Best Ammo for Colt Defender

Aug 6, 2008
Whitesboro, TX
Today I'm picking up my new Colt Defender. Although I shot a Defender several years ago, this is my first .45 to actually own. I've narrowed my ammo choice down to Federals LE Tactical. It's offered in 185 gr and 230 gr. Has anyone used bullets lighter than the standard 230 gr (not necessarily this brand)? I know each handgun is different; I was just wondering if anyone had any trouble shooting light bullets from a short-barreled .45. Thanks!

I guess I should add that I am leaning towards the 185 gr because I've read that it expands better in short-barreled guns. I've included the link from a very good article on personal defense ammo.


Active Member
Aug 8, 2008
When I had a short barreled .45, I used the Remington 185gr +P Golden Sabers.

If you are sticking with the Federal loads, go with the 185gr
My Defender functions with 230, 200 and 185 grain bullets. but something about the timing of the Defender makes it feel very smooth when firing the 185 grain ammo.

Ask a friend to load mags with 230 and 185 grain ammunition (only one weight in a magazine) and hand them to you (or load them into the pistol) randomly; see if you can notice the difference.

I use the Taurus solid copper ammunition (TCB45ACP) for carry.


Mar 4, 2008
Get different brands and shoot them.This will be the way to check which ammo works best with your gun.Please post a pic when you get the defender.

Army 1911

TGT Addict
Mar 17, 2008
Dallas Texas or so
It is a general practice with a new 1911 to run about 500 rounds of 230gr FMJ through it before trying other ammo. This helps to break the gun in and as a test for reliability. After that try several of the defense loads until you find one you like.

Not all guns like all ammo.


TGT Supporter
Feb 21, 2008
Austin, TX
Nice Defender! Always loved those guns. You might also consider the Corbon Pow'RBall. In 45acp they are a 165gr, which should work well at more reliable expansion with the short barrel. Also, they have basically a perfect round nose profile so they shouldn't have any feeding issues. God sometimes I feel like such a salesman for Corbon. I just like their stuff so much. ;)


TGT Addict
May 29, 2017
Austin, TX
Might want to stick with a standard pressure load. The more spring you have in that stubby 1911 the greater chance that it'll short stroke on standard stuff.
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