Colt Defender - Western Arms
The idea of launching a compact, single action 1911 for self-defence in the 1990s seems a little strange at first sight, but clearly there was a demand and Colt produced the Series 90 Defender to address it.
By basing it on the Series 90, Colt addressed the biggest issue (of safety vs instant availability) with single action autos for self-defence, by fitting a firing pin safety which allows the gun to be carried 'cocked and locked', ready for action without having to rack the slide.
WA launched their Colt Defender as an SCW2 model, shortly after the similar looking compact V10 model, as a limited edition.
In the Box
Normal state of affairs here, for a WA SCW gun. Grey box, white writing and just a box end sticker to indicate that a Colt Defender lurks inside.
As well as the Defender, you get a bag of BBs, an Allen key for the hop-up and a bag of paperwork, most relating to the generic SCW 1911s.
The Defender's certainly a cool looking gun, in silver, with Hogue-style grips, a cone barrel and a target style 3 hole trigger in black.
Photographs on the web suggest this is pretty much as Colt shipped the 3" barreled gun from the factory, so full marks to WA for replication.
The Defender's a chunky little gun, feeling very solid in the hand. With a working grip safety it feels very much like what it is, a cut down 1911. There's a stylish skeletonised trigger, a (thankfully) unbuffered magazine and Novak style combat sights with no adjustment.
The frame and slide are heavyweight ABS, with metal slide lock, hammer, trigger, slide lock, grip and thumb safety, sights and mainspring cover.
As with most silver airsoft GBBs, certainly WAs and KSCs, anyway, the frame and slide finish of the Defender is a metal flake silver finish. I cannot say how realistic this is to the real gun, but photographs of the two certainly look similar.
The slide features cocking serrations at the back and Novak style sights, with white dots, front and rear.
The Defender features a Cone barrel, like an SVI or some of the other WA Compact's (such as the Wilson Combat SDS, but an unusual (unique in my experience) pin fronted recoil rod (visible in some of the photographs). The barrel and recoil rod are chromed and here and there, especially on edges of the barrel, the finish looks a little heavily applied, although it is nowhere near as bad as the finish on the TM' Hi-Capa's hammer and of a much better quality. The chamber is also chromed, featuring "COLT .45 AUTO" stamped into the top.
There is only a left side thumb safety, for the right handed, and the hammer is skeletonised and features a serated spur for a secure grip. The trigger features a travel adjustment hole and three cut-out holes to reduce weight in the broad blade. The trigger is finished in matt black, the hammer is silver.
The mainspring cover is flat and features fine chequering, also applied to the rear of the slide, but the grip safety is one of those areas where, at least on this example, the finish is not 100%. I suspect it is simply a case of the silver paint highlighting less than perfect casting in this case, but it looks less than perfectly finished.
As you would expect, especially in the light of WA's recent agreement with 3PSA, the Colt license holder for airsoft replicas, the markings on the Model 90 Defender are accurate to the real thing (as far as I can tell, without a real one to compare side-by-side).
The left side of the gun bears two rampant horse Colt logos either side of the wording "COLT DEFENDER"/"SERIES 90" on the slide. On the frame only a small proof mark on the trigger guard is present.
The right side of the slide is marked "Lightweight" and the frame is marked "COLT'S PT.F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A." above the trigger, with a small WA and ASGK mark nearby.
The slide is interesting at the front, too. At the top and bottom edge of the left and right sides, there is a small section of the corner bevelled off. I have not seen this on any other 1911 model, compact or full size, but it is there on the real Defender - Full marks to WA.
The grips are rubbery, with finger grooves for all 3 lower fingers of the shooting hand. I can cope with Mk23s and Desert Eagles with no problem, but the Defender does not feel uncomfortably small in my hand.
The magazine is the same as fitted to the Wilson SDS, but lacks the bumper which makes the Wilson magazines so difficult to fill. It holds a reasonable 21 rounds, pretty good for such a small gun and was capable of emptying a magazine and more on a not very complete fill of gas.
The Defender is a snappy performer, with decent power and a fast, if not especially strong feeling (despite the chunkiness of the slide), cycle action.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, I achieved impressive accuracy from the Defender. The best 5 shots fell in a 4.5CM (1.8 inch) grouping (not bad, but not exceptional), although 4 of those shots fell in a more impressive 3.2CM ( inch) grouping. Sub 2 inch grouping IS good by most standards and this gun has a very stumpy barrel.
Over 10 shots, the Colt Defender averaged just 197 fps (using 134a gas and .2g Excel BBs) indoors (at 21C). This would probably equate to about 260fps with Abbey Ultra or Propane, which is a little below what the similarly compact S&W 4013TSW or KWA Glock 19 were chronoing at.
Trigger pull was just 640g (22.5 Oz), which is a light-medium weight pull for a GBB.
Take down is fairly standard 1911.
With the magazine out, pull back the slide until the notch on the slide is aligned with the rear of the slide lock. Push the slide lock out of the frame, right to left, looking forward and the slide and barrel can then be slid forward off the frame.
This done, remove the guide rod bushing and the barrel and chamber can be pushed forward through the hole in the front of the slide.
The Defender's a smart little 1911 compact and many will search it out because it is the Colt compact, but it did not particularly appeal to me.
The grips are good and, aside from a couple of areas of slightly inconsistent looking finish on chromed metal parts, overall build and finish are also good.
Accuracy, especially, is much better than WA compacts of just a year or so ago, the SCW system and tightbore barrels really delivering improvements on these smaller guns, but I never felt any great urge to just shoot the Defender for the sheer hell of it.
Worth considering if you REALLY want the purest 1911 compact.
Weight : 760g (180g magazine)
Realism : ****
Quality : ****
Power : ***
Accuracy : ****
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