6 9mm 1911 Pistols Worth A Look
Not everyone wants to shoot dreary old .45, but what some of the purists won’t admit to is that a 1911 9mm actually makes more sense than .45 ACP.
You get more rounds onboard (8+1 to 10+1, depending on frame size and magazine) and incredibly soft recoil. It’s actually authentic, in a way, as the initial versions of the gun were made in .38 caliber rather than .45. That makes an already natural-pointing, easy-shooting pistol even easier to operate. That’s a slam dunk in anyone’s book.
Here are 6 1911 9mm pistols to consider.
Kimber Micro 9
Some people might balk at this pistol being included, but the Kimber Micro 9 IS a 1911-pattern gun. It’s just drastically downsized. The Micro 9 is a slightly scaled up version of the Kimber Micro, which – as many are aware – is a Colt Mustang with the word “Colt” crossed out and “Kimber” written in crayon.
Well…they did a lot more to it than that, including a number of mechanical and aesthetic improvements. Kimber makes some handsome pistols, after all. But the Colt Mustang was basically the same thing as the Kimber Micro or Sig P238 and came out with it about a decade before they did, so that’s definitely where they got the idea. Granted, it’s a good one!
Anyhow, Kimber (and then Sig, too) came up with a very bright idea, which was to make the Micro slightly bigger so it could accommodate 9mm instead of .380. Unlike it’s full-size brethren, it lacks the grip safety but retains the single-action mechanism. It’s accurate for its size, decent to shoot and insanely easy to pack.
The Original 1911 9mm For EDC: Colt Lightweight Commander
The freshest water is at the head of the stream, which is exactly what the Colt Lightweight Commander is. Back in the 50s, the Army wanted a lighter pistol for officers to carry than the Government 1911. They also wanted it chambered in 9mm. Colt devised the Commander, though it was also made available in .45 ACP and .38 Super upon release. It’s been a popular carry gun ever since.
The barrel was cut down to 4.25 inches from 5 inches, and a lighter alloy frame soon became a popular option.
Today, the Lightweight Commander 9mm comes with refinements such as Novak sights, a beavertail grip safety, bobbed hammer, and Colt’s dual recoil spring system. While not the lightest, it weighs in just under 30 ounces. The standard complement is 9 rounds, but 10-round magazines are easily obtained aftermarket. That’s up to 11 rounds of 9mm, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at, in an eminently shootable and easy-carrying gun.
MSRP is $1,000 which is a bit steep but you’re getting a 9mm 1911 by the original maker, with refinements that normally require a custom shop, so you get quality.
Colt Rail Gun 9mm 1911
Decided you want to get all tactical, eh? Try on the Colt Rail Gun 9mm 1911.
The frame gets a 1913 rail on the dust cover, for adding the light of your choosing. Sights are Novak front and rear, with a Colt National Match barrel for enhanced accuracy along with a beavertail grip safety and skeleton hammer for easier shooting, and ambi safeties let you run the gun with either hand.
Colt’s rail guns are the civilian variant of the Close Quarter Battle Pistol that Colt made for the US Marines, the M45A1. This gun will serve in almost any role you can imagine.
Springfield Range Officer 9mm 1911 Compact
Don’t want or can’t find the Colt? Try the Springfield Armory Range Officer Compact 9mm. The Range Officer Compact is a carry gun, but with a number of features and refinements that make it an incredible shooter as well.
The Range Officer Compact is a CCO-pattern gun, with a shorter grip frame (reduced to 5 inches in height instead of 5.5 inches) with a 4-inch Commander barrel. It’s also offered in .45 ACP, but it shines in 9mm. A Novak-style ramp sight is on the rear and a fiber optic adorns the front. The traditional thumb safety lever is replaced with a competition-style lever, and a parkerized black finish gives it a rather menacing appearance.
Smart cocobolo wood grips adorn the panels and a beavertail grip safety and skeleton hammer ensure easy shooting.
Springfield is known for making some of the best 1911 factory guns out there, so this would be the carry Commander of theirs to acquire.
Kimber 1911 Ultra 9mm 1911 Compact
There are a number of Officer frames out there, but the Kimber 1911 Ultra series are some of the best. The Ultra series is Kimber’s nomenclature for Officer frames, which – depending on whom you buy it from – has a 3-inch to 3.625-inch barrel and a shorter grip, usually 5 inches in overall height. Kimber installs a 3-inch match barrel in all Ultras.
The options from there are up to you. Left-side only or ambidextrous safeties, a bevy of color options up to Kimber’s gorgeous amethyst and even rose gold finishes. Or you can opt for stainless or two tone; whatever strikes your fancy.
An Officer frame in 9mm makes more sense than .45 ACP, as it will be much easier to shoot as well as easy to conceal and carry.
Dan Wesson Guardian 9mm 1911
Dan Wesson 1911 pistols are the bridge between the full-on custom guns and factory pistols, balancing finery with value and making the Guardian arguably the best 9mm 1911 pistol you can buy short of having Ed Brown, Les Baer or Wilson Combat make you one. Dan Wesson was in the business of high-end revolvers for a long time, but was starting to get into high-quality 1911 pistols when they were acquired by CZ-USA.
Prepare to shell out, as MSRP is $1,588. You’ll probably find it in stores for less (closer to $1,300 in most cases) but you’re getting your money’s worth in terms of quality. Dan Wesson guns are semi-custom, in that some aspects of construction that would be done by hand in a custom shop are done by machining, but the important details are seen to by a craftsman’s hand.
What does that entail?
The slide is hand-fit to the frame, for glass-like smoothness. A match barrel and bushing are likewise hand-fit, for tight, precise lock-up. This means the pistol cycles like nothing else and will group tighter than you are likely capable of. These aspects are the details that are not addressed on many factory guns, but a Dan Wesson pistol does get attention to those details. The MIM parts some people grouse about? None to be found, either.
The Guardian has an aluminum alloy frame, reducing carry weight to about 28 ounces, and the mainspring housing is bobbed for easy concealment. This is intended for use as a carry gun, no doubt about it. The grips are a wood/stipled polymer shadow set, which go very well with the black Duty finish of the gun. The front and rear of the grip is given 25 lpi checkering for a good grip. A beavertail grip safety and bobbed hammer are added at the rear, and the slide wears a Novak combat ramp at the rear and tritium night sight at the front. The heart of the gun is a 3.5 lb – 5 lb trigger with a Series 70 operating system, for a clean, crisp break.
This is a do-it-all handgun. It will punch paper at the range all day, in competition or for pleasure. It is also designed with concealed carry in mind, and with the lighter weight alloy frame you should be able to pack it all day without issue. This could be the last gun you ever need.
Price of entry is steep, to be sure…but you’re getting one of the best pistols money can buy, full-stop.