compact 1911, yay or nay?

I have always wanted a quality 1911, I had a full size Taurus 1911 a while back and I just never really liked it becasue it felt so cheap compared to the higher end models.

That being said I am looking for a decent carry specific wepon as well. I was looking into the smaller pistols such as the Glock 26, LC9 and SR9-C as I a fan of the 9mm round. (affordable to practice with, please dont make this a caliber debate haha)

But this has got me thinking, maybe I can kill two birds with one stone. I looked at a full stainless Kimber Ultra Carry 1911 online and I notice they make a 9mm version and thought it looked very slick!

Personally I would like a SMALL carry pistol, the SR9-C felt a little to big, the Glock 26 seemed a bit thick but do-able, and the LC9 almost seemed to small to shoot reasonably well.

Can anyone give me some input on these compact 1911s? Are they a good choice for a carry wepon or should I stick with something lighter and smaller? As a first "real" carry specific wepon I want to make sure I make the right choice. Right now I occasionally carry my Glock 17 and used to carry a Walther P99, Both of which I felt were WAY TO LARGE but it was my only option.

Thanks for the input in advance.
My daily carry is a Para Ordnance P10 40 caliber. I absolutely love it and only problem I've ever had is pickiness feeding Hydrashoks.

If DA is important to you look at the Para LDA series. Double action in a compact 1911 package.

Curious how you thought the Taurus 1911 felt cheap? Mine was every bit as solid as Colt or Para 1911's that I own...
Maybe I had a flawed pistol the action was not smooth at all, the slide was not very smooth as all either. I knew nothing about 1911 when I bought it, I then later met a friend who was a 1911 fan and let me shoot his Wilson Combat 1911, but maybe comparing a Taurus to Wilson Combat is not a fair. But he took a look at my Taurus and told me if I took it to a gun smith I could have it polished up within a few hours and it should function alot better. I then started to have problems with FTF and FTE, I know it had a lifetime warranty but I decided not to mess with it and I shoud just of got a better one to start off with.


I have two of the ultra carry and have had no issues with either a good carry choice. If you are after lighter items and dont mind the smaller calibers then you may want to research these... <broken link removed> or ... <broken link removed>
I have owned quite a few compact 1911s and the Kimbers are very good. Exceedingly accurate, good trigger, well fit, I alway have an Ultra or Pro Carry at my disposal. I will also tell you that Kimber's blue finish treatment (more like black) is putrid at best. In and out of a holster a few times and you'll have serious wear marks. The stainless versions are great and wear very well.
No, **** no!!

No to Kimber
No to compact 1911s
No to 9mm 1911s

If you want a 1911 get one as the designer intended, a quality steel full size 5" in 45 ACP (and Kimber ain't it)

I find the Glock 19 to be the ultimate CC piece, if you think it's too large re-evaluate your holster and belt setup, otherwise consider a 26.
Why do you say that? Hasn't the Glock evolved from it's original design? There is absolutely nothing wrong with different calibers or compacts? What about 38ACP? Didn't it pre-date the 1911 but have many of the same features? You could say the 1911 was a copy of the 1900?
The problem with smaller/shorter 1911's, they have to do the same thing their larger counterparts do, but in a shorter amount of time, and with somewhat different geometry...which means everything has to be right...even more so.

The 1911 was designed for a certain cartridge, that is fired at a certain velocity, with a given weight slide, and a barrel that tilts down at a certain angle to be able to accept the next cartridge being fed.

The smaller 1911's fire that same cartridge, but with a different weight slide, and a barrel that tilts down at the same angle, but has a tendency to bind if not relieved properly in the right areas. Because of the above, it also operates/cycles a tad there's a less margin for error. Which means the firing pin safety system has to be bringin' its A game with every shot fired.

Also, most all of them are so over sprung that they cause their own malfunctions, when the gun was made properly from the get go.

I have many different lengths of 1911's, the full size 5", the true Commander which is 4 1/4" not 4", and an Officers Model which has a 3 1/2" barrel length.

So far every one of them has been 100%, but not every one made is. I have fought with many a scaled down 1911 to get them working, and in the end still can't guarantee that one won't get beaned on the noggin with a spent case now and then.

There are reasons why some makers gave up on certain small models of 1911 they made...too many coming back for warranty repair which they could not fix.
Some have to be machined to relieve certain areas to guarantee their reliability, and worked over so much to keep it, that many folks feel its just not worth the time, effort and of course money.

A smaller 1911 does not have the life longevity the larger counterpart does. They are made to be carried often, and shot little.

I have owned several Colt Officer LW (alloy frame) models in my younger days, which I shot the frames out of two of them in no time before I came to my senses. I still have my third one, which sees little range time, but when it does it gets light reloads off my Dillon press.

The smallest I would recommend to someone who wants to shoot theirs a bit, is either a Colt New Agent, or something along the lines of a Commander 4 1/4". Most of the production 4" models are pure junk, unless you're willing to spend the money for a semi-custom model from the likes of Wilson, Baer, Brown, etc.

Also if you're wanting to shoot them a bit, go with a steel frame over alloy. I pack alloy frames because of the weight, but I know how far/hard to push them...I have had quite a few on my bench from folks who didn't know where that line is.

I Know Springfield has a lifetime guarantee on all their frames, even the alloy models, so that's a good peace of mind there.

Hope this helps.

