By Kristen Monroe, Women’s Outdoor News
A concealed carry permit and a loaded gun in a holster doesn’t mean squat, unless you also add good split-second decision-making skills, proper training and a reliable gun. Packing heat is a big responsibility and must be taken very seriously. For the past few months I have been undertaking the task of learning about the legality of concealed carry in Wisconsin. Now, I am on the hunt to find the perfect gun.
The Colt Defender .45 ACP and 9mm are both spectacular choices for concealed carry. Why? Because the body, grip, trigger and over-all feel are indistinguishable between both calibers. Of course, the kick set them apart, but not as much as I expected.
Examining handgun features can be fun, and it also helps with understanding handgun accuracy. Remember, every shot you make can change your life forever; if the bullet goes astray, or does not come out at all, there will be a consequence. To be most accurate, I learned the importance of a good strong grip.
There is a specific reason for analyzing the grip before I even talk about pulling the trigger. Most experienced shooters can pick up a gun, and even before firing know the gun is not right for them. To put it simply, the grip can affect recoil, rate of fire and target accusation. All of those elements impact the overall performance of the gun, and how well it will work for you.
Instantly, I could feel the quality of the Colt Defender. The weight, grip shape, angle and thickness felt right. The Colt upswept beavertail grip safety provided a nice hold, and also allowed for quick target acquisition. After feeling the comfort of the gun, I turned my attention to the sights.
The Colt Defender model offers Novak® Low Mount Carry Sights with Dots Sights. Rather than focusing on the bull’s eye, I focused on the front sight, keeping it aligned and level with the two rear sights. The three-dot sight system is bright, clear and easy to use.
Finally, it was time for the fun part – pulling the trugger. The three-hole aluminum trigger felt unbelievably smooth. The amount of pressure applied I had to apply to the trigger before the bullet “surprised” me felt perfect. Again, different people have their own preferences when applying trigger pressure, but really, who doesn’t like a short and sweet trigger pull? Successful trigger pull means it doesn’t interfere with your sight alignment. The smooth trigger on the Defender model really helped with my accuracy.
The three-inch barrel makes the Defender quaint, and comfortable to carry. I will admit, I wondered if the muzzle would be more difficult to control since 1911 models typically feature longer barrels. To my surprise, the Colt had a low muzzle flip, and could be controlled with ease. It’s amazing how much power and accuracy the Defender delivers with only a three-inch barrel.
I brushed up on my shooting skills (thanks to the help from members of my local police department) with the Colt Defender .45 ACP. We started indoors, shooting at paper silhouette targets approximately six yards away. The first shot would have stopped any villain dead right in his tracks. We then moved outside to shoot at multiple adversaries. The sound of my .45 bullet ringing the steel silhouette target was music to my safely muffled ears. One of the officers suggested that I try a 9mm to increase my trigger speed and accuracy. I could handle the .45 just fine, but was curious to see the difference between the guns.
At that time, I did not have the 9, but as soon as it arrived, I took a few trips to the local shooting range to compare the .45 ACP with the 9mm Defender. Just how different would they perform for me?
The only physical difference between them is the magazine capacity and the weight. The 9mm holds eight cartridges in the magazine, and it weighs 25 ounces. The Colt .45 has a seven-cartridge magazine capacity, weighing a mere 24 ounces. Both calibers easily could be carried in my holster all day without weighing me down.
How did they shoot? I compared my targets with both calibers, and found that I shot more accurately with the 9. However, either would have stopped a cold-hearted criminal. I was still hitting the target fine with the .45, but shot tighter groups with the 9. I am certain if I had more time to practice, I could do just as well with the .45.
Whether in a 9mm or a .45, you can’t beat the power and performance of the Colt Defender series. The compact size completes the perfect package for carrying a concealed weapon. Thanks, Colt, for making it easier to practice our Second Amendment rights. After all, what’s the point of practicing your right to carry if you don’t have the perfect gun?