Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Colt Defender BB pistol - Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Well, today's report on the Colt Defender BB pistol dovetails nicely into yesterday's report on concealed carry handguns. Because the Defender is just that--a single-stack, single-action .45 ACP, a variation on the 1911A1 frame that sports a 3-inch barrel. It's Colt's version of the concealed carry 1911s that have been around for 30 years.

Colt Defender BB pistol is compact and solid.

The Defender came to market in 1999, about 20 years after Colt's competition had first marketed their own compact 1911s, starting with the Detonics. But late though it was, the Defender carries the Colt name that adds value to anything it's put on. Even BB guns, like the one I'm looking at today.

Detonics was the first .45 ACP micro 1911 to hit the market 30 years ago.

It comes in a clamshell pack. When I got the gun out, I was surprised by the weight. I handed it to Edith, who had a similar reaction. It's good when a BB gun has some mass, and this one certainly does.The specs say it weighs 1.6 lbs., and in this small a package that makes an impression.

Of course, this pistol is powered by CO2. The cartridge is housed in the grip, but the BB magazine is built right into the frame of the gun! A spring-loaded follower is pushed down out of the way and locked in place at the bottom of the grip. BBs can then be poured into a funnel-like opening in the grip frame, where they're steered into the magazine channel. It's a slick setup, and one that I'm excited to try.

Push the mag release and the grips jump back to reveal where the CO2 cartridge goes.

BB magazine is built into the frame of the pistol.

The gun is dark black and non-reflective. The trigger is not a copy of the Defender trigger because this BB pistol is double-action, while the firearm is single-action. The grip is on the fat side, and the trigger blade is slightly too far forward for my average hands to reach. I can still shoot the gun, but things don't fall within easy reach.

The hammer and most of the controls, such as the safety, are simply cast into the metal frame of the gun. The real safety is a switch mounted on the right side of the frame. The mag release button on the left side releases the grip panels, which can then be pulled back to reveal the CO2 chamber.

The sights are fixed, front and rear, though the designers went out of their way to make the rear sight appear to be adjustable. The front sight has a white dot in the center of the post, but there's nothing that corresponds on the rear sight.

The barrel of the gun is also the hammer. How that works: the barrel moves forward against a spring as the trigger is pulled; upon its release, it jumps back suddenly to whack the firing valve.

Pulling the trigger pushes the barrel forward until it is released to knock open the valve (right).

A light rail is provided beneath the slide and in front of the triggerguard. Enthusiasts can mount a laser they can then adjust to coincide with the impact of the BB.

Power seems to be on the hot side, at a rated 440 f.p.s. That means a lot of bouncebacks, so be sure everybody is wearing safety glasses. I'll count the number of shots per cartridge when I test the velocity.

I'll combine accuracy and velocity testing next time, to speed this report along.


At December 09, 2009 5:39 AM, Blogger Vince said...

"Hullo!!! Is that your barrel, or are you just glad to..."

Sounds like a similar mechanism as that in the cheaper Daisy 15XT. What I don't understand is the failure to use the old 'elevator shuttle' mechanism as found in the old Daisy CO2-100 and -200 models. It, too, was a 'double action', albeit with a far nicer trigger than in any other DA BB pistol I've ever tried.

At December 09, 2009 5:56 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Yeah, I was tempted to draw a parallel with the Anics Skiff A-3000 that does the same thing, but I decided not to. I'll just continue the test and we'll see what effect this design has.


At December 09, 2009 6:35 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

Just an update on the problem with my pellets. Freezing them worked! Thanks for you help, B.B.

At December 09, 2009 6:38 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


That's an old high-school science class trick. Glad it worked.

We can't wait to hear about your exploits with the new rifle.


At December 09, 2009 7:11 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

Well, since school was delayed this morning (even though it's snowing like crazy), I decided to fire off some pellets to get a feel of how it shoots. Cocking is easy and anyone over maybe 9 or 10 should be able to cock it. However, the safety is a bit strange. This may be on all or only my rifle, but it doesn't engage every time I cock it (it's supposed to be automatic). It's not a big deal since I was taught to be extremely safe with any ranged weapon in the beginning, but it's a bit strange. The sights are reminiscent of an SKS rifle. I haven't fired many air rifles, so I wouldn't know much about trigger pull in them, but comparing it to some other firearms I've fired it seems fairly heavy but not unbearable. When in the offhand position the rifle is just about the perfect weight for me (around 6.5 pounds). Unfortunately, I'll have to wait for a day when the sun is out to test accuracy, because I obviously need to either sight in or adjust my hold!


At December 09, 2009 7:17 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

Darn, forgot to mention. When fired, the rifle doesn't have much vibration, and sounds like a loud clap or the sound of hitting something soft with force.

At December 09, 2009 7:18 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


The intermittent safety reminds me of another caution you should heed. Never let go of the muzzle of the barrel when you load the rifle. If the sear should malfunction for any reason, the gun could fire, closing the barrel too fast for you to react. If your fingers are around the breech, they could be smashed or worse. This is called a beartrap accident.