Be well.
Why do you say that? Hasn't the Glock evolved from it's original design? There is absolutely nothing wrong with different calibers or compacts? What about 38ACP? Didn't it pre-date the 1911 but have many of the same features? You could say the 1911 was a copy of the 1900?
Don't worry about him, Dan....just another closed-minded view from an armchair quarterback
It sounds like a Kahr in .45 would be what you're looking for (or 9mm or .40), its smaller than pretty much anything you're going to find in .45, and still comfortable to shoot.

Look into the Kahr PM45 (of if you want a little bit larger), the P45, or if on a budget, there is the CW45.
The thing about chopped 1911's that makes them less desirable, is the fact when you reduce the mass of the slide you have to make it up in some other way to get reliable functioning. The only way to do this is to greatly increase the slide velocity. Just like in bullets speed compensates for mass.....somewhat. This greatly increases wear and tear on the weapon. These guns quite literally beat themselves to death. In spite of this many of the mini 1911's do not function reliably. If you have one that does, count your blessings because many don't.

It is important to remember the Mini Glocks are not afflicted with this problem, and run just as reliably as their full sized counterparts. They are a much better choice for self defense and CCW in that regard. Not to mention they cost half as much, and easily last twice as long, if not longer. They are simply a much better choice all the way around.

The 1911 is a good design, in it's original intended size. But chopping these things down in a race to see who can make the smallest one, does not result in a pistol you would want to stake your life on. No matter how you look at it, it's a bet with lousy odds. Bill T.
I agree on the full-size but what quality issues does the Kimber have?
They don't. At least no more than any other 1911 manufacturer does. This is just more Internet carry over. Kimber makes just as good of a 1911 as anyone else for the price. No, I wouldn't compare my Kimber Stainless II to my Springfield Trophy Match because there is a 40% difference in price. But my Stainless II has run flawlessly, and delivered outstanding performance. It's price, as well as it's performance, is competitive with all other 1911's in it's class.

People parrot what they hear. My advice to anyone who feels the desperate need to type bad about Kimber 1911's is to go shoot one. You'll find what most Kimber owners find. They are as well built of a 1911 as any. But for some reason the only thing multiplying faster than Kimber bashers are Glock bashers. Perhaps if both weren't enjoying fantastic sales figures, they would go away. Bill T.


For many years I carried a Para P12-45, which is an Officers sized gun. (3 1/2" barrel, I believe) I shot a few thousand rounds thru it in the time frame I had it and it always fed and ejected properly. The only issue it has was with the firing pin safety, mentioned by Wichaka above, and a trip back to Para solved that. These days, knowing what I know (which isn't too much!!!) I would remove the FPS from my carry gun.
I also had for a short time a Colt Officer's Stainless gun. It, too, fed and ejected properly.
The gun I pack around now is a Commander sized (4.25") gun, all steel. Love it! But if I had a hankerin for a smaller 1911, I'd not shy away from a decent one.
I love 1911's for what they are. They need to be steel and they need to be full length so they are heavy. They don't hold enough rounds. While they are beautiful and sexy, time has passed them by for EDC. While many will carry only a 1911, there is little to argue that there are very good guns which hold at least twice as many rounds, are dependable and accurate, and are a lot lighter weight. They may well cost less too.

1911's remind me of Harleys. I own one and wouldn't have anything else, but it's based on nostalgia. The look, the sound... Nothing else compares. However, there are much better bikes out there for less money, mostly Japanese and especially Yamaha. I'll never buy one but I'm giving up newer and better technology for the nostalgia.
Very well said Gunner.
I have a Kimber Ultra Carry II in .40 and love it. My Wife loves it too but the little .40 does jump around so 9mm would make it a sweet shooter.
As for carry, that would be the G22. I have carried it with a Lone Wolf 40-9 conversion barrel also (I too am a BIG fan of the 9mm). I sweat so much that I fear an all steel gun would not like me. Even in stainless a 1911 is too expensive and beautiful for me to sweat all over.
I have owned, both a full size and a compact. I love my full size 1911, but I don't carry it.(my body mass and all my bumps sort of prevent it). I hated the compact. I have only hated 2 other fire arms more. I sold it about 2 years after getting it. Oh, I am not saying it was not a good design, nor am I saying it was not reliable, because it was. It just did not fit me right, much like glocks. I was never comfortable shooting it. While, I have moved on to Sigs, which fit me better, I won't get rid of my full size 1911.
I carried my Kimber Ultra for years, still do once in a while, I ran it in several handgun courses where we shot 500-600rnds in an 8 hour day and the ONLY malfunction I ever experienced was because I limp wristed while engaging multiple targets on the move. That was a simple failure that only required a quick rack to get back on target. To date I have well over 10k rounds thru it and have had no mechanical issues other than a couple spring changes.

Now I mostly carry a G19 because it's much easier (for me) to run in an efficient/effective manner under stress, and I am a firm believer in having as many rounds at hand as possible.

I love my 1911s and will never give them up. So I guess if a guy is choosing between any proven firearm where reliability is not expected to be an issue, it's up to his individual preference for fit, caliber and volume of fire. If you have all these things your set whether it costs $300 or $2k.
While I have never owned a Kimber listening to what people say about them I never will own one. Not because I believe everything I hear on the Internet but the fact that I'm not willing to pay the price they are asking for the off chance that I get a "good" gun. Now, if they are about half the price then I can justify trying one out but $1000+ just isn't worth me taking a chance on it.


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