Compact 1911 .45 Problems?


Feb 23, 2008
San Antonio
As some of you may know, I'm in need of a serious fix that only a Kimber Ultra Carry II can cure. I emailed a friend about that particular gun and he alerted me to a problem he's had. He's a Kimber nut and carries a Pro CDP but he owns several 3" 1911s. His exact words were, "I would avoid 3" 1911's at all costs, they are very finicky about ammo, and notoriously unreliable. their is something about the length of side, springs and guide rods that just doesn't seem to mesh with 3" 1911 45's."

Has anybody else had this problem or any other problems or issues concerning their 3" .45 1911's? This will be my main carry gun and I'd like to know if there is something I shoud be aware of. Thanks in advance!


New Member
Mar 7, 2008
Kingwood, Tx
Right now Kimber is in my opinion expirencing a quality control issue. I bought a Eclipse Pro Carry a few months back and I had jamming problems, failing to return to battery, and getting hit in the forhead with brass. I sent my kimber back to them (at their expense) and they replaced some parts and polished the rails and feed ramp. Since I got mine back I have not had a single problem. I had a few friends have the same problem though. I have two buddies that carry UC CDP's as their CCW. They have had no problems at all. Kimber does have a "500 round break in period" this is expensive but their pistols are built very tight. Be ready to run into some issues but Kimber will fix any problem you have. Also if it makes you feel better I am going to pickup another kimber in about an hour, and it is an ultra carry. So I trust these pistols but you have to make sure they are running right before you carry one. Check out this website for more info. Scroll down to the kimber section and look around.


Mar 7, 2008
Parker County
A few thoughts:

1) The 1911 was designed as a 5" barrel pistol; anything less is an adaptation (however slightly) less than optimal.

2) It can be made to function reliably at shorter barrel lengths, but the shorter you go the more problematic this seems to be. Colt has pretty well established with the Commander that a 4.25" barrel is as reliable as a 5" barrel. Less than that and "your mileage may vary". Lots of people run 3" 1911's with no problems but there's no doubt in my mind that you hear more complaints from owners of 3" pistols by far than you do from owners of longer-barreled 1911 pistols.

3) A full-size 1911 conceals quite easily because it is so slim. I find the Commander-size (4.25" barrel) to be a little easier to sit with in an IWB holster than a 5". Personally, I don't see a big advantage in size, weight, or concealability in going less than 4.25".

4) I love every Kimber I've ever owned or shot, but I've never had direct personal experience with a 3".

5) It's your decision in the end - do what your heart tells you, not necessarily what others say.


New Member
Apr 30, 2008
Fort Worth
I have a Kimber Ultra carry2. I use as my carry weapon. I've had it for 5 months and have put about 1300 rounds through it. The only problem I have had was an aftermarket clip with a too tight spring wouldn't release the round 3 times. other than that 1297 rounds perfectly. never had brass in face, shoots beautifully. I just went to elk castle range here in fort worth about 2 hours ago with my dad. He has a springfield 1911 5 in. We went to compare the two. Both of us felt like the Kimber shot better. Lighter trigger, lighter recoil, lighter weight so easier to put 150 through it in one trip. Both of us were more accurate with it than the springfield. I don't have alot of experience with other guns, but I would say that the Ultra Carry is a perfect weapon for carry. I would happily buy another one. (I really want the CDP but for 1200, well, what do ya do.)


New Member
Apr 30, 2008
Fort Worth
oh yea, of the 1300 rounds I have tried with various makers from magtech to federal. Mine isn't finicky at all, but you just never know.

Moe Howard

May 1, 2008
In my experience the 3" 1911s work best in 9mm but they can be very hard to find. Three inch 1911s do tend to be more finicky than their larger brethren and it can also be harder do get them to run good. However I would think the ones that run perfect have a much larger percentage of reliability than ones that don't. Uh, I can't back that up with anything though.


Mar 11, 2008
DFW, North Texas
If you're leery of an Ultra, as many are, what about a Compact? There are fewer models now, but a compact is an awesome carry gun. 4" barrel but an officers frame which is great because the grip is the hardest thing to conceal.

Best of both worlds. I'm eyeballing an old compact now. I have the bug... :D

Army 1911

TGT Addict
Mar 17, 2008
Dallas Texas or so
I think the shorter the barrel, the harder it is to control, which can lead to FTEs and FTFs. You have to hold it tight and keep your wrist stiffer than with a 5 inch or commander.

Just my observations.


Mar 4, 2008

My springfield micro has been 100% reliable, excluding one bad magazine(replaced by springfield) and my first batch of .45 ACP handloads(and attempt at loading a rimless pistol cartridge).

My cousin has a Kimber full size(older model) that is pretty picky. My Micro will function with magazines that won't run in his. One speck of dirt and the Kimber doesn't want to run.


Active Member
Mar 4, 2008
As a general rule, as you shorten the barrel of a 1911, the pistol becomes more picky about proper functioning. Model 1911's with 3" barrels seem to be especially problematic. My understanding is that the sensitivity relates to the shortened recoil rod/spring length. That is why many of us regard the 4"-4.25" barreled 1911's as the shortest 1911 to trust for a primary carry gun. YMMV



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