At December 09, 2009 7:28 AM, Blogger Ryan said...


When I was firing it, I was always careful of that. As you said in your report, the barrel can move back and forth easily when cocked.


At December 09, 2009 7:30 AM, Blogger woguph said...

I had a Detonics 45 just like the one in the picture. It is the only gun I ever had stolen. It was a good gun but was a handful to shoot.

My favorite handgun excluding the 1911s and Glocks was a Star PD. It was the most comfortable 45 I ever shot. It had an alloy frame a little smaller than a combat commander. The grip just fit my hand perfectly and really felt good when fired. I actually liked it better with full power ammo than I did will less powerful loads. I should have kept it but I couldn't find a left handed safety for it. That is one gun I would like to replace.

David Enoch

At December 09, 2009 7:39 AM, Anonymous Volvo said...


Don’t let the intermittent working of the safety disappoint you. My first R-1 did the same thing years ago, but it began working consistently over time. I would guess the spring for it is a little weak but as parts break in and smooth out hopefully all will be well.


At December 09, 2009 7:40 AM, Blogger derrick38 said...


Really enjoyed meeting you in person. If I ever have a spring gun question, you're definitely the guy to call. I still can't believe how many air rifles you've owned.


The trigger in my Daisy CO2 200 is pretty stiff. I haven't put a gauge on it, but I'd guess it's about 6 or 7 pounds. Bought an old Daisy Powermaster 1200 last night and the trigger is substantially better--maybe 3 pounds. The trigger appears to be identical to the 200s. The 1200 has a secondary coil spring on the trigger--is that present on yours?

Yours is the only other functional 200 I've heard of.

At December 09, 2009 8:19 AM, Anonymous Volvo said...

It was certainly a pleasure making your acquaintance. However, I would trade my experience with many of those airguns for some of your mechanical ability.

Also now that I have a witness, I think the Chrony people should use my Chrony in an ad about their products durability, and give me a shiny new replacement.
: )


At December 09, 2009 8:38 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


I could never get my Detonics to be accurate, so I got rid of it. But I tell you, I am getting tired of everyone telling me what a good gun the Star PD is.I may have to break down and try one.


At December 09, 2009 9:28 AM, Blogger woguph said...

Hi BB:
I doubt the PD is as good as I remember, you know how that it, but really liked it. The way the PD felt during recoil was one of those tactile response things that appeals to me like gripping a Diana 27.

Here's a good article on the Star PD. We are talking about the old gun from the 70s and 80s, not the one from the 90s.

At December 09, 2009 9:38 AM, Anonymous twotalon said...

What would be good to lube the sliding chamber with on a 48??
I'm talking about the external surface that is visible when the action is closed.

Oil or moly??


At December 09, 2009 9:58 AM, Anonymous Volvo said...


JM's clear lube is often used for that.

At December 09, 2009 10:00 AM, Anonymous Volvo said...

Link is no one minds

At December 09, 2009 10:43 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


I read the article. Very impressive!


At December 09, 2009 10:45 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


I'd use oil, because Moly scrapes off and gets on everything.


At December 09, 2009 11:02 AM, Anonymous Frank B said...

BB,I'm curious if that barrel is rifled.It sounds like this little pistol could shoot round lead at a decent fps if the barrel will accomodate .177,not just .173...Frank B

At December 09, 2009 11:18 AM, Anonymous twotalon said...

Thanks....oil it is.
Moly is as bad as graphite grease...gets on everything and don't come off.


At December 09, 2009 11:24 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


The barrel is not rifled. It's a smooth tube.


At December 09, 2009 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Interesting blog, but pellet guns, with their accuracy, have just about spoiled me for bb guns. I don't even touch my airsoft machine gun any more.

That's scary about getting your fingers chopped off with the breakbarrel. As I understand the anti-beartrap mechanism on the B30, that should not be physically possible, right? Also, I read about some guy who got his finger bitten off by a protester of a different persuasion during the health care debates, and they managed to reattach the finger at the hospital.


At December 09, 2009 12:53 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Never say never. An anti-beartrap will prevent the beartrap for as long as it functions, but anything made by man can fail.


At December 09, 2009 1:26 PM, Blogger BG_Farmer said...

That is a nicely detailed BB pistol. My Daisy Marksman 1200 cured me of the desire for any more CO2 BB pistols, but if I needed one, the Colt Defender would be high on the list.

With the sidelever, you should put an arm between the stock and the lever when loading. It is as awkward as it sounds -- one of the reasons I like underlevers. Good thing health care reform hadn't gone through when that incident happened -- he might have lost that finger:).

At December 09, 2009 1:32 PM, Blogger CJr said...

Skip a day and have 124 comments to read!

BB, Really enjoyed the CCW post. I can't believe the Peoria mayor is actually vying to become the first CCW municipality in Illinois. Hooray for that! Somebody in Illinois politics has a brain! It appears to be hinging on the outcome of the law suit against Chicago to allow gun owner ship there. When it does, I'll be joining the stampede to CCW class. Unfortunately I live in East Peoria, which is a separate municipality across the river, so I might not be able to carry my gun home. Maybe the mayor will rent lockers in Peoria for non-residents. Then I could check my gun out before going to the grocery store or Wal-World and check it back in before going home. I wonder how many drug pushers will be in my class?


