. They aren’t on the NH website, you have to call and ask. They are the ones they make to go in the NH Colt rebuilds. But if you are using it as a carry piece I wouldn’t worry about the duck bill, it will do the job.
 

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Earlier I mentioned my Colt Defender in .45 ACP. After reading a few more responses to the OP's post, I wanted to write a bit more about my Defender.
It started out as a stainless Defender with a duck bill grip safety, a black long 3 hole trigger, a GI thumb safety, and some black wrap around rubber grips. Exactly like the OP's subject gun. The first day I took it to the woods, I shot a groundhog with it at about 30 yards. I thought Damn, I was expecting the gun to be a jammer but it just never did. After fitting a Wilson extended thumb safety, a short trigger, some wood stocks, having my gunsmith perform an action job, then shooting a couple hundred rounds of 230 grain ball and a few magazines of 230 grain Winchester Ranger HP's through it with not a single malfunction, I decided it would become my new duty gun when I moved to a plainclothes job within my department. But before I started carrying it every day, I thought I'd give it a few more upgrades. I delivered the Defender back to my gunsmith where he fit an upswept S&A grip safety, checkered the front strap, serrated the top of the slide, fit a polished steel feed ramp insert, fit a WC rounded main spring housing, then had the stainless parts refinished in Ion bond, and reanodized the frame black. He also welded up and refit the barrel. This Defender has continued to perform perfectly, and I shoot it as accurately as I do my 5 inch Colt Gunsite Pistol. I just have to slow down a bit. It's been with me from coast to coast, even inside the San Francisco Airport, and up the Seattle Space Needle. I refuse to go to NY, but if I did, it would be with me, hidden under my sweatshirt. It's IMHO one of the very best concealed carry pistols you can have. I hope OP that you buy that one and enjoy it as I have mine.
 

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Coyotebuster wins the prize for best looking Defender.. really nice!

Here's mine from early 2000's, I believe

 

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Coyotebuster wins the prize for best looking Defender.. really nice!

Here's mine from early 2000's, I believe
No Joke, that is a fine looking defender.

The topic pistol ...

Agree 650 reasonable with box and all originally included items.

Has a Champion/Kensight Novak copy rear site, likely has non-standard front sight cut. Newer ones have genuine Novaks. I do believe Colt stated using Novak fronts prior to rears.

Frame is likely “teflon” can be a problem if wanting refinished. Newer ones are cerakote.

It looks un-messed with, which is good.
 

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Well here’s another Defender pic.....

To the OP, are you sure you we’re using an officer’s size magazine ? If you try to insert a full size magazine, it will only go in about 3/4s of the way in and lock up on the mag release and drop free when it is pushed. See the second picture, instead of inserting to the flush position like an officer’s size magazine does, see the first picture....

Edit: had to edit text due to the pictures reversing order.

 
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