Having owned several Colt Defender pistols over the years, I can say that they have all been reliable, accurate and comfortable to carry. Adding a 9mm version to the lineup only makes it better. Soft-shooting, accurate, and easy to shoot, the 9mm Defender is ready to go to work right out of the box. Rubber grips lock this compact pistol in place, allowing for smooth operation and little recoil. An upswept grip safety, enhanced hammer and aluminum trigger provide for a solid grip. Lowering and flaring the ejection port facilitates better reliability. For those looking to get a 3-inch-barrelled 1911 with proven reliability, the Defender chambered in 9mm is a solid choice.
Dan Wesson’s Guardian is a popular Commander-sized 1911. Chambering it in 9mm has only added to its appeal. The pistol utilizes a lightweight alloy frame that is bobbed to prevent printing. The Guardian also features a 4.25-inch barrel, stippled, carry-style grip panels and low-mount sights for concealed carry. The gun uses nine-round magazines, providing plenty of ammo for a slim, single-stack 1911 pistol. If you are looking for a Commander-sized 9mm 1911, the Guardian should be at the top of your list.
Kimber is a leader in the 1911 market with a wide range of choices. Kimber 1911 pistols are carried by professionals and enthusiasts alike, and its Aegis line has some of the most popular 9mm 1911 pistols out there. Available in full-sized, Pro and Ultra sizes, it provides the perfect 1911 pistol for any use. Aluminum frames keep things light and complete “melting” makes them comfortable to carry. Low recoil allows for solid accuracy and custom touches like stippling, carry sights and serrations make them well suited to self-defense use. No matter the size, the Aegis line is a solid choice for 9mm 1911 pistols.
The Remington R1, introduced in 2010, is a relative newcomer to the 1911 market. But Big Green’s contribution to the field is an eminently solid one, with precision-machined parts produced to ultra-tight tolerances for stellar accuracy and smoother shooting. Remington makes several versions of the R1, and the only one chambered, so far, in 9mm is its Enhanced model. Featuring a 5-inch match-grade barrel, a skeletonized match trigger, a widened thumb safety, custom grips and a fiber-optic front sight, the R1 Enhanced is certainly feature-packed, especially for a well-made 1911 priced under $1,000.
One of the first major manufacturers to offer a full-sized 9mm 1911, the remains a favorite for many. Pro Series pistols are in between the standard and Performance Center models with a number of enhanced features. Adjustable sights make it well suited to competitors and target shooters. Nicely contoured controls and Pro Series features make it suitable for professional use or personal defense. Given its time in the marketplace, it is one of the most proven full-sized 1911 pistols, making it an excellent first choice in a 9mm 1911 pistol.
Springfield Armory’s latest 1911 offering in 9mm is the Range Officer. Designed to be ready for competition out of the box, the Range Officer is incredibly popular with first-time 1911 buyers. Built on a forged frame, the forged slide houses a fully supported, match-grade barrel. Adjustable sights allow for practice and competition loads. Precision fitting provides for excellent accuracy. The high swept grip safety, flat mainspring housing and long trigger make for solid accuracy. With its soft-shooting characteristics, it is perfect for those spending extended time on the range.
STI’s 2011 design remains one of the most reliable 9mm platforms today. No full-capacity 1911 design has been more tested and faired as well. Full-sized versions dominate the competitive world. Tapping into this reliability, the VIP offers a compact, lightweight pistol carrying 15+1 rounds of 9mm ammo. It also has the ability to accept full-sized magazines, providing as many as 27 rounds of 9mm in a proven platform that is comfortable to carry, easy to shoot and incredibly accurate. Frames are available in either steel or aluminum, and the polymer grip is only marginally larger than a single-stack 1911 pistol’s. When it comes to full-capacity 1911 designs, the STI VIP is the best choice for a compact concealed carry pistol.
Taurus is well known for its revolvers, but it makes fine 1911s, too. Its 9mm model is a Government model, and can be had in either stainless steel or with a blued finish. Feature-packed but affordably priced under $900, the Taurus 1911 comes equipped with genuine ramped Novak sights, an ambidextrous thumb safety and a lightened, three-hole trigger with a crisp pull. The Taurus PT 1911 9mm accommodates a nine-round magazine for a total capacity of 9+1.
Wilson Combat builds some of the finest 1911 pistols you can buy. The company’s proven track record, attention to detail and dedication to the 1911 platform makes it a top choice for many. The CQB and CQB Elite are solid combat pistols built with self-defense, duty or hard use in mind. Built one at a time, by hand, these pistols offer custom design, proven parts and Wilson’s 100-percent satisfaction guarantee. Having used one extensively, it has proven to be one of the most reliable 9mm 1911 pistols I’ve tested to date, exhibiting stunning accuracy and reliability. Also from Wilson Combat, and available in 9mm, is the new Hackathorn Special.
Demand for the venerable 1911 pistol remains steady after all these years, and is even increasing in some cases.
Numerous new designs in the handgun market have done little to slow the popularity of the 1911 pistol. It remains one of the most concealable, accurate and easy-to-shoot pistols on the market today. Choices abound with numerous compact and even subcompact models available.
Top competitors, tactical operators and enthusiasts alike continue to use full-sized 1911 pistols in various calibers and designs to great effect. Any talk of its demise, or even decrease in its popularity, is just that—talk—because the 1911 is selling in record numbers with no indication that will change any time soon.
One of the most popular moves among manufacturers in the last couple years has been to the more-affordable-to-shoot 9mm cartridge, and the 1911 is no exception
Increasingly efficient for self-defense, the 9mm is subsequently becoming the caliber of choice for many. Advances in machining, construction and demand have provided several solid 1911 pistols in this caliber. Easy concealment, soft recoil and incredible accuracy make the 1911 platform an excellent choice for this caliber.
Let’s take a quick look at some top choices for 9mm 1911 pistols for self-defense and concealed carry.
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This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS. Subscription is available in print and digital editions below.
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