Ammunition Choices for the Colt Defender

In a recent post, we brought you an exclusive feature on the recently-upgraded Colt Defender. Now take a look at what ammunition choices we’d make for this gun:


Ammunition for Colt Defender

The five loads tested (L-R): CorBon Pow’RBall, CorBon DPX, Winchester FMJ SWC Target, Federal Hydra-Shok, Winchester FMJ Ball, Winchester PDX1.


I generally prefer the high velocity .36s (9mm, .38 Super, .357s) due to their tactically superior penetration and explosive effects. However, the key with these calibers is the high velocity that translates into high energy; enabling them to reach the magical 400 foot pounds of kinetic energy established by the Border Patrol in the 1980s as the minimum for reliable one-shot stops.


When the barrel length of those calibers is reduced to three inches, that high velocity drops a lot and the energy does so as well, dramatically in fact. Thus, in the short barrel semi-autos, I prefer to put my stakes in large caliber and high momentum; the first is un-affected by barrel length and the latter much less so than energy.


The .45 ACP is a very efficient cartridge in its modern form. The 230 grain Winchester PDX1 and the Federal Hydra-Shok heavy weights achieved velocity readings that equaled the velocities and momentum of such loads in five-inch barreled guns a couple of decades ago. The ultra-efficient CorBon loads managed to produce high enough velocities to exceed 400 foot pounds of energy; something only a few extra-hot loads will do in a sub-compact 9×19 pistol. The CorBon DPX features an all copper hollow point designed to stay intact for maximum penetration, while expanding for maximum stopping power.


The CorBon Pow’RBall is my go-to load for subcompact 1911s. It is the only load featuring an expanding bullet that has been 100 percent reliable in every .45 ACP pistol that I have ever used. The polymer ball plugs the nose of a gaping hollow point, allowing both smooth feeding and explosive expansion. It actually feeds better than Ball ammo, in my experience.


The cap also prevents the hollow point from becoming plugged with tactical barrier material like heavy clothes, dry wall, windshield glass, etc. There is also a small but noticeable difference in the weight of the Defender when loaded with the Pow’RBall load versus the heavy bullet loads.



Story and Photos by Jerry Catania

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