At December 09, 2009 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a little lax about interposing my elbow in front of the sidelever while cocking. That is a good reminder.


At December 09, 2009 1:53 PM, Anonymous Desertdweller said...

When I load my breakbarrel springers, I put the pellet in before cocking it. That way, my fingers are never in harm's way.
Always have a good grip on the barrel, too, of course.

At December 09, 2009 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have or obtain a Star PD, get some buffers for the back of the recoil spring. These help protect the alum. frame from the steel slide. It's a lot easier on the gun.


At December 09, 2009 2:38 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...




At December 09, 2009 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is almost communist! One same mechanism for all guns (Crosman C11, Beretta Elite II, this, many others)
Shadow express dude

At December 09, 2009 5:58 PM, Anonymous Mr B. said...


What a wonderful idea. It's got me thinking why haven't we been doing it that way all the time?

Ok one and all, can anyone come up with a down side to his idea?

Mr B.

At December 09, 2009 7:00 PM, Blogger CJr said...

Mr B,

Sounds like a good idea to me. Since the pellets usually fit pretty tight, at least in my guns they do, one could even cock the gun upside down without a problem. I will try this out. I don't like having to hold onto the barrel while I feed because it means both hands have to leave the gun. It's bad enough that one hand has to leave.


At December 09, 2009 7:19 PM, Blogger EBB said...

I wrote an article comparing the Detonics and the just out Colt Officers in the American Handgunner Annual 1985 issue. I did a series of tests using handgunners, beginning to experienced and the results in scores and evaluations were close. The Detonics out of the box had an outstanding trigger (which showed in the price) and the Officers rated higher in "feel". I liked the Detonics very much and shot in in a few IPSC type matches. On the close and very fast stages I shot it better than my full size 1911s. The shortened sight radius always bugged me though.

At December 09, 2009 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just an air gun enthusiast so I do not understand the concealed carry concept. If you carry a gun, don't you want everyone to know it? The bad guys know to leave you alone and the good guys know who to call for help.


At December 09, 2009 8:32 PM, Blogger kevin said...


Being prepared and the element of surprise are powerful weapons in any battle/defense.


At December 09, 2009 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fill pressure of
BSA sportsman please

At December 09, 2009 8:43 PM, Blogger kevin said...

BSA Sportsman fill pressure per manual is 232 bar. Many guns don't like being filled that high and will string vertically until they get on the power curve.

A chrony will quickly help you to determine your guns proper fill.

Here's a good read that B.B. did that relates directly to your question:

At December 09, 2009 9:01 PM, Blogger BG_Farmer said...

Congratulations on the new Diana. That's another write-up we want from you:)!

At December 09, 2009 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Colt's operating mechanism seems very similar to the Wingun-made S&W M&P and Beretta Elite II, though it's nice to see a metal frame around it.

At December 09, 2009 11:07 PM, Blogger TestEverything said...

The sherif in my county always advized to carry your ccw as discreatly as possible due to the fact that most cops are trained to put your face in the dirt and ask questions later(if they see that your hiding a firearm). He told me a story about a friend of his who spent a half an hour being harrassed on an LA, CA freeway because his coat was flapping while riding his motorcycle.


At December 09, 2009 11:15 PM, Blogger TestEverything said...

open question,

Is there any reason that umarex's co2 powerlet to airsource adaptor(fits the rws 850 airmagnum) cant work on any airsource ready gun?

David Brown

At December 10, 2009 5:12 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


Concealed carry is different than open carry. Open carry was the old west. Today it is very rare, however Arizona still allows it. When I went to the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Phoenix this May I was surprised to see people walking down the street with sidearms.

Concealed carry is a legal definition. For a concealed carry gun to be visible in public is termed "brandishing," and it's grounds for losing your license.

Where concealed carry is legal, criminals don't know who is armed and who isn't. They tend not to chance accosting citizens at random. That's called deterrence.


At December 10, 2009 5:14 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...


The only problem I can see with using the adaptor is clearance. Will everything clear the gun?


At December 10, 2009 8:53 PM, Blogger JDB in NY said...

Hello BB,

I believe the S&W M&P bb pistols use the same "barrel as hammer" feature. The barrel pokes out, then snaps back to wack the valve. Pretty neat idea, works pretty well. I wondered if the accuracy could be better with a fixed barrel, but the M&P's are pretty good in that respect.

I really like the look of this one, may have to add it to my collection of replicas !!


At December 31, 2009 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello BB...

Any new news or thoughts on the Colt Defender? I am considering this gun but would like more info on accuracy, proposed durability and thoughts on the self contained clip. Dont know if I like the tought of the clip. It is nice to have several loaded and ready to go.
Thanks for you input.

At December 31, 2009 11:14 AM, Blogger kevin said...

Colt Defender any new news,

Here's a link to parts 2 & 3 B.B. recently completed on the pistol



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