Kimber Ultra or Colt Defender?

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by BCD 45, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    My neighbor asked if I would ask this question and a few more for him on 1911 ADDICTS. He is on a limited budget and has asked help deciding between a Kimber Ultra Raptor or a Colt Defender either in 9mm or 45, he can't decide.
    He has asked me about the trigger between the two and about the quality of both. Being new to 1911's myself, I just can't answer his questions so I ask you to help with the answers.
    BTW, both are within of a $100 of each other.

    I'm thanking you for him for your insight and knowledge. Appreciate it, he's a good young man.

    Jim D
  2. ORShooter

    ORShooter Just outsided the realm of Crazy!

    Nov 28, 2018
    Sorry, I can't help with those two firearms but, would like to make honorable mention of the Springfield RO LW Compact. It sure is one fine shooting gun and probably more accurate than I am!
    1911 dawg and mikegalway like this.

  3. Teufelhunde

    Teufelhunde Active Member

    Jan 9, 2019
    I can't speak to the Colt, but I can to the Kimber Ultra's, I have 2 Ultra CDPII's (one .45 and one 9mm) and I give them two thumbs up, one for each. He can get a different model than the Raptor and save a bit of cash......


  4. switchback

    switchback Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2014
    Not trying to be difficult but I too would recommend the springfield RO compact. And if he can extend the budget to $1000 approx the dan wesson vigil cco would be far better fit and higher quality parts than the other two. Just my 02 .good luck in his decision
    ORShooter likes this.
  5. Snake Skin Sonny

    Snake Skin Sonny New Member

    Feb 23, 2019
    I have two Defenders and my daughter has a Kimber.
    The fit and finish on the Kimber is maybe a hair better...but not enough to affect anything, in my opinion. A random tool mark on the Defender that you won't see until it's broken down, as opposed to the groomed and polished Kimber.
    I broke her Kimber in for her and it's not something I'd want to do again.
    I had several FTF's in the first 50 rounds and after that, about every third mag would have a FTE, up to over 100 rounds.
    I tweaked it here and there and then did another 100 or so rounds in it...and it seems to be fine. My hand...not so much. I think I put a total of about 350 rounds through it.
    She goes to the range about twice a month and has had no problems with it.
    As far as my Defenders, I have had several FTF's with one. But only with that particular magazine and with the Hornady ATX, I think it is.
    Both of them will eat all the Golden Sabers I can feed them without a problem and the ARX rounds will feed and eject with no problems.
    I will say that the perceived recoil on the Kimber is less than the Defenders.
    It might just be me, but I can double/triple tap and stay within a 6 inch circle at 10 yards with the Kimber, but the Defenders will only let me get a double tap, then I'm probably outside of a 9-10 inch circle and have to pause to bring it back on target.
    I think it's all in the recoil springs...or it could all be in my head.
    I like the fact that there are quite a bit more aftermarket parts (sights, grips, etc) for the Defenders than the Kimber, but the Kimber is pretty damned effective out of the box and just about any holster that will work with the Defender will work with the Kimber.
    If I had my druthers...I'd carry my Defender on the right side and a Kimber on the left, with my Gov Model Springfield Operator in a shoulder holster.
    But that might be overkill, huh?
    I'll just stay with the Defender and leave the Kimber to my daughter...she likes it for bragging purposes at the range with all them over-testosteroned boys that fall all over themselves when she walks into the place.
    But I would recommend either or...can't go wrong either way.
  6. azguy1911

    azguy1911 I'm done buying guns, I'm just a bystander now

    Oct 22, 2015
    Heck he can probably get a pre-owned DW ECO for $100 -150 more. But money is money. I owned an Ultra Raptor , Ultra CDP II and an Ultra Aegis all when I was a Kimber fan boy, I never had one problem. But, he'll get a lot more out of going 3.5" and doing the Wesson.

    View attachment 234921
  7. 2sharp2

    2sharp2 Well-Known Member

    Apr 17, 2016
    Big Cat, I don't own a Defender, have considered buying one just not done it yet. I do own several Ultra's mostly .45 but two in 9mm. Priced from a low of 600 bucks for a used 9mm Stainless Ultra all the way up to $1,350 for a Sapphire Ultra. Not had any failures or problems breaking any of them in, clean lube them up, use good ball ammo...good to go. My Stainless Raptor is probably the most accurate and smoothest Ultra. I advise shop GunBroker you can compare easily and find the best price. Toss up which has the best out of the box trigger but both can be improved is needed. CDP Ultra EDC and first Kimber I bought. CDP Ultra II.jpg Ultra's 2017.jpg
    ORShooter likes this.
  8. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    Arland, you take great pictures. I think the Sapphire Ultra is one of the prettiest 1911's I've ever seen. I'd love to have one if the price would drop a couple $100's.

    Rod, my neighbor, is really set on a 3" barrel 1911. I mentioned a DW ECO but he has a rain check from SMGW for a Raptor Ultra when they had them on sale for $899.00 with free shipping but he can get a Defenderfor $799.00. The DW ECO is quite a bit more and SMGW has the Raptor back in stock. It will have to be his decision.
    Sonny, I asked in the original thread but can you compare the triggers of the two guns?
    AZ1911, it would be a no brainer for me after having DW's. I'd wait if I had to and get the ECO without any hesitation at all.
    Thanks to all of you.

