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I own two Dan Wesson ECO’s. One in .45 ACP and the other in 9mm. When I carry, it is one of those two inside my waist band. Both are very reliable, the 9mm is really a soft shooter with 147 grain HST’s, and the 45 has a bit more push on recoil but not bad. I have carried both a Commander and a Browning Hi Power in the past and find them a tad too big for me. My goal was to find a pistol that was small enough to carry, but big enough for me to shoot well and the ECO’s fill the bill. I have a SIG 938 which is very accurate but just too small for me to shoot under stress, while the Commander just a bit balky for me to carry.
 

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My Wilson EDC X9 is a four inch barreled 15 round 9mm, and my Wilson Professional is a four inch barreled 1911 with a 10 round capacity. Both carry and shoot very well.

Air gun Trigger Grey Line Gun barrel
Wood Everyday carry Gun barrel Gun accessory Air gun
 

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THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU......LATER
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Maybe I’m old school but the 1911 platform was designed to function properly in a 5” form , latter a commander size pistol in .45 acp or .38 super. For reliability in self defense .
While many have hacked up JMB’s design ,short 1911s just do not posses the same attributes in the form of reliability and accuracy.
If your intention is to carry a 9mm for defense , and want a smaller ,slimmer pistol look elsewhere,the market is overrun with good small 9mm pistols at more affordable pricing.
Don’t bet your life on something that has to be severely modified to try to function, better options are readily available.
Tiny pistols in a 1911 platform weren’t ment to be .
While I am aware of the history of the "little guns" meaning 3-4 " barreled 1911's and the seemingly inherent problems with either bullet chambering, unlocking the slide....basically timing and the issues with a few of the poorly designed recoil systems of. the early Colt Officers guns. Yep, the sight picture is better on a Government Model, the Commander is pretty close.....I have had no problem with my Officers. It is pretty stock, shoots well. I think short guns are out there that shoot well of this format. If I get another it will either be one of the Para models or a BUL. But for now in 1911 land, I am happy.
 

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I understand that you will have more precise sight alignment with a 5 inch gun, but it also takes longer to achieve that alignment. It is faster to align sights on a shorter gun. Imagine looking through a long tube vs a short tube, which will you align properly first? As long as you have sufficient accuracy, I want to achieve "good enough" as fast as possible in a self defense scenario.

I read an article from Bill Wilson where he claimed his aging eyes preferred compact guns. The front sight is 1-2 inches closer to your face when aiming.
 

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This is just a personal thing, but I definitely prefer the shootability of smaller pistols. I've gone to shooting alloy frame pistols with 3-4" barrels for our defensive pistol matches. So many people think you have to have a full-sized, steel-framed pistol to tame muzzle rise. I've watched my match videos and I'm just not seeing lots of muzzle rise when shooting the smaller, lighter pistols. However, I feel the lighter mass of the pistol makes it much easier to move the pistol from target to target. Also, something I don't think many people think about with shorter barreled pistols is that there's likely less recoil impulse because the expanding gases don't get to push against the bullet for as long a time as with a 5-6" barrel.

Here's a video of a recent match when I was shooting my Bul SAS II FS with a 3.2" barrel.

 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Ed Brown EVO is a candidate , not sure about the external extractor .
Kimber ultra carry as well
 

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Another vote for the staccato C. It shoots incredibly well for something of it's weight/size. The sights are damn near perfect for a concealed carry gun, and I've had zero malfunctions with over 2500 rounds through it. Not a single one, and it's been run dirty. The trigger on mine isn't anything to write home about, but absolutely is acceptable.
 

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I cannot confirm my P938 shoots ANYTHING like a full-size 1911, but I can confirm its unwavering reliability, excellent accuracy and super-comfortable concealability.
Same experience with my p238. If I'm feeling super lazy or wearing shorts I'll still sometimes carry it.
 

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I personally draw the line at 4 inch barrels.

YMMV but here’s my observation-

You’ll feel more recoil in the hands with the lighter slide mass of a 4.25 and under, but the muzzle flip can be controlled easier because there’s less slide bouncing back and forth/up and down.

Longer slide means more mass away from your hands so it can feel a bit bouncy with poor grip, but the less recoil felt in the hands. In 9mm, it can even feel like it’s in slow motion.

A 4-4.25 with a bull barrel, flanged barrel or compensator is probably the path to take if you’re chasing recoil characteristics of a full size. Even then it will feel different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
I'm thinking 4" is the magic # for me .. realizing the sight radius is a key as well as attributes of 1911's
 

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I haven't fired anything shorter than 4" either, my compact with a 4" bull barrel and a steel officers frame (also with a small radius firing pin stop and flat 22# recoil spring) feels remarkably similar to my full size.
 

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The LB Stinger always shot extremely well for me. I have them stainless and blued and they are incredible how they perform
 

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I had a Kimber compact years ago , not a micro so 1911 with 3” barrel I was Amazed how accurate a short barrel 1911 could be would easily shoot within 2” target at 7 yards the down side , it stove piped every mag .I sent it to kimber , when I got it back it was the same so I sold it if you could get one that was reliable it be hard to beat .or have someone fix the issue, I’ve thought about trying it one more time with a 3” Kimber Raptor ,they are built in the custom shop but would have to confirm reliability .as far as accuracy was concerned it was amazing
 

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My buddy prefers his Colt Defender in 45acp over most other Colt Government models. I do agree that they shoot great.
 

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In terms of small 1911ish 9mm that shoots like a bigger gun, I would recommend the Wilson EDC X9s all day long!
 
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