The 1911 pattern handgun, named for the year of its adoption by the United States military, is one of the most recognizable and popular handguns in history. Its reputation for reliability and accuracy has made it the preferred defensive weapon of many, from private citizens to special operations.
The compact and subcompact versions of the 1911 offer a thin, trim package for concealed carry, but those small pistols can be hard to shoot in the larger calibers like .45 ACP or 10mm and require more practice to master.
In 9mm, however, these weapons become more controllable and often carry an additional couple rounds in the magazine versus .45 ACP. 9mm is also cheaper than .45 to purchase, so more range practice can be done for the same money.
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There are a ton of 9mm 1911 pistols produced these days, and few are a bad buy. Let us have a look at several of the better offerings.
Kimber Pro CDP – EDC Masterpiece
The Kimber Pro CDP (Custom Defense Package) is a factory blend of custom shop features commonly applied to EDC pistols. The CDP sports a 9 round magazine, low-profile tritium night sights, and a stainless steel slide. In addition to these features, the entire gun has the “carry melt” treatment, meaning that all the edges are rounded and smoothed to prevent snagging on the draw.
The front strap and below the trigger guard of the aluminum frame are checkered at 30 lines per inch and then finished in the proprietary KimPro II coating, giving the gun a two-tone look. The pistol also comes with rosewood grips, an extended beavertail, and an ambidextrous safety switch. While not cheap at $1305 MSRP, the Kimber CDP comes loaded with more than enough features to justify the price tag.
RIA Rock Standard FS – Full-Sized Bargain
If you prefer to carry a full-sized handgun, want an EDC truck gun, or appreciate value, then this is the gun for you. The Rock Standard comes with low-profile sights, skeletonized hammer, extended beavertail, ambidextrous safety, and a 10+1 magazine capacity. The mechanism is based on the proven Colt 70’s series to ensure trouble-free operation.
This is not a light pistol, the frame and slide are forged steel, but that extra weight translates into a steadier weapon on the range. The trigger is 4 to 6 pounds from the factory and is an RIA claim to fame.
With an MSRP of $594, the Standard FS is a bargain compared to similar offerings from domestic manufacturers. If you do not care for the bells and whistles, the GI Standard model retails for $524. The GI Standard replicates the 1911 service pistol fielded by the U.S. Military.
If the Rock Standard is not enough gun, then try the Tac Ultra FS HC. This beast is a double-stack 1911 with 17 rounds on tap, an accessory rail, and fiber-optic sights. Thie Tac Ultra is a competition-ready weapon that would make a great truck gun.
Springfield Armory EMP – The Wheel Reinvented
The typical downside to a 9mm 1911 pistol is that they are .45 ACP pistols with a smaller hole in the barrel and a modified magazine. This can mean a heavier gun, which is more controllable but is also less pleasant to carry. Springfield Armory solved this problem by re-engineering the 1911 platform around the 9mm cartridge. The entire pistol is scaled down, from the grip to the slide.
The reduced grip radius makes it easier to grip, and the frame and slide are slimmer and shortened as well. The material reduction brings a reduction in weight of 7 ounces (in the Commander configuration) over the original. This shedding of weight makes the EMP easier on the hip when carrying for extended periods.
The EMP is offered in the three-inch barreled standard model, the four-inch Champion model, and the Champion Concealed-Carry Contour, which features a chamfered back to the grip to reduce printing under clothes.
All models have stainless slides, forged aluminum frames, and match-grade stainless bull barrels. Like the Kimber, these are not cheap weapons with their approximately $1200 MSRP. They are, however, top-of-the-line pistols with all the bells and whistles already installed from the factory.
Here is Hickock45’s take on the EMP.
Today is a great time to be a fan of the 1911 pistol. This century-old masterpiece of John Browning is available in every configuration imaginable. Chambered in the 9mm cartridge, it becomes a highly controllable sidearm with decent capacity and an enviable track record for reliability. This combination of pistol and cartridge is worth a look and does not disappoint. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go make an addition to my wishlist.