    Jim D

  9. Just Terry

    Just Terry Well-Known Member

    Dec 24, 2018
    had a couple Kimber Ultras. One of the most reliable 1911`s I`ve owned
  10. Snake Skin Sonny

    Snake Skin Sonny New Member

    Feb 23, 2019
    The trigger on the Ultra is marginally better, but I'd bet a sip of Crown Royal that neither you or your neighbor will be able to tell the difference, unless, like some of us old farts around here, you've put hundreds of thousands (literally, really, if not more) through a gun barrel
    I will note that the bow tunnel on the Kimber is better machined (actually better finished, I think, since Kimber does a bit more hands on than Colt on these production guns) and the sear face is slick, slick, slick.
    Now, I can slick the innards of the Colt to the same degree and accomplish what the hand finishers in the Kimber Custom shop do.
    And, most likely, that is why the Kimber Ultra costs a wee bit more, since the springs and all other attendant minutiae is pretty much the same.
    All in all...honestly...I think the Colt has a better trigger...for ME, based on how I shoot in a competition or casual usual day at the range situation.
    I can feel the bow-to-sear engagement much better and I can get a quicker reset on the Colt.
    But honestly, and let's be honest, are you or any one going to be thinking about stacking, breaking and resetting a trigger in the heat of battle, when you are actually in a scenario wherein a human life is at stake, whether it be yours or someone else's?
    No. No one does. Even Jeff Cooper, even the best competition shooters, Rob Leatham, etc.
    Adrenaline negates everything you have ever learned.
    Jerry Miculek did an interview once...I don't recall the particulars and I have to paraphrase, but it was to the effect that when realizes the target is a living, breathing sentient human being, all the other **** goes right out the window. So there ya go.
    I do not recommend the Kimber in 9mm. I don't recommend ANYthing in 9mm.
    I am one of the diehard .45 ACPer's from the changeover period with the US Military between the 1911 and that POS Beretta in 9mm, which was done for no other reason than some snowflake Ordnance puke decided that complying with NATO (so that we could give shitloads of ammo gratis to the rest of the world) would be the best thing to do.
    The great John Moses Browning knew that someone, somewhere, would have a soulless epiphany and decide to promote the 9mm he designed and built the Hi-Power, for use by those who did not have the wherewithal to handle his superior design of the 1911.
    JMB thought of everything and he knew there were those that were going to spit on his design, just because there those that do such things.
    And if he were to see the "Sapphire" version of the Kimber, he'd probably puke in his casket.
    So, final analysis...tell your neighbor to actually go and shoot the versions of what he's interested in.
    You said the Kimber was just a little more than the Defender...I'm not sure of the prices, but I will say that you get a little more "hands-on" while in production, all other things being equal, with the Kimber than the Colt.
    I would also encourage him to look at good used guns.
    But don't let him overlook the rest of the field.
    A couple of guys here have mentioned the Springfield Compact. Great little gun. I had one almost bought at one time and would have, except that a Para-Ord jumped in front of it and blinded me with mystique and so there went the Springfield money.
    Even Taurus (and I should slit my throat for saying this) has a respectable "compact carry" out there, but, honestly, I would not have a Taurus, period. There is absolutely no standardization with them...the first one off the line is not the same as the 20th one off the line, no matter the model. But, in all fairness, they are working on it.
    And I expect a full flaming for saying that...but the only reason I would buy a Taurus is for curiosity purposes...and in taking it apart and putting it back together again, just to see how damned terrible it really is. But, if one needs a "console" gun, one that you don't mind having gummed up with spilt cokes and coffee and adulterated with the remnants of that last Mickey D's cheeseburger, along with a honey-mustard packet and a Mild Taco Bell sauce, well, then a Taurus may be the gun for you. Just put in on top of the vehicle when you go through the car wash every once in a while and it'll be fine.
    And last, but not least...and I KNOW somebody will throw a screwdriver or wrench at the 'puter screen, but, if one has a modicum of gunsmithing sense (and not everyone has), then one can go out to a sleazy pawn shop, pick up an American Tactical Titan for less than a hundred and a quarter, and for about 250 more, and endless tinkering, to the point of frustration, actually make a damned reliable EDC out of it.
    Why would you want to do that?
    For fun. For the hobby aspect. For the "see, I turned this turd into a jewel" (Actually a Zirconium whatever, but hey, it's a jewel, ain't it and let's be honest, there's more than one of you out there that has put one of them on a woman's finger, for no other reason than to have enough left over for that new Colt, Springfield, Kimber, etc.) I won't tell if you won't.
    Again, my apologies for the long-windedness.
    I'm still new here and I know my opinions count for little, but, all ya gotta do is delete it, and I welcome a healthy debate.
    That's one big reason we all come here, right?
    Teufelhunde likes this.
  11. azguy1911

    azguy1911 I'm done buying guns, I'm just a bystander now

    Oct 22, 2015
  12. dakota1911

    dakota1911 Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2015
    I love my Colt Defenders and carried the 2002 in 45ACP which is on the top with aftermarket rear sights (Novak) and stocks (Ajax) for several years. The 9mm on the bottom also has aftermarket stocks on it (Altamont) but it is a range toy. Actually so is the 45 these days.


    Years ago (2013) I started carrying a Colt/Talo Clapp Commander. I live in a rural environment and the longer sight radius was important as I found out. Also I do not want to carry a pistol with a mechanical firing pin safety these days. The Defenders have the Series 80 system and any Kimber with a II in the name has the old Colt Swartz safety in it. Also the Colt/Talo Commander has a normal guide rod and plug so field stripping is traditional.


    I think if I wanted to carry a little 1911 again I would look at the ones Ruger recently introduced.
    Snake Skin Sonny likes this.

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