Colt Defender 9mm Reviews 2022 [Full Handgun Overview]

This fine firearm was firstly introduced in 2000, chambered in .45 ACP and it is a preferred choice for self-defense by many. Now, their latest model is available in 9 mm with quite the improvement in terms of looks, ergonomics, and performance. In this Colt Defender 9mm reviews article, we are going to review this model that features classic wooden grips, a new slide, and sights. Ideally for concealed carry, people look for a small profile, lightweight and comfortable guns that can be hidden easily.

Moreover, they need an accurate one that provides continuous reliable performance. After all, life is protected by this firearm and you must know that you can count on it. Today, an efficient option for self-defense pistols is the 9 mm caliber, which provides solid ballistic results. Thanks to the increased popularity and the improvements in terms of construction, functioning, and design, there are many 1911 models available in this caliber.

colt defender 9mm reviews

Back in the days, short-barrelled 1911s had some issues with extraction, ammo and cartridge feeding. With the technological advancements of our time, recent models with less than 5” barrels, chambered in 9mm, have resolved their problems.

In 2000, Colt introduced the Defender pistol in .45 ACP and more than fifteen years later, they introduced the improved model in 9 mm. Both calibers come with Colt’s G-10 wooden grips and basically all the upgrades of the stainless model.

This includes a blued carbon steel slide and black aluminum alloy frame with Cerakote coating. The rear sight is blacked-out Novak style low-mounted for quick targeting, while the front offers a Tritium night sight.

Overview of Features

The model in this caliber has some significant improvements from the one that was released in .45 ACP fifteen years ago. First of all, the price is very affordable compared to other 1911 models.

This gun is built on the officer’s frame platform and offers an overall length of 6.75” and a 3-inch barrel. The height of the frame is slightly reduced to allow for better concealment. It is also very lightweight as it is measured at only 25 ounces.

Moreover, the Defender comes with two stainless magazines with 8-round capacity. The .45 ACP variant holds only 7 rounds, but the reliability of the 9 mm is superior.

A great addition to this version is the Novak-Style night sights. The Rear sight is blacked-out, whereas the front one has a tritium insert included with a white outline for easier spotting of targets. As mentioned above, the frame has a black Cerakote finish, while the slide features a blue matte coating.

If you look down at the back strap and the rear of the slide, you will notice serrations for secure use. The side grips have a G10 design in a “dark cherry” color that suits the gun nicely.

Surprisingly for a basic model, we also have a reliable aluminum trigger and an extender beavertail grip safety, which is a nice addition.

When comparing the version with the .45 ACP, the first thing to notice is the manageable recoil. With a less powerful round, you have a mild upward kick that returns in place adding for enhanced control.

The aluminum trigger provides a smooth single-action movement, that has improved slightly. Plus, the 9mm ammunition feeds and ejects properly when fired and you can hardly ever experience a malfunction.

Most notable features:

• 3-Hole Skeletonized Aluminium Trigger
• Skeletonized Hammer
• Extender Beavertail Grip Safety
• Lowered and Flared Ejection Port
• Stainless Steel Match-Grade Barrel

Why the 9mm Model?

A few years ago, an FBI report was leaked on the internet and it revealed that they have researched the efficacy of the 9mm ammunition in comparison to other calibers such as the .45 ACP / .40 S&W and .357 SIG.

Similar to our understandings, the report stated that the 9mm loses in terms of performance but is more suitable for people who can’t manage greater recoil.

However, the technological progress of our time has given leverage to the 9 mm rounds, making it almost leveled with other calibers. The trade-offs in terms of operation are justified and ballistics reports point that shooters were more accurate and could fire quick follow-up shots.

Plus, a huge advantage is the higher-capacity magazines and the less expensive price tag. Based on the enhanced controllability, reduced cost and greater capacity, it makes sense that the popularity of these ammunitions has increased significantly over the past few years.

On-field Shooting Performance

Just to note before we continue, that we find it odd to run 9mm rounds through a .45 ACP platform so we didn’t know what to expect. However, you never knew what will surprise you in life and we were eager to see how the gun performs.

Pleasantly enough, shooting with a 9mm Colt Defender proved to be a satisfying experience. You can easily control the follow-up shots, even +P loads and the recoil is light.

A small disadvantage is that the trigger broke right at 3.5 pounds, but rather than that it’s decent. We tested a great number of ammunitions from different manufacturers like Speer, Federal Premium and Sig Elite Performance – both hollow-point and FMJ rounds.

Given the compact size, some might consider that it would have issues with precision. However, it proved to be quite accurate with its preferred loads.

The rear blacked out sight allowed for the front sight of the Novak Sight System to acquire targets seamlessly. This allows for obtaining objectives faster and making the follow-up shots even more accurate, which is important for close-range self-defense situations.

Another disadvantage is the short sight radius, but we have to note that the firearm is intended for use in close quarters. Nevertheless, the gun performed solidly at 25 yards with certain loads.


Even though it is an enjoyable weapon to use, there are come reliability concerns that we must address. As stated above, we tested both FMJ and hollow-point ammunition.

There were several malfunctions with certain heavier hollow-point rounds. Note that it Speer 124-grain and 124-grain +P rounds worked flawlessly with the pistol.

We also tested the FMJ Sig’s 115-grain and Federal Premium’s 115-grain loads with no issues, whatsoever. Basically, one needs to take time and find rounds that feed reliably in the gun without any malfunctions in 300 or 500+ shots.

Colt Defender 9mm Reviews – Conclusion

Despite the fact that the pistol doesn’t feed JHPs properly, it handles well, offers high-quality sights, great accuracy and good appearance. Feeding issues are common for 1911 models, especially in basic models like the Defender.

In fact, some people might not consider it a problem at all. Plus, the issue could be easily isolated and fixed for around a hundred dollars. For a self-defense weapon, the Colt Defender is a solid choice.

The recoil is easily controllable and the safety responded distinctively, giving you a heads-up when it is in a “fire” or “safe” position. The trigger break isn’t a deal-breaker as well because it provides the required precision after all.

All in all, with this firearm you receive proper value at affordable costs. It is solid and as you gain more experience, you might even be impressed by its performance.

Colt Defender 9mm Reviews
  • Value of Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Quality
  • Features


  • Made of durable high-strength nylon-based polymer
  • Feeds and ejects properly, making it very reliable
  • Surprisingly accurate for a short barrel gun


  • Due to lightweight design, recoil can be felt a bit more powerful
  • Design features sharp corners, which results in printing
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