By Robb Boswell
My first experience with a 1911 was back when I was a young kid, and my grandpa told me stories of his days in WWII with a trusty 1911 .45 ACP on his side–how he felt safe with such a sturdy, dependable piece of machinery. I remember him saying, “You could drop that gun in a mud puddle, kick it around, and still shoot a gnat’s ass at 20 ft with it.” Well, his words stuck with me, and I’ve dreamed about the day that I would own my own Colt 1911 .45 ACP style pistol. Two years ago, I went and applied for my Concealed Carry Deadly Weapons license, and I needed a good gun, light-weight, accurate, and with enough “knock-down” power, should I ever have to use it.
My first thought was towards one of those pocket rockets, like a derringer or small auto, .380, .32, .25, .38 Special, 9mm or even a .22 mag. But none of those performed by the numbers like what I was looking for. I looked in all the latest gun magazines searching for “my” perfect gun, within “my” price range of course. At least one that wouldn’t get me kicked out of the house, and into the dog house.
I was looking through a magazine called Shooting Times, and right there, on the inside back cover, was an advertisement for Colt’s new 90 Series Colt Defender. The Defender has a 3″ barrel, aluminum and stainless construction, Commander-style hammer, Combat Hogue Grips, competition snag-free sights, weighs 23 ounces, and holds 7 rounds–almost everything I was looking for in a CC gun. I knew as soon as I saw that beauty, I was going to do everything in my power to acquire one of them. I saved up a little, all the while, still looking for “my” perfect gun. I looked at Kimber, S&W, Wilson Combat, Para-Ordnance–all of them–but my thoughts kept going back to that Colt Defender.
I purchased that Defender 3 months later, and the first thing I noticed was the plastic trigger (arg!). I can only assume it was used to help lower the weight of the gun. Well, I know that these new polycarbonate guns are dependable, and hold up to some of the most toughest tests. I still didn’t like it, not on a 1911.
So I set my sights on looking around for anything that I could add-on or customize on the 1911. I found one website, http://www.colt380.com/defender.htm, that would anodize the aluminum frame, gnomekote the stainless steel, de-horn the gun better than it already was, add tritium night sights, bevel the magazine well, knurl the front grip strap, and put a high-grip beavertail on it. So I knew that what I was looking for could be done.
I ended up getting a skeletonized aluminum Wilson Combat, Competition Match grade trigger. I installed it myself, adjusted the pull to a VERY crisp action, which was very simple, and, with basic mechanical knowledge, anyone could do it.
I carry this Colt Defender every day. I have a Dillon Precision black leather “Master” series, high-ride holster with matching solo mag. pouch, which fits very comfortably on my belt, and hugs the gun closely to my lower back or side. The holster is “formed” to match the contours of the gun, and allows for a very fast draw. I have two other Master holsters by Dillon, 1 for a Beretta 9mm, and one for a Glock 21 .45 ACP. They are “the” best holsters I’ve ever owned.
I also purchased a belly-band specifically for the summer months, where I can put it under a t-shirt, or under the waist band in a pair of shorts. I don’t need a belt with this. This combination is surprisingly comfortable, even for a gun as large as the Defender. It’s a small gun for a .45 ACP, but it’s still large compared to some of the titanium revolvers and smaller caliber semi-autos out there.
The accuracy out of the box on my Defender is amazing for such a short barrel. I can’t wait till I save up enough for a full-size 1911. I’m never letting go of my Defender, though. It’s a keeper. My next adventure will be to put tritium night sights on it…then it will be “my” perfect gun.