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Smaller 1911's

2575 Views 16 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Black Pearl 45
I may want to get a smaller 1911 for carry. I thought about a Sig P-245. I would like to stay with a 1911 design. Has anyone here have any luck (good or bad) with the SA Compact models?? Or the Kimber Compact??
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Have you fondled a P245 yet? I looked at one when they first came out, and the grip seemed too short for my hand. The bore axis is also pretty high.

I have owned a Colt Officer's ACP and it was a great gun, should never have sold it :-( I currently have a stainless Kimber compact and highly recommend it. You may also want to check out the Glock 36.

I have a Kimber Pro CDP. I really like the gun. I also own a Kimber Custom Classic. After having both, I think the smaller guns for carry are over-rated. Generally if I can conceal one, I can conceal the other.

I am sure there are times it makes sense but I tend towards my full sized 1911.
I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm hoping that the people who are will also help answer your question. But several members have posted that full size 1911's experience less feeding problems than compacts. My two high-end Wilson's seemed to bear this out. The compact consistantly jammed, the full size did not.

Would that stop me from buying a compact or even a sub-compact in the future? Nope. I'd take the gun to the range, run a case through it, and if it had any noticeable problems, I'd either send the gun back to be fixed or have a smith tune it. Just something you might want to consider or research.
I like smaller .45s. If they are smaller, they are easier to conceal. I like carrying my full-size just as well, however.

If you want smaller for concealment, I think the officer's size frame is best. You only get a mag capacity of seven, but the butt is about one round shorter than the full-size. If you plan to carry IWB, the butt to slide top area is going to be all that prints, so a shorter butt (with a mag flush to the butt) does have a concealment advantage.

There are some possible drawbacks with velocity out of the 3" barrels where they don't generate as much speed as the full-size or commander size guns. However, guns like Colt's Concealed Carry Officer's or Wilson CQB Compact have a 4 inch barrel, but a short frame. This allows you to get good bullet velocity while getting the smaller frame that conceals better. Don't get me wrong, I have a Kimber Ultra (3" barrel) and have no qualms with it being a defense gun at all. According to Shooting Times in their tests with the Kimber, they did manage a good bullet expanion with hollowpoints in ballistic gel. Of course, the four inch barrels did better and quite surprisingly, the 5 inch barrels did not always out perform the 4 inch barrels. So the optimal barrel length for .45 ACP looks like it falls between 4 and 5 inches depending on the ammo used. Shooting times also looked at the Long Slides and found they 5 inch barrels out performed some of those as well. Of course, you won't be using a long slide for concealed carry.

All that being said, if you choose your clothing correctly, you should have no problems concealing a full-sized gun. I only carry my Ultra when I will be places that I know the people would not appreciate me having a gun, such as family reunions, conferences, etc. While not illegal to have the gun, it would be best that it not be discovered, so I carry smaller just to add a cushion of safety from disclosure.
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I've come to trust and value your opinion in the last couple of months. Do you subscribe to the theory that 1911's with barrels shorter than 5" are more prone to jam?
the Star Firestar pistols (do they still make those?) has some 1911 features, and is smaller than an officers model. comes in 9mm, 40cal and 45acp, they are heavy but the recoil is Very managable even in 45, and good accuracy
I just bought a Springfield Compact(2001) pistol, and am very happy with it. No problems with feeding hollowpoints and it conceals easily. Just my 2 cents worth.
I routinely carry a Kimber SS Ultra Carry in .45ACP (3" bbl.). It's small, light, reliable, and very accurate. I've put over 1700 rounds through it w/no problems, and shot 1.5" groups at 15 yds. Muzzle velocity w/185 gr. Remington Golden Sabers runs about 840 fps out of the UC--about the same as 230 gr. Federal HydraShoks out of a 5" bbl. M&S results are excellent for the 185 gr. GS round out of short barrels. I've been very pleased w/my Ultra Carry
and highly recommend it.


"To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them"
- George Mason, American Statesman (1725-92)
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After 400 rounds through my new 2001 lightweight compact, I only had 2 failures to feed. And that was with some "factory" reloads I'll never get again.

Then the plunger tube decided to fall off! When I get it back from Springfield, I'll finish breaking it in.

With Slim Tech rosewood grips and a Milt Sparks VM-2 holster, discreet carry don't get much better.

Just my opinion. But most of my pistols are of the compact style anyway.
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Well boys I had a Kimber Compact (4inch barrel, officer size frame) I sucked aloud with this gun. Sure it hid well, but I could not balance it well in my hand. I traded up to a CHampion(4 inch barrel, full size frame) I didnt even have to switch holsters(I still need a GOOD one)I find the Champion is almost as easy to conceal and I shoot it about 100 times better.
I have a Kimber Compact. Nice gun. I'd stick with the 4" barrel (not the ultra compact) and steel frame. I did have some feed failures, but I've now switched to Wilson 6 round officer's mags -- they seem to feed better with the 6 round follower than with the 7 round follower. YMMV.

Originally posted by Black Pearl 45:
the Star Firestar pistols (do they still make those?) has some 1911 features, and is smaller than an officers model. comes in 9mm, 40cal and 45acp, they are heavy but the recoil is Very managable even in 45, and good accuracy

I heard these were no longer in production. I still have mine from when they were first coming out. Aside from its weight, which doesn't bother me, it is a very manageable pistol.

Guess I'd better pick up some more mags for it before they go by the wayside.

A slow hit beats a fast miss
I recently had the chance to shoot a friends Para-Ordanace P10.45. It was relatively small, light weight, shot well and as a double stack you get 10+1 rounds. With that said it was his second - the first wouldn't feed anything and they replaced it. In another thread somewhere I thought I read that there were problems with the initial run of P10.45s and there were changes made. Still shooting it got me thinking about them again.....

-- Chuck
My girlfriend has a new Kimber CDP which so far (only about 200+ rounds), has digested everything we've thrown into it without a hiccup (Wilson mags only) and is amazingly accurate for a 3" barrel. Also, the felt recoil was MUCH less than I had anticipated from such a small gun.

A friend has the small Springfield (don't know which model) has been worked over by a competent smith... I've not shot it but he swears that it's as accurate for him as his full size 1911.
on the Star Firestar -- ive seen the discontinued mags go for around $25, which is about $10 less than they were about 6 years ago when i bought the gun
i got the extended grips which has a shelf that helps to fully extend the grip about 1/2" , and helps a lot
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