Colt Defender Review: 9mm and .45 ACP Pistol

Colt Defender Review: Summary

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Colt made 1911’s are the gold standard of reliability, and the Colt Defender is no exception. When properly maintained, this gun should be reliable in all but the most radically extreme settings



Extremely accurate within typical combat distances of 15 yards or so. With quality ammo, you will consistently achieve tight groups at



This gun was designed from the ground up to be comfortable and easy carrying. Sharp edges are rounded off, while the beavertail safety protects against the slide contacting the hand. The aggressive, yet comfortable slide serrations allow you to work the slide even wearing gloves or in wet conditions



Colt has maintained the traditional look of the 1911, while adding several premium touches. These include high end cherry wood grips, optional brushed stainless finish on the slide, and high quality, long lasting Cerakote finishes



1911’s are nearly infinitely customizable with a huge array of grips, sights, custom safeties, guide rods, spring assemblies, match grade barrels and even .22 caliber conversion kits, and laser attachments

Bang for your Buck

Bang for your Buck

There certainly are cheaper handguns in this size class, but none are as nice, or as well built. If you want a premium quality gun with custom features that won’t break the bank this is it. If you have a budget, you may want to look elsewhere

What we like

The Novak sights are a great touch, as is the beavertail safety and the slide serrations. For a compact 1911, it is hard to improve on what Colt did.

What we don't like

The price point will be offputting to some, and Colt might have been better served by offering a more budget friendly option with less expensive finishes and grips. In addition, the Colt Defender suffers the same defect as most other 1911’s, namely limited ammo capacity. While smaller guns like this typically only carry around 10-12 rounds, the smaller magazine capacity of a 1911 might be concerning to some people.

Overall, the Colt Defender in 9mm or .45 is a great conceal carry gun, and is designed for a gun owner who not only wants the finer things in life, but also gets them.

Do you have a yearning for a 1911 style pistol, but don’t want to carry a full sized handgun?

Well then, the Colt Defender is the best choice for you!

Let’s face it, the 1911 style pistol is one of the all time great handgun designs, and one of the greatest things to ever come off John Moses Browning’s drawing board. However, it is large and ungainly, and in today’s world of sleek concealed carry pistols, it is also very dated.

Except, now it isn’t. Colt has built the 1911 since, well 1911, and they’ve learned a few tricks in the last hundred years or so, and our Colt Defender review is going to show you what is so awesome about it.


The Colt Model 1911 first became famous during WWI, and since then has been in demand by skilled military and civilian shooters.

However, not everyone needs a full sized military pistol, and other, a smaller handguns have come and gone since 1911.

In order to fill market demands for 1911 style handguns, as well as for compact concealed carry pieces, Colt simply shrank the venerable old 1911 down, smoothed it up a bit, and made it pocket sized.

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The Colt Defender can be had in both .45 and the more suitable for compact carry pieces 9mm. While some may consider a 9mm 1911 blasphemy, we’ll review the Colt Defender 9mm alongside its .45 brother, because quite frankly both have their place in our modern world.

The Colt Defender is an amazing 1911 pistol. Available with either a lightweight aluminum alloy frame, or a traditional steel frame, every part of this gun is designed around concealed carry.

It starts out with a high end Novak Low Mount Carry rear sight, and a tritum front sight for night use, then moves down to a slicked up and easy carrying slide with aggressive, yet snag free serrations, beavertail safety, and a semi custom trigger that ensures superior accuracy right out of the box.

In short, what would have been a custom 1911 just a few years ago is a standard production item now, and you, the consumer benefit from this!

Available in both easy shooting 9mm, and hard hitting .45 ACP, the Colt Defender is bound to appeal to anyone who needs a dependable, time proven handgun.

And with a going rate around $750-850 depending on model and accessories, you really are getting a custom grade handgun for about what you’d pay for a quality production piece.

Colt Defender Review: A Closer Look

Any review of the Colt Defender is incomplete without considering why a 9mm 1911 style handgun is viable today.

While it is true that many 1911 buyers demand the traditional .45 chambering, a new generation of shooters has come to understand that modern cartridge design means that today’s 9mm is not their grandfather’s 9mm.

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Higher pressure ammo combined with cutting edge bullet technology allows the often (and wrongly) maligned 9mm go shoulder to shoulder with traditional heavy hitters like the .45.

Equally important is the fact that in a compact gun like the Colt Defender, the 9mm offers reduced recoil compared to .45, as well as a slightly increased magazine capacity (8+1 for 9mm vs the 7+1 for the .45).  

The light alloy frame of the Colt Defender also lends itself to the lighter recoiling 9mm round, ensuring an easier handling gun when in use.

When creating the Colt Defender 9mm, it is important to note that no expensive has been spared to create a truly attractive, as well as functional gun.

Available with a polished stainless steel slide, or a matte Cerakote finish, along with black cherrywood grips, the Colt Defender is a truly stunning looking firearm, and designed to look good as an every day carry weapon.

However, good looks and careful design still mean nothing if the gun doesn’t shoot well. We’ve seen that Colt carefully chose sights and accessories that enhance its ability to serve as a daily carry piece, and also to be easy to carry. But how does it hold up in real use?

How It Shoots

With a 3” barrel, the Colt Defender cannot be expected to deliver long range accuracy, but it can be expected to deliver accurate close range defensive performance, which is exactly what it does.

Multiple Colt Defender reviews prove it time and time again - this is an accurate, hard hitting pistol.

For the kind of range a pistol of this size is used at, being able to reliably make tight groups out to about 15 yards is the most important thing, and the Colt Defender does that time and time again, delivering tight man stopping groups at the most common self defense distances.

A hundred years ago, our ancestors only had to contend with common ball ammo, also known as a full metal jacket. Today, such ammo is pretty much relegated to military and target duty, and the modern concealed carrier has a bewildering array of hollowpoint ammo to choose from.

Unfortunately, even today, many pistols can be picky about the ammo they eat. 

While many 1911’s still can only digest ball ammo, the Colt Defender was designed from the ground up to work with hollowpoint ammo, so you shouldn’t have a problem with your favorite 9mm or .45 hollowpoint.

Be sure to shoot a box or two though just to make sure.

Caring for and Using your Colt Defender

The Colt Defender field strips just like any other 1911 style pistol. After you’ve removed the magazine, and ensured there is no round in the chamber, lock the slide back, push out the takedown pin, and remove the slide.

Removing the barrel bushing allows you to finish taking down the slide, and in most cases, there is simply no further need to disassemble your gun.


Like any 1911, the Colt Defender can be carried “cocked and locked”. Because both the grip safety and thumb safety need to be off before the gun can fire, it is an extremely safe handgun to carry as long as the thumb safety is engaged.

The Colt Defender ships with two magazines, a trigger lock and owner’s manual. All you need to do is select a comfortable holster of your choice, and you are ready to go!

The Colt Defender in 9mm and .45 is a classic handgun re-imagined for the modern era.

It is made of high quality aluminum alloy and stainless steel, and built for the discerning concealed carrier, or person who desires a compact 1911.

The 3” barrel is suitable for most self defense work, and with the choice of two popular calibers, it is a real crowd pleaser.

Reasonably priced, and a real cut above most other similar 1911’s, there is no reason not to get a Colt Defender of your own.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this Colt Defender review helpful. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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